Sunday, October 28, 2007

Highly Suggestible

Everyone keeps asking if I have had any crazy pregnancy cravings.

You know the type.

3 am finds me in the refrigerator with one hand holding the pickle jar and the other digging through various leftovers while at the same time I am finishing off a bowl of cookie dough ice cream.

But that hasn't happened. There was the one time that we were at a bbq and I discovered I had to go out for donuts immediately. Last week I was in dire need of a grape slushie.

I think those are pretty isolated incidents thus far.

However, you can pretty much convince me within a short time span that I want whatever you tell me that I want. Commercial for KFC? Honey, you'd better put your shoes on. Chocolate chip cookies? Get out the baking sheets. Breakfast for dinner? Great Dan, just great. Thanks a ton.

My omelette wasn't quite as pretty as his frittata. Nor is it as fancy a word. But boy, was it yummy. Fresh out of the garden red bell pepper, onion, eggs, (mixed with my secret ingredient) tomato, bacon, and feta cheese.

Since it was breakfast for dinner, we might as well make a pot of decaf as well. Foamed milk and mocha mint creamer.

Delectable. Now, what should I have tomorrow?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt -- Pink

I love having a reason to take pictures so I thought I would join up with the weekly scavenger hunt...

Pink for me is the easiest thing to find around my house at the moment. We have pink gift bags full of pink onesies and pink sleepers, a new pink & brown stroller and car seat,(which I LOVE, thank you family!) , pink teether toys, pink bibs, pink blankets and handmade afghans and hand sewn quilts.

But I got another fabulous pink gift in the mail on Tuesday. It was even better because I received it at my work address and who doesn't love a present at your desk when you get to work? (Which has been happening quite frequently lately since my huge church shower!)

Blogger Kerrianne sent me these sweet pink booties. I have determined that I am going to learn how to sew them and make them in every color possible...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Brownies! From Scratch!

I don't think I've ever made any better...nor will they ever be able to compare again. Growing up, I always made brownies from scratch but they were never really amazing. So I gave up started using the box mixes and adding to it a box of chocolate pudding. Even if it was a generic brand of brownie mix, the pudding made it spectacular.

Last week, I thought I would be a little more domestic than usual and try anew to made a great pan of brownies from scratch.

Ok, I realize it's probably not all that impressive. But I don't
bake all that often so I need to pat myself on the back a little.

Although today I did make an amazing chocolate cheesecake. I'd show you a picture, but it's in the oven and cheesecakes are rather sensitive creations.

Just know that it melts in your mouth and will have shaved chocolate, home made cream and fresh raspberries on top.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's All Free!!

Can I just say how much I love Freecycle?

With all the house projects going on lately (more pictures and posts on that! How-to's for everyone!) there are many things that I am finding I don't want, don't need, and can't possibly keep around anymore. Lightbulbs, little tables, books, bags, the list goes on!

So why not just have someone else come take it away for me? Good stuff needn't be thrown away. It needs to be claimed as new by someone other than me.

If you're not signed up with your local freecycle group, check into it and see if you have one. It's a great way to reuse still-good items. Plus, you never know what you'll find for yourself on there!

My next step is listing my for-sale things on Craigslist. We need to make some money for those many house projects...

Monday, October 15, 2007

When BAD is Good

Blog Action Day. I've been reading a lot of different blogger's environmental advice posts today and been really excited about what is going on. It's so easy to see all that is wrong with the world and how many people give no thought for the environment at all. However, there are a lot of good people doing a lot of good things.

listed healthy, environmentally safe cleaning products. I was just about to pull out a notebook and pen (or at least bookmark this particular post) when I realized I use a lot of these products already! My goal is to start finding ways to make a lot of my own cleansers as well.

Wardrobe Refashion is a site that is already dedicated to reusing and recycling as much as possible. You sign up with a commitment for two, four or six months that you will not purchase any new clothing. If you need something you will remake an item you already have or sew something new, usually from thrifted fabrics. I haven't gotten around to making this commitment, but I have become much more conscious of not buying new clothes. My expanding belly makes it hard, but I seem to be pretty content in my options.

LAB didn't say she was posting necessarily for blog action day, but yesterday's read was chock full of fabulous suggestions to reduce one's carbon footprint and make wise choices.

Ok, just one more. another tangential thinker listed a bunch of great things she has chosen to do since she just moved into a new home.

Lots of great ways we can be smarter about how we live and what we live with. Today I'm burning candles rather than turning on the heat. It's not quite cold enough for the heat yet. Plus, since we (again, we meaning Andy) are sanding two rooms worth of hardwood floors, we have the vents blocked off and it wouldn't be such a great idea to blow the sawdust all over the house!

As soon as the floors are done and it is time to turn the heat on, we're going to get a duct cleaning done. This will improve our airflow and reduce the amount of heat we need to use and help with dust as well.

I'm planning on getting my garden winterized today. Pile some leaves and heap some nutrient-laden dirt so that next year my veggies will grow better and more of my garden will be usefully productive.

What are you doing today to be wisely active?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nu Uh!

awarded me the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award.

Funny, this award matches the Rocking Guitar I want someday.

Or do I want this one? Ah, it's too hard to decide.

Which reminds me that I need to practice. I have to say I have practiced twice this week, which, granted, is not a lot but it is way more than usual. Since hubby is upstairs grinding the floor down (and it is looking fabulous, I must say!) now is a perfect time for me to work on my chords. (edited to add: I started this post at 6 and now it's 8 and I haven't practiced yet. Ok, Ok, I'm going!!)

You know who I think rocks? Jean. How she juggles the kids, the working from home, the cooking for other people, the home improvement...I sure don't know. But she rocks. She misses me after two days (truly it felt like a week!), keeps me sane when my world is falling apart, encourages me in my every venture and never fails to warm my heart. Plus, next week she gets to fill in for me at my rock star job! Take the award, my friend! You deserve it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Swallowing My Pride with My Coffee

No one ever wants to admit that they were wrong. No one especially wants to admit that they were wrong twice. I guess I'm not saying I'm wrong, was wrong, whatever, but my admission is still embarrassing for some reason.

We had to get rid of another kitty. Me, a lover of all things furry and kitty-like, had to send away another member of my furry family. It's depressing, is what it is. It's admitting that I've failed as a kitty-mommy.

Clara was angry. Deliberately pooing two feet away from her litter box. Not every day, but at least three times a week. We tried changing the brand of litter, wiping down the inside of the box, keeping her in her own space, etc and etc. After a few months, she got madder and starting peeing two feet away from the box.

I put off "the talk" for as long as possible. She was really hubby's kitty. She preferred him over me any day. I didn't want to be the one to tell him that he had to get rid of his lap warmer, his music muse, his adoring little fluffy girl. Plus, I wasn't the one who had to clean up after her. But I also knew that I was done with the whole situation.

Last week hubby went to a leadership conference for several days in Atlanta. In my "condition" I'm not allowed to have anything to do with whatever comes out of the cats so I knew she had to go before he left on his trip.

Now, a week later and a kitty shorter, we are in the process of refinishing the floors in that room. Today we bought the replacement boards (yep, she ruined some enough that they were rotten and needed to be completely replaced), stain, and the needed accessories. Sometime this week we'll be renting the floor sander to strip the carpet glue and random paint from the hardwood. Honestly, we have been wanting to do this project for years, but this is just a crappy situation that it had to come through.

Cammie, our now-single kitty, seems to be adjusting well. The first few days she was extra needy and cuddly and I sometimes wondered if she was looking around for Clara. But at the same time, I think she likes being an only kitty, having all the attention. Fortunately, she has never had any accidents and doesn't seem to have any emotional problems for us to worry about. Let's just hope she likes babies. I don't think I could handle giving up one more.

Monday, October 01, 2007

How To Build a Brick Tree Ring

When you have limited yard space due to city living like we do, you may look for any spot available to brighten up the yard and plant flowers.

I've been wanting to build a brick ring around our tree between the sidewalk and the street for quite a while. Once we noticed the bricks on sale at Menard's we decided it was time.

They delivered our bags of top soil and bricks (rather than us making ten or more trips to cart it all in our car) and I got to work that very day.

After I measured and laid out the spacing for my bricks, I recruited Brother Bear to dig the trench around the tree. The ground wasn't too uneven, but I knew if we didn't dig at least a shallow trench, the bricks wouldn't lay properly. If you're going to do it, you have to do it right! Right?

Then the leveling takes place. Each brick, one at a time needs to have the ground smoothed, leveled and filled in as required. You should make sure that if there is a dip or your ground slopes that the bricks at least match up one to another. Now, I did not use a level in this process. When we built the retaining wall we did, but since I was only going three bricks high I made sure that it was flat from brick to brick but wasn't worried with absolute perfection.

Once you have the first layer done, the hard work is virtually over. (Other than the brick-carrying, of course!) Using a caulk gun and cement-like mortar, I put a squiggly layer on the bottom brick and lay the next over it, covering the joining gap. I forgot to take a picture of this step. So just picture a squiggle of cement glue and then me putting a brick over the squiggle. This keeps the bricks from shifting too much.

The trick to the second layer is chiseling your last brick in half. Make sure you're wearing protective goggles and not near any neighbor's cars...your eyes and your neighbors will appreciate this. I used a large brick chisel with a hand guard and my hammer. It doesn't seem to be an exact science and by the end I was just hauling away at the brick with my hammer. But it finally fit and no one is the wiser!

My last level was the easiest as it was just cement glue and laying the bricks on to finish it off. Hubby dumped all my dirt into the ring and I leveled it up and topped it off with a bag of Miracle Grow mix for extra nutrients.

Then comes my favorite part: the planting! I picked out black, dark purple, blue, and white as my primary colors and planted bulbs of tulips, muscari and hyacinths. Among those I put a good amount of bright white & yellow daffodils. I should have a good mix of early, mid and late spring flowers.

Above ground, you can see a few pots of cheerful fall mums. I wanted this to be as maintenance-free of a garden as possible, I chose all repeat customers. Gotta love the perennial! Most likely next year in late spring after the bulbs are done I'll plant piles of petunias, pansies and marigolds among the mums. This may also be a perfect spot for either morning glories and/or sunflowers.

Now I just have to wait until April. I hate waiting.