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Archive for the ‘autumn’ Category

Some Halloween fun from my new favorite ‘internetainers’…

for more go to http://rhettandlink.com/

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Our weekend started out with a lady bug infestation (only to find out that they are really Asian Lady Beetles).  They were crawling all over the outside of the front of our house, basking in the afternoon sun and searching for ways to get inside… which they unfortunately did.  Erik discovered the best way for him to capture them is with duct tape… however they are coming in faster than we can keep up with!

Friday night, after attending Uncle Phil’s at church, I went to see Jimmy Fallon at UNH with a friend.  I was impressed… I’ve always enjoyed Jimmy Fallon on SNL but I wasn’t sure what his stand up was like.  I was afraid that it would be like other stand up acts I have seen… crude and vulgar… but it wasn’t at all.  He was creative and interactive with the audience and I really enjoyed it.  He brought out a guitar and and did a lot with music and parodies (including an 80’s medly all to the tune of ‘Can’t Touch This’).  I also learned that he was going to be taking over for Conan on “Late Night” in March when Conan moves to the Tonight Show… apparantly this is old news but I hadn’t heard yet.   

My sister and her family arrived on Friday night for the weekend and Erik and Dave (bil) immediatly set up the new smoker and started to smoke a pork shoulder.  Dave had spent all week preparing his ‘secret rub’ for the meat.  They set their alarms so that they could get up through the night and ‘tend to the meat’.

The smoked pork was to be the reward to the projects on Saturday.  The boys worked on clearing the brush from our wooded area in the back yard all day on Saturday.  Our goal is to have that area cleared to make the yard bigger and to have a sunny space for a garden. 

Sunday was church and down time… Moe’s subs for lunch, and we used the leftover ‘secret rub’ to grill a beer can chicken for dinner.  They guys worked on the cars and did various other projects and the girls watched TV and took naps.  I love naps on Sunday afternoon. *sigh*

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This weekend I peeled a 1/2 bushel of apples (by hand, no fancy apple peeler gizmo), and one of the things I made with them was applesauce.  I wanted to make a no-sugar applesauce but I couldn’t really find a recipe that would work for me.  I found several recipes but they called for things like “3 pounds of apples”.  This didn’t quite work for me because I had no idea how to figure out how many pounds of apples I was working with at the time.  How was I supposed to do that?  So I just kind of gleaned what I could from recipes that I found and things friends and my mom had told me and I made it up as I went along.  My biggest fear was that I wasn’t quite sure what the water to apple ratio should be when I was cooking them.

This tends to happen to me a lot.  Especially when it comes to cooking and crafting.  I want to make or create something but I don’t always have exactly everything I need so I change the recipe or pattern.  My mom would say it is the ‘artist’ in me but I wonder if it is just the ‘lazy’ in me… or maybe I’m just being a ‘maverick’ when it comes to this stuff.  Is it that I’m rebellious and don’t want to follow the rules?  I usually end up trying to do it my way by substituting items or just making it up as I go along.  I made pesto with almonds instead of pine nuts (creative?), I have attempted endless knitting projects with the wrong needles and never checked my gauge (lazy), and I combined about 5 recipes for butternut squash soup because none of them seemed just right (maverick).

Often this routine works out ok for me… but there are times that it is just a disaster and I renew my commitment to following the rules.  I think that the applesauce turned out ok, it didn’t seem too watery to me and I just ended up tasting it until I liked the spices… and I didn’t have to use any sugar (yay!). 

Here’s my recipe (could it be more vague?):
-a pot full of peeled & cored apple slices
-about a 1/4 pot full of water
-shake in cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumkin pie spice until you like the taste
-bring to a boil for a while and then mush with a potato masher

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I know I have been behind in posting… so I’ll see if I can catch up a little today.

Last weekend we had my sister and her family stay with us while she worked her Arbonne magic in NH.  It was a treat and involved lots of family time since we also celebrated my dad’s birthday.  It also involve lots of time with my neice Alexi who is now five months old! (and looks adorable in her new pumpkin hat… I need her mom to take a picture of that)

My sil also stopped by so my other nieces and nephew got to hang with the new baby also… they were just precious!

In other news… the front of our house got torn apart this week.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics but the folks at Caledonian Carpentry replaced our front first floor windows (an effort to save on heating this winter) and in the process found that there was a ton of water damage… so we ended up replacing the siding on the first level and a few other things that I don’t exactly understand. Hopefully our house is one step closer to being energy efficient.  We now have a 2-tone house since the new siding is a gray (needs to be painted) and the original on the second level is still pinkish (which needs to be painted also).  I don’t have high hopes for the house being painted before winter since we have some other pressing projects to do before the snow comes including, cutting trees, clearing land, and splitting all that wood… and the weekends are just disappearing away.

We also had our monthly home group potluck this week… with our favorite theme “breakfast for dinner”.  It was amazingly yummy and included pumpkin pancakes, breakfast pizza, smothered homefries, sausage, and Shelley’s famous scrambled eggs.  As you can see the kids loved it.

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labor of love

Yesterday I picked a million apples.  Ok, I only picked 1/2 a bushel of drops and 2 pecks for eating.  I spent the afternoon peeling half of the drops and making an apple pie for my dh.  Apple pie is one of his few desserts of choice (when he is not eating lettuce).  Let me tell you… it is an ordeal!

I planned on making a one crust apple crumb pie but as I was making crust (originally from a tutorial I found at Musings of a Houswife but later found in my Betty Crocker cookbook), I added too much salt because I was looking at the recipe for 2 crusts.  Anyway, I switched to making a traditional 2 crust apple pie.

It took forever!  Peeling all the apples (I used the rest to make applesauce..another story), rolling out the crust, etc.  My kitchen was a disaster when I was done.  But I survived (and did the dishes before Erik got home) and as you can see I think it came out looking ok in the end.  And I think it tasted ok, too.  However, when I had my piece, I wanted ice cream with it but we only had chocolate ice cream… and I learned that chocolate ice cream doesn’t really go all that well with apple pie.  Maybe I’ll pick up some vanilla today and do another taste test.

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Last week I was looking for a knitting project to work on while I was sitting at the fair tent and I came across this pattern for a pumpkin hat and booties.  I’ve been knitting on and off again for several years, however my only successful projects have been a patchwork blanket and several scarves.  But this summer I was inspired (by what did she do today and soulemama) to start knitting again and force myself to actually learn how to follow patterns.  Since then I have learned how to use double pointed needles, made some fingerless gloves, a few hats, and an odd one-size-fits-all (except for me) sweatervest.  My big, long term goal is to knit a wearable sweater (I’ve made 2 or 3 attempts but it just hasn’t happened yet).  I might start with baby sweaters since I had more success with this baby pattern.

So I was excited to actually complete this pattern and have it come out as something recognizable.  I’m still in awe that I actually made those booties.  I couldn’t visualize how they would work when I was reading the pattern but I just blindly followed the instructions and they magically appeared!  I’m hoping that my sister will like this set for her 5 month old…

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the MOPS tent

I have been kind of falling behind on my goal of posting a few times a week…mostly due to a very hectic work schedule.  I am on the steering team for my church’s MOPS group (which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers).  Although I am not a mom, I am their MOPPETS coordinator and kind of a ‘staff liason’. 

So last week was not only our first meeting, but we also did an outreach/service project at the Rochester Fair.  We set up and hosted a Diaper Changing and Feeding Tent and I was shocked at how big a hit it was!  The moms and dads that used it were sooooo appreciative and thanked us over and over again.  I don’t know the final count yet, but we had over 600 people use the tent throughout the week.  I thought it was just great to be able to offer a service that people really needed.  We had a ton of volunteers (thank you ladies) and some great husbands for set up and took down the tent.  And of course none of it would have happened if Carol hadn’t organized it all… that woman is amazing!

I would have to say my favorite part about it, besides being able to eat fair food every time I volunteered at the tent, was the night we set up the tent… three ladies in a borrowed truck, not using their directionals, without their licenses, and not being able to find the car registration… well, it was a memorable event.

Also, congrats to my blog friend ohamanda who had her little pirate this weekend! Way to go…with a bruised rib and no drugs!

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