Thursday, November 28, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!




To other American readers, happy THANKSGIVING!
We are having a very minimalist Thanksgiving this year. I didn't feel energetic enough to make a huge meal AND I don't want the whole holiday to be centered around food.  I don't even like turkey much.  I meant to make ham, but I went to three different stores to find a nitrate and preservative free ham, which sits better with the Crohn's business than regular ham.  No store I visited had one!  So I am making a pork loin and cheesy potatoes (known by my family as "fancy potatoes").  We'll be having ginger snaps for dessert.

So far this morning, we have been wandering around in our pajamas (soon to be remedied), playing with the cats, and watching our DVD fire.  We plan to go for a walk (high of 72 and sunny today - perfect!) Tomorrow we may go for a short hike.  Everything will be low-key and relaxed, which is nice.  Greg's off work for a week + and I delivered / shipped three lesson binders yesterday, so I don't have to work on curriculum stuff for a little bit.
(But it's always on to the next lesson so I can get a little ahead!)


We have had a lot of cloudy weather this fall, and I enjoy every moment!


Yesterday the clouds looked bumpy.  I liked that I could still see the sun on the other side.


Stephen decided yesterday to sleep on top of Allistiar (and both were on top of my clean skirt pile!)



And Allistair decided to sleep on top of Stephen, too!

It's very convenient to have a brother!


But if a brother isn't around, try making a tent.
video



In spite of Bjarne's advanced age and hyperthyroidism (that's why he's so fragile and skinny - and whiny!), he still plays like a crazy sometimes!
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I have been getting vitamin D by spending some time outside every day in the sun.  It's part of my plan to modulate my mood and keep it stable, even when my energy is low.
me in our backyard


Juvy doesn't mind a bit!
She is very snuggly, and she loves to pose for pictures!





The leaves dropping off the Chinese Elm Trees are deep on the ground now.


Here's a little video of the leaves drifting down.  Beautiful!


I usually sit on a blanket because otherwise little bugs bite me
and I get itchy red marks on the backs of my legs.
This is what we did today.
(I am reading THIS BOOK).


I am thankful for the life God has given me and for the people who love me and encourage me.
If you are one of those people, THANK YOU!


Today may you be surrounded by family members and friends who love you, and may you realize that you are BLESSED beyond measure by the God who loves you even MORE!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken & Rice Soup Casserole



I am LOVING this autumn!  The weather here is still warm in the afternoons (I think it hit 80 today!), but the mornings and evenings are cool.  This week we are having some cloudy days, and I think it's expected to rain later on in the week (yay!)  I am fascinated by the moon, and I got a pretty decent shot of the full moon the other night with the clouds.  The above picture is from our front courtyard with the tile roof on the left side and the Sweet Acacia tree on the right side.  


Some of the clouds drifting by have beautiful golden linings (much better than boring ol' silver linings!)



And sunsets light up the sky!
Apparently they are extra nice here because of all the dust in the air (and there were "high particulate" warnings last week . . . 


Our babies have been snuggling like there's no tomorrow:




I read a new recipe online and got a craving to try it, so I cooked up a batch of chicken & rice soup today.  I chose to make 1/4 of the amount called for (and it still left us with THREE containers of leftovers!), and I made some modifications to the ingredients.  I used Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix instead of regular flour (good change!)  I added some frozen vegetables (good overall change, but sadly, I dumped the bag in before realizing that it was an old, pre-Crohn's bag, and it had corn in it - boo!)  I added some extra spices not called for in the original recipe (good change).  I also put in a lot more rice than the recipe called for because I didn't want a bunch of leftover rice sitting around that wouldn't get eaten, so my version ended up being a casserole instead of a soup.  It tasted good.  :)  I tried to dig out the little corn kernels, but I know a few snuck into me.  Hopefully they don't wreak too much havoc.


We have two containers of it in the freezer now if anyone needs a couple of meals delivered! 


I also made gluten-free breadsticks to go along with it.  Yum!

I made five dusted with cinnamon and sugar rather than plain - you know, just because sweet treats make me happy!


Here's a link to the original recipe!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Resting + Cat Snuggles!

This has been a resting week. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" because I have been very low on energy.  Don't know why; just know it's true and I'm choosing to enjoy the down time.

Also, the cats have been adorable.  I got a new camera, with increased abilities, so I've been practicing to see what It can do!



Allistair stays still the longest, so I have lots of photos of him. 

Cross-eyed, lying like a Luck Dragon on the back of the couch!



A little closer:


And a little closer yet:


And then sideways:


 When I sit/lie on the couch, lots of cats do, too!
Here is Baltazar, keeping me company.


Bjarne, looking at me, trying to get me to solve all his life's challenges:


He looks very tiny.


But eventually, he settles in on a fuzzy blankie:


Juvy has been adorable, too.  She loves fall, when the weather is cooler and she can roll around crazy in the fallen leaves.  She rolls over and wants her little fuzzy tummy rubbed.  I have never known cats who WANTED their tummies rubbed until I met Juvy, her babies, and her grandbabies!


video


Branches and leaves above the backyard.

The babies started out snuggling. 


But Allistiar likes his space - he stretched out and Stephen had to move.  


But he still wanted to see what was going on out the window.


Here's the view out my office window.  There are always Verdin living in that Sweet Acacia tree.
They are my favorite little birds!



Eventually, Stephen was able to get his spot back!
He was so happy and relaxed that his little tongue snuck out!



This time of year in the Arizona desert is beautiful.  It's been in the low 80s for highs, and in the high 50s for lows.  We need sweaters and slippers in the morning and the evening, but in the mid-afternoon, we would be warm in the sun.  Not for long, though; it may reach a high of 85, but it's only 85 for a short time before the temperature starts going down again.  The other day it started at 45 (when we woke up around 7) and got up to 85 in the afternoon.  I think that 40-degree temperature change in a 24-hour period is fascinating!


Something that's making me happy today is this new nail polish (called "Inline For The Crown")!



Another thing that's making me happy is this new bag. 
I put my outfit together around it yesterday (and today!)



Bjarne has been very cuddly lately.  Unfortunately, with his thyroid disease getting worse (and our inability to treat him because he was allergic to the medication), he smells terrible.  So snuggling is nice, but also nasty.
video


Allistair was carrying around TWO favorite toys at once!
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Allistair has the cutest way of washing himself - I can't resist sharing another video of it!
video



I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fish & Veggies



I am going to start right off with a quick health update!  I continue to get better a teeny bit at a time (I believe it's thanks to the LDN).  This week I decided I was going to try cooking the dickens out of some safer veggies (vegetables with no stringiness and no seeds - the ones I consider safest are peas and carrots.  Last night I made a dinner with green beans that had been cooked a long time in a sauce, and they were delicious!)  So I boiled the peas and carrots for about 30 minutes and they were so soft that I could have successfully eaten them with no teeth at all.  I made swai filets with honey glaze and feta to go with the vegetables, and it all tasted wonderful.  We'll see how I feel over the next few days, but I would be VERY happy if I could eat vegetables with my meals again.  I am still eating one small cameo apple every day and they are sitting well.


Cats like more snuggles when the weather's chillier!

Top to bottom: Greg, Bjarne, Allistair, Baltazar



And they like finding sunny places to nap
Bjarne

Left to right: Allistair, Stephen, Bjarne


Claude is lured out of seclusion by the open window in my office - she likes to watch (and smell!) the world go by.


Such a pretty profile!


Stephen and Allistair steal the best spot often enough that the lamp shade is white from Allistair's fur . . . ! 



The weather has been beautiful.  I love the color of the Arizona sky in the fall and winter!



One of my really cool birthday presents was this suncatcher!  I hung it from my rear-view mirror in the Cube, and it shoots rainbows everywhere when the sun hits it!  It makes me happy every time I'm driving anywhere.
Thanks, Dad & Mom!


I took the picture of our toothpaste for a reason . . . 


To remind me to tell a funny Allistair story.

He has learned that water comes out of the faucet, and he likes drinking water from the faucet.  But his timing isn't always great. Yesterday when Greg was finishing up brushing his teeth, Allistair jumped right into the sink at just the wrong time!  You can imagine the minty-fresh kitten that ensued!!!

I even have a couple of cute videos for you in this post.

First, laundry day!!!
video



And here are some kitties getting comfy in the nice warm sun:
video


Happy weekend!