Saturday, August 22, 2009

Been awhile

So it has been awhile since I posted. I haven't really felt like writing anything lately. Things are still going well in St. Louis.

Tomatoes are BOOOOOOOOMING. I've made two huge batches of salsa and given away probably 5 pounds of tomatoes. I have another couple of pounds sitting on my counter right now.

I joined a gym the other day. They had a special corporate rate at work so it is only $15 a month and the gym is open 24 hours. Now I just have to get my head into the right place and start making myself go after work!

My Papaw passed away on August 5th after struggling with colon cancer for quite a few years. I'm glad he's finally at peace. We all miss him terribly. Mom, Dejah, and I got hummingbird tattoos as a memorial because he loved to watch the hummingbirds outside his window. I'm sure he would think that is crazy but I like the fact that every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror it makes me think of him.

Brian is home for the weekend so we are going to spend the day together. Should be fun!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I ♥ Faces Week 28

The theme this week on I Faces is feet! Here is my entry. These are Niko's cute little toesies! Head on over and check out the other great entries!

Niko Toes

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Catching up

Wow! Has it really been a month since I posted last?

Well I've been busy. They have officially moved me to another department at work. I am running a machine that detects trace metals in soil and water samples. So now I am an ICP Analyst. Sounds important, no? This department is so much more laid back and the people are a lot nicer. I actually enjoy going to work each day which is a good thing because I'm working a full 40 hour week now. Sometimes more.

We have roommates now. Our friend Jeff and his girlfriend have moved in with us for a while. They have made our basement quite homey. They are both really nice and both are absolutely hilarious. They help out around the house and also help out with the dogs. Brian was in Indiana last week working at his old job so that his manager could take a vacation. He's hoping Brian will help out more often. We'll see how it goes. Working 4 days out there pays him about twice what he'd make working here. The only person who has called him back wanted to pay him half what he was making in Indiana to do pretty much the same job. Travel time and gas are no different than if he commuted 45 minutes to work each day. He would just drive his commute in one big chunk. Again, we'll see how it works out.

I haven't been doing much sewing lately. Although I did get my area somewhat organized. I have been reading a lot and I've been trying to get out and walk the dogs and take care of my garden. My garden is doing pretty well. There are tomatoes all over the vines but none have ripened yet. I've gotten 3 little salad cucumbers off the vine. They were quite tasty. I'll never be able to make pickles though because I eat them as soon as I pick them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I ♥ Faces Week 23 Kids Entry

This is my entry for Week 23 of the I ♥ Faces photo contests. The theme this week is sepia toned photos. I took this photo of my nephew Tyler at Frontier Park in Historic Downtown St. Charles, MO. He is fast! There were 4 adults chasing after him and he still managed to dodge us from time to time. He's cute as a button but definitely one of the more challenging subjects I've photographed. Be sure to hop on over to I ♥ Faces and check out all of the awesome entries!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I ♥ Faces Reader's Choice Contest

My photo of Jalen is in the Reader's Choice contest over on I ♥ Faces . Please head on over and vote for me! Oh and tell your friends to vote too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hanging Dish Towels

My grandmother has been calling everyone she knows, from Indiana to Texas, looking for hanging dish towels. You can't find them in the stores anymore. My mom and I looked at a few stores and couldn't find them so we decided to make some ourselves. I didn't have a pattern so I just threw it together and this is what we came up with. We are working on a tutorial and hopefully I'll have it up tomorrow.

Hanging towels

I ♥ Faces Week 20 Entry

This is my entry for the I ♥ Faces week 20 contest. This week's theme is silhouettes. I took this photo on the 4th of July in 2005. It is my sister Dejah and her middle son Dylan.

Dylan 2005 (307)

Please jump on over to I ♥ Faces and check out the other awesome entries!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day Trippin

Day Trip
photo by Mom

Mom got into town yesterday afternoon. After I arrived home from work we had dinner and decided to do a little exploring. We were in the mood for frozen custard so we headed down to Ted Drewes. Ted Drewes is a frozen custard stand on Old Route 66. People here rave about how good it is and we were hopeful that it would live up to the hype when we saw the full parking lot and tons of people standing in line. I ordered a Southern Delight concrete which has butterscotch and praline pecans. Mom got the Fox Treat which has raspberries, fudge, and macadamia nuts. Neither one of us was very impressed. Honestly I'd rather have Dairy Queen. There is a little custard stand called Fritz's Frozen Custard about 10 minutes up the road that I like a lot more.

This morning we woke up to the smell of sausage frying and biscuits baking. Brian was attempting his first batch of biscuits and gravy. They were delicious! It took me a few tries to get biscuits and gravy right, but he did it right on the first try.

We decided to head over to Grafton, IL and take in the scenic drive along the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway. In Grafton we stopped at a flea market and mom bought a jar of homemade salsa. It was really spicy but very tasty. After the flea market we continued west to Pere Marquette State Park. We took the scenic drive through the park and it had a few little lookout stops along the way. It was very pretty. We kept heading west on the byway and found a waterfowl resting area. We saw a few herons and a lot of geese.

Day Trip-2
photo by Mom

Day Trip-5

Day Trip-4

Just before Grafton there is a large bluff. There is a gigantic painting of the Piasa bird. There is a little parking lot where you can pull over and read the legend surrounding the painting. Very neat!

Day Trip

We saw a sign on the main road pointing toward a wildlife reserve. We decided to check it out. Along the way we passed a few cows. That was about as wild as it got.

Day Trip-6

Day Trip-7

On the way back to Missouri we stopped at a roadhouse called Fast Eddie's Bon Air. It is in Alton, IL just across the river from St. Louis. It is pretty famous around here. Their food is same price that it was when they began serving food 15 years ago. You can get 1/2 pound cheeseburgers for $1.29. Tenderloin steak on a stick for $3. Homemade Bratwurst for $.99. Pork Kabobs for $1.99. The food is really good and though we had to wait awhile for our food it was worth the wait. They actually served the food very quickly. We just had 63 orders in front of ours. We were there for an hour and they had served over 100 orders. It was much more deserving of the hype than Ted Drewes.

Day Trip-3

We took Old 94 back through Old Town St. Charles. Downtown St. Charles is a cobblestone street that has tons of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays they have actors in period costumes walking up and down the street. They had a juggler and a clown as well as a man playing the bagpipes. We stopped at the Old Towne Spice Shoppe and I bought some really good red pepper and garlic seasoning. We also went to a quilt store, a candy and ice cream shop, and a few other little shops.

Tonight mom and I are going with one of my friends from work to see the new Star Trek movie at an IMAX theater. I'll let you know how it was tomorrow. All in all it was a great day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009 Canvas Art Giveaway!

Hey! I Faces are giving away a free photo print on canvas from
Check out their website to enter to win. All of their products look really cool!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I ♥ Faces Week 19 Entry

I am entering this photo in the I ♥ Faces week 19 "Blurb Photo Book" contest. I chose this photo because I think it is one of my best shots of my nephew Jalen. I asked him to give me a "rocker dude" pose and this is what he came up with.

Punk Rocker!!!!

"I am submitting this photo into the Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites."

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Well my entry into the I ♥ Faces adult category won second place! What makes it even cooler is that the winning entries were chosen by Ree from The Pioneer Woman. She's an awesome photographer and I really admire her work. The winning photo in the contest was posted by Jennifer Urbin and was gorgeous. I love the looks on their faces. You can tell they were having a blast and the photo really tells a story. Good job Jennifer!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I ♥ Faces Entry Week 18- Laughter (Adult)

I took this photo of Dejah last year at the Indiana State Fair. She rode the drop tower and at the end she was laughing so hard. I couldn't quite tell if she was gonna laugh or throw up. Either way it made for a great expression! I am entering this in the I ♥ Faces week 18 contest. Click on the link and check out some of the other great entries!

Gonna hurl

I ♥ Faces Entry Week 18- Laughter

Last year Dejah and I took Dylan to the Indiana State Fair. We had a blast. This photo was taken on the way up to the top of the ferris wheel. Dylan just laughed and laughed. I am entering this photo in the I ♥ Faces week 18 contest. Take a look at their website to see all of the other great entries!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I really need to get my garden going. When I started my seeds I planned on making raised beds and using the "Square Foot Gardening" method. Money is an issue these days so I will be using the "I'm gonna dig a hole in the ground and stick the plant in it" method. Buying all of the soil parts and the wood would cost around $100. I can borrow a tiller from Brian's aunt for free.

My plants have grown pretty well but I think it is time to get them in the ground. I thought I was going to lose a lot of them because while I was hardening them off it rained really hard and pretty much flattened them. But the next day they bounced back. You can really smell the basil and tomato plants when you walk out my back door. Our next door neighbor started getting her beds ready for tomatoes today. So I think I will work on that in the next few days.

Kamikaze Taliban Squirrels

Brian and I went shooting today with his dad in Columbia, Illinois. Both Brian and his dad bought deer rifles recently and they needed to sight them in. We went to his dad's step-nephew's friend's house where he has quite a bit of land and plenty of room to shoot safely. It was way out in the country and there were tons of rolling wheat fields and pretty horses and cows. I am kicking myself for not bringing my camera! The guy was really nice and he had targets already set up and we were shooting into the side of a hill so I felt safe that we weren't going to hit anyone. Brian brought along his .22 and I shot that because it isn't very loud and it doesn't kick at all. I shot a few rounds from an ak-47 but it is too loud and kicks too hard. Not to mention I can't hit the target with it.

I didn't do too bad with the .22 rifle. It is used mainly to hunt small game like squirrels and rabbits. So should any errant squirrels or rabbits bent on world domination come near me I could take their head off (or at least put a small hole in it) at 30 yards.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finished Quilt Top

I finished the quilt top. It took me about 5 hours total. I need to ask Francis how to quilt and bind it and then it will be finished. Hopefully neither of those things will be too difficult. I hope Megan will like it. I don't think it turned out too bad.

My First Quilt

My First Quilt
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
Last time Mom was here she brought some fabric and other supplies from my Aunt Francis. Francis had already cut everything out and all I have to do is piece the quilt together and sew it. So far it has been pretty simple and straight forward. I was going to wait until I got my 1/4" seam foot but decided to go ahead and start it. I really like how it is turning out so far.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Bib

New bib-2
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
Made a new bib with some new fabric I bought. I also ordered a 1/4" seam foot and I'll start on my baby quilt when it comes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
We fired up our new (used) grill for the first time today. We had grilled turkey burgers and grilled potatoes and onions. Just drizzled the potatoes with EVOO and added some salt and pepper and greek seasoning. Brushed the onions with a bit of EVOO. I topped my potatoes with a bit of sour cream and fire roasted salsa. I had a spinach salad on the side while Brian put his all together on a wheat tortilla and had a quesadilla burger. VERY TASTY!!!

Baby Bib

Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
I found a good tutorial at Homemade by Jill

I used another receiving blanket and towel from Goodwill. Sewing curves is a little trickier than straight seams but not too bad. The seams aren't perfect but I'm guessing Megan's baby won't care :)

Second Burp Cloth

Second Burp Cloth
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
This is fun! These only take about 20 minutes from start to finish. I used 2 pieces of flannel from another receiving blanket that I got at Goodwill. I did it exactly the same as the first one except that I used a different decorative stitch around the edge. When I have some money I'll buy some batting to put in the middle of the fabric to make it sturdier. These are so cute!

My First Sewing Project

I got my sewing machine last week and I finally made something today. I piddled around with a few scraps of fabric before but this is my first finished project. I made a burp cloth out of a flannel receiving blanket and a towel. I got both items at Goodwill for 50 cents each. I can probably get another 3 or 4 burp cloths from the fabric. I didn't use a pattern, I just cut out a rectangle and straight stitched the pieces together with the wrong sides facing out. I trimmed my seam allowance and corners and then I turned it right side out. Then I did a zig-zag stitch all the way around and a straight stitch across the middle so it would fold nicely. I don't think I did too bad.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
We have sprouts! These little sprouts are my broccoli plants. The brussels sprouts, oregano, and chives have also started sprouting. These little guys really want to grow. The seed packets said 7-10 days and it has only been 3.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sloppy Bobs

I have been craving Sloppy Joes recently so I found a good recipe on Here is the recipe
I modified it to make it a bit more healthy. Because I changed the recipe I decided to call it Sloppy Bobs. I'm just quirky like that. I used ground lean turkey and lots more onion and green pepper and also added some red bell pepper. I think next time I will add shredded carrots and maybe some spinach. I think this is a great dish to hide veggies in. I did have to add a bit more garlic powder and a tablespoon of bbq sauce and a dash of rice vinegar to get it to taste the way I wanted it. I ended up with nine 1/4 cup servings. If you put it on a light whole wheat hamburger bun it is pretty low in points. I think a sandwhich is 3 points. They are pretty filling too! I am going to take these for lunch the rest of the week.

Daily Food Diary

Breakfast: Banana and Slim Fast Bar

Lunch: Ham Sandwich and a Pickle

Snacks: Orange and Yogurt and 3 cups popcorn

Early Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans, and a Baked Potato

After dinner snack: sloppy joe sandwhich

Total points for the day:27

I could have had another 5 points but I wasn't really hungry. I ate a ton of food today but it was all pretty healthy. I need to work on getting more veggies in there.

Future Garden Residents

Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
I started my seeds yesterday. I planted 4 of each type of plant just in case something doesn't grow. I figure I can give away what I don't use. I plan on growing 5 types of tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oregano, thyme, chives, basil, cilantro, green beans, and cucumbers. I also planted some Lavender to put out front. Brian helped me plant the little seeds so hopefully his green thumb will rub off on the little things and they'll grow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Faolan the Mouse Slayer

He caught a mouse. No furry woodland creature is safe. Run for your lives!

Faolan the Bunny Slayer

It happened. I knew that it would eventually. Faolan went and caught himself a rabbit. Honey initiated the chase but Faolan saw her chasing the bunny and well... he's faster. He chased the little rabbit to the big spray of ornamental grass in the backyard. He dove under and came up with his prize. I went into the bedroom and said "Brian, Faolan caught a rabbit. Should I try to get it from him?" Brian said to make sure that it was dead and let him have it. I went outside and Faolan didn't seem to know what to do with it. He was nudging it and sniffing at it. So let's just say that Brian went outside and made sure it was dead. Faolan continued to lay next to his little furry dead friend and occasionally gave it a nibble. Faolan has had raw meat plenty of times but never with skin and fur on it. He seemed a bit perplexed. So once again my husband went outside and took care of business. I went outside to see what Faolan was doing but he wasn't in his spot. I noticed the shop door was open and Brian yelled out "Don't come in here!" I responded "Are you doing what I think you are doing?" He said "Yeah!". Thank you considerate husband! I am forever in your debt for not making me witness Thumper's transition into Faolan Food. So now my Bunny Slayer is in the backyard feasting on rabbit tartare.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Mommy Loves Me

On Tuesday my wonderful mommy bought me a sewing machine from It is a refurbished Janome sewing machine that has 90 stitches. It is really nice! I will post pictures of my first project when I get my sewing area set up. I have to figure out where I am going to put it.

In other news, my dog has gone completely insane. He broke a window in the basement last week. Today when we put the dogs outside to go potty he decided it would be a good idea to jump the fence into the neighbor's yard. After he does it he acts like he can't get back into the yard. Luckily the neighbor is Brian's cousin. I am just so confused. He was fine for the first 2 months that we lived here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Meet Happy

Meet Happy
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
I was feeling crafty today and I was bummed that my sewing machine didn't come so I decided to try sewing by hand. I bought some felt a few weeks ago to make Niko a penguin. So here is the result. I just freeform cut his body and then sewed on his tummy, nose, and eyes. I probably should have looked up the correct way to sew the stiches but I figured it is for a 1 year old and he won't care. I don't think it turned out too bad for my first try!

I am going to have to start scouring the thrift stores for sewing machines again. I have a bunch of receiving blankets and pillowcases that I want to make into burp cloths and little dresses! My house is clean and I need something to do besides watch TV. I am going insane!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This is how people get skinny in St. Louis...

...they don't eat on Sundays. I drove around for about 45 minutes tonight looking for a place to eat that wasn't a national chain. We had heard really good things about a little Chinese restaurant about 15 minutes south of us, so I headed down there. They were closed. So then I called Brian and he looked up some reviews of other restaurants around the area I was in. I tried about 3 other places and they were all closed. I hadn't eaten since about 7am and my blood sugar was really low so I just stopped at McDonalds. Pretty much all of the Italian restaurants are also closed on Mondays. No wonder people aren't making any money. If you want to go out and do anything on a Sunday in St. Louis you had better go before about 5pm and go to a chain store or restaurant. Everything else is closed. I don't know why this irritates me so much. I guess we are just used to everything being open all week and also having a lot of 24 hour options. The only thing here that is 24 hours is the grocery store.

In other news, the sewing machine that I ordered 2 weeks ago STILL isn't here. The lady isn't emailing me back either. So we'll have to dispute the charge on Paypal and hope we get our money back. Guess it will be awhile before I get a sewing machine.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Salvation Army Haul

Salvation Army Haul
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump
I went to Salvation Army today on my lunch hour to try and find some cheap sheets and pillowcases to practice sewing with. They were having a sale on all of their kid's clothes. Each piece was 59 cents. Everything except coats and suits up to size 12 was included. I got 47 pieces of clothing for about $29. Over half of them are name brands. A few items still have tags on them.

In addition to the clothes I got some really pretty receiving blankets at goodwill for $1 each and I'll make some burp cloths for my friend Megan. I love the thrift stores here!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I stopped at a couple of thrift stores after work today and this is what I found:

Queen size Down Comforter
Vera Bradley knock off Diaper bag that I'll use for a camera bag
2 picture frames
Pedi Paws dog nail trimmer
4 baby sleepers
1 jean jacket
1 snow suit
1 pair of 24m jeans
2 24m shirts
12 placesetting Oneida silverwear set

All of that stuff for only $25! My best friend Megan is due in June so the sleepers and jean jacket and snow suit are for her. The little Dino shirts and jeans are for Niko. I am going to use the Diaper bag for a camera bag because it has little padded pockets on the inside for my lenses and a place in the middle to put the camera. The down comforter is in great condition and it has a pretty sage green duvet cover over it. For $6 it was a steal! The flatware set was $5 and it is Oneida stainless steel. Not too shabby!

There are tons of thrift stores here. They all have pretty decent things but some can be overpriced. All in all I think I got some good deals today. Still no sewing machine though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sewing Machine

Well I think I am going to break down and buy a new sewing machine. I have been searching all over for a used one but I've not had any luck. The only type I can find is the antique sewing machines that come in the tables. Now I only need to convince my husband that I NEED a sewing machine.

I need something to do with my free time. I am spending way too much time watching TV and surfing the internet! I could be doing something useful like making coin purses or something!

This is why I want to learn how to sew. I would love to go to thrift stores and find cool old clothes and turn them into cute kids clothes or bags or whatever!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weight Loss

Well I have lost about 4 lbs in the past week. Brian lost 13lbs! He always loses faster than me. Then again he is heavier and he is a man. I have to keep reminding him that he needs to eat enough food. He can't get away with eating 1000 calories a day. It just isn't healthy. Our biggest challenge seems to be getting fruits and vegetables into our diet. I need to start taking raw veggies for snacks at work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump

Made a big batch of this soup tonight. It has all kinds of tasty vegetables in it. I put a can of kidney beans in as well for added protein and fiber.

A 1 cup serving has

101 calories
0g fat
6.5g fiber
5g protein
21g carbs

Putting some lean protein in it would probably be good too!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump

1 serving

Salad greens (spinach, romaine, iceberg...whatever)
1/2 c ground turkey (I used 85% lean cuz that's all I had)
1/4 c pinto beans
1/4 c shredded cheese
diced onion
2 TBS light ranch dressing
6 organic blue corn chips

Pile it all on a plate and enjoy!

We had taco salad for a late lunch/dinner. Kind of high in fat because I only had 85% lean ground turkey and regular cheese. Its actually pretty filling for a salad. I love the blue corn chips, they make it so pretty!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mushroom and Asparagus Fried Rice

Mushroom and Asparagus Fried Rice
Originally uploaded by Monkeys Jump

Makes 2 large servings that are 5.5 points each

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz mushrooms sliced
2 eggs
1tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning
1 Tbs soy sauce

heat oil in a skillet over med high heat and saute mushrooms and asparagus until mushrooms are nicely browned. move veggies to the side and add two eggs and scramble. mix into the veggies. throw in rice and soy sauce and spices and stir fry until hot.

I made this as a late dinner for Brian and I today. We went to Applebee's earlier in the evening and had dinner with his grandpa. I had the steak and portobellos and Brian had the garlic chicken. Both were on their weight watchers menu. My steak was tiny but well cooked but it had a really strange tasting gravy substance on it. The veggies and potatoes had a nasty garlic fake butter sauce on them. I don't think I would order any of their weight watchers dishes again. I'll stick to the home cooked stuff!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Guess who got a job! Go ahead guess! Ok its me. WOOHOO!!!! Its only a part time position but at least I'll get my foot in the door. I'll work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday so I'll have my weekends free for all of that excitement and intrigue that fills my days. Yay now we can buy groceries. Gotta be thankful for the little things in life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Being unemployed and having no children allows me to have tons of free time. "What do you do in your free time Leia?" you might say. Well sometimes I watch TV. Then when my DVR is empty I'll switch to Twitter. When that gets boring I might read for a bit. I usually go out once a day and play with the dogs. They have a strange fondness for sticks. Faolan chews them and spits them out. Honey eats them. Talk about getting your fiber! She's the most regular dog on the block. Anyway, when all of that fails to entertain me I take pictures of water. In my sink. Because I can!