Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buttons on Sunday

Today I learned how to sew on a button! I am so, so, so, so proud of myself. I bought this shirt over Christmas.. and already 4 buttons had fallen off, and the fifth was dangling by a thread. So a dear lady had Rachael and I over after lunch for a little tutorial on Survival Sewing. The lesson included the button, the slip stitch (for seams coming apart) and the pick stitch (the tacking that holds the hem up on pants/skirts) And she is taking in a favorite skirt of mine... YES! It was a great little lesson :) And now I feel like little Martha S., sitting on the couch, sewing buttons. Now where's my sheep... I need to make some more thread.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove

A late brunch at Beachcombers Cafe in Crystal Cove, near Newport Beach. What a fabulous find, Anne! Such a fun and relaxing morning with the girls. And... we saw dolphins just a few yards from the beach!! It was amazing!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Jarod and I tackled the monstrous, daunting subject of finances tonight. While our living room floor is still strewn with bank statements, file folders and multi colored sharpies, we have successfully conquered the beast. I want to add that I now know my net worth and all about my ass.. ets. AND, thanks to prodding around my friends blogs, I discovered WOW! I have always, always, always ALWAYS dreaded and cringed when thinking about money and balancing books and budgets and... and... However, I can very proudly say that I am a new woman!! has seriously changed my life!! I am in love with it. I was a little nervous at first, giving a website unlimited access to our bank accounts, and everything else. But it is totally worth it! You can even split transactions into varying categories, as well as basing the entire budget on percentages because of unpredictable income streams (when you are an hourly employee, like myself). I am giddy with delight over budgeting. This is a new me.

Need a Little Laugh?

This is a funny, funny photo blog that posts pictures of very modern homes and their very modern dwellers. There is a competition to see who's caption will appear under the photograph. The captions are super clever and hilarious.

The first entry shows a picture and the top five candidates. The rest of the photos on the blog show only the winning caption. Enjoy!!

A little snippet:
"The hanging fireplace was trully a space-saver, but it left Rufus feeling redundant. He missed the days when she relied on puppy love for warmth."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Week's Update

A blurb from the past week at the Sickler Homestead:

Friday - At LAX, we picked up our friends from Camp Kivu in Colorado, Luke & Tamara. L & T are old work buddies from Kamp. We gave them the grand tour loop of LA ( LAX to Santa Monica Pier to Beverly Hills to Hollywood and back to home). We ate In-n-Out :) and had our pictures taken with a few "stars" as well as Shrek and Michael Jackson, who were cruisin' the Boulevard. I also had THE BEST chai latte ever that night. Mmmm.

Saturday - Had breakfast at the LAX Hilton with more Camp Kivu friends. We also got to spend the day seeing a lot of staff & campers fly in for their Spring Break Missions trip. After leaving the airport, Jarod and I had a WONDERFUL dinner out at Macaroni Grill!! Thank you, Mom-in-Law for that treat :)

Sunday - a day of rest. Working on my tan while reading by the pool.

Monday - I nearly killed Taiga. I guess when I mixed her raw egg in with her dry food, it was a bad egg. :( Poor thing, she was pretty miserable when I got home from work. But some cooked chicken and brown rice, along with a good puke cured her by the next day.

Tuesday - At my Talbot Wives group, our speaker spoke on finances. It was depressing.

Wednesday - In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, I worked 13 hours. Bleh. Not a fun day.

Thursday - While driving to work this morning, my to go mug of tea flew and flipped out of the cup holder of my car and landed in breakfast on the passenger seat, splattering yogurt and blueberries and walnuts all over the inside of my car.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spreading the Love

We went to Hollywood the night before last. I was feeling sorry for a few of the stars who, more than likely, don't receive as much "star love" as others. So, feeling the common bond of my hometown, I chose the wonderful, Glen Campbell to spread my starstruck love upon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Go to Brownies

I'm home today.. so what does that mean?! I'm BAKING! Here is a GREAT recipe for Brownies made from scratch (super E A S Y too). This will be my GO TO brownie recipe from here on out. I just pulled mine out of the oven and they are de-lish! Yum yum :)

Brooke's Go To Brownies
1 2/3 cps granulated sugar
3/4 cp (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2 tbs water
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cps all-purpose flour
3/4 cp cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350ยบ F. Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

COMBINE granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Spread into prepared baking pan.

BAKE for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

I finished "The Help" this past week and I have nothing but THUMBS UP for this book. It was a super fun and easy page turner; one of those few books that would actually keep me awake at night to read.

"The Help" is set during the Civil Rights Movement (1960's) in Jackson, Mississippi. The chapters switch voices between the black 'help' and a white, determined woman who sees that things are not as they are supposed to be. The character developments are memorable and very believable. Mrs. Stockett, the author, captures the feel of black women, including their views and voices and the fear during the 60's. While reading this book, it seemed as if I could really overhear the help talking in the kitchen and see the obstinate white women demanding more tea.

I had just a few drawbacks to this book (definitely not enough to give it a thumbs down, just a few critiques). After living in South Africa and seeing what Apartheid segregation was like, I have less compassion/understanding for the segregation and in the integration struggle here in the States. As bad as it was here, it just seems strangely overshadowed by the horrors I witnessed and have read about during Apartheid. So perhaps this is not a critique of the book, but rather a desensitization on my part. I also thought that the big picture ending was a bit cliche. No more details, as I do not want to give anything away... but I felt that the end could have pulled through a bit stronger. However, minus the two thoughts, I totally LOVED "The Help" and would definitely recommend it as a fun, easy-read, beach/vacation book :)