Party tomorrow!

We are having a party tomorrow!  I love entertaining.  LOVE IT!  And it will be the first time that we have had guests over to our new place so I’m very excited to show people where we live now BUT I’m also a bit nervous.  We still have hardly decorated since I still love those bare wall, but it kind of looks like we are not really moved in.  And this place is so much smaller than my last house (with just one bathroom!) that I hope it will be comfortable enough for 15-20 guests.

I’m making a gluten-free cake, corn salsa and guacamole.  It’s been years since I’ve decorated a cake…  and years since I made the corn salsa… and I haven’t tried the wines before… however the Angry Orchard apple ginger cider is incredible I’ll use that to distract people if the cake is ugly and the wines suck.

I’m running behind on cleaning and cooking since I’ve had a cold for a week and have spent the last couple of days trying to prevent a sinus infection and UTI (lots of sleep, juice, and meds to promote sinus drainage).  But I still have a headache so it’s time to step up to the decongestant sinus clearer outer.  So I’m going to host a party while on a Mucinex D bender… I hope this all turns out ok!

I really love it here

I love having downsized.  I love having the washer and dryer nearby even when the off balance washer bangs and the dryer heats up the house.  I love hand washing the dishes.  I love Andy and the cats and I all a bit on top of each other here.

I love the bare, bland walls and haven’t hung a single painting.  I want to hang onto that feeling that we are vacationing for as long as possible.  This is a lovely place to spend a year or two while relearning how to land on my feet.

However, the dining room chandelier was hung right away since that would be the safest place for it (the boring dining room light for this house is safely tucked away in the attic).

The dining room wall was a great potential place for some art until I saw the dining room at night.  I love the shadow the chandelier makes with the porch light!  That wall will remain bare!

Making a mess with yarn

I moved to a new house!  It was not as easy as expected (is it ever?) but I love my new place and settling in is going well.  This is my first weekend without a long list of chores, errands, or other things to do, and it is DELICIOUS!  Yesterday I took a nap!

…..

A few months ago I started knitting.  I don’t know if it’s fun or not yet.  It’s not as relaxing as one might imagine.  Knitting night with the girls is definitely great and that may be the main reason why I keep going with it.  Then, while perusing the knitting books at my new local library branch, a sweet woman introduced herself and invited me to a crochet/knitting group that meets once per month at that library.  It was so fun!  So I’m learning to crochet too since that seems to go faster than knitting and my sister is adopting a new baby and I’d like to make him a blanket (he would be 10 by the time I finished knitting a blanket).

Recently I went to the market at the Stitches South conference.  Until then my yarn shopping has been limited to a chain craft store with a pretty generic selection so I was warned against going nuts with yarn buying at the conference.  I was so overwhelmed that for the first several hours of looking I didn’t find a single thing to purchase but since I didn’t want to miss out on buying some great yarn I stepped back, relaxed with an iced tea, and consulted my shopping list.  I needed lace weight, black yarn for a shawl, but I couldn’t find any for a while so when I found this beautiful purple yarn I decided to make the shawl in purple instead.

My camera can’t capture this color well, it’s actually more indigo and less red/pink than the photo shows.  Pretty!

Soon after that I found the black I was looking for and even though I didn’t want a stash of yarn (no buying yarn without a project in mind!) I bought it too.  The color variation is much more subtle than the photo shows and it should be pretty knitted up into a shawl (pattern undetermined at this point).

There was a booth of wonderful ribbons!

I found a few things for doll clothes

I didn’t find yarn for the baby blanket at the conference so I visited a local yarn store and found exactly what I was looking for.  I’m making a test blanket to make sure I don’t completely suck at crocheting before making gifts for people.  It’s going well but I’m doubting the plan since the baby will be around a year old by the time he comes home and is that too old for a baby blanket?

…..

Andy came home to shopping bags strewn across the floor, a table full of yarn (in addition to the usual center piece antics) and me too far into a second glass of wine to be at all helpful with making dinner 🙂

Valentines!

Here are my gifts for my boyfriend!

Darth Vader and Chewbacca dollies action figures and plenty of candy.  Yay!

Three cards (flirty, sentimental, and romantic) plus four Monster High valentines.  Recently we talked about how he doesn’t really get into Valentine’s Day because when he was young and in school he didn’t get many cards when classmates exchanged them; I’m giving him LOTS of cards to make up for that!

Is it time yet?  There is no way I can wait until tomorrow before giving him SOMETHING!

Making enchiladas

First please know that cooking does not come naturally to me and I have no idea how people can create recipes.  But I can make a few things from having worked in food service and last night I made enchiladas.  You can fill enchiladas with anything that you like (mine are vegetarian and gluten-free) and you can make them as complicated as you want to by preparing your own sauce and beans or buying some prepared items (I bought a can of refried beans and a jar of enchilada sauce).  My boyfriend likes meat but I’ll eat it only when there are no other healthy-ish gluten-free options and having been vegetarian for most of my adult life I don’t know how to cook meat.  This was a great way to feed my sweet boyfriend a bunch of vegetables without him feeling like he needed meat.  I don’t think he had ever tried tofu before meeting me so he’s still getting used to it.  When I asked him how the tofu was in this dish he said he had forgotten it was in there, which is great!

First, select ingredients that you like

Toast some spices.  I like to use cayenne, cumin, paprika and ground oregano.  This is probably my favorite part, all you do is make pretty piles of spices, turn the heat to medium or so and gently stir the spices around until they are fragrant and smell a little toasty.

Set the toasted spices to the side and begin cooking the vegetables that will take longer in some olive oil (onion, broccoli and jalapeno in this case).

Press excess water from the tofu (if using).  Wrap the tofu in a paper towel or cloth napkin and put some weight on it (a jar of enchilada sauce works!) for a few minutes.

Add in the rest of your vegetables (I used mushrooms, spinach, and cilantro), tofu, spices and salt and get ready to put the enchiladas together.  Dampen a corn tortilla (I used a spray bottle but you can also just use water straight from the tap) and place on a heated skillet.

Once softened, cover both sides of the tortilla with enchilada sauce, then put some filling down the center (beans and veggies in this case) and roll it up.  I like to warm up the beans to make the baking part go faster but be careful not to burn yourself when handling the hot food.

Putting the enchiladas together is messy so convince your boyfriend to do it 🙂

Spread a bit of sauce in a baking dish and fill up the dish with enchiladas.  Cover with more sauce and a bunch of cheese and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

Grab a drink and start a post about cooking while you wait for dinner to be ready 🙂

We went to a wonderful wine store yesterday!  At first this Chronic Cellars wine was a bit too sweet for me to buy again but the more I drank the more I liked it (as tends to happen!) so I may get another bottle if I’ve been good (I allow for more expensive bottles of wine only if I’ve been deserving, otherwise I keep them around $10/bottle, unless I’ve been bad, then all I can justify is a huge bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio).

There’s no photo of the finished product but you can top the enchiladas with fresh cilantro and avocado, if you like (fresh pico de gallo would be delicious!).  Finally, feel awesome about making a meal that is both delicious and healthy (aside from all of the wine and cheese)!

August 5, 2011

Sigh.  Thursday last week (July 28) was a really great day.  I had a job interview in the early afternoon and it went well and the person doing the hiring said she wanted to bring me on.  I just needed to send her contact information for two more references and then they would start the hiring process.  However, on the way out she said something about an additional interview next week, so maybe she is not sure about what she wants to do.  My additional references were happy to recommend me and I sent thank you emails to everyone I interviewed with.  But I’ve heard nothing back.  On Wednesday I sent a follow-up email re-expressing my interest in the position and asking if she was able to get the two recommendations and still have not heard a reply.  I haven’t received the automated notice that I was not hired so … I hate not knowing.  Not knowing means feeling rejected and that I need to apply for more jobs.

Anyway, the other thing that happened on July 28 was that I got to sit in and listen while Andy interviewed one of his favorite authors, Jim Butcher.  It was really fun to meet Mr. Butcher and see all of the recording and broadcasting equipment in the studio.

I didn’t get a single good photo of them talking but here’s one that I like because Jim Butcher was telling a LARPing story with hand motions and Andy is listening intently (I like this memory of them both being so adorably nerdy).

Here’s a nice photo

The sky was pretty that afternoon.

So, the point isn’t to turn that frown upside down since I’m still upset about not getting hired, but how about finding happy things to think about while being completely distraught?

I signed up for Birchbox!  For $10 a month they will send you nice sized samples of beauty products.  It’s like getting a present every month!  My first box will arrive in early September so that is something to look forward to.  I’ve read good reviews about this company and will let you know what I receive in my first box.

July 27, 2011

It was almost a pity party day when AM plans fell through (I feel abandoned easily :/ ).  Andy suggested going to get my nails done to perk up but I just went last week, after visiting the unemployment office (you have to specify which office you will visit so I selected the unemployment office location in the same shopping center as my favorite nail salon).  Instead, I went to the promised land of excess and over indulgence.

Stockpile of basics and treasures

Then my car was overheating so stopping by the mall for some retail therapy, to let the engine cool off before adding some more coolant, seemed like a great idea (putting that money toward a new water pump never even crossed my mind until AFTERWARDS, but car repairs themselves call for retain therapy so I figure I’m still ahead).

Here’s what I found:

A short cardigan with rhinestone buttons and lace detailing in back (on clearance)

An adorable, nerdy sweater vest.  These are at Banana Republic for 40% off right now!  In fact, all tops are 40% off and all clearance items are an additional 25% off.  I got mine in a size smaller than sensible since geeky clothes are really cute when really tight!  A short sleeve button-up shirt with a collar will look great but it would also be cute with nothing but a red bra (or something sexy) underneath.

Finally, a halter top for evenings.  This was on clearance with an additional 25% off so it was seriously just a couple of dollars.  Because of all of the nice drape in the fabric a bra is not needed so finding undergarments to work with this blouse will not be necessary!

I’ve been diligently wasting time this summer but was contacted this evening regarding a job I applied for back in May.  The impromptu phone interview went well, the woman was very no nonsense (which matches my no bullshit mood very well), and I have an in person interview tomorrow.