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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

It looks like this will be the month I finally get to have a fully-functional big-girl kitchen! YAY!

Victory is mine!

(Sorry, that’s my favorite “I’ve accomplished something” music – it’s from Final Fantasy VII)

It looks like maybe in a few weeks we’ll finally be able to get the kitchen counter we so very desperately need. There are also some slight cosmetic issues that need to be taken care of as well – we have most of the stuff to take care of that already – and possibly we’ll get the upper cabinets done too.¬† I could be looking at a whole new kitchen by my birthday! ūüėÄ

I’m a little over-excited about this to say the least.

Until then though – we’re sticking to our regularly scheduled budget/plans and unfortunately that is mostly a lot of very uninspired meals. I know this blog has really gone downhill since I stopped cooking loads of really awesome food.

However, mostly it’s because Garry and I are engaged and we’re planning our wedding for next year! (you can read my blog on our wedding here) So I’ve been preoccupied with making sure we have money to cover the costs that need to be covered and all that stuff.

This weekend is 4th of July which is the 2nd most-holy-grilling-day (next to Memorial Day weekend). Much to everyone’s surprise – we don’t own a grill. Luckily a friend of mine is willing to let us borrow hers for our Crazy Lady Night next week where I’m hosting it for the second time. We’re having an Americana-themed party (I love themed parties) and it should be a good time. Although – outside of hotdogs and hamburgers (and of course – spiedies!) I’m not too familiar with grilled recipes – so does anyone out there want to share their most glorious grill recipes with me? (FYI – I’m allergic to anything that lives in the water and mushrooms)

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Beltane

Well, I can safely say that we made it through Beltane without too much craziness this year. On average we have this HUGE issue with people fighting over our list-serv right before and this year, either I was blissfully unaware of it – or by some odd chance of fate – it never happened. AND we’re in a Mercury Retrograde? I am a little confused, but delighted nonetheless.

It was HOT outside all weekend, which I’m glad it was nice and warm so I wouldn’t freeze, but I definitely wasn’t ready for 80’s. I wore a gauze sundress which was helpful, but I never needed my insanely warm clothes that I brought. (And at some point in the weekend I usually do need them) Weird.

It all went well, Garry gave up his May King crown and I think for him there was a little sadness, but either way it was good for him to finally let go of that energy.

We didn’t eat much while we were there, but I’ll say that making the chocolate covered strawberries was a GREAT idea. WOW I had never seen a group of people so excited about fruit before! I’ll definitely make it a point to bring that more often.

I ended up doing more henna designs on some of my friends and on my hands. I don’t have pictures of those either. Sorry folks.

We had some great wine that we made last Mabon with our friend Raine. I’m happy to say that I still have most of the bottle left too! Meaning I can enjoy some again tonight!

I hurt my wrist while playing my bodhran for a few hours Friday night. I wrapped it and then played for a little while on Saturday. I just wasn’t feeling it on Saturday for some reason. Not a lot of people were dancing… well then again I’m usually the one dancing…

My arms still hurt quite a bit today. :-/ That really sucks a lot since I have tons of cleaning to do before I host Crazy Lady Night tomorrow night and unpack my car. Garry (fortunately) said he’d help out and clean the bathroom and the stove (which he was supposed to do a week ago).

So the highlight for me (well outside of ritual) was when we were placing the Maypole in the hole and our fiddle player was playing the opening chords to that song… you know… the one for the 2001: A Space Odyssey and then my friend Ulric started playing the drums on his bodhran… lol it was pretty funny… we had a good chuckle over it.

Tonight dinner will be light I imagine – I have chicken sausages so what to do with that? Hmm…

Honey Almond Chicken Sausage Pasta (this should be interesting!)

Chicken sausages (1 per person)

Angel hair pasta (2 servings)

Crushed almonds (1 palm full)

2 tbs honey

dash of salt (for pasta water)

1 head broccoli chopped and steamed

We’ve had honey on our pasta instead of thick sauces before so this might be pretty good. It’s a good combo of salty and sweet and if you only use a tablespoon it’s less calories and fat than traditional sauces.

We also happen to have some frozen broccoli that needs to be used up. We’ll see how it works out – I’m hoping it’s good.

Slice chicken sausages and cook in pan until browned

Cook angel hair pasta as normal

Steam broocoli

Crush almonds w/ mortar and pestal (if not already crushed)

Mix pasta, meat, and broccoli together – add honey.

Sprinkle almonds on top.

Tomorrow for CLN I’ll be making one of my favorites: Taco Salad only with black beans (we have some vegetarians in the mix and I’ve made it with beans before and it was pretty good. I need to wash all my bowls and plates so I have plates for everyone and bowls to put some of the toppings in. Someone is bringing margarita mix and I’m not sure what other people are brining – but it’s almost Cinco de Mayo so I figured that kind of theme would be good.

Which reminds me – I need to go shopping after work today.

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This week has been full of distractions. Notably so because I’m well aware we’re in a Mercury Retrograde. *Joy!*

With Beltane being only a very few short days away there is a LOT to prepare. Did I mention I’m hosting Crazy Lady Night for the first time ever TWO DAYS after I get home from camping for a long weekend? Yeah, I know, I’m insane.

In the last week I’ve given the keys back to my old apartment and did the walkthrough and to be honest, I’m still a little sad about it. I guess that place, despite that Garry lived with me, was like my autonomy. Now that we formally (names on the mailbox and everything) live together, well, I kind of miss that feeling of autonomy – even if it is only just a tiny bit.

This weekend we went to the camp/ritual site and helped put up tents, prep the area and what not. Garry and a bunch of other guys cut an INSANE amount of firewood (and paid for it – Garry’s back muscles are still not quite right again) which should last us through most of the summer. YAY¬†for being productive.

All of our work was finished by late afternoon which left the rest of the evening to enjoy the company of everyone there. We¬†lit a bonfire and drummed a while until it started raining and everyone with a djembe ran their instruments to their vehicle. Since I play a bodhran (and¬†Ulric and Billy had theirs with them too) the three of us didn’t have to worry so much about the rain (actually¬†the skin of mine needed to be a little damp to sound right)¬†so we contined playing for a little while¬†until it really¬†started to rain then we all went home.

I’m still learning how to play, I mean I can kindofsortof keep a rhythm, but I can’t do anything fancy – like triplets. I’m still trying to figure out that one. Ulric is a fantastic bodhran player and he said that I’d get it in no time. Heh… sure I will!

The last few days have been spent trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to bring for food when we go camping all week. Inevitably there is always something that someone brings that looks *really* tasty and I want to eat it. I rarely bring a lot of food, but this time I’d like to bring some special things to share with everyone.

I have two whole “days” to plan for. Friday night, Saturday during the day and Sunday morning.

Unfortunately we don’t own a cast iron griddle (although I’m thinking that might be a good investment) or anything we can really cook over. Okay, I lied – we have a stick that we can skewer stuff onto and cook it over the fire. The only problem I foresee with this is cooking meat. I always get a little wary about cooking meat over a fire (I know it sounds kind of stupid when I think about it too) because I never know when it’s done in the middle. I originally thought a few chicken breasts would be good with baked potatoes (we usually wrap them in aluminum foil and throw them near the coals of our cooking fire). Here’s what I’m planning for our Beltane camping weekend!

Friday

Dinner: Honey almond chicken sausages with baked potatoes and asparagus bundles w/ sweet white wine

Snack: Fruit dipped in chocolate with cream (to share)

Saturday

Breakfast: Muffins¬†(and some sort of breakfast protien… still working on that)

Lunch: Cold cut sandwiches

Feast:¬†(we’re coping out on this one)¬†Fresh baked bread and rye dip (if I can get a good deal on produce I’ll bring some chocolate dipped fruit for the feast too)¬†

Sunday:

Breakfast: Same as Saturday. I heart muffins!

So that’s about all we’ll be bringing. There won’t be a lot of time to do snacking or whatever in between. I also have to find someone who can braid hair really well to put mine into plaits for the day on Saturday and bind them with gold cording.

I’ll make sure to bring my camera and take pictures – honest.

Garry is passing his May King crown on and I’ll be honest, he’s a little sad about it. Last night him and two of his guy friends made a set of runes out of river rocks and a dremmel (it was awesome!) and I guess that’s what they’re using to determine the new king. They look really cool and honestly, I think I may end up making a set of runes for him in similar fashion (or maybe woodburning since my skills in that are apparently awesome) for his birthday or for Yule. I could always do something with wirewrapping… hmmm…

Oh and my dress, well I really like the pattern – however because I was distracted while making it I screwed up something majorly and since I can’t find my seam ripper anywhere – there’s no hope in going back and fixing it. So yes, the pattern is definitely a keeper, however I think when I go to make it again I’ll just take my time and do one step at a time and not try too hard to work ahead. Also, a dress form would be helpful. *hint hint*

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At every turn I’m reminded that Beltane is only 1 short week away!

But why the excitement? Well, it’s an odd thing with our community. It’s still so cold up here in early spring, otherwise Ostara would be the “big deal” but with Beltane, with the people in our group, something really interesting happens that I can’t really explain.

My friends Adee and Laurie are running the ritual this year and I’m really looking forward to what they’re putting together and that I’m going to be a part of it.

But in lieu of all of this I’ve been doing some more research. I don’t know why I always pick this time of year in particular, maybe because being out in nature makes me feel like I need to do more in the way of research, but other than that I’m not entirely sure why.

Adee wants me to do a henna design on her stomach next Thursday – a few days before ritual and the day before her ultrasound. (She’s five month’s pregnant) and she’s hoping that if I draw something girlie on her stomach the ultrasound results will tell them it’s a girl (which is what they’re hoping for). We’ll see. Either way, I’m teaching their kid how to play football.

Today is a beautiful sunny day and I’m feeling a little optimistic despite the impending doom of my final walkthrough of my previous apartment. I always get a little nervous with these sort of things because well, I always imagine the absolute worst is going to happen. However, at the absolute worst they won’t give me my security deposit back (because I painted the living room and bedroom – because it DESPERATELY needed a fresh coat of paint and they’re neutral colors – bedroom is white and the living room is tan so… yeah) and frankly I’ve planned for them to keep my deposit – why? Because they’re a big company and well, big companies like that do that sort of thing I’ve come to find out over the years.

But, overall I’ll just deal with it whatever happens. I’ll be happy to just have it done and over with and have that baggage off my back.

I’m trying to decide what kind of food I should bring for Beltane. Some food good to take camping that won’t end up soggy or stale in a cooler (filled with ice) or a backpack. Next week will be the *cue apocolyptic music* cleaning of the closet and packing of the camping supplies. (I would have inserted music myself but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the song I wanted to use – don’t you hate that!)

So it will be a long and tedious week of cleaning, packing and painting henna. Oh and I have a new sewing project:

I’m making that dress, but in a light peach/pink color. I had some broadcloth just hanging about the house so I figured I’d go ahead and use it. I’m almost done with the bodice and I might be able to finish construction tonight if all goes well. Not sure what embellishments I’ll add to it yet – that will have to wait until I get it fitted properly and make sure that it’s something that I can and will wear in public.

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Our Florida vacation went really well – it was actually relaxing! I got a good week of sun and relaxation in. The weather was amazing – not too hot not too cold – and we got to visit with my mom’s side of the family (that I rarely get to see), play with the dogs, and spend some time doing some other fun stuff too.

One of which was going to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

I have a TON of pictures from the zoo – I’ll post them sometime during the week after I get a chance to crop and change the lighting and photoshop my fat in some of the pictures. Although out of all of them I have a few favorites: the baby zebra suckling, up-close giraffes and the baby manatee eating.

A bit of a side note – my sister-in-law interned last summer at the zoo and worked with the manatees and with the river otters (also very cute) and in the manatee hospital. Something that people in the Florida area are pretty familiar with (but we don’t hear about much up here in the icy tundra that is upstate NY) is the plight of the manatees. They are constantly being hurt by boat propellers, disease, or in the case of this last year the very low temperatues in the ocean has caused a lot of manatees to die or become very ill.

When you go to a zoo that houses manatees it’s rare to see one without a propeller scar. And while seeing a faint scar is not really that bad (I mean lots of us have scars on our bodies from this that or the other thing right?) seeing the manatees in the hospital with gaping fresh wounds… well… that was something that was very emotional.

I didn’t take photos of the hurt manatees, one in particular had a terribly fresh flesh wound on it’s back from a propeller. The poor animal was floating in the water to keep it from submerging so the wound and other internal injuries could heal.

At the little gift store, we bought a little gourd trinket box with wood burned manatees on it. (I particularly love wood burned items) and donated a little money to the manatee hospital they have there. At that time there were I think 6 manatees being treated in the hospital.

If you find yourself in the Tampa area I would suggest visting Lowry Park Zoo. It really is a lot of fun for people of all ages.

We also had Easter dinner with my family which was… entertaining. I found a new dish that I LOVE – it’s an Italian Easter Pie (I don’t remember what it’s called) but OMG it’s SOOOOOOOOO good! I’m drooling just thinking about it! When I can get the recipe I’ll post that too.

Hope all of you that had a vacation this week had a happy one. I know I surely needed it!

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This weekend was very productive!

Saturday Garry and I spent the day working on the walls of the living room, making sure they were nice and smooth and all the gauges filled in before painting. He cleared all the trash off the back portch (from the previous tenant and from stuff we pulled out of the apartment to replace) and swept it all nice and clean. I spent all afternoon playing in joint compound (which, by far is my favorite home improvement item).

The walls in the living room were really bad. It was so bad that I almost said we shouldn’t move in. But, with the bucket of joint compound at my side I tackled the gauges and holes in the walls and made it look like someone could actually live there.

Here are some before pictures:

 

The entry to the front balcony. We took all the molding down so it was easier to paint. Plus the molding needs to be sanded and repainted so it all matches.

 

This is where I’ve unofficially decided to put the tv. The cable is already strung there and it would be *relatively* easy to put a cable outlet there so we don’t have wires coming down from the ceiling.

(I know the floors look really great in this shot!)

I’m still trying to figure out how the walls got this way in the first place. There are gauges EVERYWHERE! Like a rabid wolverine went in and was clawing at the walls. The otherside was worse (I didn’t take a picture of that) because a chunk of the plaster came off the wall and it showed about a foot of the metal corner brace (?) which needed to be fixed and covered.

So I had quite the task ahead of me. This isn’t just putting joint compound over a few little holes in the wall. Oh no. This was a test of my plastering skills!

Whew! The wall is plastered! It looks infinitely better. Just some sanding and…

TA-DA! all the booboos are better now.

After inahling a little too much joint compound dust Garry and¬†I¬†went home, showered, and went to Imbolc. It was the first time I played my bohdran in¬†public and¬†thankfully there were a lot of other drummers there because I could barely keep the¬†beat to save my life. I think I just need more practice that’s all. But, all in all it was fun.

This is my drum. I don’t know if I put a picture¬†of it on here yet, but this is what it looked like right after I painted it. Some of the paint is wearing off a bit¬†from playing it, but it looks lovely. Still¬†working on the design I want to burn on the rim, but I’ll get there.

Sunday we went back to the apartment to finally start painting the living room and office. Now is when it all starts coming together. 

For me, painting is such a dramatic thing. The transformation of this space, which seemed so unloved and sad was changing into something so bright and cheerful. For Imbolc we raised energy and put it back into the Earth with our intentions of what we are planning for the dawn of Spring. We have 6 weeks until Ostara, at that point we plant our seeds when the days get longer. I sat there thinking of how sad that little apartment was and how even in the last month we’ve made so much progress in turning it into a home. It reminded me of the drum I made for Garry, how I put so much of myself into the instrument in it’s creation. I think this apartment is like that too.

So the paint.

When I opened the can it looked a LOT brighter than I expected it to be. I was a little nervous at first, I’ll be honest, and even after getting a little bit of it on the walls Garry and I both were thinking maybe we picked the wrong color…

Here’s one wall done.

The other side of the back wall toward the entrance to the balcony.

Okay, this is what it looks like after it’s dried. It’s BRIGHT! But, the more I looked at it the more I liked it. We cut some of the white molding and placed it along the wall to get an idea of what it will look like. I really like the dark wood with the white molding and the bright walls. It looks really nice.

Whew! done painting the living room. It’s a bright tropical color… reminds me of Hawaii. I’m still thinking of artwork for the walls. I think I’ll end up doing it myself, I enjoy things that are made by me, or by friends. It makes it so personal.

After a little bit of a breather and some Chinese food (which I learned the cheese wontons have shrimp in them and even though it doesn’t make me violently ill, it still will make me regret the decision to¬†eat them the next morning…) we got to work on painting the office.

Garry’s office is a small room (probably 12×7) with no closet and one regular sized window, but it’s perfect for an office and once we get it outfitted it will look awesome! I was skeptical on the choice of color he picked for the room… dark colors aren’t so fun in a small space, but he was insistent on that color so we went with it.

The dust was collecting on my camera lens… but here is the blue color of his office. It’s GORGEOUS! I was surprised how much I liked it. (So much so I almost changed my mind about the bedroom (again).

I know, blasphemy, we didn’t use painter’s tape on the ceiling. We need to do some repairs on the ceiling anyway and need to repaint it so we figured at this point we’d skip this step. We’d tape the walls when we repainted the ceiling and it would be okay.

I didn’t get a photo of the finished office. Although I think we’ll need a second coat of paint because it’s such a dark color. I forgot that while I was in college I painted my dorm room bright sunflower yellow and navy blue. (I know, what was I thinking – I went to Mansfield not Michigan!)

This week, we’ll be working on molding and hopefully we’ll get the bedroom finished too! Today I’m going to go pick up the wallpaper and paint for the bedroom. This weekend we can move everything from Garry’s upstairs apartment down to the second floor and we’ll really be on our way. At this point, all we have to do (to make it move-in-able) is clean the bathroom really well, fix the hole behind the tub and the corner of the wall and install the sink cabinet and dishwasher. Painting the dining room and guest room/sewing room will probably have to wait until after¬†we move. That’s fine – we’ll have plenty of time.

I will say, Garry is definitely getting a LOT better at fixing drywall. There were a few huge holes in the wall that I was not thrilled with. But he fixed them and it looks like there wasn’t a patch or anything. I¬†really am proud of him.

The more work we do on this apartment, the more I realize we could’ve fixed the house in Sanitaria Springs. Not that I wanted *that* house (and we definitely are not ready to put forth that kind of money and effort especially with a bathroom that was ALL tile – even the ceiling! EEK!) but if one came along we could do it. I think that’s something to keep in mind for the future. So long as it’s functional – we can make it work.

I’m looking forward to moving in. At the end of the month we’ll be living there (hopefully) and everything will start to come together.

I need to do a food update. It will have to wait until I get home though.

OH and taxes… gotta do those tonight too. Fun.

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Souper Bowl Party

My friends make fun of me because I make a lot of soup. I probably eat more soup than anyone else I know, and frankly I’m okay with that. It’s tasty, easy and you can make a LOT of it all at once.

Well, that time of year is coming again and on February 7th I want to have a Souper Bowl party! I know, I’m a dork.

Basically, I want to make smaller pots of different kinds of soup (regional soups based on the teams that make it Рpray for New Orleans!!!), make a casserole and some other little snacky things and do a tasting party while we watch the Super Bowl. You know, balance the manly football stuff with the girlie domestic stuff. It could be fun!

Too bad we won’t be moved into our new apartment by then. We could really use the room to have a huge party like that.¬†Then again, most of my friends aren’t really football fans. So it will probably just be Garry and myself.¬†Whee… But I can still do a little bit of food right? Could be fun.

But – St. George’s Day¬†is quickly approaching… and we’ll be in the new place by then… so what to make?

Dragon’s Blood: Red wine Sangria

Dragon’s Blood Lite: non-alcoholic punch

Holy Water: Sprite or some other clear soda

Dragon smoked dragon – Mesquite BBQ grilled chicken

Drunken Dragon Sausages¬†–¬†Grilled beer brats

Dragon Eggs: Dyed deviled eggs

DragonBallZ: (Heeheeheehee) Ground beef taco balls

Wyrm in a blanket: Pigs in a blanket

Cheesy potato pie

Rye bread with dip

Salad greens

Veggie tray

Cake!

Doesn’t that sound good? I can’t wait! It’s not until the end of April¬†– which gives me plenty of time to get the apartment straightened out. By then we should have the living room and dining room painted and furniture in there. The acoutrements… maybe not, but my friends will forgive me I’m sure.

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