Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Have you seen the checkbook?"

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures for this post (although I guess you could imagine what it would look like), but it makes me laugh.

Whenever we travel Jim doesn't like to take the checkbook so he wants to 'hide' it at home. This particular trip we were going to NY and after packing, Jim says "I'm putting the checkbook here." Keep in mind I wasn't looking at where he was referring to and just said "mmhmmm."

We go on our amazingly fun trip (I heart NY!!) and have the best time. During the first few days home and needing to write a check, Jim and I look everywhere for the checkbook and neither of us can find it anywhere.

After a few days of being home, I'm making dinner and preheat the oven. As it's heating I start to smell burning, but don't think anything of it...I just figure the oven hadn't been used in a while so it's smelling hot or something.

*don't count on me in any type of emergency...I'll figure out another less scary reason why things are going wrong.

I go to put dinner into the oven and open the door, out billows all this smoke and I see that the source of it is something stuck in the heating element at the top of the oven...

I found the checkbook!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Slightly obsessed...

With the notion (pun intended, lol) of sewing. Almost a year ago I bought a Brother sewing machine at Target. It was $35, on clearance from $140. Awesome deal!

Growing up my mom sewed everything from my clothes to my doll's clothes. Barbie included. :) I never asked to learn and she never offered. She even made her own clothes in high school.

Then in high school I took Home Ec instead of a foreign language. No way was I gonna do a skit in Spanish in front of my peers when I could barely do an oral report in English!! I'd learn cooking and all that 'stuff'.

Of course part of HE is sewing. Well, guess what? I, apparently, was way too cool for that. It was the only part of the course that lowered my grade. Just as oral reports lowered my grade in English, so much so that I had to make up credit my Senior year in night school (oops), but that's for another time.

So here I am with no kiddies to sew for, no real prospects actually...I just want to learn. I had been reading a blog for a while, Rue's Peanut Butter and Jelly Life (she went private - rude!) and she blogged of her attempt at sewing. Her story sounded much like mine. Her post had me crying I was laughing so hard!

I hope I'm remembering it correctly...

She reported that threading the darn thing was so impossible for her (I think she tried for two hours) and still got nowhere. Now the machine sits (according to her) in the basement like a bad child....thread stuck and all.

Not too inspiring for a girl like me who tends to give up rather quickly.
I'm working on that.
So after reading lately of so many bloggers sewing their hearts out, I'm off to try my own hand at the task....

Wish me luck! ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missing these....

A gorgeous sunset over Laguna Beach, CA
last summer.

A cool cloud and pretty colors over our house on a muggy day in Huntington Beach, CA
5 years ago.

An outstanding sunset in San Diego, CA as seen from our hotel room
5 years ago.
P.S. I couldn't get the last two any bigger....GRRRR >:/

In the kitchen: Gooey Butter Cookies

A long time ago I worked at Papyrus, a greeting card/gift store. We had lots of fun 'working' and we had the opportunity to buy pretty much anything the store offered at 40% off. Nice.

Except when I started to notice that I had a small store of my own at home.

I bought way too much stuff I didn't need. Just because it was cute. As if there's any other reason, right? Box after box of notecards, holiday cards, thank you cards, gifty stuff, wrapping paper (oh my gosh, the wrapping paper!!), ribbon, etc.



Most of my purchases have gone on to better homes and put to use. Although what I did keep, and use regularly, are three cookbooks from a line called 'Among Friends' published by Andrews McMeel Publishing (I tried to link it up, but no luck). They're kind of Farm Chick-ish.

You know, before there were 'Farm Chicks'. :)

Easy recipes that are yummy and cute ideas for home, family and friends. It doesn't hurt that the illustrations are adorable and almost every recipe has a story to go along with it...I love that!

This plate was full, side to side, and stacked two layers high two days ago.

Probably my most favorite thing in all three books, though, would have to be the Gooey Butter Cookies. Apparently (according to the story), St. Louis, MO likes to think Gooey Butter Cake is their specialty. I don't know if that's true, but whatever. If it is, more power to 'em, I say.

What I do know is that this cookie recipe is awesome!! And SO easy! You probably have everything in your cupboard right now.

That would be:

*1 box of butter recipe cake mix (1 lb. 2.25 oz.)
*8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
*1 egg
*1/2 c. butter
*1 tsp. vanilla
*powdered sugar for dipping (maybe 1 cup to start with, and you can also sift some on the cookies when they're done and cooled)
*makes 3-4 dozen

Beat the butter, vanilla, egg and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in dry cake mix. Chill for 30 minutes.

Have a cuppa somethin', read some blogs, or fold laundry. Whatever you want.

Then preheat oven to 350* and lightly coat a cookie sheet (or two) with spray and roll teaspoon sized cookies and then roll around in powdered sugar (the cookies, not you...unless you're into that...), put on sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. I like 11 minutes.

Let cool and then EAT! They make a great food gift; who knows if somebody likes chocolate, nuts, icing or whatever...EVERYBODY likes butter. Right???

The only problem is they are bite sized. Which means it's way too easy to go through a whole plate in two days (see above).

Go. Make them. Now.

Our first snow!!

I'm from California. Born and raised. That's why when I looked outside this morning (I was the only one awake) and saw snow falling from the sky I ran upstairs like a little kid on Christmas. I even think I had a tear in my eye....In fact, I know I did.

what a dork.

I had to wake up Guerin because that poor boy has been hating on the weather man here like nobody's business! He could. not. wait. for the snow that's been forecasted for about a week or so. And he wouldn't have let me live it down had I not woken him up.

Jim actually thought something was wrong...what with the way I ran up the stairs and all. :)

So after much grumbling turning to excitement, everyone headed outside. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize I'm an amateur and the 'snow' isn't even sticking right now, but gimme a break, it fell lightly for over an hour, so I consider that to be snowing.

Please pay no attention to the ugly garden boxes. They need a major overhaul, but I'm just not interested right now. :)

We stayed out for a while. Guerin had hockey practice, so the fun had to end sometime. We can't wait for it to really come down!

Bring it on, weather man!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Redo: kitchen cart

The other day while browsing Craigslist, I came across an ad for an armoire that I thought might fit our entryway. It was at an antique/thrift store in Post Falls, ID called 'My Favorite Things'. They definitely had a few of my favorite things!! Tons of them....like a pink stove that had the back burners on a 'step' up from the front ones and lots of knick-knacky things. Oh and metal serving trays that match a metal strawberry tray that I have, and, and, and...you get it, but the armoire, well, not so much. It was tiny, and had moldy fabric in the upper glass. It was pretty online, but in person it was not worth the asking price of $499. Maybe $299. But not this trip.

On my way out I saw a nasty, but cute, little metal kitchen cart. Like the kind I've been looking for, but never had a place to put. I looked it over for a few minutes and walked away. It was guh-ross, I tell you. I got halfway to my car and thought 'aw, what the heck' and turned around and practically ran back to it. As if the only other person in the store was going to snatch it up right then and there. :)

In addition to the gingham contact paper (which came off easily and protected the trays), it was covered in spider webs, egg sacs, and lots of dirt and grime. But how cute is it??

The lady working in the store gave me two baby wipes to clean it up a bit before putting it in my car, but they were history in three swipes.

It also has wooden wheels, no dings or scratches, wasn't bent anywhere and has an electrical outlet! I'd never seen that before. I'm sure it isn't anything too special, but it made it special to me.

Jim turned his nose up at it's icky state and practically exclaimed "What is that??!" at the outlet. I don't know why, though. It's more functional that way, right? Yeah, right.

Here's is a close-up of just some of the nastiness. While taking it apart to clean and paint it, there were few tiny little spiders crawling off of it. Ick. I had to hurry!!

After a good cleaning, I primed it with some spray primer and then got to work on the color. I had to do it over the course of a few days as the temperature here was falling. It was in the high 30s and low 40s. Not real conducive to painting. I didn't hit any road blocks though, and was glad for that. I just wanted that thing in my kitchen already!!

I chose Rustoleum's Ultra Cover in Strawflower; it's not as bright as it looks here, more of a dark butter or pale mustard. My new fave color of spray paint. For sure. On Jim's advice I kept the legs white (I cheated and left it primed...no white paint around...shhh) and I think it turned out pretty stinkin' cute! For now I left off the outlet, but I intend on getting it back on there, hopefully a three pronger, you know, to modernize it a bit. ;)

Looking at this picture, I think it needs something else. Maybe a rug underneath...what do you think?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Should have used Crisco

We were supposed to bake yesterday. I went out and stayed out longer than I anticipated. Bad mom. So today we did it. We decided on chocolate chip cookies. Not rocket science, not a huge deal, just simple and yummy. Right? Right.

After getting everything ready, Guerin went to work. He likes to bake. He also likes to eat the dough. I guess we all do, though, right? I do.

It's pretty cold here, so we turned on the heater and got to it. The brown sugar was rock hard! (As Guerin was realizing this, I yelled that he was going to make a huge mess of it since he was trying to dig it out of the box with a knife.) The pantry, although in the kitchen area, isn't heated, so we put it in the microwave for a few seconds. I've never had to do that before! Big deal, I know. ;)

Looking good in the oven....I promise the oven is clean. This shot may make you think otherwise, but just trust me, ok? Thanks.

Even as I laid out the ingredients and cut up the two sticks of butter so they could soften faster, I thought to myself 'Crisco would be better'. I should have listened. I didn't want to have two sticks of cut up butter to contend with in the fridge. Such a problem, right? Anyway, we used the butter. And got flat cookies.

Guerin said that it's ok because they work better for dunking that way. Sweet boy.
I wouldn't know, I'm not really a dunker. I like to take a bite then take a drink of milk. It's been a messy endeavor on more than one occasion. ;)

Well, I guess it's not a huge deal since they still taste and look like chocolate chip cookies. That's all that matters.

Friday, November 5, 2010

PB Inspiration

Thumbing through the recent PB catalog for the 136th time, I noticed the tray hanging on the wall in this picture. I liked the idea and realized that I had a similar tray (not oval, but round and black with handles). I also noticed the buffet, but I gotta work with what I have, right? :) And that is a shelving unit found at Lowe's that matches my dining set and hutch.

This is what mine looked like:

I had bought it at Target in the 'outdoor summer stuff' section about 3 years ago and it was silver. I spray painted it with a hammered effect paint. Can't recall the brand, but I don't think they're all that different. I had then cut and Mod Podged cut-outs of a calendar that I had and hung it in the kitchen. I liked it for a while and in our last move, I almost sent it to Goodwill in an attempt to lighten the kitchen decor just a tad.

After seeing the PB catalog, I wanted to revamp mine, so yesterday I tried to sand off the cut-outs and paint over them with chalkboard paint. It didn't work so well. The outlines were still visible. Boo. So I took off the paint (it was still wet and washed away nicely) and scrubbed off the cut-outs with Goo-gone, steel wool and some water. (Ever heard the saying "It takes twice as long to do it wrong"?) ;) That process worked great and left me with a clean surface (oddly, the paint was barely scratched!) and I did a light coat of hammered paint over the top.

The best part was that the hammered paint acts like chalkboard paint in this instance! I didn't need to use (more like waste!) anymore chalkboard paint!! It writes smoothly and erases cleanly. YAY!

Now I just have to get it hung in my dining room and rework those shelves...