Monday, June 30, 2014

Photography Challenge Day 23: Patterns

I've taken a few photos over the years of what I would call "patterns", or backgrounds for photobook or scrapbook pages.

Can you guess what they are?









A.)  Evergreen after an ice storm, at Mom & Dad's house, 2009.
B.)  Cave bacon - it's a geological feature in Cave of the Mounds, which I visited with Rylee in 2010.
C.)  A column and the ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, which I visited with Jeff, Kiaj, & Rhyanne in 2010.  I stood very near that column and pointed straight up.
D.)  An air vent cover at the National Art Museum, Washington DC, also 2010.
E.)  A stone wall, also in DC, also 2010.
F.)  A rock near the shore in Whittier, Alaska, one of our stops on our Alaskan Honeymoon in 2012.
G.)  Trying to photograph water at the Anchorage Zoo, Alaska, 2012.
H.)  Birch tree, also at the Anchorage Zoo, 2012.

Out of all these photos, I think only one or two made their way into photo albums...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Photography Challenge Day 24: Animal

This photo is of Nathan & Tina at Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison, WI, in front of the buffalo.  I'm not sure what year, but I would guess 2001, the year I moved to Wisconsin.  Or maybe 2002...

Just look at how small he is!  And now he's going to be a senior in high school!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pinterest Review: One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

The people I live with and I do like pasta, and cheese, and such.  And I like to make one-pot meals, and casseroles.  I really thought that Chili Mac would be a big hit.  I made this a couple months ago, back before it was a/c weather...


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces elbows pasta
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Add Flavor to Your Dishes With Bertolli®
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  • Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

I have no idea if anyone other than myself ate this.  I liked it, but when I don't know if my family likes it, it really doesn't get put on the menu again.  Rhyanne is not a fan of beans, so I think when she heard that as an ingredient, she just wasn't interested.
But this was definitely a "we have ground beef, and some noodles, and some beans, let's make chili mac!" kind of a recipe.  If your family is a fan of those ingredients, I say make it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Yesterday Mom sent Tina & I a text to ask if we remembered what day it was.

I was a smarty-pants and said it was a day that was so darned busy I didn't have time to call them until I got home, and I wasn't home yet (it was 8PM).  It was a day when everyone said "Oh, it's Friday the 13th" and I said "It's my Mom & Dad's anniversary!  They've been married 44 years!"

Here's what a wedding reception in 1970 looked like:

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

BTW, Mom - you've been married for 70% of your life...  Congratulations!
Also, how did you get your hair so high?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Photography Challenge Day 28: Flowers

Oh, so many flowers to chose from.  Let's go chronologically...

2010, Washington DC

2011, my wedding shower

2012, Anchorage Zoo
2013, just outside my engraver's shop
2014, a living wall at a seminar - so cool

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Photography Challenge Day 30: Self Portrait

I took this picture back in 2009, when Rylee and I were driving back from Jennifer's wedding.

Rylee was a boring passenger, just snoozing away...

But, it was her birthday, her 10th birthday, so I couldn't really fault her.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Photography Challenge Day 26: Close-up

Flashback to Spring 2010.  Jeff & I took Kiaj & Rhyanne to DC.

Rhyanne took this photo (Extreme Close-Up!!!) when we were at the Memorial to the Declaration of Independence.  You can see all the pretty flowers as well as Rhyanne with the camera, in my sunglasses.

Also, do you see all those freckles?  I just don't see them when I look in the mirror...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pinterest Review - Ground Beef and Twice-Baked Potato Pie

I am a fan of Sheppard's Pie.  I saw this recipe for Ground Beef and Twice-Baked Potato Pie and thought, "yummy" - let's try it!   It's kinda like Sheppard's Pie...

Ground Beef and Twice-Baked Potato Pie


lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
cup chopped onion
cup Progresso™ plain bread crumbs
teaspoon dried sage leaves
teaspoon salt
package (1 lb 8 oz) refrigerated garlic mashed potatoes
cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
cup chopped fresh tomato, if desired
slices precooked bacon, chopped, if desired
medium green onions, chopped (2 tablespoons), if desired


  • 1Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, mix beef, onion, bread crumbs, sage, salt and egg until well blended. Press in bottom of ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  • 2Bake uncovered about 50 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of beef mixture reads 160°F. Sprinkle with tomato, bacon and green onions.
So, basically you make a meatloaf mixture and turn it into a "crust" in your pan, and throw the mashed 'tatoes in on it.

Problem was that the meatloaf became very condensed because your mashing it into your pan.    Also, I made mashed potatoes instead using the store-bought ones.

Would I make this again?  No.  I would just make meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  And it would be delicious!