Pirate Bunnies : Murder, Pillage, and Plunder

The Engineer and I planted a garden!  Most years I’ve just planted a few veggie plants in patio pots.  This year, we went all out with an actual dug in garden!  I had been meaning to get this done for a couple years, but I’m lazy and didn’t have a solid plan to deal with the sod once I dug it all up.  Cue…The Engineer’s truck!  He maybe drove around with a slightly soggy, boggy situation in the truck bed for a week…..but I offered to help him get rid of it and he wasn’t feeling my initial dump off location!

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The prime location!

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Day 1 progress…..The Engineer is good with a shovel, and I’m a good sod puller!

We got really ambitious after getting the HOA board’s approval.  It seemed like a nice early warm spring, so we got to work right away with visions of epic gardening in our heads.  Well….idk about his head, but in my brain I was going to have a big garden with lots of happy plants that would supply me with tasty snacks and food all summer long.

The sooner you start the sooner you get to eat yea!?

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There were a few days when I started to question garden placement…..things got a bit soupy.  Also….notice the mostly dead spirea that I eventually dug out.  Extreme gardening happening at Casa Miss Happenings! Slowly, the swamp dried out and we got everything tilled and planted.  It turns out that the soil in my yard is mostly clay, so I ended up adding several bags of top soil into the garden.  I didn’t buy great soil, actually….I bought the cheapest kind Menards has.  This was maybe a bad choice?!  I’m not sure, we will find out……live and learn I guess.

The years crop included  4 tomato plants, 3 varying pepper plants, two large rows of green beans, and some spaghetti squash.  I also planted a pot of kale and mixed lettuce, a pot of kohlrabis, and two pots of herbs which include two different types of basil, thyme, and oregano.    I also have two decorative pots of pansies and petunias.  I hate petunias….but they are what grows here so whatever I guess.  Everything seemed like it was coming together….and then disaster struck!

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Remember how I said we started early because things seemed warm and happy and springish?!  Well……I maybe got a bit over ambitious.  I ended up loosing my first batch of tomato plants because I forgot to bring them into the garage during one of our spring cold snaps.  So…..there was that!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are cheap, so I quickly rebounded from that initial downfall.  Everything really seemed like it was coming together…..I had gotten the dead spirea dug up and thrown into the back of The Engineer’s truck.  One night we may or may not have driven out into the country and tossed the plant and the leftover small pieces of sod into a ditch.  The large chunks of sod went to a coworker’s new house while they await landscaping….her dog needed a pee patch!  Sometimes The Engineer and I like to do “dirt kid hood rat things”….actually, that might have been our first ‘delinquent’ move together. The couple the dumps sod together stays together?!

After we conquered the sod and dead tomato issues…..came the bunnies.  Fucking herds of spicy pepper loving bunnies.  The Engineer even talked to some guys who gardens at his work and they assured him that bunnies are no problem because they don’t like the spicy peppers.  Well……the bunnies in my yard ate my peppers from spiciest to mildest.  I’m not sure what they says about them……but I’m sure if you ate one they would be well spiced and delicious!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants

To combat the herds of capsaicin loving furry woodland creatures, we had to build emergency fences around all the pepper plants.  All 3 of the initial plants survived, but the banana pepper took the hardest beating.  He’s trying really hard to recover and grow, but I’m afraid he won’t make it before winter comes.  The Engineer decreed that a flowering and fruiting banana pepper plant was a garden requirement, so we bought a new one and transplanted in where the abused plant sat.  We moved the little abused one into the corner and gave him a protective cage.  He’s starting to leaf out slightly, but when you’ve been eaten down to a 3 inch stump in the ground….you’ve got a lot of growing to catch up on in a short growing season!

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Maybe if we have a winter like this…..my abused pepper plant could recover fully.

Everything seemed to be going along well for a couple weeks…..and then disaster struck again!  The bunnies attacked and murdered my pot of kohlrabi……just murdered them and threw their tattered and torn leaves all over the back yard.  Honestly, I’m not even sure why I even bothered to plant a pot of kohlrabi…..last year they didn’t grow at all!  Well….I mean they grew leaves…..but I didn’t end up with the desired, baseball shaped orb of deliciousness.  Round two seemed to be growing well this summer, so I thinned the plants to create more growing room.  Then……as if they sensed the vulnerability in smaller numbers….the bunnies made a night attack!  Ughs…….

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts

I watered the pot for a couple days, but none of the thinned out roots looked like they were going to take off again.  I ended up planting a few rows of kohlrabi seeds at the front of the garden, and I’ll just have to wait and see what comes of those.  Funny thing…..we actually bought a new pepper plant for the pot of soil because we thought that the bunnies had somehow gotten under the protective fence on my abused little banana pepper and finished him off.  We pouted around for a couple days thinking we had been out maneuvered by some bunnies…..only to discover that the little guy had gotten covered over by some dirt!

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We also replaced several plants around my property with boxwood plants.  We dug up 3 sad little day lilies and a decorative grass out of the front yard bed and replaced them all with tiny, little baby boxwoods.  We had to drive all over town one weekend to find four matching boxwoods….but I love them.  Boxwood just has a particular smell that reminds me of vacations to Virginia, they are always green, they are low maintenance, and look like something, and mostly they are just my jam.  Don’t know what to plant…..why not a boxwood?!  I also replaced the mostly dead spirea with a slightly larger boxwood….hahah cuz of course I did!

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2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts
  • Various Flowers, Lettuce, and Kale Leaves

Last night we had a pretty major storm, and I was pretty nervous about the survival of all of my veggies.  I’m happy to report that everything survived the wind, hail, and rain.  Now, if I can just keep the bunnies away from the beans and my lettuce we will be all good in the hood!

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Squash and two happy little bean rows…..who’s getting excited for veggies?!?!?

Quick Costco Enchiladas

A couple weeks ago, The Engineer and I bought some Good Foods jalapeño artichoke dip from Costco.  By some, I of course mean a Costco sized amount……33 oz.  It wasn’t really the best for just eating….flavor wise, but it got me thinking that it might work to make some enchiladas.  Yesterday we made a trip to Costco to gather up the rest of the necessary supplies.  It was our first actual “shopping” trip to Costco.  We had been before, but yesterday involved a cart and an actual list!  We looked like actual adults who know what they are doing in life…..it was amazeballs.

I made them today and they were good….and easy….which was ideal because I spent most of the day being a bit on the hungover side of life.  Apparently last nights concert was just a bit too much for me.  Since I’d never made them before, and we were trying to use up some dip we didn’t like I wasn’t sure they would turn out.  I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but honestly it’s easy enough you don’t need much in the way of instructions.

THE THINGS YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • Jalapeño Artichoke Dip
  • Half an Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Tortillas (about 10)
  • 2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chile Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

First things first, you’ll need to shred the chicken.  I removed the skin and then just ripped the meat into bite sized pieces, but there’s no need to be too specific about anything.  Place all the chicken into a large bowl so that the other ingredients can be added to it and mixed well.  After you have the chicken shredded up, add approximately half of the jalapeño artichoke dip.  I didn’t measure as I added, but it was 4 large dollops……enough to sort of moisten everything and get it to combine.  It ended up being about half of the container of dip.  Dice half of an onion and throw that in the mix as well as the two drained cans of diced chilies.  At this point, you can season to taste…..I ended up adding maybe 1.5 teaspoons of garlic, cayenne, and paprika, maybe 1.5 tablespoons of chili powder, and a good amount of salt and pepper.  The Engineer thought they were a bit hot, I thought they were good….so just season to your own taste.  He also decided that he wanted to add some shredded cheese into the mix as well….so we stirred in maybe half a cup.

This can be prepped ahead of time.  I just threw the bowl in the fridge and let everything sit and combine together for most of the day while we napped, watched Netflix, and attempted to recover.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.  Scoop a generous amount of the chicken and cheese mixture into the center of a tortilla.  Roll and place into the baking dish.  We fit 9 tortillas into the baking dish, but it was a bit of a squishy fit.  This left one tortilla and one tortilla worth of chicken mixture.  We rolled it up with a small splash of enchilada sauce and tossed it into the freezer.  It will make a good, quick lunch for one of us eventually.  Honestly, you could probably just roll and freeze them all into chicken queso burritos if you wanted something that could just be thrown in the microwave fast for on the go lunches.

Cover with the two cans of enchilada sauce and a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until everything is hot, melted together, and delicious.  Let cool a few minutes before serving to let them firm up a bit.  The Engineer had his with sour cream and a little extra cheese, I just had mine plain out of the pan.

Prune at Your Own Risk

Granted, this isn’t about my townhouse, but it’s still home maintenance so I’m throwing it into the home section.

Learn from my mistakes people!!!!

Spring Clean-Up Week is still a thing in my hometown.  Everyone collects all the random junk that’s been floating around the house, and tosses it out on the curb for strangers….or the city….to collect.  This is a small town thing, and it’s sorta a sight to behold.  Just piles of stuff on curbs as you drive around town.  At our house this is always prime yard clearing time.  Everything gets pruned, raked, and dug into submission.  This year I came home to help do the basic yearly stuff, as well as take down two trees that were dead.  We got the big flower bed that runs the width of our backyard all cleaned up, and I even got a bunch of old tree stumps dug up and thrown out into the junk pile.  Once the back was all done it was time to move onto the trees.  Tree removal came with the promise of a chainsaw, however that plan didn’t really end up working out all that well…

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Needless to say….we were off to a great start…..

To start with, I know little to nothing about plants.  They are pretty much either alive or dead.  Anything that needs any appreciable amount of maintenance is not at all the plant for me.  Things like woody shrubs, boxwoods, yews and the like are easy.  You basically leave them alone, and prune them up a bit if they start to get a little out of control…..but that’s achievable for me.  Flowers, privets….which apparently grow a million miles a year….., and apparently trees which need constant pruning off the roof are not for me.  I was however, looking forward to using some high powered cutting force and putting it to work.  Usually, trimming and cutting down trees at Momma’s is a sawzall level activity….and it kinda sucks, in a brain rattling sorta way.  Yesterday though, I got a brain rattling that I wasn’t prepared for.

Like almost everything that we’ve inherited from Grandpa’s house in the course of my life, the chainsaw had seen better days.  Now, I’m not anything close to a chain saw expert, but I think the chain was too long, and possibly installed backwards on the saw.  At the very least, it was incredibly dull.  The saw only got through one branch, mostly by burning instead of cutting, before a massive intervention was required.

To our credit, we did really try and get it fixed, unfortunately, the Ace here in town doesn’t sell the proper chain for it, and the techs who do the sharpening of old chains are all off until Monday.  Skirting around the fact that it seems strange to have your machine techs all off during the weekend….ya know when most people have time to be wielding their chain saws around….Momma and I were still left with the slight issue of the two dead trees.  The clear solution was to obviously tear them down by hand.  Clean up week only lasts so long, and loading up the branches and then paying to toss them at the dump just seems dumb when you have the option of not having to deal with them past piling them up on your lawn!

Since they were mostly dead, I discovered that any of the branches I could reach I could mostly pull down by hand.  This worked fine until I had to start jumping to reach some of the higher branches, this again worked out just fine…but we started on the smaller of the two trees.  Eventually we got to the central, more vertical, thicker, trunky type branch.  This required some sawing…..the battery for our sawzall is basically shot, so we were left with the hand saw.  I now understand why people used to just crawl into caves, live in tepees and tents, and why the sod house had such an appeal…

CUTTING DOWN TREES BY HAND SUCKS MAJOR ASSBUTT!!!

These guys are badasses, and my hat’s off to them….but I’m apparently a weakling and I’d rather live in a tent than have to saw down trees and make lumber to build myself a cabin.  Anyway, that’s sorta besides the point, but we had to put in a fair amount of work to get these two, realistically small trees down.  The last branch of the smaller tree eventually gave way after one warning crack and sorta whipped Momma across the mouth on it’s way down.  We weren’t really prepared for it, but she was fine, and so we just sorta carried on.  Once we got that tree piled up on the end of the driveway, we turned our attention on the second, larger tree.

The obvious solution was to try and see what was dead and could just easily be pulled down.  So, I picked out a fairly small branch, although all of these branches required jumping to reach…..this will become important.  So I sorta hop up there and grab onto this little branch…..and then there was a crack…..then I was suddenly falling to the ground….and I landed, and took a rather large section of tree to the top of the head.  Apparently, the smaller branch I had been after didn’t feel like breaking, but the whole side of the tree felt like giving way.  So….there I am…..laying on the ground…..eyes watering….and somewhat trapped under a tree.  Momma sorta wanders over and pulls the branch off me, and I promptly declare that my arborist services for the day are done.  Fuck this tree and this whole situation….it can sit here until it falls down naturally.  10-20 years outta do it I think and that’s frankly fine with me at the this point…..

 

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The offending section of tree…I was attempting to break off that piece up the trunk and to the right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For scale…..in case you think it’s more of a twig…..that’s my size 11….big enough to make even some men quake in their child-sized boots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, my parents didn’t raise me to be a quitter….so I was forced to rally and show that stupid dead tree who was boss.  While Momma did some pruning of the branches I pulled down….apparently the city has strict length requirements on their pick ups…..I proceeded to saw and pull down the rest of the branches.  I began utilizing a sort of “half cut,” jump, pull, and move technique.  I was unwilling to spend anymore time than necessary using the stupid hand saw to try and get anything done.  So I’d saw just until I thought I could jump and use my body to pull them down.  It worked fairly well until I once again was down to the largest, central branch.  This involved having to scamper into the tree, sit on a couple of the broken off branch stumps….cuz that seems safe, and sawing most of the way through.  This was mostly unpleasant because I ended up down wind and at eye level….less than ideal honestly.

Eventually though I did get everything down, and we got everything piled up on the curb.  Hopefully, once the chain for the saw is sharpened, Momma will be able to get the branches cut into smaller pieces for pickup.  A working chainsaw should be able to make simple work of whacking the branches into chunks.  Eventually, we will have to cut the trunks off closer to the ground and then into pieces, but again….hopefully a working chainsaw will make easy work of that!  Momma has plans of turning the larger trunk pictured below into a sort of plant stand holder which I think should work well.

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A days worth of worth of hard work I suppose!

Slicing and Dicing the Blues

I like cooking.  I might even love cooking, but it’s sometimes a hard thing to wrangle when you’re single.  Yes, I could come home from work every night and whip myself up something yummy, and yes I would probably be happier for it in the long run.  But, a single person doesn’t need to have a fridge that’s over flowing with food all the time.  This is why I’ve rather come to enjoy hosting parties and holidays at my house.  It gives me the ability to go to town in the kitchen without having to deal with all the fruits of my labor.

In an attempt to combat the huge quantities of food I sometimes manage to create, but mostly because Lil Sis had a 50% off coupon….I decided to give Blue Apron a whirl.  If you aren’t familiar, they are a food delivery company where you select the meals you’d like every week and they ship all the ingredients to you in a single box.

 

I HATED IT!

Okay, hate is maybe a strong way to put it….but I didn’t really enjoy the process or understand the point.  Yes, it was nice that they shipped only two portions of each meal, yes it was nice to try some new recipes with spices you wouldn’t normally purchase, yes all the meals are sent with very specific instructions to assist even the worst at home chefs, but overall the meals weren’t all that great and the whole process left quite a bit to be desired.

The way I see it, part of the cooking process is going to the store and picking ingredients.  I know that Blue Apron is shipping out thousands and thousands of boxes each week so they don’t have time or the ability to pick through all the veggies and check everything, but that’s the perk of being able to go pick your own.  I received wilted green beans, zucchini with a big, mushy portion, and herbs that were looking slightly past their peak.

Speaking of herbs, I love using fresh herbs, garlic, and ginger….but all are much more convenient to purchase in pre-minced varieties.  I might love to cook, but I don’t enjoy mincing garlic and peeling ginger.  Although, there is something satisfying about whacking cloves with your knife for easier peeling…….I’m not sure that people who aren’t familiar with cooking often would have an easy or quick time of making up any of these recipes.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we…..Week 1 meals

 

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I’m not sure that my salmon really ended up crispy….although I mean a filet of salmon is always delicious.  The major issue I had with this dish was the orzo salad.  Now….I generally like everything that went into the salad:

  • Orzo
  • Green Beans….which arrived wilted and sad 😦
  • Garlic
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Sour Cream

However, as you’ll notice, my salad ended up much…creamier….than the salad they have pictured.  The first few bites of the salad seemed okay, but the longer it sat the worse and worse it got.  I actually didn’t even eat the second portion of the salad.  I’m not sure if something happened to the sour cream during shipping….or if the addition of the lemon juice caused it it curdle….I just know it became essentially inedible.  Needless to say, I wasn’t off to a great start.

 

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These tacos….specifically the spices used on the meat…where quite tasty.  Sour cream was included to top the tacos, and I skipped it to avoid the same disaster as the first meal.  I might make a variation of these in the crock pot sometime using like a pork roast instead of the sausage.  The sausage was a bit greasy…as sausage is, but I think a pulled pork style taco would be delicious!  Also, the quick slaw was easy and had good flavor.  Overall, this wasn’t a bad recipe which could be improved on and added to my standard rotation of cooking.

 

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A perfectly fine dish.  Wasn’t amazing….wasn’t bad….could have probably used more spice and zip, but I used all the ancho chile powder that had been shipped.  Again, I’m not sure that getting corn off of the cob is something that everyone knows how to accomplish….so I’m not sure that “Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob” is really going to be enough of an instruction for anyone trying to use Blue Apron to learn how to cook at home.  Even for those of us who know how to accomplish the task….it’s messy!  Again, I made the lime crema…..but didn’t use it on the dish.  I might whip this up again, I might not……but it’s good to have recipe options laying around for when you need to spice up the routine.

I didn’t mean to receive an additional week of meals…especially at full price….which is quite a price honestly, $60!!  

But, I didn’t get it cancelled in time, so….on to Week 2 meals!

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I don’t love mushrooms…..I don’t mind the flavor, it’s the texture that really gets to me.  A bit like eating rubber bands if I’m honest.  Luckily, the large slices were easy to pick out and around.  Again, this was a nice little dish that I might try again, maybe using a different style of noodle.  The main perk I got from Blue Apron was the ability to try spices like togarashi without having to commit to buying a huge quantity of it.  We’ve all done that…..found a recipe that sounds good and bought a dozen random ingredients only to discover that we hate it.  Then the spices just sit around, and we know we will probably never use again.  The quick pickles were crunchy and well spiced.  I’m also a huge fan of cooked celery and radishes, so that didn’t hurt this recipe at all either!

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Sorry for the less than fancy picture…I made this late one night and just split it into portions for lunches.  It’s just a fancy version of breaded, fried chicken and a warm potato salad.  This potato salad I might make again.  Actually, these were the first brussels sprouts I think I’d ever had!!  Again, it had celery which I do really enjoy.

Much like the blackened chicken with corn salsa…..it was good, not great.  I will probably keep it around just to add some variety to my life.  I was briefly debating adding this potato salad to my Thanksgiving spread, but I’m not hosting this year due to some family shuffling around.

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My cousin and I made these sandwiches as part of our booze and crafting weekend.  The idea of a turnip sandwich was good, but I’m not sure they worked out all that well.  Again, we skipped the crema, because by now I’ve just realized there’s something always a bit off with the creams they send.  Therefore, there was no goo keeping the sandwiches together, so when we flipped them in the pan everything just sorta exploded out.  The slaw was basically just dressed in oil and lime juice.  It was light and fresh, but there wasn’t much to it.  We both ended up adding some shredded cheese onto the sandwiches which added the creamy, gooey-ness we both thought they were missing.  I’m not sure I’d make these again, but if I saw it on a menu I might order it.  It was sorta a bland ending to what was a disappointing food weekend of crafting, bitching, and booze with my cousin!

The other thing I find particularly annoying about Blue Apron is the inability to select any 3 of the 6 meals that they offer each week.  There are usually 3 meat options and 3 vegetarian options.  However, you can’t mix and match any of the recipes, which as someone who eats both vegetarian and non vegetarian food, I find annoying.

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The two combinations you can’t see are Beef and Potato Latkes and Harissa Chicken Skewers.  I just find it annoying the I couldn’t have latkes and burgers.  I’m not sure why that is.  There is actually an option to select that you eat strictly vegetarian and then I’m sure they adjust the given recipes accordingly.  Frankly, any omnivore, the meal plan I selected, who wants to try a veggie burger isn’t going to care if the veggies get shipped along with the meat to make the latkes.

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Heaven forbid you would want to have spicy shrimp linguine and squash curry in the same week!!!  

It’s just stupid little things like this that annoy me, but when the options are either paying $60 a week to have limited options, or going to the store, probably spending less money, and being able to eat anything in any combination that I want…..the answer seems pretty clear to me.  It’s especially easy because the major grocery store here now offers online shopping.  You can either schedule a time to go collect your preselected food from the store, or they also offer delivery options which can be free if your total bill is large enough.  I don’t use these services as I don’t at all mind grocery shopping and I have plenty of time to be doing it, but they are offered and basically serve as a DIY Blue Apron for those who use them.

Seasonal Hobby Disorder

Do you ever find that are certain things you only do during certain times of the year?  Maybe it’s just me, but there are plenty of activities I only find to be tolerable if done at the “proper” time.  I hadn’t ever really stopped to give this much thought until now.  I suddenly have a mildly overwhelming desire to refinish a piece of furniture, and it occurs to me that I always do that kind of activity in the Fall.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that the seasons control my general life productivity probably much more than they should.  However, I’m not really sure that I’m willing to change this particular quirk because I think doing so would feel unnatural.

Now I understand that some activities can only be performed during a certain time of year.  But let’s be realistic, I could put paint on furniture at anytime…..so why does it only feel okay to do so once the leaves begin to change.  In case you think I’m kidding, I’ll list out my seasonal specifics…..

Fall–

  • Furniture refinishing – I had always had really good feelings about all the pieces of furniture I had refinished, until the last one.  I recently redid my nightstand, and I don’t like it at all…..PROBABLY BECAUSE I DID IT IN THE SUMMER……STUPID.
  • Decorating – Maybe this goes along with having new pieces of furniture to put in the house that then need to be styled, but it just seems like I do more like more decor shopping as the weather starts to cool.  Also, prepping for Christmas decorating becomes a bit of an obsession…..like is it too early for me to put up garland now!?

Winter–

  • Crafting – Unless I need to craft something specific for someone, I’m generally drawn to doing all my crafting in Winter.  This might be because during other times of the year I can be outside doing other things, but it just seems most natural to be to do it then.  Anything else feels forced, but let’s be honest….there shouldn’t feel like there’s a difference between scrapbooking in the Summer or doing it in the snow.  Additionally, I find the idea of knitting anything while it’s hot and humid outside to be about as off-putting as it gets.  Who wants a pile of knit in their lap when it’s hot out?!
  • Baking – As a life rule, I try and always avoid baking, but sometimes in the Winter I feel compelled to do it.  It starts to feel like a compulsion or a void that needs to be filled.

Spring–

  • Nothing?! – Specifically around here, Spring is more of a general suggestion than an actual thing.  To paraphrase Forrest Gump,”Momma always said Spring is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  You can’t plan anything in Spring around here because it might be sunny and nice, it might blizzard, or everything might be covered in a thick, death like layer of freezing drizzle…..it’s just hopeless.  No one knows when it might start, how long it might last, or if you’ll even make it through.  Probably I don’t know what I do during Spring because it’s generally horrible and stress inducing so my brain blocks it from memory for self protection.

Summer–

  • Reading – I am usually religious about going to the gym, but Summer rolls around and I become more prone to skipping it favor of sitting on my patio reading…..until it get’s dark and buggy, and then I just move the reading indoors.  Don’t ask me why I don’t read year round, I try occasionally, I just never seem to get very far or even manage to find a book that will capture my interest.  Summertime….I’ll read anything I can get my hands on.
  • Watching Westerns – Possibly because I used to always spend the end of Summer vacation at the farm with my grandparent’s, or possibly because the end of Summer is when I can things, obviously, and canning reminds me of making salsa and pickles at the farm, the end of Summer seems like the only acceptable time of year to watch classic western movies.  It just isn’t the end of summer otherwise.  Case in point, currently watching Jane Got a Gun, granted this isn’t a classic western, but it is set in that time period, and I’ve already rematched all of Lonesome Dove this season.  I’d venture to say even Grandpa got sick of the classics sometimes.

Does any of this make any sense?!

In other less random news, Momma came up for part of the long weekend and we got the baseboard installed in my bedroom and some artwork re-matted and hung.  It really sorta looks like it’s coming together now!  It’s amazing what some 1x4s and paint will add.  We pulled up the existing baseboard, which was just door trim, painting it all, installed the 1x4s and then stacked the old trim on top.  You get way more bang for your buck if you reuse the old trim.

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Ignore the unfilled nail holes, but you get the general idea!

I also started working on refinishing the door that will be turned into my full length mirror.  I’m probably the worst girl on the planet because I don’t currently, and haven’t since my senior year of college, have a mirror that I can see my full self in at one time.  My current options are:

  1. Try and take a selfie to make sure my outfits look alright
  2. Assess the top half of myself in my bathroom mirror, then run upstairs and stand on the bathtub wall to see the bottom half of myself in the upstairs mirror
  3. Just say fuck it and hope for the best

So…..hopefully the door will do the trick nicely.  It’s in a bit of rough shape, so for now it’s gotten a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax to try and deepen the color and add some much needed moisture back into the wood.  One coat wasn’t really enough, but it’s a starting place anyway.  We shall see where it goes from here.  Only makes sense that I’ve started working on it now after having had it for almost a year……FALL IS COMING!

Waking Up Hangry!

I’m a big breakfast eater.  Some times I can get away with just coffee, but especially at work or days I’m going to have a late lunch after a workout…..I need a good breakfast to get me through.  But, I’m also SUPER LAZY in the morning and pretty much refuse to wake up any earlier than I absolutely have to!!

Enter……THE FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITO!!! 

Fast, easy, customizable, and filling enough to get you through even your hangriest mornings.  Make them ahead and pull them out as you need them.  They are perfect!

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THINGS YOU NEED:

  • Tortillas
  • 2 Eggs per Tortilla
  • Splash of Milk or Cream
  • Cooking Spray or Butter
  • Meat–I’ve been loving Hot Italian Sausage….like you’d use on pizza.  Bacon….ham…..quinoa…..tofu…..DO WHAT YOU LIKE
  • Cheese
  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Saran Wrap

 

Precook your meat of choice.  The Italian sausage crumbles as it cooks, but I would dice ham or bacon so that it’s easier to wrap up the finished burritos.  Some spicy, taco seasoned quinoa would also be good if you’re looking for a meat free option.  I just looked back and realized I’ve never posted my Mexican quinoa bowl recipe, so probably I’ll have to do that soon!!!  But, just follow the cooking directions on the quinoa, and dump in some taco seasonings….Cumin, Cayenne, Garlic, Chili Powder, Onion Powder…ya know, the usual…..or buy a pack of seasoning if that’s more your thing.

Dice the onion and bell pepper and throw into a large pan over medium heat with some butter to soften.  Whip the eggs with a splash of milk and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the eggs into the pan and cook to a soft scramble.  This may take longer than you’d think depending on the amount of eggs you make…..just be warned.  Keep an eye on them though, as once they start to set it will go faster.

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Lay out each tortilla on a square of saran wrap.  Starting with the eggs, try and split an even amount into each tortilla.  Add in your meat of choice, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.  By this time, it’s possible that your tortillas may have gotten a bit dry.  No worries, slide them onto a plate and simply microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Roll carefully, and then seal the roll with the saran wrap.

Once they are all stuffed, rolled, and wrapped….simply throw them in the freezer!  I was slightly worried that since they were warm the tortillas would get soggy and mushy, but they all came out perfectly!  Sometimes, if I planned even slightly ahead, I would pull one out and leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw.  I found that thawed burritos took 45-60 seconds to microwave.  I simply unwrapped them out of the saran wrap and set them on a plate or paper towel to microwave.

For the ultra lazy among us, a fully frozen burrito takes about 2-2.5 minutes to microwave, but flip it over half way through so that the bottom of the tortilla doesn’t get too soggy in the microwave!

I usually ate these at work, with my hands, just as they are.  But, if you have the option for a more plate and fork eating situation these would be great with the addition of some guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream!!

Bon Appetit!

 

A Weekend of DIY

I know that I missed posting a blog last week.  I had done so well for a year, but sometimes you just drop the ball on things.  In my defense, it had been a busy week of getting the house ready for summertime and getting a big chunk of my house’s to do list done.  I get that “success and excuses don’t talk together”, but sometimes in life shit happens.

Side note…..well aware I missed last week too!  Apparently when I’m not in school I’m totally incapable of keeping a schedule of any sort. :/

Let’s do the exterior of the house first shall we?!  Summertime means it’s time to PLANT ALL THE THINGS!  I mean, I didn’t plant all the things, but I did plant several things to sprinkle out and around the house.

On the planting list this year were:

  • Cherry Tomato – Scout baby needs her tomato fix every day when I get home from work.  I don’t use these for anything other than some outdoor snacking with my Lil.  The fact that she doesn’t just pick them herself is surprising, but she just sits next to the plant doing her anxious prance-y feet waiting for you to hand them to her.
  • Mini Sweet Bell Peppers – I’ve never grown this variety, but I assume they are good just for straight eating off the vine?!  We shall see!
  • Green and Yellow Beans – Cuz you know I’m going to need to can some more Dilly Beans!
  • Wave Petunia – Easy to grow and I mean…..why not
  • Kale – Confession time……I HAVEN’T PLANTED THE KALE!!!  I couldn’t find a nice “bowl” shaped pot I liked, and I ran out of potting soil anyway.  Plus, in a mad dash to stop the Limping Nugget from asserting her authority towards some dogs across the fence, I threw the hose down….and my kale seeds got wet.  Are they still good to plant!?!  Does anyone know!?  Are my seeds just growing in their package!?  SOMEONE HALP ME!!!!!!

I also finally fixed the gutters around my house.  It was a pain in the butt….literally because I was sitting in landscaping rock….but it’s done and over with so hopefully the foundation of my lil townhome will stay nice, dry, and happy.

Now……on to the interior projects.

You’ll recall that I’ve basically wanted to repaint the master bedroom since I moved into the house.  I did write a small preview blog with what I thought were my ideas, however some of that may have been a lie.  I have yet to finish my garage, but I did paint my bedroom Blackberry….sorta.  There is no chair rail, but I did end up buying the birdcage chandelier!

Well, to celebrate graduating with my Master’s, my Momma decided that she would buy me paint and trim to redo the bedroom.  Now, let’s be real, that’s way too much money, and I shall be trying to not let her pay for everything.  The thought and the gesture are amazing, I just feel bad.  IDK if ya’ll are aware, but home improvement projects are not cheap!  This is mostly the reason why I never started the project before.  WHY MUST ADULTING COST SO MUCH….ALL…..THE….TIME…..!!!!!!

Momma and I decided to use the long weekend to finally get going with the project.  She arrived Thursday night and we were pretty much totally unprepared.  I only knew that I wanted to use the color Blackberry.  The two shades of tan that I thought we had decided on for the trim and other walls basically ended up as variations of the “Townhouse Beige” that adorns every other wall in my house.  Basically, Thursday night was spent staring at a small collection of generally not that wonderful paint chips and hoping they became wonderful…..they didn’t.

Friday morning I pulled up all the baseboards out of the bedroom so that we could apply liquid sandpaper to pull the shine off the surface and make the paint stick.  I googled the internet to try and find a picture of what we used, but couldn’t.  It was a super old container of something Dad had used, so it’s possible the it’s not made anymore.  I thought something magical would happen to the woodwork, like it would get cloudy or bubbly, or something to let you know it was working…..nothing really changed.  They looked cleaner….which make them shinier….which seemed a bit like not at all the point of the project.

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Here’s a picture of the back of the liquid sandpaper can….SO HELPFUL!  Also picture, my excellent painter’s taping skillz and the tools required to remove baseboards.

A trip to Sherwin Williams later, and I had my three colors: Blackberry, Glamour, and Irish Cream.  Yes I know, of course I would pick the color Glamour….it’s not my fault, it’s just want matched my curtain and bed skirt.  In other glorious news…..NONE OF THEM LOOK ANYTHING LIKE TOWNHOME BEIGE! (Sherwin Williams actually makes a color called Townhouse Tan……it made me giggle a lot!)

Friday night I finished taping and we did manage to get a coat of Irish Cream onto the ceiling……it was looking pretty good, until the morning when the splotches showed up.  So Saturday morning was another coat on the bedroom ceiling and one coat on the bathroom ceiling, because we totally forgot that the night before.  I think on Saturday we also primed all the bedroom walls?!  Frankly, it was a lot of days off work, and when I’m not at work I sort of never keep track of the day I’m on.  But, in any case, before the serious painting could begin, everything had to be primed.

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Primer…..makes everything look good.  By good I of course mean like crap.

Saturday night we went to Menards to scope trim options.  We of course left with no trim…..because that’s how we roll, but I did get a new chandelier for the living room.  ONE MORE UGLY BOOB LIGHT GONE!  “Boob lights” is just a better name for those stupid flush mount ceiling half orb light thinkers……I saw it on another DIY blog and it make me giggle!

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“For the glamorous….oh the flossy, flossy!”–Fergie

I hung the new chandelier, finished some random odds and ends, and got some other new lights ready for installation while Momma worked on painting the trim.  I’m not a great painter….honestly I’ve never really tried.  But, Momma found cute little mini handled paint brushes she wanted to try at Home Depot, so she edged out all the trim we had left up…..so the doors (there are a lot of doors in my bedroom honestly) and the window.  After that was all said and done, we started the first of two coats on the bedroom walls.

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THE BIRDCAGE!! It was already darkish, but it had some speckles I didn’t like so it got sprayed down dark.

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New vanity light….It was oil rubbed bronze. Sometimes, spray paint is all you need!

NEXT CAME THE GLAMOUR!

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The colors I picked are oddly hard to capture in a good picture. Glamour is a warm pinky/plum/beigey neutral. Also, the Irish Cream isn’t that yellow in person, it’s just a nice off white cream.

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The square of primer is where the Blackberry went in the bedroom.

Monday we got two coats of blackberry done in the bathroom, and three coats on the bedroom’s accent wall.  It was slightly traumatic because it was definitely harder to get the dark color to look good.  The first coat of Blackberry looked absolutely horrible…..like horrible pink primer.  Maybe it was our technique, maybe we had the wrong kind of roller, maybe that’s just how dark paint is…..idk but it wasn’t super reassuring.

Sunday night, Monday night, and Tuesday night were mostly spent getting odds and ends done and the rooms put back together.  Mom didn’t have to work until Wednesday, so she stayed Tuesday while I went to work so that we could do the last coat of Blackberry in the bathroom after work.

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If you’re in need of custom curtains, you can try contacting Momma Mishappenings…..it’s always worked for me!

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The bathroom is the most “finished” looking of either room.  Partly that’s because we trimmed out the whole ceiling, so it just looks more finished then the bedroom currently does.  The plan is to install crown molding at the ceiling so that it won’t matter that we didn’t paint all the way to the ceiling.  If we decide that’s too much, it’s just paint and I can go back over the things we aren’t going to cover with molding.  I’m liking my new little dark fancy bathroom.  Like every bathroom I’m ever in in the future is probably going to need to be this color!  I did however get some Blackberry on my toilet….I should maybe work on getting that scrubbed off….oopsy!

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In case you’re wondering where Scout was during all of this, she was her regularly clingy self.  Friday night I slept out on the couch, and I thought Scout might like a little Mommy and Me sleep over time.  I was wrong, I woke up and she was sleeping on the drop cloth.  Riddle me how or why laying on the drop cloth is better than the carpet?!  She didn’t seem to care and spent most of the weekend being firmly committed to her new found love of drop clothes.  Also, wedging herself into places she doesn’t really fit and being sorta generally under foot were additional favorite weekend activities.

There is still a lot of project to go:

  • The accent wall needs stenciling, a huge frame, and accent lighting
  • The window and doors all need additional trim to amp them up a bit
  • The baseboards need to be beefed up….although this will probably be the easiest of all the projects.  We can’t start it until we figure out how much we are expanding the door trims
  • The bedroom needs crown molding
  • I’d like to maybe build some sort of valance to go over the top of the curtain to cover up the raw edges.  It used to be mounted flush to the ceiling so it didn’t matter, but my bedroom now as higher ceilings.

Of course it’s a huge to do list still, and projects might change or get dropped.  Like I said, if we decide not to do things its just going to take some more time with a paint brush to finish off some of the areas we left unfinished but plan to cover with molding and trim.  Beyond those projects, I still have an antique door to turn into an mirror and a bedside table that now desperately needs to be refinished.

Home ownership…..the never ending to do list!