Friday, May 29, 2009
Life has gotten a little nutty: Trying to get lots done before New Bean makes his arrival and planning a big birthday party for Monkey (party is tomorrow!).
I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things next week, but my postings will probably be a bit farther spaced out for a little while (hopefully not as long as this past one, though). Pregnancy is starting to wear me down, so just until I have New Bean and get into a new routine at least.
I hope to have party pictures to share this weekend.
Now it's back to housework and a cake is waiting for frosting!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Last fall (around the time I found out I was pregnant, actually), I knew if we didn't just pick a date and DO IT, we'd never take the trip. A date was set and arrangements made. We were taking a girls' weekend, just the two of us. Ever since then, I've been saving my pennies.
We decided to take the I-95 South to Freeport and hop on Route 1, heading back north from there. After much debate, we opted to not follow the article we had read (because we had each ripped it out to mention to the other when we first saw it, of course!) but to just stop at whatever stores struck our fancy.
Our very first stop, however, was before Freeport. How could we possibly be driving South on the I-95 and NOT stop in Fairfield? The Fairfield Antiques Mall is less than 3 miles from the interstate. And we both absolutely loved it. We were there for nearly 3 hours!
My poor feet hurt by the time we left, but it was worth every minute. We both scored some great items, though I do believe the best one would be my "new" dresser. You'll be seeing it in a few weeks, after I refinish it and put it in it's new home.
From here, we went on to Freeport. We stopped for lunch and a quick run in at LLBean. Then we were off on Route 1. With no concrete plan at this point, we just drove and stopped wherever caught our fancy. And after the stop in Fairfield, honestly, not much impressed us. Around 4, we decided to just drive on through to Camden/Rockport and call it a day.
The germophobe in me gets very "ICK" over hotel rooms, but this place was really nice. We got a Double Queen Bed Suite, so we each had a nice big bed to sprawl out it. There was a kitchenette type area (a fridge, sink and coffee maker) and a small sitting area with a pull out sofa. We even had a small balcony overlooking a little garden house made of stone. If we had realized ahead of time there was a pool, we may have brought bathing suits (though I don't know if I REALLY want to be seen in a bathing suit right now - HA).
Much to our disappointment, not much was open. We didn't hit our first store until Belfast (and were very glad for the high we got from the yard sales because we would have been discouraged and ready to head home).
We barely had time to make our decision when we pulled out of the driveway to see THIS:
This is Treasures and Trash Barn. And this is the type of place that excites us. We didn't find a single thing there other than a massive junkers high (you junkers out there know what I'm talking about!), but what a fantastic stop to end our trip.
From there, we did finally head home. I'm a doof and forgot to take a picture of our treasures piled in the back of the vehicle. We could still see out the back window of the Trail Blazer - but barely.
Monkey was ecstatic to see me. She jumped from her Auntie's arms and ran down the driveway full throttle to jump into my arms with a gigantic smile on her face. (This was only my second night away from her ever in her 2 years!)
After all of that shopping, I only spent about $200 (I have a lot to show for it, too). I even have some of my saved pennies left over to keep playing with home decorating. Or maybe a pedicure for my poor poor feet.
And it has been decided we will be making this an annual affair.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I've got two new recipes again this week. This first one is from Rachael Ray - 30 Minute Meals this time, though. Spicy Garlic Shrimp is supposed to take less than 10 minutes to prepare, according to the website. I have a feeling I might regret it (Heartburn, anyone? I did just buy a gallon of Maalox, though... haha), but it sounds yummy and shrimp was on sale this week.
I'll be pairing it with asparagus (also on sale this week) and homemade Onion Rings (vidalia onions are on sale, too!). They are baked, so much better for you than the traditional fried rings. A larger family may want to double (or triple) this recipe as it only calls for one onion. I can't imagine that making much.
I mention all these sale items. Check out your grocery flyers this week. There are usually great sales for Memorials Day weekend.
Enjoy your kitchens!
Image from Foodnetwork.com
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This is an adorable pair of coverall shorts I bought for Monkey at a yard sale last summer for $2 or $3. They were too big last year, but this year they are just right.
She was wearing them one day during the beginning days of potty training. In an effort to make it easier to put her on the toilet more quickly, I had left them unsnapped. It had a skirt effect, and I realized I liked it better as a skirt!
I cut out the snaps and pinned up the open seams in the front and back (this required lining up of the decorative ribbon trim). I figured if I ruined them, I was only out a couple of dollars
A new skirt!
I'm not a fancy seamstress by any means, but I doubt anyone will be looking closely at the stitchery when she's wearing it. Besides - practice makes perfect. If I want to be a better seamstress, there's only one way to get better. (To try, try again!)
What have you been working on? Feel free to leave a comment (with a link to a recent project perhaps?) and share!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Do I need to say anything else?
Oh. You want the recipe? Ok. I suppose.
The recipe (I don't know where this originated - I just know it ended up in my box):
2 sticks butter
2 tsp vanilla
Mix together and beat at medium speed for 20 minutes. This is where a stand mixer comes in handy. I just tossed it in and enjoyed a quick lunch with Monkey while the mixer did the work!
Mix together 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve and a half of whole crackers if you crumb them yourself) and 1 stick melted butter.
Press evenly into a 9x13 pan.
Spread cream mixture over crumbs.
Beware of the mess your toddler will make with the mixer beater while attempting to lick it.
Layer 2 cups drained crushed pineapples (don't forget to reserve the juice for something else - like Sweet N Sour Chicken Balls, perhaps?).
Layer 4 split bananas on top of the pineapple.
Spread a large container of cool whip on top of the bananas.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts and cut up cherries (I forgot the cherries, but actually do not like them so it worked out in MY favor! haha Sorry T.)
Refrigerate for 2 hours and enjoy!
I did not put nuts on the entire cake because of the choking hazard for Monkey, but we did put them on our indivial servings. This cake is really good and very easy.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I got to grill in the rain because it started raining about 10 minutes before it was time to throw the shrimp on. It's times like this it makes me glad our grill is right outside our door on the porch. And very glad I could find my rain coat. HA. It was also very easy to prepare.
I added apple to the salad, also. I need to tweak the dressing a little. I found it a little overpowering on the bottom of the bowl, but has great flavor.
All in all, we enjoyed both very much.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
First, let me show you once again my wonderful decorating sense. (Note the dripping sarcasm)
Top Half - Before:
Bottom Half - Before:
After much sweat and tears (ok - no tears but with these pregnancy hormones, yes there was a lot of sweat!) I got those stairs AND the trim painted! (T had already painted the walls of the top half and the shelving had also already been painted). I'm mighty proud of myself, too.
Top Half - After:
Bottom Half - After:
We do still need to repair the drywall at the base of the stairs, but like I said before, it's very far down on the totum pole. Maybe we'll tackle it next winter, but I do know I'm not about to attempt drywall on my own at 32+ weeks pregnant, thank you very much. Crazy? Yes. Nesting? Yes again. Stupid? No. I'll wait until T is ready to help me.
I still have a few things I want to do (like put a few more pretty things on top and make some kind of small chalkboard labels for my baskets) and a few things I want to buy (I may replace one of the hanging baskets with a sign or wreath - and I want to find a small wooden step ladder to attach to the wall under the shelves to store our most worn shoes so they aren't in the doorway). But all in all, I'm very pleased with what I've accomplished so far.
Any ideas or suggestions on finishing it up would be greatly appreciated!
Now, make sure you head on over to The Inspired Room to see the After Photos!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We did spend the afternoon together as a family, but that is normal on Sunday. T grilled surf & turf for dinner for a special meal - and informed me what my present is.
The dear sweet man is giving me hours of back breaking labor to fix this:
THIS is the flower bed in front of my house and what it looks like in the spring. It looks so bare and like such a great blank slate, right?
This is what it looks like later in the summer. It's not terrible, but it's much more overgrown for my taste. I've been trying to weed it and create a nice cultivated look since we bought the house five years ago. It all just keeps coming back.
T told me to dig out the plants I want to keep (I do like some!). He will then dig out the rest of the bed. I have a small budget to haul in fresh loam and to pick out and buy new plants with! I'm so excited by this prospect. I've been trying to figure out exactly what I want to do. I have a feeling I'll be spending quite a bit of time at the nursery.
Work begins sometime next week because this weekend (weather and interior projects permitting), I'm taking off for a belated Mother's Day girls weekend with my Mom. We're taking off on Friday for the night, just the two of us, for a small antiquing/junking road trip we've been wanting to take for years.
I'll tell you all about it next week!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
T went fiddleheading on Saturday. We spent some of the afternoon cleaning them by hand. We finished cleaning them on Sunday night. And what you see here is a nice batch of fiddleheads covering my kitchen table, drying out after being prepped for freezing. So far, we have 6 meals worth in our freezer (about 3 gallons total).
We joined him last night to pick some more (the photo above is Monkey's attempt at photography - I think we need to get her a camera for Christmas because she loves taking pictures). We got between 1 and 2 gallons - and I'm hoping T has them clean when I get home from work today so I can handle the freezer prep and freezing tomorrow.
Monday, May 11, 2009
1/2 cup olive oil
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I was beyond overwhelmed. I couldn't figure out the pattern. Nothing made sense.
After about 15 minutes of looking at it over and over and over and over again, I finally realized what my problem was. I bought the WRONG SIZE. Monkey is not a size 6, 7 or an 8. Heck, she's barely a size 2!
Lesson learned? Pattern packets don't come universal for all of the sizes listed on the back chart (Yes, I felt like an idiot). Oh no. Make sure you have sizes you need!
So a trip to JoAnn's was in order. Unfortunately, they didn't have the smaller version of this pattern. I found another I thought was cute and brought it home, but haven't touched it yet.
I do have a sewing project to share! My GFT is getting married in September. She asked me to help her learn how to sew. She hasn't used a sewing machine since Home Economics (High School or Grammar School, T? HA!) and had yet to use hers. So she brought it over, I looked over the manual (it's not the same as mine) and gave her a quick lesson. Then, I sat back and oversaw the labor while minding Monkey and keeping her grubby paws off of the nice fabric.
GFT now has two adorable ring bearer pillows.
We do still need to "gift wrap" them with a colored bow, but we don't have the fabric for it yet. We'll be using the fabric from bridesmaid dresses that need to be hemmed for those of us that are SHORT SHORT SHORT. I'll be using the hemming from my dress to make the sash on Monkey's. It saved us some money for not having to buy extra fabric - and kept something out of a landfill since they'd just toss the cut fabric for the hems anyways.
So, I didn't really do much sewing (I did help stuff and started to hand stitch one closed!), but I did use a sewing machine, albeit briefly.
I also now have a few projects lined up. I'm looking forward to this!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
The Spinach and Ricotta with Shells went very well with burgers on the grill. It was also a cinch to make. Alas, it's best fresh - and it makes a lot (and by a lot, I mean way too many leftovers). I'll be cutting it in half next time. Yes, there will be a next time.
The Marsala Chicken-and-Mushroom Casserole was so unbelievably good (T went for seconds so I know he loved it, too). I don't think I'll make chicken Marsala the right way very often from here on. Not only was the casserole much easier to make, but there was also much less of a mess!
Last but not least, the Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce was extremely easy to make. It smelled really good, too. However, last minute dinner plans changed when my parents arrived in town (for only the night) early enough for us to join them out for dinner, so we haven't tried the sauce yet. I tossed the whole thing into the refrigerator and we'll try it reheated at some point this weekend.
I have renewed energy in the kitchen. Maybe it was the fails last week that had me so discouraged, but I did enjoy being in the kitchen this week. I guess we all have our slumps, right?
First two images are from Every Day with Rachael Ray. Third image is from Real Simple Magazine.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
This week, I went for another ultra sound. While pregnant for Monkey, I didn't have one after the "big" one at 20 weeks. Then, with about a month to go, I found out she was breech and was devastated because I'd need a c-section. (The surgery scared the hell out of me - I'll admit it).
So when my OB suggested an ultra sound to verify all was well, I agreed.
All IS well. New Bean is at an estimated weight of over 3 pounds. And, most importantly, he is HEAD DOWN! Barring any unforeseen complications, I should be a go for an attempted VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). This makes me extremely happy. The thought of having to have surgery again freaks me out - terribly. Not to mention wondering how I'd manage a 3 week recovery (that's how long I was off my feet for Monkey) with a newborn AND toddler? I don't want to think about it.
Without further ado - New Bean!
Unfortunately, we couldn't get a clear enough shot to count the little toes (the arrow is pointing to the bottom of the heels, for those of you who can't make out ultra sound pictures):
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
First - the inspiration photo from Mother Earth News:
And now, our (T's) interpretation:
This is the back, behind the nesting boxes. These are doors for us to collect eggs from (latches have since been installed). Note the two small handles for T to cart the coop around the yard with (I think the big handle bar would have been easier, but what do I know?).
This is the larger, main door. T can get in and out from here for cleaning, feeding and watering (latches have since been installed here as well).
And here is the door for the chickens to get in and out into their pen through.
Monkey did enjoy helping T build the pen (she did do some hammering on the coop itself, too).
(I don't know what the red dot is - I probably lost control of the paintbrush while brushing out my license plate. Oops.)
Like I said - it's not pretty. But I'll take care of that later (I do have bigger fish to fry right now).
I'm thinking T needs to make the big door look like a barn door (this will also mimic the doors on our big shed). I'm also thinking I want to give it a clapboard type look - or put wood shingles. We'll see what I can find for free/cheap in the coming months (I also need to keep it LIGHT since T will be lugging the thing around the backyard!).
What are we looking at?
Meet Tallulah (red), Maisy (white), Carmella (white), BBQ (black), Stew (black) and Pot Pie (black). T knows the breeds - I do not. Deal with colors. HAHA They are 9 weeks old today (so no eggs for a little longer - if memory serves, I believe it's around 20 weeks they start to lay).
Who needs TV when you have chickens?
I'll admit it. I was laughing at him when I took the picture, but did join him once I'd put the camera away. We've been sitting out there quite a bit since Sunday.
So far, they've decided to stay in the coop all day but sleep in the pen at night. Weird birds. T needs to set them up a roost in the coop. A coworker of his who raises chickens said that will probably help them figure things out.
Welcome to the Farm!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Updates as to why will be coming later this week. Here I go again - keeping you in suspense.
Even with my new found love of stir fry, the Napa Noodles were not a hit. Monkey ate the noodles and not much else. T ate it but he didn't enjoy it much, either.
The Zesty Chicken-Noodle Casserole were ok, but not loved. I excluded the chilies because I get heartburn easily lately. I'm going to try it again when the threat of heartburn has passed - with the chilies. It was missing the zing and I think we will enjoy it much more made "correctly."
The Spicy Meatball is another recipe we aren't saving. The meatballs all stuck together in one big lump - and there was no sauce. We didn't enjoy it enough for me to even try tweaking it again. We're just throwing in the towel on this one.
And to prevent a complete wash out for the week, the Ginger-Sesame Stir-Fry was excellent. This is from Country Home magazine (March/April 2009). The magazine is no longer in print (cry) and the recipe can not be found on their website, so I'm sharing it here.
1 tbs cooking oil
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz boneless pork loin, cut into bite-size strips
2 medium carrots, thinly bias-sliced
1 1/2 cups snow-pea pods
1 tbs sesame seeds
2 tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4-1/2 tsp crush red pepper
1/4 cup bottled plum sauce
1/4 cup water
2-3 cups cooked cellophane noodles, rice vermicelli noodles or rice
Snipped fresh cilantro and/or chopped roasted cashews (optional)
Pour cooking oil into a wok or large skillet. Preheat over medium-high heat.
Add onion and garlic.
Cook 2 minutes.
Add pork and carrots.
Cook 2 minutes more.
Add snow peas and sesame seeds.
Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
Add soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper.
Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
Stir in plum sauce and water.
Serve over noodles or rice.
Garnish with cilantro and/or cashews, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
You could use broccoli, sweet peppers, leeks and/or asparagus.
Also, it says you can substitute cubed firm tofu for the pork.
Enjoy your kitchens!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
So to infuse something different into LTRLT, I've decided to start a new feature: Sew Fun Sundays (I googled this to make sure I wasn't stealing an idea from someone else - I'm peculiar like that). I don't do nearly as much sewing as I'd like to. This will give me an excuse!
I've also decided to make Mr. Linky parties for this feature for other bloggers to link up and share their sewing fun. (This will require I learn how to use Mr. Linky first).
Projects don't have to be big. It can be something as simple as a throw pillow (I'm sure there are more simple - it's just the first thing that came to mind) - or as difficult as Monkey's flower girl dress I need to get started on.
Rest assured, I'll still be doing the new recipes. I just need to shake things up around here a little!
So, check back either this Sunday or next for our very first Sew Fun Sunday!