Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Latest recipes

John Wayne Casserole
One thing I love about cold weather is good warm food. I love baking, yet in the heat of the summer turning the stove on for a soup or the oven for a casserole just doesn't ever sound appealing - which is unfortunate because  I love soups and casseroles.  Recently I've tried a few new casseroles that I found via Pinterest.

The first picture is John Wayne casserole.  It has a biscuity crust,  ground beef deliciousness, a layer of onions and green peppers and a layer of creamy/cheesiness.  It was  hearty and good all American yum.

Chili Relleno Casserole
The second picture is Chile relleno casserole.  I love Mexican food, and I love chili rellenos but I have never attempted making them because the whole process seems so fussy.  As a casserole the flavors are brilliant - a  blend of Mexican goodness with poblano peppers, cheddar and jack cheeses, eggs, and a layer of tomato zing.  It had a bit of spiciness, but not too much.  The chile relleno casserole was fabulous and will definitely be a part of my rotation. The pics do not do it justice.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Domestically speaking

I have a decent career. I'm a consultant at Deloitte and I get to work on a variety of projects for the federal government.

In my spare time I prefer to stick with the domestic arts. I am always thinking and scheming and testing and tweaking my house processes to try to make things run better and more efficiently.

I write at work ad naseum about what we do or don't do and how to improve this or that but I don't get a chance to write about my adventures in the domestic arts hardly at all. So I am going to be writing about all of that stuff more often.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mama/Audrey date

The other day I realized that I have not spent much time with just Audrey recently, so Saturday morning she and I went on a date to the new Starbucks in our neck of the woods.  She got a vanilla steamer and a snowman cookie, I got a latte and their delicious classic coffee cake.  

We also walked around the new shopping center - we have all kinds of fancy stores near Wegmans now.  It is crazy actually.  We finished up our date with grocery shopping - less fun for a 7 year old - I know.  I sweetened the deal by letting her pick one thing - she picked the Jim Carey version of The Grinch movie.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Craftshow

We went to a Holiday craft show this past weekend.  It was really cool to see so many talented artists displaying and selling their wares.  We each got a treat - I got a homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cup, Audrey got a marshmallow dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles, and Ryan got a whoopie pie.  I also bought a handmade lotion bar made of beeswax and olive oil - it is really lovely, and a couple of beeswax candles.  I love the smell of beeswax - that lovely honey smell is just awesome.

Beeswax tealight in small mason jar turned votive holder
I also took the opportunity to pay attention to the types and styles of decorations that I like the most.  I gravitate towards the homemade and country style decorations.  My favorites are always the more irreverent versions.  I am less into the cutesy decorations.  I guess I would categorize my holiday style as fancy handmade redneck. :)

Friday, November 09, 2012

New phone

I just got my new iPhone 5 and I love it already. It is noticeably lighter and that makes it so much more comfortable to hold in one hand while typing a blog post.

I also love the bigger screen. It feels less squished.

The one downside that I see so far is that the connection element changed so it no longer fits my fancy Bose speaker. I use that a lot so I am going to have to find an adaptor of some sort.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

On the sticks (works in progress)

Even though, I don't have a whole lot of time to knit (and crochet), I enjoy it immensely.  There is something so calming about the sticks just clicking away.  It instantly lowers my stress level and makes me smile.  What's not to love about that?  So, I always have a yarn project or seven in the works at any given moment. This is what I have in the works right now:
Pink and Purple Hexagon grannies

Hexagon granny style afghan in pinks and purples with white centers and trim:  This is supposed to be a stash buster project to use up the copious amount of pink and purple cotton yarn that I have.  Every time I buy a ball of cotton yarn in Audrey's presence she asks if I will let her pick one too.  I usually say yes, and the result is that I have more pink and purple yarn than I knew what to do with.  This will probably be for Audrey since she is the one who picked most of the yarn.

Living room pillow cover
Living room pillow cover: I started this project because I wanted to make a striped and wavy something with these colors.  I thought it was going to be a hand towel for my bathroom, but I quickly decided that it was not the right size or colors and it just so happens to be the right size and colors for my living room - so instead it is going to be a living room throw pillow cover.  As it turns out, we need to recover the throw pillows in there, so this is a practical project afterall.

multi-colored wool wrap
Multi colored wool wrap: My dad used to work near a fancy yarn store in Kansas City.  Several holidays in a row,  I was the lucky recipient of a ball of fancy yarn or two.  This multi-colored wool is beautiful was something he (or a store lady) picked.  The colors are deep and vibrant and they flow together in unexpected yet beautiful ways.  I had to order a few more balls of yarn in order to make the wrap big enough, but I really love how it looks so far.  I am excited to finish this and then block it so that I can see the pattern "bloom" (expand).  I do not have the fancy blocking materials that hard-core knitters have, so I am going to use some wire hangers to stretch the yarn.  Then I'll spritz it with water and let it dry.
Hot Water Bottle Cozy

Water bottle cozy:  This pattern is called winterberry and it has a lovely bobble pattern with some cabling mixed in to make it look like the bobbles are berries on branches.  It is really pretty and has been fun to work on.  Also, it is worked in the round, which makes it fast (other than the complicated center panel with the cables and bobbles).  I bought a nice wool blend for this pattern.  It is a dusky eggplant purple.  I wanted wool for the warmth, but I wanted a blend to make it washable.  I am pleased with how it is going so far.

Dishcloths - I always have a few dishcloths in various patterns on my sticks.  I use them everyday and I give them away a lot too.  Plus they are fun and portable.  The dishcloths in the picture are for my sister Farrah - she chose the bright yarn with the turquoise and purple.  I added a bit of white to accent it a bit.  I hope she likes (and uses) them when I finish the set.  The square with the triangle halves has been one of my favorite dishcloth patterns for years.  The center open pattern makes it dry quickly and it is super quick to make.  I add the crochet lacy edging because I think it looks prettier that way.

As you can see from my project list, apparently I have more good ideas than I have time or good sense. :)

Friday, November 02, 2012


I dyed Audrey's hair red for Halloween this year.  She decided to be Ariel (as in the little mermaid of Disney fame).  We got her a wig, but with her hair being so thick and long, the kids wigs just weren't cutting it and the adult wigs were too long and too expensive.  So manic panic hair dye to the rescue.  Allegedly it washes out in 6-8 washes, not that Audrey will be disappointed if her hair is red longer than that.  Her hair turned out great and she really did look like a seven year old version of Ariel.  She was also wearing pink sparkle tights and Ariel fancy shoes and her toes and nails were painted glittery purple and she added stick-on jewels on top of that.  I let her wear my earrings that are (according to her) just like the pair that Ariel wore for her wedding.  She also had an Ariel tiara and make-up on.  She was fancy from head to toe.

Meredith was a little chick.  Audrey was a chick for her second Halloween and I love that little chicken costume so much that I was determined to have Meredith wear it as well.  Meredith was less-thrilled with my plan.  The hat scared her at first, but then she got used to it (ie gave up trying to pull it off with limited range of motion due to an overstuffed bird costume).  She looked so cute though.  I managed to get no good pictures, but here is a mediocre one.  :)