Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When Scout arrived

Oh, boy!  
A 9.5 pound treat just after midnight on Halloween 1995.
 We had a "birthday party" and invited Big Bro and Big Sis...
 ...and they got the presents - no Trick or Treating that year!
 
 Firstborn got a hands-on lesson in how to play with and hold his little brother.
 
 When mom and dad weren't toting him around!
 
 Our first "family of five" portrait shows tired parents, 
and playful siblings acting up for the camera.
 
Happy Birthday, Scout!  
We were so excited to welcome you,
and so glad you are part of our family!






Monday, October 29, 2012

Mealplan Monday #32 with a cute basket at the sink

I wish all projects were as simple as taking one thing from somewhere in your house, sprucing it up with spray paint, and using it somewhere else. Like this old metal Easter basket turned into a soap, sponge, and lotion basket by the kitchen sink.  
Cute.  Helpful, even.

******
Monday - Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, peas
Tuesday - Bean and Bacon Mac, cheesey olive bread
Wednesday - Scout's Birthday!  Pizza, salad, cupcakes, munchies, fun
Thursday Chicken Tikka Masala, couscous, carrots
Friday - Smokey Turkey and Black Bean Soup, cornbread
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Lasagna Hamburger Helper, corn (Bubbie cooks)
******
It's the second week of driver's ed for Scout, his birthday on Halloween, and there are many items still on my To Do list.  I was hoping to have it whittled down a bit before the holidays, but I am moving at a snail's pace...





Friday, October 26, 2012

Bathroom blinds

Wednesday dawned and I still had not gone to Home Depot, purchased those cursed blinds, and hung them.
I had a bad case of the Lazies.
 I think I was just avoiding the inevitable - me sweating and swearing and taking all day to do what hubby could have done in an hour.  If he had an hour to do it.  And he doesn't.
What started the whole process was this broken pull string.  These blinds are 15 plus years old - it was bound to happen.  There's a broken one in the den, too.  But at least when I order those, they will snap onto the hooks we already have and I will hang them the same.  Not these.
 
 I started by removing the old blinds.  Absolutely filthy walls and blinds.  Gross.
Taking the hardware out of the walls carefully was a pain in the rear. Mental note; ask for power tools for Christmas.  I had to stand on the ledges around the tub and I made a big mess with bits of drywall falling.  Sugar admired the view afterwards.  Hanging outside the windows is fabric sunshade - that will have to be moved a bit closer in to the windows.  More on that later...
I have ZERO scrap wallpaper leftover from the builders.  So I was careful to patch the holes and repair seams that had loosened.  I think I did good on that - Hubby couldn't even tell where they'd been.  I also used seam sealer to repair some paper that was pulling away from the walls.
Yay - one blind up.  I know the color looks weird here - it's really pretty.  A darker version of what's painted in the master bedroom  and with dark Sand tile in here, it will be so much more relaxing, less jarring than all that white.
Now, both!  There's a long story that goes with the color I chose.  Just believe me when I said my choices were limited.  Actually, this color, "Truffle" by Bali, is growing on me.  And the bonus is it won't look nasty quite as fast as those white ones.
I refuse to hang curtains.
Another slight problem - this lip from the tile around the tub.  No wonder the previous owner chose to hang the blinds outside of the window boxes.  So we will have to decide what to do about this.  Maybe.  Maybe I don't care, though.  I was too tired to worry about it by this stage.
It took me a while to clean up the bathroom and put everything back.
 See?  So much white.
I took the opportunity to freshen up my glass vase with some silver paint.  It dried in a flash.  And did you know Windex will remove spray paint dust off glass just fine?  Yup. I like the combo in here of soft brown, berry, black, and silver, with some green mixed in.
The potpourri is a mix of some I already had, with buds and leaves from my hot pink anniversary roses.  I hung them upside down in the laundry room a couple weeks and
 Wah. La. Beautiful vase filler!
I also spruced up a little wire basket and whittled down my bath supplies to the essentials.  If the counters and around the tub are cluttered, your bathroom looks dirty.  it's true.
My camera skills aren't the best so you will have to imagine it:  
a clean fresh, elegant bathroom. 
Procrastination managed.





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween front door

I took the Fall wreath down and moved the potted plants to make room for a little spookiness at the front door:
I used the same wreath from last year - mylar garland wrapped around a grapevine wreath with a wired-on sign from Joann's.
 I spray painted an old terra cotta pot with orb, stuck a pumpkin on it, tucked in some preserved leaves and tied on some burlap ribbon.  My version of a pumpkin topiary!
 Added the hairy spider and some mini pumpkins.

 I set a small pot of mums in a skull head - we have used it for years this way.
 The small pot got sprayed with orb, too and some creepy excelsior "hair" hides the top of the plastic mum pot.
This Halloween will be Scout's 17th birthday, so I have quite a bit more decorating to do on the back patio where he will hang out with his friends eating pizza and listening to music while the grown folk pass out candy and sip spiced cocoa.
What are the plans at your house?




Monday, October 22, 2012

Mealplan Monday #31 and a plan for all that cereal

Remember the smorgasbord cereal box I used to have going?  When it got too full, I made Compost Cookies.  Well, the boys decided they would rather not have crazy mixed-up cereal and quit eating it.  I could either make a crap ton of those cookies, or just give in and toss it all out and buy new cereal.  I resisted as long as I could.  But in the end, I decided to toss the old mixed-up cereal.  You can't win every battle on the home front...
Now I just save the leftover cereal, in the original liners, and store it in a basket. I set the whole basket on the table on cereal days and what you see is what you get. When the basket is empty, I buy more cereal.  It seems to work out better this way.  No one is refusing the cereal, and it doesn't get stale.  
Too bad about the cookies, though.  I liked them.
******
Monday - Apple and Sage Pork Chops with butternut squash, rice
Tuesday -Stir fry with ramen, take-out crab rangoon
Wednesday - Navy Bean Soup, quesadillas
Thursday - Chicken Tettrazini, salad
Friday - Chicken strips, BBQ beans (boys go camping)
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Crock Pot Mexican Chili, Fritos
******

What's great about these colorful baskets from Dollar Tree is that they are cheap and easy to use in a pantry.  No chalkboard label required...





Friday, October 19, 2012

The Girls' Birthday

I asked The Girl what kind of cake she wanted for her 21st birthday...she said "I'll get back to you".  She never did...so I made the executive decision to make a Heath cake.
 Simple, but so good.  No real recipe required.  Just assemble a chocolate cake and bake it.  Poke holes in it while it's warm:
 Then mix a small jar of caramel topping with half a can of sweetened condensed milk and pour it over the warm cake.
 Refrigerate it.  Then, when it's cooled, top it with whipped cream or Cool Whip and some crushed Heath bars.
It seems like we celebrate The Girl's birthday later and later nowadays.  Between college, working, and sorority life, she doesn't make it home often.  We enjoyed a home cooked meal with her favorites: pork chops, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and rolls.  And before you knew it, it was time to open gifts, eat cake, and see her off to Waco.
 
There was barely time for pictures, either, and obviously I couldn't get the settings right on my camera!
We sent her off with a  giant slab of cake to share with her roomies, 
and plenty of hugs and kisses.
Where did 21 years go? 
******
How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss





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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our family's favorite chocolate chip cookies have a none-too-popular ingredient nowadays:  Crisco.  Many people think "EWW" at putting Crisco, not butter, into cookies.  But from my experience, shortening does a better job of making chewy cookies that stay fresher longer and have a better texture.  That's right.  I said it.  And I'm not the only one who thinks Crisco is just fine.  And just get an eye load of my cookies!
They turn out perfectly bumpy, don't spread out so they are nice and plump. 
Plus they keep longer.  
Win, win, win.
 
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 stick butter flavor Crisco or 3/4 c. shortening
1 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
3/4 t. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips, m&m's*
1 c. chopped pecans

Beat shortening and brown sugar til light and fluffy; beat in vanilla, milk, and egg.  Stir dry ingredients together, then blend into wet.  Chill well.  Heat oven to 375. Drop cookie dough by  spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes for chewy, 11-13 for crisp.  Cool two minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to plate.  *Today I used the rest of some m&m's I had and half a bag of chocolate chips - no nuts.
I like butter same as anyone but these are delicious... you have to admit they look good...







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