Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Raining Acorns

Is there something happening that I'm not aware of? I've heard that when acorns drop early it means we're going to have a hard winter. Oh boy, are we ever in for it if that's the case! I was just outside dumping scraps into my compost pile. I realized that all around me I could hear subtle dropping, hundreds of them, on the leaves and ground all around me. It was amazing. I thought perhaps it was a squirrel or two having fun way up there in the high limbs but, no, that wasn't the case. It was happening all around me from several trees. My backyard is littered with acorns and acorn pieces. It's interesting and perplexing all at once!

Check out the Farmer's Almanac article "Can Acorns Predict a Rough Winter?" for some more lore or truth in what nature does in preparation for what it's planning to do later on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All Set to Go

This is it -- my last few hours before the start of school. I have mixed emotions about the first day.  Summer is over, a schedule begins again, routines, wearing makeup and nice clothes, headaches, early mornings (5:00 a.m.), and long days. There are a lot of positives to look forward to though; routines, fall, smiling faces, challenges, camaraderie, success, and a feeling of accomplishment.

I am going to be greeted tomorrow by 22 smiling faces (well, maybe 21 smiling faces.  I've got one girl coming to me who never smiles. I hope to change that.) and an eagerness to learn.  The desks are set, the pencils are out, and I am ready. This year is a special year for me as it's my tenth year teaching.  Whoa! My very first class of first graders (1999-2000 school year) are entering their sophomore year in high school this year.  It's still hard for me to believe!

So, here's to a good year, here's to a productive year, and here's to a memorable year. I am...... READY!   :) 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Work and a Wonderful Visit

What a great way to end my summer vacation! My parents stayed two nights at our house in their motor home. They arrived late Friday morning and left mid-morning today. The motor home was able to fit right along side our garage. 
One of the many reasons my parents came out was so that Mom could help me finish cleaning and organizing our basement. We rearranged quite a bit of stuff, put down some new rugs, got rid of some stuff, and bought another shelving unit. We were able to minimize what was thrown away by putting it out by the road for free. Within 3 hours of having a roll top T.V. cabinet out by the road, it was gone. There was nothing wrong with it; we just didn't have a use for it any more.
The bum window..... We're still working on it. That "super" caulk we bought is actually still drying. We have another piece of plexiglass to put up still.
My laundry area, all spiffed up.
This, however, was the main reason my parents came out: our tankless hot water heater. Pete and Pop had to finish hooking it up. Over the winter they hung it and ran the copper piping. Yesterday they finished the piping, drained the house of water, and hooked it up. We decided against doing the propane lines and exhaust ourselves as it can be very dangerous (ka-boom) if they are not air tight. I'm going to call the gas company tomorrow and get a quote on that end of the installation. We can't wait to get this thing up and running! We're hoping to be using little to no oil this winter as we'll be heating our house by wood and warming our water with propane.
Yes, aren't our litter boxes lovely? I have a nice lampshade now to go over that awful bare bulb on the lamp. (Nicky needs to see where he's going..... hence the lamp that'll be on 24/7.)

Friday consisted of a Home Depot run while Pete was at work. We met Pete over at Imperial Buffet (my most favorite restaurant ever) after he got out of work. We then took my parents to see some of the bigger houses that have been built near where we live (many of them were for sale; gee, I wonder why).

Last night, after dinner at A.C. Petersen Farms in West Hartford, Pete and I took my parents to the Hartford Riverfront. After having trouble finding a free place to park, we brought them down to the river and the walkway. We walked all the way to the foot bridge that goes over 91. It's always neat to see the traffic zipping by below you. It was a wonderful evening that was made even better by riding "topless." We really enjoyed ourselves. 

Next weekend, we're heading to their house for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, we have plans to enter George into the car show in Putnam. Sunday, we're all heading to the Woodstock Fair!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Living in Harmony (Well, Not Exactly Just Yet...)

Meow, meow, meow.
Hiss, hiss, hiss.

That's the music that has been playing non-stop in my house, day in, day out. Things are getting better though, albeit slowly (and sometimes painfully). The girls still hiss and growl at Nicky but are allowing him to come closer and closer to them. I think Nicky really likes Chloe as he wants to smell her and visit with her the most. (I gave her a good brushing today so she can look her best for the new man in the house). Hannah just watches with dilated eyes and gives a low and mean growl whenever he comes too close. (Don't forget, she's feral and could really mess him up if she wanted to!)

In this rare photo opportunity, all three of them were within a few feet of one another. Nicky is on the floor, Hannah is resting in the chair, and Chloe is keeping a close eye on things from her perch on the magazine table.

Let's hope things are a little more quiet tonight (Nicky howls all night long) because both Pete and I were hurting this morning after two consecutive nights of the "music."
Isn't he gorgeous?

Book Buzz Tag & 6 Quirky Things About Me

Thanks for the tag Anna. Here goes....
Here are the instructions:

I am going to list three categories of books: 3 MUST Read Books, 3 Keep Your Eyes on These, and 3 Look for These Soon. Keeping with the theme, I am going to tag at least 3 bloggers. They should put these same lists on their blogs but SUBTRACT one book from each list and ADD one of their own. Then they should tag at least 3 more bloggers. It will be fun to see how the lists change as they go around the blogosphere. Please come back to this post and leave a comment so I can see how the lists are changing. Since this is Book Buzz...please keep your lists to titles released in 2007-2009.

3 MUST Read Books:

Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

3 Keep Your Eyes on These:

The Memory of Water by Karen White
Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

3 Look for These Soon:

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Testimony by Anita Shreve 
The Longing by Beverly Lewis

(The books I added are the ones that have a link.)

Since I'm so lame with looking at other blogs that I don't have 3 people to send this to as Anna and Serena have already been tagged (not by me). So.... Roxy from There's No Place Like Home, you've just been tagged!  :)

6 Quirky Things About Me

Anna from Diary of an Eccentric also tagged me for this one!

Here are the rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged

Here are my 6 quirky things:

1. I have to leave the house for work by a certain time each morning and get there 5 minutes before I can get in. I get mad when I'm not the first one there!

2. I always wash and dry the same parts in the same sequence every time I shower.

3. I don't pick up the phone on the first ring.

4. I hate wearing shoes and I HATE wearing jeans.

5. I like to look inside Pete's mouth (he, as you might have guessed, hates it).

6. I make up random songs and sing them to Pete off-key.

Again, don't feel obligated to play along (especially if I tagged you twice), but here goes.....

I tag (once again):  Roxy from There's No Place Like Home

Homemade Pizza

My Homemade Pizza

  • 1 pkg. pizza dough (found in bakery section of most grocery stores)
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella 
  • 6 oz. container crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup (loosely piled) spinach
  • 2 T corn meal
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 t. chopped/minced garlic
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  1. Leave pizza dough out on counter for 2 to 3 hours. Make sure to cut bag open for dough to "breathe."
  2. Once ready to begin, preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Knead dough (making sure all rings are off of fingers!). Stretch dough out uniformly into a disk. Continue stretching. Occasionally place disk over fist and let drape. Continue this process until desired size.
  4. Coat pizza stone or non-stick pizza/baking tray with cornmeal. This will prevent sticking. Place dough onto coated pizza stone or non-stick pizza/baking tray.
5.  Melt butter with garlic. Brush onto pizza dough.
6.  Sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste) over dough.
7.  Layer dough with 7 oz. of shredded mozzarella.
8.  Place spinach on top of mozzarella.
9.  Add 2 to 3 oz. of Feta cheese to top of spinach.
10.  Slice tomato and add slices to top of pizza.
11.  Slice fresh mozzarella and add slices to top of pizza.
12.  Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella over top of pizza.
13.  Bake in 400 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust is desired color/texture.
14.  Slice with pizza slicer and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Classroom

One of the many reasons why I love being a teacher: setting up my classroom! School starts next Wednesday, August 27th. I've been in "prepping" for 5 days, both this week and last week, getting ready for the big day. I've had to arrange my desks (3 groups of 5 and 1 group of 6), laminate things, put up posters, organize cumulative files, put tennis balls on chair legs (all 128 of them!), make name plates (for desks and lockers), write names on folders, find out birthdays, move bookcases, organize my classroom library, put out paper, sharpen pencils, photocopy, the list goes on and on.

I absolutely love my classroom. It has a very workable space, both in functionality and in learning. I try to keep it neat and organized all year (with about 90% success) for my sanity as well as for a more conducive learning environment.

I am glad to say though, that I'm done! Today was my last day in my classroom until we (the teachers) have to go back Monday and Tuesday for professional development. My 4-day weekend is my last hurrah before work begins!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cream Cheese Ball

I really didn't feel like making dinner tonight so, I made a snack for dinner. Pete was excited when I told him that we were going to have Miso soup (from a package) and my "famous" cream cheese ball for dinner. (I figure it was healthy enough. It was certainly filling as we polished off the entire box of Triscuits!)  I had been planning on making the ball sometime this week after purchasing the needed ingredients yesterday. I should have looked at the recipe before shopping as I thought it called for only one block of cream cheese, not two. Good thing I had an 8 oz. container of cream cheese in the fridge! Too bad for my bagels later this week though.

Cream Cheese Ball

  • 2  8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red or yellow onion
Blend all ingredients and form into a ball.  Serve with crackers of your choice.

I added a little bit of garnish to my ball and served it on a bamboo cheese board.
Pete enjoying his dinner.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Newest Member of Our Family

Meet Nicky.  Nicky came to live with us on Saturday. Nicky is 4.5 years old and is, as you can see by the pictures, quite large. Nicky comes to us from Pete's mother. She has had Nicky since she rescued him from a shelter in Springfield, MA. As Nicky craves attention and she has 4 other cats, it was hard for her to give him the attention he so badly wanted. Pete and I have discussed taking Nicky on and off for the last few months. He's here now and adjusting to our house and two hissing biddies (a.k.a. Chloe and Hannah). Chloe is very interested in Nicky but hisses and growls when he gets too close. I guess that's only natural as this is HER house!

Nicky is a ragdoll cat (yes, we believe a purebred). He's got a touch of ADD as he cannot stay in one place or position any longer than 20 seconds. He's very sociable and lovable and we're very glad we have him! :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Showing Our Support

I don't talk politics much, well, except with Pete (Republican), his mother (Republican), my mom (Democrat), Roxy (former Republican now a Democrat), and Dave (former Republican now a Democrat).  I have always been a Democrat although I have toyed with the idea of switching to the Green Party.  Anyway, Pete and I often have some very lively discussions about "W" and the state of the Union. He voted for Bush in 2000 and again in 2004. (Eeek!) I have had a disfavorable opinion of him (Bush) since 2001 (pre-Sept. 11) and have never had a favorable opinion -- ever. I don't like him, I don't trust him or his VP either. He has destroyed our educational system with No Child Left Behind and I wonder about our true reasons for Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention that I truly believe (since about November 2001) that there was something "fishy" with the September 11th attacks.  Enough said.

Well, it just so happens that Pete now is siding with my opinions of Bush as of late. Pete, very Republican, is going to be voting for Obama. (I don't have to tell you who I'm voting for, do I?) Shortly after that "revelation", I decided to make an online purchase, you know, to show our support in the coming months. It's not my first lawn sign (the other lawn sign was for a candidate that I supported in the primaries but didn't end up voting for in the general elections - I went Green Party in the end. Pete did too.) and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Here's hoping for a REAL change!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I made this yesterday.  I absolutely LOVE pot pies! :) 

My Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

  • 1 lb. (or so) skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 9" deep dish frozen pie crusts
  • 1 large bag frozen mixed veggies (size and/or combo. of veggies is your choice)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (reg. milk will work too)
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1/3 t. salt
  • 1/3 t. pepper
  • 1 to 2 T. butter (melted)
  • 1/2 t. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 t. chives (fresh or freeze dried)

  1. Set out pie crusts. Leave one in pan; take the other out of the pan and set on a piece of waxed paper. Leave out at room temp. for 15 -20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Prepare / cook chicken. (I boil mine in a frying pan until done.)  Set aside.
  4. Thaw out frozen vegetables (in microwave): Add veggies to a bit of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Mix. Return to microwave for another 2 minutes. Set aside when done.
  5. Whisk 1 egg in med. bowl. Add melted butter, salt, pepper, chives, and minced garlic. Stir. Add both cans of soup. Stir. Add half and half and seasoned salt. Stir. Set aside.
  6. Add warmed veggies to bottom of pie crust (the one still in the pan). Rip cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Add to top of veggies. Pour soup mixture over chicken and veggies. Use fork or spoon to make sure the soup mixture makes it's way to the bottom of the pie.
  7. Take second crust and lay it over the top of the pie. Pinch together.
  8. Beat the second egg. Brush over the top crust.
  9. Put pie into oven. Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until crust is dark golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wet Basement

We have had so much rain!  3.5 inches Monday night along with a pretty nasty thunderstorm. A few days prior to that we had 2.5 inches of rain. The ground is saturated. I guess that's why it decided to come into our basement. Yep, quite a bit of it to be exact. You see, we had a small crack in one of our basement windows. It was one of those things we kept meaning to get to but never did. Well, now we have to! The water was rushing around the side of the house so much so that it filled up our window well and broke the glass. The hole was big enough that my cat could fit through it (she didn't though, thank goodness!). There were leaves, wood chips, and yuck all over the place down there. We had some carpets that are ruined, magazines, some of my college stuff, our fax machine, computer parts -- all ruined. Oh well. Part of our basement is finished (i.e. recliners, computers, carpeting, Sheetrock, etc.). The water intruded a little bit into there but just the carpeting by the door to the "basement" part. We've got fans running and the lights are on. Hopefully it will dry up soon. I just don't want the nice carpeting in our rec room to get moldy. This weekend we've got to figure out what we're going to do with the window: we've discussed Plexiglas and even concreting it in. We'll go to Home Depot and Lowe's to see what our options are. Lessons learned: when there's a small problem, fix it. Also, don't leave stuff on your basement floor.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Green" Makeup

Hooray! I finally found (and bought!) eco-friendly makeup! I found the Organic Wear line at my local CVS. The prices of each product are comparable to Loreal and Maybelline. The only thing I couldn't find that was "green" was mascara. Has anyone else used or heard of this makeup? Are there any other brands of "green" makeup out there?

Calling All Knitters and Crocheters!

Knit and Crochet Today! are featuring a worthwhile project to benefit the participants of the 2009 Special Olympics. Coats & Clark (the makers of Red Heart) are "...sponsoring a project to provide each athlete with a scarf created in white and delft blue Red Heart Super Saver yarns."  Coats & Clark is looking for 5,000 scarves to be hand knit or crocheted. The due date for the submission of these scarves is January 15, 2009.  The yarns to be used are Red Heart white (#311) and delft blue (#885). Any pattern can be made as long as both colors are somehow incorporated into the scarf. You can find more information about this fabulous project at the Coats & Clark website:
Please consider donating a bit of your time and talent for this heartwarming cause!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pop's Apple Pie

Ever since my Meme passed in 2001, I have refused to eat apple pie. My Meme's apple pie was the best I have ever eaten and I know there can be no replacement.

The other day I decided that I'm going to go home to see my parents this Friday. I offered to cook lunch for them (my very special beef stroganoff recipe) and make a dessert. I listed all the different pies I could make for my father and he, of course, choose apple.

I decided to use my Meme's cookbook, "The Good Housekeeping Cookbook" published in MCMLXXIII (that's 1973). I have had the best of luck with this cookbook, including my very favorite banana bread recipe and a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe.  The recipe in the cookbook for apple pie was very simple (after, of course, peeling and coring the apples!).  I was so very pleased with how the pie came out! After tasting some of the sauce that leaked out while baking, I immediately called my father to tell him how close this pie tasted to my Meme's pies. The top crust is lumpy and he said that that was how Meme's pies were. I'm so excited to bring it to him tomorrow and have him try it! My Meme was definitely with me as I made this pie and I made sure to thank her for the help when it was done.

Our Own Shade of Green

"Green Living" is a relatively new phrase and many people are feeling the need to be "Green." I have been trying to live this type of lifestyle for many years now. When I first met my husband, he categorized me as a "hippie." Now, he just sees what I do as the way that it is.

Here is how we live green:

Grocery Store:
  • I always use my own bags at the grocery store. If my 3 bags aren't enough, I insist on paper so that I can later use the bag for my recycling.
  • While at the grocery store, I never use those little produce plastic bags unless I'm getting peas or string beans. Why put tomatoes, bananas, etc. in those bags? I always wash my food before I eat it so what does it matter?
  • Carry out large items such as milk, detergent, etc. that way there's no wasted space in your sacks.
  • I make it a point to buy items with recyclable containers. My town recycles numbers 1 and 2 plastics. If something comes in a different number, more often than not, I don't buy it. I also NEVER buy Styrofoam!
  • I am a HUGE fan of antibiotic free meats and eggs. My eggs are cage free. I always buy Pete & Jerry's Organic Eggs. They come in half or whole dozen containers. My meats (chicken, beef, and luncheon meat) are all free range, antibiotic free.
  • Pete and I are trying to stay away from processed foods. No more Tyson chicken, corn dogs, Betty Crocker stuff, etc. I make most of my meals now. Tonight we're having a pizza that I make from scratch.
  • Most of my vegetables are organic. I also buy organic macaroni and cheese as well as Newman's Own organic & fair trade coffee.
  • The coffee filters that we use are unbleached.
  • 90% of what we eat does not contain hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.
Personal Care:
  • The shampoo and conditioner we use is from Nature's Gate. I also use their liquid hand soap (organic). 
  • The dishwashing detergent we are currently using is Ecover (phosphate free). 
  • For our laundry detergent, I use Arm & Hammer Essentials
  • For my toothpaste, I use Tom's of Maine
  • The deodorant that I use is also from the Arm & Hammer Essentials line. It is natural deodorant with no aluminum or parabens.
  • My face wash is by Avalon Organics (facial cleansing gel).  The lavender, which is what I'm currently using, has a wonderful, calming scent.
  • The toilet cleaner that I use is produced by Seventh Generation. It is "non-toxic, biodegradable, no dyes."
  • The general bathroom cleaner that we use is by Bonami. It is "earth friendly" with "no chlorine, perfume, or dyes."
  • We keep our tires inflated. We also have put nitrogen in all of our tires. Both of these things does add to our fuel mileage. A washed car also adds to fuel mileage as there is less resistance when you're going down the road.
  • Pete and I combine trips and try not to let the car idle. Remember: an idling car gets 0 miles per gallon.
  • We traded in our Pontiac Grand Prix for a Smart Car! We went from about 18 miles per gallon to 44 - 48 miles per gallon!
  • I am lucky enough to carpool to work with someone 3 to 4 days a week.
  • I am beginning to make some of my own clothes. This saves money and travel (on my end and for the item itself).
  • We donate clothes on a yearly basis. If something hasn't been worn in a year, it gets donated. This is a form of recycling.
  • Dry cleaning: I hate it. If something says "dry clean only," I wash it. The only things I don't wash are 100% pure wool. Pete, unfortunately, gets his work clothes laundered at the dry cleaner. We have asked that his clothes NOT be wrapped in plastic. All that plastic isn't needed!
In the Home
  • We replaced most of our lights with CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights). We have regular incandescent only in areas that we turn the light on for a second and turn it back off again (i.e. coat closet). CFLs work best when they can be left on for periods of 15 minutes or more.
  • I recently replaced my plastic shower liner with a cloth one. Having a cloth one means a longer life as I can wash it multiple times.
  • Open the windows! Pete and I have central A/C but it was used little this summer. We opted for a more eco-friendly way of cooling our home: fresh air! We opened our windows and used a couple of fans when needed.
  • I have a clothesline that is used during good weather to dry my clothes. Again, this saves energy and money!

  • We recycle as much as we can!  Everything that we use that is glass, aluminum, or plastic (#1 and #2) gets recycled. Cardboard as well: toilet paper tubes, tissue boxes, pasta boxes (rip out those plastic windows first!), macaroni and cheese boxes, etc.
  • Remember to check your lids too! Just because it was on your milk jug doesn't necessarily mean that the lid is the same number!
  • Pete and I also compost. If you're interested about how I do that, check out the post I wrote a few days ago. You can link to it by clicking HERE.
  • Garbage: ugh. What a nasty word. To help reduce what you throw away (which either goes to a landfill or gets burned) think about each piece you throw away and where it will end up. I cringe every time I throw something away.

I could go on and on but this is our "green lifestyle" in a nutshell. I hope to keep adding to the list as we try to make more areas of our living "green." If you have any additional tips that you would like to share, please leave it in my comment section. Be happy, be green!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Bounty of Box Tops!

My afternoon was filled with those little pink and white Box Tops found on the backs of many of the food items you may eat.  I am the Box Tops coordinator for my school and didn't do too much with my collection of them over the school year. So, today was my day of cutting, bagging, and general organizing. I cut about 700 of those little buggers today. My poor hand is feeling it! Why cut them all? Well, General Mills requests that each one be cut around the dotted lines (yikes!) and that they be bagged in bunches of 50. Needless to say, I was surrounded by scraps, baggies, and lots and lots of Box Tops. It all paid off though as I will be submitting $1,136 worth of Box Tops to General Mills this coming October. Just think: each Box Top is only worth 10 cents! Yes, I had over 11,000 to deal with! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


All summer I've been meaning to wash my linen bathroom curtains and the 100% cotton decorative shower curtain.  Today was the day.  After machine washing them in warm water, I hung them out on the line to dry. I never expected my shower curtain to shrink almost a foot! It looks absolutely ridiculous! This was not a cheap curtain -- I got it from Kohl's. I wonder if I was to blame by washing it in warm water? Anyhow, I'll be making a trip to Kohl's again soon to rectify this situation! Anyone want a tad short shower curtain?


Monday, August 4, 2008

Busy Day!

Got up at 5:50. Made Pete's coffee. Started the laundry after breakfast. Researched patterns for the baby blanket I'm going to make. Made fresh whipped cream at 10:00. Read a little bit. Left at 11:10 for Barbara's.  Carpooled with Barbara to the party. Left party at 3:00. Went to Michael's for baby yarn and the stuff to make my jewelry. Went to cleaners. Thought about my laundry on the line as I drove home in the pouring rain. Made it back to the house. Not a drop! Took in and folded the laundry. Here I sit, absolutely beat!

P.S. Those shoofly pies were a huge hit at the party! :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lancaster County Wet-Bottom Shoofly Pies

Tomorrow all of the teachers from my school are getting together for a gathering at a fellow teacher's summer home. For my part, I am bringing fresh whipped cream to top off the two Lancaster County Wet-Bottom Shoofly Pies that I made tonight. These pies are absolutely delicious, easy to make, and taste much better the day after baking (hence the reason for me to make them today for tomorrow!). The recipe comes from "The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook," pages 144-145.

The picture below is the egg, dark corn syrup, and boiling water mixture. It will then be mixed slowly into the flour and brown sugar (2nd and 3rd pictures). This creates the base of the pie.

These unbaked pies have been topped with a reserved flour/brown sugar crumb topping. Into the oven they go!
Done to perfection! My entire house smells quite heavenly!

Lunch on "The Cliff"

Pete and I took about 2 hours out of our afternoon to go for a ride in the convertible.  We stopped to get some Subway sandwiches so that we could eat lunch out on "The Cliff" in Bloomfield. Of course, we took our camera along!

"The Cliff" is aptly named because that's exactly what it is. Back in the day, the road traveled along the edge of a cliff. Because there were so many accidents and people driving off the cliff (you can still see some cars way at the bottom), the road was closed off. It's a wonderful place to hike, have lunch, and enjoy the view. You can see MA in the distance -- the little notch in CT where MA dips down.

Afternoon Cleaning

After deciding it was too late to join my parents and brother at the Manchester, CT car show (Pete had been at work all morning), Pete and I began to wash out our two newly acquired 55 gallon drums.  Why do we have them? Well, unfortunately we're still heating our hot water with oil and Pete's work buddy has some home heating oil that he needs to get rid of (he recently converted to natural gas). After looking for quite some time, Pete found a guy in Bozrah, CT that claimed to have new drums for $40 apiece. After getting them, we quickly realized that they were far from new. Each of them had been previously used for holding printing ink. The ink in the blue drum was dry and peeled out rather easily. After that, Pete power washed it to get out the chunky stuff we missed and any leftover residue. The black drum was a different story. As Pete washed out the blue one, I pulled the black one off our truck. Unfortunately, the tan ink inside was still very liquid and it got on my legs, my shorts, the bed liner in the truck, and on our driveway. My shorts, needless to say, are now ruined. Oh well.

After Pete washed out the blue drum, he power washed my Tevas for me. Yes, they were that bad!!

Crocheted Skirt and Shawl

My crocheted outfit is just about complete! I finished crocheting the skirt this morning. The only things left to do are to sew in an elastic band, find (or have mom sew) some sort of fancy, shimmery tank, find a pair of shoes, and make my necklace and earrings (from the same beads I used on the shawl). I decided earlier in the summer to make my own outfit for a very fancy/formal wedding Pete and I have been invited to this October in Newport, RI. We still have to buy Pete a suit and, as you probably already guessed, it's going to cost between $150 and $300. He needs a suit jacket, matching pair of pants, tie, and shoes. Hopefully he can wear one of his dress shirts from work. I wanted to make my outfit for two reasons: 1. Just to say I did it and 2. To save money (which I did!).


  • The shawl is made from 6 skeins of Paton's Brilliant (Gold Glow), 1.75 oz.
  • The pattern is a simple shell which was found on-line at: Anastacia Knits
  • Once finished with the shell pattern, I added my own edging and attached 3 small beads to each edge "tip"
  • The shawl measures 66" across the top (horizontal) and 33" from top to bottom (vertical)
  • An "L" crochet hook was used

  • The skirt is made from 4 skeins of Caron Simply Soft (Black 9727), 7 oz. and 2 skeins of Bernat Satin (Sable), 3.5 oz.
  • The pattern comes from "Crochet! Magazine" July 2008. The pattern is the skirt portion of the "Sophisticated Shells Skirt & Wrap" pattern
  • The skirt measures 33" from waist to bottom (skirt will be approximately 1"shorter once top band is folded over and the elastic is sewn in). The waist measures 17.5" (folded flat) and the bottom of the skirt measures 35.5" (folded flat).
  • An "I" crochet hook was used

Saturday, August 2, 2008

An Unexpected But Enjoyable Trip to the Homestead

Right before lunch, Pete talked to the guy with the 55 gallon drums. His location was kinda close to my parents' house so they went to go get our two drums for us. We then left at about 1:00 for their house to pick up the drums. We visited for about 3 hours and then headed back for home. We need to get a drum or two because a guy that Pete works with needs to offload some home heating oil (about 150 gallons worth) and he's going to sell it to us for $2 a gallon! Hence our need for the drums! :)

The picture above is my mom's new little baby, Olivia. She joins my mother's other black and white cat, Suzy.

Tree Trimming

There's always something to do outside! Pete and I had wanted to put up our new motion sensing light. After realizing that there were hornets up where it needed to go and a bolt was stripped out, we figured we would just trim tree branches all around our yard instead.