Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gluten Free

Okay, so I am terrible at keeping a up on a blog.  I just seriously have a nice, quiet, albeit boring life. 

My journey into gluten-free eating began last April.  I was having horrible cramping and nothing seemed to help.  At the same time, I also had a gallstone that kept rolling and giving me more stomach pain.  In August, I had my gallbladder out (which, seriously, is the easiest surgery I have ever had—really just a breeze!).  In October, the cramping started again.  I went to a specialist, tried various things that only partially worked, and then a couple of friends encouraged me to try going gluten free after the holidays. 

After being miserable and nothing working, on December 8 I took the plunge into the gluten-free world.  I figured why wait until after the holidays if this worked.  I have to admit, I thought gluten free was the latest fad diet thing, and I really didn’t expect it would make any difference.  Imagine my surprise that within three days, I started feeling better—I was not cramping all day long.  Yes, I was still cramping, but there were times that I actually felt fine. 

Friends have steered me to websites, products, and stores that carry gluten-free products.  I’ve stocked up on some things I knew I’d miss like snack crackers for the afternoons, bread for sandwiches, and raisin bread for breakfast.  I’ve tried pizza shells (I know which one I do NOT like!), but will keep trying until I find something that works for me. 

It’s been three weeks, and I can honestly say that I feel  better.  The cramping is gone for the most part (still some, but definitely less than an hour a day, if any).  I feel like I have a bit more energy—I was hoping for more, but does anyone really have a ton of energy right after the holidays? 

Has it been easy?  A lot easier than I would have expected.  Franz has excellent breads, although they are expensive.  Finding an all-purpose flour to make bread with is yet to be seen.  I have purchased some Pamela’s all-purpose flour, but haven’t baked with it yet.  I found I really like rice noodles—with a homemade sauce, I could hardly tell the noodles were gluten free. 

We’ve gone out a couple of times, to restaurants and friends’ homes.  The restaurants I searched online first to see if they have a gluten-free menu.  Surprisingly, many do.  Applebee’s, Red Robin (click on Interactive Allergen Menu), and Bob’s Burgers and Brew are to name a few. 

At friends’ homes, I have explained my dietary needs and kindly asked for ingredients, and at parties, have stuck with cheeses, fruits, veggies, and meats.  I did make my own grape salsa (which is incredible—sounds weird, but it is incredible) and took it to a party with corn chips (reading the label to ensure no gluten!).  I knew I could eat that. 

I’ve learned to be an avid label reader.  Did you know that cream of mushroom soup contains wheat?  Neither did I.  So I found a recipe online for homemade cream of mushroom soup and it was even better than the canned kind (of course, I can’t find the recipe!  But I do know that I substituted corn starch for the flour as a thickener.  I also used a variety of mushrooms).  Wheat and wheat products are found in so many processed foods.  Even some rice mixes.  If you decide to go gluten free, you need to be extra diligent in reading labels. 

Well, that’s enough for now.  For ignoring my blog for so long, this has been a long post! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blog Hop Winner!

Congratulations to Gloria/Grammachurch!  You are the winner on my blog of the fall blog hop.  Please e-mail me your address at laurie dot cashen at gmail dot com so I can get your washi tape out to you! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Fall Blog Hop!  If you didn’t get here from Devra’s blog, you might want to start at the beginning (Mandi’s blog) to see all the fall goodies we have planned.  In case you get lost, here is the list of blogs:

Mandi -
Amanda -
Robyn -
Devra -     You are here!
Cassie -
hristy -

The only direction we had was to make some-thing fall-related.  It could be a scrapbooking layout, a card, mixed media, fall decoration, etc.  Just something fall.  I thought and thought and thought.  What could I do that is something totally different from what I normally do?  Mixed media on a layout?  No.  A card.  Too easy.  I remember seeing people decorate their mantles with banners.  That’s it!  A fall banner!

As this is the month of giving thanks, that’s what I went with.  I love how it turned out.  Of course I used my Silhouette Cameo—that one machine has transformed the way I go about crafting. I got the banner from the Silhouette store, but it was one-dimensional.  So I offset the entire banner by 1/4”, using a barn red cardstock from Close to My Heart for the base.  The plaid is from Bazzill, and the ink for all the edges (because that’s what I do) is Tim Hotlz Distress Ink from Ranger Industries.  

Here is my version of a thankful banner: 


Fall 2013 Blog Hop - Give Thanks banner

Become a follower and leave a comment below.  I accidently bought some duplicates at CKC earlier this month that I am offering up for a prize—so if you like washi tape . . . Hot smile

Your next stop is the extremely talented Cassie!  I hope you have enjoyed your time here, and have a blast through the rest of the hop!  Thank you for stopping by. 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

November is a month to be grateful

Since November is all about Thanksgiving and being thankful, I have started a Grateful Blessings photo journal for the month.  I am writing about one thing every day that I am grateful for.  This can be something as being grateful for the members of my family who have been or are in the military to my hairdresser for always knowing what I want even when I don’t.  I am using a Simple Stories Snap Album for this journal and Becky Higgins digital Project Life Fall kit.  

2013 Grateful Blessings

Again, I used my Silhouette Cameo for the title, a Jolee’s flower, Recollections leaves, and some WRMK washi tape as corners. 

What do you have to be thankful for this month? 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Beautiful Fall Day

After what seemed like two weeks of dense fog and totally gray days, the last couple of days have been fabulous!  Cold, yes.  But the sun has been out, and it’s just gorgeous out.  I got up early (well, early for me) this morning, and saw this view of Mount Baker and the Skagit Valley from our deck: 

10-28-2013 view off deck

Mount Baker is in the distance in all her splendor.  I feel blessed that we live in an area where the landscape is so breathtaking.  Those are blueberry bushes in the fields—I love the color of these plants in the fall.  The red is so brilliant!  I can almost tell the age of the plant by the color red it turns! 

That’s it for this post.  I just wanted to share the view from our deck with you. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fiber Paste!

Okay, I’ve played with modeling paste, and this week I ventured off into fiber paste.  My scrapbooking group set up a challenge to scrapbook about friendship.  I immediately thought of this picture of my BFF Chris.  We e-mail or talk almost every single day—you see, I live on the Pacific side and Chris lives on the Atlantic side of the good ole United States. 

Since I wanted to mimic the ocean’s waves and the sand, I tried fiber paste, then colored it with inks.  I used a curvy, wave-like stencil.  I wanted to make the paste more wavy, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it. 

I also did a quick spray of mist, mimicking the ocean’s mist.  I don’t know how people do it, but I can only put down a heavy mist.  Maybe I need to take my page outside and mist in the driveway and hold the mist further away?  I might try that this weekend. 

Anyway, here we are after dipping our toes into the very, very cold Atlantic Ocean. 

S Carolina - Best Friends

I had been saving the shell wood veneers (Close to My Heart) for the perfect layout, and this was it.  I put my Silhouette to good use, too.  However, thinking it through, I probably should have stuck with one title.  But other than that, I kind of like it! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall is Tea Time!

I love the changing of the season, the colorful leaves, and even the crispness of the air.  And, as fall progresses, we start the holiday season!  Yeah!
Another sign of fall for me is tea.  I love having a cup of Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice Tea in the evenings after dinner.  I grew up drinking Lipton tea.  We would have it every night for dinner.  Hot tea in the fall and winter, sweet tea for spring and summer.  I still have our family teapot and love it.  I was prompted by both the CSI:  Color, Stories, & Inspiration and ScrapStuffz blogs to create the following scrapbook layout about my teapot.
Case File 91 - TeapotFor ScrapStuffz, I was inspired by the fall colors and the warmth those colors created.  Fall is tea time for me, and I love nothing better than to sit and relax with a hot cup of tea.  

For CSI, I followed a LOT of the prompts.  It was difficult getting the color teal in there, but I was able to put pops of the color in with the arrow and stars.  The rest of the colors are all in the leaves and the teapot diecut.  Even the shimmer around the journaling spot comes from the CSI prompts.  

I really went out of my comfort zone again on this one and experimented a bit more with modeling paste and colors.  This time I used various inks to color the leaves and the tree branches.  I really love how the leaves turned out, and of course used my Silhouette with the teapot diecut.  To give it a little pop of color, I used a blue-ish teal on the stars and arrow. 
I really enjoyed making this layout and can safely say that modeling paste is going to keep making an appearance on my layouts—not every layout,  but on some. 
My next venture is into fiber paste.  I love fibers, so why not fiber paste? 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Modeling Paste

I’ve been really liking the look of “artsy” scrapbooking, so decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try it.  My DD and I love to go to the craft store and find new items (okay, new to me) to play with.  Last week we found modeling paste and fiber paste.  Ooooh, fun!  I think—or would it be too much of a hassle to use and to clean up?

This week I decided to try the modeling paste.  I used Tattered Angels and Studio Calico masks.  I didn’t have a spatula, but found my Cricut spatula worked great.  I was a bit impatient and used my heat gun to dry the paste some, but decided to put it aside while I worked on another page.  I came back and thought, “Hmmm, this needs some color,” so got out my Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, put the stencils back down, and sprayed way.  It worked like a charm! 

The Babins 2007 copy

As you can see, this was my first attempt and I was just playing.  The layout is definitely not as artsy as those I have admired, but it’s a start, and I hope to become better at using these mediums.

Again, my apologies for the shadow—that’s what happens with my scanner and I can’t figure out how to fix it.  Sad smile

Oh, and the cleanup was a breeze.  I just used baby wipes to clean the stencils and spatula.  I was definitely pleased with this aspect! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dad’s 80th Birthday Party

Dad’s 80th birthday party was a smashing success!  The only thing that could have made it better is if Mom could have been there.  Dad’s sister Wilda came from California with her daughter Karla who just moved from Denver to Portland.  Dad’s brother Clyde came over from the Tri Cities with his son Dale.  And of course, Roy and Butch and their wives drove up from Kelso in the motorhome.  Nieces and nephews showed up with their parents—sister-in-law Margaret and brother-in-law Joe.  Friends from near and far and old and new came to wish Daddy happy birthday. 

I used my Silhouette to make a birthday banner for Dad: 

Happy Brithday Banner

Can you see what I did wrong?  The banner itself turned out beautifully . . . but apparently I was a bit dyslexic when I put it together.  Aw, well, nothing is perfect!  I can fix it easily for the next time I need a banner. 

Painter Siblings

As you can see, we were able to spend some time on the deck.  Don’t they all look great! 

Here’s a picture of the next generation:

Painter Cousins 05

And a picture of the next generation: 

Painter Cousins - The Next Generation 06

When Karen was in high school, Daddy chaperoned their Washington DC trip.  These girls were at a Girls’ Weekend at the beach house, but stopped by to say happy birthday to Daddy:

Daddy & the girls 03

We had a spaghetti feast, with lots of food and drink to go around. 

The next morning, the family all came back for breakfast!  All-in-all, I think Daddy was happy and enjoyed himself.  I thought it was an absolutely fantabulous weekend! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

80th Birthday Party

Wow, I can’t believe it—my Dad is turning 80!  I offered to throw him a birthday party, and he jumped at it.  In 80 years, he’s never had a birthday party.  In fact, the first party in his honor was the 51st anniversary party I threw Mom & Dad several years ago. 

So enter in Dad’s guest list.  Not so bad, considering probably only half will come.  Nope.  Only one person on the list said they won’t be able to make it, and others are bringing extra family (which is fine—I expect my relatives to do that).  All said, we’re going to have around 40 people in our home.  And ten are staying at the house overnight, and four more at a hotel nearby.  That means breakfast for everyone!  What was I thinking? 

The Uncles (Dad’s brothers) will be here with my aunts, and one of Dad’s remaining sisters will be up from California with her daughter.  So lots of family and lots of friends.  I bought more tables and chairs today.  Yikes! 

I’ve decided on a menu of spaghetti and Costco/ Kirkland lasagna for dinner.  My will be aunt is bringing garlic bread, and my cousin will bring fruit for breakfast.  I’ve got stuff for a Caesar salad, spaghetti with meatballs, and vegetarian spaghetti.  My wonderful sister-in-law will be holding down the kitchen for me so I can mingle with the guests and take pictures.  Of course I will have to take pictures!

Here is the picture I sent out on the face of the invitations: 

Daddy's Birthday Invitation - single picture

In the picture on the left, that’s my Uncle Roy and Dad (the shorter one).  I love the picture on the right with Dad looking up at Mom with so much love in his eyes. 

I started the day with 17 items on my to-do list for the week, and was actually able to knock off 10 of those items!  Woot woot! 

I think I’m in pretty good shape for the week.  Although the items on the to-do list are time intensive, if I tackle two a day, I’ll be set! 

Wish me luck!