The Smallest of Gifts = The Soul of One’s Heart

Memorial Day on our boat this year was indeed special!  Bridget & Jeremy blessed us with their presence and in tow was one of the cutest little girls on the planet, Isabella.  And to my surprise she anxiously awaited my return to give me this special surprise she had made especially for mua.  One doesn’t “need” their own children to experience the compassion, love and thoughtfullness only a child can give.  I find it straight through my nieces and nephews whom are some of the most loving children I know!

Along with the beautiful flower Isabella so graciously picked out of her dance rehearsal bouquet she wrote a letter with a picture of our boat and how much she loves visiting us on the boat.  My sister allowed her to sound out and spell the words by herself.  By the way, I think the now dead flower looks just as lovely as it was alive, it’s just a different color now.  hehe

It says “Aunt Brandi I Love it” with an arrow pointing at her drawing of the boat.  The part that looks like the sun is the wheel of the boat and I believe the two little lines to the left of the wheel is the captains seat.

This is the backside of her letter saying she loves me and loves being at our boat.  Don’t you love how she spells “at Brade” meaning “aunt Brandi”.  Then she writes “I love you at Bran” . . . the “bran” cracks me up because I’ve always despised being called Bran for short.  Sounds like a box of cereal or something.  What a sweet thought to give a gift to her auntie that usually only mom’s experience.  From the soul of my heart, Thank you Miss Bella you make me smile!  You’re so sweet I could put you in my coffee.

Picture was taken of Isabella and I sitting on the bow of the boat.  I didn’t know Mike had taken this picture until I uploaded to find it amongst all the others.  She was telling me stories about a mouse of which I now forget how the story goes. I do recall her saying “he was the sweeeeeetest mouse!”

Photoshop Elements 6

My newest educational book arrived this past weekend, Photoshop Elements 6 The Missing Manual.  I’ve been using this software and getting through it by the seat of my pants or by getting so frustrated when I can’t figure out how to do the things I want to do.  Life and photo editing are much easier when you learn it the “right” way.  This book isn’t your typical dry catalog or computer book (snore).  It’s perfect for us non-techie people who are trying to learn Photoshop Elements.

So no more hair pulling or barking at my husband for not being able to help me quick enough, I’m learning this photo editing beast.  The Missing Manuals is a series of learning manuals for gosh I think almost anything.  If you click on this link you’ll be taken to their website where you will find all sorts of “missing manual” books.  I’m sure they have written one for a program that is making you go bald too.

My featured picture is of Mikey and the budster chilling by the boat last weekend.  It was edited by me and I added a Karen Russell Overlay.  I like it!  Trying to figure out how to add and use actions . . . I’ll surely post a picture with the result of it.  Actions are very very cool!

Laptop Bag by booq

I have not posted in a while so I figure I just post something that first came to my mind. I have had a new smaller MacBook for Thought Out for a few months and decided to get my third BOOQ bag. These bags are the best, the other two lasted with out wear and I recommend them highly. That is it for now and I look forward to this smaller bag in a few days.

Boa slimcase S90
Laptop Sleeves by booq

Unwrapped & Long Necks Polished Off

Yesterday was the official start of Spring for the Talmadge Family.  We started our day off with a brisk 3 mile walk of which Mike has me surprised this year.  It goes like this . . . during the winter we work out separately, he walks a few miles everyday with his friend at work while I typically go to the gym.  Come nice weather he and I walk together on the weekend.  Well this is the first year I’m not saying “come on pick up the pace”!  He’s actually outpacing me, well it does take me two steps to keep up with his one.  I’m completely impressed Mike!  Now lets  see who wins the push-ups competition.

Mike in his walking sneaks, Adidas jacket and iPhone . . .

And just because I have a fetish with taking pics of shoes . . . Mike’s sneaks LOL

The unofficial start to boating season started this weekend as we removed the shrink wrapping from the boat.  Wahooooo!!!!!  Well the shrink wrap is on it’s way to being off in this picture. . .

OK . . . there goes more of it.  Love & Luck is breathing fresh air again!

Well yeah now this is an interesting picture!  A few of us had some beers after the boat was uncovered and this is the rear view of the men.  From left to right . . . Mike, John, Cowboy Roy and Jeff.  Thanks for the pose and thanks for not mooning me guys!

And the cutest of the pack . . . Scottie Buddy Boy getting his lick on some icey cold ice.  This bucket housed the beers, yes they are burried in there, nice and cold!

And lastly the American Flag is up so you know what this means?  Albeit chilly boating season has started!  Cheers!

Time With Our Niece

I had the pleasure of having Isabella this past weekend.  It was an awakening experience, tiring, inspiring, exhausting, loving and everything else in between.  Isabella’s mom and dad took their first vacation away and spent a week in Italy (they so deserved this time)!  The following are snippets of this and that while she stayed with Uncle Mike and I.

Friday I picked her up from Daycare and off we went for our 1-hour drive to Auntie Brandi’s house and the little voice waffled through my car the ENTIRE way!  Was enlightening to hear the stories and the life of a five year old.  One of her stories went like this:

Bella:  Aunt Brandi, what if a ghost comes into my tent when I’m sleeping at your house and tries to get me?

Me:  I will wrap the ghost up in a blanket, tie him up and throw him in the trash.

Bella:  Aunt Brandi, if you feel something tickling your feet when your sleeping what do you think it will be?

Me:  I think it will be Scottie licking my toes.

Bella:  Naut Ah, it will be the ghost . . . teeeehehehehehehehehe

Me:  Silly girl

Saturday we went to see a cabaret show.  The picture above was taken before going inside the Downtown Cabaret Theatre to see the 1 1/2 hour show, The Three Little Pigs.  She was elated while Uncle Mike and I were umm amazed by the number of children they squished into this place and certain we’d come down with some sort of illness.  By the way the show was very good and I’d recommend it if you live nearby.

Sunday morning she asked for eggs with soft yolks and toast, this is the same breakfast she asked for Saturday morning as well.  She likes to put the egg on the toast (like poached eggs).  Upon placing her breakfast in front of her she proceeds to eat then the conversation went like this:

Bella:  Aunt Brandi can you cut the crust edges off my toast.  (mind you I had already put the egg on top of the toast and cut the toast into bite size pieces)

Me:  Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t like the crust edges before I cut everything up.  And by the way you ate the edges yesterday why don’t you want them today?  (I’m starting to realize that reasoning with a child is challenging)

Bella:  I ate the crust edges yesterday because I wanted to eat your food and not complain.

Oh WOW . . . a five year old with manners even if it was for one meal.

I notice she has two phrases she uses a lot right now

1.  “Are you kidding me?”

2.  “Wait just a minute”

We built a make shift tent/fort (she called it her room) in the middle of our living room.  She wouldn’t allow any of the animals in with exception of her stuffed animals.  She did make an exception for our cat Wilbur.  I think it was Isabella’s compassion after learning she had been in the hospital and wasn’t feeling well.  She petted her and displayed a great amount of empathy for Wilbur.  We played Candy Land, put puzzles together, watched Narnia and Hoodwinked, colored tons of pictures, watched Noggin cartoons in all the in between times, and made cards for all the actors in the upcoming Arial show at the Cabaret Theatre (by the way Bridget & Jeremy she says she wants to go with Dylan to see that show LOL).

Upon taking her back to her other home away from home Mike & I returned to an eerily quite home that oddly felt empty to me.  I was shocked with how much I missed this bouncy full of life little niece of mine and I had only had her for two nights.  It was a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed having her for the weekend.

Grouchy, Working Out, Organization & Well Just Bitchy!

The title is the multiple personalities I’ve had going on for a week or so now . . . muahaha!  I do think the warmer temps we had this past weekend lifted a couple of those personalities from my repertoire . . . Thank God for that!  I couldn’t stand being around myself much less how poor Mike must’ve been feeling.  I’m reminded that it’s that time of year when all these personalities surface AKA “The Winter Blues”.  I don no if that’s really the case but there seems to be validity to the time line.  Annyy Way . . . it was a nice feeling to experience 50 degree weather again  . . .  we’ve been stuck in arctic temps for what seems like months now.

For us it was like spring, we did several hours of work in the garage with the door WIDE open taking in the fresh air, we rinsed off the vehicles (oh God looked like we’d been driving through gigantic mud puddles), we were going to take Scottie for a walk but decided against it as he would’ve been a wet muddy mess.  I really wish someone would open an indoor pet park so us snow ridden people could walk our pets in comfort and little mess.  Here’s a pic of Mike & Scottie from last  weekend when we took Scottie for a walk and YEP he was a mess by the end ugghh!

We’ve been on a steady progression of re-organization around here and it feels good.  It’s invigerating to throw away things that have no life left in them, donate the other junk and find things you’ve been missing and couldn’t find.  Spring cleaning has started early for the Talmadge House as we know that once Spring does FINALLY arrive our boat will be monopolizing all of our time.  Two margarita’s Up to sunnier warmer days ahead!

Time To Schedule Time For Food And Beer!

Last year we had my father’s birthday party (video) at the East Side Resturant, everyone who joined had such a great time we figured we do it again (but without the birthday party).

Their website has been updated and worth checking out.

So now it comes time to schedule it.

Who is coming and when should we go?! Email us or leave a comment (we are thinking Feb 21 or 22).

Buying On Amazon…Remember Us First!

I am sure most of you have either bought something or at the least heard of Amazon? Well for those that don’t know, you can buy just about anything on Amazon from computers, books to toilet paper and I encourage you to do so. Just before you begin to buy anything on Amazon, I ask you to remember this on thing…come to Talmadge House first. On the side bar of our homepage there is an Amazon Search box or click here, by starting your Amazon shopping spree from there we (our company THOUGHT OUT) get affiliation credits that help us a lot for selling our products.

Mike

A Lunch Date During Work Hours . . . Oh We Are Bad!

Yeah Yeah I know Latonya, I was suppose to post about this Thursday night but you know how things just get in the way sometimes right?

So my sister girlfriend Latonya and I slipped out of the office on Thursday to grab lunch at one of our favorite places in New Haven well actually it’s in Westville ~ AKA part of New Haven, CT.  Such a quaint place really . . . called Deja Brew.  In the spring, summer and fall the owner has bowls of water set out for all the neighborhood dogs.  She also gives treats to the dogs.  Hmmm . . . I’m thinking I should turn her onto Scottie Buddy Boys treats don’t cha think?  Please forgive me with this picture, it’s really unbecoming of the place AKA a bad picture 😦  But hey, I’m still learning right?

Look at how beautifully they’ve decorated the fire place . . . oh this is the perfect place for two girlfriends to gossip while having lunch.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a larger view of the fireplace . . . I was restricted by my fixed lens (50 mm) and I couldn’t back up any further Uggghhh . . . “Ahhhh da gon it, I need a dang camera bag so I can carry all my lenses.”  You get the idea anyways right? 🙂

And how pretty is this picture of my girlfriend?  Latonya ya gorgeous diva girl . . . this was my favorite picture of you from all the shots I took.  Beautiful smile, love your hair and your glasses!  Side note to Latonya:  All of the other shots I took looked like you had a tree growing out of your a** LMAO!!!

And lastly a picture of my current favorite drink from Deja Brew . . . Frozen Green Tea Frappe.  Oh this is sooo yummy!

If you live nearby I’d definitely recommend this place for a nice lunch date with a girlfriend.  Word from the wise though . . . if interested in ordering their soup ask if it’s homemade or not.  They have a habit of serving some of their soups from the can ~ Go figure ~ listen you can’t serve canned soup in a cafe like this ~ what is the owner thinking ugghh.  They do make some homemade soups, you just need to ask which is homemade.

GO STEELERS!!!  SO MICHAEL’S A LONG TIME STEELER FAN BUT DOESN’T HAVE TERRIBLE TOWLS, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT.  HE’S A BAD FAN!  BAD BAD BOY!!!  I’M ORDERING UP SOME SO WE CAN HAVE THEM FOR NEXT YEAR.

Sickies and Soup

Today started off with a trip to the vet’s office for Pele (our black kitty) who hasn’t been feeling well.  Doc says he has an infection (down south ~ you know where the food makes it’s final departure) so off we went with an oral liquid med to be given 3 x/day.  Now listen I’ve been a space cadet the last couple of days cuz I haven’t been feeling well either which brings me to realizing I should’ve asked Doc if they offer Pele’s meds in pill form but Miss Space Cadet wasn’t thinking.  This cat is aweful with liquids . . . for some reason he foams at the mouth and this time was no different.  So get this, the med smells like bananas which means it must taste like bananas. . . cats don’t eat bananas so why would vet people think this flavor would be enticing for a cat?  If looks could kill Mike and I’d be dead.  This is bound to make for a great experience 3 x/day for the next FIVE days UGGGHHH!

Kitty Kat’s doctors office in Stratford . . . Dr Busek.

So Mike and I are both sick with some sort of sinus/head/throat cold.  I figured with the temperature almost sub zero and our house full of sickies it’d be the perfect time to make a big pot of soup.  Oh and yes it certainly is one of my favorites and I’m hoping you guys will love it as well.  If you love sausage, kale and cannellini beans you will love this soup.  So easy to make

WHITE BEAN, SAUSAGE AND KALE STEW

RECIPE CREDIT GOES TO RACHEL RAY ~ ALTHOUGH I’VE MADE CHANGES TO MY LIKING

1 TB extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 pound precooked pork sausage, such as kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ pieces.  I substitute with one roll of regular flavored Jimmy Dean Sausage.

Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, dranied and rinsed.  I only use 2 cans otherwise two much bean

2 garlic cloves, chopped.  I use 4-5 cloves cuz I like garlic.

2 cups chicken broth.  I use 3 cups cuz I like broth in my soup & 2 cups doesn’t give you broth to write home about.

1 bay leaf (dried)

1 small bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems and coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)

Salt and ground pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes.  Add the beans and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and kale and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the cheese.

Bon Appetit 🙂