Tired of being tired?

Spark of Loves this Week: Safety, Human, Skyline, Skylar, Oven, Trombone, and Flowers

This Video.

Because this would be a flight safety lesson worth listening to for a change.

This Video.

 Because every time I watch it, I will admit, I almost cry......really.

This Skyline.

Because it was what we all saw on our way to take a hike at dusk.

This Picture of Skylar.

Because I think it captures his youth exactly.

This Solar Oven.

Because, gosh darn it, it's fun to cook with.  Instructions coming soon on the blog.

 This Vintage Trombone.

Because I can play it, and because it's OLD!

Random Photo of the Week:

I miss the little summer flowers growing in the yard.  

Eco-Tip:  Buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging of products whenever possible.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.


Reading the wine bottle

Opening a wine bottle is really rather easy and most people freak out a little when cork gets in the wine inside the bottle. That doesn't really affect the taste, but it could be a bit embarrassing if it pours out into a wine glass with the wine. 
Even if you pull the cork out perfectly there is still a chance that some cork could end up in the wine inside the bottle inevitably but having a good cork screw is important as well. Having a cork screw that doesn't do it's job, can mean more work for you pulling the cork out and possibly more cork chips to end up in the bottle too. Look for one with a rounded spiral and a handle that's easy for you to grip. Metal spirals are the best for digging dip into the cork and pulling it out with ease.

When it comes to pouring the wine, fill it only 1/3 full and never to the rim of the glass. You want to leave room for the wine to move around in the glass and allow oxygen to hit the wine to help release flavors in the process. End your pour with a turn as you come up to end the wine's forward motion so that not a drop is dripped more. 
Good rule of thumb only decant young and old wines, young wines for oxygen to help with the flavor of the wine and old wines to help remove sediment. 

Always drink wine slow and enjoy the taste. If you sip it fast, you won't get to really see if the wine is one that you will like in the future. Smell the wine, let it sit on your tongue and enjoy the taste and scent of the wine to fully grasp the entire boldness, fruitiness and freshness of the wine overall.

Common Wine Flavors:

• Zinfandel, Shiraz:  Peppery Flavor

• Chardonnay, Champagne:  Toast or Butter Flavor

• Burgundy:   Nutty Flavor

• Pinot Blanc:  Peach or Apricot Flavor

• Riesling:  Citrus Flavor

• Pinot Noir:  Red Fruity Flavor (strawberry)

• Cabernet Sauvignon:  Chocolate or Mint Flavor

• Sauvignon Blanc:  Vanilla Flavor

Look for body, weight, depth, and texture in the wines above.  Your taste pallet may differ from someone else so don't guaranty you will like what someone else does automatically without tasting it. 

Go for these tips in restaurants as well, just don't go for the expensive wines for the first time in a restaurant.  Use that time to spend money on expensive wines for when you are at home.

Brandon's Great Guacamole

Photo credit: avocadopoint.com

2 avocados
1/2 fresh tomato
1/4 onion
1 fresh diced jalapeno pepper
1 lemon squeezed
salt to taste

Cut and scoop two avocados into a bowl and mash the into a paste. Dice half a tomato, a quarter of an onion and one jalapeno pepper and place them into the bowl. Cut and squeeze one whole lemon into the bowl and the salt to taste. Mix the ingredients together and you have yourself a very quick and tasty guacamole.


Eco-Tip:  Remember, unless you have Celiac Disease your body can digest gluten products.  Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by the intake of gluten in genetically predisposed individual.  it is estimated that the 1% of the population have Celiac Disease  but a vast majority of the population still remains un-diagnosed.  If you suspect that you may have CD talk to your doctor.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.


Cheers to the holidays

If you're a wine lover, then you know how hard it can be sometimes to pick just the right wine for that special occasion.  With the holiday upon us there are so many choices of wine that one that doesn't know what they are looking for might feel over-whelmed in the wine store or local vineyard retailer.  It's really easier than you might think and with the 5 rules of thumb:  "Why, what, where, who and when" you can't go wrong.

1.  Why are you looking for a wine?:  Seems easy enough right?  Well it is.  Why are you getting the wine, is it for a romantic night in with your other, a party, a dinner, a business meeting to impress the boss?  This one question can narrow down a lot of the wines already.  White wines are good for before a meal or with fishes or chicken dinners.  Choosing one like a simple Chardonnay is a great choice or going with a sweet, fruity wine for a dessert is a great option as well.  You want to always pair red wines with meals that call for beef or even lamb dishes unless you taste is a bit different than most.

2.  What does it taste like?:  That may seem like a simple enough question, but if you don't know what the wine tastes like how can you know that it will suit what you are needing.  Do your homework a few weeks ahead and taste your favorites to make sure it will go well with what you're planning.  There are about 5,000 different grapes that can make up a wine or champagne, but with only 9 noble grapes considered classic that make up the simple wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and even Rieslings and many others.  It all comes down to what you are in the mood for overall.

3.  Where was the wine made?:  Wine is made in all parts of the world, in Europe, Italy, France, the United States, etc.  Most countries are controlled strictly by the government of that country.  Look for the names on the label such as AOC-Appellation d'Origine Controllee for French wines and DOC-Denominazione d'Origine Controllata.  So for a quality wine, look for quality made wines in the first place.  If it's made in a place that doesn't have control standards or you have never heard of the place or the wine, you might want to steer clear of it, especially if it doesn't have a quality control standard that has been regulated properly.

4.  Who is the wine for?:  The most important aspect of picking wine is, who is it for in the first place?  A co-worker's retirement party wouldn't have the same wine choice as a business dinner to discuss plans for a new building.  One occasion is more relaxed and might call for a fruity, sweet wine while the other is a more professional dinner that might have lamb as a main dish and would call for a more bold red wine.  Thinking about the occasion is one of the most important steps in picking the right wine.  Also consider who made the wine, if it's made somewhere that is known for great wine, this might be a great way to show off your wine-hunting talent to your dinner business clients, as well.

5.  Lastly, When?:  When is your event and when was the wine made?  These two "whens" are more important than you might think.  The when of your wine is an important aspect.  When the wine was made can have a big impact on it's taste as well.  Vintage wines aren't thought of as much no as they were years ago because wine can be made even in the worst of weather nowadays.  The year and season of your wine compared to the when of your event need to be thought of and considered together.


Eco-Tip:  Instead of a sugary treat for yourself or your kids, reach for something a bit more healthy, and fun to eat like a Kiwi Fruit.  Kiwis are a good source of Vitamin C, Fiber, and Potassium.  Kiwis also are full of antioxidants and vitamin E as well.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green


Here comes the rain.......

Oregon is known for a lot of things and one of those things is the RAIN.  Blah!  But even with all the rain we get this time of year, it makes for greener grass in the spring and summer.  This past week, two days before Thanksgiving, we got a pretty good down pour.  A lot of the streets here were flooded and most of the city drains were over-capacity due to all the water.  And if it wasn't the rain making it a messy day, it was the wind too.  

During the rain down pour we got a mix of sleet.  It was a mess!

Our summer hiking trail under lots and lots of water.

The rivers were swelled up pretty high.  We had plans to go out to eat, but we decided to stay in where it's nice and warm and order a pizza instead.


Eco-Tip:  Using reclaimed wood to make something new for your home is a great way to repurpose.  Here is a cool project to try, Farmhouse Table.


Road Trip: A night at the Ciddici's Pizza

Ciddici's Pizza is probably one of the best pizzas I've ever sunk my teeth into.  The crust alone makes it stand out among other pizzas.  Ciddici's offers pizza in a variety of different toppings  but I will say, their feta and spinach and their pepperoni and black olive is the best!  We all love it, so we made a night of it the night before President Obama was reelected.

Ciddici's Pizza is located in Albany, Oregon in an old Oregon Electric Railroad Station.  


The old horse-drawn delivery door.

Skylar ordered the pizzas for us and even wanted to pay for them with his own allowance.  

This is one of the rooms all of the Democrats will gather the following night (November 6th, 2012)

The game room was one of our favorites.

All the political signs out in support of each candidate from the area.

Such a fun night!  

Eco-Tip:  For an alternative in tooth care, give Eco-Dent a try.  The company offers tooth-whitening powder, tater-guard tooth powder  and natural gel toothpaste for sensitive teeth.  For this and other tips on going green visit,The Earth and Me Go Green.