Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Hits From 2013

Another year, another list of favorite posts.  I have my own favorite posts, of course, but as the year goes on, many of you have shown just how much you have enjoyed some of them along the way.

Your favorites according to google analytics, anyway.  I'm not really sure I use google analytics right but I guess I'll never know.

#1  How to refashion a sweatshirt.  I was so happy with how this came out but I never liked it on me before or after.  It's just too big and made of yucky material.  But the concept totally worked and I'd do it again for sure!

#2  Never missing an opportunity to degrade myself, this came in at #2.  And let us reread and remember just why we shouldn't do this!

#3 Another sewing post.  I think I'll make this again but I haven't done it yet.  I took the idea from a picture, so there were no quantities given for the size I wanted to make and I had to wing it.  I like it when a pattern suggests actual quantities of fabric so I have an idea just how many of something I have to make.

#4 Even after I watched the Amazing Race this season and contemplated how I'd love to do it, this reminds me why I need not apply.  Ever.

#5 There's no pot here.  Or anywhere else, for that matter. 

#6  Sometimes, it's more fun to make things for boys than for girls.  And I'm still fighting with my mind over which method of putting the quilt together is best since I don't own a quilting machine.

#7  I still have some of these and they are rather spicy!   I will make them again if I have such a bounty but probably with less garlic.

#8  This one is still making me mad as I look at it every.single.day.

#9  The internet sure does love a possibly dirty title.  I will have you know this was written in March of 2013 and as I write this in December of 2013, the gate on the shower has still not been fixed.  K-ster did take a slat from that gate and replaced a missing one from the front gate, but I'm not sure it helped much.   We've probably entertained the neighborhood all year.  Everyone needs a cheap thrill, right?

#10  Very wise organizing.  No one has broken into my house and needed to know the code yet, but just in case, it's spelled out for you.

It's intriguing to me that the posts with the most hits are those that are craft or food related.  I would like to think people are coming to my blog time and again because they enjoy my wit, not because they are getting me through google and just want to see my version of how something is made and then they go about their merry searching.

Thank you all for coming and let's see what 2014 brings for inspiration!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Gift That Keeps Giving

My sister a-ster sews really nice things and she's been like a sewing factory since L-ster was born.  Go look at her site after you're done reading this.

I said AFTER you were finished reading this post.  It's good stuff, though, right?

Lately, along with everything else I own, I've been "wearing out" my pajama pants left and right.

I was not doing high kicks, I swear.  All I did was move over on the couch and they were so threadbare, they just exploded.

I'm down to one pair of flannel pajama pants.  Since she's been making cute pants for L-ster, I asked her to make me a pair.  I could make them myself, but I thought it would be a fun surprise to see what fabric she'd pick out for me.

She puts a pretty contrasting cuff at the bottom and I happen to love this color combination.   It's more of a green cuff in real life but the ipad doesn't always catch the right colors.

I wasn't surprised to get a pair because she asked me my inseam out of the blue one day.

Something got a little lost in the translation though, because this is how they fit.


I could either hope I grow into them, or adjust them myself.  It's an easy fix to just roll down the waist and sew a new channel for the elastic and then tighten the elastic.  And every time I wear them, I can crack up remembering how tall they were the day I opened them.

It was pretty entertaining to put these over my jeans Christmas day to see how they fit.  The inseam is perfect. But I like my pants below my chin natural waist.

My father had missed the whole thing and looked over when I had them on and was like "what are those for? Are they waders????"

** After looking at this, my sister pointed out that they really don't look as silly in this picture as they do in real life.  Here, they kind of look like you would expect pajama pants to look.  BUt, I had to contort myself to take the picture because k-ster didn't want any part of possibly upsetting my sister with pictures of her handiwork.

***Also, I do not have a weird disease that makes my foot look like it might be the wrong color or possibly fake.  Those are tan socks I'm wearing.

Linking here:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-67-with-henbag.html

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's A Sad Day When the Pumpkin Runs Out

I grew pumpkins this year but only one actual pumpkin grew.  It turned orange really early and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.  Squirrels destroy any pumpkins I have ever set out for decoration and I tried making a pumpkin dish from a fresh pumpkin once and it was awful.

It was a little too small to give to my mother to put on her step.

I'm not a jack-o-lantern fan, myself.

So, I cooked it up and decided that I'd try it in pumpkin muffins and see what would happen.  My sister roasts hers and I did mine in a similar way.  Check her suggestion here. The only thing I did different was cut it in half and scoop out the seeds first.  Roasting is definitely the way to go.

It was totally fine.  It was probably even more moistening for the muffin recipe than canned pumpkin and it lent the right pumpkin flavor.

It made enough to put 1 cup of cooked squash into 4 ziploc bags and freeze it. 

And Christmas eve, I made the last of the muffins to take to k-ster's mother's for Christmas morning.  I have a couple of the muffins, but that's it.

Back to canned pumpkin if I want to make them for the rest of the year.

I will definitely roast and freeze all of the pumpkins I grow from now on.  They are great in baked goods.  Just don't let me get all crazy and try to make a pumpkin main dish!!

I have read in several places that the pumpkins at the grocery store that you buy to make jack-o-lanterns are not safe to eat.  Something about the chemicals they use on them are not necessarily food grade because they aren't meant to be eaten.  Who knows if it's true, but that's all I need to hear!  They do sell small pumpkins for eating, usually called sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins and I would feel ok using those to eat if I didn't grow any.

The portioning out into 1 cup amounts in ziploc bags is brilliant and I have started doing it with pureed zucchini in the summer too.  Otherwise, you end up with a huge amount that you have to thaw and not use all at once.  It seems most recipes only want a cup.


Linking up here:
http://www.cherishedhandmadetreasures.com/2013/12/creative-corner-blog-hop-94.html#more
http://www.flamingotoes.com/
http://www.skiptomylou.org 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gigglefest For Christmas

Right now, all I have to hear is the little giggle from this penguin and I am rolling all over the floor.  I don't know if it's the giggle, the way she says SMOOOOOSHED or the "where're we goin'" at the end.  Wetting my pants every time I watch it!



I hope your week is filled with hysterical giggles just like these.

Over things as silly as this!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm So Over It

Can we stop the red velvet madness?

The first time I heard about red velvet cake was back in the Steel Magnolias days when the husband had a red velvet cake made into the shape of an armadillo.  Remember?  Her mother had a fit because she said when they cut into it, it was going to look like blood.

For some reason, I can't remember actually seeing it in the movie.  Was it there?  I googled and this was the best I could come up with. 





 Since I googled red velvet cake armadillo steel magnolias and this was what came up first, something tells me that there was no actual armadillo cake in the movie.

I never heard about red velvet cake again until a couple of years ago.  It was when cupcakes, particularly little ones, were making their debut as a wedding cake option.  And now it's taken over.  You cannot hear about cake and cupcake flavors without red velvet being a choice.

Even kids bringing in cupcakes for their birthday are claiming they are red velvet.

Here's my issue:

In my experience eating said red velvet (though never from a child, as I have explained before) I have never tasted anything different from a regular yellow cake.

Which, to me, tastes like I imagine dirty feet would taste.

I have no use for yellow cake and white cake is marginal.  Devil's food is about the only cake I will get excited over.

I also have yet to eat red velvet cake that is actually red.  Of course we all know the dangers of red dye number anything and I know people are afraid to use it, but if you're going to call it red velvet, it has to be red.

And it should taste like velvet.

No, let's think about that.  Velvet would taste really bad.  I picture it tasting like dust.  And feeling like a cat's tongue.

Maybe it should feel like velvet when you eat it.  And I mean velvet that you stroke in the right direction so it's soft.  Not sandy like when you stroke it backwards. 


I wonder why we don't call it red corduroy since it's basically the same idea.

Red velvet cake should simply melt in your mouth, right?  Go down smooth.  Taste like something other than feet.

And under no circumstances, should we add this flavor to coffees.  In my nightmare, I think it's already been done.  And if it has, I have no doubt that it's the same foul smell as vanilla, hazelnut and any other flavoring that people add to coffee.

You do realize they are all the same flavor, but when you say it's supposed to taste like X, suddenly everyone believes that it does.

It's the best scam going.  Coffee flavors that are really all the same.

Almost as good as the scam that is red velvet cake.

Linking here:
http://www.myturnforus.com/2013/12/freedom-fridays-with-all-my-bloggy_26.html

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gimme Some Dumplings

I guess dumplings mean different things in different parts of the country.  They can be like a biscuit over a stew or they can be more pastry-like and look like mini turnovers.

And depending on which house you grew up in, they might be called dumplings or dumplins.  My father calls them dumplins.

Today's post about dumplings is about what I call the scrumptiousness that you steam over a stew.  Like these:
They are really simple to make.  It's just flour and water or milk (although I used chicken broth which made them even better) and baking powder.

Baking powder is more than essential.  Earlier this fall, when we had a lot of apples, I made some dumplings and totally forgot the baking powder.  I thought they'd be fine.  You just put a little sugar in the batter and it's great.

They were total bricks and the whole thing was just ruined.

Must use baking powder!

You simply mix up the ingredients and dollop the batter over your stew and voila.

I could eat dumplings at every meal. 

My mother used to make beef stew and would put dumplings on them.  I liked it but I always fell into a trap.  She'd put pieces of potato in the stew and in my mind, they looked just like the dumplings.  Nothing makes me sadder than thinking I'm about to enjoy a delicious dumpling and getting a piece of potato.

I really don't like potatoes unless they are baked and have sour cream on them!

I also used to confuse beef stew with roast beef and would be so sad when I thought we were having stew (for dumplings!) and we'd get roast beef (no dumplings!)

Today, I don't eat beef, so I never have this dilemma!

Linking here:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-66-with-three.html
http://www.flamingotoes.com/2013/12/think-pink-sunday-144/ 
http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Think I'm Being Stalked

I have a student who is obsessed with me.  It's really clear in her pure enjoyment of anything that comes out of my mouth and her extreme happiness in two activities that she does with me.

She's very nice, a little younger than her classmates and pretty much out in left field most of the time.  She lived in another country for a while and I don't think she knows how to relate to her American classmates and I'm not sure that right now she realizes it.

Yesterday, after one of the activities she does with me, she presented me with an acrostic poem of my name, with a cutesy little expressions with each of the letters of my name.  I'm sure you did one of those, or your kid did.  You take a name like Joan and do this:

Jolly good fun
On time for everything
A great friend
Never mean to anyone

They are really overdone and everyone thinks they're doing it for the first time with kids when they do it.

It was cute but kind of creepy because she was supposed to be doing something completely different during the activity.

When I put it over my desk, I realized I had another "gift" from her that she made me the first week she knew me.

At first, I thought it was unusual but cute.

It was September and I thought she was just dreaming of Christmas.

And today, I realized that there's a person's legs dangling in the window.

I think it's me.   My sister a-ster thinks it's her spying on my "perfect Christmas".

And this got me thinking about the value of this picture as written at the bottom:

That's the ransom she's going to hold me for.  Except it's a fictitious number because there are too many zeroes after the decimal.  No one will know how much $200.000 really is, so she'll never hand me over.

You heard it here first.  It's been nice knowing you.

Linking here:
http://www.myturnforus.com/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The One Thing I Have Left

My school district hopped on the technology wagon and gave every kid in 4th-9th grades ipads this year.  4th and 5th got them first, so we've had them since October.

They decided that 4th and 5th grade will not take these ipads home.  They will have one assigned to them and every afternoon, the ipads will go into a special cart to charge them and then in the morning, they will get their ipad out and use it as necessary.

The older grade get to take theirs home.  I can't being to imagine how that's working.

Back over here in the 4th and 5th grade, I knew it would take some getting used to, so I didn't ask for them to bring ipads the first few weeks they had them.  There has been much talk about how they will take them everywhere but it took their classroom teachers getting used to the idea that kids can indeed carry them down the hall to another class without incident.

My morning classes have been bringing them regularly for a couple of months, but the afternoon classes have been a challenge due to recess, lunch and not going back to their classrooms after they have me in the afternoon.

I've finally figured out a way around that too.

And I'm starting to actually integrate them into my lessons, where they actually have to have the ipad in order to make an activity happen.

And now, I can be heard saying 150 times a day:

"stop touching your ipads"
"why are you touching your ipads right now?"
"whose ipad is making noise right now?"
"show me where it says on the board that this is the time to use your ipad"
"you shouldn't be using your ipad until you have finished all the way through #3 on the board"
"let's flip the ipads upside down so we can resist the temptation of touching it right now"
"I can't see your eyes LOOK AT ME"

And this is where I pull out the only weapon I have left in my arsenal:

"if I have to tell one more person to stop touching their ipad, you will all lose the privilege of bringing your ipads next week"

Kids knew this would happen.  They knew that giving them a toy like an ipad would give us one more thing we can take away, punish and threaten them with.

I have only told one class they can't bring their ipads the following week.  They were sad when I said it but didn't even notice they didn't have them when they returned.  All it really did was shoot me in the foot because I couldn't do the same thing I had done with 24 other classes because they needed their ipads.  So I had to invent something new.

Not fun at all.

And it always makes me wonder.  Did teachers say these things back when calculators were mainstreamed?  Ball point pens?  Trapper Keepers?

What's next?  Little spaceships for teleportation?  "if I have to tell you one more time to stay in this room, I'm taking away your teleporter and you'll have to WALK to the next room.  Just like I did in the old days."

Linking here:
http://www.2justbyou.com

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Day Christmas Exploded A Week Early

This is what my living room looks like today, a whole week before Christmas.

What's that you say?  TWO Christmas trees when last week, I didn't even have one?

We have a local organization that raises money for charities- wait, yesterday's post was also about charities.  Interesting theme we have here. 

Anyway, this organization raises money for local groups by hosting what they call the Spectacle of Trees. 

To make a very long post shorter, it's basically 17 fake Christmas trees decorated and filled with gifts by 17 charities.  Each tree has a value that sometimes climbs to like $9,000.  For 10 days, the public can view the trees and buy tickets at $10 each.  Then they put the tickets into the boxes of the trees they hope to win (and the charities they want to support) and on the last night of the event, one ticket from each box is pulled.

The winner gets the tree, everything on the tree and everything in, around and under the tree.  The first year, there were really pretty trees and they each had a couple of gifts.  Fast forward 8 years and this year, one tree literally had a car with it.

The charities quickly learned that the more you give with the tree, the more people will put in their tickets and the group really scores.  For every ticket in the box for their tree, the charity gets the full $10.  Nowadays, it's not at all unusual for a group to earn $9,000 from this event.

I always go to this event and get a bunch of tickets.  I put them into all the charities I support and hope that we'll win.  I don't pay much attention to what comes with any of the trees because a) I won't win and b) it becomes such a blur that you can't remember who is giving the 55 inch tv, who is offering a trip to Maui, who has a 2002 Toyota Camry. 

So, I just toss them in.

And this year, WE WON A TREE!!!!!

And now it looks like this. 

The tree is no good.  I will not be keeping it.  It's small and fairly sparse and the decorations are not what I like.  I wish I knew of a place that could use some cheering up with a pre decorated tree.

The gifts ran the gamut.  This tree was not one of the trees with the super high values, but there were some pretty good things that came with it.  Some we will give away, some we will not be able to use and don't know who to give them to and some might get sold so we can finally move into the modern age and get a tv that wasn't made in 1990.

Another plus is that all of those boxes are actually empty.  They were just decoys under the tree.  I love the red wrapping paper and will definitely be using it for gifts this year.  K-ster is currently wrapping his gifts in the other boxes by opening one end and putting the gifts in the empty box and then resealing.

Everyone wins.

Except we now have to clean up all of this crap so we can live in this house and not trip over things left and right!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Baggin' It

We have a local charity that collects new and gently used clothes and shoes for kids and teenagers and gives them out throughout the year.  A lot of these kids are in foster care and often quickly leave their homes with very little of their own stuff.

Instead of letting the kids carry a garbage bag with their belongings to their foster placement, they like to give the kids cloth bags for their things.  I teach one of the kids of the founder of this charity, so when I heard about it, I asked the girl to bring in a sample of the bags and I'd make some.

They are a simple pillow case type of bag with a drawstring.  It's a yard of fabric, so it works out really well to just get a yard and then sew it up.

My mother recently made someone pillow cases to match a quilt and talked about French seams.  I've been curious about them for a while, so I thought that since my serger was buried behind a pile of crap (my sewing room is in perpetual disarray) I'd try the French seams.

Super easy and I'm not sure it took much more time than whipping it through the serger.

My favorite combination is this one.  The quality of this material was awesome.  It felt so good to the touch.  Like old, soft sheets with a good heft to them.  I'd like to have some nightgowns made out of it!   It was on super clearance but was still pricey, so I didn't get more than the one yard.


I could have just folded over the top to make the channel for the drawstring, but I thought a contrasting top would be fun.

I also need to find some "boy" material.  It seems that everything I already have is very feminine.

After I made a couple, I told my mother about them and she was like "oh yeah, I made a dozen of them last week for her."  And, it turns out, they put the drawstrings in for you.  I made my own but it wasn't much of a big deal because I sewed the channel around it so I didn't have to thread it through.

Can't wait to find some boyish fabric and make some more!

Linking here:
http://thefrugalgirls.com/2013/12/chic-and-crafty-party-12-12.html
http://www.flamingotoes.com/2013/12/think-pink-sunday-143/
http://www.cherishedhandmadetreasures.com
http://www.skiptomylou.org
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/12/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-link_17.html
http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com/2013/12/wow-me-wednesday-134.html

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How This Twerp Saved Me

As I alluded to the other day, I have a cold and it's not pretty.  As the week went on, I quickly lost my voice, as in completely lost it at one point, and I had a debate every morning about whether or not to go to school.

When you're in the business of talking for a living, it's pretty scary to think you can't really do your job if you lose your voice!  Especially with young students.

The thought of having to whip something together for a sub, and of missing a day which equals missing a week since I only see them once, and the fact that I didn't feel especially bad prompted me to get my butt to school and come up with a plan.

If these kids were older, I'd have shown a video of Paris or somewhere else in France and it would have been fine. I could have even given a quiz or something for them to do.  Maybe luck out with the computer lab having space and they could do something on the web.

But they are too young for most of the videos I have and definitely not ready to do anything with me in the computer lab yet.  Plus, the class is 50 minutes, longer than I've had in the past, so nothing I have would really last that long.

Enter this little twerp.

I always showed an episode or two of this cartoon to my 6th grade students but I felt like I was pushing it.  They were always just on the edge of being too old to see such a juvenile cartoon.  I had it on VHS forever and when I found the whole series, 24 episodes, on DVD, I scooped it up figuring I could use it in a pinch.

I am not a fan of the story of The Little Prince.  It's way too overquoted.  I've never actually read the book cover to cover but the premise is that this little boy is the ruler of his planet, where no other people live, and he goes on adventures and always learns wise lessons.  Or teaches wise lessons.  He's very wise.

Occasionally, he comes to earth.

This particular cartoon is somewhat creepy in its design and some of the characters have questionable voices.  Like they thought they were performing for porn rather than little kids.

There's also an episode with a rose girl who grows on his planet and it's almost obscene.

So, I thought I could get away with showing one episode, the first in the series.  That would last about 25 minutes.   I had already prepared them last week for something that would require them to talk, not me.  They'd record conversations on their ipads with a cool app called Puppet Pals.  I could muddle through the directions and maintaining some degree of order.

It worked out marvelously.  They were all very worried about where my voice went.   They actually asked "where did your voice go?" to which I'd say "if I knew it was leaving, don't you think I would have held onto it?"

K-ster says I forget they are 9 and 10 and not 13.  I say they need to learn what reality is.

They loved the cartoon and totally were on the edges of their seats.  I cracked up looking at their faces.  There were the occasional "oh no!" or "ahhhh" and a few kids had to explain it to themselves or whisper they hoped the boy would be saved.

I did have one girl who asked me if it was a true story.

K-ster said I was mean to say the following:

Well, let's see.   A little boy lives on a planet called B612?  And he flies around on comets?  And just came from Mars?  And comes to earth and goes on adventures?

He says that was sarcasm.  I say I was reversing the learning so that she'd hear the questions and realize as she answered that perhaps it was not real.  That's what good teaching is, right?  It's called the Socratic method.  Ask them questions and as they answer, they see the light.

Ironically, though it's a French story and the narration is in English, in this first episode, he lands in S. America and there's some Spanish.  The kids all thought it was cool that there was some trilingual action going on.

There was also an atrocious accent going on.  The Spanish speakers all had the same accent when they spoke English.  It sounded like Sophie, the Polish tart on that show Two Broke Girls.  It even sounded like her actual voice and her horrible Polish accent.  I rolled on the floor all week when I would swear it was just her. 

So, merci to the little prince.  Even though I think he's kind of a bratty know it all.  Otherwise, I might have had to get a sub and my room might have been turned completely upside down.

And you know how I feel about my room.

Linking here:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-65.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lackadaisical Christmas Decorating

Somewhere in my files, I wrote a post about my fake Christmas tree, complete with a picture, but I can't find it. 

Since I've lived in this house, I've always put up a fake tree that my grandmother's friend gave me a long time ago.  It was probably fairly old when she gave it to me and 15+ years later, I decided it was very old for a fake tree.  I imagined the fire retardent had all been sucked into our lungs, there was probably more lead in it than you could even monitor and it had started to shed a lot.

And it had been up 365 days a year in her house for a while, so it was probably pretty filthy when she gave it to me and I never thought about it!  She would put Easter eggs on it or hearts or whatever for a holiday and never felt like taking it down.

It was a really full tree and I bet when she bought it, it was pretty expensive.  It was about 6 feet tall and you had to put in each branch.  That was the worst part.  Getting it out and then putting in each branch.  There were probably about 80 of them. They had little color coded paint chips on each end so you'd get the right length in at the right level.   Then you had to bend out each little branch when you put in the bigger branch.

Then you had to string it with lights and decorate it.

It was kind of chore.  And so was putting it away.

I always had filth on my hands when I was finished and would think that I should set it up some time in the summer, outside, so I could hose it down and get the decades of built up dust off of it.

Or just get a new tree.

This year, I decided, was the year for a new tree.  I saw a wild sale on them at Michael's and there was a coupon for another 25% off, even sale items, between 4pm and 9pm on a particular Sunday.  I perused all of the tree options and decided it was time.  I'd get the most expensive one because it looked the fullest and I'd be saving quite a bit.

So, I scheduled that whole Sunday around going to Michael's at 4pm.

When I got there and found the tree, it was out of stock in the back.  The only option was the one on display.  I didn't mind because it hadn't been up long and it was over people's heads, so it wasn't like people were yanking and pulling on it.

So, the saleslady said she'd take it down and put it back in the box for me and I'd be on my way.

45 minutes later, there were 2 sales people and me trying to get this tree into a box.  It's a prelit tree, so we were trying to be careful not to bend anything or break off any of the lights but it was impossible.  There were 2 sections that came completely apart, but nothing we did would make them fit in the box because one was just way too long.

Several times, I suggested that maybe it was really 3 pieces and the top part comes out?  Because that's how my old one was.  They assured me it was only 2 pieces.  And the picture on the box showed 2 pieces.

Finally, I convinced them to go out back and see how another model was put in the box so maybe it would give them a clue.

They came running back grumbling about how it IS 3 pieces and the top DOES come off!  Why the picture doesn't show that is a mystery.

So, off we went to the register and she rang it up at the sale price.  And I proudly gave her my coupon for another 25% and she said no.  See, it's not for trees over 4 feet.

Incredulous, I examined the coupon and indeed it said that.

I started to want to walk away but I felt really bad that she had spent so much time taking it apart.  So, I asked if I can get something else off because it was the floor model.  She thought that was a great idea but the manager would not budge.  Something about they sell out of these trees every year and blah blah blah and NO.

I really wanted to tell them to stick it but I really felt bad for the woman who had taken it apart.  And it was a good deal based on what I've seen.  So I bought it.

And it didn't fit exactly as it should have in the box, so it was hard to wrestle by myself.  So, it sat in my car and went for a ride for about a week until k-ster and I were home at the same time before midnight.

When we brought it in, it was just before Thanksgiving.  Even though it's fake, I can't justify a tree up before Thanksgiving, so I told k-ster it would have to sit on the floor until at least December 1.  So, we chased it around the living room for a week.  Moved it into another room when I had people over.  Moved it back into the living room that night and then back into the other room the next day when I had my jewelry sale.

On Sunday, as k-ster moved it back into the living room, and I was silently mad that I had not put it up yet, I started hearing and seeing signs of picking up stuff to put it in the corner and set it up.  I was not prepared to do that because I had stuff to do all day Sunday, but he decided to go ahead and put it up.

So, for a couple of days, our tree looked like this.

Just a bare tree with lights.  I noticed right away that it's much thinner than the other tree and looks kind of bare in some spots.  Unlike the old tree, I don't have to put all of the branches in.  They just kind of fold out like an umbrella and then you have to bend out each branch.

When I finally had time to put on the ornaments, I discovered that this tree has thicker branches so it was harder to hang a lot of my ornaments.  And try as I might, the bare spots still remain.  I didn't realize just how full that other tree was!

I love that it's prelit so I don't have to run around the tree with the strings of lights.  And I like that I can still bend the branches as I need to for various ornaments.  And though this one is 7.5 feet tall, it's not as wide, so my ornaments are closer than they used to be.

We also can't put the starfish quite on the top because it's touching the ceiling and bending a little.  And I can't decorate the upper branches because it's that much taller.

I like to think there is less lead in this one and the fire retardant might be less cancer causing the old stuff.  But I'm probably just kidding myself.

I had a moment where I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone as I was decorating.  Many years ago, we did a Secret Santa with teachers and the principal at school, and my principal was my Secret Santa and I was hers.  Total luck of the draw and it was so weird.  Someone had told her I didn't have ornaments for my tree and wanted some (which was true) so she bought me a bunch.

Every year, I put them up and think of her.  And lo and behold, this year, she is my principal again.  I remember the first Christmas I put them up when she had been moved to a different school and I thought I'd never work for her again.  And as I hung up her crazy ornaments this week, I was like "whoa, I'm working with her again!"

Do you think about people who gave you certain ornaments when you hang them?  I have received a few from students over the years.  Some have their names on the backs and some don't, but I'm pretty good about remembering them.  I figure if I take a second every year and think about who gave it to me, I'll probably always remember them.

I don't put a garland or tinsel on my tree.  Ever.  I also never put colored lights.  My mother does all three things.  I don't use tinsel because I couldn't stand it when I was little and it stuck to everything, including the cat.  Garlands just don't do much for me.  And I liked colored lights on her tree but not mine.

I also like those things you put over the Christmas lights that make it look like there's colored water bubbling through them.  My mother puts some of those up too.  Those were something we had when we were little and then no one had them for a while and now people have them again.  I should probably get some.

The only other decorating I've done is my JOY TO THE WORLD banner.  Every year, I plan to make some and put them on my etsy and I forget until I get this out and then it's way too late for Christmas sales!

I still don't have my greens on the door or my collection of snowmen on the mantel.  I usually put everything up December 6th which is St. Nicolas Day in France and then I take it all down on January 6th which is Epiphanie in France.  That gives a good month for all the effort of decorating and it gives me boundaries.  I'm not French but I like their timeline.

December 6th wasn't convenient for me this  year and the days are clicking by and I don't have my act together!  Every time I think about going out and cutting branches for the door, it's cold or wet.  I probably won't get around to doing it.

And we'll all survive.

Linking here:
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/12/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-link_10.html

Monday, December 9, 2013

Clearly Language Is My Strength

It's that time of year.  The time of year when my voice drops down 2 octaves and it feels like a million knives in my throat from talking all day while trying to fight a cold.

I use the Cold Eeze.

I wash the desks with vinegar.

I refrain from licking any children.

I  never, ever eat anything they offer me.

I wouldn't eat without washing my hands if you paid me.

And yet, I still manage to get a cold around this time every year.  I fight it well.  I don't usually let it hang around for long, but the couple of days I have it are awful.  It makes me realize just how much energy it takes to live my life.

It started with a sore throat that made me a little nervous because it was kind of like the last time I had tonsilitis which was a while ago.  I don't get big sickness often,  but when I do, I do it right.  Tonsilitis, pharyngitis, any itis they can  name.

The sore throat of that nature went away and I'm pretty sure I don't have anything serious. Then it was just the hoarseness that comes with a cold.  I tried all day to keep talking to a minimum, never raising my voice.  This was fairly easy to do because I had planned something for this week that actually has them talking more than me.

But, by the last 3 classes today, my head hurt from talking, my voice was just about gone and the dry cough that does nothing but make me bend over and almost wet my pants from all the coughing had started.

On the way home, I stopped to get something that would loosen up my lungs and make a productive cough.  After I bought it and saw the label, I remembered the first time I bought cold medicine.

I was in college and had a cold, so I went to buy whatever was available at the bookstore.  Everything had this word expectorant on it.  I got into that fancy college, so I surely knew what expectorate meant.  To spit out.  So, expectorant must mean something that should be spit out.

I don't know how I got into that college.

So, after much deliberation, I bought one of them and brought it home.  And because it was an expectorant, I spit it out.  That's right.  I took the dosage, swished it in my mouth, held it there for a minute wondering how the vapors would get into my lungs.  And spit it out.

I did this several times, not letting a single drop go down my throat because it was meant to be spit out.  I didn't want it to poison me.

And as you can imagine, this didn't help one bit. 

I thought it was the stupidest way to take cough medicine ever, but there were no other options in the store.  And I kept coming back to that word:  expectorant.

Somehow, they let me graduate from that fancy school and I learned somewhere that an expectorant is something that makes you expectorate.

But not before I had spit out just about the whole bottle of Vicks Formula 44.

Linking here:
http://www.myturnforus.com/
http://www.2justbyou.com

Saturday, December 7, 2013

With The Throw of One Dart...

You probably saw this coming long before I did.
 
Last year, k-ster joined a dart league and really liked it.  He stayed for two "seasons" and went up to the next level this fall.  Their team won something big last year and he did too, but for the life of me, I can't keep it straight.

Darts is WAAAAAY more complicated than I ever expected.  There are all sorts of different games and they have crazy points.  And they have to keep it all straight.  In a bar.  With alcohol being served.

It boggles the brain.

And I spend a lot of time surprised at how seriously he takes it.  Like it's a major league sport.

Remember my post from this summer about my new billiards room?  I knew I was in trouble when he wanted to put the dart board out in the garage but when it ended up here, I knew he was more than hooked.  He even moved the grill so he could throw.

It's already almost tournament time, or the end of the season or whatever it's called.  Just the right time to get their teams shirts, right?  One more match to go and they now have their shirts.

They play for a bar called the Land Ho, as in what the guy in the Crow's Nest on ships would say in the old days when they were near land.

They think they are so funny calling themselves the Dirty Hos.

But, try as I might, I can't get it through their heads that Dirty Ho's isn't the same thing as Dirty Hos.  Sadly these shirts clearly state that they belong to some dirty ho.  If she walks in and starts asking for her shirts, they'll be coming home shirtless.

They also don't care that they are clearly bowling shirts, a la Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men.  I dont' know what an official darts shirt looks like but I am sure that it isn't the same as bowling shirt.

The one thing that does bother k-ster?  That this year, their "name tags" look like this.

I wet my pants when I saw it.  Because not only do I think playing darts is a very redneck thing to do, but now I have to look at him wearing a bowling shirts I(which I also think is redneck) with his name on it.  Like a mechanic's badge.

I knew I'd end up in Redneckville someday, I just didn't know it would come from k-ster throwing one dart and getting hooked.

Linking here:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-64-with-two.html

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Amaryllis Triplets

My mother got us all amaryllis bulbs a couple of Christmases ago, and mine bloomed really nicely.  I kept the bulb and let it die off and got it growing the next year.  My mother gave me another one and the new one bloomed but the old one just made some really nice green leaves and that was it.

Last year, I got yet another one that grew some nice flowers.

I kept all of the bulbs, let them die off and stored them.  This year, I put them in bigger pots and started them earlier.  And off they go.

But I'm skeptical  about the flowers.  The leaves are coming up in inches per day, but there is nothing in the middle that acts like it will carry a flower.

And these pots are absurd.  They are from some rose bushes that k-ster planted at work, so they are bright green and have words on them.  They do not look good or festive in the living room.

If these don't bloom this year, it's off with their heads!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It All Started With A Picture of Roasted Vegetables...

I was poking around someone's bloghop the other day and came upon a picture of vegetables.  I am already in the food doldrums of winter with no good fresh vegetables around and it intrigued me.  Clicking led me here.

She talked about roasting vegetables to use as sauce for pasta and I thought it sounded easy and really good.  I have about had it with spaghetti sauce at the moment, and though I like pasta, I am about to need to take a break.

This recipe came just in time.

You need zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onions, a can of diced tomatoes and a bell pepper.  Try as I might, a bell pepper wasn't to be found at Trader Joes, so I did without.  I think it was fine without it.


The one thing you have to keep in mind is that it will take over an hour to roast the vegetables.  Fine on a weekend or summer day, but not so fine on a school day if I don't get home early enough.

Eating at 9pm isn't really an option for this hungry lady.

So, I fantasized about this for about 4 days.  Each night that I wanted to make it, I either didn't have the ingredients or enough time to get them AND get them roasted in time.

I made a stop at Trader Joes for the vegetables and found 2 excellent sounded raviolis and I thought they would be a fun flavor change from just pasta.

One was basil and one was spinach.  And I had to wait about 3 nights before I could actually eat them because something interfered every night!

After about an hour and 15 minutes of roasting at 350, the vegetables looked ready for pureeing into a sauce.  They smelled so good!! I used a deeper pan than recommended, so that might have influenced cooking time.

I pureed all of the vegetables and added the can of tomatoes.  The original recipe suggested pureeing some of the vegetables and leaving the rest but I wanted them all the same.  I did only a rough chop toward the end so some of the pieces were slightly larger but not as big as they were when they were cooking.

I added a little ground pepper and served it over the raviolis.


And forgot the parmesan.  It would have been even better with parmesan but we survived.  It was lacking a little something and I think that would have made the difference.  I don't think the missing bell pepper was the flavor we were missing.

I thought it was great and I'll make it again.  I can't wait to make it during the summer with fresh zucchini and tomatoes.

K-ster was ok with it.  I think he'd eat it again but it wasn't something that blew him out of his chair.  He's never been one to suggest that I cook a vegetable, so I'm not surprised.

If I told him we were having 3 courses of meat followed by cheese on top of cheese with a dessert of Dairy Queen ice cream on a cheesecake, that might blow him out of his chair.  But roasted vegetables with frou frou ravioli?  Not this week.

Linking here:

http://www.skiptomylou.org
http://www.cherishedhandmadetreasures.com 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Say What to What?

I've confessed that I get a certain amount of sick pleasure out of watching some of the TLC shows like Say Yes to the Dress or Toddlers and Tiaras.  I don't watch them all the time, but sometimes, when there's nothing else on and I need background noise, I get a kick out of them.

I used to love Say Yes to the Dress before the added the Atlanta version.  Then they made the Atlanta version watchable, so when I came upon a marathon of the Atlanta version the other day, I decided I would watch it while doing grades.

Side note.  We have this fabulous grading program that allows you to perform absolute magic with grades and it can even post online for those overbearing parents who like to know every.single.facet of their child's grade.  I was a huge champion of this program for years and when they threatened to save money and take away the online version, I fought to keep it.

Here in the lower grades, they use this program, but since we don't give ABCDF grades, it's completely useless.  Thankfully, I discovered this before I started to put in grade for 510 students.  However, now that I have to use it to actually send grades to the office, I'm spending my Thanksgiving break doing just that.  I don't have to put grades for everything in there, I just have to put the final grade and comments.

But it's not that easy.  First, I have to compute them in my gradebook.  I decided that doing it by hand will actually be faster than entering every grade now and then having to convert them to grades that actually go on the report card.

But faster doesn't mean lickety split fast.  It's still taking 450 years to do these.

Anyway, I was watching the marathon of Say Yes to the Dress when I came  upon an episode that had me in stitches.

(source)
Do you watch this show?  If not, you need to know that usually, a bride brings with  her a party of somewhere near 8 people to witness the saying of yes to the dress.  I don't even know 8 people whose opinions I would even listen to, let alone all of their opinions on the same dress.

What really makes me roll on the floor is when they bring their fathers.  And some of these fathers actually have opinions.  Like they know what they are talking about.  There was a really awful episode that I saw once where it was just the bride and her father and he ended up insisting she get a dress what was all sheer lace, so it looked like she had a bikini or lingerie under her dress.  That episode made me sick.

Most fathers are not so skeevy.  Most sit there looking like they would rather be somewhere else.  A lot will say things like how pretty they look or how there is way too much cleavage.

If you don't know my father, you  need to know that you'd have to knock him out and drag him through the door and no amount of questions would get him to add his opinion about a dress.  He wouldn't say things like "no alleys, no valleys and none of that tight mermaid stuff."

My favorite father episode was the father who is a pastor who insisted she would not have so much cleavage showing.  The daughter was very sassy and was like "if I like the dress, I WILL say yes to the dress!" and the father said "that's fine but I will say no to the dough!"

The idea of bringing my father to help me choose a wedding gown entertains me to no end.

Grandmothers are another great source of fodder, especially the old fashioned, southern kind.  They want long sleeves and turtlenecks made of lace.  Nothing pleases those ladies and they are adamant about telling what would be proper.  For 1943, not 2013.

On this episode, there was no father or super southern grandmother, just a very rude mother.  I missed part of it, so I'm not sure what happened with the mother of the bride dress, but when I came in, the bride had on a dress that made her very happy.  Right in the middle of telling everyone how much she loved it, her mother jumped off the couch and raved about how she had found her mother of bride dress.

Show stealer.

So, back to the bride.  She had a short dress that had a removable skirt of tulle so it looked like a ball gown.  Here are the comments that cracked me  up:

Bride: I love the peekaboo two for one!  (the tulle comes off so she gets two dresses in one)

Mother: It's kind of plain.  That bottom part looks like mosquito netting.

Sales rep:  That's tulle

Mother:  It's so plain.  I think it needs some embezzlement.  (no one corrected her- ugh!)

Sales rep:  How is it now with some sparkles?

Everyone loved it.  It was THE dress.

Except it was over budget by $200.  So, they asked the mother if maybe she could find a different mother of the bride dress so they could afford the bride's dress.

And the big answer was no.

So they both left without a dress.  Because they were $200 over budget and the mother wouldn't find a different dress for herself.

$200.

If the mother had changed her dress, they would have been able to keep everything on budget.  Instead, if she couldn't have her dress, ain't nobody gettin' any dresses.

She didn't say those words, but that was the attitude.

My chin hit the floor.

Linking here:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-63-with-two.html
http://createdbylaurie.blogspot.com 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Danger: Do Not Try This Yourself

Since my Thanksgiving amazement Cranberry Salsa is such a hit, I had to bring it to Thanksgiving this year.  I brought it to Christmas Part 2 last year, but it wasn't as much of a hit as I thought it should be.  I thought I'd try again, when there was likely to be less of a variety of food on the table because there were fewer guests.

It's really so simple:

12oz cranberries

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch green onions chopped to 3 inch lengths

1 jalapeƱo minced

Juice of two limes

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

Put everything in food processor until desired consistency.  Then dip whatever you want into it and enjoy.

It's also really good on the turkey instead of regular cranberry sauce.

So, where's the danger, you ask?

I made this the night before Thanksgiving.  I was so glad that I remembered all of the quantities of everything and I tossed it all in and pureed it.  I even threw in some of the jalapeno seeds  because some like it hot.

I noticed the limes were kind of big, so after I put in the first one, I tasted it to see if it needed the other one.

Cue the most shocking, tongue-numbing, dreadful taste!

I.forgot.the.sugar!

Imagine the tartness of raw cranberries, the sharpness of a lot of lime juice, the heat of a jalapeno and the flavor of the green onions- without the sugar.

I was speechless.

3/4 of a cup a sugar and no more lime juice, and voila, a "different" kind of flavor for Thanksgiving.  It's really a neat taste because it's such a wild mix of flavors.  You just keep going back for me.

Unless you're me and you've been scarred by the non-sugar version and you have to stay away.  Far away.

The lesson we can take from this?  NEVER.  EVER.  Serve something without tasting it.

Linking here:
http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com/2013/11/christmas-wonderful-link-party.html
http://www.flamingotoes.com/2013/11/think-pink-sunday-141/
http://www.myturnforus.com/
http://mommifried.com/ladies-blog-share-link-party-crazy-stressful-holidays/ 
http://thefrugalgirls.com/2013/12/chic-and-crafty-party-12-5.html

Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Here's the Scoop

I've been posting a lot about food lately.  I must be hungry.  Or, like I said the other day, tired of the same foods that I make.

So, today's post isn't about food.

It's not about Thanksgiving, (click the link and get the best cranberry recipe you could ever imagine) either, but I suppose it should be, since it's Thanksgiving night.

Instead, it's about this.



That's right.  It's a kitty litter scoop.

After 17 years, my old one broke and I had to buy a new one!

And this seems to be the status of affairs around here these days.  Everything is breaking or completely falling apart.

Recently, I've bought new silverware (didn't fall apart but I'd had enough), bowls, bedding, clothes.

We even had to buy a new Keurig.  I'm not complaining about that one because we had it for exactly 3 years and I think it lived up to its duty.  K-ster uses it at least once a day.  Every day.  I occasionally use it on weekends and in the summer (I don't drink much coffee during the schoolweek) And we thought it was dying a few months ago but he performed some magic and we got a few more months out of it.

My Christmas list is full of "domestics" that I want, but actually, really need.

My sisters and I have had a lot of kitchen items on our wish lists in recent years, and my father has joked that it looks like we are opening a restaurant every Christmas because there are pans, utensils, breadmakers, etc.

This year, it's going to look like I am opening my own department store if people get me the items on my list.

These things are expensive!  Hundreds of dollars for duvets?  And hundreds for their covers?  $50 for pillow cases?  What is going on????

Is it just that I haven't bought much of that stuff recently and the prices have crept up?  I used to luck out at places like Marshall's or TJMaxx and get high thread count sheets for less than Macy's but that's not the case anymore. 

I used to enjoy buying these things.  It was fun to bargain hunt.  Nowadays even the bargains are too much for me to stomach.

Wait 'til you see how I cheaped out on curtains!!

Linking with:
http://www.myturnforus.com/2013/11/freedom-fridays-with-all-my-bloggy_28.html

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Storing Up For the Winter?

I have no idea what's gotten into me, but I guess I'm sick of the same old food I always make, so I've been venturing into the land of fattening foods.  I say fattening because they all involve using more fat than most of my meals do, and with no grill to drip through, or saute pan to control the amount of oil I add, I can see my arteries clogging by the moment.

But this stuff is goooooood and winter is a-coming, so I have to get the layer of blubber for this harsh winter they are predicting, right?

First, there was this dish that some evil power in my brain demanded I make.  The very night I thought about it.  And it was pretty good.

Then there was this dessert that blew our socks off and inspired even my sister to splurge and make the night she read about it.  My mother, without even tasting it, has told me I have to make it for Christmas.  She better not think this will be in place of apple pie!  It couldn't be more different, plus it's loaded with butter, so lactose intolerant people have to steer clear!

And then, I found this.  Grandmother's Chicken from bucknrunranch.

My grandmother sure never made anything like this,  but it sounded really good.  My first dilemma is that really, you should use a dutch oven like LeCreuset or something that can be used on the stovetop and in the oven.  You start on the stovetop and then put it all in the oven.

I don't have one and I was afraid my glass pans lids might break in the oven, so I used a saute pan and then poured everything in my Deep Covered Baker.  I figured it would all cook nicely in there.

And OMG did it ever.

I did not use the bacon that was recommended because I had to draw the line somewhere.  I don't know what it would have done to influence the flavor but it might have added more salt than I'd like.  Many a restaurant meal is ruined for me with salt, so I try to avoid it at home.

I must not have cut the potatoes small enough, so they were a little firm, but the rest was amazing.

We ate it one night and then I put it away, with an idea floating in my mind about the potatoes.

It seemed to me I could take out the potatoes and do something to them to make them better cooked and better tasting.  I might be Irish, but I am not the biggest fan of potatoes.  Especially when they are slightly firm.

Also, k-ster doesn't love leftovers, so I thought I'd change it all up for round 2.

I took out all of the potatoes and then removed the rest of the food from the Deep Covered Baker, trying to remove as much liquid as possible.  I simply reheated this part.

The potatoes went into the food processor, along with a lot of onions and mushrooms that hitched a ride.  And then the fun began.

After it all pureed, I added one container of 2% fat plain Greek yogurt.  I am a firm believer that you can use plain yogurt, especially the Greek kind, in place of sour cream.  I mixed it all up and put it in a casserole dish.  I put it in the oven with the dish above and let it all cook for maybe 20 minutes at 350.

As the potatoes got a little crust going, I brought them out and added a little bit of mozzarella on top.  Then I put them back in for 5-10 minutes.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.   This is the best way I have EVER eaten potatoes.  I don't know if I read a recipe like this once or if it was divine intervention, but it was amazing.  K-ster was pretty  happy.

The potatoes were a little greyish because of the mushrooms and onions, so they were not the most appealing but the cheese sort of helped with that.

If you have stew or roasted something or other and you need a creative way to serve leftovers, this is your man.  Pull those potatoes out and do this little puree number with some yogurt and everyone will die and go right to heaven. 

And the Grandmother's Chicken wasn't too shabby either!

Linking here:
http://www.2justbyou.com
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/11/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-link_26.html 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Death By Apple Cobbler

I am a big fan of peach cobbler when it's done right.  And by right I mean there is dough on top and on the bottom and the bottom has just enough of the gooieness of dough saturated with fruit and syrup.

Any other peach cobbler doesn't cut it.

I've tried making it and I'm not usually very happy with it.  It doesn't get to just that right consistency that I like.

I had some apples that needed to be used and I was looking for apple recipes on allrecipes.com.  Everything seemed to be a variation of apple crisp, which I am not always excited about, or apple pie, and I wasn't interested in  making or buying pie crust.  I wanted something easy and delicious.

I found this recipe for Apple Cobbler Crumble which is along the lines of apple crisp, but without the oats and no cinnamon.  I'm pretty much done with cinnamon.

When I saw that I just had to make a crumble out of the flour, sugar and butter and then layer it alternately with apples, I was convinced that I needed to make it and that maybe it would be a good cobbler.

I usually use my trusty Pampered Chef pasty blender to make any kind of crumble because it's really sharp and most of all, the handle doesn't turn as you're using it.  The kind I have bought at the grocery store always gets loose and then I'm fighting to hang onto it while I make the crumble.

If I didn't have to get through this mess to get to my mini food processor:

I might have used that to make the crumble.  I've done it before and it's super easy and less work.  But the amount of time it would have taken to put these dishes away would have equaled the time it took to do it by hand.  And there is more to clean up with the food processor.

It didn't seem to make as many layers as I was expecting but OMG it was divine.  It's probably all the butter.  It mixes with the flour and sugar to make JUST the very gooiness I was looking for.

I didn't peel the apples because I rarely do.  Plus, I had to believe there was some kind of health benefit from eating it.

We put a pretty good dent in it.  It's one of those dishes that is so rich, you think you want to eat like 3 bowls of it, but then you realize it's really filling and you probably should stop.

K-ster said vanilla ice cream would be a great addition.  I don't think so.  I think it would actually kill me on the spot with too much deliciousness.

I might never bother with a dough again.

And the recipe said Granny Smith apples.  I didn't have them, so I used the Gala apples that I did have.  I think the Granny Smith would have added an awesome tartness to it so I will try that next time.

I bet I could do the same thing with peaches and be knocked right out.

Linking here:
http://www.flamingotoes.com/2013/11/think-pink-sunday-no-140/
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/11/clever-chicks-blog-hop-62-with-two.html
www.skiptomylou.org
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/12/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-link.html
http://www.cherishedhandmadetreasures.com 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Need A Job? Apply Within

When I get my maid, she will have but 2 tasks.

One, she will have to wash my sheets and dry them on the line.  I already do this, but she will have to do it several times a week.  Why?  Because the biggest part of her job will be to put fresh sheets on the bed every other day.  And they will dried by the air and sun, or they won't be allowed on the bed.

Because I never sleep as well as the night when the sheets are fresh and clean.  And drier dried sheets just don't cut it.

Her second job will be to walk into my room exactly 5 minutes before I have to be out of bed on weekdays.  She will open my curtains so my eyes and brain can adapt to the idea of getting up.

And that's it.

No cleaning, no dishes, no slaving away.

Just washing sheets and changing the bed often and opening curtains.

Know anyone qualified?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

While some would agree that I have an ear for music, I do not have an ear for lyrics.  I am forever sure that a lyric is one thing and then it turns out to be another.   I remember reading a silly book once called He's Got the Whole World in His Pants and I can't tell you how many of the wrong lyrics I too thought were correct.  Ok, I did know that it's the whole world in his hands, come on, people.

Here are some of my greatest hits:

Excuse me, while I kiss this guy (kiss the sky)

I coulda missed the pain, but Ida had to miss the dance. (but I'd a had to miss the dance)

I'm gonna lean my headlights into your bedroom window (aim my headlights)

I had some dreams, they were grounds in my coffee, grounds in my coffee (clouds in my coffee)

In that same song, I know the words are underworld spy, but I like to pretend it's underwear spy.

And I also just learned that one of the first lines goes:

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte

I had to look that one up.  Gavotte is a dance in peasant France.  I always thought the lyric was:

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself go by

Which made no sense because go by doesn't rhyme with apricot (his scarf) so I was always confused.

I wanna cool sh$t that'll cook for me (I wanna a cool chic) and in that same song, I wanna sing a little Jew song (chill song).

That last one is Keith Urban, it must be Australian accent that's pushing me over the edge in that song. 

Most of the others are also country.  I enjoy country music A LOT but there's something about the lyrics that I never quite get. 

That's why I was soooooo tickled recently, when I figure out on my own these words from Sweet Annie by Zac Brown Band (don't like the band but their songs are pretty catchy- oh and does anyone else think this is way too similar to Sweet Melissa to be considered original?): 

But one day Lightning will strike And my bark will lose it’s bite

It only took me about 400 listens by myself to realize it's lightning will strike.

And time and again, I will learn what the correct words are and then I won't hear the song for a while.  The next time I hear it, I dig up those wrong lyrics all over a gain.

But recently, there's a song on the radio that I hear all.the.effing.time and while I understand all of  the lyrics, I totally don't get what they mean.  It's Night Train, by Jason Aldean.

"Night Train"

I've been thinkin' bout you all day baby
waitin' on that sun to go down
whatcha say I pick you up after work
slide over, well slip out to the outskirts of town
got a blanket and a fifth of comfort
a little something to knock off the edge
it's supposed to get a little cool tonight
looks like I'm gonna have to hold you tight... yeah

[Chorus:]
Bout a mile off old mill road
in that spot nobody knows
park the truck and we take off running
hurry up, girl I hear it coming
got a moon and a billion stars
sound of steel and old box cars
the thought of you is driving me insane
come on baby lets go listen to the night train

yeah I hope its gonna be a long one
if were lucky its moving slow
wouldn't mind if it lasted all night
lying next to you on that hillside lets go

Bout a mile off old mill road
in that spot nobody knows
park the truck and we take off running
hurry up girl, I hear it coming
got a moon and a billion stars
sound of steel and old box cars
the thought of you is driving me insane
come on baby lets go listen to the night train

Let's go listen to the night train [x2]

[Chorus]

Let's go listen to the night train 


Can someone explain to me why?  Why are they running to catch the sound of the train?   Yes, I understand what they are doing (the blanket, it's cool, they're drinking Southern Comfort, but what's the deal with the train?  And hurrying to get there to listen to it?

And I LOVE to pretend that the line that says "Bout a mile off Old Mill Rd." is really "Bout a mile off Oatmeal Rd."  It's the only way I can stand to listen to the song.  I just don't like because it's really dumb to me.

Unless you know something about trains I don't know.

And all I can really think of is that when this was really big this summer, my niece had just been here and she loves trains.  At the time, she called them FRAINS.  Frains and Oatmeal Rd.  The only way to listen.

Linking here:
http://www.myturnforus.com/

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Lunches Ain't No Picnic

When I was in 5th grade, my mother declared I could make my own lunch from then on.  I never understood why she didn't want to make my lunches anymore.

And then I became an adult and started bringing lunch to school again and realized why it sucks.

This may come as a wild surprise, but I am not much of a morning person.  While some of my family members love morning, I don't come bounding out of bed with a smile, excited to greet the day and ready to tackle anything. 


I'm not exactly the grim reaper, hunched over and growling until I've had my coffee, but I'm never excited to wake up (even when something great is going to happen that day) and it takes me a good face washing and something to drink before I start to feel like facing the day.

And thinking about making my lunch and k-ster's is fairly nauseating in the morning.  I think it might be the deli meat and mustard or mayo that gets me. 

My lunches are not usually sandwiches because I don't love sandwiches.  I am happy to eat a leftover from the night before, or some soup or some pieces of chicken.  K-ster doesn't have a microwave on the landscape truck, so he has to have things that don't need heating.  And that's mostly sandwiches.

I tried making at least the sandwich part of the lunch the night before, but k-ster deemed the sandwiches soggy and he threw them at passing cars to see if they would stick.  Of course he didn't do that.  But he did say that he didn't like them soggy.

Then I started making my own bread and solved that problem.   Because after the first day of the bread in the breadbox, it starts to get a little hard.  So it can take an overnight in the refrigerator and not be soggy the next morning.


I also found that these pyrex dishes with covers are great for sandwiches and manage to keep them pretty fresh tasting.

If I get the sandwich made and portion out any chips or anything sticky the night before, I manage to be happier to make lunch the next morning.  When it's a matter of assembling things that are ready to go, I don't have to touch or smell it and it doesn't make me feel gross before I've had my oatmeal.

And buying school lunch is not an option.  I used to get their salads for teachers on Fridays, but they started using zucchini as thought it was cucumber and I fell for it every.single.time.  You don't just go around using zucchini like that.  I can't even look at raw zucchini without throwing up a little.

And don't get me started on a regular school lunch.  Ew.  Just.  Ew.

Linking here:
http://createdbylaurie.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Casserole Time Of Year

My mother used to make this chicken casserole dish and I had a hankering for it the other day.   I am not a big maker of casseroles but I like this one.

I also hadn't had a cream of mushroom soup in a while and figured I was due for a dose of the most outrageous ingredients you can imagine.  Have you ever read the ingredients on a cream of anything soup?

Frightening.

I also wanted a reason to use my Deep Covered Baker from Pampered Chef and I figured this was a good reason.  Especially since this called for a cover while cooking.


It occurred to me as I made this that most of the meals I make require me to stand at the stove and saute something or stand at the grill and check on something.  I very rarely make something that goes into the oven for a half hour or more and then is magically ready and all I have to do is steam some green beans.


It was kind of nice to "fix it and forget it" for a while.

It also surprised me how salty this tasted and I definitely didn't add salt.  Low salt cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup would be my plan next time around.

The recipe says to cook for a half hour but it ended up being 55 minutes.  I don't know if the chicken breasts I used were thicker than recommended or what.  I made sure the oven was at 400 and I had the cover on, so it's a mystery.

K-ster liked it too.

And the green beans have some cheese on them because k-ster gets tired of plain, steamed green beans.

The beans are from my garden.  I blanched 5 of those gallon zip lock bags and froze them.  Normally, I don't get around to blanching more than 2 and they don't last long.  This might get us through January.

Linking here:
http://www.skiptomylou.org
http://www.cherishedhandmadetreasures.com
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/11/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-link_19.html
http://thefrugalgirls.com/2013/11/chic-and-crafty-party-11-21.html