The Start of a Book

I thought I’d offer you all a look at the new book I’m writing. Hope you like it.

The Adulteress

“It’s a blue house with lovely white shutters and a wrap around porch where you can sit and watch the ocean, and it’s close to my parents!” Pulling the four of us girls along the lonely road back to the ranch it seemed like a dream house…a dream world. I kicked a rock on the roughly paved road conjuring up an image of that house. And it seemed happy, as if nothing sad or angry could live in sight of such beauty.

“What about Dad?” My oldest sister Leah piped up with a rather fierce and somewhat quizzical look on her face.

“Dad will probably want to stay here.” My mother waved off the comment as dismissively as possible.

I glanced over at Leah with sad eyes and in that moment we agreed soundlessly that someone would have to stay behind to take care of him. I could almost feel my lip curling at the comment. I certainly wasn’t going to go live in some fantasy house next to my mother’s parents.

“So doesn’t that sound wonderful? Who wants to go?!” With childlike glee she looked around at us all and while our two youngest sisters jumped up and down in glee over the prospect of moving somewhere new. Leah and I stayed silent and I kicked at another little rock. They hadn’t even painted lines on our road…we were that insignificant. In that moment I could feel my mother’s hot glare on the back of my head as if it was seeping into my actual being scorching like fire on grass.

“I don’t know Mom…” It was all I could get out. The pain of leaving and living next to those people was overwhelming. The loss of my father excruciating. As good as I was imagining far off places this new house didn’t take much. And with that I said the bravest words of my life, “….I think I’ll stay here for a while Mom.”

I was not spoken to for a week.

(All the above material is copywritted and is not for sale or reproduction)

A Dinner to be Proud Of.

I’m the first to admit that I have something like 300 recipies on pinterest that I have yet to try.  It’s a disease.  Pinterestitis or something.  But yesterday I came across something delicious…

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It’s hard to make out in the picture…but they are called cheesy taco crescent calzones.  Absolutely delicious.  All I needed was some shallots and pillsbury crescent rolls.  Each can makes two.

Then I cooked ground beef and warmed up some refried beans and placed them on the dough with shallots, tomatoes, olives, and some cheese.  They were then folded over and placed on a greased cookie sheet and left to bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Mmmm…delicious.

I heartily suggest making these…you really can’t mess them up and it’s a cheap way to feed a family.  I spent a grand total of $5.36 at the store on rolls and shallots.  Not bad for dinner.

The Big Party Revisited

I wanted to go back to Little Miss Owl’s birthday party…give a little walk through to show all the work involved and how beautifully it turned out.

My MIL and I had…I think…four meetings to plan out the party.  Food, favors, decor, guest list…it was a lot to go through.

The theme was never discussed…we knew right from the beginning what it should be. Owls.  Last year was a tea party and it was great.  But this year we wanted to bring her in more hence all the bite (or so) sized foods.  Perfect for a two year old.

We start off with the desert table…

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Above is a fabric covered art print that we attached the happy birthday banner to.

On the table are owl gift bags, sour gummy worms in little baskets, shortbread owl cookies with wafer paper, owl cupcakes, and of course the large owl cookies.IMG_3863

To make these…simply open an oreo (twisting or a knife is key) and then place on top of the cupcake along with M&Ms for eyes and orange or black ones for the beak.

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Next come the large owl cookies, which is a chocolate chip cookie batter (sans chips) with a chocolate frosting.  For the owl: peach rings and white chocolate chips for the eyes, black licorice for the “eye brows”, black sprinkles for the body, and M&Ms for the feet and beak.  They turned out delicious and were a huge hit!

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Here are the shortbread cookies with the owl design on wafer paper.  MIL found the wafer paper and I will edit the post with that link.  They were delicious.  Royal icing was used to bond the paper to the shortbread.

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This is a vanilla bean cake with strawberries and blackberries as filling then iced with dirty ice.  I did a flower design on the sides with a piping tip.  Then I colored the fondant green and pink and cut out the eyes and wings with circular cookie cutters.  For the eyes I didn’t fold in the coloring completely so that they have a “marbled look” which makes them look like actual eyes.  The smaller circles for the wings were layered on top of each other for depth.

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Onto the food!! Above are the little food signs…I used a font called Magic (Harry Potter themed) and then printed on cardstock.  It’s an inexpensive and easy way to let your guests know what they are eating-even if its all food they know.  Then it just looks good. 🙂

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The hit of the party-burger sliders.  They consisted of whole wheat buns that were purchased at target, small sized hamburger patties we shaped ourselves, and then spinach and onion.  The burger was then skewered with a cherry tomato.  The skewers were topped with cardstock buntings that my MIL printed out.  An easy way to add in how old the birthday girl is!

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Ignore the glare…also among the food were bite sized grilled cheese with tomato soup.  The grilled cheese were made with cheddar cheese and sprinkled with a tomato and basil feta cheese.  They were pronounced as the best grilled cheese…and they were gone at the end of the party.

Sprinkled on the table are cut outs of 2’s as well as little owls.  I had a punch that was left over from her first birthday party.  It was bought in Michaels in their Martha Stewart collection.  Also on display are four topiaries sitting on some fake grass that was purchased from hobby lobby.  The topiaries are home to some metal owls as well as plastic owls.

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Here’s a closer look.

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We also served fruit kabobs consisting of two strawberries, two melons, and one watermelon.  The melons were all cut out with cookie cutters to add a bit of whimsy to the table.

What isn’t pictured are our mac and cheese bites that were placed in cupcake liners. Because we have to accommodate dietary needs, these were made with gluten free pasta and were delicious.

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And finally here’s Little Miss Owl enjoying her brunch right before the party.

All in all it was a brilliant success and left us with some delicious leftovers and one exceptionally happy birthday girl-which means the world.

Oh, and a big congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their son.

Our Day.

Today is an extra special day. The day Mr. Wonderful and I became husband and wife and the day the three of us became a family.  I couldn’t imagine my life without the two of them…making me laugh, making me cry, making me shake my head at their antics. Family makes life beautiful…just like seeing new places is only truly wonderful when you have someone to share it with.  And while I didn’t see myself as a mother for a long time…I am beyond thrilled that I am one.  Beyond thrilled to be the wife of an amazing man who continues to surprise me every day with his unmeasurable love.

I love you both.

To the last four years. And to Our Day.

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What a change life can bring us in such a short amount of time.

Oh and if you are wondering about gifts, the 4th anniversary is linen (traditional) or flowers (modern-also have heard chocolate-that should be required on every anniversary I think).  You can guess who did which.  Mine were pressed…so I can always have them.  And while linen is a little specific I went with canvas…canvas covered in oil paint.  My newly completed painting of Urquart Castle. Based off a photo I took…

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Painting

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on an oil painting.  Nothing special, but it’s Urquart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness.  And as our anniversary draws near, it’s wonderful to look back on our honeymoon and remember all the little details about our trip.  Purchasing crackers and cheese and eating them on the banks of the Loch.

When you paint you obsess about color.  Is it the right shade or tone? Is the green too yellow or too blue?  Do the clouds need a bit more yellow or more blue?  Is the brown too red?  But what I realized was that after the second day of painting while driving to the grocery store I spent more time analyzing the color of the mountains and the sky, trying to parse out all of the individual colors that make up something that looks “white” or that looks “brown.”  In short…I took more notice.  And I took notice because I wanted to remember what a tree covered mountainside looks like through an overcast sky.  And Scotland is almost always overcast.

I have yet to come close to a decent representation of water.  It’s not blue. It’s clear with a small tint of green and blue and yellow…it’s glass.  But I have more appreciation for the beauty of water precisely because I cannot paint it.  Appreciation for the world around me because of the depth and scope of its range of colors.

An Owl Birthday Party

The party was a smash hit.  No hiccups like last year when our washing machine flooded our floor in the washroom twice or the glass top to our picnic table smashing into a thousand pieces.  Yesterday was perfect.

Let’s just sit back and enjoy some pictures!!!

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Early in the morning…requesting watermelon and pasta for breakfast.

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A view of the table.

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Hanging out with her Aunt Joe.

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Owl Shortbread cookies and treat bags

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So many owls…

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View of the buffet

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Owl topiaries

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The cake eating was much cleaner this year.

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A new little owl backpack from some great friends.

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Owl Cookies: peach rings, white chocolate chips, black sprinkles, and m&ms.

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Isn’t she beautiful?

Happy Birthday to my beautiful little girl.

Party Weekend

I apologize for the short absence the last couple of days.  It is birthday party weekend for the beautiful little girl in my home and things are going at full speed around here.  Mr. Wonderful has been incredibly busy with work so it’s down to my MIL and I, who I have to say is the woman you definitely want on your side when planning a party.

This year’s theme?

Owls.

What else?

This morning when I went in to change her diaper she groggily wrapped her arm around her favorite owl and pulled him out of bed with her.  He’s always in the car with us and woe betide her Dad if he puts her to bed without him.

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There he is at her right hand.

We are all very excited about the party…Little Miss Owl loves to be the center of attention and loves wrapping paper even more.

On another note the changing table she has completely grown out of was SOLD! So with help from my in laws we purchased new shelving and baskets for the closet and have it completely organized.  No clutter to be found!  I feel like my life has meaning again. 🙂

Daily Hiit Blog

Just a short one today!  Just wanted to let you all know that my blogging profile is up on the DailyHiit.com!!! Pretty exciting.  Should be getting my first blog post up this week so look for it!

If you want to check it out, click here.

What I post on the Daily Hiit will also go here but I’ll always include the link (www.dailyhiit.com/hiit-blog/author/rachaelwright)

 

 

Creating a Picture Gallery

 

 

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One of my recent DIY projects was a picture gallery.  I had most of these wonderful photos just strung up on ribbon and attached to the wall but it didn’t look finished.

So enter a rather outdated picture my sister gave me that used to hang in our parents house…similar to this

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Not really the greatest.  And not really my decor.

But it was so easy to fix.  I took out matte, no chances of saving it because the picture was glued onto it, and the glass.  Then I twisted in these things…

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I have no idea what they are called.  Anyways I screwed them in right in the recess where the matte used to lay.  Six in total, three pairs.  Then its only a matter of picking out your ribbon or adorable twine and stringing it.  I did mine a bit loose so that the pictures would hang in a curve.  It turned out gorgeous.  And the best part is that the photos can be switched out any time for new ones and I can hang 15 pictures without needing 15 frames.  Quite economical.

Hope you enjoyed!