Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Debit Card and Dog friendly shopping

This little IMP, Gracie often has the funniest things to say. So instead of a Peytonism, I'm going to give you a Gracieism. My sister was getting non perishable foods together to take to a food drive at Grace's dance class. She explained to Grace and Mason about people who are less fortunate and sometimes they need people to give them food. Grace said, "If they need food, why don't they just use their debit card?" She's 3 and 3/4! I think she looks like she's practicing her Sports Illustrated poses in this photo from August. I love it!

We visited my brother in law Ron, my dear sister in law, Michele and our nephews: Ryan, Dylan and Trevor this weekend in Virginia. Going there is always awesome. Well, not the going, because you have to go through D.C. but the being there is GREAT. They have a lovely home and I swear, Michele could open up a Bed and Breakfast! The food, amenities and entertainment (with 6 kids total) is always GREAT. We took Macy with us because we've been having some issues at home with the three dogs. VERY UNFORTUNATELY. It's very upsetting so I'm not going to talk about it but I will say that Macy ended up having over 20 staples a couple of weeks back. Ron and Michele have 2 sweet Shelties and the three of them got along just like cousins should. On Sunday, we went to a really cool outdoor Mall that was dog friendly. I think it's called StoneyPoint. They even have doggie water fountains! All of the stores had a little dogs welcome sign posted. The first store we went in was Restoration Hardware, and Macy wasn't really sure what to think. (I think she saw some of their prices!) By the second store she acted like she owned the place and went shopping everyday! Such a cool idea to have a dog friendly atmosphere! Although I DO wonder what would happen if a doggie lifted his little leg in Brooks Brothers?

Matt's working hard on the cabinets again. He has 6 more primed and coated with the first coat of black. I can't wait to show you those! He put a cool little plate ledge in the cabinet above my microwave so I can stand up a white platter in the back and put other goodies in the front. I scored some REALLY VERY nice large, thick clear glass cereal bowls at the dollar store the other day. They are BIG but my kids like cereal (I LIKE cereal) so they were perfect! He also put 3 cool undercabinet lights too. I totally love them because I didn't have a light over by my mixer.

Poor little Peyton has had a fever and tonsilitis. She's the first one of our kids to ever have gotten that. There has been another death of a school aged child in MD with the Swine flu. 2 out of 4 of one of my neighbors kids has been diagnosed with it...eeeek. Our kids haven't been around them at all, thank goodness. Our local health dept. sent home a letter saying that the many cases of flu in our county are predominately H1N1. That's freaking me out. The kids have had their reg flu shot (well not Peyton yet, 'cause she was sick), and I'm really debating about the swine flu shot. Scary stuff!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reclaimed Wood, Second Chance Salvage Warehouse and Shepherds Pie, OH MY!

Don't mind these really terrible photos of my wood. I think that's Levi's lips and neck in the first one and Macy's shadow in the second shot. As soon as I got down to take the photos, the dogs thought I was down there to do something super-cool and special that definitely involved them, because according to their little boxer brain, EVERYTHING involves them! Anyway, the wood is super thick old white oak with some red oak mixed in. There is more than enough to do the island and desktop! It came from a torn down log cabin in WV. We'll either have it planed or we will sand it and the pieces get butted up against each other. We're (I love saying that when I fully know that there is no WE involved, it's just Matt but I have to say WE! ;-) LOL) going to finish it in a natural Danish Oil and wax finish.

About some more old stuff...A couple weeks back, my father, sister (and little ones) and I went to in Baltimore to check out the 4 warehouses of salvage. One warehouse was all new kitchen cabinets, bars, vanities etc. so we skipped that one. We mostly skipped the antique door/window one as well because I'm not in the market for those
and I was trying to keep my walking to a minimum. The third is set up like a furniture store, little rooms and vignettes but with REALLY expensive antiques, chandeliers, rugs and stuff. That warehouse was a bit scary with a 2 and 3 year old niece and nephew in tow but they were great! The last one was my favorite and had bits and pieces of stuff. Buckets of hinges and glass door handles, shelves of corbels, and knockers. The only purchase I made was 1.49 and it was one of these wrought iron fence finials...I'll show you what I'm going to do with that in a later post (wink!). This shelf of amputated claw feet from old tubs was cool but kind of sad too in a weird way. It was a fun place to visit but not really worth my time unless I was looking for a specific size of old door or window. Believe me, they had PLENTY of stuff, but it wasn't really the kind of place where you felt like you were getting a bargain. I'm happier digging in the antique stores right in my own town.

RECIPE time!!!
Last year I found a shepherds pie recipe that sounded better than the one I had been using. This one is my modification of it to suit what my family likes and we REALLY like this one!


3 tsp. butter
1 1/2 cups: sweet onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tsp. FRESH Thyme
2 lbs. low fat ground beef (the original calls for lamb)
2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3tbs. tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes
(sometimes I add finely diced tomatoes)
2 fresh bay leaves (I use dry)
4 tbs. fresh parsley
(you can add 3/4 lbs trimmed and sliced 'shrooms...I don't)
3 cups roughly but small chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen petite sweet peas

1 egg
2lbs. yukon gold potatoes
2tsp coarse sea salt
3/4 cup half and half (I use fat free)
1 pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (NOT IN THE CAN-ewww)

Preheat oven to 400
In skillet on med-high, add 1 T butter, onions, carrots, green peppers and the mushrooms if you use them. Saute' till onions are brown. Then add the garlic and fresh thyme leaves and cook a few minutes. Then add the ground beef and break it up as you brown it. After it's brown, add the canned tomatoes (paste and others) and the peas and bay leaves. Cover and cook 10 minutes on low. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and pour into 9 x 13 casserole.

Topping: Boil potatoes with 1 tsp of salt till tender. Drain the potatoes and put back on heat to dry them, shake while drying. Mash the potatoes, add half and half and butter. Season to taste and add the egg and Parmesan. Spread evenly on top of the casserole. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and the top is slightly brown. I serve it with big hot biscuits. Enjoy!
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

SUNFLOWERS and a quick kitchen update!

Yesterday, my thoughtful husband and I took the Jeep by ourselves (YES, remarkably sans children!) to a couple sunflower fields a friend of his told him about. It really brightened my day. How can anyone, ANYONE ever be a bit gloomy while looking at that sea of happy SUNNY FACES! I just loved them all. Something about a flower that's as big as you and it's bloom is bigger than your head just makes me grin!

Last week I woke up one morning with a twinge in my ear and another little twinge in my OTHER ear. So I didn't think much of it. 24 hours later, I was feverish and miserable! Even on the pain medicine I take for my back pain, it sure hurt like heck! I went to Expresscare and was given drops and an oral antibiotic but by Tuesday, my jaw was sooooo out of line that I talked completely like Carol Channing. You know, the lady with the lamb puppet called LAMBCHOP? I don't have the best voice anyway, it's a bit Minnie Mouse-ish. It's okay, I'm a big girl and can pull up my big girl panties and admit it. So then I sounded like Carol Channings mutated lamb-ouse. Pretty funny considering I really couldn't hear either. I went at least 24 hours with almost complete silence minus the sound of my blood pumping and my breathing. Not looking forward to that ever again. I struggled to speak with the sweet mentally challenged gentleman at physical therapy. I really couldn't hear him and I don't think he could understand my speech! Finally, one of the aides came to his rescue and told him I couldn't hear him. He then gave me a sly and knowing grin 'cause I guess we were both sorta sitting in the same boat!

AND ON THE KITCHEN FRONT:   Matt has put 3 coats of satin poly on the cabinets and we painted the nobs.  Now there is only about 3/4 more of the kitchen cabinets to do!  LOL  On the upside...the reclaimed wood for the island and desk are supposed to be delivered tomorrow morning at 9:00 am!  I'll post photos tomorrow, so check back!  PLUS*** an awesome recipe for THE BEST SHEPARDS PIE!!!  It's totally DELISH~!!!
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


What is it about September that totally kicks my butt? I'm always way behind in September. I'm always way behind the other 11 months too but September feels like a special drowning in being behind month. And I usually don't do anything about it either. I KNOW all these things I need to do in September and it should move gracefully like freshly oiled gears gently clicking into each other. The pattern of so many things: school, dance, religious Ed, etc. all start again and I should find solace in the constancy. I. Do. Not. It's mid September, I need to open the door and step IN!

This door is at one of my favorite photo shoot it!

My sister finally erased the "schools out for the summer" happy quote on the chalkboard wall behind my computer desk. I just couldn't do it. I'd walk by it quickly in the morning with my coffee so I wouldn't feel it's false cheerfulness. Instead she wrote a lovely Walt Disney quote that seems to be apropos:
"The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing!"

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

क्रेजी people

एस फॉर सम रासों माय ब्लॉग इस नो टाइपिंग इन हिन्दी, दोन'टी आस्क में वही! इ'ल हवे तो फिगुरे थिस आउट! अन्य्वय, हियर'स अ कूल लिंक तो अ नात लिटिल गेम!

Okay for some freaky reason, my blog was totally written in Hindi this morning. I'm sure ALL my Hindi friends were THRILLED but unfortuantely, I don't speak or write Hindi or any other language and I'm lucky I have a relative grasp on English. So I'm glad I got that fixed! I hope I wasn't writing some incredibly inappropriate things because honestly I'm not familiar with the culture. I am of Polish descent and you can certainly tell a Polish joke around me without me being offended, or a blonde joke for that matter, considering mine comes from a bottle. I don't offend easily so I hope it wasn't offensive!
Anyway, check out that CRAZY link up there, the emails from crazy people was cracking me up and I don't know about you but I could use a laugh or two.

Monday, September 7, 2009


These aren't even all the way dry but I had to pop some of my dishes in their to take a peek of what it might look like. I quickly took the stuff back out so it won't stick! I am totally lovin' them! That little piece of trim at the top will get painted too but poor Matt has realized now that he may have to repaint the whole kitchen when he gets done because the black paint is bleeding through the painters tape! EEEEKK. I'm still going to stick with my pale buttery yellow walls when that time comes because I still love it! I really love how the bits of blue paint are peeking out here and there, I distressed where the knobs will go more heavily because that's how it would be naturally anyway. I think these open shelves are going to be so convenient and open up the cabinets because since they are dark it could have had a tendency to be DARK. ;-) Luckily we have a very sunny kitchen and family room area so I don't think that will ever be a problem.

We are going to repaint all of our brass knobs with a hammered aluminum finish spray paint. I've already tested it on my towel holder in the first photo at the
left and it worked beautifully! That sure will save us oodles of cash. The kids are having a fit because all of our appliances are stainless except our fridge, which is still off-white. It's a 17 year old Amana and doesn't show any signs of slowing down, THANK GOD! This currently one income family wouldn't be too happy if we had to get a new one! Well the kids would be happy but what do they know!

If you've been wondering about my back, I'll give you an update. If not, you can stop reading now! LOL I'm still going to physical therapy 2-3 times a week. I've been going over a year now and I love those ladies there! Sometimes it what keeps me semi-sane. I'm still having tremendous pain issues in my lumbar and considering we are now 4 months post-op I'm wondering how much could truly be post-operative pain. It's doubtful to me. I'm still keeping the one day on one day off schedule of activity. The days off, I basically spend the majority of it laying down (which is where I get the most relief) and the other days I still have to spend a couple hours laying as well. So yeah, I'm basically a
total slug!
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Our distressed kitchen cabinets!

I'll post more on this in a bit, later today...Come on back in a while!
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