Its been ages since I posted. I’ve been so busy with life changing events. Most importantly I’m a grandmother (a very young one fyi). Plus over the course of this last year I reassed what I really wanted to do. I found a big disconnect between my current career path and how it was not taking me to where I really wanted to be. So I made a big leap. I have transferred a large portion of my skillsets to managing property and I couldn’t be happier. But it has exhausted me to say the least. I do continue to work on the house with renewed hope and inspiration plus the added bonus of some practical hands on experience of professionally managing a living community of people and real property assets. So a tribute to doing what I want and a beautiful fire to warm my tired toes.
Haven’t posted in a while, cause I’ve just been busy. Some things I can’t post about, or wouldn’t bother to consider it post worthy anyway but I’ll have some posts soon enough about the Mancave work, more work on windows and my search for shutters. I’ve done a bit of canning, trying to get back to that when I have time. So soon enough I will hit the publish on some of my posts I’m working on, hope you’ll come back and check.
Found this, and a few other cards in a pile. I picked these up at a garage sale on a trip thru Utah some time ago which my sister-in-laws daughter was having. My sister-in-law is from South Africa and she said these were very common when she was a young girl, she’s not that much older than I and I don’t recall ever seeing them. Have you?
I do love , you can find all kinds of inspiration there. I am more of a visual learner so the site lends to my need to see things rather than read through tons and process. As they say a picture paints a thousand words. But more importantly, it’s more about where those pictures came from. I have found more great blogs from Pinterest than from any search, reader or twitter function. Many times I will be inspired by the pinned picture, but I move past the need to pin and actually read the blog it came from, I subscribe and engage there instead of Pinterest.
I do find a lot of humor on pinterest, I think it may have the tendancy to become the next meme and urban legend tracker. People post these amazing finds and “secrets of” and when you actually read on you find the claim made by the simple picture and affirmation is very unplausible. I saw a pin recently where they thought it amazing that they were using a sheetrock mud knife to cut brownies – but am I the only one who realizes the fabrication method used for fabricating tools is very different than the fabrication methods used for kitchen utensils – like food safe materials and chemicals? I guess because it was such a pretty picture we forgot or just couldn’t think past it.
Or what about all those fantastic tutorials for using “paint chips”? How many paint chips do you actually collect? and did you pay for them? I doubt that glidden intends for you to just walk away with 100′s of them for your craft purposes and not for what they intended which is to select a paint color? 1, 2, or 3, maybe even 4, 5 and 6 chips… but to grab and entire handful to make some of these awesome paint chip crafts? well, I consider that a little over the top and really just stealing. Unless of course the store is throwing them away – then have at them. Maybe it is okay, but I personally would be a bit embarassed to walk into Homedepot and obscound with a handful which I knew were for crafting and not to select paint – I equate it to eating out of the bulk food bins at the grocery store, you don’t do it.
As I’ve posted before we have had lots of projects going on. We sped many up as the weather started to change. One in particular as we wrapped up the painting was the windows. All the windows in this house are made up of multiple panes of glass. The panes are glazed in with window glazing, putty if you will. As old as the house is, you can image what the condition of some of these individual window panes. Of course the southern facing windows are the worst. Many had been replaced over the years, regardless the weather had it’s effect.
This is the back side of the house. There are two bay windows and some french doors. I had to start by cleaning them. There was a lot of mineral deposits (probably from the well water), that neither windex nor vinegar mix would clean off. I then tried a solution of CLR (yes calcium, lime and rust remover) and water and used a Mr. Clean eraser sponge. It worked wonders, and did a fantastic job. With them clean, we cleaned up the loose paint and putty with a wire brush. Each of the panes is placed in the wood frame with little push triangles to hold the window in place. There’s a small amt of glazing putty under the edge of the wood to create a seal, then you finish with a nice angled seal around the outside with glazing putty.
I had to do just about every pane, yes it was a pain!
And I know they aren’t perfect. It’s a short term fix til I can replace the windows with the right window solution that preserves the look of the home, but improves it’s overall weatherization and energy efficiency. In the meantime, we have lined all the drapes with an energy efficient liner, we have seen a great improvement in drafts and those chilly breezes. We’ll look for improvements in the heating bil in the coming months as the true testl. I’m pretty proud of the work I did and glad it’s done. Now onto one of many inside projects.
We love carnitas, which just means little meats without respect to which variation, pork, chicken or beef – really who’s that picky? Our favorite is Pork Carnitas, the best is home made that is for sure, along with of course the obligatory rice and beans. We love to make a big bunch, and invite folks over and have enough to share with those who didn’t make it over. So here is how we make it.
Your shopping list:
- 8-10 Lbs Pork butt cut up
- 1 large sweet onion, peel and rough chop – don’t worry they will cook down
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smash, rough chop
- 2-3 serano chilies (deseed and rough chop – keep the seeds if you want more heat)
- 2-3 jalapeno chilies (ditto)
- 1 can chopped tomato’s (not sauce or salsa)
- chili powders (new mexico, california and pasilla powders – we just like this mix – if you have your favorites use them)
- Mexican Oregano
And the last 2 secret ingredients:
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
- 1 12 oz bottle or can coke (red can – not diet – accept no subsitutes!)
Take your meat, about 8 – 10 pounds Pork cuts, which are the heavily marbled cuts like the butt or picnic ham. Winco even cuts and packages is as “carnitas” in case you can’t figure out which one you want. Just make sure it’s not a lean cut – you need the fat marbling to make this good. Put them in a large heavy pot, I like a big cast iron one I have because it carries the heat well. Cut it into 3 inch sized chunks, don’t worry about the size – unless it’s one or two huge chunks. Now dump it all in a pot.
Dump in all your stuff, the onions, garlic, chilies and tomato’s, rough chopped and all, spices on top. Then pour your evaporated milk in – yes – dump it in. Then on top of that your coke. Trust me – it will be delicious.
Start your engines, cook this on medium til it comes to a nice simmer. Stir it around. Put your lid on it and turn it down to let it simmer for about 3 hours. The milk and the coke provide enough liquid, don’t worry. A nicely marbled meat will also juice out and the meat breaks down nicely.
You will know it’s done when it is all dark (not burnt silly) and the meat has fallen apart. You may want to put it on a low simmer to eliminate some of the liquid. I don’t add salt til the end when I can taste it. The meat should have good flavor, not too spicy (unless you added the seeds). It should be sweet from the coke as well. And well, your house should smell pretty good.
Serve it with some nicely fried fresh corn tortillas – I don’t like flour for these. Garnish your individual tacos with some nice pico, just chop up some sweet onion, chili’s cilantro and lime juice. And of course my kids love queso fresco on it as well.
Hopefully you had the beans cooking at the same time and some mexi rice going on the side… We consider this soul food and love it! I’d love to hear how it went for you.
This weeks project: is my Craft Sanctuary, possibly a Sitching Lounge – lovely sounding words aren’t they? So much better than junk room which is what it looks like today, filled with so many unfinished projects (more like unstarted projects).
This week I start to put things into motion to make it real as best I can between real jobs and this wish book activity. I picked up this great table at Goodwill over the weekend for a whopping $10. I was even willing to pay the $19.99 it was marked but I lucked out and it was 50% off. It’s a typical farm table, with black legs painted legs and a pine top. After our 5000 sq ft of hardwood floors we refinished – this is going to be a piece of cake. I’ve even tried out the lifts for the legs to make it counter height and they fit perfectly! Love it. An easy conversion is to use those bed lifts you find at target or anywhere to lift a twin bed and give it some storage height. They are also the perfect height to lift a small table making it counter height. I like this solution better so I don’t permanently ugly up some perfectly good legs. This will let me use the table other places and for other things when I need it, I just have to be sure not to lean or push too hard.
More pictures to come as it progresses.
It’s been a busy summer! Aside from my recovery and convalesence from some surgery – we had a big goal of getting the house painted. We were so committed we invested early in the paint with a sale and rebate promotion at HomeDepot, even though we weren’t going to paint til late August. But to take advantage of the sale we had to know what colors we wanted and we weren’t there yet. It’s not like you can just pick any color and easily change your mind later. Mind you I could easily change my mind, but I knew no way was my husband painting it again next year if I did, so a decision had to be made. We wanted something traditional and comlimentary to the Colonial style home that it is. I looked at too many chips and was just about to give up when I bothered to look at the paint brochure and there on the cover the whole time was a the perfect color combinations. It had been in front of me the whole time!
Our Inspiration: This is a snapshot from the Behr paint catalog, and the paint pallet we went with for the house. It’s a great look for a colonial style. I would have painted our shutters this gray/black, but they are already a black plastic and I wasn’t going to mess with that. It’s called compromise.
We love the colors, now that we knew what we wanted, buying was the easy part. Then comes the hard work. The house hadn’t been painted in years. The last time, some terribly sloppy painters made a mess, painted brick, windows and even the roof. They clearly didn’t know what they were doing (at least less than what we did). I also suspect they were taking advantage of an old woman who didn’t know better. She forked over the money and they did a quick spray job and left. We had years of deferred maintenance to take care of and a shoestring budget to boot. Over the summer my husband, scraped, sanded, cleaned and repaired the wood siding to ready it for painting. We also had to repair gutters and downspouts and get as much paint off the brick as possible.
My husband is a real champ, he was actually looking forward to painting the house, he dedicated his summer vacation to painting it. So when game day came around, we only had to rent scaffolding. Again, homedepot is awesome, they have everything we didn’t. We had to have 4 tiers because the end caps of the house were not reachable by even our tallest ladder. We’ve done this before, our old house was an old victorian with a steep (and I mean steep) gable roof. We had some pretty tall ladders to reach up there, evenso my husband hates heights, so the scaffolding offers far more stability, especially for his paint compressor. We invested in a very nice commercial quality one years ago at the other house. It has definitely paid for itself over and over again, not just for us, but for friends as well.
Everything went really well, the only glitch was the east side of the house, we couldn’t reach the wall with the scaffolding nor a ladder. My husband had to resort to a really long extension pole and a lot of patience as he stood on the steep roof. But it’s finally done. We love it, we probably saved thousands of dollars doing the work ourselves (the royal “We” is employed here – I supervised and provided a lot of crucial project management, occasionally I did handle a paint brush). It’s not perfect but it’s a major improvement.
Here is our After picture.
And there’s more to do:
We have the shutters up on the second floor, we have to locate or special order replacement shutters for the lower level (they’ve been gone for years) and a few odds and end things to resolve to say it’s complete, but the rains can come, the majority is done. Hooray! we’ll probably have to redo some stuff next summer, but the coat of paint will really help restore it’s life. We have some brick work to do when my husbands friend has some free time (we take the help when it’s available!), we’ll be making some repairs and sealing the lower brick. We also found once the rain really fell that some of the gutters have issues and we will be fixing those soon so the water doesn’t ruin any of our work. Thank goodness we have tall ladders.
Now I’ve already started on some inside projects for the winter, there is plenty to do! So stay tuned.
I love Pinterest! I think it’s because I’m a visual person and I like to learn, so I love to wander through great blogs who are sharing some of their great experiences, ideas and of course recipes. Pinterest uses the visual pinning from blogs and it has really captured my imagination. I recently decided that instead of just pinning others pins, I’d actually try to make some of them.
So this week, I’m doing a Pin a day from my pinboards.
Monday I made Cream of Anything Soup Mix as is the purpose of Pinterest it links back to the original blog One Orange Giraffe. So I tried it, I made a quart jar of the Cream of Anything Soup mix, I think the key is the powdered Milk and Cornstarch ratio, the rest are really up to your individual tastes. I modified mine with a bit of garlic and instead of the basil and thyme, I used a vegetable seasoning mix that had those in it and more, plus the dried onions and chicken bouillon.
I made up the chicken, bacon and cheese casserole with the soup mix. It’s a great mix of flavors, but I’d say the soup mix being made with Corn Starch is going to be a bit on the clear side – it isn’t milky even when cooked. There is another Cream of Soup recipe mix available in Make a Mix cook books I’ll have to try out and compare, it uses a flour and powdered milk base.
Regardless, the casserole itself looks and smells wonderful right now. It’s dinner, and I think we will enjoy it – it certainly was easy to make, which really is the point of it.
I love easy recipes. A couple years ago, I helped coordinate a large regional event for our Relief Society Organization. The committee had to come up with a very simple menu to feed hundreds of women, an important component of course of any large gathering is the dessert. No matter how bad the menu is, if you end with a fantastic dessert they will forgive all the rest. If you don’t, they will remember it forever! The dessert they chose was a very simple Banana Bars – initially I had a few negative thoughts of how that kind of dessert would go off. I was wrong – I have repented! and I asked for the recipe. It remains one of my favorite easy to make recipes that will feed a large group. perfect for when you have too many really ripe banana’s as well and don’t want to toss them.
Made a batch last night to finish off some bananas, and take a large platter to my husbands work. Each year they buy all the school supplies for the employees kids. It’s a nice gesture, we only have one left in school, high school at that and they had a hard time taking a “no thanks” from us this year. So we’ll bring up some treats in exchange.
I had some crushed almonds left over from those Almond Joy Bars I made last week, so I sprinkled the rest on top of the cream cheese frosting.
Give it a try, it’s fast, simple and pretty darn good to eat as well!
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 Cup)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas. Spread into greased 15x10x1 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and frost.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla (I use almond extract instead)
3 3/4 powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar. Store frosted bars in refrigerator.
If you want this recipe for yourself, I’ve shared it on google docs, click the link and save it to your files here: