Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

For the holidays this year, I made pumpkin bread for gifts. Yep, we used our trophy pumpkin. We've had more fun with this pumpkin than I could ever imagine!

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin pure' (or canned) (I actually used 2 cups on one batch on accident, still yummy)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
2 tsp. vanilla (I left it out in a batch but it was still yummy)
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I didn't have this in my cupboard so I left it out & it was fine)
1/4 tsp. cloves (I think I accidentally added 1/2 tsp. to one batch, but again it turned out fine)

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, canned pumpkin, oil, & vanilla. Add dry ingredients & spices. Mix well. Pour into 2 bread pans (cake pans will work in a pinch! lol) that have been greased on the bottom only. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 - 80 minutes. Cool 10 minutes & then remove from loaf pans & allow to cool.

I mixed the wet ingredients & set aside. Then I mixed all the dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients. As you can see, it's a fairly forgiving recipe ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Buried Alive! Well, Almost....

Holy Cow! It has snowed the last two days straight! The first picture is of our backyard Wednesday morning around 8am. The second picture is of our backyard about 24 hours later on Thursday. Then it proceeded to snow all day Thursday. The schools are closed so it's an early Christmas break for the kiddies. The third picture is our car Thursday night after it finally quit snowing. Tony did get us shoveled out so we could get to the store. When we got back from the store, he had to do it all over again. And if you live here & you're buried in the snow too...well, stay safe & stay warm!

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Jewelry

This is what I've been up to lately...I've been taking my art & turning it into jewelry. These are the first two. Stay tuned to see what else I come up where's that soldering iron????

Turkey Day...Yeah, it's kinda late....

...but just in case you've been curious, here's our Thanksgiving day. The pinecone turkey was made by my daughter back when she was in kindergarten...we put it on the table every year. This year our turkey was an organic turkey & I made homemade pumpkin pies from scratch...Remember a few weeks ago when it was Pumpkin Karnage day? Well, that's what I made pumpkin pie out of. Our trophy pumpkin is very tasty indeed! Hope YOU had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yesterday's Project

This is one of the things I did in the studio yesterday. They are card sets of my art & photographs. I mounted the photographs with those old fashioned looking black paper photo corners...that way the photo can be removed & reused or framed. I left them blank inside for folks to personalize. Then I wrapped them up in a 12x12 sheet of paper, put a black with white polka dot ribbon around it with a sticker on the front that has the description & pictures of the cards inside. They look so pretty all sitting together! These will be going to The Artist's Tree for the month of December. The next batch will go to my Etsy shop. Today's project? Soldering...wish me luck!

Friday, November 21, 2008

They're Here! They're Here!

My promotional materials for the studio showed up in the mail today! How exciting! Oooooo.....prettyyyyyy....

There's Snow In Them Thar Hills!

Yep, it's happened...snow in the mountains. It's just a matter of time that we get the first snow down here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Karnage!!!

Today was Pumpkin Karnage day...Here are the remains of our prize trophy pumpkin. WARNING: Content may not be suitable for some viewers. If you are squeamish, it's best not to look any further! They don't call it Karnage for nothing! We got 26 cups of pumpkin puree which will make 10 pies & 11 loaves of pumpkin bread. Tony was very excited...he had to try the pumpkin on...actually I made him do it so I could take a picture. After all, it wouldn't be Karny Life without the Karny ;)

First Friday: December 5th

I stopped by The Artist's Tree yesterday & now I'm going to be a part of First Friday on December 5th. There will be a lot of other local artists there as well. First Friday is an event where all the galleries in downtown Spokane are open in the evening...there's usually food & beverages & folks wonder from gallery to gallery. This will kick off the holiday shopping season so come by, say hi & buy local this year!

The Artist's Tree Gallery is located at 828 W. Sprague Avenue, Downtown Spokane, WA, across the street from the Davenport Hotel.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wisdom on a Starbucks Cup 2

Got this one yesterday...It was such a beautiful October day that we went to the Starbucks down the street & sat outside...I was wearing flip flops, which is only unusual because I live in Idaho.

The Way I See It #11

"Why are we inspired by another person's courage? Maybe because it gives us the sweet and genuine surprise of discovering some trace, at least, of the same courage in ourselves." ~Laurence Shames

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three Hour Banana Coconut Bread

The following story is based on actual events. It took place the winter of 2008. This story is known all the way in Seattle. It is an original story written by me & was written the day after the event as an email. My husband was one of the lucky recipients of this story & he saved it. He found it the other day in his saved email & encouraged me to share it with the world. Lucky you! Please see copywrite infomation at bottom of page. Now get a cup of tea because this is going to take awhile...sit back, relax, & enjoy!

Three Hour Banana Coconut Bread

Thank you for your inquiry about our famous 3 hour banana coconut bread. We are sorry to inform you that we no longer carry this item. However we are happy to send you the recipe. Please keep in mind that the recipe & directions MUST be followed exactly to achieve the desired results. You may want to print the recipe & directions for future reference. Good Luck.

3 Hour Banana Coconut Bread
(Total cooking time: 5 hours)

Wake up at 7am. Wipe sleep out of eyes. Trip over cat. Make sure your home temperature is freezing. Take 2 pills/supplements (the choice as to what kind is yours, but for our bread we take the probiotics). Gag & choke on pills. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. Make coffee. Husband must build a fire in the fire place. Have one cup of coffee.

After one cup of coffee, get out cookbook, turn to page 29, turn oven on to 325, read through ingredients.While looking for ingredients, decide that you still are not quite awake & that the cobwebs have not been properly shaken out of your head. Have a second cup of coffee, watch some tv, preferably Good Morning America.

After second cup of coffee, go back to kitchen & think about making banana coconut bread. Measure & wisk together dry ingredients. Set aside. Say favorite curse word when you realize that you need to make breakfast before I make the bread! Notice it is now 9:00.

Turn oven up to 400. Get out paper cupcake liners & put butter in them, then put them in a muffin tin. Then take sliced lunch ham & put into paper cups, making a ham cup shape. Drizzle agave syrup in the bottom of ham. Crack an egg & put into ham. Put into oven & set timer for 20 minutes. Remember, in order to make true 3 hour banana coconut bread you MUST make 4 eggs, regardless of the number of people you are making breakfast for.

Now get out leftover potatoes from last nights dinner. Put frying pan on stove, turn up to medium. Put olive oil in pan. Cut potatoes, green onion, mushrooms, broccoli, & carrots & put in pan. Stir frequently, adding more olive oil & butter as you go. Cook until eggs are done.

Make fruit salad: cut up banana, mango, & strawberries. Put in festive bowl with a spoon. Put on table.

Take eggs out of oven, put on plate with potatoes, place on table. Say favorite curse word again because you forgot to get out your supplements. Go get all of the supplements you are taking & get out what you need, you should have at least one handful of pills, place in small metal bowl. Get glass of water, go back to table with supplements. Put supplements in mouth,
add water, gag & choke until you get them down. Wipe tears from eyes with napkin. Put food in mouth.

Clean off table, put dishes in sink, screw putting them in the dishwasher. Go back to recipe for bread. Get butter out of fridge, look at recipe again, noticing for the first time that the butter needs to be at room temperature. Say favorite curse word.

Leave butter on countertop. Go check email. Forget that you are making bread.

Having no idea as to how much time has passed, remember you are making bread, jump up from computer, say favorite curse word, Go to kitchen.

Now that you are in the kitchen, go back to recipe. Read the next step...butter is now at room temperature, put 1 cup in bowl, add 1 1/4 tsp. stevia, use hand mixer to make it all creamy. Read next step. You need 2 eggs. Say, "COME ON! You gotta be fricken kidding!" after you realize you ate the last 4 eggs for breakfast.

Go tell the husband (if you don't have one you will have to barrow one to make this recipe work out right) to go get eggs. He must still be in his pajamas, not showered, & have all of his jeans in the dryer. He must say, "It will be 15 minutes." In an annoyed voice say, "Fine."

Try not to get frustrated, tell yourself it will be ok & you'll just do something else in the mean time. Decide to take shower. Take shower & get dressed. Do not put on make up.

Go downstairs to see if the husband is back. He is. Eggs are in fridge. Go to the kitchen, open fridge, the eggs must be a brand you do not usually buy & must be from an organic market (I can not stress this enough). Grab an egg, crack it on the side of counter. As you are dropping it into the bowl with the butter & stevia...think, "I should put this in a small bowl first in case there is something funky with the will be fine." Egg plops down into bowl with butter & stevia...egg is bloody. YELL FAVORITE CURSE WORD!!!! Go to husband sitting in front of computer & yell at him for buying bloody eggs.

Go back to kitchen. Look at recipe. Realize it is now NOON. Look at recipe again. Realize butter is in fridge & will take awhile to bring back to room temperature SHOUT OUT FAVORITE CURSE WORDS...MAKE SURE TO USE SEVERAL. Decide to use cold butter. Mix wet ingredients, this time using a bowl to crack the 2 eggs into, these eggs will be fine. Butter will be lumpy in
mixture. Say, "Screw it..." & sigh. Put in dry ingredients. Use hand mixer to blend. Make sure mixture is thick & comes up the beaters & smears all over the bottom of mixer. Get out spatula & scrape off. Grumble about cooking with sticks & stones & how you really need a Kitchenaid.

Put mixture into the greased & floured bread pan, put in oven. It should now be 12:30. Total cooking time for bread will be 1hour & 20minutes.

Husband comes in kitchen & asks if he can help...COMPLETELY LOOSE IT! Make sure to chew him out for the bloody egg again. Tell him you are never cooking again & sex is completely out of the question.....forever. Yell about cooking with sticks & stones & how you really need a Kitchenaid because if you had a Kitchenaid this would not have happened. Be creative with your fit. Say things that you know aren't true & that don't make sense. Cry. Make sure he blames it on the fact that you will start your period any day. Be angry he said this & say, "SO!" Do not allow him to comfort you. Instead give him the cold shoulder & tell him to go run errands. Grab chocolate, stuff in mouth, & go check email again.

1 hour later, husband must return. He must have a Kitchenaid mixer from Costco, the kind with the all metal gears, & it must be black. Make sure he says, "It not roses, but it will have to do." Cry some more, tell husband you're sorry for yelling at him & that you're the meanest woman alive. Keep crying. Make sure husband says it's ok & that he understands, that he loves you & that you keep his life interesting. Now feel really guilty because you realize that YOU ARE THE MEANEST WOMAN ALIVE & THAT YOU DON'T DESERVE THE AMAZING MAN YOU'VE MARRIED & YOU DON'T DESERVE THAT KITCHENAID EITHER.

Timer for bread goes off. Go back to kitchen & take bread out of oven. Slice bread while warm & spread with butter & agave syrup. Make sure to give husband 2 slices. It should now be around 2:00. Eat with fork & Enjoy!

Note: Yes, I wrote this. Feel free to share it with others, but please give me credit for writing it (by Karmen Naccarato) & please include my blog address If you want to reprint it or publish it any way, please ask me for permission first...After all that's just the polite & leagal thing to do, as this is copywrited material. Thanks!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Knight In Shining Armor For Breakfast

We tried Knight's Diner in Spokane this week for breakfast. It was our first visit. Knight's Dinner is in a train car & they've been serving breakfast since 1949. When we first opened the door & walked in, we saw an antique looking train car with a long counter. It looks very historical...articles & old photos of the history on the diner are on the walls. We've never been there, but we were greeted like friends. The woman behind the counter told us the specials & asked if we wanted coffee. She was warm & genuine. We sat right in front of the grill...Not only is that where all the action is, but it's nice & warm on a cold autumn day. Menus & coffee was placed before us in a hot second. Everything looked so good that it took us awhile to figure out what we wanted. We both decided on the Mini Breakfast (I think that's what it was)...It came with 1 egg, hashbrowns, sausage or bacon, & 6 silver dollar pancakes. We both ordered 2 eggs though & we even had the choice to have sauteed onions &/or gravey on our hashbrowns. I opted for plain hasbrown's while my hubby got the sauteed onions. After we ordered, the woman behind the counter asked if we wanted the morning paper. Of course we do! The coffee kept coming...she didn't miss a beat...I watched her as she whipped up orders, cleaned, & trained a new guy...all with a smile on her face & time to ask us & her regulars how they were & what they were up to. The food was amazing! I don't think I've ever had pancakes that were quite that good...the bacon was perfectly cooked...the hashbrowns were homemade from real potatoes, not frozen from a bag. This is now our most favorite place to eat. We will definately continue to go back again & again. I seriously can't wait to go back to Spokane again.

Dissapointing Dinner

We went to The Pizza Shoppe for dinner. We've went there before & they used to have the best pizza in Coeur d'Alene...I mean it took awhile to get your pizza, but it was so worth it because it was so good. It was good...was...I seriously don't think I've ever had worse pizza or service. I honestly wish I didn't even have to give it one star...yes, that's how bad it was. Where to start? There were so many things. The guy behind the counter that took our order was pretty indifferent & unfriendly. He was the only one taking orders & getting drinks & plates. There were two people in the back making pizzas...they looked overwhelmed, deflated, beaten down by stress & they moved as slow as a sloth. I noticed that only one of their ovens was working. There was a family in front of took 10 minutes to take our order. We ordered a medium combination pizza & a salad bar. That was at 5:45 pm. There were several uncleaned tables complete with half eaten pizza, crumbs, & dishes. We asked ourselves why anyone would leave half a pizza behind. We noticed that several people had complained that they hadn't got their food yet...customers were even complaining to each other, asking how long they had been waiting. I was very happy to have ordered the salad bar...I was so hungry. The salad bar was fine...nothing outstanding, but it was ok. A girl came back from a pizza delivery. Ok, so now there's 4 people working. She came out & cleaned a couple tables, but left the rest. We finally got our pizza 1 hour & 15 minutes after we ordered. It was delivered to our table with a seriously bad apology for it taking so long...not a word. She just put the pizza on the table & walked off. The top of the pizza didn't look as done as we would have liked it, but we were hungry so we dug in. It wasn't very hot...usually when you bite into fresh out of the oven pizza the sauce is like napalm & it burns your mouth...sadly, not this was warm pizza. We were hungry though so we ate some more...Upon further inspection, however, we discovered that the top half of the crust was still raw & doughy. Yuck! Now we knew why there was half eaten pizza at the table next to us. We complained & they gave us the choice of refunding our money or a free large pizza. Since we are never going back, we took the refund. My hubby also told them they had horrible customer service & that the energy in their establishment was heavy & deflated. The guy behind the counter said that he appreciated our opinion.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Orbs At ECETI Ranch

This is a YouTube clip of orbs at the ECETI Ranch in Trout Lake WA. Mt. Adams is in the background. The ECETI Ranch has even been featured on Paranormal State...very cool episode. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spooky Pics

Just sharin' a few pictures taken with my new camera. Tony gave me a great camera for my birthday. He says now I have no excuses...I have to get to work in the studio! I'm super blessed that Tony is part of my life.'s the pictures. The first one is of a green orb in our maple tree.The second picture is of a headstone with an orb in the Lewiston cemetary.The third picture is kinda different...Not sure what the shadow kinda looks like a shadow from a headstone, but the only headstone that was anywhere near me, was behind my flash couldn't have made that shadow. It wasn't the sun either...there were lots of trees in this cemetery & the sun was setting behind the clouds.Not sure what exactly any of these things are...just thought they were interesting during this spooky month of October.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chocolate Cake For Everyone!

This is me on my 40th birthday. Where did the time go? When I look back over the last 40 years, I have to believe in Gaurdian Angels...Seriously, there is no other explanation for me still being here...scratched & banged up a bit...but here & in one piece. Sure there are things in the past that make my heart sad...but they are in the past & those events will never have to be experienced again. I can't say that I regret any of the last 40 years...those years brought me to where & who I am now...those years gave me the gift of my life, my family, & friends...I wouldn't change a thing...not even struggling with CFS/FM for the last 10 years. My 30's I lived in a brain fogged blur...10 years run together & it's hard to believe that that much time has passed. Looking forward into what the next 10 years hold for me, I feel a sence of excitement & wonder...That my 40's hold many adventures & a passion for life that escaped me for so long.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's A Mangled Pie Sort Of Day

Today is the 2nd day I've been without my thyroid meds...My doc wouldn't renew my precription this time...turns out that I'm not his patient any more because I haven't seen him in 3 years. Ok...but they kept refilling my medication, doesn't that make me a patient? And if there was a problem, wouldn't they call & say, 'hey there's a problem & we need to see you before we can keep refilling your meds."??? Here's the other part...since I am no longer his patient...I would be considered a new patient...& this doc isn't taking any new patients...WHAT? So now I'm on a quest to find a new doc...I wasn't thrilled with the old one anyhow...change is good, right? The downside is that I think I'm having withdrawls from the thyroid I was we'll see how that goes.

Since I felt crumby today, I just puttered about the house watching scary movies & decorating for Halloween. If you look real close in the photo of the lamp, you'll see these little spiders with buggy eyes. My aunt gave those to me yesterday. When she thinks of Halloween she thinks of me so she just couldn't resist.
Then I made dinner & even pie...I put it in the oven, started to walk off, & then remembered that I forgot to put the butter in it! So I had to poke holes in it & shove the butter down in there...which turned my apple pie into mangled apple pie. Perfect. As long as it tastes good, I really don't care at this point. Mangled pie a la mode for everyone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lunch Anyone?

Our adventure today was to check out One World Spokane. It's a new restaurant that serves orgainc food...but there's a twist...One World Spokane is a non-profit community kitchen. They use local food from local farmers so their menu is different every day. Today we had salad greens, chicken sausage, roasted potatoes...Tony had the potato salad...& we tried both of their soups...& there was this oatmeal cookie bar with apples & chocolate chips in it....YUM! It was really good food! Then at the end of your meal you decide what your meal is worth based on what you selected & the portion size & put your money in the box. It's our new favorite restaurant & we plan on eating there whenever we go to Spokane. Not only do you get to eat out, but you get to help people & our planet by doing so. I wish I would have taken a picture so you could see what it looked like. Please check out their website for more information on everything they are about.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Begun...

It's that time of year again...Halloween...Samhain...Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)...All Hallow's Eve...No matter what you call it, it's October...& for our family, the celebration has begun! My birthday is in October...Autumn is my favorite time of year...Halloween is my favorite celebration...I started decorating the house yesterday & for the most part it's pretty much I will just be fussing & tweaking it the next couple of weeks.

Over the years I have accumulated quite the Halloween collection...every year adding a couple of things to my stash. This year I've decided to not buy anything...Let's face it, most Halloween decorations & such are mass produced in much cheap plastic stuff does one person need from China? This year I've opted to make things rather than buy new stuff. It's been hard a couple of times...Once I even had this huge black skull in my shopping cart...I was very determined to buy it...It was seriously the coolest thing ever...but after wondering around the store & thinking about all of the reasons I wanted it, I just couldn't justify, back it went...And that's ok.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Corn Dollies

Last weekend my friend Crystal came over & taught several of us girlfriends how to make corn dollies. They were so fun to make! They are addictive...I want to make more. Here's how my first two turned out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tony The Mighty Pumpkin Hunter & Other Adventures From Yesterday

Yesterday when Tony & I woke up we saw what a BEAUTIFUL Autumn day it was. It was definately not a day for housework, chores, or hauling wood. Ok, well...I guess it was a good day to haul wood, but who wants to do that when there is a spark of adventure in the air? So the plan we hatched was that we needed some pumpkins for our front porch. Where to find the perfect pumpkin? We decided a trip to Greenbluff was in order! Especially since neither one of us had ever been there.

On the way to Greenbluff, we came across the Peone Cemetery. Since taking photos in cemeteries is a new hobby of mine (that's a whole other story...stay tuned!), we had to stop. This cemetery is a sweet little country cemetery & has a very peaceful, comforting, & sparkleing vibe. We were walking the paths in the autumn sunshine...Then I looked up...& what did I see? An Owl! Yep! I have never seen a real live Owl in person. 'He' was so amazing! He's watching us watching him...I took several pictures of course! Then he flew to another tree across the way. So we're walking back to the car & we found a very small Owl feather. How cool is that?

Then it's back on the road to go to Greenbluff in search of the perfect pumpkin. We ended up at Beck's Harvest House. They are open 7 days a week & they have a little restaurant...After all, it is very important to keep up your strength when you're pumpkin hunting ;) They have quite the thing going on! Produce, wine, honey, gifts, & pleanty of activities for the kids. We both had burgers & potato salad & it was REALLY good. We found white pumpkins, which were sweet looking, so we bought two of them...but we still were on a quest for the perfect pumpkin....

We decided to go to Carver Farms. It's on the way home & one year they had fairytale pumpkins. So back in the car...We got to Carver Farms & we walked all over the pumpkin patch. Finally, we found it! The perfect pumpkin! Tony carefully cut it from the vines to preserve the stem in all it's glory. didn't look that big on the ground...Tony carried that pumpkin on his shoulder for a quarter mile! When we weighed it it was 57 pounds...23 1/2 inches tall...& 56 inches around! Definately a trophey pumpkin!

Yesterday was a perfect day! Now is wood hauling & house cleaning day. I think I'm going to need more coffee for today's projects...much more coffee....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fibro Wellness Movie

I just finished watching, "Mayo Clinic Wellness Solution: Fibromyalgia". It's very informative whether you have been living with Fibro for years or if you've just been diagnosed. Actually, it would have been very helpful for me to have seen this when I was first diagnosed. This movie helps to explain what is going on with your whole person, not just physically. Plus they give you an action plan on how to live well with Fibro...which includes good advice, diet, exersise, & meditation. One of the exersise suggestions is a daily yoga practice that is included on the DVD. Also included on the DVD is a guided meditation. Both the yoga & the meditation are designed specifically for Fibro. Actually I'm considering buying this one just for the yoga & meditation portion. I rented it from Netflix (love Netflix!), but it can also be purchased from

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This quote has got me through many a rough days...

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Story of the Kitchen Painting Fiasco

This is the latest in our home projects. We painted the kitchen green...kinda a pea green. If you've seen my kitchen before, it was already green, but it had seen better days & I wanted a darker muddier green. We settled on Ryegrass...Tony & I painted the kitchen, stood back & took a look. Here's the thing...the way the light was hitting two of the walls...well, they looked like a weird pastel green. There is no way we could leave it like that...I just knew our friends would come over & think I'd lost my friggin' mind...I could hear it now, "Um, Karmen? What's with the pastel walls?" Seriously, if you know me well enough, you KNOW I'm not a pastel anything kind of you'd definately think that if I actually chose that color, that I had finally lost my mind & all sence of reason.

Something had to be done! The other two walls were fine...they were indeed the color we wanted. However, the other two offending pastel walls would have to go. We chose to go to the next darkest color on the paint chip...Olive...we repainted & everything turned out fine & now I can entertain friends with my dignity intact!

Our Apple Tree

There's a couple of trees in our backyard that have been here since we moved in 8 years ago...We weren't really sure what they were...but this year they grew APPLES! Nice apples too! So we climbed up a ladder & picked 'em & I made a pie. It was really yummy! While I was peeling the apples to make the pie, Tony was watching me...I was using a little pairing knife to peel the skin hands were cramping up & it was really getting to be quite the chore. Tony says, "Why don't you just use a vegtable peeler?". Huh? My mother never did it that way. I tried it anyhow...& guess worked like a charm! How come I never thought of that? Did anyone else know that? I love men. They think different & see things different & sometimes that is a good thing. LOL

If MSG isn't harmful, why is it hidden?

I was watching the Home Shopping Network yesterday...not because it's a regular passtime of mine, mind you...My Mom wanted me to watch because Suzan Somers was going to be on talking about her new book that is coming out September 9th called, "Breakthrough: 8 Steps to Wellness". Mom is a big Suzan Somers fan...she likes Suzan's books about health, dieting, & bio-identical hormones & her line of food. So I tune in & watched just a bit (I'll watch more of it later...I taped it. lol). The part that really got my attention was when she was talking about MSG...How bad it is for you (which I already new) & OTHER NAMES FOR IT...HOW IT'S HIDDEN IN FOOD.

Now this is really concerning for me because I already know that my body doesn't like MSG so I avoid it like the plauge...Or at least I thought I was. MSG contributes to a multitude of symptoms...including Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms. Turns out that food manufacturers don't even have to list can be called something else entirely...they can even put NO MSG ADDED on their label & it is a 'true' statement because the MSG wasn't added...BUT AN INGREDIENT THAT IS LISTED MAY HAVE MSG IN IT. What's worse...our fresh veggies & fruits can be sprayed with it...even organic products & fresh veggies & fruits can have MSG in it. Here's a list of just some of the ingredients that MSG is disguised under:

Autolyzed Yeast
Sodium Caseinate
Soy Sauce
Natural Flavorings
Yeast Autolysate
Brewers Yeast
Nutritional Yeast
Calcium Citrate
Hydrolyzed Soybean Protein
Soy Protein
Odalized Yeast
Beef Broth
Chicken Broth

I looked through a few of the food items in my kitchen & guess what...turns out that I am still poisoning myself...unknowingly. So this would explain why, even though I'm doing MUCH better most days, I still have 'unexplainable' relapses.

The following article is from (lots of informaiton on their website including symptoms & reactions to MSG):

Where is MSG hidden?

MSG can be used (and hidden) in processed food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, and drugs. It can be used in waxes applied to fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be used as ingredients in pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers -- remaining in the edible portion of the plant or on the edible portion of the plant when its leaves, fruits, nuts, grains, and other edible parts are brought to market.

MSG is shorthand for processed free glutamic acid, i.e., glutamic acid that has been manufactured or freed from protein through processing or bacterial fermentation. It is a toxic substance. It can be used without disclosure.

To understand how MSG can easily be hidden, you must first understand that there are two very distinct ways of manufacturing MSG. The first is through manufacture of a product called "monosodium glutamate." There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved, but the end result will always be a product that contains glutamic acid (glutamate), sodium (salt), moisture, and a number of contaminants. It is important to understand that in "monosodium glutamate," glutamic acid will be the only amino acid present. If there were other amino acids present while the "monosodium glutamate" was being manufactured, they would have been cleaned out. When any product contains 79% free glutamic acid (with the balance being made up of salt, moisture, and up to 1 per cent contaminants), the product is called "monosodium glutamate" by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be labeled as such. FDA regulations require that all food ingredients be called by their "common or usual names," and "monosodium glutamate" is the "common or usual name" of the ingredient that contains 79% free glutamic acid (with the balance being made up of salt, moisture, and up to 1 per cent contaminants).

"Monosodium glutamate" was invented in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo, Japan who noticed that glutamic acid had flavor-enhancing potential. Prior to that time, the Japanese had used seaweed as a favorite flavor enhancer, without understanding that glutamic acid was its flavor-enhancing component.

The second way of producing MSG is through breakdown of protein, i.e., processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is created when protein is either partially or fully broken apart into its constituent amino acids. A protein can be broken into its constituent amino acids in a number of ways (autolysis, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, and/or fermentation). When a protein is subject to autolysis, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, and/or fermentation, the amino acid chains in the protein are broken, and the amino acids are freed. Acids, enzymes, and/or fermentation processes may be used to create MSG in this way.

There are over 40 food ingredients besides "monosodium glutamate" that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Each, according to the FDA, must be called by its own, unique, "common or usual name." "Autolyzed yeast," "maltodextrin," "sodium caseinate," and "soy sauce" are the common or usual names of some ingredients that contain MSG. Unlike the ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," they give the consumer no clue that there is MSG in the ingredient.

The Truth in Labeling Campaign has asked the FDA to require manufacturers to identify ingredients that contain MSG by listing MSG on a product's label. In response, we have been told that FDA regulations require that all food ingredients be called by their "common or usual names," but there is no requirement that a constituent of an ingredient be identified. Processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is considered to be a constituent of a hydrolyzed protein or fermentation product because the MSG is created during the hydrolyzation or fermentation process. To autolyze yeast, for example, yeast is subject to processing; and during that processing, protein is broken down, and glutamic acid is freed. The finished autolyzed yeast product will, therefore, always contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as a constituent of the autolyzed yeast. The MSG will not have been poured into the autolyzed yeast. Rather, the MSG will have been processed into the autolyzed yeast.

The distinction between having MSG poured into an ingredient and processed into an ingredient is important because the glutamate industry plays on this distinction in their efforts to hide the presence of MSG. One of their favorite ways of hiding MSG is to claim that there is "no added MSG" in a product. If MSG is processed into a product instead of being poured into a product, they declare that there is "no MSG added" or "no added MSG," in the product, even though they know full well that the product contains MSG.

That the FDA allows these distinctions to be made; that the FDA refuses to monitor those who make false claims about the presence of MSG in a product; that the FDA refers consumers who are concerned about the toxic effects of MSG to agents of the glutamate industry such as The Glutamate Association; and that the FDA refuses to require that MSG in a product be disclosed, testifies to the close ties between the FDA, Ajinomoto, Co., Inc., and the rest of the glutamate industry. It is true that the FDA does not require that the constituents of ingredients be identified. But there is nothing in FDA regulations to prevent constituents of ingredients from being identified. And there is precedent for identifying constituents of ingredients, such as cholesterol.

Although glutamic acid had been isolated in 1866 by the German chemist Karl Ritthausen, it was not until well into the 1900s that food technologists began to break various protein products into individual amino acids and used the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as a flavor-enhancer. Today, some of those hydrolyzed protein and fermentation products are designed to replace "monosodium glutamate" as a flavor enhancer, because manufacturers know that consumers are looking for products without MSG in them, and that consumers may well not realize that products such as "yeast extract," "autolyzed yeast," and "soy sauce" are nothing more than flavor enhancers that invariably contain MSG.

The flavor enhancer known as "monosodium glutamate" was first brought to the United States in quantity in the late 1940s. Today, processed free glutamic acid (MSG), the toxic ingredient in the food ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," and a toxic ingredient in hydrolyzed protein, enzyme modified, and fermentation products, is found in most processed food. In 1997, MSG was introduced in a plant "growth enhancer" (AuxiGro) to be applied to the soil or sprayed on growing crops. Today, we know of no crop that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to approve for treatment with AuxiGro. People first reported MSG reactions following ingestion of lettuce, strawberries, and giant russet potatoes in 1997 -- people who didn't know at the time that those crops might have been sprayed with a product that contained MSG.

The glutamate industry is adamantly opposed to letting consumers know where MSG is hidden. Why? Because the glutamate industry understands that MSG is a toxic substance: that it causes adverse reactions, brain lesions, endocrine disorders and more. And the glutamate industry must understand, as we do, that if MSG in food, drugs, and cosmetics were disclosed on product labels, people who reacted to those products might realize that it was MSG they were reacting to, and might, therefore, refrain from buying products that contain MSG.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


This is an email that was forwarded to me by a friend. I have always felt very passionate about women voting. After all, we have only been able to vote since 1920...women were thought to be too feeble minded to vote...I'm sure there were other arguements as to why women shouldn't vote...I guess I really should study up on it. I mean, I knew that women had to 'fight' for the right to vote...but I had no idea that they had to FIGHT for the right to vote. I had no idea that the story below had happened. After reading it, I feel even more passionate...& very vote. We've become very appathetic in the political process...I know in the past I have felt like my voice...didn't matter...BUT IT DOES. By me casting my vote I reaffirm & honor what these women & their families went through so that I can vote today.


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his
guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there becausethey dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeksuntil word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk
about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said.
'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just
younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.

Read more:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Featured In Newsletter!

The wonderful folks at Reaching Out thought that my story would be inspirational for others so they did a feature article on me & my art & put it on their front page! Their newsletter gets placed in doctors offices & emailed all over the world, so I'm pretty thrilled & honored that they would do this!

Karmen Naccarato, one of our awesome Outties, just had an amazing thing happen. I want to share her words so you can understand what a great thing this is for her & her fight with FM/CFS/ME:

The series is titled, "New Beginnings". The images are based on my own personal experience of being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & Fibromyalgia (FM)...finding the courage to live with it.... and after 8 years, regaining enough wellness to finally feel alive again. Rather than focusing on the difficult times and dealing with the challenges of living with CFS & FM, I chose to focus on courage, hope and the power of positive thinking. The creative act of painting this series was also very helpful in my healing process.”

Karmen's show has been a smash hit! In fact, it's been so successful, Michelle Mokrey, innovative owner of, "The Artist's Tree", has extended the show & placed Karmen's work in a more prominent place. We also want to thank Karmen from the bottom of our hearts because she is donating a percentage of her sales to Reaching Out! What an amazing artist AND person! So help us pay tribute to this courageous & talented lady by checking out her work which we've spread out through this issue. You can also see her complete collection of works &/or purchase it at: Congrats, mon ami, we love you!

What an amazing group of people they are! Their support has made a big difference in how I've lived with CFS & FM. Their kind words touched my heart & reaffirms just how far I've come. Thank you Reaching Out! {{{HUGS}}}

To learn more about Reaching Out or CFS/FM/ME visit their webstie:

A Bat!

Yesterday I was getting ready to work in the studio...I opened the back studio door so that Lizzie the cat (now known at Lizzie the mighty moth hunter...which is another story) could look out the screen door. She's a house kitty so this is the closest she gets to outside. Then I was off to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. After all, my creative process requires coffee...all thick & dark...a nice organic french roast...mmmmmmm...I puttered about the kitchen waiting for my coffee & when it was finished brewing I poured myself a cup & axiously headed to the studio. As I came down the steps into my studio, I just happened to look at the screen door...AND THERE IT WAS! A BAT! Now Lizzie was quiet & just watching...the bat was on the upper part of the screen door (on the outside thank goodness!) way out of her reach. Now this was in the afternoon...about 3ish or so...I immediately paid attention because I thought it to be so odd. I called Tony at work to ask him if the bat could bite or scratch Lizzie through the screen door...Tony said he didn't know, but to take a picture...good thing he told me that because I was just so amazed & just wanted to watch it...but something told me to get the cat outa there first so I grabbed her (against her wishes of course...she just knew she was a mighty hunter & was gonna get that bat). Then I took pictures while I was still on the phone with Tony. The bat moved very quickly down the screen door & then flew in a clockwise circle in my yard & then came back to the screen, paused, & then flew into our maple tree.

The Bat represents the energy of rebirth. Known as the guardians of the night, they possess the power of adaptability. Bats can reflect our need to deal with our fears. The message of the Bat may be alerting you that transformation of the ego is upon you and is asking you to surrender to the process....hmmmm. I also looked Bat up in the Medicine Cards & it said basically the same thing, but with more detail. Another website said that if a bat is out in the daytime it may be have lost it's home, be sick, or have rabies....after reading that I was a little creeped out.

Now Lizzie was on high alert because of this so she was a bit jumpy & excitedly looked out the windows for the bat the rest of the day. That night a moth got in the house & Lizzie was delighted! She chased that moth all over the house! So that's why she is now known as Lizzie the Mighty Moth Hunter.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Karny in Seattle

We just got back from our trip to Seattle. I love vaccationing in Seattle. It's so green there...I love the moss growing on the trees. The traffic was nerve racking though. On the way to Seattle we stopped at the Petrified Forest in Vantage...there's a interactive center to look around & some petrified logs...then down the road there's a gift shop where you can purchase petrified wood. I got a piece that looks like a heart. Closer to Seattle we stopped at Snoqualmie Falls. It was cool, but I bet it is much more impressive in the Spring. The gift shop was expensive, so I passed up that shopping opportunity.

Sooooo....Good places to shop in Seattle: The Red Light on Capital is two stories of new & vintage clothing & a large costume section. I got another robe to add to my collection & Tony got a bowling shirt that hade a mortuary sponcership on the back & the name stitched on the front was Phyllis. It was just too kitchy not to purchase! There's also another Red Light in the U District, but we didn't get to that one this time. Urban Outfitters has a lot of very cool things...not just clothes, but shoes, jewelry, stuff for guys & gals, & home decor. It is on the spendy side, but super cute & it can't be bought where we live.

We tried thrift store shopping for the first time in Seattle. We went to three thrift stores...Goodwill in Renton, Goodwill in Bellevue, & Value Village in Redmond. The Goodwill in Renton was the best of the three...we found lots of lovelies cheap, & the coolest chair ever for only $20.00, but we couldn't figure out how to get it home...we were all saddened by having to leave it was really the coolest chair ever...all vintage, turquoise flowers, a high back that kinda wrapped around & made it felt like a big hug. I had visions of sitting in it in my home, next to the fire, crocheting......I loved that chair...even though our time together was breif ;) The Goodwill in Bellevue was dissapointing though...I didn't find much there & most things seemed a bit pricey for what it was. I did find a couple of faux corest like tops for $6.00 a piece so it wasn't a total loss. The Value Village in Redmond was the WORST! The vibe in there was nervous & kinda creepy...very sketchy vibe...WAY too much stuff to go through...most of the wracks were so jam packed that it was difficult to look through things...a lot of over priced stuff...a lot of people...isles too narrow...unfriendly staff...carts fblocking isles full of stuff waiting to be put away...put that all together & it was not a good thrift shopping experience.

We also went to a couple of New Age shops. One was Soul Food in was a nice mix of books & merchandise. They had coffee & food...local art on the walls, & music. And then we went to Stargazers in Bellevue. Stargazers is a bigger shop with many rooms, lots of crystals, books, jewelry, beads...nice shop. I wish we had something like these two shops here locally. The staff at both shops were friendly, helpful, & knowlegable. Both shops had a really good selection of merchandise & lots of different classes & events going on too. There was a nice community vibe going on.

We make sure to hit the Trader Joes while we are there...I love Trader Joes! I wish we had one here. Everything is so cheap! Quality food & ingredients at a reasonable price. I only wish we would have brought a cooler! Most of the food is organic & what's not organic is natural. I've never seen an ingredient in anything there that I could not pronounce & I've never seen high fructose corn syrup in anything either. (Did you know that high fructose corn syrup turns straight into fat??? Your body can't burn it like your body just stores it as fat! Ick!)

Of course no trip to Seattle would be complete without a jont down to IKEA in Renton. We love IKEA! This is another store that I wish we had here. I bought wall stickers this time...I'll take a picture of what they look like on the wall just as soon as I get them up. We always stop by the cafe to have their swedish meatballs...YUM!

Now for restaurants...Every restaurant we went to was really good! No dissapointments here. Victor's Coffee in Redmond was very good. They roast their own coffee beans & it has a very warm & cozy vibe. The coffee was very good & they had specilty coffee drinks like Banana Split & Black Forest...It's a nice break from Starbucks. Taqueria El Gallow in Redmond is hands down the best Mexican restaurant I've eaten at! Very authentic food & run by a father & son. Everything is fresh & homemade with no lard at all. They were voted best Mexican food on the eastside by Seattle Times. Our favorites were the ceviche & the chicken taquitos...the rice & beans were pretty fabulous too. We had Chinese at the Jade Dragon in Redmond, which is honestly the best Chinese I've ever had. They use quality ingredinets & it's really clean old frier oil taste. We ordered the family style combination meals for 3, which could have actually fed 4. And they use no MSG. For fast food we ate at Fatburger, which was pretty good. They have a Babyfat Burger that was just the right size. They are a local chain over in the Seattle area. Another good place that we ate was at Palmers in's a little bar/restaurant, but kids are welcome. They have really good sandwiches & burgers & super yummy french fries! The staff was really friendly too, which is always nice. OH, & then there's the Broadway Grill on Capital Hill. Both times we ate there the food was really good. We had fish & chips & salads & a burger...all of it was really tastey. The fries were my favorite, of course! The decor was really neat...there were roll up doors all allong the front so that when they are all opened it's like eating outside. Again the staff here was friendly & helpful. I almost forgot The Crab Cracker in Kirkland! How could I do that? We ordered family style crab dinner...WOW! A huge platter of king crab, snow crab, & dungenous crab was placed in the middle of our table along with veggies & potatoes. That was super yummy! The atmosphere was cool looked really oceany (is that even a word? lol).

On Saturday we went to Capital Hill again to go to the Fairy Festival in Volunteer Park. That was horribly dissapointing! There was a HUGE grassy area with a total of 5 booths...3 of which were vendors. I was bummed. So we walked down to the conservatory & looked at the plants...took some pictures...Then we went over to the Lakeview Cemetary...drove around & took picutres (it was too hot to walk)...I like to take pictures of the statuary. This is the cemetary that Bruce & Brandon Lee are burried in.

Now for the COOLEST thing that we did....We went to Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation, which is only about a 20 minute drive from Redmond. It is a recreated village from the 14th century. The village is among all of these moss covered trees. Everyone that worked there was in proper dress & in character...everything was as it would have been in the 14th century...down to how they spoke & what they ate. No soda pop, hot dogs, or water bottles here. They even have medieval vendors...& they can tell you all about their craft in the way they would have spoke then. It's like stepping back in time. We purchased pottery that was made on site to drink water out of...& I bought the Camlann cookbook, which I super excited about trying out! (Especially since we did the feast while we were there...but we'll talk about that in a sec)

There was a candlemaker there & there were several people making I asked her how much it was to make a candle & she said something like, "It thou art poor then I have taught thou a trade. It thou has money then I would be happy with whatever you think my services are worth." I just thought that was cool. So Tony & I made candles...they look like unicorn horns...& she told us this whole love story about's like she could see our heart & souls...I'm not even was so romantic. She told us not to burn the candles but to keep them as a reminder of our we put them in candle holders & put them on our love altar. Seriously...this is the coolest thing I've EVER done in the Seattle area. OH, & you can't pay for anything with our regular paper have to go trade it in for their midieval coin. I wish I would have brought some back with me. There was also a woman making head wreaths out of fresh flowers & folliage. Of course we had to get them! She told us to dry them flat & hang them up once they were dry as a decoration...mine is haning in the kitchen now. There was entertainment too! There was a magician, which was histarical...then several people singing...& then there was a play. I wish I would have seen more of the play, but I was busy making a candle. There was even an archery class, a sword fighting class, & a dancing class. We got there too late to do those things, but there will be a next time.

Then once the village closes, you can stay for the feast. The feast was amazing! There's restaurant on site called the Bors Hede Inn. You can just go to the restaurant upstairs or you can go to the feast. We had made reservations for the feast weeks prior. They sereved a total of 12 dishes in two courses announced by trumpet. The food was served family style...wooden bowls passed plates, just round slabs of bread to put the food on. The food was really yummy...I just can't wait to try those recipies at home. The walls in the chamber were painted with medieval hunting scenes & scenes from everyday life. There was entertainment too. It was just the most enjoyable adventure of our whole trip. We can't stop talking about it. It's $10 to get in, but if you pay the $45 for the feast you get in the gates for free.

To see pics of our trip, just look to the left column & find the Karny Slideshow section. Enjoy!

A Couple Weekends Ago...

...we went to our friends wedding. (Yes, I know I'm behind on my blog...I always am...would you expect any less?) We stayed at the Country Inn hotel in Sagle...It was like a time warp! Our room was the Matadoor Room...yes, you read correctly...Lot's of hardwood paneling & kitchy spanich style 'paintings' right out of the 70's...complete with a vibrating bed! Now if you like a rock hard king size bed that vibrates, the Matadoor Room is definately for you. You just can't get a vibrating bed at a national chain hotel. And they advertised free breakfast...look at the picuture below...that was the & Little Debbie cinnamon rolls & cookies. I was happy with just coffee because we had already decided to go into Sandpoint & have a big breakfast at Panhandler Pies for our daughter's birthday. That morning I woke her up singing Happy Birthday & offered to take her for a spin on the vibrating bed. She declined, so Tony & I took it for a ride...the kitch factor of a vibrating bed is good, but the ride itself was kinda blah. There is a drive through espresso stand in the hotel parking lot though that had bagels. After a super yummy breakfast in Sandpoint, we strolled around the Farmer's Market & then went to the art festival in the park. It was a super busy weekend! OH, & our friends wedding was goregous & magical! The bride was beautiful, the groom was very handsome, & the food was really good! They did a whole roasted pig! It was an outdoor wedding...during the reception a storm rolled in...what a light show! Lot's of lightning, thunder, & rain. The bride danced barefoot in the rain :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Today's Quote 8/20/08

Be kinder than neccessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. ~author unknown

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

How did we get so busy these days? Seems like we're always doing something. I guess I just have a lot of living to do!

So what have we been doing to keep ourselves so busy? Well, let's see...A couple of weekends ago was a friends bachlorette party, which entailed many bottles of champange in the longest limo I've ever seen...complete with laser lights, starry sky lights on the cieling, & blue lightning balls. I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of the evening...but a good time was had by all & that's all I can say....shhhhhhhh....Then Dad & I went to the Julamsh Pow Wow & watched the Grand Entry & the dancers. During the week we went to the Imax theater to see the Dark Knight...WOW! Now that was a whole lot of fun! We all loved the movie & it was especially good on the Imax screen! There were a couple of times that I felt like I needed a seatbelt! If you ever get a chance to see a movie at the Imax, DO IT! You'll have a good time. Let me see...what else??? OH! We went to the Street Fair & Art on the Green...Lot's of stuff to look at...I bought a couple of skiens of sari 'yarn' (yarn made from the fibers of shredded silk sari's)...other than that I didn't see a lot to buy. Don't get me wrong, there was many many talented artists & lot's of wonderful things to buy, however, prices were a little out of my current budget range, but lot's of inspiration to go around! Plus I did a ton of walking & didn't even get sore. Yay me! LOL Other than that we've been doing stuff around town like going to the farmer's market & hiking around (yes, all the way around) Tubbs Hill (again, Yay me!)...we've been catching up on yard work & house work too...which takes time...I'm in no way a domestic goddess, but I do try....I just gotta get a maid one of these days...I'd rather do yard work.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art Show Update

The show is now officially over BUT the gallery owner decided to keep my paintings longer & we moved my paintings to the window display. Soooooo....if you missed the show you can still catch a peek of my paintings in the window.

As for opening night, It went really well! Several friends came to cheer me on, which is always a really great thing. I met & talked to a lot of people I didn't some really good feedback...and sold a painting. How cool is that? AND I've decided to give 10% of the proceeds of this series to Reaching Out, an organization that helps those living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. I feel that is neccessary to pay it forward...that the blessings I recieve should carry on to someone else. So I have to say that it's been a very exciting experience in many many ways!

Now for the thank you's! A BIG thank you to Michele for believing in my work enough to give me a show & making a dream of mine come true! Also I have to thank my husband, Tony, for his love, support, & pacients. Tony helped with every little thing & put up with me! LOL Thank you to my daughter who cheered me on all along the way & to see her so proud of me meant the world to me. I can't forget my parents, my family & my friends...their encouragement & support has kept me going & has been so touching. They were just so excited...made me feel like a rockstar! LOL They make me feel like I can do anything! And of course, thank you to everyone who took the time to go check out my work! I feel so blessed! So thank you, thank you, thank you!

And here's a picture of me :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More Raspberries!

This time it's muffins! Yum! I whip out one of my very first cook trusty Betty Crocker's New Boys & Girls Cookbook...Yes, I stiil use it! After all, that's where the muffin recipe is. I've tweaked it a bit, but here it is:

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Put unbleached muffin cups in one of those muffin pans.

Stir dry ingredients in a bowl & set aside:
2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 -1/2 cup organic sugar depending on how sweet you like it (since raspberries are kinda tart maybe put 1/4 cup sugar in the batter & then the other 1/4 cup sugar in the berries...I think I shoulda done that because my muffin's were not very sweet)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a completely different bowl, mix the wet indgredients:
1 organic egg
1 cup organic milk (soy milk, almond milk, etc.)
1/4 cup vegtable oil

Then take the mixed wet ingredients & pour them into the dry ingredients. Stir just until flour is moistened. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not overmix (That's what it says...Do not overmix...I haven't the slightest clue why) Now put in several handfulls of raspberries & gently stir in. Fill muffin cups 2/3ish full. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12 medium sized muffins.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Al Gore's Challenge To America

Karny Family Day Trip: Coeur d'Alene River Area

Wednesday was family day. We took a little day trip up to the Coeur d'Alene River area. First stop was the Snakepit for breakfast. Once again it was super yummy & the staff was very friendly! Tony & I had the biscuits & gravey breakfast & our daughter had the veggie omlet. To top it off they gave us huckleberry ice cream again!

We went to Murray Idaho. It's been called a living ghost town. Murray was a big mining town back in the 1800's, but now the mining has stopped & the town is just one street. The buildings are still very charming though & you do kinda get the feel of the 'old days'. In Murray there is the Spragpole Inn & Museum. We were still full from breakfast so we didn't eat there, but I've heard the food is good & if we ever get back there I'm definately going to eat there. The museum is free, but there are donation boxes & can's here & there. There's a wooden chain that Walt Almquist carved from a single piece of wood. It is 120 feet long, has 903 links, & took him 20 years to finish. There's a collection of his carvings as well as many other collections such as: shells, minerals, cigarettes, dolls, old wisky jugs, bottles, spitoons, coins, blacksmithing tools, perfune bottles, buttons, keys, antlers & that's just a small portion. There is also historical information about Murray & the Silver Valley. More info can also be found here:

Then we were off to find Shadow Falls & Fern Falls. It took awhile to get there...most of the road was paved, but the last 4 miles was all gravel. I'm glad we took the Durango because I don't think our car would have made it...there's these concrete 'slats' put together in area's that are close to the guess is that's to keep the road from washing out...those are closer to the falls...they are pretty bumpy. The falls were really cool! They aren't so big that you can't get close to them. We saw people going behind & under the falls. More info on the falls can be found here: And you may want to call the Forest Service to get clearer directions.

If you look to the left on our blog, there's a section that says Karny Slideshows...that's where you can see a slideshow of our adventure. Enjoy!

Magic Raspberry Pie

We have so many raspberries that I tried my hand at making a raspberry pie. Of course I had no idea how to make a raspberry pie so I called Mom...Mom always knows how to make a pie. As you can see, it turned out looking yummy...I couldn't resist pokeing a star into it...& it tasted super yummy with ice cream. Now the magic is in the love I put into it & in the ready made pie crust from the store...which makes it pretty close to instant pie. Poof! It's magic pie! Here's how I did it, based on Mom's advice.

ready made pie crust from the market
about 3 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
about a tablespoon of Smart Balance 'butter'

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Take out one ready made crust, unroll it & put in pie pan, set aside. Put raspberries in bowl. Put in sugar & gently stir. Put in flour & gently stir again. Raspberries will be coated with sugar & flour. Put berry mixture into pie crust, dot with butter. Unroll top crust & put on top of berries. Fold the edges under & then press with fork to seal. Poke holes in top of crust. Put in oven & bake on 400 for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 & bake another 15 minutes...check pie & bake another 5 minutes if it needs it.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream under a starry sky ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Baseball Night

Tonight we went to a baseball game...The Spokane Indians vs the Yakima Bears. It was a family event + Tony's buddy. The guys enjoyed watching the game...however, my daughter & I really don't know much about baseball...Sure we know what a strike is & a homerun & that we're supposed to jump up & down, clap, & get really excited when everyone else does. OH & it was free baseball hat night! I have a cool Spokane Indians baseball cap, which I actually like...& I'm not a baseball cap wearin' kind of girl, but I was last night :) To make things more interesting for me & my daughter we decided to see which player had the best butt & which player got the dirtiest. At the end of the night we decided that #1 was the winner of the best butt compitition & #4 was the winner of the most dirty boy. Then there was the team maskot, Otto...I think he's a dragon...I'm not quite sure. What do you think? In the end the score was Spokane Indians 6, Yakima Bears 3.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Raspberry Drop Scones

These scones are yummy anytime, but we especially love them with our morning coffee & tea!

3 1/4 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 Tablespoons regular butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 1/2 cups organic milk (or other milk: soy, almond, etc.)
several handfuls of fresh raspberries
cookie sheet
unbleached parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives in a criss cross scissor fashion (a fork may work ok too) until all butter is mixed in & mixture is kinda crumbly looking. Mix in 1 cup of milk. Add remaining milk 1/4 cup at a time until all dry ingredients are wet & sticky. Now gently stir in raspberries. I used a fork. The raspberries will most likely not remain intact...unless you have special raspberry stirring powers! For the rest of us mortals, the raspberries will most likely fall apart...but the scones will taste just as yummy! Place medium spoon drops of scone batter on to an unbleached parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Unbleached parchment paper is most excellent in keeping bottom of scones from getting dark & sticking to cookie sheet. I love parchment paper when I bake. LOVE it. I got about 7 scones on a cookie sheet at one time. Pop into oven & bake for 10 minutes. Tops will be golden brown & when poked with a toothpick the toothpick will come out clean. Makes about 15 least that's how many I got out of the deal.

My family loved these just the way they are, but if you want 'em sweeter just drizzle some honey or agave syrup over the top. You could also use blueberries or blackberries...or if you're lucky enough, huckleberries would be really good! Another variation is walnuts & grated orange peel from one whole orange. Then make a fruit salad with the rest of the orange. Yum! Or get take a chance & get creative...add whatever sounds super yummy to you...An adventure right in your own kitchen! Live a little!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Goddess Room

Here's our latest home decorating project. This is our guest room. The wall is stenciled...took me four days, but I'd say it's worth it. Both the wall hanging & the painting are by Phoenix Springwater:

First Harvest

Here's how it's going in the Karny Garden...Picked the first batch of raspberries...harvested apple mint & lemon balm & am now drying it for tea...& the veggie patch is growing. Mom told me that Grandpa said that if corn was "knee high by the 4th of July", you'd have ears of corn that could be eaten. Well my corn was perfectly knee high on the 4th of July so we'll see if my Grandpa's saying holds true.

Enaville Resort aka the Snakepit

A couple of weeks ago I was putting the final touches on things for my art show. The big task was writing descriptions for my paintings. It just seems so hard to put everything I was thinking & feeling when I was painting into words...Tony was telling to quit procrastinating & just get to it. I was on the last description...which of course was the hardest! What made it even worse was that is was a beautiful day out...I said, "I'd rather do something like go to the Snakepit & have a burger & fries!"I mean, I've lived in the area for most of my life & have never been to the Snakepit...Then Tony said that if I finished my description we could go. There's nothing like a little bribery to get the creative juices flowing! I was done in no time!

I had the best hamburger & fries ever! Really! The burger was huge & of course I had to get everything on it...the fries were perfect...golden crispy on the outside...not soggy...not hard & crunchy all the way through...beautiful fries done to perfection. Tony had the same thing & our daughter had chichen strips...which she says were the best ever. There were a few people in there. The waitress was super nice & running around like crazy...I think she was the only one waiting tables....but she wasn't frazzled or grouchy. Now that takes talent! There's no way I could do that job! Then an old timer came in...he had quite the beard going on...long & kinda separated into two. He sat at the table next to us...friendly guy with a big smile & he said, "Have you been in the water yet?" We said not yet & then he said, "I bet it's gotta be colder than sticking your butt in a 40 foot well in January!" Yep, that's what he said. We agreed with smiles on our faces...that's pretty funny. He proceeded to tell us all about the old logging days when it would only take one tree to make a load on a logging truck. And after we finished eating the waitress brought over huckleberry ice cream. We were stuffed, but how can you pass on free huckleberry ice cream? You can't...there's just no way...IT WAS AMAZING!

Here's a little history on the Enaville Resort aka the Snakepit: Enaville was named for a railroad crewman's wife, who was also the postmistress at the time. Her name was Ena. Enaville Resort, located in Enaville, was known over the years as the Snakepit, Josies, Clark Hotel, and many other 'unprintable' names. It has been a landmark for over 100 years. The Resort has served as a boomtown bar, railroad layover, hotel, house of ill repute, and starting point for loggers and miners of yesteryear. The owners started calling it the Enaville Resort in hopes of getting a liquor license. During the 1974 flood, they tied boats up at the foot of the steps since there was that much water and took pictures to send to Boise. They believed that if it appeared that they had lake frontage it would help in getting a liquor license.

And here's a good link:

Monday, July 7, 2008

My First Show! July 2008

This is the first showing of any of my work in about eight years. It is the first time I've done a series of paintings all at the same time. Visit my MoonWillow Studio blog to see all seven paintings, along with more of my work:

This series is titled, "New Beginnings". The images are based on my own personal experience of being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & Fibromyalgia (FM)...finding the courage to live with it...& after 8 years, regaining enough wellness to finally feel alive again. Rather than focusing on the difficult times & dealing with the challenges of living with CFS & FM I chose to focus on courage, hope, & the power of positive thinking. The creative act of painting this series was also very helpful in my healing process.

Showing July 9-26, 2008 at The Artist's Tree Gallery, 828 W. Sprague Avenue, Downtown Spokane, WA, across the street from the Davenport Hotel.

I'm super excited! Stay tuned to see how it went!

(It is estimated that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from CFS & 6 to 8 million people in the United States suffer from FM. More information & resources for CFS & FM can be found at