Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adjustments and Attachments

This may come as a surprise to most of you, but I had my very first chiropractic adjustment today. You may remember how I confessed that I was afraid of chiropractors. Well, I decided that just wouldn't do. I'd be an embarrassment to Steve, not to mention the laughing stock of my street aka "chiropractor row".

I was in a car accident last month, and after a month of postponing an appointment (while mentally psyching myself up to it), I figured now was a good time to overcome my fear.

Steve thought a NUCCA chiropractor would be good because their adjustments are more gentle than regular ones. I found a female NUCCA chiropractor in Oakland and had some x-rays done last week. I went in this morning for my first adjustment. She had me lie on my side on the table and as she positioned her hands on my neck, I thought to myself,

"Lord, let me be calm and please keep me from wincing, screaming, thrashing, and/or crying."

After a second or two she took her hands off me.

"Was that it?" I asked.

"Yep, that's it. I just have to do it seven or eight more times."

There were no sudden movements or jerks or anything. Just constant, gentle pressure. Wow. I'd go to a chiropractor everyday if it felt like that. My neck feels looser now, but I still have a few adjustments left before I'm straightened out.

On a completely unrelated note, I sold this necklace a few minutes ago:



I LOVE this necklace. I got it at the very first estate sale I went to. It's from the 30s, and I've been tempted to keep it for myself since I put it in my store. I was planning on keeping it if I hadn't sold it by Valentine's Day.

Well, it didn't make it. I love it when I sell things, but there were a few pieces that I really hated to part with. This is probably the hardest one so far.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Addiction

I think I'm addicted to scrapbook paper. Funny, because I DETEST scrapbooking. I'm such a sucker for those huge 12x12 "pads" of 300+ sheets in about 100 different patterns. I bought another one today. It was a Christmas one and it was only $4.97. How do you pass that up when individual sheets run about 69 cents a piece?!

I have no idea what I'm going to do with all this paper, but that's not the point.

Ok maybe it IS the point. Does anyone know where I can find some cute papercrafting projects that aren't scrapbooking or making cards?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Warming the Frigid

Here's the article that went up on PoshMama this morning :)

Warming the Frigid



So I hear some of you are having pretty cold weather. I hear that we are, too, but as this is the first snow-free winter of my life, I'm not feeling much of a chill. But when I do, one of my favorite things to do is make a big pot of soup. There's nothing that warms my insides faster.

Aside from the soup itself, I love using my cute little 3 qt. soup pot. I think a soup pot, no matter what size, is a kitchen essential. When you're shopping for a soup/stock pot, it's good to keep a few things in mind:

Choosing the Material

There's a great article by Chef Mark Vogel about what to look for in choosing cookware. He talks a lot about materials used in pots (and other cookware), and according to him, we have four options:
  • Copper: Best heat conductor, but scratches easily, may alter the flavor and color of your food, and very expensive. Oh, but they're pretty!


  • Aluminum: Good heat conductor and inexpensive, but eventually wears down and may "react" with your food -- similar to copper pots. If you go this route, make sure the aluminum is anodized to prevent reaction.


  • Cast Iron -- Also a great heat conductor and inexpensive, but it's HEAVY. It may also rust and stick to food if it's not seasoned. To prevent this, get enamel-coated cast iron. Unfortunately enamel-coated cast iron is expensive.


  • Stainless Steel -- Durable, inexpensive, easy to clean and won't react with food. It has mid-range heat conduction, but that is improved if the base has an aluminum interior. Probably your best compromise.


I've got an older version of that stainless steel one right there. Isn't she cute? Sigh.

No matter what kind of pot you buy, get one with a sturdy, thick bottom. Soups tend to be on the burner for longer periods of time and a cheap pot will leave you with a scorched bottom. And no one wants a scorched bottom. (Tanning flashbacks....*shudder*. )

I can't let you go without sharing a recipe, so here's a fast (like 15 minutes fast), yummy chowder that the kiddos will like. At least I think they will. My little kiddo is still eating mush, so please tell me if they like it! I think it's supposed to taste like cheeseburgers and fries, but with the southwestern seasonings, it tastes more like cheeseburgers and CHILI fries. It got a thumbs up from our table. :)


Cheeseburger Chowder

from Taste of Home's Big Soup Book

½ lb ground beef
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 ¾ c milk
1 c frozen hashbrowns
1 can chopped green chilies
1 T taco seasoning
1 T dried minced onion
½ tsp chili powder
crushed corn chips
Monterey jack cheese
chopped green onions
sour cream

Cook beef over medium heat in a large saucepan until no longer pink; drain. Stir in milk, potatoes, chilies, taco seasoning, onion and chili powder until blended.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with corn chips, cheese, sour cream and green onions, if desired. Makes 2-3 adult servings.


Wishing you a warm belly full of soup,

Natalie of Ear Candy
Featured Tuesdays on Posh Mama Online Magazine

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dolled Up

I don't have any other reason for making a new post right now except to show you this picture. I took it yesterday after we got home from church.


I think I better start gathering sticks to beat boys off with.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival



****COMMENTS CLOSED!!****

Welcome to my giveaway! I'm giving away a $15 gift certificate towards anything in my Etsy store. All you have to do is leave a comment below. One comment per person please! I'll draw a winner on Saturday, Feb 2nd at 8AM PST, and I'll post it here, as well as send that person an email. Comments will close Feb 1st at midnight PST.

Most of the jewelry in my store is handmade by me. There are also vintage items, so go take a look! Click on the banner above to see the entire store.


Also, I'm offering free shipping to all participants in the carnival! Just enter the code: CARNIVAL in the comment section when you check out. Offer good through February 29.

Fine print, blah blah blah, but still important...
1. I will cover shipping costs within US and Canada.
2. Make sure I have your email address or blog URL.
3. If the winner doesn't respond to my email within 3 days, I will choose another winner.

Farewell President Hinckley



Most of you know by now that our dear President Hinckley has passed away. It's only been a few hours since he passed, but there are already blogs posted, newspaper articles written, and phone calls and text messages spreading the news. As sad as it is to see him go, it makes me so happy to think that he's finally reunited with his wife after spending the last few years without her.

The first time I saw President Hinckley in person was also the first time I'd ever seen any prophet in person. I was attending Ricks College and had volunteered to be an usher during a special devotional President Hinckley spoke at. I can't describe the feelings I had when I saw him walk into the room. The Spirit was tangible. My heart started swelling and tears came to my eyes. There was no doubt in my mind that he was a Prophet of God.

I love that he was always optimistic and happy. Even when his health wasn't so good, he was able to put on a cheerful face when he spoke to the Church. We needed a strong, optimistic Prophet and he was just that. He touched millions of lives through his love and service to the Church and to the Lord. He will definitely be missed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Making Messes

The messes Sophie makes are still pretty minor. I'm enjoying it while I can before they become daily disasters. Sometimes they're made worse by her mother's apathy or lack of attention, as you'll see in these little clips.

video
Sophie kept trying to grab the spoon from me and got green beans all over herself. After a few minutes I gave up and handed her the spoon. Little did I know she wanted to feed herself all along! Sophie decided she likes green beans after all. Maybe because I made them without scorching the bottom of the pan. Babies are so fickle sometimes.

video
The mess in this one comes at the end. Women are great multi-taskers, but even we have our limits. Oh, and this is the extent of Sophie's crawling so far. When I try to show her how to do it, she drops onto her stomach, shakes her arms and legs and fusses. Fine, figure it out yourself! I'm in no hurry to chase after you all day! :)

One a side note, today is my third anniversary of blogging! I started back when Steve had six months left of his deployment. All of my cousins were into it and I thought it would be a good outlet. It was. :) I looked back and read the very first post I wrote about an embarrassing experience I had. It still makes me laugh.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Save Me a Bite

So, I didn't realize that you couldn't read the articles on Posh Mama without being a member. But, I guess that makes sense. I'll post them here for anyone who wanted to see it, but didn't want to join. :)

Save Me a Bite

That's exactly what my husband did when I gave him a piece of cheesecake -- he left me this lonely little bite. I was alright with that because I had eaten cheesecake for breakfast that morning. :) Any guesses at this week's topic?

"What?! What about my hips?! What about my New Year's Resolution?!" you cry out.

Ladies, I'm convinced that the January blues have a direct correlation with newly-made resolutions of depriving ourselves of foods we love. I believe in moderation in all things, which is why I never make such resolutions. Instead I set simple (and often broken) rules involving cheesecake and other decadent desserts which should never be completely consumed by one person in one sitting.

1. Never eat cheesecake unattended.
2. Invite at least 10 people to your house when you cut it.
3. If you happen to have leftovers, give some to the neighbors.

That being said, I would like to share some tips on making a perfect cheesecake. A REAL cheesecake. I'm not talking about the no-bake stuff you pull out of the box. It's time to step up! Yes, this takes a little extra planning, but it's well worth it.

The two biggest problems I've run into with making cheesecake are lumps in the batter and cracks on the top.

Remove the Lumps!

1. Make sure your cream cheese is soft when you begin working with it.
2. Scrape down the bowl several times to get all the cream cheese incorporated. Scrape off the spatula, too.

Remove the Cracks!

1. Place a pan of water in the oven on the rack below your cheesecake. I use a round cake pan, but you can use anything that's oven safe and will hold 1-2 inches of water.
2. Cool slowly! When your cheesecake is finished, don't rip it out of its toasty-warm 325° incubator and leave it on the 72° countertop in your kitchen. Such a drastic temperature change would make me crack, too. Instead, turn your oven off, and leave the door open. Let the cheesecake cool inside until you can take it out without oven mitts. Then leave it on the countertop until room temperature before placing it in the fridge.

OK, are you ready? Here's one of my favorite cheesecakes, which is also pictured above (sorta).

Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
Adapted from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook

1 10-20 oz. package brownie mix, any kind
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened

¾ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla

½ c sour cream
3 eggs
1 recipe Strawberry Sauce (below)

Prepare brownies as directed on package and bake in a well-greased 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with mixer until smooth (watch out for lumps!!). Blend in sour cream. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until blended. Pour over brownie crust. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Check for doneness by nudging the pan with an oven mitt. If the center wiggles slightly, but the sides don't, then it's done. (Bake at 300° for around the same length of time if using a dark nonstick springform pan.) Turn oven off and allow to cool in oven. (See directions above!) Refrigerate for at least 6 hours for best results.
Remove sides of springform pan and serve with Strawberry Sauce.

Strawberry Sauce:

1 1/2 c fresh or frozen strawberries
2 T sugar

Blend strawberries and sugar in blender or food processor until smooth. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter.

Nat's Notes:

1. You may be tempted to underbake the brownie crust for fear of burning it when you bake it again with the cheesecake, but don't. It won't burn, I promise!
2. Brownie crust does not have to be cooled before you pour the cheesecake filling on top.

3. Feel free to use light cream cheese and sour cream. I've tried both and they work great.


Good luck ladies! Let me know how it turns out!

Wishing you moments of cheesecake heaven,

Natalie of Ear Candy
Featured Tuesdays on Posh Mama Online Magazine

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fought the Good Fight

Sophie fussed and fussed this afternoon when I put her down for a nap. I let her whine and growl for a few minutes and then there was silence. I went in to check on her and this is what I found.


She usually doesn't fall asleep with her legs in the air. I thought it was funny. :) Speaking of fights, Sophie looks like someone popped her with a right hook in the eye. She's been sick again these past few days with a fever. Luckily it's gone now, but her eye keeps swelling up and getting red. The doctor told us she probably just got a cold and it went to her eye. It went to her EYE? I'd never heard that before. I kept having overly-worried mom thoughts that she was going blind.



It looks a LOT better than it did yesterday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Front Page Mama



I have some exciting news! :)

Starting this week, I'm one of the weekly contributors to Posh Mama Online Magazine! Every Tuesday I'll be doing a food/cooking article for the front page of the website.

What's Posh Mama? It's an online magazine/social network for women. I joined last summer when I was looking for places to market my Etsy store. Since then I've met some great women, found some neat discussion groups, and managed to snag some jewelry sales in the process. Now that I'm a weekly contributor, my picture will be up on the left-hand sidebar, permanently, with the others. A little scary. The website is fairly new, but it already averages about 10k hits a month. Hopefully that will drive more traffic to my store :)

My first article went up this morning! If you want to see it, go to PoshMama.com and let me know what you think. It might have turned out a little "cheesy" (ha).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Little One

Sophie's always been pretty petite for her age. I'm used to hearing people comment on how small and dainty she is, but yesterday was a whole other story. I was standing in line at the bank, and Sophie was in her carrier on the floor. There was a cute old lady in front of me making small talk to the both of us. Some of the conversation went like this,

The lady, looking at Sophie dressed in PINK with a PINK blanket on top of her and a barrette in her hair, "Oh, I can tell she's a girl by that little barrette she has on!"

"Is she colorblind?" I wondered.

"Let me guess . . ." (long pause) "two and a half months?"

I almost burst out laughing. That convinced me that she wasn't just colorblind, she was blind for real.

"No, she's eight months, " I corrected her.

Then another little old lady in front of her piped up, "Oh, I think his foot is sticking out of the blanket."

Sigh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Peek-a-Boo

Instead of covering our faces to play peek-a-boo with Sophie, we had always just thrown a blanket over her head and asked her where she was. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch with her and she kept pulling her blanket up above her head, then she'd bring it down again and look at us. It took a few times for me to realize she was trying to play peek-a-boo. Once we started reacting, she did it faster and started to giggle. She's done it several time since then. I finally got it on film this morning when she was going down for a nap.

video

Happy Eight Months today!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Golden Gate Park

Yesterday we went to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with a few friends. It was our first trip into the city since we moved. And a long overdue trip at that. What should have been a 40- minute drive around the bay into the city turned into 2 hours due to a lady standing on the bridge deciding if her life was worth living and people trying to convince her that it was. I assume it was because she didn't jump. Traffic started to clear about half-way across the Bay Bridge.

Yes, I took this hanging out the window of the car. We have Idaho plates still, so instead of hiding the fact that I was a tourist, I decided to make sure there was no doubt in anyone's mind.

When we got to the park, we found a place to sit and eat lunch. The park, by the way, is gorgeous. And ginormous. I think it's like the "Central Park" of Frisco. And I couldn't believe we were having a picnic in January. I love this place.


Synchronized eating performed by Tanner and Adelyn.


Sophie sharing an apple with Dad.


Are you sure you want my slobber all over your apple?


Because it'll be oozing when I get done with it.

After a bite to eat we went to the Conservatory of Flowers. After walking through, I thought they should have named it the Conservatory of Tropical Plants. There weren't as many flowers as I'd hoped. Maybe it's the wrong time of year. Still beautiful, though.


This thing was built in 1879. Yep, it's still January.

\

They had a whole room dedicated to orchids and crazy looking plants I've never seen before. Like these guys.


Oh, there's more. These ones catch bugs in their cup thingys and eat them. Mmm.


Aw, it's hot pink!

... and then the battery went dead in my camera. Ironically on a day where a camera was absolutely necessary and I had been diligently taking pictures. Figures.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not an Ambiroller?

This is what I find most mornings:


She's been rolling around for a while, but now she whines and acts like she's stuck when she's on her stomach.

"You big faker--I've seen you roll onto your back a million times!" I say to her.

OK, not really. It goes more like this, "AW, is my baby stuck?" as I flip her over myself.

Steve pointed out last night that she only rolls to her left. We tried to get her to roll to her right, but she tried to sit up instead. So, left side is for rolling and right side is for sitting up? Gotcha.

She also has enough hair on top to hold clips for more than 10 minutes. That's nice, too.




Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Epilogue

Remember when Steve made me fill out that college bowl pick-'em thing? Well, it ended yesterday.



Fifth out of seven ain't bad. Especially since the rest are guys, who happen to be macho soldiers he worked with at his unit in Utah.

I do feel bad about beating Steve, though.

Just kidding.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sickie

My baby's sick. For the first time in her short 7 1/2 month life, something's not right in her little body. She had a fever all night and all day today. The fever's gone down, but now she has a runny nose and is crankier than cranky. Most of the time all she wants is for mama to hold her. I can't say I blame her. That was usually what made me feel better when I was sick. It's interesting being on the other side of that relationship.

I gave her a bath this morning to help her to feel better and urge her fever to drop. She perked up considerably. I think it was her ducky.