Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home-made and Cheap

I AM LOVING THIS! Check out these "recipes" for home cleaning products....let's see I think I'll make soap first :)

I went to Ikea 3 weeks ago with DD, and bought a dedicated large spaghetti pot for soap making. When the weather warms, I will be doing this project outdoors, so as not to be using caustic chemicals (lye) in the kitchen. I need to also get a hotplate I can use outdoors....wonder where I can find one of those? I am looking to get a picnic table this summer also, and another yard swing...As if I'm made of money! Oh well, there's always something!

This year for christmas I am giving homemade soaps that I will make throughout the warmer weather. That is a do-ahead kind of project I'm thrilled about. And, I was thinking of knitting a washcloth for each bar I give. I have a million washcloths now, and I cannot knit any more for myself unless I wanna be Crazy Washcloth Lady (which I don't), so the next ones I make will be for gifts! I still have crap-loads of leftover cotton yarn to use up!

St Patty's Day is around the corner, I should make up some decor....Let me check on Ravelry and see what is there, I know I'd queued several shamrock designs in past years. I want to Irish up my house this year!

I am on a super-tight budget this month, after having to pay up front for the wisdom tooth to be pulled. Hope the insurance will reimburse me quickly. I love a challenge, though :)

If the weather behaves a bit, I may walk to work one day, and just plan on staying through lunch. I burn a bit o' gas going home each day for lunch, but I really can't stand staying there through my whole lunch hour if I don't have to. Soon, I may be biking (I know, I said that a couple years ago. This time the cost of gas may make me actually follow through)

Menu possibilities for this week: crock pot 15-bean soup, homemade chocolate chip cookies, cheese/sausage & crackers antipasti, penne pasta with homemade sauce (I made it already this week with huge chunks of meat), chicken spinach wraps, naan sandwiches with hummus.

Happy almost-Spring, y'all!

Aim, the impatient

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Reading

DS brought me this beautiful bouquet of roses at work for Valentine's Day! Isn't he a sweetie?! I love my kids, they rock!

I have spent my looooooong winter reading this series of 12 novels:

I have enjoyed the whole series immensely! I like that these 12 novels have been reprinted in collections of 3 novels per volume, so that I only had to buy 4 books total. The best part of getting the books like this is that as soon as you finish one gripping book in the series, you can move on immediately to the next one without having to wait! I like that!

This has truly been the winter of reading for me! And I feel well-rested because of it! I am ready for spring, and lots of hard work in the garden!

Drum roll, because I said I'd show you the Aran Wrap Cardi, so here it is:

For knitting now, I am currently working on Shiri Mor's lace cardi from the Vogue Fall 2010 issue. I am really enjoying working on this, I love the yarn color, the feel (wool!), and the way it locks into place as it is blocked. I'm loving it! I hope to have this cardi finished by April, though there is no rush. I am just focused on it right now and enjoying the process, except when the charts make no sense. Arrrgggh!

I have begun to walk the doggie again, now that it is melting outside and there are clear patches and it is not dangerously cold! The pooch is happy about that, and I am too.

Wanna hear my large garden plans? Maybe next post.....! Spring is coming!!!!!!! Woot!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lovin' the Links

Can't wait til the earth looks like this around here again....

Been surfin' yesterday--nothin' else to do after having a wisdom tooth pulled! I've been not much good for anything else.

But wow, I found some great recipes I want to share! And great websites--did you know that Gooseberry Patch has a website, and also a blog?! SQUEEEEEE! I never knew this. I am enamored of their recipes and cookbooks, in fact I think I have 8 of them! They are my go-to cookbooks for great, well-tested recipes.. I am so excited, I printed out a couple of their dip recipes from the December 2010 archive, looks delish!

I like that they have downloadable artwork too on their site!

I found this interesting and simple microwave popcorn recipe! Whodathunk?! Make it plain and then add whatever you want! And on the same website, a really great idea for hot cocoa sticks to give as gifts! LOVE that one! And Rosemary Bread! And biscuit donuts!

And, I found a new fav Indian foods blog to love! I'll be watching this one! Must try her Naan bread, that TK blogged about! I plan on trying that recipe today.

Nutella recipes are always welcome--I just don't have enough daylight in 24 hours to make all these great recipes! Can't believe I missed World Nutella Day on Feb 5 (or was it 6th?)!

These links are not food, but the cutest crafts for the holidays! I know, I'm a bit behind, but there is always another Christmas lurking around the corner!Paper-craft wreath for the holidays. Great idea! And I'm really liking these natural Christmas ornaments--woodland themed and cheap! I also like the technique in this pinecone garland. That's different!

Oooooh, and look at the lovely reindeer penny rug made out of felt! This is too cute, I should make one for my table centerpiece for next christmas....

And I want to make these really sweet herb pots! I LOVE chalkboard paint! And, for next christmas, some great printable gift tags from gooseberry patch!

This morning's Chicago Tribune featured a local home that is passive-built, and it was very interesting reading. I'd love to learn more about green living and eventually adapt the changes that I can to my own homw, so I went on over to the Four Thick Walls blog to see what it's all about. This looks like something very very doable.

Spring fever is upon me, though we still have weeks of winter left. I can't help it, it was 60 degrees 3 days ago and I went out and planted some pink daffodil bulbs that had been chilling in my fridge since I bought them in January. The remaining winter temps should be enough to activate these puppies--can't wait. It was fun to get my fingers muddy, too! And 99% of our snowfall from the blizzard is already melted, I can seen green grass, green moss, and buds all over my star magnolia! The springtime countdown is on!

Here's hoping you all are enjoying good food and good family times this winter! I'm off to church, then to spend my Groupon at the local bookstore, woot!

ETA: the naan bread was very good, though my kitchen filled with smoke! Tends to do that every time I use a dry skillet!
Manana, pics of the Aran Wrap Cardi....


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digging Out

See why I dream of moving to Hawaii? (p.s.-- there are 2 cars in this pic.)

Poor puppy can't find a place to pee....

I spent an hour getting to my car from the front door.

And yes, there is a car under there....

The drifts along the 6 foot privacy fence reach 5 feet outside the kitchen window.

The back yard is not so bad drift-wise.

Very thankful the power did not go out. DS said his girlfriend in Chicago walked down to the beach near her apt, and saw 20 foot waves and lightning over the lake during the blizzard! Wierd.

All the people across the street have minimal snow on their cars b/c the wind has been drifting snow toward their back doors instead of the front doors. Only their side of the street has been plowed also >:\

This is as far as I got. It's DS's turn to shovel next! Why didn't I think to park my car at the street end of the driveway?! Now we have to shovel the whole thing. And it needs to be done by tonight, with overnight temps expected to hit -5 to -15 F!

Interject some color:

Whoa! I was a bit iffy about this after I painted it--I wanted cottage green, and thought it was intensely minty instead. Yikes

Better with some floating shelves and my Yellowstone photos. I'm still not sure about leaving the wallpaper border up (it has been up for 15 + years, on a light pink room.) It's growing on me. The color is a nice change.

BTW, don't know if I've posted since I finished my Aran Wrap Cardi? Pics to come. I am loving this cardi like no other. Have worn it to work several times when the temps have been below zero, and I have gotten a lot of comments. I also love to wear it in the "green room" pictured above, as that room tends to be cooler than the rest of the house. It's like wearing a cozy wool blanket!