"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

October = Month of Giveaways

I love October. It just so happens to be my favorite month, which may or may not have anything to do with it being my birthday month. I love the fall leaves, the crisp air, the slowing down of the crazy pace of August and September. I start getting all crafty for the upcoming holidays. It may also be a coincidence that October is "In Love with the Little Things" blogiversary. That means I have been posting here regularly for THREE YEARS! Now that's a serious commitment.

To commemorate October, and my upcoming birthday, and my blogiversary, and autumn in general, I think some giveaways are in order.

I think I shall have a giveaway every Friday in October plus an extra giveaway on my birthday. Five in all! I'm having an ongoing entry pool. So you can enter as many times as you like, up to once a day for every day in October. Every Thursday I will count up all the comments and pick a winner using a random number generator. Got it?

What is being given away?

Week one (October 8th):

a scrapbook paper banner like this one hanging in my kitchen. Custom made to the colors of your choice. Perfect for a bedroom, a craft area, or if you are a bit untraditional like me, a kitchen.

Week two (October 15th):

Three bars of handmade soap. Fragrance of your choice. If you want a particular fragrance, I might even make a batch to suit.

My Birthday (October 17th): This stationary box full of handmade cards and tags. Two colors to choose from.

Week Three (October 22nd):

This little landscape painting: An 8 by 10 pastel painting of a little lily pond.  It's already framed too.

Week four (October 29th):  A custom pastel painting of your choice, 8" by 10" in size. Anything. Well, almost anything.

So... how do you enter?

Make a comment! Here or on any post, past or present. I'll keep track. You get one entry for each comment, but only one entry per day. If you comment every day in October, you will have 30 entries by the last giveaway! And here is the kicker, you can comment on ANY of my posts on ANY of my blogs...





(Though the one entry per day rule still applies.)

Now, just for fun, I'm going to give a one time extra-credit entry for each of the following:

- If you have NEVER made a comment on one of my blogs before (let me know in your comment.) One entry per blog.

- If you click FOLLOW ME on any of the blogs. One entry per blog follow. This includes my current followers.

- Make a facebook comment, a "tweet", or a blog post about my art blog.
(Not this blog, the art blog.) Address is www.brittanylaneartwork.blogspot.com
One entry per social network. Let me know in the comments.

Good Luck!

(And get commenting! Don't hold back. The first winner will be chosen FRIDAY OCTOBER 8th at 9:00 pm. Ready, Set, GO!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Concise Correspondence

Dear Blogger,
I wanted to post some really great pictures today, but you seem to be uncooperative.  Shape up, or ship out.
Sincerely, Brittany

Dear Rylan,
It's a good thing you are so stinking cute.  I appreciate that you are curious and love to grasp anything within your reach, but I really didn't want to clean up the entire quart of green smoothie you dumped on me and on the floor and down the air vent this morning, nor the large cup you pulled over yourself and Averie ten minutes after that.  My kitchen is oozing green smoothie residue.  Please have a nice long nap while I mop and attempt laundry.  
Love, Mommy

Dear Mystery Soup from Dinner Last Night,
You were delicious.  I will be eating the rest of you for lunch.  You have been warned.
Brittany Lane the Cook

Dear Brandon's Glasses,
Why did you run away?  Was it something we said?  Was it the constant poking and grabbing from little fingers?  Was it the years of abuse and neglect?  Please return so we can make amends.
The garden department of Home Depot is not a safe environment for a pair of designer glasses like you.
Also, Brandon desperately needs you to see!  You are expensive and difficult to replace, but you WILL BE replaced if you do not return quickly.  
Mr. (and Mrs.) Allen

Dear Indian Summer,
I love you.  Please stay warm a bit longer.  My tomatoes are relishing the sunshine.
Love, Brittany

Little Monkey Part Deux

Stuck again.

Also a testament to the typical condition of my kitchen floor.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little Monkey

Little monkey loves to stand up next to anything he can find.  He walks around beds, couches, and loves the dishwasher.  The other night he was trying to climb INTO the dishwasher, and got himself a little bit stuck...

I'm such a mean mommy to run and get the camera rather than rescue him from this predicament.  He's just so cute when he pouts though.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest after the Frost

I was really frustrated with the early freeze that came through here a few weeks ago.  I lost a lot of my garden plants, and I assumed the worst.  But it turns out that many of them were more resilient than I gave them credit for.  The top and outer leaves of all the tomato plants are gone, but the tomatoes have continued to ripen on the vines, and I have gotten a fair amount of perfect tomatoes.  Hundreds more of green ones are continuing to ripen on the vines.  I've been delighted!

I haven't been able to do any more canning lately, due to stove issues.  So I decided to make frozen spaghetti sauce and sun dried tomatoes.  The sauce was fantastic.  I simmered it over the kitchen stove for several hours and then froze it into quart-size Ziploc freezer bags.  I'll post the recipe HERE if you are interested.

I've never made sun dried tomatoes before, but they turned out great as well.  I just washed and quartered the tomatoes, added salt and basil, and put them into my 135 degree dehydrator for about 12-15 hours.  They are sweet and delicious.  

I can't wait to use them in salads and soups.  It takes a lot of tomatoes to make just a few of these.  A grocery sack full of tomatoes made about four cups of sun dried tomatoes

We also had a bumper crop of tomatillos.  Since I couldn't "can" them this year, I made a monster batch of my favorite tomatillo salsa, and shared.  If any of you want some tomatillos, I still have quite a few out there.

Our Pumpkins are oranging up nicely as well.  Pumpkin pie season is just around the corner.  Mmmmm. Averie is excited to paint all the mini pumpkins.  

Look for them adorning our porch in the very near future.

Wild 'Shrooms

While Brandon was on the "man" trip, they found some of these huge mushrooms.  Some campers they met up there were gathering them to eat.

They are called Chanterelles, and are apparently ingredients of gourmet cuisine.

The other campers ate them one night, and nobody died, so the brave men decided to partake.  Apparently they were delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that Mr. Allen brought me some specimens to try for myself.

Did I dare?

We grilled them with some walla walla onions in a little olive oil.  And.... Oh my!  Amazing.

(Uh, they really weren't as greasy as they look in this picture.)




Such a fancy name.  I guess they are really expensive to buy.  And let me tell you why...

They are YUMMMY!  I would describe them as rich, mild, tender, and somewhat firm.  They have a very subtle flavor, but have a quality about them that is hard to describe.  Comparing them to ordinary button mushrooms is like comparing lobster to imitation krab.  Similar flavor, but completely different richness and quality.

And while I do not endorse, recommend, or encourage anyone to pluck, eat, or otherwise consume wild fungi of any kind...  I'm really glad I tried these.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brandon's Kayaking Trip

Last week my husband went to Northern Washington State with his dad, brother, and brother-in-law on a camping/fishing and kayaking trip. Cool, huh.

I wasn't that envious until I saw the pictures of the gorgeous scenery they were traveling through.

Unfortunately, when you have four young children, family kayaking isn't too practical. Maybe someday I'll tag along though. (I -DID- go to Hawaii for ten days last summer... I guess we're even. Not that anybody is counting...)

I'm actually really glad that he is able to get away and spend time with the guys. He works so hard all the time, and he doesn't get to see his dad and brothers very often.

They caught a lot of fish.

And saw some beautiful, beautiful country.

And from the sound of things, had a great trip. It's probably a good thing we don't have lakes and rivers like this too close by, or we might be purchasing some kayaks in the near future.

Just look at the color of that water! I guess it has a lot of copper in it, which makes that stunning green color.

I'm glad they had a great trip, but I'm also really glad Brandon is home!

I'll have to see if I can pin him down to add more details. That's all I've got...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Annual SRPAP Art Show

We had a very busy week.  Brandon went to Washington for most of the week on an awesome kayaking trip.  (Post and pictures to follow shortly.)  I held down the fort with all the kiddos, but I also had a horrible cold for a couple days while simultaneously getting ready for my big annual art show with the Snake River Plein Air Painters.  It's remarkable how much extra time everything takes with a baby.
My mother rocks.  No really, she does!  She came and helped me all weekend with the kids so I could go to my art shows and get everything done.  I couldn't have done it without her.  It was SO nice.  Thank you, thank you, thank you mom!

Thursday I had a little art show in St. Anthony.  I was feeling so sick that night, I just went to bed instead.  Friday morning I felt much, much better.  I was excited to find out that the St. Anthony show was extended another evening.  

My Mom came on Friday to help me out.  She watched all the kids while I went to hang my Iona show.  After I picked the older kids up from school, and we went to the St. Anthony gallery.  This is the only shot I managed to get.  All three of the paintings on the wall there are mine.  

It's kind of a run down part of "town".  I've never been to St. Anthony before.  The curator and her husband are trying to build the art community and interest there.  I love it when people are passionate about art and are trying to promote great things, despite a terrible economy.  

We had to hurry back home that night so I could get to my show in Iona.  I was late, but not too terribly. I've found that with my fourth child came a great tendency to be late to everything.  I'm accepting that.  Working on it, but not beating myself up.  I also no longer judge flaky people that have a hard time getting places on time or at all.  (I may or may not be one of them now.)

I had a great time at the show.  I had 8 paintings hanging on the wall, and another 12 unframed for sale in a crate.  There were 11 artists represented this year.  I think it was the best show ever for this group.  It was a lot of fun to see them all together.

Here's my little display "station".
(Right near the EXIT sign in case of emergency.)

Rylan was a great helper.  No, no he wasn't.  But he was cute.
This is the building.  It's a great old rock church building that
has been converted into a gallery space.  
Thanks again to everyone that came out to the show!  If you weren't able to sneak away, I posted a little slide show of all of my paintings that were in the show HERE on my art blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ellorie's Surprise

Guess what my 6-year old daughter brought home from school today.  Go ahead, guess.


No.  She really doesn't have much homework yet.

Her uneaten lunch?  

Well, yes, but that isn't the focus of this post.

A new friend?

Well, sort of.  Not a human friend.

Grasshoppers?  Praying Mantis?  Lady Bugs?

You're getting warmer...

Yup, frogs.

Two of them, in fact.

She caught them on the playground at recess this afternoon.

And her teacher let her keep them in a used water bottle to bring home.

She is delighted.

I am trying my best to match her enthusiasm.

In the mean while, does anyone know how to care for baby frogs?

They are currently residing in a big bucket with a little water, grass, leaves, weeds, and some fresh fruit to attract insects.  Will this work?  I have no idea.

But in my current opinion, frogs are already far superior to the disgusting grasshoppers we have been keeping as "pets".


Brittany the Zookeeper (among other things)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Elephant Walk

Rylan turned 8 months old on Wednesday. He seems to think he is one of the big kids now. He climbs up to everything and tries to walk along the couches. This unfortunately means he falls down a fair amount. He's usually pretty tough though. No, I lied. He cries like a baby each and every time he falls down. It's a tough learning curve.

It turns out that he doesn't like the prickly grass. We were laughing this afternoon as he attempted to maneuver across the lawn. He was doing the "elephant walk" with a little whine in his voice. He wasn't very happy about it.

He's also discovered the sliding glass door. He likes to climb up and look for Rocket out the window. It's pretty dang cute.

I can't believe how fast this little boy is growing up! It goes by so fast.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Decorating Bug

Yesterday was exceedingly unproductive.

It could have been the extreme lack of sleep due to one or more children waking constantly at night.

It could have been the cold, rainy, want-to-stay-indoors-all-day weather.

It could have been the 8 month old darling boy that followed me around, wanting to be held all day.

It could have been the familiar messes that I kept cleaning up. Over, and over, and over, and over.

It could have been the phone that kept ringing, and ringing.

But it was most likely the internets.

Specifically the cute crafty blogs I couldn't quit clicking on.

Sometimes my inner crafty diva needs some inspiration.

And so when I should have been mopping the floor, cleaning out my closet, scrubbing the toilets, or folding the laundry...

I made this instead:

I wanted to make some banners a long time ago, but out of fabric. But then it hit me yesterday that I have piles of cute scrapbooking paper just begging to be used. So I made a cute little banner to hang over the sliding glass door. I think I'll probably make another one for the girls' bedroom. But not today.

I'm not much of a decorator usually, but I've been bored with my current decor lately, so I've changed up a few things.

There was, of course, the chandelier project. The jury is still out on that one. It may come down eventually.

I've re-arranged and swapped out paintings on the "painting wall" numerous times.
There are more erroneous holes than I would like to 'fess up to.

And last week I updated the "family picture" wall.
(Never mind the fact that our family picture is two years old.)

This is the wall that I'm dying to paint in a harlequin (diamond) pattern. Maybe sometime this winter I'll finally get around to it. No promises though.

I'm amazed at those crafty decorator people that move into a house and have it decorated to the nines within a week of getting settled. We're going on our third year here, and I feel like I'm just starting to consider that something should probably go upon all of the "dust" shelves surrounding the living room. I'm completely lost on that one.

I'm sure if I spent enough time scouring some more crafty blogs, I could figure it out...

But not today. I'm off to paint. Have a great weekend!