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A smallish update.

Well, let's see... Little Human is in his own room. He is taking to it decently, but he wakes up in the night and then won't let us leave. I think we are going to have to do some tough love to get him to sleep on his own through the night. I'll get some pictures of his room. We haven't painted yet, but it's coming! We actually have the paint for Little Human's room, but when we decided to switch rooms, getting him in there was the more pressing matter. Sleeping with an almost 3 year old was beginning to wear on our nerves.

I am getting our bedroom organized, FINALLY!!! It's nice to have a room that feels like a grown up room. I need to get a good scrubbing in on a few things and then I can take pictures in there. I haven't painted in there, either, but our room is less in need than LH's. This room is really going to be a tranquil room. We do have a TV and stereo in there, but we barely use it (although I was very excited when I realized that I can watch Craig Ferguson while getting ready for bed). We still have some silly stuff in there, and I am putting up my blue rope lights. I like the way they light the space without being glaring.

Still waiting on the cabinet and the smallish freezer in the kitchen, but I know it's coming! I still want to paint everything, but we have the added irritation of the strips between the wall panels. I am totally anal and I demand that we take them down, and then tape and mud the gaps. It will be time consuming, but I don't want it to feel like a manufactured home when you are inside. I just want it to feel like a home. Plus, they just make everything wonky, especially if you are trying to hang artwork or anything. If it isn't centered between the strips, it just looks off. The painting over our bed looks all funky because there is a strip off center behind it because I centered it over the bed. ARGH!

Anyway, that's what we are up to. I have been a very busy bee this week, and hope that the rest of the week. I still need to get back into taking photos. I love my camera and I am not taking photos. This gives me reason to do so!

Chayote Chicken

2tbsp olive oil
2.5-3lbs chicken
1tsp salt
4 chayote squash, seeded and diced
4 large red potatoes, diced
4 lg roma/plum tomatoes, halved and sliced
.5 medium white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp dried oregano (I usually use Mexican oregano)
.5 tsp black pepper
2-4 jalapenos, seeded and diced (optional)

Heat oil in skillet. Season chicken with salt and add to pan. Cook until golden brown, about 15-20 mins. Pour off fat.

Add diced squash, tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, pepper, and season with more salt if needed.

Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, about 15 mins.

Can be cooked in the crock pot, but it becomes more of a stew that way. We usually serve it with rice. Also, dark meat does add more flavor, but I have used breasts and it is still very tasty!

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More Furniture...

I have a couple of new aquisitions that I hadn't gotten around to uploading. We are finding all of this stuff on Craigslist. And for incredible prices.


And holy crap, I somehow didn't realize how long this was, so here is a cutCollapse )

Haha...

Mom has decided that she wants to switch rooms with Darby. This isn't really going to be a problem because (GASP!) Darby does not sleep in his room, nor does he really spend any time in there. Part of the problem is that in the old house, his bedroom was not temperature regulated. It was either way too hot or way too cold, and so it somehow became the extra storage room.

When we moved, he still wasn't in his own room because I never put his bed together. Then I got his bed together and immediately there was a recall for the side rails. So then it became a wait until the new rails come in. Well, they came and now I have so many damn bins that there is no room to take the bed apart.

I have spent a lot of time reorganizing all of his stuff. His old baby clothes are all organized by size in big Rubbermaid bins and I am hoping that Jonathan's mom can take them back to Texas when she comes out to visit. Jonathan's cousin lent us most of these clothes, and I hadn't had time to go through and get them put away in any sensible fashion until recently. I am keeping some of the stuff we bought that I am absolutely in love with, but that takes up one bin. I can make room for that!

I have been wanting to paint his room desperately, but can't because of all of the other stuff that has been going on in there. Now with the room switch, I can take everything out of his room, move mom in, and then I can paint his "new" room before he moves in.

Mom's reasoning for switching is sound. She has energy to make art in the morning. However, her current room doesn't have any light in the morning, or anytime really because of the ash trees in the front yard. The only reason she had for that room in the beginning was the closet size. She stored her paintings in the closet. There was one very large on in particular, but that went off to the gallery last week, so she doesn't need quite as much closet space any longer. Actually, I realized today that the closets are the same size just arranged differently.

I am so excited to start! I almost did today, but then realized that the Little Human is now free from his living room enclosure and I can't really get anything done while attempting to wrangle him...

Ah ha!

We have a new to us Dining Room Table. We got it from craigslist for a really decent price ($175). We had been using a table that I received from a former boss, and while it was lovely, it really was not big enough. This one is big enough for the three adults living here, plus it has a leaf to make it a little larger.

The old table is now going to be used for potting and backyard parties.

Once I re-cover the chair seats, I will take better pics of the chairs and of the table legs. Here's a picture of the table as it is:

Photobucket

It needs a refinish and repainting. I will probably keep it about the same color. The flowers were a present from Jonathan's Aunt Karen. I love having fresh cut flowers!

Also, all of the rosebushes that were already here are coming back. One of them we were a little worried about. A bit of what we planted last year is coming back, but not everything. Mom got her new bird feeding station out and we are attracting all kinds of birdies!

I'll have another update shortly.

Also, I just realized that this looks super yellow, but the bottom of the table and the chairs are actually an off white. I wasn't paying attention when I took the picture and I think I had the camera manually set funky for something else...

{EDIT} I reuploaded the picture with the proper adjustments. It now looks a lot more like it should!

Veggie Lasagna

I got it in my head this morning that I wanted to make Veggie Lasagna, but wanted to try it in the crock instead of the oven. I kinda scoped some recipes and created my own. I have a 6 qt. crock and this filled it almost to the rim:

This got longCollapse )

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OMG...THE CAKE!!!

THE OMG CHOCOLATE CAKE:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups white sugar
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup cold brewed coffee***
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vinegar

***Now I wasn't sure if the recipe wanted actual cold brewed coffee, or regular brewed coffee that was cooled. I used the latter because I forgot to do the cold brew sooner and didn't feel like waiting.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vinegar. Mix until smooth, batter will be thin (It really is very thin, and it will trick you into thinking you did something wrong). Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.


Instead of sifting the flour, which it didn't call for, but I like to do anyway, I put it in my Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment, set it on 3, and let it go to town for a few minutes. I have determined that I hate sifting.

I wanted a layered cake, so I used what I thought were 9" rounds. However, I do believe they are actually 8" rounds and my cake runneth over. So instead of being filled with the smell of chocolate goodness, my house was filled with the smell of burning cake. The end result made up for that.

As for the cake itself: It was moist and dense. Not as dense as a brownie; it was still a cake, but it was denser than a lot of cakes. It was chocolate. It wasn't too sweet but still tasted like a cake. It also had a very slight coffee aftertaste that was just lovely. It was fantastic.

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Oops...

Well, I forgot to post the Holiday pics, and still haven't taken any of the cabinet insides. I do however have a new camera, so there will be pictures. I also have a recipe I think I am going to post...


I have also determined that I am going to have to make the cold-frame for seed starting really cheap! Luckily I have some leftover, high quality, clear acrylic from my former boss. I have tons of scrap wood that I can also use. I think I can make this work. I will need to get the table saw set up. And I have to figure out the best way to cut the acrylic down.

I am so excited by this, because I want desperately to start seeds, but I have to have the cold-frame set up to move them into when the time comes. This spring and summer will be a total experiment for me. Growing real veggies is not something I have attempted. I have tried growing herbs, but never really got it right. The soil here is good and they are going into a sunny but not bakey place. I think this year might work! YAY!

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Collectors...

We have such a strange collection of stuff in this house. Between the three adults and the two year old, this house is in constant clutter chaos.

Jonathan has his Transformers collection. He has framed posters that haven't been hung yet. He has his angels and gargoyles. There are some old camera stuff and his techy stuff. Star Wars stuff is floating around, too.

I have my craft supplies, ceramic ducks, stuffed ducks, movie and concert posters (also not hung yet), kitchen gadgets, and other stuff.

Mom has Southwest stuff, African stuff, Asian stuff, art supplies, photo albums, Buddhas, and other assorted stuff.

We have books of all kinds, CDs, DVDs, Little Human toys: WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!!

I think we need to start a serious weeding of stuff here. Or I need to come up with better storage solutions. The closet/cabinet we are putting in the kitchen will help. I am thinking we may need a second closet thingy in the main front room. Maybe even just an armoire for storing some things that can become clutter at the drop of a hat.

I love this house, but it still isn't quite working for us, and I need it to get better. It is overwhelming, and I am not sure how to tackle it. ARGH!

Jan. 14th, 2010

I need to get down to Re-Store soon. I am looking for an old aluminum screen door to make a cold frame with. I am also hunting craigslist for some reclaimed lumber for making the base of the cold frame. I'm going to ask Jonathan if he would be willing to put his table saw together, so that we can use it for building. It will take up more room in the shed, but not by much, and I need it.

I think I'm also going to look and see if I can find a PotMaker locally. I have plastic pots that I save for this reason, but I will need more than I have. I don't want to use peat, since it is not environmentally friendly, and cow pots are hard to come by and expensive. I'll also have to get the bed built for the Three Sisters Garden.

I finally found an heirloom supplier that has one the squash I want. I have so many heirloom suppliers bookmarked. A lot of them are organic as well, which is nice. Some of the seeds I have are not organic, but I already have them and would rather not waste them. I plan on growing organically what I have, though.

Well, this entry came out disjointed and odd, but I am tired, and needed to get my thoughts down. Still haven't gotten pics of the kitchen, but I do have them of the house for the holidays. Now I just need to get them from Jonathan! They will get posted, but it may not be until next holiday season!!!

Herbs

Globe Basil
*Dark Opal Basil
Thai Basil
*Lemon Basil
*Sweet Basil
*Common Chives
*Cilantro
*Fernleaf Dill
*Marjoram
Spearmint
Peppermint
Greek Oregano
Mexican Oregano
*Italian Oregano
*Curly Leaf Parsley
Italian Parsley
*Rosemary (maybe more than one variety)
Dalmatian Sage
Tricolor Sage
French Tarragon
*Thyme
Borage
Garlic
*Summer Savory

I also found this fantastic company that makes stoneware garden markers for $3.50 each. They each come with a brass stake and shipping is fantastic. I am still working on this list and it may change...

*=have seed already

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Homey stuff...

I have really gotten into baking bread in my bread machine. I would do more hand kneading, but I currently don't have the counter space for it. I am getting closer to getting the kitchen in order, though.

I bought some of those binder rings for putting measuring cups, spoons, and funnels together in their respective sets. Then I took some zinc plated S hooks and attached them to the sliding organizer that lives under one of the kitchen counters. I hung the measuring implements from there, and that freed up a bunch of space in the utensil drawer. I got the pot lids into the rack I bought for them, which also helped free up some space in that cabinet.

Next up is getting the cabinet under the island more organized. I thought I had that under control, but it keeps exploding! It usually houses the electrics that I can't leave on the counter (food processor, older than dirt blender, waffle iron, espresso maker, etc.) I think I will also hang the older than dirt mug rack up. We have oodles of mugs that are nice enough to stay out, but we have nowhere to put them.

The cabinets are nice. They were a little dirty when we moved in. I cleaned them with *Fantastic Green Shit* that I got for a survey I was participating in. I have no idea what it is, but this stuff is great. I am pretty sure it is a natural cleanser of some sort. Anyway, they are all white on the inside and I covered the shelves with this paper:

contact paper

I think my next update will have the kitchen in it's more current state. I know I want to show off the insides of the cabinets and the reused shelf from the old house that we put up here for the kitchen crocks that I stole from Jonathan! The bread box is currently housing the baking stuff. I used it for bread, and in the old house it worked fine, but here it got moldy really fast. Bread now lives in the fridge and baking supplies live in the bread box. They eventually turn into bread... right?

I also need to figure out a new set up for the dish drying rack. It has a metal tray that goes under it, but when we do dishes water ends up under the tray and it's gross. I may have to get a plastic mat to go under it that drains into the sink. That may solve the problem. I also need wine glass racks to go under the cabinet shelves. Our collection takes up too much room!

So, there we go. Next update will either have kitchen pics or holiday pics. We'll see what I get pics of first!

Mmmm...

Today I got the tree decorated. We celebrate an odd mish mash of things. For the longest time, it had been mom and me. She converted to Judaism before I was born, and so we did the whole Hanukkah thing for years with my non-blood Uncle Max and Aunt Sarah (who were not married to each other, nor a couple, but acted like they had been married for eons). We lived with my Nana, who was a Presbyterian, so we also celebrated Christmas with her and my Aunt Sarah's son, Sam, and daughter-in-law, Jenny.

I can't even say when we stopped fully celebrating both. It must have been while I was in High School. We still put up the menorah and lit the candles, but Christmas became the big thing. The tradition became going to see the lights on Christmas Eve with Sam and Jenny. Then we would go back to their lovely house and open most of the gifts. I always had the biggest pile. I though it was the awesomest thing.

I don't fancy myself Christian in any way, though my mom says that my moral compass points in that direction. In a lot of ways, she is right. I believe you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I believe in the Christianity that doesn't exist for the most part.

Wow, that got off track! Anyway, I am a practicing Pagan, so I guess I celebrate Yule now. I have a beautiful Kid and a Taller Half. I don't exactly know where his views truly fall, and that's okay. He knows where mine are, and we are okay with that! I want to raise Little Human with the idea that it isn't all about the stuff. Stuff is nice, but that's not all it is. The parts I remember best are hanging out with family and enjoying good food and having fun.

We have a tree up. We put up lights outside, which we have never done before. We have plans for dinner. Jonathan has to work, and we will miss him for most of the day. I am thinking we may move the festivities to Christmas Eve so we can all enjoy it.

This year is going to be very toned down, due to finances. I am pretty okay with that. Yeah, I would like a new camera, and I want to get Jonathan something grand. I want Little Human to get all of the new nifty things and for mom to get whatever it is she wants most of all (I have to pester her about that). In reality, I am probably getting some new headphones since mine are dying a slow painful death. Little Human will get bath toys and clothes (maybe some Elmo DVDs). I haven't decided on Jonathan's prezzie yet, nor my moms. I know that no matter what, we are still going to have a good year.

I will get pics of the outside of the house to put up, and some of the tree. This isn't exactly a *home* post, but it is about all of the things that make a home. It will probably end up cross posted to my lj.

ARGH!

The bunnies appear to be eating the things we planted in the front yard. The gate used to have deadly rabbit fencing attached to the bottom. We took that off after we all got mauled by it. However, the bunnies figured out how to get under the gate after watching the fat assed quail get under the fence. They ate my wormwood and are trying to eat mom's honeysuckle. I guess I will need to figure out a way to get fencing up that isn't deadly but also keeps bunnies out.

I am hoping to change out that fencing and gate in the next year to something prettier. I guess it will have to be closer to the ground as well. I like the bunnies, just not eating my pretties.

We have Christmas lights that we are putting up. Mostly white but I got a couple of strands that are multi-colored to go around the railing on the front porch. We will take pictures.

I got three more boxes unpacked today. I wish we had more display space. We have lovely Buddhas and some other great display stuff, but nowhere to put it. Not to mention I have all of the pottery and ceramic ducks. I know where I want them to go, I just have to get the cabinet built for them to sit on top of. I can't wait for that cabinet. More kitchen storage and storage for the Oreck and the Bissell.


Here is the picture of the front of the house that I promised and almost forgot about! Sorry it's crooked. The listing agent took the pic. Look at my trees in the front! I love them! Also the big green things behind the tree on the right are the monstrous euonymus and the roses.
Front of house

ACK!

We have too many DVDs. I started putting them up today, finally. I have two racks and have discovered that I will need another. I find this irritating. Although, I miss watching movies, so this needed to happen. I am hoping to buy a new TV when we get my house sold. The one that was in the old living room was fine but it will not work here. It's a 32" CRT. I think Jonathan has put it on Craigslist. It's an awesome TV, just huge and we have nowhere for it to go. However, we are currently using a 20" that Jonathan's mom gave us, which is great but soooooo tiny! We have to make it work for now since it will fit on the stand and the 32" won't. Off to hunt down another rack...