Sunday, January 31, 2010

What's For Dinner?

The plan for this week...

Sunday: Angry Chicken's tomato soup, BLT's

Monday: pasta inspired by this, whole wheat bread

Tuesday: New Year's Soup, whole wheat bread

Wednesday: Mexican chicken casserole, salad

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: pizza, spinach salad w/ goat cheese, almonds, & cranberries

I'll be baking...but not until Friday or Saturday. And I have no idea what that will be.


I was asked recently if I really stick to "the plan" for the week. I actually do...for the most part.

When I create a menu for the week I take into account what we have going on: Do I have a staff meeting where I'll be late? Does one of The Offspring have a project due? Am I tutoring after school? All those things factor into the dinner planned for that evening. So I pretty much have to stick to what's scheduled.

But there are days when "the plan" just doesn't happen. And then I usually bump whatever it may be to a later date.

I hope your week is swell...and that your "plan" comes together seamlessly.

Peace out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Also In the Box...

Along with a baby-want inducing sweater, these items were also in the box...

The classic hat and booty set. This time in bubble gum pink and cream.

I made an extra set sized a bit larger. That hat will fit for a gotta have shoes to match.

Yep. This little dumplin' gets this hat. I knew then that if this baby was a girl it would go to her.

And last but not least...

The most obnoxious baby blanket ever made.

Oh. Not obnoxious enough for you?


How about now?

Oh yeah, baby! It's reversible.

It's a basic fleece no-sew blanket. It works because it has pom-pom edging. Baby must learn who to cheer for early in life.

Love you little dumplin'! I'm working on one more surprise...

And I promise it will not have burnt orange longhorns or devices that make horses move faster emblazoned across it.

Thank you for indulging Auntie Dani.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Almost Makes Me Want Another Baby...Almost

Almost, people...almost makes me want another baby.

Because it's just that cute.

I made this over Christmas break for a friend that's really more like family. She recently had her first baby. Since Mommy is so important to me, her little one deserved something special.

I knew I wanted to make her a sweater. But that was a venture I had yet to add to my repertoire.

I did a little searching and found this pattern. It didn't appear to be too difficult. I decided to give it a go.

I'm so glad I did.

Over the next couple of days I began to see the makings of the sweetest little baby sweater. It came together with few swear words...always my gauge of difficulty.

When the body had been completed it was time to add the buttons. Just look at those buttons! I opted for two that were different but had a similar hue. To me, those buttons make it. The sweater itself is simple, but they give it a modern edge.

I tend to be my own worst critic. But after finishing this project, I felt so...proud. I even held off mailing it until after Christmas so I could show Mema. I could tell she was impressed, which made me even happier with the outcome.

I can't wait to see that sweet little one all bundled in some sweater-goodness.

Because this sweater is cute, but not nearly as cute as this sweater being worn by a
lil' dumplin'.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Apparently the following items are ones I deem necessary.

*cute reusable nylon bag with its own case for carrying odds & ends...the environment and all


*gift card case holding various gift cards

*sunglasses in their case

*travel size Cottonelle wipes

*Jonathan Adler mini notebook

*Vaseline healthy hand & nail lotion

*hand-sewn Kleenex keeper

medium sized hand sewn zip-case containing:
*dental floss
*tampon & pantyliner
*Tide-to-Go pen
*Maybelline lip polish
*Burt's Bees lip shimmer, watermelon & raisin
*Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker...personal favorite
*bubble gum Lip Smacker
*retractable tape measure
*bobby pin
*bluetooth...never used
*a cool rock
*Benadryl itch stick

*Ice Breakers gum, peppermint

*hand sewn no cash wallet with various cards and forms of identification (a la Angry Chicken)

*small hand sewn coin purse with $11.95 inside


*brush/mirror compact

*school i.d. on lanyard


*Burt's Bee lip balm

*Cinderella lip balm

*5 HEB Buddy Bucks

*Purell hand sanitizer

*2 fabric swatches

*nail file

*eye glass cleaning cloth


*baggie of Truvia

*single serving of Revolution English breakfast tea


*voter registration card

*picture of pixie-cut hair from a magazine

*1 peppermint

*ear buds

*hand sewn iPod case


That's it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Dig This...

A few of my current obsessions:

*Turning off the television.

The Mr. brought home a SoundDock for the iPod. I *love* it. I so enjoy listening to music while I work in the kitchen or sit and crochet or fold laundry or lose myself in Blog Land.

It actually makes me feel cooler and smarter.

And I find that my family converses more. Not just chit-chat, but actual conversations. It's nice. Real nice.

*Downloading music.

Listening to more music means I want more new music. I got the latest tunes from this band, this band, and this duo.

All good and wonderful.

*The Genius feature on my iPod.

I know a lot of people think it sucks. I happen to like it. It saves me the trouble of making a mix and often slips in songs that I wouldn't have thought to add.

Me like.

*The Avett Brothers on Austin City Limits.

The good Lord blessed those boys with heaps of talent.

And they are cute. The boy that's front and center...that's Scott. He's mine. Tammie, I'm bumping someone off The List and adding him. *wink*

*Camera apps on my phone.

My camera is still in the shop. I have been forced to use a craptastically ancient point and shoot or the camera on my iPhone.

The iPhone has a pretty good camera. But I'm spoiled. To my eye, all my shots looked like they were taken with my phone. So I did a bit of research and downloaded some camera apps that add some nice effects.

The filters make everything look all artsy. I'll play along for a few more days.

*This picture.

I took it for my friend Chach. That picture is all him. He's from Texas. And he loves Lone Star. He also has mad photography skillz and gives pointers along with encouragement from time to time.

It also reminds me of college days. The days of driving around, listening to loud music, drinking cheap beer, bumming smokes, and feeling so free and invincible.

I've been trying to recapture that feeling.

*This corner of my house.

It's in the living room. This particular picture makes it look authentically vintage. At least through my eyes. I love the colors, the light, the shadows.

Yes. My favorite corner.

*Our newest house guest.

He hangs out in our dining room.

I think he might have had a buddy. Or he's a sneaky little devil. I found another lizard about a week ago and put him outside only to find this one over the weekend.

He's cool. He just chills on the curtains. I'm down with co-existence.

I dig all this stuff. If you need me I'll be in the kitchen, jammin' old school.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Here's the plan for the week ahead:

Sunday: out with the family

Monday: meatballs with mushroom gravy, wild rice, green beans

Tuesday: shrimp, pasta with pesto, asparagus, fresh tomatoes (rescheduled from last week)

Wednesday: breakfast tacos, black beans, fresh tomatoes

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: BLT's, Angry Chicken's tomato soup

I don't plan on baking in the next few days. I bought a load of fruit this weekend. We can boost our vitamin C and snack on plums, tangelos, and strawberries.

We took one for the team and ventured out to see Alvin & the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel on Sunday. The Girl had been begging to go for weeks. In fact, she had started making up elaborate stories at school about getting on a bus and traveling to the theater.

She's a determined girl...we decided not to test fate.

After we had been inundated with falsetto chipmunk-ese, the adults were rewarded with a trip to El Tiempo for some Mexican food.

A nice way to end the weekend or begin the week...depending upon your point of view.

Hope your kitchen is a happy one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Standing In the Kitchen

Lately we've been standing in the kitchen...

The house is still, the lights are low.

Mr. Tweedy serenades in the background.

Who cares if we have to get up in the morning?

I think I'll have a glass of wine.

Conversation flows.

Pour me another.

Oh, I love this song...

I remember when.

Did you ever?

The day's cares are muted.

You know, it's way past our bedtime.

Too bad.

Meet you here tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where Things Stand...

The images from Haiti leave me speechless. There are harrowing tales of survival. But far too many reports end in tragedy.

The conditions are horrific. I can't fathom how bad it is. It's mind numbing.

I'm almost finished crocheting the coasters I'm donating to the Craft Hope for Haiti shop. I will have three sets of six. Maybe four.

It seems so lame. Coasters.'s something. I keep telling myself that every little bit helps. So, as soon as I weave in the loose ends and take some pictures, they will be ready for sale.

If you are planning to donate, please note that the shop will be closed for about two weeks as of this evening. The outpouring of donations has been immense. Since Friday the shop has raised over $10,000. Wow. Incredible.

The fine folks over at Craft Hope are simply re-grouping. Head over and read about the response. It will warm your heart. I'll admit to kicking myself for not having something to donate at the get-go...but I'll be ready for round two.

Of course there will be a round two.

In the meantime, I'm attempting to organize a fund raising effort at my school. My idea is simple: For a week, students can donate $1 a day to free dress. We have a uniform policy and the kids are always anxious to ditch the lame khaki and navy duds. I would gladly donate $5 for each of my kids to wear what they want for a week.

And it's for such an important cause.

On a shallow note, at least in comparison to what's going on in Haiti...

Some of you know that my camera is in the shop. Last week I took a picture and then the shutter suddenly stopped working.

Damn Technology Ninjas. They strike when least expected.

It's under warranty, but would have taken a minimum of eight weeks to have it repaired.

Not. An. Option.

So it's being repaired closer to home. The trade off: it will cost a nice chunk of change. And I still have another week to go until it's back in my hands.

I'm not a patient girl. I've already asked The Mr. to call and apply some heat.

In addition to being impatient, which I knew, I have learned that I am a camera snob. In recent days I've had to rely upon our very outdated point-and-shoot or my iPhone.

Let's just say I'm unimpressed with the results. They aren't horrible. I think lackluster would be an accurate description.

The Mr. will let me borrow his camera for anything important (like some charitable coasters).

But I am a little afraid it might bite me.

Or worse, that the Ninjas will strike again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Here's the plan for the week ahead...

Sunday: homemade pizza, spinach salad w/ goat cheese, cranberries, & almonds

Monday: The Mexican Skillet Dish, stewed squash

Tuesday: sausage & barley soup, whole wheat beer bread

Wednesday: garlic shrimp, whole wheat pasta w/ pesto, roasted asparagus, fresh tomatoes

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: Some spicy Thai will be brought home. Yessss.

I'm late in posting. Sunday evening we had some friends over. It was a perfectly laid back evening.

I have a couple of company menus in my back pocket: one is more formal, or about as formal as I get, and one is casual. Obviously, I relied upon the casual version.

The homemade pizza was great. The kids enjoyed (turkey) pepperoni with a side of pineapple. The grown-ups had (turkey) sausage, caramelized onions & mushrooms, artichokes, and kalamata olives. I used fresh mozzarella to make it more company-worthy.

For dessert I made those chocolate brownie cupcake muffins. There are only three left. I will probably make another mindless batch later this week.

In addition to the good food, there was plenty of reminiscing over Lone Stars and other brews. Their offspring played with our offspring. Music played in the background as we congregated in the kitchen. Like I said, it was perfectly laid back.

The Mr. and I stayed up well after our guests had made their way home, continuing the conversation and enjoying "just one more" pint...and just one more muffin.

I hope your week is off to a fine start...and hopefully a tasty one.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Answering A Call

If you've ever wondered what you can do to "give back", take a look-see at Craft Hope. The work they do is really amazing. And inspiring.

In light of the recent devastation in Haiti, the Craft Hope Etsy shop will be donating 100% of its profits to the relief effort.

There are some very cool items being sold. You can feel good knowing that the proceeds from your purchase are going to help others and have a new little somethin'-somethin' for yourself.

Can't beat that.

You might also choose to use your talents for good works by donating something to the shop. Details are on the Craft Hope site.

I kicked around a few ideas and decided that I will donate a few sets of my coasters. I have the materials on-hand and I can finish them quickly. I hope to have them completed and ready to post by the end of this long weekend.

Along with helping the earthquake victims in Haiti, Craft Hope has announced Project #6.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have never participated in a Craft Hope project. I have had good intentions...but flaked out. Boo me.

But this project is very doable: a simple crochet or knit scarf. The color scheme is mostly red, but you have the freedom to jazz it up with some additional hues.

I can do that. In fact, I'm hoping to have two finished by the deadline.

I leave you this evening with these words...

"I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home..."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Inspired By The Classic "Mix Tape"

Besides being a total time-suck and a stalking tool, Facebook does have its merits.

Through the magic of accepting one's friendship, I have been able to reconnect with many blasts from the past. Friends that faded from the everyday scene have suddenly reemerged and made me wonder, "Why did we lose touch, exactly?"

One such friend from college now lives in Oregon with his brood. We hung out with the same crew, listened to the same tunes...and now, over ten years later, it's a similar deal. We still have a comparable list of friends, trade movie suggestions, and recommend music to download.

Only now we have kids screaming in the background.

He mentioned that while cleaning out his garage he found a mix tape that I'd made him way back when. Ahh yes, the classic mix tape. A mid-90's cassette time capsule filled with the likes of Daniel Johnston, Replacements, Afghan Whigs, and Cowboy Junkies.

A few days before Christmas he returned the favor. Except this is the 21st century...

It's now a mix CD.

Can you see the title? Take a closer look.

Yes. "Crochet Rock".

That's so hot.

And that is a crocheted ripple afghan pictured on the front.

That's super hot.

This brings me to the next part of my story...

At the time I received Crochet Rock, I had yet to think of something to put under the tree for The Mr. I have mentioned that he is impossible to buy for...or make for. Time was ticking and I was in a pinch. What to do? What to get? What to make?

I wanted to give him something from my heart, something I created, and something that made him think of me. He requested that it not cost money.

I made him a card. I always do. This time I crocheted a snowflake from thread and mounted it on tag board with a sappy message.

And then I perused my iTunes library and pulled some favorites:

Kick Drum Heart...The Avett Brothers
New Slang...The Shins
All Your Secrets...Yo La Tengo
I Was Made For You...She & Him
The Underdog...Spoon
Back Into Your World...Son Volt
Ballad of Big Nothing...Elliott Smith
Your Excuse...Slobberbone
Star Witness...Neko Case
La La Love You...Pixies
The Way I Am...Ingrid Michaelson
Middle Cyclone...Neko Case
Jesus, Etc....Wilco
Sundress...Ben Kweller
I Would Be Sad...The Avett Brothers
The Best of Jill Hives...Guided By Voices
Ragged Wood...Fleet Foxes
I Was Once A Loyal Lover...Death Cab For Cutie
Summer Teeth...Wilco
The Weakest Part...Yo La Tengo
Should've Been In Love...Wilco
Just Breathe...Pearl Jam

A list of songs that should make him think of me as he drives about town. Bands we have seen together, songs from movies we have enjoyed, some songs that are just dang good, and of course, those songs with lyrical meaning.

It isn't overt mushiness. But it's "us".

Now, why am I sharing this?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner...and this is easy. Really easy. It's quick. It's cheap. It's meaningful.

And it doesn't involve lingerie.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hasta La Vista, Motts

I had intended to make an apple crisp.

Nope. Never happened.

Visions of apple crisp then turned to visions of applesauce. Especially when I stumbled upon this recipe over at Bread & Honey.

I got out the apples.

Washed and peeled them.

Cored and sliced.

Threw the apples in a crockpot with some sugar, a little cinnamon, and a splash of water.

Turned it on low, sat back and savored the aroma that was soon wafting through my casa.

About six hours later I had homemade applesauce.

But really people, referring to this as simply "applesauce" is a bit insulting. It's more like apple pie in a jar.

I imagine it spooned over ice cream with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Or served warm with some crushed gingersnaps sprinkled on top. Or maybe even along side some whole wheat oat muffins.

But hey. A plain bowlful isn't bad either.

Hasta la vista, Motts. You are no longer needed here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Never Thought I'd Write a Post About Wrinkle Cream

But I am, doing just that.

There are cracks in the surface folks.

And I have declared war!

These marketeers are smart. You will not find "wrinkle cream" on the shelves. Oh no. Now it's called a "skin renewal agent".

Whatever. It's wrinkle cream.

There are hundreds of skin care products on the market. They all promise the same thing: younger looking skin. And from what I've been told on the morning talk shows, the cheaper brands are as good as the expensive ones.

Supposedly Sarah Jessica Parker uses this skin cream. She's in her 40's and appears to be holding up pretty well.

Advertising score.

While I was at it, I picked up some eye cream and deep wrinkle treatment.

I figured I would try to get a jump on the crow's feet. This particular cream says it battles under-eye fatigue.

I'm fatigued all over. It stands to reason that my under-eye area would be fatigued as well.

I got the deep wrinkle treatment for my forehead. It must be good. The label actually has the word "wrinkle" on it.

All the years of giving my students the "evil eye" and furrowing my brow have caught up with me. Darn kids.

I have only been "renewing my skin" for a couple of weeks. It's smoother to the touch. But I still have some furrows.

I'm being patient. I won't write a letter to SJP quite yet for false advertising.

Another sign I'm getting older? Foundation make-up. I remember my mom telling me that I didn't need to worry about wearing it until I became an old lady like her.

I guess I'm an old lady.

I like the fact that this does not feel heavy, greasy, or cakey. It does what it says: goes on smooth and blends perfectly. I'm much happier with my whole "made-up look" since adding this to the mix.

One last beauty note:

I am so down with my goth toes. I needed a fashion forward color to balance the whole wrinkle cream thing.

The Mr. isn't too sure about them. But I love it. I feel youthfully hardcore.

Now...lest you think I'm all girly-girl or something...

This is what a girly-girl looks like. In all her pink glory. Head to freakin' toe.

I never walk around looking like cotton candy.

I leave that to those not in need of wrinkle cream.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's For Dinner?

A new week is upon us.

Last week's soup brigade was generous. So generous, that we were able to (happily) enjoy leftovers for more than one night. I'll be carrying over a couple of things to the first part of this week.

Sunday: fish tacos, black beans, guacamole, fresh tomatoes

Monday: quesadilla pie, black beans, guacamole, fresh tomatoes

Tuesday: crockpot roast, roasted potatoes and carrots, green beans

Wednesday: New Year's Soup, beer bread

Thursday: wild rice, asparagus, & goat cheese frittata, ham steak, tomatoes

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: homemade pizza

I know a few of you have made the New Year's Soup. It is posted on Sasa's (from Bluebirdbaby) new blog. I already have him bookmarked.

I have pizza planned for Saturday. Not sure what kind yet. I want to change it up a bit, so I'll be looking at different pizza concoctions throughout the week. Anything you recommend?

And finally, the chocolate brownie cupcake muffins that I posted about are all gone. That's less than 24 hours folks. I live with vultures and they have eaten every bit. But no worries. Those things are so insanely simple I will be making another batch. It was a unanimous request from all.

As always, have a great week. Eat happy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

So Easy My Blind, Obese, Senile Dog Could Make Them

What I'm about to share has got to be the easiest baked treat ever.

A friend sent it to me. And I was quite skeptical.

It was unnamed, so I have taken the liberty of giving it a moniker.

Chocolate Brownie Cupcake Muffins

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can pumpkin

Mix the cake mix and pumpkin. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Really. That's all there is to it.

The original recipe calls for a Devil's food cake mix. I try to stay away from regular store-brand cake mixes and Whole Foods did not have a Devil's food mix. I substituted chocolate.

When you mix the pumpkin with the mix it will be thick. Your arm muscles will get a work out. It will also look very unappetizing. Just a heads-up.

If you are worried about tasting the pumpkin, don't. It's undetectable in the finished product.

There is no oil. No egg. Would that make them low-cal as well?

Let's just say yes and enjoy.

They are dense like a brownie, with a bit of that cake-like texture of a cupcake, but look like a muffin. Hence the name.

I can't believe how good these are. Or how easy.

With the things my dog gets blamed for, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she went into the kitchen and whipped up a batch.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from last night's game:

the unexpected happens

life isn't fair

sometimes there is no answer to "why?"

a quality team has a leader

you have to stick together despite circumstances

be prepared

learn Eye of the Tiger, you might need inspiration

there are times when you have to dig deep


have faith


work hard

keep scrappin'

there are still class acts

bad things happen to really good people

dreams don't always come true

real men are humble

win or lose, respect your opponent

never give up

next season is only eight months away

the future looks bright

Most of you know that I bleed burnt orange. If you aren't familiar with my Longhorn love I direct you here. It explains everything.

The past 24 hours have been rough. Real rough.

It's not the loss that continues to pull at my heart. Don't get me burns. A third degree kind of burn.

Today, I hurt for my boys.

Hook 'em.