Friday, March 4, 2011

The next project...

It is upon us. I mentioned before that the next big thing happening before the "Big Move" was a tool shed in the backyard. It is going to house bikes, dollies, and various tools and garden implements that can't fit don't need to be in the garage. The plan has changed so many times. It started with the idea of a poured concrete foundation, but that proved to be too much work, and almost ended up pushing the tool shed idea into a pre-fab thing from Home Depot rather than a built-from-scratch building. But after some time thinking, and better perspective, and some ideas from the CAD-trained brother, it moved to a wooden platform foundation. Again, scrapped. Now it has (finally) evolved and is now blossoming as a tool shed with a foundation made with pavers, concrete supported uprights, and a full one roof built with rafters and tin roofing. The next step will be to add the hardy plank siding, and paint it.

Planning the roof and its supports.

The rafters installed.


The roof going on.

So proud of my sweetie!

I took my youngest to the town center Sunday afternoon while big sister was off with a friend. We enjoyed Swirlls frozen yogurt, playing near the fountain, and shopping for baubles.

I splurged on myself after receiving a (very) small financial windfall and bought a couple of refurbished lenses. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus  and the Canon Ef 28-135 3.5/5.6 Is Usm so of course I have been goofing off and taking even more random photos than ever.

For a last bit of random-ness, I made Italian beef in the crockpot this week. Devine on a crusty bun with provolone cheese and sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Oh, and my oldest got her track uniform and for some very bizarre reason she was totally excited about it. Go figure.

I am going to spend the weekend trying to tap into her energy reserve.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Latest Musings

I teased you last time. I mentioned all this food I had cooked, but I didn't have a single photo to document it. Well, I did have photos, but I couldn't find them at the time. So here they are.

 I was (suddenly) inspired by some recipes in the Pioneer Woman cookbook. Not sure why because I have owned this cookbook for awhile and it hasn't inspired me in a long time. I can't say I have made more than a couple of dishes from the book. It's not that I don't adore the PW's recipes, but I have a tendency to surf her website or Tasty Kitchen before I reach for the book. But there I was, my heart quickening at the thought of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. So I dove in. Of course, I don't remember to take pictures at the right times, if at all, so these are pretty random.

For whatever reason, I was compelled to take (and then convert to B&W) a photo of her book. Beats me why.

This is the chicken fried steak station, before the main attraction debuted from the frig. You can see the spuds cut in the background for mashed potatoes.


This is the CFS all breaded and ready to be cooked. Strangely (or not so much if you know me), there are no photos of the finished product nor the gravy.


Here are the potatoes. Finished. No photos of anything in between (other than the fact that they appear in the background in a photo above.) I used Yukon Gold potatoes in case anyone is wondering.


This is sopapilla cheesecake. It is not a recipe from PW, but from a friend at work. This is a fiendishly delicious cake/pie/dessert/whatever. Anything with a stick of butter, two blocks of cream cheese and two containers of crescent roll dough is bound to be sinful.

Over all this menu was pretty easy, if a bit time consuming. Definitely a Sunday dinner kind of thing rather than a week night meal, and part of that was due to the fact that things had to happen in stages. No one stage was hard, but there were parts of it that couldn't happen until another part was completely done. Oh, and it was messy. Clean up wasn't difficult per se, but there was grease everywhere from the frying, plus flour, eggs, etc., so it was time consuming as well.

In other news, my sweetie (see that handsome man below?) bought be an external flash for my camera for Valentine's Day. So I tested it out. On him first, of course. Curses on the crazy white balance in the kitchen. It rivals that of the bathroom.

Then we met my sister for dinner at the kids' favorite Mexican restaurant, so I tested it out there too. This is little one with her balloon monkey. She was having a rough day so no happy face for you.

This is the older one. She is currently fascinated with the macabre, so this was her attempt (and but one frame of many photos) at making a stop-motion film about stabbing her hand.

And I let my little one take a pic of me. She likes to fill the frame. Can you tell? Despite the fact that my nose is the most prominent feature in the photo, I kind of like this shot.

Oh, and I took a few random shots in my office. Here is one of the things you will always find on my desk.

Last are these photos. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the flash, but they are pretty random.

Before I go, I will make one more statement about the shower. Not surprisingly, it is still totally and completely amazing. We love it, and it was very much worth the burdens.

Stay tuned for storage shed construction.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It is done!

I wrote the title and then I thought of Charlton Heston and the Cecil B. deMille movie... "The Ten Commandments." Remember when Yul Brenner, as the pharoah Ramses would say, "So let it be written, so let it be done." In any case, that was a total deviation from the post.

The shower!! Yippee! And it is more than awesome. Soooo much room. Sooooo much light. Soooo much cleaner and awesomer than I ever imagined.



Holy cannoli! Isn't it amazing! A whole additional 12" of space in the width, plus three shower heads (one single and one dual), plus four body sprayers, plus a little notched out area to put my foot while I shave.

Whew! So much work, but worth it. (Not sure why the last photo is so blown out. Must have been playing with the camera settings.)

In other, non-noteworthy news...

My girls and I went to 1905 Pizza Bar and ate an enormous pizza. Russ joined us, and after dinner we went to Swirlls for frozen yogurt.

Last week saw Valentine's Day come and go.  My supervisors and I set up a candy bar for the staff.

I got flowers from the most amazing guy I know.

We went to see live music at a bar. Infinity's Twin is a local band where the lead singer also plays electric violin. It sounds dorky but once you see it you understand how cool it is. Check them out on Facebook: Infinity's Twin on Facebook.

We went to a game night with a bunch of friends and drank some amazing whisky called Willet. Never heard of it, but it was really tasty. Let me demonstrate the side effects.

And, as someone aspiring to improve her photography skills who is also participating in a project 365, I took the first (and probably the last) amazing picture of the year.

I think that's it. I made chicken fried steak (a la The Pioneer Woman Cooks) but no photos. I also made her creamy mashed potatoes. I have a photo somewhere. Oh, and sopapilla cheesecake. I think I have a photo of it. Guess I need to catch up on my photo uploading.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Complete Randomness

Let's tick off some randomness for today.

1) Not much more progress on the shower. Some fixtures went in (which I have shown in a prior post but will do here too) and they look purdy, but the shower doors don't arrive until today (and probably won't get installed until tomorrow). The new hot water heater is here, and there is some talk that some folks might try to install it themselves. I'll let you know how that goes.

2) I made The Pioneer Woman's Three Cheese Pasta the other night. It was pretty good, although contrary to her directions, I did in fact cook the pasta a little too long and it did indeed come out a bit mushy. Oh, and  I forgot to save my pasta water. I also made bruschetta to go with it.

3) I love my Nook. I take it everywhere with me. I named it. Samirah Amie. Samirah = companion and Amie = friend. I often take pictures of it. Weird huh?

4) I got a hair cut. Actually, first I colored my hair. I hated the color at first glance. Especially before the highlights, but even after. It was kind of ash-y. I am always trying to counteract the gold-ishness of my hair and sometimes the color takes it too far into the bluish/greenish territory. But then I got my hair cut. All of the ladies at the salon loved my color and complimented me on it. Huh? I told them what I used (Loreal's Color Expert - Toasted Coconut) and that I thought is was ash-y. They didn't think so. After the cut, which did get rid of the really soft, super-ash-y ends, I was happier.

5) We went to a Super Bowl party. Who doesn't go to a Super Bowl party? Beer, and single barrel Jack Daniels, and bacon wrapped water chestnuts, and stuffed mushrooms, and spinach artichoke dip, and so on. It is kind of like Thanksgiving. Except with lots of appetizers. And liquor. (Note football game in background.)

6) I took random pictures of traffic the other morning on my commute.

That about sums up my week.