Throwback and New School

The Engineer is at a work sponsored golf event for the night, so the lil Scout-a-Roo and I are blogging together on the couch old school style.  Throwing it back to our single girl days!  Not that we both don’t love having The Engineer around, but sometimes it’s nice to throw on some Sex and the City, pour some wine, and have yourself a nice girl’s night.  I have no idea what The Engineer is eating, but I had sushi and Roo had her regular crunchies with the added bonus of some leftover elk steak chunks and leftover elk burger.  Everyone was eating really good tonight at Casa (Mis)Happenings

Alrighty….down to business!  Technical errors from last week mean that I owe you a double blog of sorts.  It’s been a busy few weekends around here.  House projects, gardening, trips home and shopping with Momma…..so many things to do, so little time!

Slowly but surely I’ve been working on improving my backyard and patio situation.  It isn’t that my yard is bad, it’s well maintained, but I’m on a fairly busy corner and my yard is lacking in privacy and shade.  I want to extend my little patio pad, probably with some sample slabs from The Engineer’s company, but that seems like a lot of work…..especially when it’s still so hot out!  I don’t really need the shade, but on days when I want to be out reading, tanning, and enjoying a beer it would be nice for Scout to have a place out of the sun. Cue…..

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It provides plenty of shade, but is out of the way when it needs to be.  I got the umbrella stick part and the canopy from Cost Plus World Market, and the stand came from Menards.  I really only got the umbrella because it was on super sale one weekend, but I’m glad that I finally pulled the trigger on buying one!  I saved like $70 on the whole thing!!!  If you’ve never been to the World Market, you really need to find your nearest one and scope the scene!  I’ve bought a ton of stuff there…..jewelry, furniture, pillows, rugs, and food.  Everything is a bit in the style of Anthropologie or Restoration Hardware……but WAY CHEAPER!

Another major house update I accomplished recently was finally settling on a rug!  Momma has thought that my living room as always needed a rug.  Partly I’m sure to break the space up a little since I have a fairly open concept living room, kitchen, and dining room.  Secondly, to lighten up the super dark wood flooring the previous owners picked.

I’ve had a couple problems picking a rug.  First, most rugs in the size I need for my living room, at least 8×10, fall no where near the price point I’m willing to spend on a chunk of carpet.  Secondly, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed…..but there are way more ugly rugs than good looking rugs!

The colors I chose for the living room also didn’t help the rug hunt.  I have very dark floors, a metallic pearl couch, turquoise accent chairs and secretary, and a dark plum reading chair.  I wanted a traditional feel, but in modern colors.  Sort of like if Marie Antionette owned a townhome, simplified her need to gold, and embraced a modern color pallet.  Finding a traditional rug in those colors was a bit of a struggle.  Most were the wrong shade of blue, had weird pops of orange…….which why though……., or they were too dark to contrast with my floor.  Enter the Anastasia Collection by Loloi Rugs…..

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Stock photo from loloi.com because I’m bad at taking decent pictures.

The only name  can find for this rug is AF-05 Silver and Plum.  The base of the rug is a very light, slightly metallic silver, but against my floor it takes on a warmer shade of taupe-y silver.  I’m not sure that taupe-y silver is an actual color, but it is what it is I guess.  The turquoise in the rug perfectly matches my accent chairs, and the various shades of plum and eggplant coordinate nicely with my reading chair.  The only thing I don’t love with it is my little ottoman puff thing, but I could easily recover that.  It’s a pale cream floral print, and I’ve never been a huge fan of layering prints.  I know it’s a thing, but it just always seems weird to me.

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Laying out the monster rug, and someone wanted to help press out the wrinkles…….

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Wrinkle squishing was a serious job….but someone had to do it!

As you maybe can tell from the pictures, the rug looks darker in any light other than direct sunlight.  It also depends a little bit on which direction you brush the rug.  All in all, I really like it.  It keeps my couch from sliding backwards into the wall shelf, and it’s thin enough that it doesn’t feel like a chunk of shag carpet laying on my floor.  Momma keeps asking if I need a rug pad…..I’m not sure what that would accomplish, but the rug isn’t sliding around or moving so I’m leaning towards the not needing one side.

I’m not quite sure that we threw the rug down in the right location.  I mean, it’s underneath all the living room furniture which I know is important, but I’m still not super sure.  I’m sure that the next time Momma MisHappenings comes to the house we will fidget it around some.  I feel like that’s the sort of information Mommas are suppose to know…..how to connect a room with an area rug and how long to boil corn for.  Yes, I had to text and ask how long to boil corn for…..I cook a lot but every once in awhile you come upon something you took from granted and never had to make.  Apparently corn on the cob was that thing for me.

Besides moving furniture and laying out rugs, The Engineer and I also canned last weekend.  Well……mostly I canned and he watched.  He did help prep ingredients and wash green beans, but he decided he couldn’t stuff jars because his hands didn’t fit.  Dilly bean jar stuffing is a bit of an acquired art, so I guess I can’t really blame him.  He did take plenty of pictures, but please ignore the mess in my kitchen.  Between biking, breakfast smoothie making, canning, and just my regular messiness……my kitchen and I were disasters by the end of the day.  All in all we made 9 quart jars of dilly beans, and 7 jars of banana pepper rings.  Most of the banana peppers are in pints, but I had some random jelly jars laying around so I filled those up too.  Some of the jars even contain beans and peppers from my little garden plot.  It’s been nice to get veggies in quantities you can actually do something with, although I did still buy 8 pounds of green beans and a bucket of banana peppers from my favorite supplier at the farmer’s market.

The Power of Positive Drinking

Some weeks, you do nothing exciting.  Other weeks, you struggle to work after two late nights of country music and beers.  This week has been a sleep deprived struggle bus, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday night started off with one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite people.  Bitch Faced Bestie and I hit up the John Evans Band and Turnpike Troubadours.  We discovered our new personal style icons, and a new catch phrase, “Swagger is what swagger does!”

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This man is my spirit animal!  It was made ever more perfect by the fact that he was rocking high top Converse All-Stars with his skinny jeans.  You, John Evans, are everything I would want to be if I were a man!

 

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Because I’m way too cool to not rock fringe, and the BFB is almost always casually rocking bandana in the most perfect way.

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ON TO THE MAIN EVENT!

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Sometimes taking selfies is harder than it looks…..

 

This was the second time I’ve seen them in concert, and I would go again tomorrow if they came to town.  Nothing is better than boots, beers, and sweating the the pit of a concert jamming to songs that speak to you.  I know that it sounds gross, but sometimes a good drunk concert is all I need to get me feeling like myself again.

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You’re getting a double dose of Turnpike:

A—I couldn’t pick just one

B–They are my jam

Would you just look at them?!?!  Perfect!

Most of my week continued on fairly uneventfully.  Thursday night Pimp Money, his wife, and I headed out to the fair for some cheap country music, drinks, and fried food!  Usually I would get my yearly corndog fix at the rally, but the 76th Stugis Rally is wrapping up without me today while I sit on the patio and brunch with Scout.

The night as full of man crushes, cardigans in unexpected places, and younger 20 somethings getting their butts chewed for not behaving.

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We even got to meet Gunnar!  This might have maybe been more exciting to Pimp Money than his wedding day, we still haven’t really decided.  

The night had three different bands playing, Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys was the opener, Chris Janson was the headliner, and LoCash played the middle set.  Everything was going along just fine, until LoCash hit the stage in what we could only assume was a women’s cardigan!  First off, it was hot…..so why he thought he wanted a cardigan anyway was somewhat confusing for us.  This confusion was quickly followed up by the fact that it had a belt on it.  Now I’m not much of a fashion expert, and maybe I’m just not up to date on my trends, but around here most dudes aren’t running around in beatable, handkerchief  hemline cardigans!

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I had a better picture of the cardigan, but my phone died and it didn’t save……but there he is, in all his cardigan glory!

 

Chris Janson had never really been on my radar as an artist.  He has a couple popular songs on the radio, but beyond that I had never paid much attention.  I have to say I’m a pretty big fan after he stopped his show because some random drunk girl thought it would be fun to throw full Mike’s lemonades into a crowd that had a bunch of kids in it.  In fact, there was a family with two little guys in boots and pearl snaps who were clearly having their best night ever rocking out to country and it would have sucked a bunch if they had been hit with some sorry excuse of an adult drink!

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My phone died after this pic, so I don’t have any of my own pictures of Chris Janson playing…..

Have you ever seen a 135lb white redneck play the harmonica?!  It’s pretty epic stuff, I wouldn’t lie to you about these things.

 

I had originally thought my Saturday was going to be spent finishing up sprinkler checks for the HOA.  However, one of the guys was sick and wanted to postpone the check, he just didn’t bother to tell me that information.  So, instead of working on getting the bedroom finished, I went to the farmer’s market and restocked my winter supply of dilly beans!

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I also maybe bought myself some flowers….but when they look like that for $20 how can you not?!

I now have 12 more jars of spicy beans to get me through the winter.  Last summer I wrote a more in-depth post about my canning adventures, you can read it here.  This year went a bit easier and smoother since I knew what I was doing.  I did forget to add dill to the fist batch of 4 jars because I got way too excited.  However, I just opened them, added dill, and reprocessed.  They look fine and sealed but up so I think my pickling Hail Mary pass turned out just fine.

After the jars were all stuffed and the kitchen cleaned up, I got to relax with a traditional snack, a nap, and movie.  The snack was kohlrabi with Hidden Valley ranch dip, and the movie was Lonesome Dove parts 1 and 2.  Nothing like connecting with my Peterson farm roots while listening to the satisfying sound of canning lids pop and seal as they cool.  Second year in a row, and all my jars sealed up perfectly for winter storage!

A Dilly Bean Party and Other Homemaker Type Things

I learned a new skill, and I pickled green beans!!

(I wrote the bulk of this last night after I finished canning, but I couldn’t publish it until today, because I needed to let some stuff sit over night to make sure it all worked before I started spouting my epic successes…..I won some and I lost some.)

I didn’t even know that dilly beans were a thing until Momma’s friend sent me a jar last fall.  I’m totally hooked…..just the right amount of spicy and dilly!  Apparently, they are good in red beers and bloody mary’s.  I’ve never actually had a red beer, and while I do like bloody mary’s, I just eat the beans plain….straight outta the jar! I was a bit apprehensive about the whole canning process….it seemed harder than it actually ended up being.  Also, there was the small issue of all the green beans at the grocery stores looking…….questionable.  Momma informed me that it was past bean season, however I soldiered on, and collected some jars and other required paraphernalia from the basement at home in preparation.

Priority one was obviously trying to find beans.  After striking out at several grocery stores, I had an epiphany….THE FARMER’S MARKET!  I totally skipped out on morning Yoga Sculpt….ooops….in favor of hunting down several pounds of beans and dill.  I was totally victorious, and I also snagged myself a beautiful bouquet of dahlias……just becase sometimes you need flowers in your house!  Sadly, one of the dahlias is looking a bit wilty, hopefully he will perk up over night.

(….he has sadly not perked much….I cut off some more stem, but I might have lost a dahlia.)

Great shopping success!

Great shopping success!  8 pounds of beans and 2 fluffy bunches of dill…..

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

8 of the jars from Momma’s house went into the dishwasher, and I started prepping the veggies.  I had to do the canning in batches because only 4 jars would fit in my largest pot at once.  The beans went into the colander in batches, and I snapped the ends off and cleaned them.  Garlic cloves were smashed and peeled, celery and carrots cut, and Scout mooched the entire time for vegetable treats!

Getting organized

Getting organized and mentally prepared!

Prep work is key....can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?

Prep work is key….can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?  This was enough to do the first 4 jars.

While the jars were being washed and the beans were being prepped, I started my huge soup pot of water warming and the brine.  Mostly, the part about canning that stressed me out the most was that everything has to be hot, or the lids won’t seal.  More than once I sent out a panic text about the fact that the beans were stressing me.  However, I’m 98% confident that all my lids did in fact seal, and that I won’t have to consume my body weight in dilly beans in the next two weeks.

(Checked all the seals today, and they seem good.  Canning success!)

Smells horrific.....turns regular ol' beans into something amazing!

Smells horrific…..turns regular ol’ beans into something amazing!

I was also slightly concerned that I wasn’t packing the beans into the jars tight enough.  The first jar was a bit rough, but after that I think I got a technique down fairly well.  I did have to read about how to can using a water bath online….

A….because I have visions of horror whereby a pressure cooker blows up in my kitchen, and

B…..because all the recipes I found online just said “process jars”.

SOME OF US ARE DUMB NEWBIES!!!  How does one go about “processing jars”!?!?  Turns out you cover the jars fully plus 1 inch of water, and then start counting the time when the water returns to a gentle boil.  Also, I didn’t have a rack for the bottom of my pot, so my jars required a bit of babysitting so they didn’t bump around too much and break.  Don’t worry, I didn’t loose any jars!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

Basically, you just keep repeating the jar filling process until you run out of stuff.  After the first batch of 4, I had run out of vinegar.  Helpful tip…..if you want to start pickling, just buy the biggest jug of vinegar you can find…..trust me, you’ll need it!  I did go out and grab more vinegar, and I ended up with 10 jars total from the 8 pounds of beans I started with.  I did have to run another batch of jars through the dishwasher, so I had sort of a long break between the second and third batch.

V is for Victory!

V is for Victory!

Look at all the deliciousness!

Look at all the deliciousness!

All in all, canning wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Plus, now that I know what I’m doing I totally understand why people would want to do this.  It’s an easy way to be able to eat delicious veggies all winter long.  I come from a farming and canning family, and even though I will probably never get fancy enough to do jams and jellies, I would like to get to a point eventually where I can do tomatoes, pickles, beans…..the things I eat and use often.  Unfortunately, I don’t live on a farm, so the growing of all the veggies is still a bit problematic.

I might carve out some time next weekend to make more dilly beans, because I have a feeling these are going to be eaten pretty quickly!  Plus, it’s nice to keep old school skills alive.  If people my age don’t learn and use these skills they will eventually be lost.  I understand that we live in a world were it’s easier to drive to the store and buy cans of tomatoes….but that hasn’t always been a reality.  At the end of the day, it’s never a bad feeling know where your food comes from, plus there’s an extra sense of pride that comes from knowing that you did something yourself!

When you learn a new skill and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

When you learn a new skill, and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

It was actually a whole week of random home activities around here.  Monday I skipped out on work to finish up some of the furniture that sat in my garage all winter.  I had a set of dining room chairs I never got around to finishing, mostly because I bought other chairs to go with the table.  Monday was the day!!  The chairs were already painted, they just needed to be distressed and waxed.  Now, instead of chairs in the garage serving no purpose, I have chairs sprinkled randomly around the house. photo 1

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

I also suffered a bit of a landscaping crisis this week.  We’ve been having really strong winds all week, and one of my little trees is having some issues being a tree.  I had originally thought that the fees I pay the HOA every month went towards things like spraying weeds and making sure my trees grow in an upright direction, however I have slowly started to learn that that isn’t the case.  I haven’t quite gotten around the spraying the weeds and crab grass yet, but I did get the tree back on the up and up.  Fun fact, I ran into the Vinyl Enthusiast at Menards the other day and he had to help me find tree fixing accouterments.  Sometimes, it’s all about who you know!

(The wind picked up again last night, and pulled the stake out of the ground.  So, I’m once again back to having a tree that refuses to act like a tree.  At this point, it might just be easier to rip it out and plant something new.  Can’t win everything I guess!)

When you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties.

…..when you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties treeing……