Ella does not like to throw away anything. I mean it. She has outgrown dozens of t-shirts and shorts and she won't get rid of them.  She wants to give them to needy kids, but they 'just have so many memories.'   So, we have boxes of 'memory' clothes. 

Our last clean-out of her dresser though, resulted in another idea.  I asked her if I could take this pile of old clothes:
and make a rag quilt.  A rag quilt is not a traditional type if quilt.  You actually sew it so the edges of the fabric are showing so they get all frayed.

It turned out to be a fun project (although it's not done yet!).  Ella even wanted to help.
And, you know it - the boss was there making sure we didn't screw anything up.
It was the first project in our new craft room...We recently swapped our guest room and craft room.  So far, so good!
I'll post pictures when it's done....although I'm not sure when that will be...hopefully soon!
Yeah....it's a race. 13.1 miles.  I know, it's not a fashion show.  But, I'm not a hardcore runner.  I'm not what you'd call an elite athlete....ha! Not even close....

So, I need to make this race fun.  And one way to do that is ....  SHOPPING!

I mean, it's a big event, and most big events require a new outfit.  Plus, I didn't even own a real pair of running shorts, so that needed to be fixed.

So, I went to a local sporting goods store.
Just so you know that I haven't lost all common sense, I knew whatever I purchased had to be practical. I mean, duh! But, I just needed to feel prepared.  So, I tried on a few things....
Now, this was a first. I have never brought a camera into a dressing room.  The things I do for this blog! It's actually not a bad idea for future reference. The camera does not lie.
So, it was fun and it felt great. A little pre-reward for putting all that effort in.....runs in below zero temps, dehydrated runs, time away from my true fans, feet injuries and calf injuries.  Yep, I might sound cocky, but I deserved it.

So, no, I guess it's not a fashion show....but there's nothing wrong with looking your best while your sweating your guts out with your face beet-red and ready to vomit.

Bring it on Bayshore.
We went to a dog show recently.  We wanted to support Mojo's trainer, who was showing some dogs there. It was  a lot of fun, although Ella is already picking out our next dog! I keep telling her it's not going to happen - at least not for awhile!

If it were to happen though, I would want a smaller dog. I love that Mojo is a big dog, but two big dogs is another story.   So, I would want something like this for a second dog:
Ella has her heart set on this....
Yeah, sure....when you have your own house! Seriously, I love these dogs too, but the hair....

Other than dog-shopping, we got to see some really cool stuff.  We saw dogs pulling almost 2,000 pounds.  It was hilarious.  The good trainers just had to give their dogs a simple, 'Come On Boy' and the dogs would pull. 
One of my favorite parts was meeting two huskies. I am intrigued by huskies, because Mojo is half husky and actually acts more like one than a lab - even though he looks just like a lab.

This guy was so sweet:
And this one is a high school mascot!
One of my favorite moments, though, was meeting our trainer's puppies.  Before meeting the trainer, I had100% bad opinions of pit bulls.  I am not educated on the subject though, so I'm not going to get on any soapbox here.  His pit bulls are so gentle and relaxed and have really helped Mojo learn his stuff.

And you have to admit....this pup is pretty cute.
There won't be any pit bulls in our future, but I'm glad I've met a few now. 

So, the dog show was fun and we saw a lot of beautiful dogs....but for now we shall remain a one-dog family.
Ella loves to hear me tell the story of when I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Greg.  We were a couple of months into our relationship and already living together.

One day, he made me a peach pie.  FROM SCRATCH.

I was in awe.  My grandpa used to make wonderful pies. I couldn't believe that he had the skills to do that. I had never really learned to cook before I met Greg.  I could make very simple things like grilled cheese and noodles with butter and salt, but a pie? I thought that was reserved for culinary gods or something.

And, he did it so effortlessly...so matter-of-fact-ly.

So, I asked him to teach me how to cook, and he did.

Two years later, I asked him for an engagement ring (long story there....another post someday) and got that too.

OK, back to present day! I am usually the cook in our house because of schedules and how our household chores are set up.  Greg works late, so I fix dinner during the week, and he's usually out in the yard all weekend, so I typically cook then too.

But Greg still cooks.  If I'm not feeling well, or just went for a 10 mile run (UGH), he loves to step in and take over.
And he's SO good at it. The man can cook, and I'm a lucky girl.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a new book I bought - Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day.

I thought it would be nice to follow-up, since you only know about our first loaf.

We've made at least six more loaves since then - all from the master recipe - including ciabatta bread, loaf bread, boule and baquette. 

Here's our baguette:
Overall, we love this new concept. The crust is crispy and has a great bite, the inside is chewy with a nice lightness.  From start to finish, it takes a little over an hour (but definitely less than 5 minutes of actual work time).

Here's what we're not crazy about:  You let the dough rise on a pizza peel with some flour or cornmeal sprinkled on the peel to prevent sticking.  In all of the loaves we've made (except one) the bread still sticks.  We keep adding more 'stuff' to make it slide off, but it doesn't seem to work, because the dough is a very wet dough.   The one time it did come off easily was when I put so much whole wheat flower on the peel that it ended up burning on the pizza stone.

That's our biggest complaint - and you know what? It doesn't really matter. The bread above stuck to the peel a little and it's fine.  The loaves just aren't as pretty as you picture them. 

We haven't given up though!  We keep trying new ingredients and techniques.

I guess the only other thing we don't like is that the dough is kept in the refrigerator in a container that is not airtight, so it gets a slight crust on the edges where it is drying out.  That's not too bad though, because you pull it under when you're shaping the dough.

Overall, it's been great.  Easy, quick and so good.

Can't wait to try the other varieties in the book!
Ella has this tooth, and it's loose.  It's a special tooth though...You see, she has Greg's mouth and Greg has this one crooked tooth - it's the same one that Ella has loose now.  Ella really wants braces when she's older, and we've been talking about the benefits of having 1) straight teeth or 2) interesting teeth.   Sometimes interesting smiles have more character.

Anyway, two weeks ago she was SURE this tooth was coming out. I wasn't.  It just didn't seem ready to me.  But, ever since, she's been trying to get it out.
She tried pulling, eating apples and the ever-popular and not-so successful tying dental floss to the tooth and the other end to a door knob. I let her hold on to my finger during all these attempts.
She tried to get her dad to punch her in the mouth (!) and when he absolutely refused, she asked if he could just pull it out.
But, she really didn't want to have it hurt so bad.
So, I suggested that Ella seek advice from the animals.  After all, they have special methods for losing and shaping their teeth.

I have found a few puppy teeth after Mojo has worked this ring thing...
Her Royal Highness Princess Cinnamon, now she has teeth issues.  If she doesn't chew a lot, her teeth just keep growing and growing.....So, she uses this to keep them in line:
Each color of wood is a different flavor!

After examining all of her options, Ella decided to take another route: patience.  So, there hung the tooth in her mouth just waiting for the right moment to exit - until last night! While flossing, she decided to give it one more try. She tied the floss around the tooth and with a little tug...out came the tooth. 

Can't wait to see how that tooth comes in! 
Ok, I admit it - I am not a gardener. I don't enjoy longterm projects. I like to invest hard work and then be able to enjoy it in an hour or two. . . not a few months.

Greg is the gardener. And, he's old-school. He learned gardening mostly from his Grandma Dot and his dad. He's a really good gardner, and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for his talents.

So, when I saw an ad for this recently:
I jokingly suggested that he try it.

It was a joke....until he got all snotty about it. My husband, the most non-judgmental person I know - the guy who will try anything once - the most open-minded person I've ever met...pushed his nose up at the Topsy Turvy tomato planter.


It gave me energy. It gave me guts. It started to build inside me until I said, "Fine. If you're too good for the Topsy Turvy, I'll use it and we'll see who gets more tomatoes."

"OK" he said.


I don't know how to grow tomatoes. I don't even care if the dumb thing works, but now I have to perform! Even Ella is 'on Daddy's team' and that doesn't happen every day...or ever. 

So, It's on. We're buying identical tomato plants and we're going to see who produces more edible tomatoes...and maybe even have a prize for the biggest one.

Come on Topsy Turvy....for all those nay-sayers out there. Let's teach them that new isn't necessarily bad.

Gulp. (again)
Getting a puppy was a dream come true.  I would bond with him and love him and he'd take lots of walks with me....

Except our puppy wouldn't take walks.

He was scared.  I know! I've never heard of this before.

But, we were patient. We hired a trainer. We helped Mojo to build his confidence. 

And, now....
When we go here to get his leash:
We see this:
Before, when we'd go for the leash, he'd run for cover. If you look closely, you'll see his tail is blurry.  That's because it's "WAGGING!!" We actually thought we had a dog that didn't wag his tail!! It just took a little confidence training, that's all.
If we got him in the garage before, he'd stop on the top step.  Now, he only slightly pauses at the edge of the garage. 
So, finally, I have it: a dog to walk...and bond with...and love. 
Last Sunday Greg and I had two people come up to us and tell us that it's so fun to watch us, because we're like 2 teenagers in love.

"Really?" I asked.

Greg just shrugged, like he was saying, "Yeah, we know."

"Really?" I asked again.

He wasn't shocked, but I was. I mean, we've been together 19 years, married almost 16.  Our lives are centered around Ella and not each other.


Yeah, really.

The thing is, I love Greg more now than I did then, because we have so much history together. I love that whenever I go to type the word "great" I accidentally type "greg".

We have fun. . . a lot of fun.

I guess I was shocked because I think of everything we're dealing with now in our lives...and it just doesn't scream 'teenagers in love.'  But if I look beyond all of those things, it's still there - our unconditional, respectful and never-ending love for one another.

Then I put my finger on it....we are like teenagers in love, because we both have undying optimism. We both know that there are challenges ahead of us - some that might put our relationship in question. But, we know we'll get through them, because we're both not willing to quit. 

We've been through some serious issues in our relationship. Not all have been resolved, but that's ok - I don't think everything is meant to be resolved. We just move on knowing that it's out there. We don't bury it or anything.

So, maybe next time I won't be so shocked when someone says that. Maybe I'll just shrug my shoulders and give Greg a smile and a wink.
**Note: The above picture was taken in 1991 and we are both not teenagers. In fact, it would be impossible to put a picture up where we are both teenagers, because when Greg was 19, I was 10. So, in this picture, I'm 19 and Greg is 28.

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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