Sunday, January 29, 2012

If It's January

If it's January, it's time for Hubby and I to go to the beach!!    We've always loved being at the beach in the off-season, mainly because neither of us can stand the traffic and crowds.   Also, we like to swim and the water in New England is pretty cold all the way into when it's hot, we'd rather go to a lake so we don't fry on the beach with no way to cool off.

A tradition of going to the beach in the cold was started on our third date, when I dragged Hubby to my favorite seafood place in the middle of March.   The temperature was about 10 degrees, and yet we still went out onto the beach.  I wouldn't really call it a walk on the beach, as we lasted about 3 minutes.   We just thought it would be romantic....and it was!

Nowadays, we go to the beach for rest and relaxation and to clear our minds and enjoy some time together. 

We're bent over because the wind was so strong, we'd set the camera for automatic and by the time it was ready to take the shot, the wind would blow the camera over!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Having Fun the 4-year-old Way

We babysat our four year old Granddaughter Emily tonight....and this is what we did:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Elsie is here!

Our third grandchild - Elsie Imogen, was born today at 10:58 am.   7 lbs.  5 oz.   20 inches long.   The happy family is doing well!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One more day

It's hard to believe there will be a new little life in our midst tomorrow.   Hubby's daughter, Wendy, is having our second granddaughter tomorrow.

Baby Elsie is showing her temperamental side before she's even been born.   She is situated bum-first, and despite some attempts at manipulating her into turning around, she has stubbornly decided to stay bum-first.

Doctors don't like to deliver babies bum-first (I can imagine that neither do the mothers!) so they have scheduled a C-section for Wendy.

This will be something new for us.   Our first granddaughter arrived in the middle of the night.  I got the excited phone call from my son saying that Emily Deacy had been born!   Followed by a photo on my phone of Emily receiving her first bath.   I was working at the summer camp at the time, and I went in to work for a 1/2 day, then hurried over to the hospital to be there when visiting hours started at 11am.   It was a beautiful time for me to go.  No one else was there, and I got my fill of holding my very first grandchild in my arms.

Our grandson Noah arrived very early in the morning.   We thought it would be the same situation as Emily......waiting (sleeping) at home and getting a call when he was born.  Instead we received a call from our son-in-law saying Wendy was in active labor and the grandparents could all come to the hospital.  So Hubby and I got dressed, made mugs of coffee, and went and sat in the waiting room until Noah was born.   We were excited that we got to see him and hold him only an hour after he was born.

This time, we'll get to the hospital around 10am, as Wendy's C-section is scheduled for 10:30.   We'll wait until Elsie is born, and hopefully get to see her and hold her as soon as Wendy is out of recovery. 

No matter what, we are filled with excitement over a new grandchild.  It never gets old.  My grandmother had 25 grandchildren, and I bet the birth of each and every one of them was special.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

That Darn Cat!

Oreo is the head of our household.....or at least that's what he likes to think.  He's actually a very nice cat.  Very friendly, very affectionate.

Of course, he has to be on your lap AT ALL TIMES!!!

He's got the usual annoying cat habits.......walking in front of you while you're trying to go down the stairs......harrassing you until you fill his bowl with food, even if there's already food there.   

In addition, he has a couple of other annoying Oreo tricks......puking on the rugs and furniture, shedding ten million pounds of cat fur on every surface in our household.....and clawing our furniture to smithereens.

At the condo, we had a couch and recliner with an open weave sort of fabric, and he just demolished it.   Scratching posts you say?  Of course we've given him scratching posts.  AND I cut his claws as often as possible.   But he still loves to scratch the furniture.  Between that and the fur, which stuck into that open weave fabric and wouldn't come out for any reason, we decided our best course of action when we moved was to throw it in the dumpster.

When we moved into the house, I bought a couch with micro-fiber.  BEST THING EVER INVENTED!   For some reason, he doesn't seem to care about scratching it.  And the fur just sits on top of the fabric and allows me vacuum is up with ease.

Someone gave us one of those glider chairs and it was made of that same stupid open-weave fabric.  It didn't take long for our little friend to demolish it.

Can you see the lovely hole in the middle of the seat back?   What you can't see is tons of fur stuck in that fabric.

So Hubby and I went to Joann Fabric this afternoon and I spent the rest of the day doing this:

$9 in fabric and a few hours work.    See how you like that, Mr. Oreo!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The most expensive cookies ever

I've loved the show Cake Boss since it started.  I love the cakes, but I love the family interaction even more.   Hubby was kind enough to get me the New Cake Boss cookbook for Christmas. 

It's actually an instruction manual on how to become a great baker.   He takes you step-by-step on the proper way to measure, mix and bake.   He even explains why you need the right kind of pans for each type of baking.

I decided to start off with the first recipe in the book.  Buddy says you should do that, because each recipe teaches you skills to build onto the next recipe you do.

So I began with Butter Cookies.   Buddy says you should use a cookie sheet with no sides, and it should not have stuff baked on from other baking.   Of course, I had to go out and buy a new cookie sheet.  ($20 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but I had a coupon and a gift card!)

Next was the ingredients.  Buddy says to use only the ingredients he lists, and not to substitute.   I needed cake flour, not all-purpose flour.  ($3 for a very small bag).   I needed x-large egg whites (.20 cents more than regular eggs).   I needed almond paste.  ($3 for a small package).  And I needed a whole pound of real butter (more expensive than fake butter). The only thing I had in the house I didn't need to buy was sugar.

I followed the instructions carefully, measuring each ingredient precisely.   You're supposed to have one of those big, free-standing mixers, but of course I don't.   So I used a hand mixer.  It was hard going, but I managed to get the dough made.    I decided to make really small, bite-size cookies.   Buddy says you're supposed to use  a pastry bag and make them all cute and of equal size, but I didn't have a pastry bag either.

So they came out looking like this:

They're not as pretty as Buddy's cookies, but they tasted really good.   With all those fine ingredients, they damn well better have tasted good!

Next, Buddy's ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies.   mmmmmmm!

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's always something, ain't it?

When we bought our house, the first thing everyone said to us was, "you'll be working on that thing for the next 30 years."   And we knew they were right.   We went into it knowing what having a new house entails.

Of course, that doesn't make it any easier when the House Gods throw a curve ball your way.   When we went through the fiasco of the propane tank I thought our home-heating woes were finally over.  We had a nice new oil company who were happy that we now had their propane tank on our property, they'd delivered us a nice big tank of oil, and their technician had come out and cleaned our furnace.   All set, right?

Well.........there was the tiny problem of the technician looking at our oil tank and saying, "I'm not happy" with the fact that our tank was sitting on blocks.   I just brushed that off.   Who cares, right?  That tank's been sitting there for years and it's never been a problem.

Well, apparently it was a problem for our oil company.  Their "policy" is not to have a tank on blocks.  It's a "safety issue".   When I called to have them come top off our oil before the price went up, they let me know that it had been noted that our tank was on blocks and they wouldn't deliver until their engineer came and "assessed" it.

I could see $$$$ dancing in their heads.   How much would it be?  $100??? $1000???  

Luckily for us, the engineer who came was very  nice.  "Are you handy?"  he asks my Hubby.  "Sure...I can be."   "So just throw some concret under there and make the blocks into a slab.  That'll do it."

Now, Hubby and I have never used concrete....but how hard could it be?   Turns out....not very.   The hardest part was figuring out how many cubic feet was under our furnace.  After that it was cake.

We trucked on down to our local Home Cheapo, bought five 60 pound bags of concrete, a trowel, and a big plastic tray to mix it in.   Total:  less than $25.

A couple of 2x4's from Hubby's stash in the basement, some rocks to hold the boards in place and we were ready to go

Some water and some mixing

Shovel it all in there

spread it all out

And voila!

Now we just wait for it to dry, call back the oil company, get their okay, and we're on our way.

NOTE:  Although I am not pictured, I did take a turn mixing cement.   I do draw the line, however, on lying on the cold, wet basement floor.  Thanks, Hubby!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sometimes the Old Fashioned Way works Best

Working to find the right pieces of furniture and accessories for our house has been fun.   I'm a big proponent of buying things used.....for two reasons.  1) I believe there's just too much "stuff" in the world, and we should do our best to recycle rather than buying all new things.   2) I'm too cheap to go out and buy a living room set for $1000 when I can get the exact same thing, in great condition, for $200.

So I spend some time on Freecycle and Craigslist looking for the things I want or need for the house.  And I've done pretty well.   Sometimes you have to be patient until the right thing comes along.

I've been watching for a kitchen set.  I wanted a round table with a leaf to make it bigger, and a pedestal support so we could sit more people around it.   And I found just the right thing on Craigslist.

 The legs of the chairs could use some fixing up....the people I bought it from have kids and dogs.  But other than that, it's a pretty nice table.

The table we had been using was one that had been left here by the previous owners.  We had no use for it so I put it on Freecycle.    We didn't get a single bite.

So I put it under "free stuff" on Craigslist.   I got a bite or two, but nobody followed through.

I even mentioned it on Facebook.   Nothing.

Finally, Hubby put it on the front lawn with a sign saying "free".   And sometime during the day, someone took it.

Sometimes, all the technology in the world doesn't work as well as doing things the old-fashioned way.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Right Way to Start 2012

Hubby and I have quite a love for the ocean.   It gives us peace, calms us, centers us.   It seems to have become a tradition now for us to start our New Year at the ocean.   Here is a pictorial story of our trip to the Marginal Way in Perkins Cove, Maine.