Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nikon or Canon

I think I have outgrown my camera. I have a digital point and shoot from Kodak that I've had for YEARS! I like it, but lately I've been less than happy with it. I notice that I'm taking more shots of random "stuff" and I would like to improve the quality.

Comment away people. I need some advice. Do I choose a Nikon or a Canon. I have selected one of each camera, but I don't know which brand is better. (Or are they equal?)

This is the Canon I'm considering.
This is the Nikon.

Costco has great pricing for each of these. I just couldn't figure out how to link them... I'm still learning!
Check out this Canon from Costco... (I think I like the Canon Rebel XS)
and this Nikon from Costco... (I think I like the D80)

What do you think?

Clothes...they are a beautiful thing...

My closet is full. Not something that most women admit (because we never have anything to wear!), but it is true. My dilemna however, is that it is becomeing bare! (See ~ I have an excuse that I don't have anything to wear!)
See all of the hangers that appear empty? They aren't! They hold my tank tops, trousers, pants, and jeans. I seldom wear any of the long pants. Why do I keep them?

I used to have a ton of clothes. Now I simply have a lot. (Sounds like a math problem: Robyn used to have 27 pair of Birkenstocks, now she has 18. How many Birkenstocks did she send to Goodwill?)

When I stopped teaching, and I was simply a stay at home mom to a teenager, I wore slightly more casual clothes ~ so I took a couple trash bags full of professional clothing to Goodwill.
Then, I became a mom to infant twins, and my wardrobe changed again. I wore more tennis shoes, shorts, capris, and t-shirts. Again, the load delivered to Goodwill was immense. The idea of teaching again is a long way off. Fashions will change as well as the size of my butt. Now that we have a 2 year old ~ again, I'm off to Goodwill. The sad, pathetic reality is this: I wear the same 10 outfits all the time. I have 2 favorite pair of jeans, 2 favorite pair of sneakers, t-shirts (unknow number ~ not many) that I wear, 6 pair of shorts, and 3 pair of capris. Those of my favs. (Yes, I have a lot more clothes in my closet, but I DON'T WEAR THEM!)

Is there anyone out there that does the same? Have I lived in this small town so long that I have forsaken all fashion sense, and abandonded my sanity and sense of good fashion? Or is it that I'm just lazy and don't like having so many options? (My hair is in a pony tail, again.)

Tell me, what is your favorite outfit?
Do you wear the same outfits over and over?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ashley is Home!!!!

What is the first thing that a teenage girl does when she has been gone from her loving family for a week?
a. call her BFF (best friend forever).
b. run to her computer and check her email.
c. gush lovingly over her parents and brothers.
d. check out the animals.

D!!!! She immediately went to check out her new chickies.

It was so cute! I was still using the sucky camera, but here are the picts of her with her chickies.

It was a good thing she came home, too. Apparantly, Ashley has decided that the chicken scratch is too big for her chickies to eat so she sat and smashed scratch with a hammer, and then hand fed her chickies. We have half of them named. (She even let me keep the name Cordelia!) I will take picts and post each chick with her name later this week. She still has another week of volleyball, and I think soccer tryouts are this week...never a dull moment in our home.

Sunday Roping

This morning brought about another day of roping. I sent Tim out to the ranch ahead of me because I was being lazy. I didn't get up in time, I wanted a shower, and I had a few errands that needed to be run. Tim graciously took Stephan with him. (Actually, Tim was going to take Isaiah, but the green eyed monster of jealousy attacked Stephan, and he wormed his way into the truck instead.)

When I arrived at the ranch arena, it was lunch time. Yeah, my second favorite meal of the day! After lunch, I took the boys for a walk, and admired the trees. We finally made it back to the arena to watch Tim for a little while. While the guys were resting in between ropings, Tim put Stephan up on "Jake." Jake is not normally a kid horse, but he has been an angel with Stephan.

Let me give you a little background on young Stephan. When he arrived at our house, he had never seen a horse in real life. He was terrified of them, and wouldn't go near the pasture or corrals. We were fine with this.

A few weeks ago (see post: Life in the Fast Lane) Stephan rode for the first time. Today, was no exception. He wanted to be on "his horse" the entire day. So, when Tim was resting, Stephan was riding. When Tim needed to bring cattle up, Stephan rode with him. It is so exciting to see him overcome his fears, and embrace the lifestyle that he has been placed in. Stephan is often found wearing Tim's cowboy hat, and of course he wears his own boots most of the time. (Yep, even with shorts. It is a lovely sight...)

Pork...the other white meat.

(Larry ~ this post is full of food pictures and recipes. Go back to work.)
Ashley raises show cattle and then sells them at the FFA auction every May. Sadly for me, Tim and Ashley are meat and taters people. Neither of them are overly picky, but if we have beef in our freezer there isn't a reason to purchase meat at the supermarket. (With the cost of groceries right now why would I add to my bill?)

I enjoy grilled chicken, and occasionally buy chicken breasts to grill, but for the most part, we eat beef. This past summer, we bought a pig from the FFA auction. (Actually it was our second year buying a pig - I just didn't know anything the first year.) This year, I was more selective with my cuts when I was talking to the processing plant. So, when I reached into my freezer with my eyes closed (I do that to surprise myself with what I'm going to have to create for dinner.) I pulled out a pork tenderloin. I've never cooked or eaten a pork tenderloin. Sounds like fun.
The first recipe I tried was a pecan crusted tenderloin. It needs to be fried, so I was a bit hesitant. (I don't like to fry my meat, but it was a new recipe and I wanted to try it. In order to fry meat you usually have to touch it. The actual touching of meat grosses me out immensely. I don't buy a whole roasting chicken because I have to touch it with my hands, and then I can't eat it. It makes my stomach roll. OOhh - way off topic.) The pork turned out really good. We had it for lunch today, and the leftovers were equally good.

Then tonight (Sunday), I fixed the other tenderloin (there were 2 in the package). I simply roasted it. (I had to buy a roasting pan! I've been married for 16 years and I finally bought my first roasting pan. I was so excited. It worked great by the way.) Here are the recipes with instructions, my commentary, and pictures! (I love pictures. We went on a picture walk today. More on that later.)

Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin
I found this recipe online. (I know, I'm suppose to be going through my cookbooks...) By Diana Rattray,
Pork tenderloin is coated with a mixture of chopped pecans, bread crumbs, and seasonings.
1 to 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules or base
(I actually used twice the amount of bread crumbs and pecans as was suggested.)

(I didn't have bread crumbs available so I substituted stuffing mix. I just put it into a Ziploc baggie, and pounded it with my mallet until it was a bit smaller.)
(I also don't use veggie oil ~ I use olive oil in all of my recipes. The one shown in the photo is mild enough to use all of the time.)
With a sharp knife cut tenderloins into 1/4-inch slices. With a meat mallet gently pound each slice to about 1/8-inch thickness.

In a shallow bowl or on waxed paper, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk the eggs and water. In another shallow bowl or on waxed paper, combine bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
Dip the tenderloin pieces into flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb and pecan mixture, coating well.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook tenderloin pieces, 1/3 or 1/2 at a time, until lightly browned on both sides and cooked through. Add more oil as necessary.
Place browned tenderloin on a warm platter or tray and keep warm while cooking remaining pieces.

(I put mine in the oven at the lowest setting to keep them hot.)

Add the 3/4 cup water and chicken bouillon granules to the drippings in the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits; continue to boil for 1 minute. Pour over pork.

(I did something wrong with the gravy. I thought it was gross, but Tim said it tasted fine.)

Serves 4. (Served way more than 4 at our house...)
I made garlic mashed potatoes and corn to serve with the pecan medallions. Everything was yummie!

Roasted Tenderloin

(OK - the original recipe is Tenderloin with Peppers, but I didn't have peppers in the house tonight. Oops - slight variation. No biggie ~ unless you are trying to look up the recipe. The pepper gravy sounded really good. We will have to try it next time.)
1 Tbsp veggie oil (not me ~ I used EVOO ~ Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed (I minced mine)
1 tsp dried basil (my addition ~ basil is not in the original recipe)
1 pork tenderloin ( about 1 pound)

Mix oil, thyme, basil, and garlic; brush over pork tenderloin. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan. (I added 1 Tbsp of water to the pan. I don't know why - the recipe didn't call for it, but it just seemed like a good idea. Remember, I've never roasted anything before.)
Insert thermometer horizontally so tip is in center of thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered in 325 degree oven until thermometer registers 170 degrees. (I only went to 160 degrees.) It will take about 1 hour.
Serve with rice and salad. Again, this meal was yummie!
This recipe came from my collection of cookbooks, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 6th Ed. (1986)

Not being a "pork person," I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of both of these meals. The roasted tenderloin is a healthy way to eat pork, and it was very moist. It was probably my favorite, and while it was baking/roasting/cooking (whatever) it filled the house with the aroma of fresh garlic. (I love garlic.)

Try one ~ or both! ~ and let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Chickens Are Here!!!

The chickens are here! The chickens are here!


Do you feel my excitement? And guess what? I was the first one to see them! Not Tim, not Ashley, ME!!!!

OK - enough gloating. I'm so lucky that Tim was working in town. I had one baby in the walker, one baby in bed, and Stephan was still eating breakfast when I got the phone call from the post office. "You're chickens are here to be picked up ASAP." Yikes! Do I wake up the baby? Do I make the chickens wait? I called Tim frantic ~ what do I do? He grudgingly went to pick them up for me. Thank you, Tim! :) (He loves me!)

Previously: Ashley emailed me from IN to give me very specific instructions on how to take care of her baby hens. Hmmm... since they don't lay eggs yet, are they hens? I'm thinking not, but heck if I remember what she called them. OH - pullets.

Anyway ~ she said take them to her room and blah blah whatever - the letter was lengthy and detailed. (Those of you who know Ashley are all nodding your heads going, "uh, huh..." I walked into her room to find the half dog house that she wants the chicks to stay in. Do you see how close they are to her bead? Do you know that even baby chicks still smell like hens and roosters? Do you know that poultry (live poultry) carry diseases? My clear thinking teenage must not.

When Tim brought them home I took them into Ashley's room to open them. There were (and still are) 16 little chicks! Then I read the directions and took them to the garage. (Actually, they went to the barn (too cold), then the chicken coup (too cold), and finally to the garage (a little chilly, but it will be ok). When I'm folding my laundry, I can hear their little voices just chirping, chirping. It is so sweet. I wonder why I held out on the chickens so long? They are adorable, and little, and sweet, and they sound so darn cute! I'm in love.

I immediately called Ashley and held the phone up to the chirping ~ and then I gloated to her. Heehee, I'm so awful. She was all gushy and said, "I want to be there.".... Too bad ~ so sad.

Since she has the good camera, and I have sucky camera, the picts are not great, but here they are...

This is my favorite chicky. I think I will name her... Cordelia.

I also took some with my phone and recorded the sound then texted them to her so she could listen to them all night. It will be good night time music for her. Not as good as Taylor Swift probably, but... who knows. She's an animal lover.

Ashley update: She has changed her ringtone to the one of the chicks chirping. My little chick is so funny!
We miss you Ashley. I'm having fun with the chicks! Oh - and daddy put a towel under the side door of the garage so there isn't a draft. He likes them too. ;)

My Girl is Gone...AGAIN!!!

Yep, Ashley has flown the coup, again. This time she has traveled to Indiana for the FFA National Convention. What the heck? She just goes and goes now.

With her, she took my camera. That leaves the sucky digital here at the house. I hate the sucky camera, thus the name, sucky camera. More about that later, but that is one reason there aren't any pictures posted.

So last night I was at Bunco. (It's a dice game for women. No men allowed.) My phone rang, and because it was Ashley, I answered. All I could hear was a bunch of loud noise, screaming, and music. She took me to the Taylor Swift concert. :) She loves me. It was so cool ~ she said, "Mom, I thought you might want to hear some of the concert so I'm holding the phone out for you." Awesome huh? She's a good kid. No, she's a great kid!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gummies, please...

"Oh, Take my picture Mommy."
The deal for today was that Tim would come home at noon so I could go to The Big City to get my hair done. Ashley said she wanted to go with me, so we decided to shop and have a late lunch in the city. Off we went. I had already fed the babies, and Tim was in the process of feeding Stephan when we left. There was much negotiating going on... Funny, how at 2 they learn the art of negotiation. Ashley and I enjoyed a quick trip of shopping and eating before heading to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for frozen bananas. Have you had one? They are great!

I called Tim when we headed home so he could start getting the dinner preparations going. I arrived home to the twins in bed (yeah!), dinner almost ready, and Stephan had already been fed. I grabbed a glass of wine and sat at the table to talk with Tim. He likes my hair by the way. Stephan crawls up into Tim's lap, and I ask him about his dinner. He said he had gummies.
"Gummies!"In fact, that was all he could talk about. He wanted gummies. You have to see these photos. I'm thankful that I keep my camera nearby. (Even if I'm the only one who uses it... hint~ hint~ Tim.) For those of you worried that my trustworthy husband fed our 2 year old gummies for dinner ~ have no fear. He did not. Tim is very responsible ~ Stephan had chicken, applesauce, and M&M's.
"Oh! I had CHICKEN!"
He finally fessed up to eating real food.

"I love you Mommy. Have gummies, please?"

Do you see how cute he is? He is good at manipulation!

"Please.... gummies, or I will perish.."


Mama's Got A New Do...again...

Yep, I traveled to the big city to get my hair done. It happens every 6-8 weeks, and I love it. What is it about getting your hair done that just makes your toes curl? Is it the massage during the shampoo? Is it the truly decadent feeling you get from being pampered? Is it that you really have to just give up the control that you normally possess and relax? I don't know. I just know that I LOVE getting my hair done.

I travel a great distance to get my hair done, and a pay a great amount of money. In my defense, I have grey hair and have had gray hair since I was in high school. (Grey or gray? I need a dictionary. Which grey/gray is it?) I also have naturally curly hair which is not easy to cut. That being said, Tim likes it better when I'm happy so he doesn't care. We have the don't ask don't tell philosophy in our household. If you really, truly don't want to know the answer just keep your mouth shut!

My stylist is awesome. I sit in the chair, he says, "What are we going to do with your hair today?" I reply, "My hair? It is your hair, ******." He laughs and says, "OK. It is always fun to experiment with your hair, Robyn." Good, because I'm going to sit in your chair for the next hour and a half and talk about my children and ask questions about yours. Anyway, ****** is great with hair, and I never have to worry about what I'm going to look like when I walk out. He always make me look classy! One think that Ashley has noticed, my hair keeps getting shorter. Hmmm... is shorter hair easier to color? Is ****** trying to pull a fast one on me? He once commented that he was trying to make me look younger. Does short hair make you look younger? If your hair length makes you look younger...can it make you look thinner? I want to look thinner. Maybe I will ask him next time... So, because you didn't ask, and I don't care what you think (Larry) I will post my "new do" photos. All one of them because that is all I could get Tim to take! OK - he took two and I had to promise to post the first. (I'm so embarrassed.)

Tim's first attempt at photographing my hair... hmm... a little higher please....

The advantage to actually contributing to the blog is that I can resize the photo. No, nothing is ever really fair, but I do keep my word...

This first attempt is revenge for the "butt" shot he found. Who knew that he occasionally perused my blog? I had no idea the man even knew what a blog was. He is becoming a computer nerd. OK - far from it, but he can turn it on, email, use attachments, and he is darn good at finding the games.

Tim's second attempt at photographing my hair.

The rest are simply fun photos that Ashley took. I pitched a major hissy fit the other day because I don't have any photos of me with my children. I'm always behind the camera. Tim's mom, bless her, has taken a few photos and she printed them for me to keep. Maybe I'll scan them and post them... Enjoy my Friday night photos...