Tracking

Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Buzzing Hive

A couple of weeks have gone by...how's it going? Time to catch everyone up I guess. So the good news is my incredibly time-consuming cluster class this semester is independent study. The bad news is my incredibly time-consuming cluster class this semester is independent study, however I am learning to teach children how to read and write which is a fascinating and humbling thing to learn. I am really devoted to this endeavor and can't wait to learn more, but for 6 credit hours it is as much work as a full-time student. In any event, I have been able to halfway keep up with everything else and once I catch up to the rest of the class (I started a week late) I should be back on track.

I did manage to make the Baked Potato Casserole I talked about. It wasn't bad, but it was weird. The sauce called for three eggs and it was like scrambled eggs on the bottom of the dish, but not in a good way. The flavor was there though and I paired it with some baked chicken for the fam.

I have managed to get out and take a few pics, especially in the snow! There is a rumor going around we are in for a dastardly storm Tuesday, but at least we will have a new blanket of white. It is going to make New York look like it has mild dandruff. They will have nothing on the midwest's Snowmageddon!


Wait...is that a terrorist Yeti?

Also, Gromit is almost done and he will get a post that is all about him. He is completely crocheted and in the process of being assembled paw by paw. I have picked a pattern for February too. He is red and from a kid's TV show. Any guesses? I also have to make a surprise baby gift, birthday gift and finish embroidering the hanky for a very Normal man in my life.

Housekeeping: I haven't kept up with my bubble bath goal yet, but the rest are on track mostly.



The Catty Kitchen first annual meeting was at my crib a week ago. Those girls are nuts.





Bud is working on his first Pinewood Derby car and a science project about hyenas.



The kids and I take it easy on Sundays whilst the Yeti saves a perverse nation from telecommunications withdrawal. Maybe one of these days I will post something interesting.

Cheers.

Photo of the Day - Sleepy

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recipe Trial #1 - Chunky Vegetable Lasagna

Good morning. One of my little ambitions for myself this year is to try at least one new recipe a month to help break up the monotony of the dishes we religiously fall back on. My mom gave us some lasagna noodles around Christmas time and I have never made it before so this was an easy choice for my first go. I used Betty Crocker's recipe from my Gram's book with some minor tweaks for ingredients I didn't have.
 


The only things I left out were the red bell pepper. Believe it or not our grocer was out of them so I used another green one. And the pesto...I thought about the pesto, but didn't have what I needed so I nixed it.
The lasagna was relatively simple to put together, however there were several different elements going on at the same time, which typically I don't think would have been a bother, but my kitchen is rather small and I was feeling pretty cramped early on.






 The ricotta mixture was a breeze and the best flavor in the dish.
The veggie mix was hearty and chunky. I think 3 carrots is a bit much because that is mostly what I tasted when it was done. I don't have a mandolin slicer to cut Julienne pieces either so I sort of got large shreds from the peeler. If I make it again, I will just chop the carrots for easier consumption. Also I would say the veggies could have used more spices, but that is where I think the pesto would have stepped in and made a difference.



Into the oven...


...all done. Overall, it was tasty and left that awesome soupy water in the dish when you use a lot of veggies. The pesto may have balanced out all the carrots and the ricotta shined. We paired this with a spinach salad. Whoa! That's a lot of veggies, but it wasn't bad. Next time I would try to make sure I had a baguette and some red wine, but not a bad first venture.

Some observations I made during this. I am no "Grace" in the kitchen. I need some practice speeding things up and making less of a mess. I am very methodical and focused which can make watching a three year old girl a daunting task. But I liked doing this. I think I will get better and I had some fun and it was nice to try something new for dinner.

Next week I am making Baked Potato Casserole, probably as a side dish.

Mooches.

Photo of the Day - Vortex

Photo of the Day - 31 Years

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Photo of the Day - Looking Forward

31

If your name is John Pitts and your birthday is today come on down for your celebration. It is time to emphasize how much we love you.
 
We knew for your birthday you would want some recycled Christmas card garland to go with your birthday banner so I put the kids to work making just the thing for your special day. You will probably get some brownies too.
 Here's to another great year. We <3 you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lost, Found and Hand-Me-Down

Howdy! One of my little boredom preventative measures in 2011 is to try new things in the kitchen. For me this means a new recipe each month at the very least or more ambitiously, every week. In honor of this quest I am going to share a hand-me-down from my Grandma Rose.
A straightforward title, this book contains the recipes my Gram collected over the years as well as her family's recipe for Spaetzle. Now my Gram was not a ground-breaker in the kitchen and mostly worked from recipes she knew and liked, much like myself. But what this album lacks in culinary creativity it makes up for with a homey feel and oodles of cards written in my Gram's exquisite script.
It's so tiny and consistently perfect. And these cards are not even her finest penmanship. My first recipe I try out though will not be from this book. However, I am using Gram's tried and true Betty Crocker cookbook to concoct some veggie lasagna today. Ultimately, though, I need to man up and try to make the spaetzle. I mean I am mostly German after all, right?

Mooches.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Photo of the Day - Slacks

Gromit is First

Hi there. I have picked my pattern to complete for January and his name is Gromit. He is the adorably silent and observant pup from Wallace and Gromit. I found his pattern via Ravlery and will be sending him to a newborn boy upon completion. I will post progress pics as I get them. I have also been trying my hand at some embroidery and whipping up some crochet jar cozies. Wanna see?

Bad pics aside, I definitely need some practice on my embroidery, but this kitty from Sublime is simple enough for me to start practicing. I am also quite pleased that I can crochet while attentively playing Guess Who?

Ciao.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Photo of the Day - Pine Tree

Hi. It's been a while. I would really like to go outside and take some pictures, but I don't tolerate the cold very well. I know...I'm a wimp.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Made This in 2010

1. Boober's Lovebug for Valentine's Day  2. Tummy Time blanket for my newest nephew  3. Abacus for J-fer's birthday  4. Fruit for Boober's birthday  5. Hyperbolic loofah  6. Washcloths for my SNL, Jessie's birthday  7. Bud's Lovebug  8. Flowered bobby pins for Boober  9. Koala-gurumi for a new bundle at work  10. Captain America Shield sea stone for Micah's birthday  11. Incomplete sea stone for work buddy  12. Incomplete felted mushroom ornament for Faith  13. Newborn washcloths for a different new bundle at work  14. Jar cozy 15. Kendall's cupcake ornament  16. Maggie and Adelina's cupcake ornament

Not pictured above is my first jar cozy, a rubber duckie ornament, felted trivet, knitted scarf for my mother-in-law, Boober's valentines for school, re-vamped jewelry, sea stone for Faith's birthday, and a fish-gurumi for my dad's birthday. Who knows? There could be more, but oh my goodness, I had no idea I made so many things this year. I have been feeling like I hadn't touched my yarn all year! I am going to try knitted amigurumi's this year and I know several babies coming that will need some goodies too. Should be a fun challenge!

Cheers.

Update!
01/04/2011 OP: I was reminded by sweet Melissa of some matching place mats I crocheted for her birthday too!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How'd We Do?

Hi there. It's reflection time so put on your cardigan sweaters and comfy shoes. We're going back in time.
Last year ended on another blog with a post about my goals for 2010. Let's make a list of how I did...
1. I enrolled in school for the fall semester. I earned straight A's.
2. I read 12 new books (one a month was the goal here).
3. I updated the blog most weeks.
4. I worked full time and hated it.
5. The time spent with the kids was meaningful for all of us, but I still feel like there is room for improvement.
6. Upon looking back, I am surprised by how much I actually made this year. It felt like I never had time for any yarning, but I really made quite a bit. Photo showcase on this a little later.
7. I am not a better housekeeper and by this I mean I don't plan for it accordingly. But I have already started making amends to this so I don't go crazy.
8. This was by far my biggest accomplishment of 2010. I lost 24 pounds this year and gained three back. I am really proud of this and the habits I established this year to remain a healthy individual. I have ten more to shed and will be kicking major butt to get there by my 30th birthday in April. More than enough time.
So what's in store for 2011?...more specific goals.
1. A switch to pescetarian eating. Why? For the most part this is how I eat anyway. I was put to the test last night when Hubble made fried chicken, but I made it. Second, it is better for the planet. I don't really care for the way poultry, pigs and cows are raised and I choose not to afford the ones that are raised well. Lastly, it is better for me, personally. Meat tastes amazing and I don't deny its place, but this is a switch I am ready to make, most likely for good.
2. No beer aside from TASTING what my brother brews. Again, not a huge jump here. I stopped drinking it most of the time last year when I was trying to lose weight. The two times in my life I had a huge weight gain I was also drinking a lot of beer. It's a no-brainer for me.
3. Now for the fun stuff. In addition to reading one new book each month I would also like to try one new knit or crochet pattern. I am going to attempt to knit an amigurumi this year. I keep avoiding it because I am scared I will screw it up, but that is so ridiculous. No fear yarning!
4. I am going to take a bubble bath every week to unwind.
5. I am going to try a new recipe each month.
6. John and I are going to have date night once a month. Just us.
7. I am going to work on my dance moves so I can go dancing with Killa Milla of Scarlett Garnet jewelry.

I have a few more specific things I would like to do. Time management will be key this year. I am looking forward to trying new things and going part-time again. Everyone should work part-time.

I hope your new year is amazing and fulfilling. Ciao!