Saturday, March 31, 2007

Buffalo Chicken Chili; scallion corn pancakes; celery succotash salad

All of these are taken directly, or adapted from, Rachael Ray.

Quick Buffalo Chicken Chili

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound ground chicken
1 garlic clove, minced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped

jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 ounces beer (I subbed white wine and chicken stock)
2 T. cayenne pepper hot sauce
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1. Heat a medium Dutch oven or large skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and the butter and melt together. Add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat, for 6 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, onion, carrot and jalapeño. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Concentrate the flavor of the beer by reducing the mixture over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the chili for 15 minutes.


Scallion Corn pancakes

Mix a package of corn muffins with 1/3 c. milk and one egg. Stir in 3 scallions, chopped, and a handful of cheddar cheese (Rachael called for blue cheese, but we're not big blue cheese fans).
Heat a nonstick griddle pan or large skillet over medium heat. Nest a small piece of butter in a paper towel and rub over the pan. Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form at the edges, then flip them and cook until golden all over, about 2 minutes per side.


Celery Succotash Salad

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey, a healthy drizzle
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, eyeball it
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Salt and pepper
1 whole celery heart, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 (10-ounce box) frozen corn kernels
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (I only had green)
1/2 small to medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (I didn't have any, so skipped this)

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, lemon juice, and vinegar then whisk in extra-virgin olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the celery, carrots, corn, chick peas, peppers, onions, and thyme. Toss to combine the salad and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

Friday, March 30, 2007

T. and the JubJub Bird

T's school has a fantastic art department. In addition to the Art Docent program that C participated in, they have other full-school specialties. This year, both elementary schools did a unit on integrating art and literature and the classes did an art project that tied into a work of children's literature. One grade made 3D pigs (Charlotte's Web); one class did art in Eric Carle's style; there were icky, sticky frogs and many other beautiful things.

The third graders worked in groups to create paper mache` items from Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. In addition, they acted out the poem, using the artwork and with a narrator reading the poem.

Here's a picture of T. underneath the JubJub bird that he helped create, and near a Tumtum tree:

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I did quite a bit of finishing this week. First was the pair of socks knit from yarn that my swap buddy sent me way back in for Dye-O-Rama. Here's the post sharing the yarn and here's the post stating that I'd STARTED the socks. Well, they're done--and only 9 1/2 months later! That's longer than it takes to grow a baby....

I also wanted to finish up the squiggle scarf that I'd started months ago, because I wanted to squeeze it into Project Spectrum's Blue, Gray and White section (which ends on Saturday).


Finally, a picture of the 12 year old wearing the sweater I knit for her birthday:

(please note that all items have at least some blue in them, qualifying me for Project Spectrum)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Groceries 3/28/07

Total: $86.16
Savings: $63.27
Number of Items: 75
Pick N Save

best deals:
Lysol Wipes canisters--reg. $2.89--got each for $1 after sale and coupons
Yoplait smoothies--reg. $1.23--got each for less than free because on sale for 80 cents and had $1 coupon off 2, which was doubled
Swanson TV dinners--sale for $1 each and $1.25 off 3 coupon
Lots of other items on sale for $1 each

My daughter is twelve!

Here's what a twelve year old looks like:

And here's what a twelve year old ACTS like:


Because of a crazy-busy day/night today, we celebrated C's birthday last night.
She got a pretty cool collection of gifts.

From M, the DVD Happy Feet:

From T, an I-CY:

From her parents, the outfit she's wearing today:
The sweater that I knit for her:
A jump drive for transferring files between school and home, a book on snakes:
and (the biggie) her own cell phone:
She then spent most of the evening talking on the phone :)
If any of you want to give her a call to wish her Happy Birthday, just email me to get her cell phone number.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Vintage Button Swap

While surfing through some crafty-type blogs, I somehow stumbled onto a blog that is doing a Vintage Button Swap. I had to ask exactly what defines "vintage" (I was told that pre-70's qualifies), and then I signed up!

When I was little, my grandma (my dad's mom) had this cool pedal-powered sewing machine. In three of the drawers of the sewing machine she had buttons that she'd cut off of every piece of clothing (I think) that she'd ever worn. And I loved to play with those buttons! I'd sort them by color or size or any other fascinating characteristic.

And so when my grandma died, I made my request for her buttons. I've been adding to it a bit since that time, and I hope that my kids (and grandkids) have as much fun looking at all the different buttons in the collection.

I went through that collection and chose 12 buttons that I had duplicates for (I didn't want to give away anything truly one-of-a-kind) and then I signed up!

If you want to sign up, too, here's the place to go:
Vintage Button Swap

Saving money feels so good...

I hadn't done a lot of money saving lately (other than buying most of the stuff for our new bedroom and then getting price adjustments when it went on sale), so today was a nice surprise.

The big deals of the day:

Poor M., as the third child, doesn't get a lot of brand new clothing. But I found two turtlenecks and a pair of way-cute pants.

check out my savings:
The whole thing for under $6, including tax!

Pretty good timing, too, since our record-breaking 80 degree temps of yesterday have become temps in the 40's today. We walked into Target at 65 and calm, then walked out to 45 and very windy.

March Sweater of the month

This was officially finished on Wednesday, March 21, but since it was a gift for C., I didn't want to post the picture until after her birthday...

I got the pattern from an IRL friend (don't know where she copied it from!) and knit it up with smaller needles (11 instead of 15) and doubled worsted weight yarn. I used Wool-Ease because that's what was in the stash.

Here's a picture:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Remodel: End of Day 5

We've had the strangest weather here in Milwaukee. Yesterday the official high temp (at the airport) was 79 degrees! That blew the old record (72) out of the water. So far today, our thermometer has reached 84 (not sure what the "official" temp is, though). Unfortunately, the forecast has nothing but rain in it for the next five days. The remodelers need at LEAST two days (preferably three) to tear off and frame the addition, so that means that the project's mostly on hold for a week. :(

The drywaller is coming on Wednesday or Thursday to (hopefully) drywall my linen closet on the first floor so I can unload some of the junk in my bedroom. We also had delivered today this HUMONGOUS dumpster:

So it at least looks like we're doing something!

And we went to the Realtor's Home and Garden show this weekend and got some information on attic fans (since our HVAC will not reach to the upstairs and I'm a bit concerned about just having a window AC unit) as well as tub re-surfacing (which seems much more reasonable than the acrylic tub liners).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The flower beds

Last fall G. and I spent a LOT of time and effort trying to eradicate some evil weeds from our landscape. I re-set about 200 bulbs, and though not ALL of them are coming up, an awful lot of them are!

Here is the post with "before" pictures.

And here are some "after" pictures:So far only three crocuses (crocii?).

I'll continue to post pictures as more and more of the bulbs bloom.

And my friend Abby gave me a tip about laying down newspaper, and then covering with mulch, to stop weeds. I'm wondering if brown paper bags would work, too...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Remodel: So where's everything fitting?

For the remodel, we've had to empty the entire second floor. The most important "thing" we had to move was C!
All three kids are snugly packed into T's room:
T. is on the top bunk; C. on the bottom bunk, and M. on the mattress tucked into the corner. Here's C.'s dresser:
And T. and M.'s dressers:
It's a tight squeeze and we've had to stagger bedtimes, but so far, so good (of course it's only been five nights so far...)

As for the "stuff" that was in storage in the attic, some of it was squeezed into our storage room in the basement:

Some of it was tucked into the laundry room (note the drain pipe on the right--intact before the plumber came):Quite a bit of it went into G.'s workshop here:

and here:

but the majority of it is in the basement rec room:

There are actually more boxes there now as well as an extra boxspring as we had to pack up C's room entirely.

And then, of course, came the emptying of my linen closet. All those contents are currently in my bedroom:

making moving around the bedroom virtually impossible without using the bed as a launchpad! :)

Such fun...

Friday, March 23, 2007

March Sweater of the month

Just posting that my March sweater-of-the-month is completed and blocking! Photos next week...

Remodel: End of Day 4


Just a morning's worth of work today, laying down the subfloors.

What was this is now:

And if you lean in and look, instead of this, you see:

Here's the bathroom:

And the bigger part of the future bedroom:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Remodel: End of Day 3

What a FULL day!

The plumber finished up some things; the plumbing inspector came (and approved!); lumber arrived for the framing; demolition began

Remember the tiny little door pictured here? Um, it's gone:

And the closet in C's old room, pictured here on the left? Ditto...

And the lumber:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Remodel: End of Day 2

A day full of plumbing! Here's the hot and cold water pipes heading upstairs:

And passing through my first-floor linen closet, next to the drain that was run yesterday:

And coming up through the floor, also near the drain:

continuing over... this also shows the drain running to the shower:
And here's where the vanity will be:

Tomorrow afternoon the inspector comes (the plumber will finish in the morning) and the lumber is being delivered. They'll start framing in the bathroom tomorrow. The dumpster will be delivered on Monday and demolition begins then (if it's not raining!).