Thursday, December 28, 2006

Xmas Eve

When my brother and I were growing up, we got to exchange our Xmas gifts to each other on Xmas eve (it helped cut down the excitement somewhat and allowed us to sleep a bit better Xmas eve night!), so we've continued that tradition with my kids.

The sibling exchange:
C. gave T. two stuffed Pokemon characters
T. gave M. a green Mega T-Rex
M. gave C. a Ty stuffed emperor penguin
C. gave M. a Backyardigans bath set
M. gave T. a "Look Inside the Frog" book
T. gave C. portable speakers for her iPod

and then the kids opened their new jammies (another traditional gift so we have cute pictures the next day ;)):

and then they crawled into bed to sleep sweet dreams before Xmas day:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gifts for a Knitter

Yes, I do have all sorts of wonderful, glee-filled pictures of my adorable children being spoiled rotten with Christmas gifts. And yes, I *will* get around to posting them and listing cool gifts that they (and I) received. But before I forget, I wanted to link to this post written by The Yarn Harlot. I do realize that Christmas is over, but I have a birthday coming up in January, so...

Letter to a Non-Knitter

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day 3--MUCH better!

Still some dark spots on her face:

but her back and belly are almost totally clear:

And she feels better! She got about 14 hours of sleep, so that might have been the key!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day 2 of the allergic reaction

M. did not sleep well Monday night (between us, in our bed, so I could monitor her breathing) and when she woke up, the rash was even worse:

So I took her back to the doctor. We have a prescription for prednisone (which I hope to not have to fill, as the last thing I want right before Xmas is a kid whose immune system is compromised), and were given the go-ahead to use T's prescription Zyrtec once a day to see if that, in combination with the Benadryl, would help with the rash/itching/swelling. After one dose, it seemed to help--at least with the itching. I hope we're on the mend...

TJ's Masala/Paneer sauce

Since both Susie and Stefaneener highly recommended Trader Joe's Masala and Korma Simmer Sauces, I couldn't wait to try them. Unfortunately, my cold prevented me from being able to taste for so long that I wasn't able to try them right away. I was pretty happy with this meal, though.

Masala/Paneer Sauce

1 jar Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce
1 cup water
1 package Paneer (Indian cheese)
1 T olive oil
1 onion
1 cup frozen peas
cooked rice

Cut paneer into small squares and saute in olive oil until lightly brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Add chopped onion to remaining olive oil and cook until tender. Add jar of sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and heat for about 10 minutes. Add in the paneer and frozen peas and heat through. Serve over rice and with pita, heated in a frying pan.
Homemade Paneer

I looked all over for paneer, which you can supposedly buy pre-made, but had no success. I found a recipe online and made it with the free milk I got at the grocery store this week, thinking no harm in trying. It turned out really good!

2 litres of milk
juice of two lemons
cumin powder

big pot
cheesecloth or non-fuzzy dish towel
2 cutting boards
heavy weight (bricks or pot filled with water)

Bring the milk, 1 t. salt and 1 t. cumin to a slow simmer. Simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn't burn or boil over.

Remove the boiled milk from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice at a time, until the milk curdles and becomes very chunky. Drain off the whey (non chunky stuff) and wrap the curds (chunky stuff) in the cheese cloth or clean dish towel. You can taste it and see if it needs more salt or cumin, or if you want to add any other seasonings. Squeeze out any remaining whey and then shape it into a flattened rectangle of cheese. Place on one cutting board, then top with a second, and weigh it down (you might want to do this over a sink). Keep the weight on for 1-2 hours, then unwrap the paneer, rinse it, and store it in the fridge until you need it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Will it never end?

M. woke up in the middle of the night with itchy, raised red spots all over her face, chest, back, arms and legs. Reaction to the amoxicillin, I guess. (G. and C. are both allergic to amoxicillin, so I shouldn't be surprised)

So she's had a day of benadryl (not as raised or itchy, but still red spots) and will start a new antibiotic this evening (it's a sulfa drug--the one that gave ME a bad reaction).

I just want to be done with all this stuff.

(these pictures were taken 12 hours after the rash appeared)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bloglines dropped me...

Of course, if you're subbed with bloglines, you won't get this feed, but....

It appears that bloglines just caught up with the fact I went to Beta Blogger and it dropped the old feed. So if you were reading my blog w/ bloglines, you'll need to subscribe to the new feed.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Quesadillas; Red beans and rice, mexican style

Quesadillas are such a fall-back meal for our family that I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe before (or maybe I have and couldn't find it). I "created" the mexican rice to get a complete protein into my vegetarian daughter.


flour tortillas
shredded cheese
whatever else (cooked chicken, bacon, green onions, olives, tomatoes, beans, etc.)

Spritz a tortilla with some oil and lay it in a frying pan. Top with shredded cheese and whatever other items you like. Add the second flour tortilla and spray it with oil. Cook over medium heat until the tortilla is brown and crispy and the cheese is melty. Flip and do the same to the other side. Cut into sixths with a pizza cutter and serve with sour cream and salsa.
Quick Mexican beans and rice

1 t. oil
1 cup rice
one can chili beans
a handful of corn

Heat oil in a pot with a tight-fitting cover. Add rice and saute lightly (to keep it from sticking together as it cooks. Add can of chili beans (with liquid) and eyeball the amount of water to make it (along with the chili bean liquid) equal about 2 cups. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When rice is tender, stir in corn and heat until the corn is warm, too. Serve topped with green onions.
Tortilla chips with Fiesta Party Dip from Tastefully Simple

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chicken Paprikash; Knockle; Green Bean Amandine

Thanks again to Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals

Ground Turkey Paprikash
(I didn't use the dill--it seemed to not really belong)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 tablespoon butter
1 package, 1 1/3 pounds average weight, ground lean white turkey
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Black pepper
1 cup chicken stock, available in small 8 ounce paper containers on soup aisle of market
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil then butter then ground meat. Break up meat and crumble, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, onions, red bell peppers and seasonings to the turkey. Cook 5 or 6 minutes then add chicken stock and sour cream to the pan. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low. Adjust seasonings and serve over pasta or knockle. Garnish the prepared dish with chopped parsley.



Green Beans Amandine


canned Fruit Cocktail

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sickness update

Two people on antibiotics now...

M's ear IS infected. The protocol for ear infection treatment is to wait 24-48 hours after diagnosis before starting an antibiotic, since most ear infections will clear up on their own. I am on board with this switch in protocol, and we did that when T's ear was infected last month. HOWEVER, you have to remember that this is the kid who broke two bones (a leg and an arm) and neither time complained any more than refusing to use said broken limb. She was SCREAMING and whining and in obvious pain with this ear thing, so I filled the prescription. I think it's already helping and I think (hope) I made the right choice.

And the doctor said that, for me, ten days with my sinus pressure and everything else meant time for an antibiotic as well.

So here we are, ten days of meds and dealing with all the tummy upsets and probiotics... But with any luck, we'll be completely healed by Christmas!

Chicken In a Pot, No Pie Soup

Another Rachel Ray recipe--this one is a real winner!

Chicken In a Pot, No Pie!

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 starchy potatoes, skin left on and diced (recommended: Idaho)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy green tops, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, chopped
1 small bunch pencil asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, 4 to 5 sprigs, chopped
Serve with crusty whole-grain bread - a lot easier than making pastry!

Heat a large, deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Melt butter into oil then add the potatoes, onions, celery and carrots, adding them to the pot as you chop them. Add bay leaf and season veggies with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, cook 5 to 6 minutes to soften them a bit. Add flour and cook another minute then whisk in wine and cook off a minute more. Add stock and put a lid on the pan or pot and raise heat to bring to a quick boil. Slide in chicken and cook 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and cook 3 minutes more. Turn off heat and add the peas and tarragon. Stir to combine and adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread for mopping.
Breadsmith Italian bread

My knitting is famous!

I sent pictures of my Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper to the FSM website and the owner posted them. :)

Check it out:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mostly caught up (but still sick...)

Since my last overwhelmed post, I've gotten caught up on a lot of stuff.

*decorated inside and out for the holidays
*hosted TWO gatherings (Soup night for several families and C's friend Xmas party)
*have all but 1 1/2 knit gifts completed! (email if you want to peek...)
*cooked some more and stored lots of blog food posts to release one-a-day
*completed the holiday card (email if you didn't get one and want the URL)

However, this cold has completely knocked me on my butt and my house is now trashed. In addition, M. woke up screaming in the middle of the night with a 101 temp and complaints of her ears and mouth hurting. We both have appointments with the doctor this afternoon and I am hopeful that we'll both be better before Christmas.

I'm going to cram a bunch of stuff into this one catch-up post.

Friday M. had her fall zoo class--Penguin Power! This is the last zoo class that I'll be able to attend, as M. turns 4 in January, and the kids can do child-alone classes at age 4. M. was very excited to share all that she learned with C. (the real penguin fan in the family). Here's a picture of M. in the penguin costume she made:

And Friday afternoon was T's school's Winter Concert. It's strange that he's my only kid at the elementary school this year (C. was there last year and M. will be there next year). The third graders learned Carol of the Bells on the recorder! Here's a picture of him the morning of the concert:

Fish Fry

I loved the texture of the tempura batter I used to make onion rings, so I decided to try it on fish. It worked well!

Fried fish

Tilapia fillets
salt, lemon pepper
tempura ingredients
hot oil

Season the fish fillets with salt and lemon pepper. Dip in tempura batter, and then fry in oil until golden brown. Drain well.

onion rings

homemade french fries

fresh pineapple

Monday, December 11, 2006

Decorating for Christmas!

We traditionally decorate the day after Thanksgiving (and take down the decorations the day after Christmas) but since we were out of town this Thanksgiving, we didn't decorate until the Sunday after. G. put up the outside lights (you can see the boxes and boxes of them here:)

While the rest of us unpacked the indoor stuff.

Putting the tree together:

Last year, at the Christmas clearance at Target, I bought all new indoor lights. I freecycled the old, multicolored ones, and used strands of red and green for the the tree this year. It looks really neat!

Then the ornaments...

And that's the end result!

Patty Melts

This recipe comes from G's grill days (working at several restaurants in high school)

Patty melt

hamburger patty, grilled or fried
fried onions
cheddar cheese
rye bread

Butter the outside of both sides of rye bread. Layer the sandwich in a frying pan in this order:

rye bread, butter side down
fried onions
more cheese
rye bread, butter side up

Grill until golden brown and heated through.

Frozen steak-cut fried, cooked according to package directions
Claussen Kosher dill pickle

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Switch to Beta

I have been wanting to switch to Beta since it was introduced, but it wasn't offered to me. I finally realized that it's because I belonged to a blog that was HUGE and it wasn't switched to Beta. (The Mason-Dixon Knit-A-Long) So I've dropped the MDKAL and I'm hoping this will work.

I hope all of you who have me bloglined will be able to follow me...

Apologies to bloglines users...
It appears that, as I go back and update categories on my ancient posts, they all show up as new posts! yikes...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

I am actually embarassed at how long it's been since I last blogged. However, it's not like I haven't been busy! :) Some of the things I've done:

*Travelled up North for Thanksgiving with my mom (lots of fun, but dialup internet connection, so impossible to post)
*Home to decorate for Xmas and panic at how much I still have to do (also fun, but stressful)
*Hosting a really fun Soup Night with some families (TONS of fun, but I cleaned the whole house at once--egads! don't recommend that one... I even shampooed carpets)
*Knitting, knitting, knitting.... lots and lots of Xmas gifts--many for people who read this blog, so that's why there are no photos. If you're REALLY interested, email me and I can send you pics of the things that are NOT for you ;)
*cooking again! (I'd taken some time off...I have pictures of about a dozen meals I've made and all those recipes to type in...)
*working on our holiday "card" (egads... why does it take so long? oh, yeah... because I only write HTML once a year--when I do our holiday card), which should be posted sometime this week

And then I caught a nasty cold, so I've been babying myself over that. At any rate, I promise to at least ATTEMPT to blog a bit more really soon. And if not, then when DH is off for that month between semesters, I'll get all caught up!

Ok, here's ONE picture:

T., holding the Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper, which I finished WHILE we were putting up the tree!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holiday Traditions

I can remember being on some parenting listserv (maybe; maybe Parent-L) when C. was little and people were discussing holiday traditions. I picked up a few from that discussion and thought I'd share them.

First of all, being the children's book lover that I am, we do an Advent Calendar with Holiday books. The eventual goal (we may be there this year...) is to have 24 Holiday-themed books. When you get out your holiday decorations after Thanksgiving, wrap each book in wrapping paper and set it out under the tree. Starting with December 1st (or later if you don't have 24 books yet), each night one child gets to pick a "present" to unwrap and we read the book as a family. Some of the books are wonderful classics that we look forward to every year and that are always the first opened. Some are really silly, goofy stories that get read once a year and that's it. And some are even Christmas board books from C's first Christmas!

The other tradition we have is to give new pajamas for Christmas Eve! It doesn't matter where we are on Christmas eve, the kids each get to open a present that contains new (but already-washed) pajamas. They get to wear them that night and then they have new jammies for Christmas morning pictures! My Sister-In-Law does this, but adds one element--the pajamas always arrive from Rudolph (the kids find them on the porch).

Oh, wait! I guess you'd call it a tradition... when I was growing up, my brother and I always got to exchange each other's presents on Christmas Eve. It took an edge off of the overwhelming excitement of waiting until Christmas morning, and we really appreciated the gifts to/from each other. Now that we often spend Christmas Eve at my in-law's, we allow our kids to open their gifts to each other the day BEFORE Christmas Eve.

I'd love to hear anyone else's holiday traditions!

Found this link at Kiddley with another neat advent idea...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trader Joe's--Looking for Suggestions

A little over a week ago, a Trader Joe's opened in the Milwaukee area. I had heard such wonderful things about TJ's since I entered the online world and could not WAIT to try it out.

I've been twice (the first time was on opening day and I wouldn't recommend that! craziness...) and bought several things, some which I enjoyed and others which I have not.

First, the good things:
Trader Giotto's Bruschetta in a jar (this was DIVINE as a pasta sauce and on toasted bread)
Some brand of shelf-stable gnocchi (very reasonable... like $1.29 and great texture!)
Hearth-baked Italian bread (also very good, though it had big air holes in it)
TJ's raspberry preserves (yummy, fresh raspberry taste)

I picked up some "two buck chuck" (actually $2.99 here)--a merlot and a chardonnay--and while not the best wine I've had, it was totally drinkable and inexpensive!

But the truly yucky things were:
Dark chocolate covered ginger snaps (would have been fine, but the bottoms of the cookies were this styrofoam-type material... gag!)
Organic, Free-range chicken broth (tasted like water but with a funky smell--digusting!)

While we were in the store, we tried some hummus (very garlicky and yummy) and cherry cider (good, but too pricey for my blood at $4 something). We also bought a nut and dried fruit mix for C the vegetarian, but haven't tried that yet.

So please help me! I can see the appeal and some of the things I've tried have been wonderful, but I don't want to have a lot of costly mistake purchases, either.

:) Thanks in advance...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cable knit set

I'm pretty proud of this one...

One of C's dearest friends just had a birthday (the party is tonight) and we were struggling to come up with a gift. We knew that this friend, E, just got a new, cool, North Face winter jacket, and that it was such an unique color (berry) that they were having a tough time finding a hat and mittens to match. So I asked if E would like a handknit set to match.

We went to my favorite LYS, Ruhama's, and came up with two yarns: Mission Falls 1824 wool (color mallow 025) for the main color, and Tahki Bunny Print (color 23) for accent.

E decided that she'd rather have a headband than a hat, so I searched for a pattern. The headbands I'd done before had been knit the long way, and I wasn't sure how that would work with the two colors/yarns, so I tried to find something I could knit in the round. I found a cute pattern at Knitty for a headband with cables, and thought I'd give it a try!

I loved it! I did the seed stitch beginning and end with the bunny print and the rest with the 1824 wool.

Then I tried to find a nice mitten pattern with a cable, but couldn't. I ended up winging it and making a simple mitten pattern, using the bunny print for the wrists and 1824 for the rest, but adding a single cable up the back. Unfortunately, when I got 3/4 of the mitten done, I realized that I should have set off the cable with purl stitches... I held my breath and dropped two stitches on each side of the cable all the way down to the wrist. I then picked them up purlwise and was amazed that it actually worked! :) I got a little cocky with my confidence and even made the left mitten with a cable that turned the opposite way!

When I finished the second mitten, I had quite a bit of yarn left, so I decided to start a scarf. I wanted it to match, so I wrote a pattern using the cable from the headband pattern, but putting the smaller cables opposite-facing on either side of the bigger center cable. I also learned how to do cabling without a cable needle. I did need to run back and get a fourth ball of yarn to finish the scarf, but luckily they still had that dye lot!

OK, on to the pictures:
That is one L-O-N-G cable:

And a close-up of the cable pattern:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Semi-Homemade" Meal: ravioli, garlic biscuits, salad

This is one of those meals that I previously wouldn't even have posted about (I can barely take credit for "cooking" this), but since the vegetarian struck our house, I've been VERY unmotivated to cook and have been relying on the same ol, same ol... So this was one of the few "new" meals I've made in awhile.

Baked ravioli

1 package frozen ravioli (I used large round cheese ones)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Newman's Own Cabernet Marinara)
8 oz. shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
2 T. pesto (I used one of the cubes of my own homemade pesto)

Boil the ravioli according to the directions on the package. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 and heat the jar of spaghetti sauce, adding the pesto while it heats.

Drain the ravioli, and then toss it with the warmed spaghetti sauce. Pour it into a 9x13 pan and cover with the shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Garlic biscuits

1 pkg. Pillsbury frozen biscuits
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic
shredded parmesan

Smash the clove of garlic and remove the skin (leave the garlic in one piece). Place it into a cup with the butter and olive oil, then microwave until the butter is melted. Dip each frozen biscuit into the buttery mixture, then put on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each with some parmesan, and then bake according to the package directions


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cuban Food! Ropa Vieja, Black Beans, Fried Plantains

Ropa Vieja
from the owner/chef of Cubanitas herself

Delicious food with the funny name which means “old clothes” because when you shred the flank steak it resembles it. It’s a little time consuming, but worth the effort.


4 lb flank steak

one whole onion

one finely chopped onion

1 bay leaf

Tbsp olive oil


In a pot, put all ingredients, cover with water and boil for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours on medium heat. Remove from pot and cool. Cut the fat. Shred.


½ cup olive oil

1 medium red pepper, julienne about ¼ in thick

1 medium green pepper julienne about ¼ in. thick

finely chopped medium Spanish onion

finely chopped 3-5 cloves of garlic

¾ to 1 cup of tomato puree

½ cup dry white wine

1 bay leaf

tsp. cumin

tsp. oregano

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

In large sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add peppers, onions and garlic and heat until you smell the flavors coming out. Add shredded beef, tomato sauce, bay leaf, wine, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper. Let simmer for about 20 to allow ingredients immerse themselves. Appearance should be saucy. Remove bay leaf.

Serve over white rice. Serves 6. Can be made ahead of time and heated when needed.


My friend Amy's Cuban Black Beans

1 lb. dry black beans or 4 15 oz. cans cooked black beans (don't drain if using canned beans)
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 green pepper and 1 red pepper, chopped (or sub. can of pimento for red pepper)
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. water
1 6 oz. can tomato paste or tomato sauce
1 T. white vinegar
2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. pepper
(opt: jalapeno or hot sauce to taste)

shredded cheese, chopped tomato, sliced green onion, sour cream

Rinse and soak beans (if using dried). Saute onions, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. Add beans and rest of ingredients (except garnishes). Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about two hours, or until beans are tender and flavors are meshed.


Fried Plantains
3 mostly-ripe plantains (yellow, but not black)
olive oil and butter OR canola oil

Slice plantains at an angle into slices about 1/2 inch thick (it's sometimes easier to slice them in the peel and then remove the peeling when they're sliced). Saute lightly in a blend of oil and butter or deep fry in canola oil until they soften slightly and start to turn a golden yellow. Remove and place on wax paper. Flatten each partially-cooked plantain slice, then re-saute in oil or oil and butter until they are golden and somewhat crispy on the outside. Season with salt.

Monday, November 13, 2006

8 1/2 years old!

OK, so I'm a bit late...

Last Wednesday was T's Half Birthday.

We celebrated with the traditional half-birthday cake (I claim no responsibility for the frosting of this cake--I was on hold for the third day in a row with DirecTV):

And blowing out the candles (in case you're keeping track, he left 2 candles, so some would say that's two girlfriends...):
He had a rough week last week. It was his first week of standardized testing (moronic "No Child Left Behind") and I think the lack of routine was a bad thing. :) At least, I hope this is NOT what an 8 1/2 YO boy is like! We did, however, have a very nice time Friday afternoon doing some Christmas shopping. And a week off of seeing his friends seems to have helped bring back memories of how to be nice to his family, too.

He's still my special guy...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Target Halloween--90% off

Yay! My favorite time of year... I actually held off this year and didn't buy halloween stuff at 50% or at 75% off at Target. I did look when it was 50% off, but the one thing I was looking for (a specific adult costume) was sold out.

So here's today's haul:
It includes:

Hollographic Bat Princess costume (M's size) $1.99
Spidergirl costume (C's size) $2.49
Springy witch hat $0.49
Get booed pack (for next year) $0.42
2 pumpkin carving sets $0.39 each
Little Pumpkin and Ghost treat cups $0.29 each
Flashlight w/ image projector $0.39
Ghost garbage can $0.99
3 cat napkins (packs) and 3 bat napkins $0.29 each
Socks (for M.) $0.39
pumpkin garland $0.19
Lizard and slinky party toys $0.19 each pack
Fear Factor test tube slime $0.19
2 20 packs plastic treat bags $0.19 each
M sized candy corn tshirt $0.40
My sized bone heart tshirt $0.50
T sized "My Sister Is A Witch" tshirt $0.40
M and C sized "My Brother's a Monster" tshirts $0.40 each
T sized glow in dark bat tee $0.40
G sized dracula boxers $0.79
S'mores snack size candy bars (only candy I found) $0.21

That's a lot of fun for under $15! I also had a prescription filled and had the $10 off coupon for that.

whee!!! Can't wait for the Christmas clearance--that is the MOST fun! :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Booga Bag... not in love

Remember the first booga bag I made? It turned out soooo cool that I jumped on the felting bandwagon with both feet! Every Michael's coupon that I got in the Sunday paper was turned into a skein of Paton's Classic Wool for an eventual booga bag!

So I finally got to working on my second one :) It's a blend of three denim shades--a new denim, a worn denim, and a denim marl.

Here it is, fully knit:
(looking pretty cool)

But now here it is, felted and assembled:

It's okay, but not quite right. Here--see if you can tell what's wrong now, in comparison with the first booga I made:

Yeah... definitely not right. I have never re-felted and I'm a bit frightened, but off I go to try and save it. Cross fingers for me?

Oven-roasted Pot Roast; Roast veggies; butternut squash

(Vegetarian variation below)

After dissing Cee's potroast, I figured I should really post my own recipe!

Oven-roasted Pot Roast with veggies

1 2-3 lb. beef roast (chuck is the best for flavor)
salt, pepper
olive oil
beef boullion

Season roast on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown in olive oil on top of stove. Meanwhile, chop one onion finely and place it, along with a few cloves of crushed garlic, in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. When roast is browned, lay it on top of the onions and garlic. Pour in about half a cup of Merlot, 3/4 of a cup of water, and half a beef boullion cube. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake at 275 degrees for about three hours. Take the roast out of the oven, raise the temperature to 325 degrees and add in peeled and cut carrots and celery. Re-cover the pan and bake for another hour and a half until the vegetables are tender. Remove the roast and veggies from the pan (cover with foil to keep warm) and make gravy with the remaining juice (add about 1 T. flour, dissolved in 1 c. water to the drippings and heat, stirring frequently, until thickened)
roasted squash

We usually buy butternut, but I tried a different type of squash (I don't even remember what it was called). I didn't care for it as much as butternut.

Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. place the squash halves, cut side up, into a baking dish. Pour about half an inch of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Season the squash with salt and pepper and then put butter and parmesan cheese into the section where the seeds used to be. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 (or so) for about 45 minutes.
Mashed white and sweet potatoes

Boil peeled and quartered potatoes in water for about 15 minutes. Drain off the water, then mash the potatoes with half and half, butter, salt and pepper. Serve with gravy.
Breadsmith Italian bread

Vegetarian meal

In addition to the squash and mashed potatoes and bread, I made C. her own little container of roasted veggies (baked for that last hour and a half in veggie boullion and worchestire sauce) and vegetarian gravy made with the drippings from her roasted veggies. She said it was very good and that she couldn't imagine mashed potatoes without gravy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dirty Rice; Macque Choux; corn muffins

Dirty Rice
Made from a Zatarain's mix, but added 12 oz. spicy sausage, fresh chopped red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper and onion.

Macque Choux
made from a combination of several recipes found online

chopped jalapeno
chopped red pepper

in olive oil until they begin to soften. Add frozen corn and heat through. Season with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning. Add some heavy cream and Frank's red hot sauce to taste.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What Accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

North Central

The West

The Inland North



The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Our community always does trick-or-treating on the Sunday before Halloween. Here's pictures of them in the "outdoor" version of their costumes. C. is with her friend, M2.

At the neighbor's door:

And pictures of their loot afterwards:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Party and Pumpkin Carving

Dear friends of ours have an annual all-family costume party every Halloween. It's so much fun to see what new investments they've made in their decorations. This year they had a life-sized Grim Reaper whose eyes flashed! The costumes are always fun, too. Our host and hostess were Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Some of the guests were Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head; a hippie and a mime (peace and quiet); Dolly Parton; and the Big Bad Wolf (whose 3 YO was Little Red Riding Hood).

Pictures of our family before the party:
And at the party, in front of said Grim Reaper (poor M. was soooo scared of it):

G. and I weren't just pirates--we were pirates spreading the gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Since the kids and I had been gone for several days before the party, and Trick-or-Treating was the next day, we realized on Sunday morning that we had better get the pumpkins carved! We got wonderful, bright orange pumpkins from my friend, who had put dead pumpkins into her compost pile, and then neglected to stir the compost. She got FOURTEEN pumpkins from that! And she gave us three beautiful ones.

The kids designed their own pumpkin faces and the older two carved their own pumpkins entirely (G. and I only had to cut off the top and scrape out the guts. M. designed hers and G. carved it.

Strangest thing--C's pumpkin had NO seeds inside! (bummer since we planned to roast them).

M's pumpkin looked fine, but the seeds were moldy! So that meant we only had T's seeds to roast. I used my friend Cee's pumpkin seed recipe, plus added some chili powder to the butter before roasting. They were wonderful!

Cee's Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the seeds and get all those stringy things off. ;) Boil the seeds for 10 minutes in 1 quart of water and 2 T. of salt for each 2 C. of seeds. Drain. Toss the seeds with 1 T. of butter. Spread evenly on a baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning.

Oh, did you want to see the carved pumpkins?