Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's ALIVE!!

My little Calamondin tree has survived the transplant to the frozen northern tundra (okay, chilly, mushy tundra). And it is thriving. There was new growth, buds, flowers, and yes, fruit.

Granted, there are only four. But still. I have citrus. Growing. In Ohio.

Now, if only my palm tree would have done as well with the move.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Night Dinner for One - Scallops

I hereby declare Friday nights as "learn to cook again" nights. And you, dear readers, get to hear all about it.

Tonight's menu ~ Pasta with pan seared shrimp and scallops. Dessert of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bar.

Outcome ~ Dinner was excellent. I personally don't care for scallops, but on a whim picked some up at the store today. The husband loves them, and I figured it would be a good thing to know how to cook them for when he gets home. Despite not caring for them overall, the dish turned out very tasty. I made up the sauce as I was cooking, and thankfully I didn't waste my money by turning the scallops into something burned or mushy. Dessert, on the other hand, was not good at all. I got one of these bars the other day at Starbuck's and immediately decided to find a recipe. I thought I found a good one, but not so much. The frosting is runny, and the cake is way too heavy. There will be tweaking in the future, for sure.

Pasta with scallops and shrimp

Dry scallops with a paper towel.
Melt 2-3 tablespoons butter in a pan.
Add a generous dash of garlic powder, a pinch of dried parsley and a dash of white wine.
Saute shrimp and scallops in mixture until scallops are springy, and browning on the ends.
Pour contents of pan onto pasta, add another pinch of parsley.

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks
½ tsp baking powder


4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, baking powder and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13" baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow cake to cool.

3. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

5. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.

6. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Makes 16 bars.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well, we survived that one.

Sooooo . . .

~ Christmas is over! Yay! Whoohoo! The happy face can come off and I can go back to my routine of only being social on the weekends. No more family oriented holidays. My mom and I are going to split a bottle of champagne for our lonely and boring New Year's Eve. I'm pretending New Year's Day is just an ordinary Tuesday and not my anniversary. Valentine's Day is a non-holiday in our house anyways. I may be back in Georgia in time to take E to the St. Patty's Day Parade. And then . . . then . . . then there will be a homecoming ceremony to go to! And if it doesn't happen before Easter, I'm going to be a slightly annoyed. If it doesn't happen before E's birthday, I'm going to be really, really annoyed. Really.

~ Being on autopilot with a smile pasted on should be convincing. But, clearly I need some more practice, as every time I find myself in that mode, the in-laws think I'm pissed at them about something. I mean, chances are I'm annoyed about one thing or another, but usually it's so far off from what they think it is, it's kinda funny.

~ There are two of the same toy sitting in my living room. Each given to E by a parent of mine. Each of which doesn't really care for the other. And, of course, each toy has just enough variation to them that I can't pass them off as exactly the same. So, we will play musical toys when the respective grandparent comes over.

~ E's closet is now stocked with a full winter wardrobe. In sizes 12-24 months. Which will fit this spring. When we move back to Georgia. Where it's at least 80.

~ It is absolutely impossible to find a swimsuit for a child in the middle of winter. Let alone a non-skimpy adult one. We may be attending the baby swim class in t-shirts.

~ Teeth are evil. Teething is evil. E and I both agree on that one. Sleeping patterns are shot to hell. 6pm-8am one night, up three times the next, up every half hour the one after that. Tonight I'm on edge and the apartment is absolutely silent in hopes she'll at least get till early morning.

~ My mother came up with a new reason to love being a grandparent. E and I slept over two nights, and in the morning my mom recounted how happy it made her to hear E wake up and to know that she didn't have to go get her. She claims she thought about getting up for me, but her bed was awfully cozy and somehow she just fell back asleep.

~Despite lack of sleep, the two of us can be really silly. E has started to get laughing fits where she laughs so hard she falls over. This is especially prone to happen when I'm looking like a madwoman and chasing her around the house on all fours.

Well, there goes that sleeping baby thought. In the time it took to upload that there picture, the wailing and banging on the crib music player thing has begun.

Oh, joy of joys.

I know, I know. Payback's a bitch and this is what I get for those angelic first 8 months.

E's first Christmas - v3.0

I don't expect anyone but my husband to get a kick out of this one, but I think he'll be happy I posted it.

I'll give a hint though - the comic value is not with the baby.

E's first Christmas - v2.0

Round Two

Monday, December 24, 2007

E's first Christmas - v1.0

Round One!

Three words for this one, my friends. Spoiled and Sensory Overload.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The hacksaw won . . .

How to put up a Christmas tree.

It should go a little something like this - take tree out of box, fluff branches, plug in lights, decorate.

It should not go like this . . . .

Take tree down from roof of car.
Slip on ice and bust your ass.
Curse tree.
Curse ice.
Haul tree into garage.
Set up ladder.
Climb ladder to rafters to dig out tree stand.
Find tree stand, but cause cascade of boxes to fall as well.
Curse boxes.
Put ladder away.
Set tree in stand.
See branches that need to be cut off.
Search for hand saw.
Find hacksaw instead.
Lay tree on ground and start sawing.
Slice index finger open - where it bends, of course.
Get blood everywhere.
Curse tree.
Curse saw.
Curse sap that is way too close to wound.
Start sawing again.
Pull branches away and hope it fits.
Stick tree in stand.
Start turning screws.
Realize that tree is too small and inside ring is turning.
Take screws out.
Try again.
Take screws out.
Try again.
Take screws out.
Try again.
Realize a second person would really help.
See that one hole is on longer threaded.
Decide not to care.
Tighten screws.
Decide tree wobbling a few inches here and there isn't that bad.
Carry tree inside.
Get needles EVERYWHERE.
Step in needles.
Curse tree.
Curse needles.
Set tree in place.
Command tree not to move.
Scrub sap off hands.
Keep scrubbing.
More scrubbing.
Curse sap.
Bandage finger.
Curse hacksaw again.
Look at lights that need to be strung.
Realize that this isn't even your tree and you just did all that to surprise someone who is probably going to complain that the tree is in the wrong spot or something.
Curse your own generous spirit.

E says "Hey mama, this looks so much easier!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Magic and randomness

"Oh, looky! A remote!"

"Ohmmmm. Ohmmmm."

"Yeah. I rock. I'm the next great magician. Now watch me make it disappear!"

On with the randomness!

~ The diaper E is wearing is the newest addition to the diaper collection. We have entered the world of prefolds. Quite fun, and a ton cheaper than the other obsessions. However, they are the biggest pain in the ass to fasten when Lil' Miss Buttercup refuses to sit still or stand still or at least not put up such a huge struggle. I'm still searching for something to hold her attention for longer than .4 seconds.

~ I had an idea for two matching somethings to sew, and am obsessing over the fabric that is on it's way here. I'm going to make up a prototype this weekend. So, so excited about this one!

~ I'm not leaving my apartment for the rest of the holiday season. In one venture merely 5 minutes up the road, I . . .
. . . was nearly hit by someone running a red light.
. . . was flipped of for taking a parking spot that was rightfully mine - blinker on and everything.
. . . was bashed into while walking through the store, caused to drop everything, and no one offered to help pick it back up - despite the juggling act I was already doing with the kid.
. . . was not given a bag for my purchases. Yes. At Best Buy, I actually had to ask the cashier to put my stuff in a bag.
. . . was told to "hurry up and move" while standing next to my car and buckling the kid in. Apparently, me getting to my car first and spending the 30 seconds to buckle her in was going to ruin this person's day. Despite the fact they told me to move BEFORE they had even gotten into their car.
. . . was cut-off by a semi truck, who was dead stopped in one lane and decided he wanted to be in mine as I was approaching. The speed limit is 55. And he turned just about when I was at his bumper. And yeah, my brakes really stink when they get locked up.
And that, folks, is why I'm not leaving the apartment until next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

True love, it's what I'm dreamin' of . . .

Meet Kitty, the meanest, nastiest, most terrifying three-legged feline around. This is the cat that would bring squirrels, rabbits and birds to my grandfather daily. This is the cat that I inherited because I am the only person he doesn't maul. This is the cat that will shred your forearm just because it came within striking distance.

And now?

This is the cat that purrs and cuddles and licks the little girlie's head. This is the cat that lets her climb on him, pull his tail and grab his ears.

This is the mellowest, softest, cushiest pillow around.

There's Kool-aid in that water

I have a mass suicide going on in my fishtank, and it's not pretty. I woke up to find 50% of the population either floating or stuck to the filter.

There's a desperate rescue attempt for the survivors, but I'm afraid they aren't going to make it. Either the heater went out - cause the water is at 72, when it should be at 78 - or something is in the water, because it looks kinda funky.

Or they got a hold of the Kool-aid.

ACU diaper bag

Looky, looky what else I did!

It took me six months to get up the nerve to finish it once I cut the fabric. Sure, the seams aren't all that lovely, and it could be structured a little better . . . but hey, I think it's pretty good for a first attempt. And no, I didn't sew the pocket on crooked, it's just velcro-ed funny.

I did some major damage at JoAnn's the other day and have stacks of future projects. Fabric, beads, and scrapbooking supplies galore. It's getting very crowded around here as my crafting corner is overflowing. I have visions of an entire closet, with shelves and drawers and counters and all that good stuff. Someday, someday.

Once my aluminum rings get here, I'll get started on a ring sling to replace my pouch sling that E is too big for now. I am torn as to what to do with that now - sentimentally attached to it, but wondering if I could sell it for anything. Hmm . . .

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yeah, I did that.

I did it, I did it!! Wahoo!

I just successfully replaced the elastic in one of E's BumGenius diapers. I am so thrilled with myself, it's not even funny.

See, these things are insanely expensive, and I have 9 of them. All of which had the elastic completely wear out within 6 months of me using them. They're supposed to last a lot longer than that. The company claimed it was a bad batch of elastic, but I learn more towards cheap elastic, cause they weren't all purchased from the same place or at the same time. No reason for all of them to go bad.

So anyways, I've just saved myself a ton of money by being able to fix them and not have to replace them. It's not the prettiest thing, but it's functional. And that makes me very, very happy!

This whole sewing machine thing just keeps proving to be more and more useful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our day - E's narrative

"Help, help! Let me out! I'm trapped in here with the crazy lady!"

"Seriously, woman, get with it. There's still a pumpkin out here and it's December already. And this window is absolutely filthy. I'm not sure I even want to stick my mouth on it, it's that bad."

"Fine, I guess I'll just have to fold my own diapers. Obviously you aren't going to do it. Now push me to my room!"

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Past, Present and Future

Burgh Baby's Mom has requested my participation in her very own meme. Again, I'm honored that I'm that interesting. So, in accordance with rule number one, here is the list of my favorite childhood Christmas gift, my favorite gift that I received as an adult, and a gift that I would like to receive in the future. As for the rest of the rules, I'll only partly follow them. I hate tagging people, so I'll just do two, instead of the requested three. Colleen at A Madison Mom and Jenn at Life on the Roof.

Christmas Past:
I was (and admittedly still am) very spoiled. I got a pony for Christmas one year. Seriously. A pony. Kinda hard to top that, but something did. Long, long ago I used to dream that I would be a hockey player. I must have been 8 or 9, and couldn't skate to save my life. But, oh, I was going to learn. That year my parents surprised me with a set of hockey sticks and some pucks. As my mom and stick-in-the-mud sister stayed inside, my dad and I spent hours on the frozen driveway. We had a make-shift goal and everything. I still can't skate to save my life, but I cried a little inside when we sold those sticks at a garage sale recently.

Christmas Present:
I'd love to be sappy on this one and claim some heartfelt, romantic gift from my husband is my favorite, but I can't. I can't pull myself away (or my feet out of) my boots. Nothing romantic about boots. Practical. Yes, very, very practical. And they were all M's idea, so that makes them even better. He suggested, I said "sure honey" and they arrived at my doorstep. That's the kind of Christmas presents we do. Two months in advance and picked out together.

A good second runner up would be each of the ornaments my mother has given me. Each year we both try to find a few special and unique ornaments to give each other. Sure, she may have crazy taste, and may leave me wondering what she was thinking . . . but I can always get her back the next year.

Christmas Future:
This is the section I have reserved to be sappy. All I want for Christmas is my husband, my daughter and our home, wherever it may be. Waking up on Christmas morning and making waffles and watching the parade while E rips open presents. No staying at a relatives house, no planning three different locations in one day. Maybe some day . . .

However, a super awesome photo printer that would allow me to never have to rely on Target or Walmart for my prints would be just excellent. :-D

Yeah, more pictures . . .

I refrained myself and just picked out my four favorite. Instead of the thirty-two I have as 'really good ones'.

I learned something during this photo shoot. A second adult must be present to maintain the attention of E. Otherwise, what should take 30 minutes will take hours. Crawling away, yanking the backdrop down, chewing on the dress. It's all good fun.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

100 Things for a 100th Post

In honor of my 100th post on this thing, I figured I would do a 100 things kind of post. I thought about 100 things I've learned about being a mom, or 100 reasons why the Army sucks, or 100 reasons my family is insane. Instead, I chose to stick to the roots of this blog, and my longest year. So . . . 100 things I miss about my husband.

I miss . . .

1. The sound of ramen noodles being pounded on the countertop.

2. Leftover crunchies all over the floor from those noodles.

3. 35 drinking glasses, most half full of water, scattered throughout the house.

4. 65 folded-up, un-used paper towels also scattered throughout the house.

5. CNN always being the homepage.

6. Someone to share the bottle of wine with.

7. Toothpaste chunks in the sink.

8. My bed-warmer.

9. Random geography lessons.

10. The trash getting taken out by someone other than me.

11. Socks. Everywhere.

12. Fishing soggy candy bar wrappers out of the washing machine.

13. Muddy boots.

14. Wet towels left on the bed all day.

15. Someone to pump my gas.

16. Elbows to the head in the middle of the night.

17. The alarm clock going off at 4:50am. And 5:05am. And 5:20am. And 5:25am.

18. Mock combatives.

19. Gossip.

20. Someone to watch South Park, SVU and the Daily Show with.

21. My ice cream enabler.

22. Giving haircuts.

23. Hand holding.

24. Being nagged to fold my clothes.

25. Pillow snatching.

26. Midnight walks in the snow.

27. Someone to open the salsa jar.

28. Wearing sexy underwear for a reason.

29. Deep conversations that come out of nowhere.

30. Flowers for no reason.

31. Someone to warm up the car.

32. Grocery shopping.

33. Motorcycle rides.

34. Being dragged to the movies.

35. Having a spider killer.

36. And a middle of the night noise investigator.

37. Sharing a shower.

38. Fighting over how hot the water should be.

39. A cozy shoulder to snuggle on.

40. Someone to wash the car.

41. Lunch breaks.

42. Weekend get-aways.

43. Trying new restaurants.

44. Stealing the last few bites of a snack.

45. Back rubs.

46.Someone to fix all technological problems by simply looking at the offending electronic item.

47. Fighting over the remote.

48. Bargaining for yard work time.

49. Hearing grumbles over hanging Christmas lights.

50. Being lied to about what time we're really supposed to leave - so that I'm on time.

51. Getting the giggles in church.

52. Hearing someone sing, causing the giggles in church.

53. Fighting over the thermostat.

54. Snoring.

55. Sharing the computer chair to look up something fun together.

56. Going to bed at a normal hour.

57. The anticipation of him walking in the door after work.

58. Stinky uniforms.

59. Good morning kisses.

60. Having someone to cook for.

61. Brushing my teeth with an audience.

62. Locking the bathroom door so there won't be any practical jokes.

63. Having to stay on one side of the bed.

64. Chess.

65. Staying up all night talking.

66. Having a running partner.

67. Hearing baby laughter that only a Daddy can cause.

68. Sharing a blanket on the couch.

69. Being made hot tea, just cause it's cold out.

70. Catching him watching me.

71. Exploring new places.

72. Pretending to listen about cars.

73. Arguing about driving.

74. The smell of his deodorant.

75. The toilet paper roll being put on backwards.

76. Having a reason to get off the computer at night.

77. Not worrying about running out of cell minutes.

78. Friendly competition.

79. Someone to lean on in church.

80. Foot rubs.

81. Piles of magazines in the bathroom.

82. Dressing up.

83. Inside jokes.

84. Wondering around Lowe's, dreaming of future houses.

85. Telling someone to stop breathing so darn loud.

86. Being tickled.

87. Having the covers thrown off on a cold morning to get me moving.

88. Wet hugs.

89. Dishes in the sink.

90. Seeing who can build a better fire.

91. Swinging in the hammock.

92. The farmer's tan.

93. Being held while I cry.

94. Not making every decision, every day

95. Sharing.

96. Icy hands or toes on a warm body.

97. Long hugs in the kitchen.

98. Day old stubble, scratchy kisses.

99. Sex. Lots of sex. (Really now, did you think I was going to leave this one out?)

100. Him. My husband. My best friend.

My two front teeth . . .

If you squint, you can see them in there. I think she's working on the top ones now.

"All I want for Christmas are my four front teeth . . ."