Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year in Review

In January I read a terrible book and blew a glass chili at the Chili Festival.

In February I started and finished my first quilt.

In March I met up with a fellow blogger/geocacher and we geocached all day. I also made pasta salad for the first time and made some wooded postcards.

In April I made some awesome Easter eggs, visited the Titan Missile Museum, and professed my love for weeds.

In May I pulled off a surprise visit to see my Best Friend in Ohio. Visited an Ostrich farm, went to some 10Years! Geocaching events

In June I went to the Biosphere with my sister, Tubac with the family and Jesus was struck by lighting.

In July I went to Indianapolis and watched one of my best friends tie the knot. I also completed my first cross stitch and went digging through my mom's jewelry box.

In August I found my 400th geocache and made some noodle necklaces.

In September I attempted some watercolor painting and took a mini road trip to Safford.

In October I tried a fun little science experiment. I also helped break a record and we held a garage sale!

In November I participated in NaBloPoMo and posted everyday. I went to Michigan and Canada and got to see an old friend! I also saw the Conan blimp, made faux-doh and took a little stroll around campus.

In December I went to Organ Pipe National Monument and saw Mexico from a distance. I also documented the eclipse, got a new lens and celebrated my birthday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Farkle

Farkle

Have you ever played Farkle before? Santa put it in my stocking so my Mother and I played it a couple of times Christmas Day.

It's a dice rolling game when you basically need to roll certain numbers and decide if you want to keep the points you already have or keep rolling... and there is the possibility of losing it all.

The game was a lot of fun, probably becuase I won both games. :-P

FarkleFarkle
I was on a roll.

I must have been a game kind of holiday for our whole family....

My older sister in Florida got this cool chess set and played a game Christmas Day.
Chess

And my younger sister sent me this picture of my Grandparents and Uncle attempting scrabble.
Scrabble

Do you usually play any games with the family over the holidays?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

My mom makes delicious Cincinnati-style chili. She got the recipe off a postcard years ago. We had it Christmas Eve and it was oh-so-good.

I know traditional chili isn't served with spaghetti, but try it. You'll like it! It's a great cold weather food and if your originally from Cincinnati and miss Skyline - its a classic comfort food!

Homemade Skyline Chili

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

1.5lb lean ground beef
1 (29oz can) tomato sauce
1 (14.5oz can) peeled whole tomatoes
small onion, chopped
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. allspice
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
1.5 T. chili powder
1 T. white vinegar
1 toe garlic
3 bay leaves
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. Spaghetti cooked and drained.

Brown meat & onions; drain grease, put in food processor to turn into small crumbles
rather than large chunks. Place in large skillet or crockpot.

Use food processor to turn tomatoes to liquid. Add to skillet.

Add rest of ingredients to skillet except cheddar cheese and pasta, stir well to combine.

Cook slowly 4-5 hours, covered.

Remove bay leaves and garlic before serving.

Serve on a bed of spaghetti and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Offer chili beans, and
onions as toppers if desired.

I'm not a cheese lover, this is how I make mine!
Homemade Skyline Chili

Merry Christmas

Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus is blooming right on schedule!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Year Older

You can only have traditional cake for so many birthdays. After 25 years of cake, I decided to switch things up for my 26th birthday (am I really that old?).

I requested a funnel cake, an my mother delivered! Thanks mom!

Funnel Cake

SO good!

In Case You Missed it - Eclipse

Just wanted to share a few pictures from the eclipse in case you missed it!

Dec. 30th

7:49pm
No Clouds, and probably the best shot. lol.
Don't Forget!

There were clouds all evening. Luckily thin, so you could see the moon through them. Not great for picture taking though!

11:29pm
IMG_7214

11:50pm
IMG_7245

12:13 am
IMG_7275

12:15am
Just wanted you to see the rest of the mooooon.
IMG_7285


12:24
Annnnd this is when I got bored and went back inside. Clouds were getting kind of thick too.
IMG_7301

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Lot of Hot Air

I've said it before and I'll say it again... geocaching gets you up and out and you will see things and find places you never knew about. Today, I didn't discover anything new... but if I weren't up and out of the house geocaching early this morning I would have missed these three hot air balloons headed to the airport for a landing!

DSC04188

I had my crappy old point and shoot with me today so ignore the graininess of this close up.

Hot Air

I came across the balloons while heading to the second portion of the Picacho de Calera Earthcache this morning with KennyV.

1st Stage
DSC04185
There used to be two little peaks here (There is a road nearby called Twin Peaks) all that is left of the one is the dirt you see there. They are still chipping away at it (I think it is a pit now), but its twin will remain. It doesn't have the right materials for cement making.

Final Stage
ErikaJean

The final stage is at the main entrance to the plant which you can see below at a distance.

Cement "Plant"

We also spent a little time this morning at Saguaro National Park (west). We grabbed a benchmark that was also a virtual.

Benchmark

Most of our little walk to the cache was through a wash, but we did catch a little bit of the trail.

Trail
Beautiful!

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To learn more about geocaching watch this video!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cactus

I've added Teri's Painted Daisies to my blog reader. She posts beautiful watercolor paintings and after trying it a little while ago, she inspired me to get out the paints and give it another go.

IMG_7063


Here's a little holiday cactus for you!

Cacti

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Other Grandma, Also an Artist

Back in November I showed you some of my Grandma's china and talked about what a great artist she was...

Today though, I'd like to show you some of my other Grandma's art. This Grandma is no longer with us, but her art lives on! My mom has a large collection of her painted Christmas trees that come out about every time this year. Here are a few of them...

IMG_6735

I know my Grandma made them because on the bottom is her signature lady bug stamp.

Signature
Name is burred out. but she made this in 1991!

This grandma, in my opinion was more crafty than artsy. As far as my own style I think I tend follow in these footsteps more... right after my mom that is.

:-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Presents!

I got a new toy!! I'm so excited ;-D

Here is my early Birthday and Christmas present! Thanks Dad, grandma, grandpa and myself! Ha, yes, I just thanked myself for chipping in.

New Toy

I'm still playing with it. I'm having a hard time focusing when using the low f stop (which creates that fabulous bokeh / nice shallow DOF) I just need to get used to the lens a little.... and I'm pretty sure I need glasses too....I'll worry about that another day though!

I love this lens and that I'll be able to take more low light photos! I hope to test it out tomorrow some more. Here's a few shots I took after grabbing it out of the box:

IMG_6777

Broom

Victor


Wordless Wednesday

The Circle Slide

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Sign

Today KennyV and I decided to head out to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and grab a couple of caches. There was a mystery cache at the parks visitor center, so we grabbed that one first. The cache required some math and the use of a decoder... but the math was simple and the decoder was provided. I'm not quite sure that the 4 star difficulty was warranted....

Did I mention the visitor center is only 5 miles away from the Mexican Border? We saw a ton of Border Patrol trucks on the way to and from the park. We also went through two checkpoints ourselves.

On the way to the Earthcache we were after (Arch Canyon Earthcache.) We stopped at a vista and could even see Mexico.

Mexico

The Earthcache featured a lovely arch. It wasn't too hard of and EC to complete, we just needed to find some information and say, in our own words, how the arch formed. The cache page didn't even require a picture... but I wanted one anyway!

Arch Canyon - Organ Pipe National Monument

See the arch? Well, it has an arch on it!

An arch on an arch.

Arch on an Arch

Organ Pipe Cactus Monument was a lovely park. I'm glad I had the chance to go!

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is the only place in the United States to see large stands of organ pipe cacti, though their range extends far south into Mexico. They produce their first flower when they are around 35 years old and can live up to be around 150 The flowers only bloom at night! More info on the park's website.

OPCNP
Me and an Organ Pipe Cactus!

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Have you ever been?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gaahhhhh!

Yeah, same night.

Scorpion #2.

At least this one was already dead. Spotted him between the wall and the dryer.

Little Fuckers Kid Brother

He's belly up and holding some dryer lint.

You know what makes this all ironic. 2 scorpions in one night.... found while cleaning because the bug guy is coming to spray for these little suckers tomorrow!

Gah!

He never saw my shoe coming.

Little Fucker

And yes. I will probably blog about every fucking scorpion I kill. Lol. I just can't seem to get used to these nasty little creatures.

At least I'm not afraid to kill them anymore.

Wordless Wednesday

I Did NOT cook this. & it looks a LOT worse than it was...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gettin' Crafty.

I've been busy the last couple of days. There is no end in sight!

:-)
Made This...

This one is my favorite.
Necklace

I have one of these for myself, I get complements every time I wear it out!
IMG_6545

Same fabric as above, just a little different.
Necklace

Size matters.
Size Matters

Do you like them?

This batch is going off to a friend but If you interested in one for yourself, leave you contact info(e-mail) in the comments (will not be published) and I'll e-mail you with the detail$!

Catalina

Yesterday I did a hike at Catalina State Park with Ken, a fellow geocacher. We hiked 4.8 miles and visited 10 geocaches. I myself had a total of 5 finds in the park - I had already found the other ones.

Cache

We completed a Mystery Cache that had a 4/5 star difficulty rating. I solved in less than 10 minutes thanks to the internet and little previous knowledge that told me what to search for. I pretty much despise mystery/puzzle caches, so I was very pleased with myself that I figured it out!

Catalina Stae Park

It was cold for our first few finds early in the morning, but it turned out to be a great day. We spotted a bright red Cardinal, the first I've ever seen in Arizona, on the Bird Trail. As well as a deer on the Nature Trail. Both sightings were appropriate, given the trails we were on!

We wrapped up the day with a quick park and grab at a nearby shopping center!

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What is Geocaching? Answer here.