Friday, September 28, 2007

Pumpkins

Love fall. Love pumpkins. I'd like to get a bunch more for my front steps. And maybe some of the white ones too. We painted our front door and shutters this green.



We're heading to Iowa for the weekend to Winn's brother's house to help install a floor, so I won't be posting any more until Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Time for Everything


Well, that was a first. I had a deposition this morning about 30 miles outside of Rochester...in a stable. With five horses and a million-trillion-zillion flies swarming around us. I have to say that in my court reporting career, that was the smelliest job to date. I did learn about Friesian horses (a breed from the Netherlands, which apparently came very close to being extinct at one point in time) and about breeding fees, stud fees, impregnation fees, "collection" of the stallions and artificial insemination of the mares. Very educational. But in unpacking my laptop after I got home, I noticed that my equipment bag now has that faint barn/manure smell.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where does the time go?


It's been five days since I last blogged. Wow. It's all been one big blur. We were in Iowa over the weekend helping Winn's folks pack up their house. They bought a house in town. Yay! No more gravel roads and twenty minutes less drive time to get to their place.

Been busy getting some transcript work done, sewing up a storm for my Etsy Shop projects, signing up for classes in November to finish my bachelor's in business, meeting with a realtor about an offer on our house (which we did not accept), and trying to feed Winn more than Mac&Cheese for supper in the meantime. :) Yesterday it was bacon, egg, and cheese mcmuffins and hashbrowns--had to finish up some bacon in the freezer and the english muffins before they spoil. Today I've given myself the little assignment of coming up with a two-week menu and then going shopping for the necessary items. I'm going to have to get a handle on this cooking thing if we're to be foster parents. Thank goodness Winn likes to help.

We had a big thunder/rain storm on Monday night. I love listening to those from inside a nice, dry, cozy home. We're so blessed. So, I'm off to pour over some recipe books...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Prison


Not really a big fan of sitting in a small room at a federal prison with a big, burly inmate, the nature of whose crime is particularly disturbing. When the case manager stepped out of the room to check on the status of the videoconferencing system and left me alone with him (uncuffed, I might add), it was slightly awkward trying to make small talk. And then after all that, plus a half-hour of getting through security with all my equipment and over an hour of waiting in the conference room with the inmate, they couldn't get the videoconferencing system to work and decided to reschedule the deposition. I guess most of the court reporters in town don't like to cover the hearings and depositions at the prison--takes too long to get in, the pay isn't as nice as some jobs, etc. But I rather enjoy it. You get to hear a lot of interesting things, meet the different judges that travel down from the Cities, and you're almost always guaranteed a little entertainment.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baked Zucchini Chips

Here's a recipe for those times when you have zucchini coming out your ears. The recipe is courtesy of http://allrecipes.com/. It caught my eye because I tried making up a "zucchini fries" recipe kinda like this in my mother-in-law's kitchen last year with all her extra zucchini. These look much better than mine did. :)


PREP TIME 5 Min
COOK TIME 10 Min
READY IN 15 Min
Original recipe yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg whites

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).

2. In one small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini slices into the egg whites, then coat the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet.

3. Bake for 5 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn over and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned and crispy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ahhhhhhh




There. Now all is right with the world. That first sip of coffee in the morning is the best. My dad wouldn't let us drink it until we were 16, lest we become addicts. I think it backfired. Mom, it must have been those sips of yours that you'd sneak us when Dad
wasn't looking. :)


I was at some fabric shops yesterday, drooling over all the wonderful textures and patterns (is it weird that I bring my camera along to the store?), and now I'm way excited to start my next projects. These I'll be selling at the Etsy Shop, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I'm working on two collections now, one a curtain panel/throw pillow set called "Into the Woods." It's a brown paisley paired with a solid olive fabric. The colors are brilliant. The cow print, I'll leave you wondering about that one... But, those will have to remain piled on my counter for now, teasing me, because I have a job downtown in about an hour. Work schmerk. Why can't we just play all day? :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

To Make You Smile










Sajak just got a new toy...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunbathing


I love lazy Sunday afternoons. We had an open house this afternoon. We didn't have much traffic (although one gal seemed like a very interested buyer), but it was a perfect 75 degrees out, and sunny, so we headed for the deck with tall ice-cold glasses of DrPepper. Later Winn decided on a nap in the hammock. I don't think we'll have many more days like this in Minnesota this year. So we're enjoying it while we can.

It's tempting to lament the fact that winter (and snow) is right around the corner, but I have purposed to just enjoy today. And then I'll enjoy October, in all its fall-colored leave-raking glory. And then November, with its crisp air and pumpkin pies and comfy tattered sweatshirts. December, with fun hat-scarf-mitten combos and holiday festivities...and before you know it, "the Good Lord willing and the crick don't rise," it will be spring again. But for now, if you ever hear me complaining about the cold or the ice, remind me to live in the moment.

Anna Quindlen says it best...

"...but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fingerprinted





Neither of us had experienced anything quite like it before. An officer led us into a little room at the adult detention center. There was a huge machine with a screen and a glass pad where she rolled our fingers and thumbs to get good fingerprints of us. There's a new way of doing it now--no ink, no mess. We felt a little bit criminal amongst the orange jumpsuits and security officers. It was our last step in this whole foster care licensing process (except for one more three-hour class we have to take to learn how to strap a car seat into a car). Once our background checks come back, we'll finally have our license, after several months of classes, interviews, and home inspections. They're very thorough. I'm glad. There are a lot of weirdos out there. We've learned a lot and feel semi-prepared for what we're about to get into. A little excited. A little apprehensive. Way blessed for the families we grew up in.

We thought we should take our own mug shots since they didn't take any. :) After several failed attempts at keeping a straight face, we were finally able to snap these pics.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crumb-snatcher


Our friends Chris and Rebecca have a McIntosh apple tree and were kind enough to share some of their harvest with us this week. I have been thoroughly enjoying them. Love, love, love apples. I had one for lunch today, and last night I made a couple of apple crisps. Usually
when I bake, I think it's fun to make two of everything, one to eat and one to give away. I always double the topping on the apple crisp so that there's lots of yummy crumbs on top (and I might snatch a couple crumbs for taste-testing purposes...okay, maybe it's more like a couple large spoonfuls).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gratitude



Feeling grateful today for...

1. Roses that Winn left on my desk this week.
2. Caramel Hazelnut Swirl coffee creamer.
3. My flexible job.
4. Biking with my friend Rebecca yesterday.
5. America.
6. Fall temperatures.
7. Inspiring friends.
8. A God who loves my imperfect self.
9. My sisters.
10. And my brothers...and parents, nieces, and nephews.
11. My piano.
12. Winn making homemade chicken potpie for dinner.
13. Wonderful in-laws.
14. A bucket of apples from a friend's tree.
15. Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle tarts.
16. Our dishwasher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mileage


We averaged 33.5 mpg on our trip to Iowa in the new Honda. They promised up to 34 mpg for highway miles, and our calculation included lots of in-town driving as well when we got there, trips to the store and what have you. So we were pretty happy about that! Winn's Uncle Dean assures us that once the engine gets good and broken in (around 20,000 miles or so), it will get even better mileage. So those of you who are in the market for a new set of wheels, I'd recommend the Accord! (Honda should pay me for this little plug.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Seafood Gala




I'm always a little nervous about having dinner with all the docs and their wives. They're all MD's and PhD's (and most of them are both). My degree and experience pales in comparison to theirs. What do i wear? What should i talk about? Will I be able to hold my own in a heated political debate or in a deep discussion about global warming? So I will fret. I will analyze. And I will get there and discover what I discover every time that we get together. That they're all just human. That they have insecurities of their own. That there are some things they don't know and some things I can teach them.

This was a particularly extravagant meal on Saturday evening, with clams, muscles, shellfish soup, salmon, cod, and trout, and the guest list consisted of three docs, their wives, Winn, and then lil' ol’ me. Winn’s boss and his wife are from New Zealand and have lived in other countries as well. They both speak several languages. Not what you'd expect of a distinguished Mayo doctor, Stefan wears a long ponytail and often white socks with his black shoes. Ursula is an excellent cook, and we're always guaranteed a delicious and authentic menu when we're over there. She has short spiky hair, often colored red or purple, and wears funky red glasses and bright clothes. I've learned a lot from her about food, travel, and raising chickens (they have a chicken coop out back, right next to their in-ground pool). Their three children are all creative and well-behaved, and I promised to be a part of one of their school science projects (something involving asparagus and 15 people as guinea pigs).

At the end of the evening, I always go away having had a wonderful time and having learned something new from them (this time it was some interesting tidbits about Prague, Germany, and how mead is made--basically water and honey, fermented). And even though I talk about my small world and even though I disagree with them politically and even though I invite them to church functions and even though I don’t hold any patents or have any publications, they still want to be friends. I have something to give.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Playin' Hookie



Don't tell his boss, but Winn took last Friday off to play golf. He and friend Ric played 54 holes!! They found this great play-until-you-drop-plus-golf-cart-and-two-clubhouse-meals hookie deal at the Frontenac Golf Course (http://www.mountfrontenac.com/index). Ric's wife Melissa and I went to meet them for supper that evening, and when we got there, they were like giddy kids who'd just spent the day at Disneyland. It was a beautiful course.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sweaters


It has been a perfect 75 degrees for the past week. September is a great time to live in Minnesota! But today it got a little chillier, high 60's or so. I had to leave the house a little before seven this morning for a job at Mayo, and when I stepped outside into the nippy air, I was thankful I'd put stockings on with my skirt. Fall is on its way. I love fall. It means pulling out all my old fuzzy friends that have been forgotten over the summer...sweaters. They smell a bit like they've been packed away, but they'll soon smell of the outdoors and bonfires and pumpkin-scented candles and all those wonderful autumn odors.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Labor Day Weekend in Iowa




The guys sitting around Scott's laptop watching video bloopers; my dad-in-law giving all the grandkids tractor rides out on the lawn; Kendra cooking up something new and exciting in the kitchen (this time it was a delicious two-tiered chocolate cake with toasted almonds on top); hotdogs and smores down at the firepit; John fishing for catfish in the pond; five crazy dogs getting into all kinds of mischief (yes, there are five when we're all there!)--these are the things you'll find at the Cradic household when everyone gets together. This past weekend also included a skit by my nieces and nephews; a yummy Mexican meal made by Kim and Kendra (sopapillas and all!); obstacle courses at the city park; and a loopy, sleep-deprived game of cards on Saturday night. Of course, I made a little video of the goings-on, which you can view to the right of the page (you'll want to pause my songspot just above it so you can hear the video).

In addition to all 18 of us, a van full of youth group kids stopped through to spend the night on their way to an event, and a family of four came over for dinner on Sunday. I don't know how my mother-in-law does it. Even with cancer in her liver and lung, and antibiotic infusions three times a day for a recent infection, she still smiled her way through the weekend, putting herself last, offering hugs to the grandkids and encouragement to everyone. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hummingbirds

earlier this morning there were two hummingbirds on our deck. they've been coming around for a couple weeks now to enjoy my red flowers. it's amazing how close they'll let you get to them. after snapping these pictures and short video, i poured myself a cup of coffee and took it outside to enjoy the show, as well as the faint breeze and perfect 80-degree morning. there's so much to do after the long weekend vacation (which was so nice!) that i thought i'd put off my to-do list for just a little bit longer.