Friday, September 30, 2011

I got nuttin'...

except for maybe a whole lot of wishful thinking.  


September and upcoming October have been and are going to be some fairly hectic months around these parts.  Although my normal M.O. is to go at warp speed at multiple activities on a daily basis, there is a little bit more of a frenetic feel to my life of late.  


My darlin' is gone for several days on a much deserved fishing trip to Canada with his cronies and I have a longer than normal list of things to get done while he's gone.  Not going to happen.  


September has been filled with project planning and getting geared up for the year with my Service League responsibilities.  October is go month and will be crazy busy all the way around.  Loads of things that excite me and make me happy.  This weekend I will have the pleasure of making breakfast (cherry blintzes) for a good friend and then we are heading to Louisville to stalk check out an art show downtown where my recent favorite silversmith will be showing/selling his jewelry.   Wes told me to be sure to pick out something he would pick for me.  That's easy, as we both are drawn to the same pieces whenever we look at jewelry.  Yay me!!...new jewelry!


Next weekend, my favorite older sister is coming to stay with us for a long weekend.  Boy-howdy, do I ever have the weekend chok-a-block stuffed full of things for us to do.  Not the least of which is a most awesome turn of events...she asked me to teach her how to knit wire bracelets!

The next weekend does not have any outside the house activities planned just yet.  After that comes a long weekend with my oldest son, with a tentatively planned day trip to Chicago.  Then we end the month with my in-laws' annual Weenie Roast/Bonfire.   Add the weekday stuff that has to be done, plus some other additional weekday tasks and at this rate, I am going to be ready for the holiday season just to "slow" down some!


What does all this mean?  My precious knitting, spinning, sewing time is taking a hit.  Boo hiss.  However, I did think of something, that I need to invent that would solve all the crafty crunch time.  


Enter the Knitting Crock Pot!  Wouldn't it be wonderful (just sometimes, since the process of doing is a lot of the draw to the craft) if you could just throw everything in your knitting bag, close it up, and 6 to 8 hours later open it to find the most wonderful of things all done?




I think mine is broken :(


P.S.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway...


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aloha Mr. Hand!

Can you name that movie?  It was the first "R" rated movie that I ever saw in the theater.  And to this day, is one of my absolute favorites!  The soundtrack is a keeper.  


As a girl, I loved going to my Granny and Papa's to spend the day or the night.  It was always fun.  


On the desk on the sun porch were several trinkets.  After they both passed away and we were cleaning out some of the things in their house I HAD to have this:















Now, I know for a fact that my grandparents never went to Hawaii, in fact, I can only remember them going on one vacation ever.  But this little flippy calendar doo-hickey sat on the desk.  I loved to flip it and change the date.  


And now, it sits proudly on MY desk and everyone that sits there falls victim to its flippy allure.  


Coincidentally, I vividly remember doing a report on the island of Niihau in fourth grade.  Ya know, back in the day when you had to open up the World Book Encylcopedia and copy everything down, only changing a couple of words so you wouldn't get totally busted.  (please don't rat me out to Mrs. Callich)


I miss my Granny and Papa...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lack of shame and a thank you...

Hello again and welcome back to the world of WIP's!  


This last week has been p.i.t.i.f.u.l. when it comes to getting anymore done on the Dahlia.  I am not sure that there is a whole lot more to it than last week, but progress is progress, right?  




It is hard to tell, but in the above picture, it is actually laying sideways.  What is shown at the top is really the right side.  I'm not sure what or when I am supposed to do anything with those two floppy pieces, but I am trusting the pattern.  Need some smelling salts after fainting in disbelief that I am really going to just go with it and trust it?  The cute little bit of blue in the knitting along the top is the armhole...again, trusting the pattern and that whole concept of learning a new technique.  




Norman and Amos wanted to make sure the sweater parts stayed firmly in place on the floor.




Hmmm, smells like...yarn.




I really don't know what to say here, except, I'm sorry...obviously Amos has no shame!


And with that, it's time to move on to something a little more exciting...a give-away!!!!


According to the powers that be, I have now well surpassed the 20,000 visits mark.  Wow, just wow!  So, in honor of this little milestone, leave a comment below sometime between now and next Wednesday, October 5 at midnight Eastern Time and I will randomly pick a winner.  What do you get?  Well, you have your choice of a skein of yarn handspun by moi from the reddish blob shown here.  (There is about 100+/- yards.)



...OR... a collection of 3 of my homemade soaps (Martini Mafia, Vanilla Caramel Coffee, and Ghiradelli Chocolate Mint).  



So,
1.  Leave a comment below on THIS post .
2.  Deadline to enter is Wednesday, October 5 at midnight Eastern Time.
3.  Check back on Thursday, October 6 when the winner will be announced.  
4.  One entry per person.

And...thank you all for reading my ramblings.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Southern Living in the Midwest

A week or so ago I satisfied the comfort food craving with a favorite individual meat loaf recipe for dinner one night.  Growing up I HATED meatloaf, and chili, and stuffed bell peppers, and chop suey...pretty much anything with ground beef.  Must have been a texture thing.  Then, this miraculous thing happened.  My taste buds grew up. 

The mini meatloaf recipe is in a cookbook that I have had for several years, but with the exception of a couple of recipes, never used that much.  It is from Southern Living and is "Our Best Easy Weeknight Favorites." 


Like many others, for awhile I suffered from random cookbook buy-itis, only to have them languish around the kitchen gathering dust.  In an effort to rid my home of things that I do not absolutely love, cookbooks purchased for whatever reason and never used have been purged.  Let's face it, in the era of having instant access to millions and millions of recipes online there is no reason to buy the book just for one or two recipes.  I tend to favor cookbooks with pretty pictures...it helps to know what the end product is supposed to look like.  So now, my hard copy recipe collection is under better control with only a handful of actual books, my recipe box (that I bought downtown from C&C Gifts when I was something like 12 years old) that is filled with family favorites, and my binders that I keep recipes printed from the internet.  The great thing about printing out the good ones, is that I can make notes and the same thing applies to the books.


Last week I perused the above cookbook with a new found interest thanks to the new and improved taste buds.  Wow!  Lots of things sound really good.  I flagged a bunch of the recipes and have vowed to try at least one new one a week and share my thoughts and tweaks here.  


Here goes with the first one, which conveniently required no grocery store trip as everything was already in my pantry and fridge.


Quick Beef with Broccoli (as changed by me because there are a few things I still won't add)


1 pound round steak
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
Hot cooked rice

 Slice the round steak into very thin slices, being sure to slice against the grain.  Then quickly stir fry the beef in a deep large skillet, stirring constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.  Pull the meat out of the skillet and keep hot and ready for the vegies.

 Then in a small bowl, mix together the water, cornstarch, soy sauce and sugar...set aside.




Cut the broccoli into smaller pieces and slice the mushrooms.




In the same skillet used for the meat, drizzle some olive oil (about 1 tbsp) and toss the broccoli in.  Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes.  




Then throw the mushrooms and garlic in and cook for a couple of more minutes.  Put a lid on it and let the veggies simmer for about 3 minutes.  Dump the meat back in and stir until everything is hot.  Drizzle the soy sauce mixture over the meat and veggies and allow it to cook (with no lid) until the liquid has reduced down and thickened.  

Spoon over a platter of hot rice and dinner is served.


 
 There are a couple of other important events happening around here.  Two, count 'em, two giveaways are on the horizon.  One because of a milestone and the other to share a really great product.  Stay tuned...

 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sleeping in Velcro

With the downturn in temperatures, this past weekend was the time to "snuggly-ify" the sleeping porch.  


Out came the down comforter and the flannel sheets.






Here's where it gets tricky.  I have a hard and fast bedding rule that I try to adhere to all the time...except for when I don't.  Putting sheets on is not one of my most favorite things to do, and since I am less than happy about the whole process, it really ruffles my feathers to get the fitted sheet on wrong...and it used to happen all.the.time!  That is until, years ago, I brilliantly came up with the idea to ONLY buy sheets with a definitive directional pattern.  It can be stripes, tone on tone strips, whatever, just as long as you can truly tell the top/bottom from the sides.  Makes life so much simpler and you never know what you could have done with the couple of minutes it takes to rip the wonky sheet off and put it back on correctly.  Little things people, it's all about the little things. 

I have two sets of flannel sheets (actually two sets of each type of sheets for all the beds in the house...one set on and one set in the wash) for this bed.  One is this really lovely red (lacking in the stripe department but totally making up for it in the color department!) and the other is blue stripes.  There is probably some secret bedding code that says that the tag only goes in one particular spot thereby making it obvious how to put the stinking thing on, but face it, I'm not gonna spend the time wrestling with the sheet to find the tag if I've got picture perfect couldn't mess this up if you tried stripes.  Guess what happened?


Bed done.  Finally.  And I'll never ever get those fleeting sheet sorting seconds back.


Now if I could only solve the Velcro making phenomenon of sleeping in flannel pjs on flannel sheets!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't make me go all Alien...

via 

Hot flashes.


Need I say more?


Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have been dealing with these suckers since my very early thirties.  Surgically induced change of life solved many problems and ushered in now over a decade of new issues.  


Yesterday, I finally got my rear in gear and got back to running.  I have missed it.  The feeling is wonderful...after the first little bit when multiple expletives course through my brain.  I had been fairly consistent and dedicated to my plan and then, don't know what happened, but let's blame it on cake and "pop rock knees" that reared their ugly heads and convinced me that the knees would feel better if they were allowed to rest and were fed cake by way of my mouth.  This lack of exercise has settled most uncomfortably in parts of me that I wish would go away.  


To add insult to injury, when I got back from running yesterday, Facebook slammed me via My Horoscope and made derogatory comments insinuating that I am fat.  That made me a little hot under the collar...on top of the full blown exercise sweat on top of the atomic bomb level hot flash sweat.


Yeah, I know, they make all sorts of meds to combat this issue.  Been there, done that and frankly given my family history, I don't want to taunt the happy fun ball.  Natural remedies...same story...tried and no luck.  


At this point, I am convinced that, really, it is not the hormonal changes that make us cranky and forgetful and emotional.  It is plain old vanilla flavored EXHAUSTION.  Ask any "professional" and they will agree that exhaustion can lead to a whole host of other problems.  Common sense, huh...obviously if every time you drift off to sleep and then wake up in a full on shower soaking sweat and then think you might as well get up to pee, but then you are thirsty from being hot so you drink a glass of water, then lay back down, but OMG who turned the air soooo cold give me all the blankets NOW, then five minutes later you have rinsed and repeated the whole scenario again and this happens so many times through the night you lose count...convoluted mess of a sentence later you get the picture and it is one HOT MESS!


Today, I had a brilliant idea.  Scientists wake up and listen!  Your challenge, whether you choose to accept or not (I recommend accepting) is to figure out a way to channel the obvious kinetic power of hot flashes to boost my metabolism and/or generate enough electricity to power a personal fan!  What brought about this brilliant train of thought?  Late this afternoon, after multiple bouts of drenching, I realized that the frequency and intensity of these "flashes" were increasing in such a manner that I am quite sure it is very likely that I am about to give birth to something Alien-style.  

My husband might just be a little bit afraid.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Great Balls of Fiber!

Back in June, I added a bunch of fiber to my newly started spinning fiber stash.  The pretty blue and red batts got spun up fairly quickly and I have been working diligently on the balls of wool. 


As of last night, 36oz (9 balls) have been spun and the last 4oz have been started.  I don't really have a project in mind for the yarn, but there is A LOT of it.  After plying, it is somewhere between DK and worsted weight. 




That's 12 skeins and 2 cakes worth so far.  I foresee a lot of soaking in my near future as the skeins have yet to take their little soak.




The biggest motivator to finishing the gray/purple fiber is so I can return to the lovely, yummy Alpaca Named Dina on the right bobbin.


The Dahlia is making great strides.  The back lace insert is finished and off needles.  This pattern is interesting in its construction. 




Happy Wednesday to all and be sure to visit the links below for a veritable smorgasbord of creative genius in the making!


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dinner is served

It is approaching that time of year where cooking gets more intense around here.  If topics of "blogger-sation" are any indication, most people feel that way.  


When it is cool and the air is crisp, there is nothing better than sitting down to a steaming bowl of rich soups or platters of pot roast and roasted vegetables.


It also means that I am in more of a mood to share recipes on a more regular basis.  

What was for dinner last night?  


Basil Pesto Cream Reduction on Ravioli topped with Pan Seared Shrimp and Crumbled Pancetta
 



This is super easy and fast, especially since I cut a couple of corners by using some conveneince items.


1.  Peel and de-vein about 45 medium shrimp (I only used 30 for this recipe...saving the rest to go in Gumbo on Tuesday night)


2.  In a large sauce pan, pour 2 cups heavy whipping cream.


3.  Cheat and use prepared Basil Pesto.  Put 4 generous tablespoons in the cream.  Heat to simmer and continue simmering until the liquid is reduced by half.


4.  Cook 1/4 pound thin sliced pancetta.  Drain and crumble when done.





5.  Lightly season shrimp with a sprinkling of salt, cracked pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.  While this is going on be sure that you have started a pot of water for the ravioli.  When it is at a rolling boil proceed with steps 6 and 7 simultaneously.


6.  Cook the shrimp at medium high heat in the same skillet used for the pancetta.  Remove some of the grease if it looks like too much.  While the shrimp are cooking, drop the pasta in the boiling water.


7.  Cook the ravioli (cheated and used ready made instead of making from scratch...that would be just too much for a Monday night).  The ravioli and shrimp will be done at about the same time.  It will take about 7 minutes...the ravioli will begin to float and the shrimp will be nice and pink.  


8.  Plate up and ladle the sauce over the pasta, throw some shrimp on, sprinkle with crumbled pancetta, maybe add a bit more sauce and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and savor every mouthful.  

This whole meal takes about 30 minutes (give or take depending on the shrimp situation at the start)


Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flowers, Cables, and Graduation

It was bound to happen.  It was just  a matter of time.


I have officially lost my ever-lovin' crafting mind.


It is no secret that lace is not my friend or that ripping stuff out has been my most frequent past-time of late. 


Coming off the high of actually completing the booty kicking bootie spree, I clearly lost all touch with my reality and made the decision to start not one of last week's choices, but BOTH of them. 


Lace...check.


Cables...check.


Charts for both patterns...check.


Ripping out multiple lace rows...check.


Using a lifeline...I don't need no stinkin' lifeline! (really I do, but why start now?!?!)


The Dahlia Cardigan...oooohhh, I'm in love.




The first chart is finished and I am at around row 17 of the second chart.  In all honesty, I am learning a lot about lace with this project.  It is gratifying to be able to acknowledge the progress I have made as a knitter.  In the past, I could figure out most of my mistakes in regular knitting by reading my stitches, but not so much with lace.  This project marks the first time that I have successfully been able to read the stitches, find my mistakes and correct them with only a minimal amount of ripping, unlike past projects that I repeatedly ripped all the way out and started over.  Yarn being used:  Reynolds Sunday Best in Colorway 68 Bright Red.

The Five Way Cable Shrug is going slowly.  Sorry, but I got distracted by the purty flower above.




Slowly but surely...  Yarn being used:  Naturally Caron Country in Colorway 16 Charcoal.

No promises are being made about how much more gets done before I throw these two things down in frustration and go back to booties...and we all know how well that will turn out!

And now, a special treat for the son of mine that the other night said, "Mom!  Oh my gosh! I was showing my last year's Physics class project pictures that you blogged about to "someone" and now some of my baby pictures have also been seen!!!"  Personally, I think this might be a contender for his graduation announcement picture insert.



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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kitties Under the Influence

This Spring I grew some catnip from seed.  It was doing very nicely in its little pot on the landing outside the back porch.  It finally began to get a little droopy and sad looking and I brought it inside the porch doors.  (Up until that point the cats could see it and get a whiff of it every now and again)  Sunday, they hit pay dirt when they realized exactly what it was.  Amos was the first to attack the plant.  (Sorry for the less than stellar pics, but when Meowmy ran to get the camera, she discovered that the battery was dead and had to resort to the phone camera)











BTW, that is not water from watering the plant...it is DROOL!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Too much time on my hands...





This is a fairly safe statement to make.  All you have to do is study and evaluate the evidence about to be presented.


This afternoon I had to run an errand for the shop.  On the way back, I spy a glaring error that strikes me as truly hilarious.  




Do you see it? Do you? Do you? Do you?


But, wait, there's more...


When faced with this predicament, the ONLY thing that could be done was...call them.  Yep, I did.

 Them:  "Uh, hello."



Me:  "Is this Definitive Auto Sales with PROFESSIONAL Auto DETAILING?"


Them:  "yes."


Me:  "Did you know your sign is spelled incorrectly?"


Them:  "It is? (laughing)"


Me:  "yes"


Them:  "Which part?"


Me:  "detailing"


Them:  "Really?  Well, that's funny. I never noticed."


Me:  "Yeah, well it makes me wonder about the attention to detail with the professional detailing."


Them:  "Huh?  Well, I guess I oughta' call the guy that did the sign.  Thank you."


Me:  "You're welcome."


My work is done for the day.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Bootie-licious

It is finally Friday.  For a week that was shortened by a holiday, this has been one of the longest weeks ever.  The weather has turned cooler and we really should be back out on the sleeping porch, but with everything that had to be done the last few days, we could not risk sleeping out there.  Sleeping in the cool, crisp air greatly increases the chance that the alarm clock will either be accidentally turned off or ignored.  This was not the week for that.  


On to exciting news.  At last, a second pair of baby booties is off the needles.  I think it is time to do something bigger now.  Although, in theory, booties are fast and simple, maybe my brain is merely balking at having to deal with tiny needles.  Two pairs down and five more to go to complete the baby shower gift I promised to make for my sister to give away.  

Two things on my radar are the Dahlia Cardigan and the Five Way Cable Shrug.  I have stash yarn ready for both projects.  They are both beautiful options, but on the downside both have major brain/boredom pitfalls.  The Dahlia has a LOT of mind numbing stockinette stitch and the Five Way has 54" of cabling/chart reading.  PLUS, Dahlia has my hate it with a black loathing always favorite choice of lace knitting.  The other issue with Five Way is that the pattern only shows THREE ways to wear it and, frankly I need help figuring out the other two.  That, my friends, could very well be the kill joy for this one unless someone would care to enlighten my poor allergy affected headachy head.  Give me your thoughts or suggestions on this pickle.


And now for the proof that baby feet will not be naked. 



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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chickendale

I grew up in a town where poultry is KING...ranks up there right next to that giant box store that employees XXX~martians (they are not normal people).  In fact, my hometown is "affectionately" referred to as Chickendale, seeing as how it is the world capital.  Actually, another reason it has that nickname is because you cannot drive down any of the major roads without seeing feathers and I kid you not, it smelled different.  As a girl, I spent a large chunk of time at my Daddy's drugstore downtown, which also happened to be the main thoroughfare for the trucks getting to/from the "big highway."  It was not uncommon to see chickens of varying degrees of livelihood along the road.


So, once upon a time, when I was younger and a little bit more naive, I felt compelled to rescue a chicken from the side of the street.  Downtown Chickendale has a gathering spot known as Shiloh Mall (it really isn't a mall per se, but more accurately it is a tin roof over a concrete area right around the creek that runs through downtown...lots of activities are held there ranging from street dances/parties for teens to chicken dinners and stagecoach rides during Rodeo season...side note, the whole concept of my sister thinking that the July 1st Rodeo Parade is really for her birthday is an entirely different story!)


Where was I?


Oh yeah, Shiloh Mall and runaway chickens.  One day, as I was wandering up and down the street downtown (can't do that anymore!) I saw it.  I had to have it.  I had never touched one that wasn't fried, grilled, smoked or bbq'd.  Don't quite remember how I did it, but I caught it!!!  And back to the drugstore I trotted carrying a live chicken.  "Hi Daddy, look what I got.  I am going to keep it as a pet.  Its name is Shiloh."  That thing went home with us.  Then there was the whole dilemma of what to feed it.  Cornmeal from the cardboard cylinder was the only thing I could come up with.  No clue at all...afterall, this was before the wonder of looking up anything under the sun on the internet and still back in the days of stores closing a 5 or 6pm and Blue Laws prohibiting Sunday business.  In my remembering, I had that chicken forever, which loosely translated means more like a day or two.  It ultimately went to live with some friends of the family that had chickens.  I refuse to believe the rumors that Shiloh eventually turned into Chicken and Dumplings.  What did I learn from this?  Chickens can manage to get to the top of boxwood hedges.  They don't really care for cornmeal out of the cardboard box.  I had no clue what I was doing.


What prompted this rambling mess?


I cooked a fabulous chicken the other night.




For all I know, this could be one of Shiloh's descendants, but not likely.  I have stopped buying meats from chain grocery stores of any nature, preferring to get it from private butchers.  It all has a taste that is far superior to anything else.


Here's how to do up a simple, but super yummy chicken:


As shown above, get a 4 or 5 pound roaster.  In a small bowl, mix a couple of tablespoons olive oil, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp of ground thyme, the zest and juice of one lemon.  Stir together then rub the mix all over that there bird.  Take the time to lift the skin and tuck some oily seasoning under it.  Sometimes I also put slivers of butter under the skin also along with thin lemon slices and/or rosemary sprigs.  Don't forget to liberally sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Bake uncovered at 450 F for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 F and bake for about 75 more minutes.  When the bird is a nice golden brown, remove from the oven and cover with foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes.


Sorry there are no after baking shots, but I was slightly lightheaded from my stomach growling and by the time I remembered, there was no usable evidence left. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

These booties are kicking my bootie!

I really don't know what is going on with me.  It's like a do-over for the last nearly 2 months is in order.  I have had a H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. headache for 6 weeks now, the last couple of weeks it has been quite clearly stress related as evidence by the Hunchback of Notre Dame sized lumps on my shoulders and base of my skull.  Obviously, this has impacted my ability to do much of anything very well...shoot, I haven't been able to get much accomplished.  Over this past weekend, enough was enough when my head could no longer turn without sending me into spasms of agony.  After a few texts I was lined up with an "emergency"massage yesterday morning.  Never has a massage hurt so good...  The down side of such a treatment is the necessity of drinking loads and loads of water.  I drank and drank and then drank some more.  So, today, although my head/neck are some better, I am exhausted from having to get up repeatedly as a result of trying to store water away like a camel.


Booties.  Cute.  Small.  Simple.  Why are these things giving me so much trouble.  I realize it has more to do with the pain in the neck situation, but they are not helping with the frustration level.  After completing 2 pairs, one following the directions and one not so much, you would think I would be more attentive.  


All I really wanted was a simple, mindless project to work on while dealing with the head, people!!!
Spinning has been an option, but that doesn't work very well in the car.


I printed out several different baby bootie patterns made from various yarn weights.  Tuesday, my intention was to whip out the Little Man Socks.  Nope.  The yarn did not like my choice. Rip, rip, rip. So, instead, started the Churchmouse Wee Ones Stay on Baby Booties...twice.  Back on track now...



Using Cestari Sock Yarn in Blue Denim Heather

Lately, while knitting or cleaning house, I have been listening to audio books downloaded through the Overdrive app on my phone.  Now I fully understand why children love being read to at bedtime.  Not sure how many chapters I have missed because I fell asleep while listening.  If I'm in the car by myself, I play the books through the car stereo and thankfully, that has not put me to sleep.  My latest author obsession is Jen Lancaster... she also blogs here.  Her books are totally cracking me up!

P.S.  Be sure to check out the links below to find other crafter/bloggers that perhaps are not so intimidated by baby feet!


P.P.S.  fyi, finally got the Etsy shop up and running.  Only a handful of items there right now as my eyes cross at the prospect of loading everything in all at once.  There is a handy dandy little linky button on the top right of the page, that, surprisingly enough, actually works despite having been created in the middle of the night while heavily pain medicated.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Time Warp

A couple of weeks ago the kids were out swimming and goofing off on the lake.  I sent a cooler with snacks and drinks with them.  Upon their return, it got left on the back porch.  At least one request of "please bring the cooler in" has been made.  And still it sits...






I think the Halloween decorating has been started for me. 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crap! I'm growing up...

My Mama said it would eventually happen.


I did not believe her.


But it did.


So, sit down friends and family that know me well...


I have a confession to make, and it is a painful one.


I


like


tomatoes now.


There, I said it and the burden has been lifted from my tastebuds.


For the last year or so, I have been less and less diligent about removing fresh tomatoes from foods that are ordered at restaurants. (still don't think I am ready to leave the sliced things on my JJ #6 with extra sprouts)


Jane, a friend of mine, recently made a Caprese salad for a get together we were at.  It was sooooooo pretty and had other things I like...fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, seasoned olive oil...  I tried it. I liked it.  I had seconds.  Okay, actually, I think I had thirds.


Last weekend when I returned home from my monthly trip to Findlay Market (shout out to Tara for getting me hooked on this place and to Liz for being my co-visitor) and to Jungle Jim's to restock my meat freezer and to get some things I can't get here, I made my version of the salad.  Wes and I both enjoyed it...tomatoes that I grew with thin strips of my home grown basil, fresh mozzarella pearls, rolled slices of what is THE.BEST hard salami ever!, and slices of crusty bread all drizzled with flavored olive oil.  Our only complaint was that I was tired and took the easy road and made an infused olive oil that I normally use on pizza.  It was good, but not exactly what we thought it needed.


Last night, as we were kid-less for the evening, we opted for a repeat of this meal but stepping it up a knotch and tweak the oil.  


By George, I think we've got it!






How to make the olive oil sauce:


Mince 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and roast (on parchment paper) in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and slightly crispy.  Watch carefully as it goes quickly from golden brown to charred, trust me on this.


In a food processor, add 1 tsp each of rosemary, parsley, oregano, and fresh parmesan.  Then add 1/2  tsp ea of red pepper flakes, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Pulse until well ground/chopped up.  Add to about 1/2 cup good EVOO.  Add the roasted garlic.  Mix well and let it sit and be happy for a little while.  Drizzle over the tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella.  


I marinated the mozzarella pearls in the oil mixture also.  


The only thing missing was the salami.  I forgot to get any out of the freezer :(


Fresh sliced tomatoes...good.


Raw sliced onions...don't count on it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Off the cuff...

Recently, I have started, ripped, re-started, ripped, re-re-started, well, you get the idea.  Finishing has been an issue.  Shoot, even starting has been an issue.  


By all rights, I should have a sweet little baby blue sweater finished. Except for the part where I admit to making the "one skein newborn size" in the 3-6 month size and falling victim to the faulty logic of knitting fast before running out of yarn.  Why does that never work?  And just for funsies, let's throw in the "I can't find the ball band to get the lot number" insult to injury.  


The only thing actually finished is this:




I stumbled across this idea last summer while on vacation and love making them.  There is no limit to what can be done.



Garden-wise, I did manage to pick enough green beans for a meal JUST before the plants up and died!  Sounds great, unless you remember how much of a thief Norman is.  That cat is strange.  He likes green beans, both as a toy and a snack.  In order to be sure that there were enough left for an actual meal, I had to hide the bowl (this decision was made after finding several beans through the house).  I was quite proud of myself for outsmarting him.  At first, anyway.  Wednesday night I was cleaning out my knitting bag and pulled out a pattern book currently in use.  A green bean fell out of it.  This morning he was having a field day with a bean.  Threw it away only to find him with another one.  Threw that one away and...darn cat! 


I am pretty sure he has a stash somewhere.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Seasonal Purgatory

It is safe to say that the only actual "season" that I dislike is winter.  And, that is only because it is soooo cold and while snow is pretty to look at and sled on, and it gives me a reason to stay nice and toasty warm inside, I do not like the stuff.  It can quickly become a nuisance and a danger.  


Spring--love it! Everything is bright and beautiful and ready to be reborn.  There is dirt to be dug in, flowers to be planted, and the great outdoors to play in while the temperatures are pleasant.


Summer--love it!  (okay, I'll admit to disliking the oppressively horrific ridiculously high temperatures which result in us not being able to sleep on the sleeping porch)  There is the lake to float around in, vegetables coming in, and the lazy days on the porch with the fans on and a glass of tea in my hand. 


Fall--love it!  The air literally changes color.  It seems to pick up the red and yellow hues of the changing leaf colors.  Trees are changing.  The air starts getting crisp and we can go back to the sleeping porch and sleep there nightly until sometime in the dead of winter when the wind chill/temperature reaches 14 degrees F...don't know why, but until it reaches that point we stay quite comfortable out there).  Another wonderful feature of Fall...specifically after Labor Day, is that the "Summers"...those people that only come to their lake homes for the summer...finally leave and the lake returns to peaceful calm for the year-rounders.


But....right now...we are in...

SEASONAL PURGATORY!


It is still sort of summery, but not yet fallish, and everything is half dead and exhausted from the heat.  


The evidence is quite compelling:

Lush and pretty in May...




...and now:




Can you say ick?  Here's a tricky question for you...can you maybe, possibly, couldn't miss this unless you were blind, figure out exactly where the big goofy dog likes to roll around?

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