Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat...

Happy Halloween!  A quick post to show a couple of photos of the girls' costumes I've been working on.

Chloe (along with many million other little girls) wanted to be Elsa from Frozen this year.  I combined several ideas I found on Pinterest (here, here, and here) to put together her costume.  I used a tee-shirt to make the top portion so that she could wear it later with shorts or jeans.

Caitlyn wanted to be Pocahontas...or as she gleefully says...PocaHAUNTas.  :)  I seem to remember making a similar costume for her mother at about the same age.  I probably still have it packed away somewhere...but wouldn't begin to know where to look.

I went over after the girls got home from school today to put on the finishing touches and/or help them know how things went together.  As I was leaving, the boys were getting off their school buses, so I absconded with them (with their mother's permission) and took them for a treat before they headed off to their dad's for the weekend.

Hope all are getting treats and no tricks this year!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Two books that I've been on the waiting list for at the library became available last week.  I wasn't sure I could invest that much reading time (the ebooks have shorter check-out periods than paper books), but I downloaded them both and put my planned reading on the back burner (again).
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I really, really enjoyed this one.  It wasn't the most upbeat story line, but the writing was excellent, the characters likable, and I laughed out loud many times (oh the chapter of the author reading at the bookstore!)  One review I read mentioned that it was similar to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society...I remember really liking that book as well, but I don't think they are at all similar.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

When I started this one, I wasn't sure I could take another story of troubled teen in the foster care system.  Oh am I glad I stuck it out.  I wasn't far into it when I was hooked and read it through in a couple of marathon readings.  I've read some reviews in which the reader found the main character too unlikable, and couldn't see why supporting characters were so attached to her.  I found the main character believable.  Flawed?  Yes.  She almost lost me a couple of times, but I found her detachment believable considering the background.  I guess it's a matter of taste or maybe even mood.

I feel like I won the reading lottery this week with two I really liked in a row!

Now I'll try to get back to my list.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Google Doodles...

I've always really liked Google doodles.  I thought the ones during this year's World Cup were amazing and highly entertaining.  So when I logged on this morning and saw the birthday cake doodle above, I hovered my cursor over it to see who/what's birthday was the same as mine.  When the info bar appeared, it just said, 'Happy Birthday Kathleen.'  Fun!  And kinda creepy.

I am having a nice birthday.  I had lunch with both of my children.  Got a good-kitchen-news phone call.  I'm having fun making Halloween costumes.  I'm having a sleepover with the girlies tonight.   And a few days ago, I found some semi-official info that had me listed as two years younger than I really am...or that I THOUGHT I was.  LOL  I'm still enjoying that one.

This year my age matches my birth year.  Well, at least it did till they took two years off.  :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I forgot I had checked out this library ebook, so trying to get it read before it is due to be returned.

Haven't really had a lot of reading time.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday catch up...

Sweet little pitcher that sits on my kitchen window sill is the perfect receptacle for a teeny-tiny bouquet from a sweet little girlie.

We have placed the order for the cabinets...and so it begins.  The wait.  In the meantime, I will be plenty busy.  Our small chest freezer and the refrigerator's freezer are full to capacity, so the cooking-ahead chore is marked off the list.  Spending all that time in the kitchen reminded me that we once lived in a temporary rent house that had no stove.  Since we were going to be moving into a better location within a few months, we weren't about to purchase one.  I think we lived there from November to February or March cooking in an electric skillet and a toaster oven.  This was pre-microwave era.  Challenging!

This week I am working on costumes for the girls for Halloween.  Chloe, along with millions of other little girls, wants to be Elsa from Frozen.  Caitlyn wants to be Pocahontas.  They came over this evening while their mother took the big brothers to a school function, so I got a start on measuring, sketching, planning.  No patterns for me.  No siree.  

I completely forgot to take a photo of Sunday's dessert.  It was an applesauce and oatmeal cake...more like a quick bread with a glaze.  I wasn't too keen on it, but the kids seemed to like it.  Next Sunday is Diego's birthday, so something special is called for.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Annual pumpkin painting giveaway...

My friend Polly Jones is having her annual pumpkin painting giveaway.  Visit her blog, Small Wonders Daily Paintings by Polly Jones and enter.  And check out her Etsy shop...I love her work!

She painted the two above in 2012 just for me.  The pitcher in them is a family heirloom that I especially love.  I am blown away by the way Polly paints glass...with her pumpkins being a very close second.  I really want to win this giveaway one of these years!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

I just finished The Good Girl.  After Peggy at A Primitive Plot mentioned it on her blog last month, I found that it was available as an ebook from my library's website, so I put myself on the reserve list.  I did enjoy it, but I had some issues with it also.  The chapters were in the voice of three different characters...four if you count the last chapter which was in the voice of the title character.  The chapters were further divided into past and present Eve Before, Colin Before, Gabe After, Colin get the drift.  Took me awhile to get used to it, and I really don't like reading this kind of story structure on my Kindle where I can't easily flip through twenty or thirty or a hundred pages to remind myself of relevant details.  The surprise at the end was satisfying even though it felt a bit rushed.

After I finished the book, I read some of the reviews by others who had read it to see what they thought of it.  Some of the negatives that were mentioned I have to agree with, but won't go into them as they might be spoilers...and the details weren't major enough to ruin the story for me.  Mostly it had really good reviews.

Next up is one from my 2014 Goals list.  I haven't decided if I will go with Love in the Time of Cholera or The Hobbit.  I'll decide when I crawl into bed tonight.  I was hoping to get them from the library, but never seemed to catch them on the shelf and they weren't available as ebooks, so I made a run over to Half Price Books this afternoon and found what I needed...and a few more to boot.  :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kitchen prep...

I've hinted a little, but I'll come right out and say it.  We are about to begin a kitchen remodel.  They've measured the kitchen, and we've chosen the cabinets.  We will hopefully put the order in later this week, after which there is about a five-week wait for them to be delivered.  After they are installed, we begin another wait time for the counter tops.  I haven't chosen those yet.  In the meantime, Carey will begin removing the current cabinets and appliances.   We could be without a kitchen for a LONG time.

I don't want to spend all that time eating out.  Luckily we have a sink in the laundry room.  So my plan is to put the microwave and the slow cooker in the laundry, and have that be my interim kitchen space.  There's not a lot of counter top in there, so cooking from scratch wouldn't be all that easy.

Like a good little prepper, I have begun preparing meals ahead.  Last week I cleaned out and defrosted the chest freezer.  (I've been trying to use up things from it for awhile, so everything left fit in the refrigerator's freezer section.)  I also planned exactly what I would be cooking to fill it back up and made a shopping list.  Friday I did a gigantic shopping trip.

I filled up all the pantry staples.  Do you cut the cooking instructions off the package and put them in the canister so they don't get lost?  My mother taught me that handy tip an eon ago.

So far I've made 3 batches of Beef and Vegetable Soup.  We will just have to open the bag, pour it in the slow cooker, and add a large container of V8.

I've also assembled and packaged:
3 batches of Jambalaya Casserole
2 batches of Jalapeno Lime Chicken (thanks for the suggestion on that one, LB).  
6 batches of cooked rice to accompany main dishes
5 pounds of cooked ground beef for later use

Tomorrow (and Thursday) I have to work, so I won't be back in the kitchen until Wednesday.  I've still got so much to do!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matinee idle...

I spent the morning going through recipes, planning a massive menu plan and grocery shop.  (I plan to do the actual shopping trip tomorrow.)  Then I hunted down an out-of-the-way paint store (it was much further away than I expected) to pick up special paint, along with some tape and rollers.  My son has agreed to paint my laundry room (even the cabinets!), and I cannot tell you how happy that makes me.  I think I've mentioned before that no one uses my front door..everyone comes through the laundry room...not my choice of a first impression for guests.

Then a friend and I took some down time this afternoon to go see Gone Girl.  Fun to steal a little idle time in the middle of a weekday.  I still like the book better, but was happy when the movie stuck very closely to the novel.  My friend had not read the book, so seeing the story unfold and her reactions was cool.

I don't think the movie was stellar, but I did enjoy it.

I was pleasantly surprised when the matinee price was only $5.50 per person.  I think I've been patronizing the wrong theater.  

I need to call it a night.  A professional is coming at 8 in the morning to measure my kitchen!  Doing a little bouncy happy dance and clapping my hands.  I will be writing more about it soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday Desserts...

 It seems all I manage to post lately are Sunday's desserts.  This was yesterday's...Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  Made from the instructions on the box.

It looked beautiful.  And I thought it tasted divine.  Unfortunately we had some who don't like pineapple, and some who don't like cherries, so I brought the left overs home.

It's in the kitchen calling my name as I type.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Secret Life of Objects by Dawn Raffel

If your family has ever accused you of hoarding (cough, cough) this book will keep you from feeling all alone in your tendency to hang on to sentimental possessions.  Written as short descriptions of the author's objects and their history, it is easy to read a few minutes at a time.  

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

I found a used copy of one I haven't read by Susanna Kearsley.  I have a lot to get done today, so I'm holding out starting this one as my reward.
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