Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thank goodness for Stitch Witch

This AM found me frantically trying to "hem" Beans uniform pants with Stitch Witch. My mother is buying me a sewing machine for Christmas. Any recommendations for something for a person who has never used a sewing machine in their life? (Yes, I will be taking any and all lessons from whereever I buy it.) I don't want to spend more than around $250.

I'd like to get something that will last me a while and enable me to hem jeans and other heavy fabrics as well as do some beginning quilting. (If I'm going to learn how to sew, I might as well learn how to quilt since a quilt shop just opened up near me.)

You know those Mastercard priceless commercials? Yeah, mine would all deal in time rather than money. I have Too Much on my plate these days but I have been very firm about not signing up for anything new, so I'm learning.

Girl Scout Daisies - 1 hour
Dentist appointment with small child - 1 1/2 hours
Church cookbook meeting - 3 hours

8 hours sleep? Priceless

And, right now, I'd pay an awful lot of money to have had that 8 hours.

Maybe tonight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

aka Cranberries for Carole

Carole has been all over the cranberry recipes lately, so I thought I'd give her a new one.

This is a relish they serve on a turkey sandwich at the Neiman Marcus Mermaid Bar. I grew up eating lunch there with my mother and grandmother and am enjoying going with my mother and Bean now.

Cranberry Jalapeno Chutney

Adapted from Neiman Marcus

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 C cider vinegar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 C onions, minced

1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is soooo much better)

1/4 C pickled jalapeno slices, minced

Put everything except the jalapenos is a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add jalapenos.

Allow chutney to cool before using.

Will store in fridge for a couple of weeks if it lasts that long.

Addictive on poultry and pork tenderloin.

It's also really good poured over cream cheese and served with Wheat Things. (OK, that's a typo and should be Thins, but it's funny so I'm leaving it. Wheat Things - the wheat cracker shaped like who knows what!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

At 5.30am, my body decided MUST WAKE UP NOW. Must Wake Up and Be Exhausted. Must be Tired must not sleep tired good better than sleep.

I hate waking up at 5.30. There isn't enough time to settle down and go back to sleep and I can't get up and Do Stuff without waking up everyone else.

So, I went to the library and picked up a few things and tonight plan to lay in bed and read trashy Janet Evanovich mysteries and watch the Dancing With the Stars finale.

And now, I will go to Border's to use my 40% coupon. It's pretty pathetic when you'd rather lay on the couch than save a ton of money on Christmas presents.

Monday, November 26, 2007

If Marie Osmond wins Dancing with the Stars I will Not Be Pleased.

We have an appointment to interview the potential pediatrician replacement on Friday. Let's hope The Bean doesn't break an arm or something in the meantime. Although that would require a specialist. Although my current pediatrician would probably tell me to put a Bandaid on it and wait a few days to see if it's really broken.

In other news, Ikea rocks. Not only do they put out a pretty darn good breakfast for 99 cents, they have cool lamps.

I'm assuming that Knappa Tulpan means Tulip lamp or something similar.

And then we found this lampshade which goes pretty well with the other embroidered stuff in her room. Lots of color in our house which does pretty well with white and accents of color.

It's the shade on the bottom left with the embroidered circles in pink, green, blue, and silver. The other embroidered shades are pretty neat as well. And, for some reason, I'm having trouble typing embroidered. It keep coming out as embroided.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

All stocked up

One cannot have too many champagne glasses. Particularly when planning a New Year's Day open house.

Ikea to the rescue. It's a helluva drive from my house, but boy we did have fun!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The only thing left...

...of our holiday meal is some gravy and a few sweet potatoes. I'm thinking that Starbucks should round up all the leftover gravy and offer Gravy Lattes.

Meanwhile, I am in search of a jackety blazer kind of thing. Basically, I want a sort of gussied up blazer, but not gussied up in the Anthropologie vein. I tried on every damn jacket in that store and was increasingly horrified at the succession of ugly. I really, really wanted the red wide wale corduroy one. Until I tried it on and found out that the sleeves were excessively puffy. Linebacker Liz! Another featured a collar that made me look like a turtle. Yet another was a tease on the hanger and ended up making me look like something out of a David Bowie video from the Ziggy Stardust oeuvre. And not in a good way.

Banana Republic had a black velvet blazer. It completely lacked any style whatsoever.

J Crew was all knits. Gap? Ha!

There has to be a happy medium out there.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Back at the pediatrician today. Bean is still sick and they rather condescendingly decided they'd give her an antibiotic.

I'll be getting a new pediatrician next week. I already have a prime candidate. One of my best friends recommended her ped who turns out to be someone I'd known as a child. Her mom and my mom are friends and I know she's a kick ass human being. Pray that she's accepting new patients because I'd like a doctor who believes that medicine involves actually administering medicine to your patients rather than stringing them along for three visits until it turns into the second case of pneumonia in three months. (The doc wanted us to come back Monday but my husband squared off in his chair and gave doc The Look of Death and doc decided that perhaps he'd give us meds after all.)

The snow amounted to a total amount of what you saw on the dog's back. Texas Dandruff.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holy Crap!


It was in the 80s on Tuesday and IT'S SNOWING NOW! (OK, it's snowing and sleeting, but there is a certain What The Hell? quality about the fact that two days ago I was wearing shorts and complaining that I would never get to wear a sweater this winter.)

The only way you'll see the snow is on the high-contrast dog (click for big to actually see the snow. It melts the second it hits the ground. The dog doesn't have dandruff - that's snow. We rarely get snow. Hey! Snowmen for fleas!

Mmmm, champagne improves any meal!

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fever 1, Thanksgiving 0

Oh, it's not that I'm not thankful. Believe me, I am. But I'd find it a bit easier to be more thankful had I not spent an hour in the middle of the night running all the hot water out of the house trying to steam the croupy cough out of my child. She's much better today, but I went ahead and made a doctor appointment. Pneumonia was only three months ago.

So, the Thanksgiving open house we were going to last night? Yeah, not happening.

The lovely Thanksgiving dinner we were going to eat out with my parents tomorrow? Probably not.

I plan on being up at the asscrack of dawn tomorrow to get to the gourmet grocery and buy out the prepared foods case. At least I have a whole bunch of champagne!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Better today

Bean is better today which means we are in an epic Sorry tournament.

Later, Gator.

ETA: Yahoo headlines state "Rollins edges Holliday for National League MVP award"

And my first thought is to wonder what Henry Rollins has to do with baseball.

(I guess he beat out Billie Holliday?)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Me: Bean, hand me that rectangular cake pan, please.

Bean: You mean rectangular prism.

Me: It's a rectangle and I need it for the cake.

Bean: No, Mama, rectangles are two-dimensional and a three-dimensional rectangle is a rectangular prism.

Me: Hand me that there pan or there won't be any cake. (I'm from Texas and, in moments of irritation, my grammar betrays me.)

Bean: hands over said pan.

We had a little dinner party last night and it was lots of fun. Just burgers out on the grill, homemade guacamole, and a Texas Sheet Cake for dessert. After everyone left and we got Bean to bed, Dr. Pig and I discovered that "Bill Cosby: Himself" was on TV. We laughed ourselves sick.

Liz's Really Good Guac

2 large avocados (I use Hass)
Handful of grape tomatoes, cut into a small dice (yeah, it's a pain but it's worth it)
Half and red onion, small dice
handful of cilantro, minced
1 small spoonful of mayo
juice of one large lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mash avocado with mayo and most of lime juice until creamy but not totally smooth. Add all the other stuff. Add reserved lime juice if needed. Test frequently to assure that the seasoning is correct.

You can make this a couple of hours in advance. Put a layer of plastic wrap over the guac and press it down directly onto the guac ensuring that full contact is made over the entire surface of the bowl. Generally, I scoop the guac into a different bowl than I mashed it up in because any guac not shut off from the air will oxidize and get gross. Some people use the pit, but that will not keep a wide bowl from turning brown at the edges. The plastic wrap will keep it nice and green!


This stuff is pretty sweet but it's really good. The cake batter will be very thin. This produces an extremely fine crumb and light texture.

¼ cup cocoa

1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 beaten eggs

½ cup buttermilk (I use the Secco dry kind that you mix with water - means I always have buttermilk in my fridge)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring cocoa, butter and water to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Pour the cocoa mixture over and blend well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

After the cake is out of the oven and while it is still hot, make the frosting and pour over cake.

Frosting: In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup cocoa and 6 tablespoons milk. Add 3/4 pound powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Makes 20 servings.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Morning at my house

Normally, we get Bean up around 6.45am, so she can be at school at 7.50. Weekends, she get to sleep later.

I was up first today, per usual. We have a small house, but the bedrooms are down two long hallways, so you can't hear anything from the back bedroom (Bean's) if you are in the den. So, we still have a baby monitor up just in case she falls out of bed or something while we still up watching TV.

At around 7.30am, I hear her screaming, "Someone come wake me up!!" After I recovered enough from my laughing fit to be able to walk, she starts in again, "Come on guys! Wake me up!" I go back and she's got the covers over her head and is fake snoring. Hilarious stuff!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sock yarns

Once interesting result of my sock knitting extravaganza is getting to use all sorts of new sock yarns.

So far, I've used Socks That Rock Lightweight, Sundara, Shibui Knits, Dream in Color, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and the discontinued Superglitz, and Colinette Jitterbug. I definitely have my favorites from among those, which I'll post about next week (when it's not almost 6 on a Friday after a very long week and when I don't have a lovely glass of Sauv Blanc in front of me that needs priority attention).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Triple Witching*

Tomorrow, all of my school volunteer duties have coincided:

11-12 work lunch/recess

1.15 - 2pm library

2.50-4pm Girl Scouts

Watch my head spin around and my hair fall out!

In other news, Molly-dog is doing much better. She still has a limp, but it is much improved. I've been keeping her in her kennel most of the day to keep her off of it. Hopefully, she'll be fine in a couple of days!

* In the financial world, triple witching occurs on the third Friday of the last month of each quarter. Stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expire; causing an increase in trading which makes traders pull their hair out trying to reconcile and remember everything.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Playdate of Dooooooooooooooooom

One of Bean's friends came over for a playdate today with his little brother.

The damage assessment:

Dog running around yard at top speed suddenly started yelping and now has an inexplicable limp. I've felt all over her leg and she's not whimpering or anything. She walks around, just suddenly has a limp. This is not good but hopefully it's not Not Good.

My dead grandmother's really pretty lamp with the glass lampshade was slammed into the wall and now has a less pretty lampshade. Glue-able and I'll turn that part to the back. Sad, but nobody was hurt so I'm going to be philosophical.

Bean fell off the hammock and whacked her leg on the hammock pole.

P.'s little brother whacked the heck out of him with a stick.

On the plus side, no bleeding or fires!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yesterday, we drove out to the Heard Natural Science Museum to see the animatronic dinosaur exhibit. We had lots of fun seeing fossils and tons of lovely poisonous snakes (behind glass) native to our area. And lots of spiders and other beasties.

On the ride home, I saw something on Dr. Pig's collar and went to brush if off and then saw it was a big ass spider. This thing was the size of a dime and had red spots on its butt. Fortunately, I had an empty plastic water bottle in the car so I managed to imprison the spider. I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn't a black widow, but I was hardly going to try and smash the darn thing n Dr.'s shoulder when I wasn't sure what it was!

As near as I can figure, it's just a black house spider, but even those can mess you up a bit. A bite can leave you with an icky oozing sore and a killer headache, so I'm glad nobody was bit. Can't you just imagine us driving 65MPH on the highway with an attack spider? Thriller.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bean always has some hilarious pretend going. Her bathroom has a separate bath and shower and these days, prior to her bath, she likes to go in the shower stall and "have meetings". Most of these meetings involve quite a bit of singing. After all, the acoustics in a shower can't really be beat.

So, one of her other pretends is that she is a teacher. She teaches the golden retriever class and will get on her scooter (we clean off the scooter and let her ride it inside as well since she understands that inside means not being a speed demon) and lead the class. Tonight she told me her teacher name: Mrs. Martinis. I found this too funny. She just misunderstood the name of one of the first grade teachers: Mrs. Martinez but the grade school teachers I know are all happy to be Mrs. Martinis once school lets out!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If the color portion of your printout is small, it's alot cheaper to just expense a color cartridge and paper and print it out on your own printer than pay Kinko's 49 cents a copy.

And isn't this the cutest Christmas ornament?

This is what I spent last week designing!

Friday, November 09, 2007

yeah yeah yeah

We used to have a little neighborhood bistro that we adored. Great food, great prices, great wine. And then the chef left and darkness fell on our little bistro because subsequent chefs were not quite as good. And then the light returned as the beloved chef bought the restaurant! MMmm, nothing like a really good meal that you didn't have to cook.

Even better were the two glasses of wine!

And pirate shoes (picture tomorrow).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

When in doubt, post a picture of dirty sheep

I wonder what kind of Google hits that title will get me?

Sheep from Dallas Heritage Village aka Old City Park. (Link is to the page with the sheep shearing on it rather than the home page. I know my audience ;>)

It looks like the animal are right next to the street and, while they are close, they aren't as close as it appears. (It's also a relatively quiet street.)

Old City Park is a pretty interesting place. It's like having a historical reenactment festival all year 'round (ahem Carole ahem). To quote from the website, " Dallas Heritage Village is a living history museum portraying life in North Texas from 1840-1910. The museum is composed of 38 historic structures & boasts a working Civil War era farm, a traditional Jewish household, elegant Victorian homes, a school, a church & commercial buildings."

At Christmas, they have amazing candlelight tours.

My favorite building is the schoolhouse. All the kids were really taken with the McGuffy readers, etc. I'm thinking of getting the Bean a McGuffy reader for Christmas. The phonics, etc. that she is learning in her classroom fit amazingly well with the readers of old.

We toured a few homes that had reenactors in them. The best was the Sullivan home with the tour given by the family dressmaker, Mrs. Kennedy. She gave us some really interesting historical tidbits and she had some lovely knitting. I won the parental seal of the approval when I inquired about the historical accuracy of Addi Turbos (this was after everyone else had left - no other knitters in the group). And yes, there were cable needles in 1885! The woman informed me that she'd stopped knitting modern patterns and was now knitting exclusively from her time period in the park. I really wanted to stay and ask her a ton of questions about where she gets her patterns and what yarn she was using and did she spin and dye it herself, but I had to manage my group of kiddos. Maybe another day.

I've gotten absolutely no knitting in this week. Last night I was beat and that little voice calling me to the latest sock was completely quashed by the other voice reminding me that I had already ripped out that heel once by knitting when tired (KTI) and neglecting to slip the first stitch of the row on all of the heel rows. I didn't want to reknit it twice!

Today is a half day and we have parent/teacher conferences. The school very kindly emails you report cards in advance of the conference. I think it's fabulous, because you will then be prepared to ask questions, etc. Bean is doing very, very well in all areas except for a few behavior things like Not Resting Quietly at rest time. Good luck getting that to change and, if you do, please share with me! She's five, so I'm not inclined to worry about a bit of wigglyness.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Done in

We left the school at 9.30am and returned around 2.30pm. I'm beat. Bean is beat.

Funniest part of the day:

19 kindergarteners scaring the crap out of the sheep by baa-ing at them. Don't worry, I made them stop almost immediately while, at the same time, I was trying to get them to move away from the part of the fence near (very very near) the hind end of the cow.


Computer problems yesterday mean yesterday's post this morning and today's post this afternoon.

I used to be able to sleep.

Then I had a baby. Between one thing and another, I am an incredibly light sleeper who suffers from frequent insomnia. Which I loathe.

This time change is kicking my ass. I usually wake up on my own around 6am. Sometimes, I wake up at 5.30, but it's not that often and it's usually sort of nice.

For the past three days, I've woken up at 4.30am. Four Freaking Thirty Ay Em!

And, today, I get to be a parental chaperone on the class field trip. Nothing like a field trip when you'd rather nap.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm trying NaBloPoMo so I have to post today but I have nothing to say and now I will go the grocery store.

Boring me.

Interesting me (relatively speaking) will be back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Yesterday afternoon, I was felled by a migraine.

My head still hurts.

This is really pissing me off.

And I hate the sun.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Soctoberfest Roundup

Retina-searing Monkeys
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock
Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 1
Knit the first sock in September and the second in October

Ribbed Jitterbugs (my own pattern)
Colinette Jitterbug in Jay
Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 1
Knit the first sock in September and the second in October

Whitby socks by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road
Cherry Tree Hill SuperGlitz in Wild Cherry
Clover bamboo DPNs, size 2
Knit both socks in October

Rib and Cable socks by Nancy Bush from IK Fall 2005
Shibui Knits in Orchid
Brittany birch DPNs, size 1.5
Knit both socks in October

More Monkeys
STR in Rolling Stone
Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 1
Knit the both socks in October
Cannot currently find other sock for photo op.

Man, that's alot of socks.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Christmas is upon me

My big project has been picking the annual ornament for the fundraiser for the childhood ministries board at our church. When I signed up for the job, I thought it would be a snap.


I never knew how hard it would be to pick out a nice ornament that people will want to pay a premium for in order to help us do things like provide certification instruction to our childcare/Mother's Day Out workers. And I was supposed to have everything ordered a month ago, but we have had trouble deciding on the ornament.

I discovered that I am Not A Shopper. Oh, sure, I'm pretty good at finding great deals on stuff, but that's because I shop at maybe 6 stores and if it's not there, I don't need it. Did I mention the ornaments need to be personalized? And dated?

Luckily, someone found an adorable ornament at a very pricey boutique. The one thing I'm good at it taking someone else's idea and running with it. I spent most of yesterday getting supplies and creating a sample. We have a professional artist on the board, who has agreed to paint all of the ornaments for a very reasonable fee. I'll post a picture once I get our final sample. I can't believe how cute this is going to be. Nothing like setting an unobtainable precedent for whoever gets this job next year ;>

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Post Mortem

The half an hour drive to Plano was totally worth it.

Bean had a great time and so did we. All of the parents in our group had big ol' go-cups of wine and the kids all ran around and enjoyed the fun.

Bean came home with a truly ridiculous amount of candy and in this neighborhood they go for full size candy bars. Based on our normal patterns of candy consumption, we have enough candy to last us for the next three years or so. The mind boggles.

There were a ton of spooky houses that really went over the top, but there was only one house I found freaky - they had a huge sign out front that read, "The only ghost here is the Holy Ghost." Don't mind me, I'm going across the street to enjoy my pagan rituals.

My feets is tired and I have miles to go before I sleep having made a unexpectedly time-consuming volunteer committment this summer that I am now paying for. Oh well. at least everyone will love me when I'm finished ;>

Hope your Halloween was happy.