October 25, 2011

below freezing, but ready for outdoor entertaining

The temperature dropped below freezing for the first time last night and I broke out both the window scraper and my winter coat for the first time. Today was the first day in over six months that I've worn a coat to work, previously just grabbing a scarf. So the cut off for no coat wearing is actual freezing temperatures. We will also be having the celebratory patio barbeque in the now freezing weather. By the way, we finished (almost) the patio. Projects that bridge the seasons seem like they took forever to complete, but then it was almost two months ago that we started. We started digging out for the patio in 90+ degree heat at the beginning of September and just this Sunday realized that if we didn't get the rest of the pavers set soon, they'd be covered in snow. The backyard still looks like a construction site with a giant pile of dirt/rocks, stacks of concrete from the small slab we cut out, piles of crumbled clay bricks from the old window well that we rebuilt, and pallets that need to go back to the paver company so I can get my deposit back. But, the patio surface is done. After we fill in the dirt around the perimeter and sand between the pavers, it will be even more done. Maybe that will even happen before the snow comes.

October 21, 2011

Out of town

We went to Leavenworth last weekend for the end of Oktoberfest and Paul ran in the half-marathon. I didn't take a single picture - I'm horrible about taking pictures. The weather cooperated and it was cool and crisp and sunny almost the entire time. Apparently they get over 300 days of sunshine a year (compared to our 260). I wore my blue corduroy blazer and my "fancy" scarf and that kept me plenty warm even at night. We ate German food and drank beer didn't do much else. Paul bought five packages of landjägers and I found one of my new favorite teas.

As I stood browsing and waffling in the tea store, the shop assistants kept asking if I wanted help, or if they could scoop anything for me. The shop is tiny with the long wall on the side cover with two rows of large glass jars filled with tea. Every tea has a corresponding tiny glass jar for sniffing to discourage customers from opening the big jars to get a whiff. I let one of the girls give me some suggestions and she picked out a few teas for me to smell. But you don't really know until you try it. I did buy three of the teas, they sell them buy the ounce, and after a few cups, I'm looking at where to buy more of the Cream Earl Green. It's light (because it's a green tea) with a creamy texture, but not sweet and a little smokey (bergamot). The tea also has blue coneflower petals which make it pretty, I don't know if or how they affect the flavor, but they look pretty. While I was looking for more of the Cream Earl Green, I found another tea called the Dorian Grey Blend. I know it's like picking a book based on it's cover, but I have to try that too.

August 2, 2011

Dog 2.0

Flynn in the chair

After just 2 months, I can't imagine not choosing to take Flynn home, but why did we pick a dog who:

  • Licks things (like my feet, the sheets, my leg, the couch...)
  • Likes to sleep on his back
  • Has a super loud bark
  • Wants to lay on my lap
  • Has giant ears that actually hurt if you're too close when he shakes
  • Carries shoes around, and occasionally nibbles on them


Flynn upside down
I guess we could have done worse.

July 7, 2011

Last...

Last Month...We got a new dog. Flynn. Pictures eventually.

Last Week...I finished sewing a pair of shorts with a full fly zip (i am very proud of the zipper, it was the first time ever for that technique) then wore them three times.

Last Night...I watered my yard for the first time this summer.

In the last hour...I ate a popsicle.

March 23, 2011

Cleaning products

I don't use a lot of commercial cleaning products and totally jumped on the hippie bandwagon of cleaning primarily with vinegar and baking soda. I've tried the no-poo thing for a month, but it didn't work for me. Recently I've decided to try an make my own hair conditioner and lip balm and peppermint foot lotion. I haven't actually made any yet, but I have rounded up some of the harder to find ingredients. Now I just have to make a batch.

I haven't completely abandoned the cleaning isle at the grocery store however. I did discover that you can refill the foaming hand soap dispensers with any soap you like. Just dilute the soap with water. It really cuts down on how much soap you use, especially if you have anyone in your house that likes to double or triple pump. I've been using Dr. Bronner's Peppermint castile soap in the kitchen and a lavender castile soap made by Seattle Organics. It seems that you're supposed to use a 3:1 or 4:1 water to soap ratio, but I just eyeball it and probably err on the side of more water.


I saw today that Method has a new dish washing soap pump bottle. I buy the big jug of Kirkland dishwashing soap and refill an old grocery store sized bottle to keep on the counter. But the Method bottle is pretty, and the pump controls how much soap comes out. It seems crazy to pay 3.99 for a bottle of dish washing soap, but I only have to buy it once to get the pretty bottle and refill it with what ever i want. The reviews are mixed on the pump bottle, but I really want it to work. We'll see.

March 17, 2011

Lemon Cookies



I saw a picture of these cookies today on Pinterest and when I tracked down the original blog post it had the recipe, in Russian.


Not in Swedish or something.

I figured between the power of Google and me, I could figure out the recipe. I haven't made these yet, but they look easy.

Warning: I used Google to translate from Russian, made some corrections and then retyped the instructions to make more sense. Use at your own risk. Many of the ingredients are still measured in grams because there is no accurate way to translate that into cups. Use a kitchen scale, it's better to bake that way anyway.

Russian Lemon Wedge Cookies (from http://liliach.livejournal.com, translated by me)

Ingredients
150g softened butter
1 egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
200g ground almonds
100g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
200g flour
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk
3-4 Lemons
sugar for sprinkling


Beat butter with an egg.
Add almonds, sugar, flour and lemon juice and stir.
Shape into two rolls, about 5cm (2") each in diameter and put into the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Heat oven to 180C (350F).

Slice each log into cookies about 4 mm (1/8") and place on a baking sheet. Brush the top of each cookie with the beaten egg yolk.
Wash the lemons thoroughly under hot water and wipe with a towel. Cut into very thin slices of 1-2 mm and put one slice on the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cool and optionally sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you like the tops of the cookies browned, the last 5 minutes of baking, put under the broiler.

March 15, 2011

Nothing to show for it

I’ve been trying to take some pictures, if only to document that I do accomplish some things outside my desk job. However even those pictures languish on my camera. There is something terrible about a camera that can take hundreds of photos without a recharge or need new film. Even though I have nothing to show for it yet, I did finish a few things lately:

Rewired the antique light fixture for my sister’s house

Made homemade Nutella

Made granola

Made mustard

Made soft pretzels to go with the mustard.

The pretzels were not as awesome as I wanted them to be. The dough seems rather tough, it was difficult to knead and maybe didn’t have enough liquid. I’ll try again.

Sewed my first t-shirt with some fun gold mylar knit fabric.

I haven't finished yet (tonight - I promise) but I'm almost done sewing a khaki skirt to wear during the tradeshow in 3 weeks.