Posted in Crafty, Life + Living

Cityscape at The Paint Pub

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I finally celebrated my birthday with friends.  🙂 My birthday was back on July 6th and I knew I wanted to go to the Paint Pub.  The shop sets up canvasses and paint, then leads a class in painting one specific thing.  The one I was really interested in was a cityscape of Minneapolis by way of The Stone Arch Bridge. 

When I got there, I was greeted by a lovely and chipper host who got me all set up at my work station.  The canvas and the easel were already set up, and the paint provided.  While I waited for the class to fill, I browsed a cute little boutique and considered other paintings I could do in the future.

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Towards the back, they had snacks and entrees available, along with wine, beer, and soft drinks.  For myself, I ordered a cheese tray and some ginger ale. There was a woman across from me, though, that ordered a panini that smelled delicious.  She was drinking white wine.

Our instructor began the class with a warm welcome and assured us that we’d hate our paintings at first, but to trust the process.  She said that we’re staring at it up close, so all we’d see is what we thought was wrong, but if we’d take a moment to step back and appreciate it as a whole, that we’d love pour paintings by the end.

It sounded, actually, like sage advice: if you’re looking at something so close that all you can see are the flaws, step back, and look at it from a distance to appreciate it as a whole.  I could definitely see this applying to a few people I know…

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As the class carried on, we were walked through exactly what to do. Everyone had their own perspectives and I heard a lot of people worry over how poorly they were doing.  I made it a point to be amiable, because I love art, and if someone else can discover a passion for it, they should. Far be it for me or anyone else to say someone isn’t good enough. There was a poor girl there, though, who was raising her arm with concerns and questions after every instruction.  She seemed really uncomfortable with the whole process.  Perhaps more wine would’ve helped. 😉

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Even though this one was pretty basic and rudimentary, it was just the kick start that I needed to get me painting again.  I’m thinking about whether I want to do a figure painting, a landscape, or a still life.  I took some photos of sunflowers, though, and I really enjoy depicting them.

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The class wrapped up around 9 and we all had our photos taken with our paintings. They all had different feelings, just like the personalities of the artists. I was glad to have shared the experience with friends 😀

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Posted in Uncategorized

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:
2 cups flour (not packed)
1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup milk

Mix flour and oil together with a fork, then add milk and mix. Dough should hold its shape.  Roll half out between two sheets of wax paper, this forms the bottom crust. Carefully remove the top sheet of wax paper (can use a butter knife to coax it). Put your pie tin on top of the crust then slip your hand under the bottom sheet of wax paper and turn the whole thing over. Now you can coax the wax paper off the top and the crust should be in the tin.

For the filling:
2 cups strawberries cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups rhubarb cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss/mix together, then pour into the prepared crust.  Add 3-4 rounded tablespoons sprinkled on top, to absorb some of the juice as it bakes.

Follow the directions above to roll out the second crust. This time, though, take of the top later of wax paper, then carefully flip/place the crust over the pie. Remove the last bit of wax paper, then press the edges of the crusts together.

Cut slits for vents, then bake at 350°F for about an hour.

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Soup-y pie is still pie…

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Posted in Food, Life + Living

Happy Birthday, Ma!

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I hope all of you had wonderful holidays, whichever it is that you celebrate.  The list of 100 things I’m thankful for was queued up and pre-scheduled so that I could take the time to celebrate with my family without being distracted by writing up a blog entry.  After the Christmas festivities died down, my mom’s Birthday festivities started up.  Her birthday was on December 27th, and we made this year unforgettable.  It started with a record-converter from my brother and his girlfriend, hugs, kisses, and a ‘happy birthday’ wish from Papabear, followed by surprise flowers at work from me, then an edible arrangement from my sister and her family.  Today, we (my sister and I) whisked my mom away for a surprise day of complete and utter pampering.  We got leg massages, pedicures, manicures, facial waxing, and back massages.  We drank wine and caught up around my sister’s dining room table and enjoyed just being together.

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Then, we piled into the car and drove to dinner where she was surprised by most of her favorite people – Her husband, her kids and their significant others, her mom, and her friend Becca.  We had a family-style meal at Buca di Beppo and wrapped up the night with a giant brownie sundae (shared between all of us, but photographed to look like she finished it herself).  The whole time, she was never told the financial cost because no matter what the dollar amount adds up to, she’s worth every penny and it was so special that we could do this for her.

Happy Birthday, Mom, we love you.

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Posted in Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning, Recipe

Menu Monday – no wait..

Guess what happens when you spend your whole weekend celebrating birthdays:

You fail to make a menu for Monday.  Or go grocery shopping.  Or you know, any of the usual weekend activities.

I had a great weekend hanging out with Jeff, putzing with puzzles, going to a wedding fair, throwing a birthday bash for my niece… We even cleaned house and managed to do some laundry!  We utterly failed, though, to ponder this week’s eats or to make a menu.  Tonight’s dinner was a sad affair… I called Jeff on my way home and he listed off things that we had in the fridge: mixed fruits, left over veggie tray, bell peppers, cucumbers, sweet corn…  And in the freezer: mixed veg, shrimp, chocolate chips, froyo.

Hm.

We didn’t even have a bagged meal to fall back on and we didn’t want to get fast food, so we  just assembled the basics – a ‘meat’, a side, and a veggie:

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Yep.  Tonight’s dinner was a handful of shrimp and two ears of corn.  I figure one served as a side and the other as a veggie =P

The shrimp was actually really good.  If you’re ever in a pinch and you’ve got pre-cooked frozen shrimp, it’s really easy to make it tasty:

Quick Shrimp:

  • pre-cooked, frozen shrimp
  • butter
  • minced garlic
  • lime juice

1) Thaw shrimp per package instructions–best to run it under cold water. Pull off the tails while you’re at it.

2) Put 1 Tbls of butter and 1 (heaping) Tbls of minced garlic (ours was the jarred variety tonight) into a frying pan

3) Add the thawed shrimp and cook just a couple minutes until heated through–they will start to curl smaller, but you don’t want to *over* cook shrimp, then it just gets rubbery.

Serve with some of the garlic butter if desired, sprinkle some lime juice over the top.  BBQ Sauce is optional, but if you go for it–Sweet Baby Ray’s is awesome.

The corn was just corn, but my grandma taught me the trick to getting a good ear of sweetcorn–take your fingernail and press it against a kernel until it bursts.  If it pops like over-inflated bubble wrap and squirts juice at you, you’re good!  If it just deflates, try another ear.

Posted in Life + Living

Jeff’s Birthday Weekend – In Pictures

This weekend has been pretty fun.  I have been spending time with Jeff to celebrate his 29th birthday and we’re getting ready to throw a party for my 7 year old niece, too. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Brain Games - Jeff's 1st gift

Cat Toys in a Jar
Cat Toys in a Jar
Jeff and Taz Hug
Jeff and Taz Hug
Toby hanging out on the cat tower
Toby hanging out on the cat tower

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Yep. I gave Jeff a flying “f” for his birthday lol… it’s a riot.  You can find them on http://www.thinkgeek.com