Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - An Overview

  • I got engaged!
  • My baby cat went to the vet after eating netting off of a turkey roast
  • We picked a wedding venue
  • I got the worst case of the flu of my life
  • I lived through Snowpocalypse, which yielded 73 inches of snow in less than two weeks
  • I found my wedding dress
  • I started my very first garden seedlings (not chia pet seedlings)
  • My brother made us a cat tree
  • We built our raised bed garden
  • All my mysterious plants were identified (with much help from you all)
  • We got a dog
  • Our basement flooded (again)
  • We went to DC
  • I had my first and only article published on another blog
  • I learned to identify birds
  • I dug dandelions
  • Our dog ate a whole baked chicken carcass
  • I took my second trip to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters
  • Our garden really took off
  • I started working our genealogy
  • We went to a party at a friend's farm
  • We got a hamster that was part of a senior prank
  • Our dog tried to eat the hamster
  • I had my first bloggerversary
  • We saw Prairie Home Companion live
  • We picked a honeymoon
  • I went on a life-changing mission trip to Camden, NJ
  • We kayaked on the Shenandoah River
  • I started working two jobs at a time
  • We had an earthquake for the first time that I can remember
  • *B* and I had our first real disagreement
  • We started marriage preparations
  • We drove 16 hours to Indiana, while taking a detour through Michigan
  • *B* married friends of mine
  • I started freaking out about the wedding
  • School started again
  • I finished therapy!
  • I watched a freshman administer first aid to a fellow classmate during a fire drill
  • *B* and I started RCIA
  • I found the most perfect white bread recipe
  • My stress levels started to be difficult to deal with
  • We had to give away our dog after she literally tried to eat our kitten
  • I made and canned tons of applesauce and apple butter
  • I was given a gorgeous Renn Fest dress for my birthday early
  • I decided not to let stress get me down
  • We made wedding favors over Thanksgiving break
  • I turned 25
  • I got married!
  • My husband and I took a cruise for the first time in either of our lives
  • We visited four foreign countries together on our honeymoon

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Wonderful Whirlwind

What a crazy, wonderful whirlwind these past two weeks have been.  
At our rehearsal dinner, I had arranged a surprise for *B*.  One of his best childhood friends, Crystal, is eight months pregnant and living in Montana.  Her brother, *B*'s very best friend, is deployed with the Navy.  *B* was disappointed, but he understood that neither could make the wedding.  Little did he know, Crystal and I planned to fly her up the night before the wedding.  We had a lovely rehearsal and went to a small nearby pizza place for a rehearsal dinner.  
Me and *B* at the rehearsal dinner
  My best friend (and maid-of-honor) and me at the rehearsal dinner
My brother, who was picking my grandmother up after her plane came in anyway, got both my grandmother and Crystal.  We were all sitting down when Crystal walked in.  *B* didn't even recognize her!  I had to point her out three or four times.  When he did realize, though, he was so overjoyed.  I love this picture:
Crystal and *B* after he figured it out

Though he didn't get a lot of time to spend with her, he hung out with her the night before the wedding.  She flew home two days before her no-fly date.  Now we're just waiting for that baby!

The wedding was gorgeous.  A few things did go wrong (like when our nephew smashed his hand under a kneeler and no one took him outside) but overall it was great.
The baby pre-wedding

Our bouquets in the choral loft, where we sat before walking down the aisle

My parents helping *B* get ready
 My mom and my mother-in-law joking about how my MIL 
tripped up the stairs when going to light the unity candle

*B*'s face when he saw me for the first time

Exchanging our vows

Me and my mother-in-law during the sign of peace

Our receiving line - *B*'s best friend was there in spirit (and picture form)

My favorite picture so far (at least until we get the photographer's pictures)

Our rings

Our gorgeous and tasty cake
Cutting said cake

My closest friends from my high school graduating class

 The gorgeous red velvet capelet that my mother made for me so I wouldn't get cold

After the reception, we went out with some of the bridal party in Baltimore City to a pub.  We had a room overlooking the Inner Harbor with a gorgeous view.  The concierge saw that we checked in with our wedding attire on, and they sent up complimentary champagne and strawberries.  How nice!

The very next morning, we flew to Miami, FL and cruised from there to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Isla Roatan.  I have limited pictures of the honeymoon because we switched off whose camera we used.  I will post others when I can copy them from my husband. hee hee :o)  He has the pictures from Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

So I start in Belize.  We woke up early just to watch the sunrise off the back of the ship.  Isn't it gorgeous?
We took a two-hour bus ride through the marshes and mangroves just outside of Belize City and into the mountains further in the countryside in order to visit the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich (shoe-nan-tun-itch).  I love the houses in Belize.  Though they are rudimentary in many cases, the people look so happy with what they had.
 A typical Belizian house
 Crossing a river on a hand-cranked ferry to get to the ruins

So, funny story.  I'm the one who originally really wanted to go to these ruins.  I wanted to climb these ruins.  One small problem - I'm deathly afraid of heights.  On the way up, I was looking at the rocks in front of me.  It didn't even occur to me that I was going up, or that there were no railings (though railings don't usually calm me down anyway).  So I got to the top, and I managed to take these two pictures:

 *B* on the edge of the ruins (those whitish specks on the grass are people)

The surrounding grounds and other buildings (again, specks = people)

*B*'s camera has all of the other pictures, the gorgeous scenery, the ruins themselves, me clinging to the walls.  The reason that I only took these two pictures is that right after I took them, I started crying and hyperventilating.  What was I thinking??  I can't even ride in glass elevators without freaking out.  And I'm standing on top of an 850 foot tall building with no railings or protection from falling.

In the end, a very nice British couple and our awesome tour guide, not to mention my husband hee hee :o) helped me down the ruins.  They helped me sit down and slowly inch to the stairs, which were one brick's width from oblivion.  I wish I had pictures of it, but my fingers were digging into every single little fingerhold I could find.  When it was all over, I was - and am - glad we did it.  But you can't pay me to go up to the very top again.

The next day was much more subdued, though not without surprises.  We went to Isla Roatan, which is part of Honduras.  We booked an excursion to kayak in a clear bottom kayak, snorkel, and meet animals. 

What they called kayaking was really more like shallow canoeing.  *B* and I were in a boat together.  But apparently we misunderstood what they meant when they gave directions, and we took on water.  We missed almost all there was to see in the kayaking portion.

I'm not the world's strongest swimmer, but I made it through the snorkeling alright.  We got to see tons of coral and fish.  It was amazing.  I'll post pictures of the first two legs of the excursion as soon as we get our waterproof cameras developed. 

The third portion involved walking through a "park."  When I think park, I think nature reserve.  This was like a mini-resort with animals on the grounds.  They were cute nonetheless.  *B* wore a towel as our clothes were all sandy after the beach activities.  A monkey crawled right into his towel!  Eventually, it turned around to settle in, and I was able to get this quick snapshot:

 *B* and the Capuchin monkey

 A beautiful scarlet macaw in the trees

 A good picture of us on the third deck of the ship while still in port

 Since it was Christmas Eve, the dock workers sent us off in style :o)

We went to a prayer service at midnight on Christmas Eve.  The next day, we wore Christmas attire all day long.  We drew quite a few stares and amused looks.

 My Christmas outfit - not so unusual

*B*'s Christmas outfit - it fits his personality, and everyone loved it

My two weeks in a nutshell.  It was really great to have time to ourselves.  It's amazing though.  I always thought that nothing would change before and after the 18th, other than my name and demographic information.  It took a few days to get acclimated with our new roles in our relationship.  Everything has settled into a new, but pleasant groove - and I cannot be happier.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wedding Bells

Two more days left!  Wedding bells will chime on Saturday, then off to our honeymoon on Sunday for a whole week.

And when I get back, a highly anticipated (by me) and welcome (by you) change in frequency and topic of postings.  Hang in there, and have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's Been a While

I assumed that as I got closer to the wedding, I'd be posting more.  Boy, am I wrong.  There are not enough hours in the day for all that still needs to be done.

Last night, I had a mini-crisis.  I had been trying to get a hold of our DJ for a long time.  In our contract, it said we were supposed to have a consultation 2-3 months ahead of time, but I never got a call.  So I emailed him.  Then, after a week with no response, I called and left a message.  By the time last night came around, I was a bit panicked.  I called one of my bridesmaids who has an awesome (though I'm sure very expensive) DJ.  She gmail chatted him, and he knows my DJ.  I don't know if she did something or if everything fell together, but his company called me twice today and emailed me.  I was able to cover all of the things that were making me worried (particularly pronunciation of names).  At least that got done.

Tomorrow, I am proctoring the ACTs and I have to talk to the reception place to get table counts.  Sunday, the cat we've been taking care of for two months will be going home.  On the 12th, I teach, and on the 13th, the students start their exams.  On the 14th, my future sister- and brother-in-law and nephew fly in.  On the 15th, my maid-of-honor flies in.  We have to figure out if we have enough decorations and get together last minute things.  On the 16th, I have to clean the church and (if I remember correctly) it is the day of my bachelorette party.  The 17th is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  On the 18th, I get married.  Holy cow.  The day is almost here!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Our RCIA class the other night got me thinking about the Christmas traditions that we have in my family.  *B* and I are also in the process of making some traditions of our own.

Advent Calender
We have a wooden advent calendar that we put out every year since our first year together.  *B* and I are particularly fond of Lindt truffles, so every day we each get a chocolatey treat.  Yum!

Christmas Movies
Christmas usually means lots of movies in our family.  These are some of our favorites:
  • Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  • Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol
  • Ernest Saves Christmas
  • The Santa Clause
  • Christmas Vacation
  • Home Alone
  • White Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street
In my family, Santa Claus brings the tree (at least until we're all old enough to know better), which meant that my parents stayed up until 2:30 am decorating the tree as well as putting presents out.  When I was about three, I ran down the hallway toward my parents while they were getting ready. They caught me before the surprise was ruined, but it made them change their game plan.

For a long time after (even after I stopped believing though my brother still did), my parents had us sleep in their bed.  It was attached to a bathroom, and they tied the doors shut so we couldn't get out.  We watched a tape my dad made even before I was born.  It had been added to a little over the years, but not much.  In order, we watched Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Ernest Saves Christmas, and The Santa Clause.  When I was younger, I'd pass out just before Mickey's Christmas Carol.  It's safe to say that I can now stay up the whole way through.

Christmas Tree
Like I said, Santa brings the tree until the kids are old enough to know better.  Once we all knew, we started going out with our parents to cut down the Christmas tree.  We've frequented a couple of places over the years.  One of my favorite had free hot cider that they'd serve you while they bundled up your tree.  It wasn't always fun though.  Once, when I was younger, my dad held up the saw to show me how big the tree should be.  When he brought down the saw, it sliced a bit off the top of my finger.  It grew back, but every year I think about it.
Regardless of how we get our tree, one mainstay is C7 light bulbs - the painted ones, not the clear ones.

*B*'s family always had small lights, but I insisted on keeping this one going, and he obliged.  I think he even likes the big lights.  When we put on the lights, we always do the "squint test".  Some people know about this trick and some don't.  If you stand back and squint at the tree, you can see holes and bright spots in the lights so you know where to readjust.  We also use bubble lights in place of some of the burned out bulbs:

The light bulbs heat up, boiling the colored liquid inside.  We even have a bubble light nightlight in our kitchen that we just never took down.

As for ornaments, we got new ornaments every year when I was little.  We'd always go to the same place.  They had hot cider, a really nice little deli, a Halloween section, and tons of trees decorated with ornaments for sale.  My brother and I each got one choice of ornament.  Sadly, the cider went first, then the deli, and now the Halloween section.  They still have a nice selection of ornaments, but it's not worth the hour trek anymore.  Maybe we can find somewhere close to home to fill that role.

Christmas Dinners
This tradition will take a nosedive this year given the fact that I'll be on my honeymoon, but I'm sure it will be back next year.  Every year since I was 16, I've gone to dinner on Christmas Eve.  It's always a special restaurant that we don't go to during the year.  They're rarely the same restaurant from year to year, but it's always a nice splurge. In the years to come, I have a feeling we'll be going to Christmas Eve Mass before or after dinner, too.

On Christmas, my small extended family gets together and has Christmas dinner.  As of late, it's been a weird situation (what with my parents getting divorced), but everyone's still there regardless.

The Hat
On Christmas day, there is a person designated to pick up presents and give them to others by wearing a hat.  It's traditionally been a red and white Santa hat, but lately it's been a little snazzier.  Right now, I really want the singing, dancing hat they have at Wal-Mart to be our new hat, but we'll see how it goes.

Stockings are always the last part of Christmas morning.  Since I was little, my mom has put giant fruit in the toe of the stocking.  My dad and brother get oranges, and I get pomegranates.  Oh, how I love pomegranates.  The fruit ends up being part of our Christmas breakfast of bacon and eggs.

What are your Christmas traditions?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time is Flying

Today, I turn twenty-five years old.  I can't believe it.  Though my life is not exactly what I imagined at 15 (it was an unrealistic expectation that required mutually exclusive scenarios), I'm very happy with where I am.  I have a wonderful fiance, a house, two cats, a family who loves me, and caring friends.  There's not a whole lot more I could ask for at this point in my life.

As fast as the years fly by, the days are going even faster.  I am getting married in 19 days.  I still have a fair amount to do.  I still have to:
  • clean up the house
  • decorate for Christmas
  • buy and wrap bridal party gifts
  • buy and wrap Christmas gifts
  • send thank you cards
  • call the lady about making a quilt from my dress
  • tag and tie wedding favors
  • give a final count to the reception place
  • call/email DJ and photographer
  • call the church's coordinator to make sure we can fit a unity candle in the ceremony
  • clean the church the week of the wedding
  • figure out how to keep people from seeing me before I walk down the aisle
  • pick up my dress
  • pick up the flowers
  • breathe
We're coming down to the wire!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


So much has happened in such a short time!  On Saturday, I had a lovely little bridal shower.  Though it was a small affair, there were gorgeous decorations.  We had games, and my mom made an amazing cake.  As soon as I get the recipe out of her, I'll do a post on it.

On Sunday, I got gorgeous flowers and breakfast in bed courtesy of *B*.  It had been a while since he had gotten me flowers, and I was dead to the world that morning, so he slunk (slinked?  slank?) away and went out to Safeway.

Yesterday, my dad came over to show me how to make steak subs and help with wedding favors.  The subs were so good that I didn't get any pictures.  But trust me, yum.  Here's what I gleaned from yesterday:

Dad's Steak Subs
Slice a large onion into slices that can be broken into rings, but don't separate.  Heat up enough vegetable oil to coat a skillet.  Place the onion in and use a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce on each slice.  When starting to turn translucent, break up the rings, but do not slice them.  Remove from pan when brown, and do not let any piece remain.

While making onions, empty canned mushrooms into a saucepan with some seasoned salt and butter.  Keep them warm and stirred.

In the grease, put two sets of steakums.  Sprinkle them with a little salt and crushed red pepper.  Place them on paper towels to drain.  Cook two sets per sub.

In the leftover grease, squirt a large amount of ketchup and a few splashes of Tabasco sauce.  Stir in the grease and flavor bits.  Add more ketchup or Tabasco if needed.

On a cookie pan, place hoagie rolls.  Paint the sauce onto the insides of the rolls.  Layer the two sets of steakums lengthwise.  Put onions and mushrooms in, and cover with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.

Swoon.  Enjoy.  Leave no trace behind.

The wedding favors turned out terrifically.  Of these, I do have pictures.  We made three types: 

 chocolate chip
 oatmeal raisin
  super chunk
 They're so pretty!

*B*'s mom, my dad, and one of my bridesmaids came over to help stuff jars.  It only took 2 hours tops for almost 70 jars!

So many jars!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Special Simple Pleasure Thursday

In one month, I will be a married lady.  I have absolutely no jitters.  My feet are toasty warm thank-you-very-much.  As I sit here, sick as a dog for the third time this year, I realize for the umpteenth time that I have an amazing fiance.  He brings me blankets and wraps me up mummy-style.  He runs to get the thermometer even though he was just upstairs a second ago.  Every morning, even when I'm all sick and nasty, I get a kiss and "I love you" before he leaves for work, though often times I'm out cold.

*B* is the most gentle guy I know.  I've never seen him demean anyone, though he does make fun of his mom.  If you knew her, you'd understand why this isn't a bad thing.  He laughs at my jokes (and his own, amusingly enough).  He loves animals, sometimes more than humans.  He wants to make the world a better place even though it means meatless nights and scary lentil dishes.

He does his share of his housework (and often more).  I throw the laundry down the basement steps, and magically the clothes end up clean in a laundry basket waiting for me to fold and hang them.  He clears my "nucleation sites" (for non-geeks, that's the few dirty dishes in the sink after breakfast or dessert that cause a chain reaction of dirty dishes to appear all over my kitchen).

My simple pleasure today is having a mere month left until the beginning of an awesome marriage - and not being afraid of it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winter Preparedness

It's just now starting to get cold here.  We haven't yet turned on our heat, but I know it won't be too long until we do.  I know that last year we turned it on sometime after Veteran's Day.  This year, we're going to hold out as long as possible.  Winter gets me in a preparedness mood, so as the cold sets in, my thoughts turn to prepping.

Where I live, the biggest emergencies that happen are winter storms.  We get ice storms and snow storms that can leave people stranded for days or weeks.  To make it even better, people here don't know how to drive in snow, and so they tend to get stranded pretty often.  To that point, a couple thoughts on winter needs.

In the Home - Everyday
Blankets are indispensable commodities at home during the cold season.  I don't believe I've ever been able to let myself get rid of a blanket.  Even right now, we're using spare blankets to keep the cats out from under our bed.  We keep a blanket permanently on the couch to prevent the desire to turn up the heat.  It's kind of like drinking a glass of water when getting hunger pangs.  If you put on the blanket and you're still cold 20 minutes later, then you can do something more about it.  The next step is preferably adding more clothing, but heat can be adjusted as well.

We tend to close off unused rooms in the winter.  Our basement door is closed, but we don't seal it off because our turtles, food, and laundry is down there.  Our office, though, does not get much use.  Starting in December, we close it off and put a draft dodger in front of the door.  Draft dodgers come in all shapes and sizes.  We tend to use an old towel, but I intend on making my own dodger by stitching a drawstring back with scraps and rags in it.  Both work equally well.  Since we have electric, baseboard heat, we close off rooms with heaters so that we're not heating a hallway.  This keeps the power usage to a minimum.  We even put foam covers inside of our electrical sockets to make sure that air could not enter that way.

Exterior pipes should be turned off and drained before the cold sets in.  On days when the temperature is above 40 degrees F, windows can be caulked and weatherstripping can be applied.  If snow is likely in your area, make sure that you have a working snow shovel, ice scrapers, and some salt in your house.  When we got snow last year, our shovel was in our shed at the back of our yard.  Fat lot of good that did out there.  Shovels and snow blowers went for a premium and sold out almost immediately when we got hit by the blizzard last year.

In the Home - Emergencies
If the power goes out for long periods of time, as tends to happen around here, there are things that can be done to keep heat in.  Blankets can be used to keep heat in one room by hanging them across doorways.  One can either set up a tent for the family to sleep in, or bring mattresses into one room to help consolidate warmth.  Be wary of creating your own heat sources in your house.  Houses burn down and people get poisoned from improperly used heat sources.  For those with gas stoves in their kitchens, the stove could be used to heat up a small area while preparing meals.

Every time there's a snow warning out here, Safeway floods with people and runs out of stock of major items.  Most mainstream stores use a just-in-time inventory strategy so that they only order as much as they think they'll sell before another truck comes in .  This is good for product rotation, bad for emergencies.  To combat this problem, we keep major necessities stocked.  Your necessities depend on your family, but toilet paper, road salt, and water are always big ones.  We make sure to always have cat food and litter, crackers, soup, cereals, and long term storage (grains).  Other pantry items vary, but those are staples for us.

In the Car - Every Day
Every day, summer or winter, I have a car kit.  My kit is in two crates - one for automotive needs, and one for human needs.  In my automotive needs crate, I have shop towels, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, oil, car fluids, a turkey baster, a siphon, jumper cables, a jack, a lug wrench, and a 1 gallon gas tank (empty).  In my human needs crate, I have a change of clothes top to bottom, gloves, a hat, water bottles, granola bars, pen and paper, a pocket knife, an emergency blanket or two, a few flashlights, a large bath towel and a first aid kit. 

I'm actively trying to keep my gas tank at half full or above now.  Not only is it is smart so that you don't run out of gas, it keeps the engine running better.  Letting the gas get down to empty allows debris to collect and get stuck in the tank.

In the Car - Emergencies
I stocked my car kit so that it could be used in case of stranding or as a supplement to my work kit.  By keeping the kits stocked, I have supplies at the ready.  My car is a hatchback, so I don't have to worry about getting out of the car for supplies, I can just lift the lid.  I keep a flashlight and a window breaker/seat belt cutter in the well next to my seat.  They were Christmas presents one year, and I'm very grateful for them.  In keeping them next to my seat, I can use them if I somehow get stuck in the car.  I make sure that my supplies keep me warm, full, healthy, and in communication with the outside world.

Little House in the Big Woods

This evening, while listening to This I Believe on NPR, a woman mentioned Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Something stirred in me, and so I ran upstairs to see if I could find my book.  I know I have at least one, but I'm sure of one - the one I found was Little House in the Big Woods.  Oh how I love that book.

I read it in about an hour and a half  I lingered on passages that had fascinated me as a kid.  When I was little, I wanted desperately to make a smokehouse out of a dead tree with "fresh, sweet-smelling [hickory] chips" (Wilder, 7) smoldering in the bottom.

I love the description of the pantry:
"Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar, for freezing nights had come. 

Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads.  The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic's corners. 
The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves"  (Wilder, 12).
My favorite illustration is of Charles Wilder, playing Mad Dog with the girls.  The girls are huddled in a corner, and their Pa is playfully growling and chasing them around, hair afluff. 

It almost seems a cookbook, with instructions for preserving meat, harvesting honey and syrup, making and coloring butter and cheese, and butchering pigs.  Though I'm not sure I'll actually be able to do all these things (especially the last one), it inspires me to keep on keeping on with my mini-homesteading endeavors.  There are a few books of my childhood that I read again, but the Wilder books are a few that I cannot wait to read to my own children.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Simple Pleasure Thursday

My simple pleasure for today is being on a good path.  My dental appointment was not as horrible as I expected, though I have to go back since it'd been a while.  As of this morning, I'm on a regimen to get my mouth as healthy and teeth as white as possible before the wedding.  While I'm not going so far as to drink coffee through a straw, I am trying to minimize the time between eating and brushing as much as possible.

This week, I'm thankful for the veterans that keep our country (and others' countries) free.  I don't have a lot of relatives in the military, but my grandfather and cousin twice removed both served our country in time of war.  My grandfather was in the Pacific with the Navy during WWII.  I'm blessed to still have him with us, physically and mentally.  My cousin twice removed was deemed MIA in during the Vietnam War.  He was with the Rangers, and even though his friends saw him killed, the government refused to list him as KIA.  I've taken etchings of his name at the Vietnam wall.  Though I may not support the wars into which our country engages, I support our troops.  Two friends of ours deployed again on Monday.  I hope that they catch some slack today and make it home safely.

Awesome Day

It is 10 am, and it's already turned out to be an awesome day.  So far this morning, I've done so much.  I've gotten chickpeas soaking for homemade hummus tonight.  It'll be our first crack at homemade hummus, and I'm very excited.

After they started soaking, I cleaned out our kitchen pantry.  It was so gross.  We never use it, mostly because it's so inconvenient.  When I originally saw the design, I was excited.  Now I know that it's not so good because things tend to hide.  I had to throw out a number of items that had gone bad simply because we couldn't see them.  One thing in particular, was my McCann's oatmeal.  I had eaten all the steel cut oats, but because it was such a nifty tin, I threw some regular oats in there.  Somehow, somewhere, little brown bugs got in there.  I opened the sealed can, and it was swarming.  I'm still twitching just thinking about them.  But I scoured the rest of the pantry, went through the sealed bags, and didn't see other signs of infestation.  I'm hoping (though it grosses me out) that they came with the oats.

While I was cleaning though, it turned out I had sealed, bug-free granola makings in that pantry.  So I used my pumpkin spice recipe (found here) and made a whole 9 x 13 pan of granola.  Yum!

The reason I'm able to do all this today?  I have a dentist appointment.  I hate the dentist.  I was traumatized as a child by a dentist.  When I was about 8, he threatened to tie my teeth to the bumper of his truck and rip them out.  My mom thought he was funny, so we stayed until I was 14 or so.  Though I got Novocaine when I had fillings done, I always felt everything.  It wasn't until I had work done by a different dentist that I realized Novocaine makes it so that you don't feel the pain.  To top off the dentist trauma, I had 8 teeth pulled at the same time when I was 10 years old.  I get so riled up, that I end up taking off a whole day just for a 45 minute appointment.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Sweetness of Doing it Yourself

Tonight, *B* and I knocked out a whole bunch of projects that we've been putting off.  It's amazing how a few small changes make such a big difference. 

Some of the projects were little.  The globe fell off of the ceiling fan in our room weeks ago, and we never got around to putting it back up.  The curtains also fell down (a pattern here?), so we patched the holes in the wall and will put them back up tomorrow.

Some projects were a tad bigger.  Our windows leak both air and water like you wouldn't believe.  The air is awful because you can actually feel a breeze when walking by a window.  The water is only a problem with one set of windows.  There is what I can only assume is black mold that grows on our bedroom window frames.  I've never been able to scrape it off, no matter how hard I try.  More recently I've used vinegar, and it still does nothing.  Ideally, we'll replace the windows.  Until then, I'll probably have to remove the paint to get all of the mold.  Last year, we sealed the windows in with shrink wrap.  This year, we were able to put weatherstripping on the bottoms of the windows.  I can tell the difference almost immediately, and there's no effect on the use of the window.  In the picture below, you can see both the mold and if you look close enough, the weatherstripping:

While we were out getting supplies at Lowe's, we decided to spruce up the bathroom.  When Evie was little, she accidentally shredded the foam/plastic toilet seat that was here when we moved in.  We dealt with it, but it has annoyed me every day.  On top of that, the pieces in the bathroom don't look like they ever really meant to go together, so it's definitely my least favorite room of the house.  We have a white painted medicine cabinet with an oak-ish and faux marble sink.  The rest of the items in the bathroom are a kind of sand color.  So when we changed the seat, we got an oak-ish wooden seat.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Everything just goes together now and makes sense. 

We still need to replace the bathtub though.  It was an early 90s bathfitter job (I think) that was never properly done.  The pieces don't quite fit together:

The faucet was obviously not done by a professional because it doesn't actually reach the wall!  I can easily put my finger between the back of the faucet and the plastic of the tub.

This weekend, we'll finish by putting down a carpet strip where lovely little Evie tore up the carpet.  She's been a rather naughty cat over the past few weeks.  We lock her out of the room at night, and she tears at the door when she's hungry in the morning.  When I let her in, she tears at the bed!  I've been keeping a squirt bottle near me, but some damage has already been done at the interface between our bedroom carpet and the hallway carpet.  In the past, when she did this to get to a hamster, the carpet strip kept her from making it any worse.

 Finally, we decided to harvest our carrots and parsnips - in the dark.  There has been frost on the ground for a week, and the western part of the state is calling for 2-5 inches of snow this weekend, so it was time to pull them.  We got two and a half pounds between the two of them:
I'm ever so pleased that they did that well at least, considering I didn't thin them out at all.  Next year I know better.  We've begun planning our garden for next year and are very excited about some changes that will be coming about. Stay tuned for all the details on the new plan :o)