Friday, December 24, 2010

Creativity Abounds (Briefly...)

A couple Saturdays ago I decided it was time to get crafty.  I often feel as if I don’t have the time or inclination to be super crafty so I was really stepping out on a limb here.  We have this awesome local food market that sells lots of local produce and meat at really decent prices.  When I was there last week I noticed, to my utter delight, that they also sell real evergreen wreaths that are undecorated.  They had a nice 12” wreath for $9.99 so I was ever so excited to try my hand at decorating it. Problem was, I had no idea how to decorate it!  So I was rescued when I took a trip with my dearest friend L to the wonderful land of Hobby Lobby where all of a girl’s crafty dreams (or nightmares) can come true.  Well of course they had exactly what I needed (and much more…) so we picked out some super cute wreath decorating items!  So the next day I asked Bob Vila (aka my Will) to stop and pick up a wreath on his way home from work so I could get crafty.  Well my husband, who’s always usin’ his thinker, decided to pick up an 18” wreath instead of the 12” I firmly instructed him to get.  When I questioned his reasoning he promptly turned the wreath around to show me that, joy of joys, the frame they used is reusable, so next year we can make our own wreaths for free! Wahoo! 

So here is a before picture of the wreath, which really looked (and smelled) very nice without decorations:

So after some ribbon and berries placed just so it looks like this (yes I know my camera is, well, not very good, to put it mildly):

I was fairly pleased with the result, however it wasn’t as fun as I had been hoping because I tend to be a little….well…… quote my clients, “how you say in English?” obsessive-compulsive would be a somewhat appropriate term I believe.  I had a hard time just placing berries haphazardly because all of a sudden there weren’t any red ones in this section and so I had to move a couple around, but that left a gap with only gold berries and oh no! the white berries are sticking out further than the red and gold berries.  Ahhhhh!  Ok I’m not quite THAT bad, but it’s close folks.  Ah well, such is my life.  My poor husband J


So the other day Will and I had a conversation that went something like this (and I'll try to get your grammar right this time dear...):

Me: "So guess what I'm going to do?"
Will: "Make dinner?"
Me: "Granted.  But that's not what I'm talking about"
Will: "Ok...."
Me: "I'm going to run in the 5/3 Riverbank Run 5k!"
Will: (Uproarious laughter ensues for at least 3 minutes and 27 seconds)
Me: (When he finally finishes guffawing)  "Thanks love..."

While Will may sound like a callous, rude, unsupportive husband ;-) he has a legitimate reason to chuckle most heartily.  See last year he and I started training for it and then I got a bad cold and postponed my training and never really started back up.  I wouldn't have been able to run anyway because I had a pinched nerve the day of the race. Clearly my body knew that in advance so it told me to stop running.... At least that's what I keep telling myself.  

PLUS I begged Will to let me buy an exercise bike and got the OK as long as I promise to use it.  Only I don't.  "Tomorrow I'll start" is the familiar refrain that I keep repeating like a stuck record.  So I figured that if I put my flaws out there for the world to read about I'll have some accountability to really do it this year!  So I will start my training tomorrow :-)  Not really because tomorrow is Christmas. But I really will start soon.  I promise!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Egg On My Face...

Isn't there some expression about getting egg on one's face? Cause that happened to me today, except thankfully, I got egg on my shoe, not my face.  In my flurry of cake ball making for my SLAW (see I'm sneakily shifting the blame here to my Slaw, aka sister-in-law) I was cracking eggs like regular diner cook when disaster struck.  I will continue to affirm that the egg must have already been covered in egg slime (really is there any other way to describe it?) because before I knew what was happening gravity had taken control of the situation and was bringing that egg down to a fatal end on my shoe.  Normally I would have jumped for the camera but that would have entailed clomping through the house on an egg covered shoe and I didn't think Will would appreciate that :-)  Well I'm off to finish up the cake balls! Hope you're having a Merry Eve Before Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dead To Me!

This cute, innocent little kitty cat named Tallulah is now dead to me.

You dare ask me why?!  Well Monday Tallulah decided it would be appropriate to get her crazy on and make a mad dash through this shelf in the basement:

While the craftsmanship of the fine shelf (made by Will) is not in question, my placement of such fragile items that high up, and not in any box is.  I've been trying o figure out a better way to store them, and probably should just buy a clear storage bin but I digress, just because they are there to make a mad dash through does not mean that a kitty should!  Because the result is this:

Two. Broken. Vases.

My apologies to whomever bought us the lovely red and clear crystal vase for our wedding.  We enjoyed it but for a season...  So like I said, Tallulah is dead to me.  Except that I may or may not have allowed her to curl up in my lap for a couple episodes of Hogan's Heroes last night.  But, "I know nothing, nothing!"

Awww what a cute little guy!!

A week or so ago will brought home a Hickory Farms Gift Box from his boss.  See!
It contains all sorts of yummy goodies like summer sausages, smoked Gouda and Cheddar cheeses, spicy mustard and this little gem: 
I practically squealed in delight when Will produced this miniature butcher knife from the box.  It looks like it should belong in a little girls Play Kitchen.  But no, it's real, I've got the cut to prove it :-)  Anyway, I can't WAIT to use it, mostly because it's so stinkin' cute!  While I will enjoy the sausages and cheeses, the butcher knife, far and away, is my favorite part.  Thank you Will's boss for making my day!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Just so you know in advance, this is not one of those mushy, gushy blog posts about someone who inspires me and is one of my heroes (though those aren't all bad either).  

But this post is about a hero and that hero is me.  "And who," you ask "was the recipient of your hero-ness?"

A squirrel.

Yes folks you heard right.  Yesterday I saved the life of a squirrel.  I believe I now deserve an "Animal Life Saver of the Year" Award, or at least a lifetime membership to PETA for my great feat today.  

I know, I know, you're all dying to hear how I saved the life of a squirrel so let me oblige.  Fortuitously, yesterday morning I left half of my lunch in the car on accident when I got in to work.  Around noon I decided to brave the frigid west Michigan winds so I could enjoy my entire lunch.  As I was approaching my car in the parking lot a co-worker yells, "Hey Ashley, look at the squirrel!"  In my mind I was thinking, "Oooooo a squirrel, so what, I see them all the time, I'm even afeared that one has taken residence in my attic."  

Then I saw him.  The poor little guy!  

He had a Yoplait Yogurt cup stuck over his head, ya know, the kind that get smaller towards the opening.  He was running around, falling off the sidewalk, slipping on the ice, and his little paws were furiously trying to pull the cup off, but to no avail.  My heart broke for the little fellow, I mean how would you like to have your head stuck in a yogurt cup?  I mean come on, that cannot be fun!

So my co-worker says, "What in the world are we going to do?  I called me husband and he said we should catch it and take the cup off."  In my mind I said, "What, are you crazy?  He could be rabid, and he's crazy fast!"  But out loud I only said, "Boy, I'm not sure we could catch him!"  Buuuuut I couldn't just leave him there to wander around the parking lot with a yogurt cup on his head so I decided to give it a try.

Since he was blinded by the cup I was actually able to get really close to him before he "sensed" me and skittered off in the other direction.  A couple of times I actually got close enough to grab the cup but I chickened out at the last second, afraid he would attack me when I did out of fear.  

However I determined to be brave and snuck up behind the little guy.  I got about six inches away when he sensed me and turned around and "stared", ok the cup "stared", right at me.  At the instant I grabbed the end of the cup and pulled and "pop" off came the cup and the squirrel was gloriously free.  He took off at what can only be described as lightning speed, sliding around the skating rink that is our parking lot.  That part was actually rather comical.  So my co-worker grabbed the cup and we headed back inside to enjoy our lunches.

Then when I left work later that day, I went outside to my car, and there sitting on my hood was an acorn of thanks.  Ok that last part isn't true, but it would be pretty funny if it was!

So there's the whole long tale about how I became a hero to a squirrel yesterday.

Hopefully you sometime you can have the opportunity to be a hero to some unsuspecting rodent :-)

Frozen Chicken Broth Anyone??

So tomorrow is my office Christmas Party and I offered to make a pot of my mother-in-law's DELICIOUS potato soup for the occasion.  I will admit that due to multiple Christmas events in a short span of days I decided to buy a couple of bags of frozen vegetables rather than go fresh (Shhhh don't tell).  I also bought some chicken broth for the soup base.  When I got home I put the bag of veggies in the freezer and headed off to the Ionia County Republican Christmas Party/Meeting.  When I got home I got to work on the soup.  I went to grab the veggies from the freezer, lo and behold, there sits the chicken broth (random side note, every time I write the word broth, I actually write the word brother, because it's just what my fingers want to do, and I have to delete the -er).  And it was frozen. So I had to thaw my chicken broth before I could make the soup. Sometimes I'm really not sure where my brain goes....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look Out Below!

Lest you think that a) I have gone into early blogger retirement, or b) my life is not interesting let me prove otherwise to you.  When I started blogging I had high hopes to post often.  However nearing the holiday season my life gets more hectic by the day!  Once this weekend is over I feel that my life will calm down significantly.  Hopefully.....

Anywho, last night I decided that Will and I deserved breakfast for dinner, considering how our Saturday morning big breakfast ritual hasn't been enacted since, um, this summer sometime??? So I whipped up some yummy pancakes, sage sausage patties, scrambled eggs sprinkled with basil feta, and clementines (I loooove clementines!).  I have this nice stovetop griddle that's perfect for pancakes so I got that puppy out and fired up my gas stove (See Ode To My Gas Stove for a lovely poem about my fantastic gas stove!).

All was going reasonably well while I was pouring batter and flipping pancakes until, gasp!  The horror!  I flipped one a little too high.  Unfortunately the pancake did not return completely to the griddle.  Instead it landed half on the lip of the griddle, bounced off, and proceeded end over end directly to the floor.  Only, to my disbelief, and seemingly in slow motion I might add, the pancake did not land on the floor. Instead it determined that it was going to go down what will eventually be the enclosed laundry shoot, that runs through the kitchen, but which is currently the open air laundry shoot.   Thankfully I had the presence of mind to say, "Look out below!" to the kitty who had been sitting down there.  Apparently it's a dangerous world out there for kitties what with falling pancakes and all...

And there it is my friends.  The lonely pancake next to the dirty towels.  Says Will, "If it would have landed on the washer I would have ate it...."  Yup that's my husband.  After it was all said and done all I could do was laugh, and feel fairly talented that I could have done that.  Yessiree those are the sorts of things that happen often enough in my kitchen.

Hopefully in the next few days I'll have some more posts about various topics such as my short lived creative genius, my love of cake balls, and what happens when Bob Vila (my husband) and Tim the Tool Man Taylor (my dad) get together to work on our attic!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Serving Size: Three Crackers

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Three  crackers?

Only three crackers, each less than the size of my business card for work?

What is this world coming to!!??

As I’m sure you can tell I’m outraged. J Tonight as I was laboriously slaving over a hot stove to make dinner getting ready to put leftover homemade pizza in the oven Will tells me that he’s going to be another 45 minutes glazing storm windows downstairs.  Who does he think he is?  Bob Vila? I joke, because I dearly L-O-V-E my wonderful husband who is willing to work hard and glaze our “original with the house built in 1920” windows keeping the drafty winds of west Michigan winter out, and the precious heat in, all without having to buy new windows, which would cost 20,000 bajillion dollars to buy.  Well not that much, but $20,000, we got a free quote so I know! 

Whew talk about a rabbit trail, ANYWHO after hearing this pronouncement from Will I 
determined that I was starving and needed a little snack to tide me over, so I ran downstairs and snagged a box of some new gourmet garlicky-herb crackers that I scored for about $0.50 at Meijer (yes I used/love coupons, more about that later).  So I brought the box upstairs and opened the package, relishing all the garlicky-herb smelly goodness.  But, as life would have it, I recently began monitoring my caloric intake after having fallen off the caloric-intake-monitoring wagon.  Again. So I looked and could not believe my eyes.  I was only allowed to have three crackers!  Not that I wanted a whole lot more than that because obviously I didn’t want to ruin my appetite for homemade pizza, but still this seriously cramped my future plans for those crackers.  And not to mention!!!  They’re “topper” crackers, so that have little indents on the top where you can dump a nice blob of cheese ball or something of the like.  I guess I’ll have to send them with Will in his lunch, because I tried the crackers, and while I did stop at 3 tonight, I’m not sure if my willpower is that good, because they were indeed that tasty. 

On another note, I’ve been wanting to post several times since my first try last week, but all of the posts I’ve wanted to do require pictures and currently my new laptop and digital camera cord are at war. As of right now there has not been a ceasefire either.  Will was sneaky enough to download our pictures onto our desktop computer where we’ll put them on a flash drive and attempt to get behind enemy lines on the laptop later.  

Well, Bob Vila my husband just informed me that he’s ready to eat now so it’s off to get the pizza ready! Hope you’re having a lovely thunderstorm filled evening like we are!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ode To My Gas Stove

Today I would like to write a little something about my gas stove, which I love dearly.

Oh Gas Stove how you delight me,
You often boil a kettle of water for  my tea.

Oh Gas Stove your charms are many,
You boil a mean pot of penne.

Oh Gas Stove how you enable,
You easily assist me in getting dinner on the table.

Oh Gas Stove, I love you so much
I love how your flame immediately dims with just one touch.

Oh Gas Stove you are so very near to my heart
I truly hope that we two will never have to part.

The end.

But seriously, I love my gas stove.