Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A mountain of challenges....

from 2 peas. I just went through the challenges from the last two weeks and updated the blog.

9/6 Challenge

What handmade items are you making for Christmas this year? Anything? Any Ideas?

I made my own cards last year and never got a chance to send them out. My FIL died in a fire before Christmas, so the holidays weren’t so cheerful. I luckily have them ready to go for this year and just need to stick a family photo in them.
The only other thing I plan on making are small scrapbooks for my family. I retyped the quizzes from the Simple Scrapbooks Quizzes book and passed them out to everyone. This will be their gift from me.

9/7 Challenge

You love to scrapbook. You love to create something with paper. With all the cool papers out there, or the ones you already have, what is something on your heart you really wanna start… an album, a layout, a project – anything…!!!

I have too many things. I’m trying really hard to get caught up on all of my trip pictures. I’m about 3 years behind. And my dogs album is behind. I just started a book of “us” that I need to start doing pages for as well. I have hundreds of ideas and haven’t really sat down to work on them.

9/8 Challenge

What do you do when you are feeling down… to get your spirits lifted?

It depends on what I’m doing, where I’m at and what I have access too. And who is with me. I really love to just relax and cuddle up with Rascal. He always makes me feel better. Like Charles Schultz said “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

9/9 Challenge

Blog about your top 5 fave songs right now.. and your top 5 latest movies you’ve seen…

5 Songs:

Hate Me by Blue October
Anything by the Killers
Steady as she goes – Raconteurs
For you I will & These Walls – Teddy Geiger
Juicy – Better than Ezra
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
(Okay, more than 5 but these are the ones on repeat on the Ipod, so they must be my favorites.)

Movies – that would actually imply I go to the movies. Everything I see is through Netflix and is several months old.
Curious George
Sisterhood of the traveling pants
Eddie and the Cruisers (I know, its old, but it’s a good one that I just recently saw for the first time)
Finding Neverland

9/10 Challenge

A challenge about what you believe in.
What things in life, do you know.. FOR SURE?? As Oprah would say…

I know that family is the only sure thing in life. No matter what.

9/11 Challenge

Answer this question…
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?

That my mother WAS right. That you turn into your mother at some point. To enjoy every day to the fullest when you’re young because once you’re an adult, life isn’t all its cracked up to be. Yesterday I was 18 wishing I was older and now I’m pushing 30 wishing I could turn back the clock.

9/13 Challenge

If I had a motto, it would be:


9/14 Challenge

Autumn Season
What do you do for this season around your home?
Do you decorate for the season? And if so, what do you use..how do you decorate??

I have a box full of stuff to decorate my home, but I haven’t pulled in out in two years. I fully decorated my home the first year we were in it, but since then, I haven’t done much. Where I live, there isn’t much of a change of seasons and that kind of kills holiday spirit. I usually go back to New York to get in the mood for Christmas because So Cal doesn’t exactly offer a holiday atmosphere.
I don’t have any plans other than to carve some pumpkins this year.

9/15 Challenge

What kind of simple things do you like to surround yourself with? And why?
What ordinary items in your life give you the great comfort and/or joy?

My dog. The little piggy faced pug that follows me around the house waiting for me to drop treats as I cook. The one who follows me into every room because there might be an adventure and he never misses a good adventure.

9/16 Challenge

Who is to blame? Who got you hooked on Scrapbooking.

My friend and old neighbor Karen. I saw a little puppy dart out her door one day that looked just like mine. After a few minutes, I realized that we both had pugs. She invited mine down for a play date. As we got to know each other, she started telling me about scrap stuff and then we visited a store. It was all over after that. She now owns her own store – which is one of the premier stores in So Cal.

9/17 Challenge

Food Preferences:
--How do you take your coffee/tea? Lots of sugar and cream. I don’t do coffee and only drink tea when I’m sick
--How do you like your eggs? Blech. If I do eat them, scrambled and very well done. I can’t do runny or wet eggs.
--Favorite breakfast foods: Glass of milk or bowl of cereal (I know, I’m boring.)
--Coke or Pepsi? Either. I don’t care. For a more politically correct answer, it would be Pepsi.
--You’re feeling lazy. What do you make? A bowl of cereal.
--You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? – Always pepperoni and extra cheese
--You feel like cooking. What do you make? In the winter, I love a good roast or stew. Any other time, teriyaki chicken or pork.
--Do any foods bring back good memories? Anything made at Christmas. I love baking with my grandmother.
--Do any foods bring back bad memories? No.
--Do any foods remind you of anyone? Home made ice cream – reminds me of summer holidays with my family
--Is there a food you refuse to eat? That list is too long to even start…..
--What was your favorite food as a child? Another long list….
--Is there a food you hated as a child but now love? I’m such a picky eater, its just not funny.
--Is there a food you loved as a child but now hate? See answer to the last question.
--Favorite junk food. Anything Chocolate
--Favorite dessert? Anything chocolate.
--The perfect nightcap? Anything chocolate.
--Do you have any weird food habits? I’m picky. If I don’t know what it is, I don’t put it in my mouth.

9/19 Challenge

Share one of your favorite cold weather/fall recipes.

Beef Stew

Boil 4 cups of water with 2 Bay leaves and onion soup mix
Add stewing beef and simmer for an hour or until meat starts to get tender.
Add a cup (or more) of barley and simmer for 2 hours.
Add potatoes and celery
Add 2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
Simmer until celery kind of dissolves and the sauce is getting thicker
Add salt and pepper to taste
About an hour before serving add chunks of potatoes that are cut in large squares.
Simmer until the potatoes start getting soft
Add baby carrots and simmer until they are soft but not mushy (unless you like them mushy) They should be fresh, just a little cooked.
At the last minute, add a bag of frozen peas.


I just throw everything in and let it go all day, adding the vegetables at the end. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat will be.

9/21 Challenge

How did you meet your significant other.

We actually worked together at Frito Lay. I had a good relationship with a lot of the other guys there, but he was too shy. He used to keep to himself so I made it a challenge to get him to talk to me. I’d find things to talk to him about. Two of the women I worked with stated hinting around (I had no idea they were doing this, but they knew I had a crush) to him about me and finding things out about him. About a month before the company Christmas Party, he asked if I was going and that maybe we could go together. I accepted before he finished the question. Our first date was the next weekend. We saw a movie and had dinner at an Italian restaurant. That was 8 years ago this November!

9/22 Challenge

Blog about your hair. The good, the bad and the plain ugly.

I should have pictures to post. I have naturally stick straight hair that I hate. Its not just straight, but flat. Imagine a really ugly hippie with flat hair. It parts in the middle no matter what I do. Since I love curly hair, I take the time and spend the money for a perm. Its really kinky curly right now and I LOVE it. Its starting to relax and looks awesome.

9/24 Challenge

Blog about your favorite fragrances. What do you love smelling/wearing as a perfume? What do you love to smell as a room spray in your home?

I love Bath and Body works Gardenia, Pear Blossom and Coconut Lime Verbena. I have the shampoos and conditioners that match the body washes and sprays.
For home scents, I love Yankee Candles or the candles that have a strong scent. I usually stock up on a bunch of scents and then burn them one by one. Right now, I love their citrus scents they came out with this summer. I have a Buy 2 get one free coupon that expires this week……. Might be time to stock up again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Well, we took advantage of the great discount on booking future cruises on the boat. $300 shipboard credit and a smaller deposit. We have all of 2007 booked. A coastal cruise in May up to Vancouver and a 15 day cruise, round trip to Hawaii in September.
I'm trying to convince Bryan to book 2008.........

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Not sure why everyone makes fun of the Polish.....
Very nice country, nicer than in some of the other places I've been this week. Saw the best castle yet on this trip - Malbork castle. Had lunch there. It was a Teutonic Knight castle built in the 12th century.

On our way to Oslo now - the last stop. One day at sea and then we stop in Oslo and then back to Copenhagen. Can't believe its over already. Well, 3 more days of feasting and then its over.

Had to check the Kings pre-season schedule and I was VERY happy to read that they beat the Ducks last night 7-1. My Jason Labarbera stopped all 10 shots he faced. Garon stopped 13 of the 14 he stopped and Cloutier stopped all of his. Thats my boy, Jason. He'll be the #2 goalie this year. He should be.
I'm going to miss Frozen Fury 9 in Vegas - should be a good one. But I'll be back in time to see the last home pre-season game on the 25th. At last, hockey is back!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

From Russia with love.

I love Russia. What a country. I wasn't ready to leave - I know there is so much more to see. I'm thinking about one of those river cruises now. Maybe 2008 (2007 is all booked up). A trip down the Volga River. Yeah, sounds like fun. Now I just need to convince my husband that its a good idea.

I saw Yusopov's Palace today - where Rasputin was murdered. Church on the Spilled Blood where Alexander II was assasinated, ate lunch at a place called "The Last Palace" where I had beef stroganoff. The story behind the meal was that some rich person named Stroganov was too old and couldn't cut his own meat. So they made the dish with sliced beef and boiled potatoes for him. At least thats what the guide told me. Makes for interesting stories.

Visited the Hermitage Museum. Now there is a museum. They said it would take you 7 years - going 7 days a week and spending 1 minute on each painting/piece of art etc to see everything. We got the quick tour. Some amazing stuff in there.

And now we're cruising out of the city headed for Estonia. Now there is a place I never thought I'd visit, but now that I've done some research on it, I'm excited. This is one heck of a cruise and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Definitely spend some time in Copenhagen either at the beginning or end of the tour.
Now if only I was booked on the extension of this cruise. After dropping off in Copenhagen, it heads home to New York. 15 days and it stops in several ports in England, Scotland and Ireland. I might have to quit my job - anything beats flying home......

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Has it been two days?

Boy, this trip is flying by. Not sure if I want to go back to work or not. Well, I know I don't, but sometimes I miss having a reason to get up in the morning. I know, I'm sick and twisted.

Day ??? something or other on this cruise. Helsinki was awesome. Saw some more castles and a glass blowing factory. Picked up some cheap china in the store there. A lot like Ikea, but they have seconds - which are perfect. Picked up some new plates and serving dishes. I should have bought the coffee cups and bowls to match too. MIght have to order some when I get home. Loved the colors of everything. Very basic - colors and styles. Love the simple lines over here.

Docked in St. Petersburg this morning and had a busy day touring the city. I'm glad we get two days here - there's too much to see. We also had our first day of cool weather. Only 14 degrees celsius. In the mid 50's. Nice. Actually, with the wind, it seemed cooler. You could see your breath. I love the cold weather so today was perfect. Hope tomorrow is just as cool.

So, I saw Peterhof palace today. Then we went to St. Isaacs Cathedral and some other cathedral. It was a long day and I can't remember the name of the third place. There was lunch in there somewhere. A traditional lunch with vodka, caviar and all the other stuff. I don't eat half of the 'native' foods over here, but its fun to see what they do eat. I will say that the bread is fantastic over here. And I LOVE lingon berry jam. Or anything made with lingon berry. :)

Can't wait to get home and start posting some pictures. Nothing too fantastic since its only my Canon point and shoot camera. I didn't want to rish my Rebel over here. I don't know what I'd do if they made me pack it. I've heard some airlines are very restrctive and will not let you carry anything on. I won't pack that camera. I can only think of my mental state if they lose the bag its in or break it in transport. No, I'll just live with my little Canon A80. It takes great photos. Not as nice as the Rebel, but nice photos. I think I've up over 500 photos now. I'll have to sort through them when I get home and can actually view them.

On tap for tomorrow is more St. Petersburg. Tsarkoye Selo, Church of the Spilled Blood and more. I think she said we have a canal tour in there somewhere. Good, I love boat rides. And for anyone who remembers the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, our bus guide sounds like the character Natasha.

The city (St. Petersburg) is beautiful. Old and beautiful. Its clean but not clean. There is no litter and very little grafiti. Very little. Only in the areas down by the dock. But the buildings are so old and not very well kept up. Its funny (olay, not funny, but odd) to see the people living in poverty while the palaces and cathedrals are being restored. There is money somewhere here in St. Petersburg, just not with the people. The amount of gold leaf in some of these buildings is incredible. It is real gold leaf - 24k. And some of these rooms are just coated in it.

Since I love Russian history (especially the Romanovs) I'm just loving the tours. I've read so many books about the life of the family - how they lived, what they did, where they lived and now I'm actually seeing the places. Thats what I love. Reading about a place and then actually seeing it. I love anything about European history anyway so you could drop me in any city, in any country and I would find something.

I better finish this before I rack up too much on the bill. 35 cents a minute! Its a good thing I type fast!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The internet cafe...

...is busy tonight! Not sure what the deal is, but EVERYONE on this boat is lined up to use the computers. Better type fast.

Toured Stockholm Sweden today. Saw the Royal Palace and the entire Old Town. Awesome city. So much history. I'll say one thing for these Euro's, they know how to preserve their history. Not like Americans who tear down the ruins and put up a plaque to commemorate what used to be there. The stories are amazing. So much to see and not enough time to see it in.

Tomorrow, I'll be in Helsinki, Finland. Not sure what tour I have, but it most likely includes at least one castle and one church. I love castles. I want to live in the castles.

Had drinks in the Sjkywalkers lounge on the back of the boat. 18th Deck on the very back. Its like 200 feet in the air and you bounce around like crazy. A lot of fun. Great sunset and views as we sailed out of Stockholm. The weather has been a little warm, but cool enough to survive. It could be cooler though......

Bryan is busy playing golf on the simulator on board. He attempted to win the closest to the pin competition, but that didn't go so well. He said some scratch golfer just showed up in flip flops and took over. Nice. He could have won two tour tickets valued at $664 for the two days in St. Petersburg.

So, I ate at a traditional Swedish Smorgasbord today. Well, I only ate the bread and jam, but everyone else attempted to eat the 57 dishes with herring in them. Herring smells very bad, in case you wanted to know. Stinky fish. And they put it in everything. Everything. Did I mention that they put that stinky fish in every dish???? Blech.

So, the line of people is growing so I'll post this entry and update again tomorrow.
For all of my little friends at the office - hope you're having fun working while I'm on VAY-KAY-SHUN!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I love the internet. Isn't it great? The boats have internet access now and I can update the blog, check email etc.

Its great.
No pictures - can't upload any from here.
It's been an awesome three days in Copenhagen. The trip here wasn't so great. London was such a hassle. Remind me never to fly through there again on a connecting flight.....
Once we got through the 87 screenings and transfers and other such things they had waiting for me, the connecting flight to Copenhagen was hassle free.
The city is amazing. Can't say enough about it. The history and stories in this city could fill several blogs. I already have 200 photos. Some good ones to scrap and some just for posterity sake.
Took a couple of tours while we were there and tried to see as much of the city as possible. I need another few days just to take in the rest and see everything in detail.
No SUV's over here. Everyone drives a little compact car. By compact, I mean COMPACT. The Mini Cooper is a luxury vehicle over here. All of the cabs are Mercedes Benz' and it seems that everyone rides their bikes. I saw one pregnant lady over here who had to be past her due date and there she flew past me, her knees banging on that ever-so-pregnant belly. I've walked more in the last three days than I have in months. It almost allows me to justify the food I'll be putting away over the next 10 days.
Its almost 9 pm here and the boat will be leaving the dock soon. I have to get up on deck so I can watch.

I'll update more in a couple of days. Our first port is Nysanham (sp?) Sweden.

Friday, September 8, 2006

The bags are packed.....

The money is exchanged and the camera is loaded. We're off to Europe for two weeks. I'll be updating my blog every couple of days, but I won't be noting it in the 2peas Blog thread when I do. So, if you want to check back, bookmark this!

So, our flight on Terrorist Airways leaves tonight. Got my Ativan ready.

Not looking forward to dropping the dog off at the sitters for two weeks, but I'm sure he'll be fine. There will be two english bulldogs for him to play with so he should be fine. Won't miss us too much. I got him a new toy to take along and of course, his favorite blanket. He'll be fine. I just have to keep telling myself that......

And I leave you with a picture of the man I love!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

2 more days.....

2 more days....2 more days...

If I keep repeating it, those 2 days will be come 1 and then I can count the hours. Just checked the Princess website and my boat is docked in St. Petersburg. Very cool sunset over there.

I made a very difficult decision this morning. I won't be taking my Digital Rebel with me on this trip. There is too much that could happen. Sure, I can take it on the plane with me Friday but (God forbid) if something should happen while I'm over there and they change the carry on restrictions AGAIN, I'll be forced to pack the camera. I'm NOT packing that camera. I paid WAY too much money for it to subject it to the 'security' personnel and the baggage handlers on the tarmac. I've seen the way they 'handle' bags and there is no way anything is surviving the 'luggage toss'. I'm convinced those guys are in some kind of competition with their co workers on the tarmac to see who can throw what further.

So, the Canon A80 will be making the trip. And to think, I rushed my husband into getting this back in June so that I had time to learn the functions. This camera was purchased for this trip specifically. Its not like I go to Europe every day and I wanted to bring back some really awesome photos. Guess that won't be happening......

So, in honor of no camera, no photos today.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Extra hockey tickets.....

have been secured. Yep, I called and purchased some tickets for the special games this year. Opening night, the Rangers and Islanders, the Jersey retirement ceremony for Luc in January.
Of course, I still have my awesome seats now. Lets take another look, shall we?
I'm loving these. Can't wait for the season to actually start.I worked on some projects this weekend. I finished the layout from the Kelli Crowe class I took at the Oasis a couple of weeks ago.

Lots of stamping and water colors. Loved the idea though and Kelli was too cute! I know, the LO is about a hockey player. Sorry! I'm obsessed. And I really didn't have anyone else to use the LO for and Luc just popped into my mind as we were working on it.

I also made the little shell covered book from the Jenni Bowlin kit from a couple of months ago. I love these little books. 7 Gypsies 4x4 mini books. Book is painted with Ice colored paint from Lil Davis Designs, then coated with some of the glitter in the kit. I ModgePodged the shells over that and then covered them with clear Glitter Glaze (LDD). I printed out some beach and sunset pictures in wallet size and added them to the pages. Nothing too amazing but a cute little book to keep on my desk at work. Something I can look at when I don't want to be here.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Busy, busy, busy....

So, busy these days. Busy working, getting ready for the trip, cleaning. Busy. I can't believe we leave in 4 days. We booked this trip over 400 days ago and I've been counting it down. People at work were laughing at me when I posted the first count at some 400 + days.
Well, it creeps up when you aren't paying attention. And I wasn't. With work and other vacations planned in between, time really flew. I finished up the travel journals for my mother and I and we've ordered the money from the bank. Still lots to do. My family is pretty much packed, but I'll wait until the night before to do ours. Why? Because I try to wear myself out for the flight. If I stay up all night packing, I'll be exhausted and sleep on the plane. Trust me, I've done it before. Well, with the aid of some Ativan. I'm not a good flyer these days. Terrorists and turbulence are my biggest fear. so, if I sleep through it all, I could care less.
Some pictures of the travel journals....

I used the Sarabinders with the lined papers for journaling. A few pockets and envelopes are stuck in there to hold the good stuff. With a full 14 days over there, I should fill mine up. I've booked us on every tour that takes us to historic castles and other places. I love the history.
Can't wait. 4 more days.

Of course, I can't be ALL happy about this trip. There are several things I'm going to miss while I'm gone.

2 Michelle Hill classes at some of my LSS.
1 Frozen Fury - the best preseason hockey game in the entire league and several parties in Vegas with the LGK crew
The Long Island Scrapbook Expo - My mother and I were going to fly back and go with my cousins.
I'm sure there is more that I'm missing, but they don't matter. The above items matter. But, what the hell, I'm going to EUROPE baby!!!