Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Blog Alert!

Look at this kiddos! Victoria Motto Samplers aka Nancy, now has a blog! AND…she’s having a stupendous floss giveaway! She has some very creative sampler designs, and she dyes her own floss. I’m jealous of all her talent already!

In other news, today is the last day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), during which our intrepid, but tiresome (and tired) writer is supposed to post every single solitary day for the entire month. To be eligible for some wicked awesome prizes, of course. So awesome, in fact, I don’t even remember what they were. And, let’s face it, I NEVER win nuthin’!  But my gene pool requires me to continue trying.

So, with that being said, you may or may not see me tomorrow. It all depends on if I win some huge prize or something. Maybe I can spend some time stitching….I have a November ornament to finish…

Monday, November 29, 2010


I brought Chicken to the vet for her annual check-up & shots. She has a hernia on her bum that the doctor is very concerned about. I have to schedule a consult with another vet who is equipped to do this type of surgery.


Thanksgiving dinner

I also discussed Aslan’s inappropriate peeing, and she convinced me to bring him in for some blood work. Those results show that he may possibly have an infection deep in one of his kidneys. He’s on an antibiotic for 3 weeks, and then he’ll be re-checked. I don’t know how to tell if he’s no longer going to pee in places he shouldn’t. I’m certainly not keen to leave my bedroom door open to try it out! He’s a happy enough little guy, he’s just so skinny, and pees where he shouldn’t! I’ve tried cleaning the litter box more frequently; I suppose I could try getting a 2nd box, but I don’t think cleanliness is the issue with him.


Delilah just weighs as much as a concrete block with fur. That kitty is a TANK under there!




Sunday, November 28, 2010

Procrastinators ‘R Us…

You do remember that I’m a charter member of Procrastinators Anonymous? I waited until 3:00 this afternoon (Sunday) to start putting up my Christmas lights. Of course, in the manner of ALL house-fix-it projects around here, to put up the lights requires that I MUST clean the gutters first. No fun until the work is done. Thank you Frank McMorrow.

I was done by 5:15-ish, which is actually kind of quick for me. While cleaning out the back gutter, I moved my over-turned wheelbarrow (which has a flat tire- which is why it hasn’t been moved in a year), and discovered the camouflage for a rodent motel! Under the wheelbarrow, little critters of the furry variety have been amassing a big pile of dirt, enough to fill the wheelbarrow. Mixed in this was the old blue tarp I had set the barrow on, so that it wouldn’t blow away. I hastily shoveled all that away. Luckily, I didn’t have to look at any of the furry things.

On a down note, though, I noticed a couple of my dormer corner boards are really rotted- that the trim paint from the last paint job didn’t hold up well at all.

Here’s a photo of my efforts:

Xmas lights 2010

The string that runs above the door is a brand new set, so the curl has to straighten out on that part.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I’m running out of NaBloPoMo ideas….

I was perusing Wyndam Needleworks, one of my favorite ONS, and found these potential stash enhancers:

From Rosewood Manor, this would be perfect for a guy present:

“Sailing Ships Sampler”:


From Ink Circles:

“Growth Rings”:


For the horse lover, “Fjord Ponies”:


From Waxing Moon Designs, “Halloween Fairies”:

From Sunflower Seed ( I love ALL of these- where have they been all my life???!!):

“Celtic Pumpkin”:


“Celtic Birds”


“Hilltop Seasons”:


“Tall Seasons”:


“Spiders & Bats- OH My!”:


And from The Workbasket, “House of Alphabets”:

I hope I have whetted a few appetites, or at least enlarged a few Christmas Wish lists!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This might make Black Friday bearable…


How do they organize these flash mobs, anyway?

wouldn’t you like to be there!?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite all signs to the contrary, my feast was prepared at about the time I had planned. I made a significant strategic error by baking my chocolate cake this morning- as I was about to put it in the oven, I realized that its baking time would conflict with putting the turkey in. I crossed my fingers and hope my bird would roast fast this year. You know how sometimes it just cooks faster (or slower) that expected?

After I put the cake in, I decided to use my 32 minutes by running down for a coffee & paper, gas up the car, and stop at Walgreens for tissues & trash bags, and ended up back home 7-1/2 minutes late. And don’t you know one of the instructions was “Don’t over bake!” Crossed my fingers again, and lo and behold: it was delicious.   Very tall and fudgy. I gave 2 hefty slices to Bob & his son in their care packages.


And my turkey came out yummy as well. I left the legs loose, and it came out a bit obscene, though it’s a bit hard to tell from the angle of the photo:  


Remains of the day:


Now I’m stuffed!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I’m a Happy Girl!


That Cabernet on the right? That’s the BIG bottle! They didn’t have the smaller size. So I guess I’ll just have to drink more! Poor me!

And seriously, I am totally finding all other kinds of things to do rather than pre-cook vegetables (squash, carrots & parsnips) and bake a chocolate cake. And I’m not too concerned about it either. I even bought rolls from the bakery at the supermarket instead of making my own. I think I’m having some kind of delusional PMS/pre-menopausal episode.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I don’t know why, but I have absolutely NO motivation to start any of my Thanksgiving prep work. I have to at least make the brine so I can throw the bird in to soak tomorrow morning. Crap.

That means I have to get up even earlier. I’m SOOOOOO tired this week!

In other news, Karma bites an ass!

The sh***thead who picks up his kid at the day care across the street, and repeatedly blocks me in or out of my driveway, backed into my much abused mailbox. He cracked his back window, and then made a brilliant observation: “but it’s my fault”.

I told him DAMN RIGHT IT’S YOUR FAULT! And get off my property and stay off!

Honestly, the guy is such a prick, I’m surprised he even knocked on my door to confess. My mailbox isn’t damaged; it’s just leaning more. I’d be on at least my third post if I insisted every one who backed into it replaced it.

Monday, November 22, 2010


too bright

“That flash is too bright!”


“Did you say “meatloaf”?”

Please excuse the mess on the floor. My couch & environs no longer belong to me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon…

Did you know tonight’s full moon is considered a blue moon? IMG_0407

Most people know of the more recent definition that the second full moon within a month is called a blue moon. I didn’t know this, but there is an older definition of “blue moon”. Most years, there are only 3 full moons per season. Every so often, because each solar calendar year contains roughly eleven days more than the lunar year,  there occurs a 4th full moon in a given season. The third of those is called a blue moon, to distinguish it from the other 3 moons to fall in between the equinox and the following solstice, which in this instance are Harvest Moon, Hunter's Moon and Beaver Moon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catch up…

Got the stuffing- it now comes in a 14 oz. bag, not 16 oz. And I remembered to get sausage, which I had totally forgotten. Maybe it would have helped to re-read my own recipes that I had conveniently linked to 2 days ago.

Started cleaning- OMG - a Herculean task. And daughter decides to “clean” her room which means a pile of empty boxes and bags left in the kitchen. That helps. That helps a lot.

Bob will be discharged from rehab on Tuesday, or Monday, depending on the note left in his room last  Friday when he had an appointment outside the facility. The note says his insurance pays thru until Monday, not until Tuesday, which is the day the doctors told him he “could” leave. As I told the girls at stitching Thursday night: “I want to go out in a blaze of glory”. That way I won’t have to even begin to understand this older-years insurance stuff, nor deal with nursing home conflict. Now that he’s got his discharge date, he’s gotten very impatient with all the things he’s put up with for a month: the kitchen leaving items off his tray at EVERY meal, the “yeller” across the hall, his gassy roommate, the nurses barging in on him while he’s in the bathroom “Are you OK?”. And honestly, after one month, he’s no better, if not worse, than when he went in.

I’m working on the end of that cabernet……


Friday, November 19, 2010

Close but No Cigar….

I got the turkey, the broth, the vegetables. Do you think they’d have the stuffing??? Think again.

Tomorrow brings a trip to the “other” supermarket, to find Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing mix. Not a bag to be found at my usual store. And the one time the cashier neglected to ask “Did you find everything you were looking for?”

And then I was majorly ripped off at the Family Dollar store. The same package of Bounty paper towels was $3 LESS at the supermarket, and the dish detergent was $2.25 vs.. $1.89 at the supermarket. Well, I guess I wasn’t ripped off; I just assumed incorrectly the Family Dollar would be cheaper. So much for smart shopping. Totally cancelled this score out.

At least I had leftover cabernet from the short rib lasagna to ease my pain.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Quaker Halloween update:

CS Quaker Halloween31

That fire hydrant under “Boo” is actually a tombstone. I still have to put “RIP” on it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NOT Wonderful Wednesday Wrecipe…

Not much cooking going on around here; I just can’t get in the mood what with Thanksgiving coming up next week, plus having an unexpected barn-sitting weekend.IMG_0395

“Bless me father, for I have sinned: I had this for supper”


The Pioneer Woman is on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” at 9:00 pm (EST). I already have my TV on now so I won’t forget. “Unwrapped” is boring.

Needless to say, I’m definitely Team Ree.

For my dinner, I’m probably repeating this menu. Here’s the direct link to my Slow Cooker Stuffing recipe. I can’t decide what to make for dessert. Everything I would love isn’t either traditional enough (i.e. NOT apple pie), or no one else (i.e. Miss Em) likes. And if I’m dirtying every free kin’ dish and pot and pan I own to make this dinner and clean up afterwards, dessert is kind of my reward, you know what I  mean???!!! I would love this, for instance, but I suspect more than my fair share would end up on my ever-expanding ass. Maybe a Guinness Chocolate cake?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This seems only fair....

Story from the Washington Examiner

Monday, November 15, 2010

And another thing…

I started my November ornament:

LDD Tis Red

From the JCS 2010 ornament issue-

“ ‘Tis Red” by La-D-Da.

Only, obviously, it’s not red.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More stitching!

I was able to put a huge chunk of time in on Quaker

Halloween yesterday; today, not so much:

CS Quaker Halloween29

CS Quaker Halloween30

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Musical horses

6 horses & one pony plus 3-1/2 paddocks makes for a busy day. One horse goes out all day because he gets the sh**s if he’s in too long. 3 horses are the BO’s horses, and since it’s her farm, they HAVE to go out. One horse can’t go out unless someone is on the property, in case the horse decides to put a leg thru the fence. The pony can’t go on grass at all, but should get some outside time in the dirt pen. Poor Axe, she gets the leftovers.head shot axe

Friday, November 12, 2010


We had a brilliant sunset the other night; it seemed even more so coming as it did after several downright dismal days of rain, drizzle and yuck:



I’m an incompetent photographer at best; but you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Fly or Not to Fly? THAT is the question!

TSA: No Fondling, Groping Or Squeezing Is Taking Place At Airports

Yeahhhh riiiight! It looks like the most PDA some people have had in years!

Wonderful Wednesday Wrecipe

Emily found this recipe last week. It sounded yummy. However, I didn’t want to make a huge 9” x 13” pan of it though, so I adjusted the quantities. None of us like mushrooms very much either, so I eliminated those too. It took all afternoon, but it came out delicious! Very rich & decadent- worth all the trouble.

Short Rib Lasagna

Short Rib sauce:

  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped in ¼” dice
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped in ¼” dice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in ¼” dice
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • ¼ cup ruby Port
  • 1 cup dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel)
  • 3-1/2 cups beef broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled


  • 3-1/2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 or 4 no-boil lasagna noodles

Sauce Directions:

  1. Create a bouquet garni with the fresh herb sprigs & bay leaf. Tie in cheesecloth, or place in a coffee filter pinned closed with toothpicks.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Sprinkle ribs with salt & pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl; dredge meat, shaking off excess. Reserve flour.
  3. Heat 2 TBSP oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per side, setting aside after they cook. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Heat remaining 2 TBSP oil in same pot. Add carrots, celery, & onions. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle 1 TBSP reserved flour over vegetables (discard remainder).
  5. Add tomato paste & stir until paste begins to brown on bottom of pot, about 1 minute. Add Port & stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute. Add red wine, then 1 cup of the beef broth.
  6. Bring to boil and simmer until reduced by about 1/3, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add remainder of broth, garlic, and bouquet garni. Return to a boil.
  7. Add ribs back to pot, arranging in a single layer. Cover pot. Place in oven and braise until very tender, about 2-1/2 hours.
  8. Using tongs, remove cooked ribs from liquid. Discard bouquet garni. Shred beef. Spoon off any excess fat from top of sauce & discard.
  9. Boil sauce until reduced to about 3-1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Return meat to sauce and season with salt & pepper. Stir in chopped thyme.

Lasagna Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy large sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour & whisk until smooth. Cook until flour turns light golden brown, whisking often, about 6 minutes. Add milk; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute. Add nutmeg and season to taste with salt & pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 5” x9” x 3” loaf pan with vegetable spray.
  3. Spoon about ½ cup sauce evenly on bottom. Sprinkle 2 TBSP cheese over. Place a lasagna noodle on top of cheese. Spoon about 2/3 cup béchamel over noodle, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ cup cheese. Spread 1 cup of sauce over. Repeat with noodle, béchamel, cheese, and meat sauce. Top with one last noodle, spreading remaining béchamel sauce, and ½ cup of Parmesan.
  4. Bake uncovered until edges are bubbling & top is golden brown in spots, about 40 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The cast of characters:

short rib lasagna1

My low-tech bouquet garni:

short rib lasagna4

Browned beef:

short rib lasagna2

Sauté the vegetables:

short rib lasagna3

After braising in oven for 2-1/2 hours:

short rib lasagna7

Reduce the sauce a bit more (after removing the packet of herbs):

short rib lasagna8

Add shredded meat back to reduced sauce.

short rib lasagna9

The assembled lasagna:

short rib lasagna10

The finished dish:

short rib lasagna11

Against the original directions, I had covered this with foil prior to baking (purely my executive decision). I think it would not have been as “saucy” if I hadn’t, so I kept the original instructions above. Also, I ended up with about 1-1/2 cups of meat sauce leftover. Perfect for another meal, served over buttered egg noodles.

It was a TON of work. and now I have a bottle of Port to use up. But that makes the perfect excuse to make this again!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I got a load (one cord) of firewood today. If I spent an hour a night stacking, it’ll take me over a week to get it all nice & neat. And somehow the tarp over my seasoned stack blew off or got removed, so now all that’s wet, too.

Bob’s on week 3 of rehab, and right now he’s no better off than the night he went in. The place isn’t too bad, it’s clean and the food is edible. He finished his course of antibiotics as they dropped his prednisone, and his lungs filled up again. So they upped his prednisone again- now he’s back at square one. The point of being there was to get him OFF the prednisone.

Ghirardelli chocolate is way better than Hershey's.

My barn owner is getting yet another new horse. They’re driving to Michigan this weekend to pick her up. So I’m barn-sitting yet again this weekend. Which now involves lugging 5 gallon pails of water to 2 stalls in the indoor, which is about double the distance from the water spigot to the barn. Plus the additional other “new” horse, which requires water. I’m going to be schlepping pails all weekend.

I can either do the French Country Star in variegated green, or the La-D-Da “’Tis Red” ornament in green. (Just because I’m tired of red.)

I hope all that noise the little cat is making is because it’s found a mouse.

Haven’t heard about the bone marrow match yet.

I really could go for something with cream cheese frosting on it. Maybe I should just make the frosting and eat that and save the cake calories…………….

Monday, November 8, 2010

Now THIS is a diet I like!

This nutrition professor decided to test his theory that losing weight is a function of cutting calories, rather than what you eat.

Behold: The Twinkie Diet


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Well, maybe I DID get my money’s worth!

An interesting story about grade inflation; my daughter graduated with many “A”s from BU. Take that Harvard!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I need a post, here’s my update of Quaker Halloween:

CS Quaker Halloween28

Here’s a close-up of the skeleton heads:


I  still haven’t figured how I’m going to personalize it- I’m thinking all my black pets’ names, or maybe my family names/initials.

We had our rabble-rowser victory party this afternoon; I came home early to walk Chicken and to watch the Breeder’s Cup race. Zenyatta lost by a head. %^(

Friday, November 5, 2010

All I really want….

Is some sleep! It’s been 3 weeks in a row of 5:30 am wake-ups, and my body has just about had it. And since I came “home” from barn-sitting for 11 days, it seems I’ve been out doing things every single night.

I’d show my progress on Quaker Halloween, but I don’t have a clear space or good light to take a picture. I still have to find & start my November ornament. I’m thinking another monochromatic from the JCS mag, but done in a complementary variegated green.

My BO brought her Appaloosa World Champion home for the first time. She’s owned him for two years, but he’s been with the trainer in Washington state all this time. He’s very pretty, for an Appaloosa. (You horsey people know what I mean!) Now she’s thinking of buying another 2-year-old- it got 4 first place ribbons at Worlds. She can squeeze another horse in the barn, but it’s become a logistical nightmare I prefer not to have to handle.

This NaBloPoMo thing is getting intimidating: I feel like I’ve already hit the wall on day 5!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Those Crazy Canucks!


Jane from my stitching group passed this along. Try not to say “Awwwwww!”:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wicked Wednesday Wrecipe

These look deliciously sinful:

Maple Nut Oatmeal Cream pies

I’m baking a double batch of my Mostess cupcakes, and a batch of Ree’s Homemade Restaurant Salsa for a Victory party this weekend with my merry band of whacko vigilantes (as we’ve been *AHEM*  affectionately called here in town). Not much other cooking yet.

Monday, November 1, 2010

See you next spring!

Garden Grew:

Thursday’s progress:


Saturday’s progress:


And a close-up of where I’ve left off:


Quaker Halloween, which is NOT retired until the spring:

CS Quaker Halloween27

And i finished this Thursday:

JBW French Country Star

From the JCS 2010 Ornament issue,

JBW Designs “French Country Star” on white jobelan, 28 or 32 ct, with DMC Color variations 4210.

Now on to house cleaning. I should be finding out in the next couple of weeks if I’m a bone marrow match. I hope I am!