Wednesday, February 28, 2007
So here's where I am on this, the last day of February:
The bottom ribbing is done; the back is still all ribbed and all one color; the front is somewhat striped :) (I'm going for a random striped look--whenever the mood strikes me, I stripe); I've even split and started decreasing for the V-neck; and I am still in LOVE with this yarn!
I haven't tried it on (too afraid I'll dump it off the circular needle) but it looks like it should fit.
Oh, and I've picked out a sweater for March, so I probably should get my butt in gear on this one...
Total items: 67
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Ken's Dressing--on sale for B1G1F and I had a coupon for one free bottle so TWO free bottles
Bagel Bites to Go--on sale for $1 and I had a 75 cent coupon
Aunt Jemima frozen waffles on sale for $1.66 and I had a $1 coupon for 2 which was doubled
Monday, February 26, 2007
About 6 weeks ago, a dear IRL friend mentioned that Dar was coming to a small local venue, the Pabst Theater. This friend is an "insider" and got ticket pre-sale information. So I signed up as an insider and also got a pre-sale code. I talked to my mom and she said she could come down for the concert, and would take me for my birthday gift. So I logged on the day that the tickets went on sale and scored FRONT ROW tickets!
Unfortunately, this awful blizzard was predicted for this weekend (it ended up to be not-so-bad) and Mom had to cancel her trip down. HOWEVER, that meant that C. got to go to the concert with me. It was last night.
Here's how close we were to the stage (cell phone pics--forgive the quality):
My neck actually got sore because we were so close!
The opening act was a wonderful singer/songwriter from Minneapolis named Brianna Lane. I'm seriously considering getting one of her CD's... She stood right in front of us and joked with C. and I during the set ("can you see up my dress from there?").
And then Dar came on...
She talked to C. several times during the concert, asking how old she was, and taking requests. (C. first suggested a song off Dar's first tape, but Dar told her to choose something from the last decade and then C. chose "Echoes").
I'm not sure that I remember them all, but she played:
Calling the Moon
The Beauty of the Rain
Teen for God (with a very funny intro about her religious teen phase)
The One Who Knows (written for Vince Gill and Amy Grant)
Mercy of the Fallen
Blue Light of the Flame (written in memory of a friend of hers who died)
Iowa (duet with Brianna Lane)
We Learned the Sea
If I Wrote You
Comfortably Numb (which I didn't like on the album, but LOVED live)
The Babysitter's Here
Sunday, February 25, 2007
And the back continues in K3P3 ribbing all the way up, so it's fitted:
I'm struggling a bit with knitting in the round and striping only the front, but I hope it'll be okay. Once I get to the split for the neck, I'll no longer be working in the round, so that should be fine, too.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Now that we've tossed and packed, her room (which will become the office/guest room after the remodel) looks like this:
Funniest comment ever? C, saying "you know, it's a lot easier to keep my room clean when there's so little stuff in it"
uh... YEAH! omg, I hope we can keep from unloading ALL the boxes we packed from her room when the girls move into their new room...
So here I am:
I hate seaming SO much that I'm already happier. And this yarn is so fantastic to knit with, that I didn't even complain about having to frog.
Let's just hope that I'm smart enough to change the pattern to being knit in the round when I get to the v-neck and the armpits... :)
And I wouldn't hold my breath for it to be finished in February.
OTOH, we're expecting the worst blizzard in years this weekend and all the plans I had for the weekend have been cancelled, so there may be a lot of knitting and catching up on Tivo'ed movies these next few days.
The "good" news?
Well, first of all, it's more expensive here because we have more stringent permit-application regulations and so we have the best contractors.
Secondly, we're not remodeling to make money when we sell (we're in this house for the duration!)
Thirdly, the mean price for a master suite addition in the area is listed at $101,000. We're spending way less than that!
So it's not all bad...
Friday, February 23, 2007
This is a great Pampered Chef recipe that I haven't made for a long time. In searching my old recipes to find vegetarian (or vegetarian-adaptable) recipes, I re-found it! It's a keeper!
Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
4 oz. fresh muchrooms, sliced
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 t. dried oregano leaves
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed in a towel to remove water
1 1/2 c. pizza sauce, divided
1 can (14 1/2 oz) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes, drained
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 oz. fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 c.)
1/3 c. plus 1 T. cornmeal, divided
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (1/4 oz) quick-rising dry yeast
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. very warm (125 degrees) water
1/4 c. olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
For filling, cook mushrooms, onion, garlic and oregano over medium heat until onion is tender; stir in spinach and 1/2 c. of the pizza sauce. Remove pan from heat. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 c. of pizza sauce with drained tomatoes and set aside.
Lightly grease bottom of a deep-dish baker or spring-form pan and then sprinkle with 1 T. of the cornmeal. Combine (in large bowl) flour, remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water and 1/4 c. oil; stir until mixture forms a ball. Place dough on lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minuts. Flatten dough to fit in bottom of baker or spring-form pan. Pat evenly on bottom and about an inch up the sides. Sprinkle 1 c. of the mozarella over the crust; top with the spinach mixture, remaining cup of mozzarella, and then the tomato mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. Grate parmesan cheese over the top of the hot pizza, and then serve.
(if you're not vegetarian, they suggest subbing 8 oz. Italian sausage, cooked, for the mushrooms)
And because I thought it looked impressive, here's a picture of the pizza before it was cut:
Salad with spicy vinagrette
I put about 2 T. of Italian Giardinera (spicy marinated veggies) in the food processor, and then added 1 T. red wine vinegar, 1 T. water, and 3 T. olive oil. It made a yummy, spicy vinagrette for the salad.
Well, the first glitch was when the inspector had to stay home with a sick kid on Tuesday. So our contractor's meeting was rescheduled for Thursday. Then our contractor called on Thursday to tell us that when they were going through the forms to be filed, it was discovered the that plat of survey that is on file for our land is dated 1955, and includes an outline of "proposed house"! oops...
So I spent over two hours calling all over to try to find a surveyor at a decent price (I can't believe how a couple hundred dollars here and there is adding up). I found that surveyors in the metro Milwaukee area would all do the exact same thing (locate the corner posts and/or replace them if they are missing or damage, and then complete a plat of survey for our less-than-quarter-acre lot) for anywhere from $300 to $800. Yeah, we chose the $300 one. Of course, that's just an estimate, so I have no doubt that there will be something odd about our lot which will drive up the price.
But supposedly he'll have it done next week, so that will be before the ARB meets.
(breathe, breathe, breathe.... I know it's only going to get more stressful!)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
I spoke with the contractor this weekend and he has a meeting with the village inspector tomorrow (Tuesday) to go over our plan and do the best to insure that it will pass the Architechtural Review Board, which meets next on March 6th. If the Board okays it, I think the construction/demolition begins almost right away!
Of course I'm anxious for things to get started (so that they can be completed), but at the same time, it makes much more sense to wait a little while, since we'll have a humongous hole in our roof for at least a few days, and it would be insane to attempt to heat our house with January temps! (if you don't follow the news/weather, it's been insanely cold here the last three weeks--the kids missed two days of school due to dangerously cold temps and we had several days where the HIGH temperature didn't get above zero Fahrenheit).
However, it sunk in that we have potentially only 2 1/2 weeks before things get started, and that we have a few very busy weekends ahead. So yesterday, we moved everything out of the attic space. You saw the before pictures here, with all our stuff in storage. Now check this out:
(those first two are the small attic, at the top of the stairs; these three are the bigger attic--where the bathroom and big part of the bedroom will be)
And it was finally warm enough to take the "before" picture outdoors. This whole section of roof will be raised:
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with the contractor. We'll get our double shower (in lieu of an oversized whirlpool tub--insanely expensive!) for $200 over bid (not bad). He says the permits usally arrive a day or two after approval at the architechtural meeting, so his plan is to order materials the day after the meeting in anticipation of starting a day or two after that. YIKES! That puts a potential start date of March 8th! wow! He also will start with the plumbing since the bathroom is going in the existing part of the attic, so they don't need to rip open the roof at that point. :)
Unfortunately, while attractive, these lack the fleece lining that would make them some kind of warm for a Wisconsin winter. Never fear--I decided I could "whip up" a pair of wool socks for her to wear with the boots.
And that's why I haven't gotten any further on my February sweater (vest) of the month.
Despite being worsted weight 100% wool, they aren't knitting themselves! But they are moving along. C. loves them (they're shades of her two favorite colors--brown and green). Hopefully things will settle down enough today that I can finish them, but here's the picture thusfar:
I found this recipe through the Journal-Sentinel. We love Harvey Moy's Chinese food!
Harvey Moy's Sweet and Sour Chicken
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. cornstarch (divided)
3/4 t. baking powder
6 C. water (about) (divided)
2 C. sugar
1 C. vinegar
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into small triangle sections
2 tomatoes, cut into small triangle sections
Corn or peanut oil for frying
2 to 2 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into pieces 2-inches long and 1/2-inch thick)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C. sesame seeds (browned in a dry pan over medium heat for 30 seconds)
Hot cooked rice (optional)
Make breading and sweet sour sauce first.
To make breading:
In medium bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cornstarch and baking powder. Add egg and 13/4 cups water. Mix until smooth using electric mixer. Consistency should be very thick and just slowly drip from beater.
To make sweet sour sauce:
In large saucepan, boil 4 cups water. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add vinegar and stir in. Increase heat to high.
In small bowl, mix together remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Pour cornstarch mixture slowly into sugar/vinegar mixture and cook over high heat stir until sauce starts to boil, then thicken to medium gravy. Add pineapple, peppers and tomatoes and cook 30 seconds. Set aside and keep warm.
Pour oil into large wok to depth of 3 to 5 inches. Heat oil to 350° F.
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper if desired. Place in breading mixture, making sure all pieces are lightly coated. Once oil is reaches 350° F., individually place coated chicken strips in hot oil. Cook only 1/4 to 1/2 of the chicken at a time. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until pieces are golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and let drain on paper toweling. Keep warm. When oil again reaches 350° F. finish remaining chicken strips.
Set chicken pieces atop rice, if using, top with sweet sour sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Makes 4 servings.
I thought I'd posted this before, but cannot find it, so maybe not!
Saute in oil:
sliced green onion
freshly chopped ginger
other meats or veggies of your choosing (ham, chicken, leftover cooked veggies, etc.)
Scoot that over to the sides of the pan, pour in more oil, and dump in:
cooked and cooled rice (white or brown)
Saute until it is warm throughout and starting to get crispy. Pour rice wine and soy sauce (to taste--and until it's lightly brown) over the rice.
Beat 1 or more eggs (depends on the amount of rice you have and how eggy you like it) and pour the egg over the warm rice mixture. Stir quickly to avoid getting big chunks of egg.
Stir in additional veggies (I do peas and/or sugar snap peas and carrots) and heat through.
Pagoda Cafe crab rangoons and cream cheese wontons
Dole Asian Crunch salad mix
Sauteed Stir Fry vegetables
Friday, February 16, 2007
OK, other than the nasty-looking black eye that she got when trying to walk up the slide, which was snow-covered and slippery...
OK, if you can't tell, here's a close-up:
M. got her ears pierced! And what a brave girl she was! There was a 7 YO girl watching and SHE was too afraid to get hers done. M. got a funny kinda look on her face after the first one went in, but when I showed her the mirror, she was all smiles.
She's definitely the bravest one in our family. C. didn't get her ears pierced until she was eight. *I* didn't get mine done until I was twelve!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Yet another Rachael Ray recipe!
Chicken Parm Meatball Subs
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large egg
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Handful of chopped parsley leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus, plus 3 tablespoons, 3 turns of the pan
2 large cloves garlic, cracked from skin and split
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, a healthy couple of pinches
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
4 (6 to 8-inch) crusty sub rolls
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, half of the grated cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and a serious drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl. Mix the meat and form 12 large meatballs. Squish the balls to flatten them a bit like mini oval meatloaves. Be careful not to form the balls wider than your bread. The flattened balls will stay put on your sub, no roll-aways! Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm. Switch the broiler on.
While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and garlic and cook 5 minutes then remove the cloves. Add crushed red pepper flakes then tomatoes and stir in the chicken stock. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasonings and stir in the basil. Reserve a extra sauce for dipping on dinner table.
Remove the meat from oven and loosen with a thin spatula. Turn meat balls in sauce.
Cut sub rolls making the bottom a little deeper than the top. Hollow out a little bread and lightly toast the sub rolls under broiler. Fill the bottoms of the breads with flattened balls and sauce. Combine the provolone and remaining Parmigiano. Cover the subs with cheese and return to broiler to melt the cheese until golden.
Shredded Veggie Salad
(tastes like the veggies on a Subway sub!)
2 hearts romaine or 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 medium beefsteak tomato, halved then very thinly sliced
1 small green bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup hot pepper rings or pepperoncini, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, eyeball it
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Salt and pepper
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Project Spectrum: 1 item done
New Remodel: 8th item done
Sanity: Slowly returning (oh, please don't make me sew anything else!)
Monday, February 12, 2007
So I think I posted about buying these quilts for the girls' room:
Nice, simple, thick blue jean material. One in full size (bottom bunk) and one in twin (top bunk). I even splurged and bought the pillow shams! I figured this was easy to change up with accent colors/funky sheets and that jeans are cute enough for a 4 YO, but also mature enough for an 18 YO (I told C. I'm not buying new stuff till she moves out!).
The room that the girls will be moving into (currently our room) has three nice-sized windows that face the road. We live on a pretty busy street and there are vehicles (including emergency rescue vehicles) that go by all night long. These windows need double coverage (blinds AND curtains) and the hideous curtains (ok, drapes) currently on them are functional, but...well...hideous! See? (these actually were originally navy blue with that pattern, but I bleached them and bleached them and came out with a tan/pink shade that was at least somewhat less obvious)
So I came up with the brilliant idea of making some tab-top curtains out of jean material. How difficult can that be, right? After trips to two fabric stores, I realized that I had to do something else. I needed 8 yards of fabric (originally thought 10 yards, but it ended up being 65" wide) and no one had a full bolt. I did end up ordering online from Joann, where I had a 50% off coupon. 10 yards for $40, plus $8 shipping. Bought jean-colored thread and a neat brownish top-stitching thread for accents, as well as a pack of leather needles. Of course, then I found tab-top curtains that exactly match the comforters I bought:
but at $18 a panel (I need 6 panels), I was still coming out way ahead.
The fabric arrived and this weekend I sat down to sew. Cutting went...okay. G. helped a lot, but really it's just cutting out rectangles. I ironed and seamed the sides of each panel (hey, I NEVER used to use an iron when sewing--this was a big deal!) and then the top. I figured I'd save the bottom to hem when I saw that all of the panels were the same size. Then I started on the tabs. My livingroom tab-top curtains have 8 tabs per panel, so I decided to do that. Do you realize that that means forty-eight tabs? I quickly decided to cut it to 7 tabs a panel (easier to space if I put one in the exact center. I cut out tabs and seamed them, then wrapped them around the top of a panel, threaded the machine with the top stitching thread, and.....
too many layers. I couldn't even feed the stack into the machine.
OK, so here's my "solution":
2) I'm loading the machine with the jean-colored thread and tacking each tab in the middle if I can feed it into the machine
3) On the very ends, I've opened up the seams, cut out some excess, and used fray-check on the ends, and then done the same as in #2 above
5) I'm only doing FIVE tabs on each curtain
6) I'm crossing my fingers that these do not end up looking like complete crap
If you're keeping track, I've now spent about $60 on materials alone. My house is trashed from the sewing stuff, and I'm STRESSED! I'm beginning to wonder if it was worth "
Here's a shot of the one I've done so far (sans bottom hem):
and a close-up of the tab attachment:
At least the curtains are blue, and therefore qualify for Project Spectrum!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I wrote a bit about my plans and my yarn in this post, so I won't repeat it. Suffice to say that I am NOT disappointed. This yarn feels absolutely divine. Turning it into a ball was even fun! Knitting is fabulous, and the small amount I have knit feels so soft and sensuous. I'm going to enjoy this.
So I present to you the first inch (out of six inches) of ribbing, on the back:
And this is one of the many things in shades of blue, white and gray, that I have planned for Project Spectrum.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
We decided to go with a black/white/gray theme. Our downstairs bathroom has fixtures that are somewhere between pink and orange, and just plain hideous. No matter what, I want the tub, toilet and sink to be white. But at least we chose a color scheme.
It took a long time to even find bedding that was black/white/gray. Then it took longer to find bedding in those colors that wasn't 50% or more polyester (yuck). Finally, it took even longer to find bedding I liked that wasn't insanely expensive. I found this set at Kohl's that I fell in love with:
I love the geometric idea (no flowers for me) and the touch of neon lime green is awesome! But the comforter alone is $180---on SALE! egads...
Finally I found two simpler comforters at Target--one in black, white and gray stripes, reversing to solid black:
And one in solid black, reversing to solid gray, with white piping on the edges:I even picked up the coordinating paisley sheets to go with both. However, every time I went to Kohl's, I was drawn in by the first set and the neat lime green accents. This week Kohls sent me an email advertising free shipping on a purchase over $50 and I located a 10% off coupon to use online, so I ordered just the sheet set. Here's a close-up of just the sheets:
I haven't received them yet, and I'm not sure which comforter from Target I'll keep (I welcome opinions!), but I love the idea. I figure I can maybe pick up the throw pillow from this set (it's currently $20 on SALE) if it gets marked down and if not, I can easily enough sew a lime green throw pillow.
I was even more excited to find, at Target, a set of towels, a carpet, and a shower curtain in solid lime green, with a geometric (squares) pattern on the trim.We're thinking dark gray tile on the bathroom floor and light gray walls--same or slightly different from the gray walls (with gray carpet) in the bedroom. We can use the lime green accent now (nothing permanently lime green) but can do any other accent colors just by changing towels or whatever. I have always loved red with black and white (our wedding colors!) and I also saw a neat set with hot pink and black and white.
I'll write about my progress on the girls' new room tomorrow...