Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween!

My original idea for today's post was an "October Round-up/Recap" (well, actually it wasn't an original idea because I saw it on someone else's blog) Anyway, since I'm having a bit of a Halloween emergency, I have to change gears. Maybe I'll post my un-original idea later.

So, today is Halloween and we are going to a Halloween party, which had originally been advertised as just a "party on Halloween," therefore making me believe that no costumes were necessary. And I was glad, because even though I had planned a great costume for this year (I was going to be a Survivor contestant and D would dress as Survivor host Jeff Probst), I didn't actually order a buff, buy a tiki torch, or fashion an immunity necklace.
However, yesterday I received word that it is, in fact, a costume party, and apparently there are repercussions for not wearing a costume.
Since I don't want to get pinched or eat spiders or whatever kind of punishment the hosts plan on inflicting on the un-costumed, I'm trying to come up with something I can throw together using found objects.

The ideas I'm throwing around right now are:
--Survivor Contestant-- still not ready to give this one up. I have the perfect bathing suit to wear, saw tiki torches on sale at the BX the other day, and I think we have some weird bone necklace thingy that D bought in South America. A buff...more of a problem. But I could probably do a cylinder of any kind of fabric and just print out a Survivor logo and double-stick-tape it on. Plus, Survivors don't have to shower before they leave the house, which really makes this my perfect costume.

--Teacher-- This one would be easy. Not much of a stretch at all...plenty of teacher clothes in the closet and teacher accessories galore are stored in the garage. I thought David could be a substitute teacher, complete with "kick me" sign on his back. And, possibly the best thing about dressing up as a teacher for Halloween is that maybe I could put people who are being naughty or just plain annoying in time out.

--Martha Stewart-- This one would also be easy to pull off...apron, cookbook, garden gloves, knitting project. Hmm...I could work on the second sleeve of my sweater as part of my costume and not be accused of being anti-social!!

--Clothesline-- Tie a rope around my waist. Tie a rope around D's waist. Hang some laundry in between us. Et voila! Halloween costume. But I'm not sure I want to be tied to David all night.

--Stood-up Prom Date-- I can't really be this, because I don't have a fancy dress here. Besides, I'd have to go buy a bunch of eye make-up just to smear it and make it look like I'd been crying all night.

Please cast your vote and help me choose what to wear tonight!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When I have nothing to say...

Since writing about blogging more, and getting some very nice and reassuring comments, I've come to type up an entry three times. And three times... nothing but crickets.
So, today, I will force myself to not leave until I have a post typed up and published. I can't make any promises and wish I didn't have to take responsibility for whatever I come up with.
Someone on Facebook mentioned eating an Affy Tapple three days ago, and I've been thinking about them ever since. Even though Affy Tapples aren't the most delicious (or the most delicious looking) caramel apples out there, they are one of my personal signals of fall. I always begged for them when I saw that they had arrived at the grocery store. At the fair (or maybe the airport... I really want to say it was the airport, but really, who decided that a caramel apple on a stick was a great airport snack? I guess because it is on a stick so in theory it's easy to eat while moving, but those things are waaaaaay bigger than Affy Tapples, and it is already a challenge just to eat the little Affy Tapple neatly. Mine was usually sliced up. You have to take just the right sized and carefully placed bite or else the apple starts swinging around the stick while you're trying to eat or it's dangling by a little apple thread.) I don't even think it would make sense now to continue where I left off before the parentheses, so I'm just going to start that sentence over... At the fair (or maybe the airport...actually, I think they were at both) I saw these super beautiful and humongous caramel apples. Drizzled with chocolate over the caramel, or dipped halfway in dark chocolate and then rolled in nuts. They looked so tasty, but I didn't get one at the fair because it was raining and I didn't get one at the airport because I just don't think a giant caramel apple on a stick is the right thing for me to eat without silverware, while walking, or without the option of taking a shower in the next 8-12 hours.
I don't think they have Affy Tapples at the commissary. That's probably why, a few years ago, my friend Barbara (who coincidentally rode my bus in high school) and I decided to make our very own to share with her kids. We ended up eating most of the caramels plain and giving the kids plain ol' apples.
Maybe I'll give it another try this year... or maybe I'll just buy a tub of caramel dip and slice up some apples. No sticks necessary.
So that's what I come up with when I've got nothin'... Affy Tapples.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


One of the 1,279 blogs (maybe not quite that many, but it feels like it!) I read is Tip Junkie. Tuesdays at Tip Junkie are kind of special, because they're open for audience participation. I love audience participation! On the cruise this summer, I was hoping and hoping that I would get randomly selected for audience participation (but I NEVER would've raised my hand to volunteer for it. Which was fine, because John, the very best cruise director, said that he wasn't going to pick someone who had his/her hand up. He wanted to pick a shrinking violet.) Anyway, I never got picked. But on Tuesdays, I have a chance to participate and I don't have to try to catch anyone's eye by making it obvious that I want to be chosen, whether that be by waving my hands in the air and screaming "Me, Me, ME!" or crossing my arms and not making eye contact and slinking down low in my chair. All I have to do is link my blog to Tip Junkie's!
So today's "Talk to Me Tuesday" asks, "Why do you blog?"

So, I started blogging just over 3 years ago...that's really hard to believe, especially because I haven't even made a year's worth of posts. But it looks like 2009 could be my bloggiest year yet.  I started my blog because a few of my friends at ScrapVillage had blogs and would write thinks like, "check my blog for pictures" or "you can read about it on my blog". And I decided that I wanted one too. Because, you know, the cool kids were doing it.
In the beginning, I thought that I might look at blogging as a way to tell my family and friends about where I was and what I was doing (I was in Japan at the time) without sending out mass e-mails. When I learned how to post pictures on my blog, I thought, "Oh goody, I can post pictures without clogging up anyone's e-mail box with big ol' files". Because I am sweet like that. (And remember, this was before Facebook made it possible to share every detail of my life with everyone I know, including the random girl that sat 4 rows behind me in math class one semester 14 years ago.) Well, it turns out that probably five or fewer friends or family members read this, and really I would've had time to write five personal e-mail messages.  But, by the time I realized this, my blogosophy (maybe I just make that term up...get it, like philosophy?) had started to change.
My blog had turned into a place where I could just talk about whatever I wanted to, regardless of whether there was someone who wanted to have that conversation with me. I tend to talk a lot. David told me that when we first started dating, he didn't really think he liked me because I talked too much. One of my running partners in Okinawa advertised me as "a human iPod" (podcast, not music). In high school, I said that I was considering becoming a dentist and my friend's mom said that would be a perfect profession for me because I could talk and talk and the patient couldn't a--talk back or b--get away. So, my blog is a place where I can talk as much as I want to, without getting a sore throat or watching your eyes glaze over. And you, dear readers, are free to "get away" or skip ahead when it starts to be too much. And I never have to know about it.
This year, I'm home alone, and when you are home alone, you can talk to yourself all the time and nobody looks at you funny. There have been a few times when I've been around others and accidentally talk to myself and get called on it. I just say, "it's the only time I can be sure anyone's listening." So, since I've been free to babble, I kind of got away from blogging. And also because I am home alone, unemployed, and tend to do the same 4 or 5 things every day (run, watch either Ugly Betty or Gossip Girl, knit, play on the internet, and read. Oh, and eat cereal. So 6 things.) I didn't really have all that much to talk about. But, then I found out that there are actually a few crazy people out there who like reading this blog.--some who have to love me because we are related, and some who I don't even know in real life but, for some reason, get a kick out of me! And so, I make it a point to think of something to blog about, even if it ends up being an entry about nothing. Because, you know what? It feels good to know that somewhere out there, someone might laugh or smile or think about something new or different because they read what I had to say.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are you ready for some MITTENS?

I haven't heard that jingle in such a long time that I suppose I've forgotten the words. How does it go? Are you ready for some knitting?... No, that's not it. Are you ready for some pizza?... I don't think that's it either. I think it's coming to me... Are you ready for some football?!?! Oh, yeah, that's it.

I'm beginning to think that inviting David here during football season was not a very smart idea. David is a football nut. He is obsessed with football. Like, maybe needs to be medicated level of obsession. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a sports fan and every morning, I check the MLB, NFL, NCAAF, and (eventually) NCAAB scores. (I skip NBA, because I'm just not into pro basketball. Maybe it's a curse of growing up near Chicago in the 90s. Nothing will ever top the three-peat and the repeat-the-three-peat.) I don't mind having football on all afternoon, but I don't really pay much attention to it. I have one team that I am a fan of, Da Bears!, and so I know a little bit about them. Other than that, I can match a few quarterbacks to their teams and tell you what colors some of them wear, and that's about it. David, on the other hand, is a super-huge NY Giants fan, but pays attention to all of the teams, knows about a lot of the players and could probably tell you the score of a game between 2 randomly selected teams that happened 3 weeks ago, right off the top of his head.
Unfortunately for David, we don't get any football games on our cable. Unfortunately for me, AFN (the Armed Forces Network) plays the games at the club on base. So, that's where we were last night, watching the Vikings and the Steelers. And that's where we'll be in about 3 hours, watching a rebroadcast of the Giants and the Cardinals. David is determined to not find out who won. I already know (I told you I check the scores every morning!). He's not going to be happy. Especially since he already agreed to go see The Time Traveler's Wife after the game, since it's playing at the base theater which happens to be right next to the club. Hopefully the theater sells Twizzlers, or else the whole afternoon will be a wash for David.

Anyway, I've kind of gotten sidetracked. This is why I usually wait until after I'm done writing to think of the title for my post.
So as D, Little J, and her hubby all watched the game, I did this:
Those are teeny-tiny mittens! My sweater is now too big to be considered portable knitting, so I decided at the last minute that I'd need another, smaller project to work on. And this is a pretty tiny project! They're about an inch and a half from cuff to fingertip, and I think they'd look adorable hanging on a Christmas tree or clipped to a garland with a bunch of other tiny knits. Thank goodness for football, which will give me an opportunity to make a nice little stockpile of these!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"If you don't hear from me on Friday..."

"...I'll be there on Saturday."
That's what David told me earlier in the week. We'd been planning on him arriving on the 24th for a couple months, but a few weeks ago he found out that the plane leaving his base was almost full. Since he's just going on vacation, he's a lower-priority traveler than some of the others. So it was up in the air whether he would arrive here on the 24th, the 31st, or some other day between now and November 4. He kept updating me on how many available seats there were on the plane (last count: 4) and I kept trying not to bash my head against the wall. I'm a planner and this kind of travel is out of my comfort zone.
    So, since I didn't hear from David today, I assume he's going to be here tomorrow! And since I assume he's going to be here tomorrow, I had to clean the whole house a lot of the house TODAY to prepare for his arrival. I decided that my hobby room could remain a mess because that's not really his space anyway. And I think it's acceptable for there to be a few (16) dirty dishes because strategically placed next to them is a plate of freshly baked and cutely decorated Halloween sugar cookies. Distraction is key. Anyway, shouldn't he just be so thrilled to be "home" (for the first time ever!) that he doesn't mind a dryer full of towels?  And a washer full of towels that need to be moved to the dryer? Hey, at least the guy's going to get a clean towel!
   There is a free shuttle bus that goes from the base to the airport and back and I'm going to ride that tomorrow. The drive isn't terrible but it's 125 miles and about 2.5 hours. Since D and I are military ID card holders, we're allowed to use the service, and if I'm going to spend 5 hours in a moving vehicle, I'd much rather do it in one in which I can sleep, read, knit, or just plain not pay attention. I told D that he better get off the airplane as quickly as he can and not to be polite and let little old ladies go in front of him in the customs line. Sorry, little old ladies, but his arrival time is kind of cutting it close to the shuttle departure time. I have a plan B in case we miss it, but I'd really rather not have to activate it. Because it's not free.
    So, tomorrow, at this time, I should have a husband here with me (and an almost-done sweater too...planning on getting a lot done on my Amused (link to my project page for Ravelry users) (link to the pattern for non-Ravelers who just want to see what I'm working on) on the bus and in the airport.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

(Not) Having a Party!

About a month ago, I bought the October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. I love Martha Stewart's mags, especially the holiday issues! Her Halloween stuff looked so spooky and fun, and I decided that I wanted to host a Halloween party.
For a number of reasons, I changed my mind and decided to have a pre-Halloween pumpkin carving party instead (I'm pretty sure one of these was featured in the magazine too). I thought that this would be a less expensive and easier-to-control option than a nighttime Halloween bash. And, if I got lucky, we would have decent weather, carve pumpkins in the backyard (oops, garden, sorry!) and not have a huge mess to clean up inside. Plus, I thought it might be fun to invite our "inner-child"s out to play & carve pumpkins!

I had such a good time browsing for decorating ideas, like the cute painted pumpkins here.
I was trying to narrow down my list of do-it-yourself projects, choosing between Halloween votives, cute digi-created treat bag toppers (about halfway down the page), and something like these Spooky/Harvest blocks (scroll down a little to see them) to display across the mantle.
And of course, a big chunk of my time was dedicated to food, my favorite part of a party. So I set off browsing for pumpkin recipes (Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, precious little Pumpkin Pie Bites) and Halloween-themed eats, like Candy Corn Pizza, Spider Web Dip, Witches Wands & Monster Munch. This Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip was definitely going on my menu (and it was definitely going to be served in a hollowed out little pumpkin!) I thought that having Rice Krispie Treats with a special fall twist might get the guests reminiscing about carving pumpkins as kids.

I was thinking of what kinds of prizes I'd award for pumpkins... creepiest pumpkin, funniest pumpkin, most traditional, most unique. I wonder if any of my guests would've come up with something like this:

I saw this on Party Perfect this morning and just loved it! I followed the linky-trail as far as it would take me and couldn't find any info about who made this or how!

Anyway, did you notice that that was all in past tense? My pumpkin party was canceled before it even got off the ground for a few different reasons. 1. Halloween is a Saturday, which means that if I wanted to have my pumpkin party before Halloween, I would've had to do it on the 24th or 25th. 2. I wanted to have the party as a "meet & greet" kind of thing for David, who was supposed to be coming for a visit on the 24th. Therefore, the party would have to be on the 25th...and I wasn't too sure about how he'll do with jetlag or whatever. 3. I got a phone call from David saying that there was a big chance that he might not make it on the plane that arrives the 24th and he might get here the 31st instead. And 4. I know a lot of really lame people who thought that a pumpkin-carving party would not be fun! What!?!? And, although there were one or two people who really did think it would be so much fun ("Oh my gosh! I haven't carved a pumpkin in years!")...kind of the reaction I'd been hoping for... reasons 2 and 3 (mostly 3) kind of made my decision for me.
But it was still fun to plan! And I don't have to clean up before or after (gee, that is a common theme among my projects)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Scrapbookin' On The Couch

It has been so long since I've played around with my paper scrapbooking supplies (but I do have plans to work with them soon for some baby shower goodies!) I've only managed to clear off a space on my table big enough to make a card or two. The other day, while hanging out on the ScrapVillage message board, I decided that I needed to do something SBR (scrapbook related), right away! Then I walked upstairs, looked at my table and decided it wasn't going to happen...unless, I could do it without making a mess, clearing a space, or getting out from underneath a blanket!
So, digital scrapbooking it was! And here's what I came up with:
(and in the interest of full disclosure, I only made Bella's Mittens & Stingray Love the other day. Funship Freedom was completely done, and 3 Sisters just needed the journaling added)
(Sorry if the formatting on this is totally jumbled and confusing. I tried loading the pictures with Picasa & it's a different process than I usually use)

Bella's Mittens-
I already wrote about knitting up these mittens. As far as I know, they haven't reached their recipient yet.

Funship Freedom-from this summer's cruise.

3 Sisters- from our summer 08 trip to Australia!
Journaling- (just copied the legend from a Blue Mountains Australia website)

Journaling-Long ago in the Blue Mountains there lived three little Aboriginal sisters. They were Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, whose Witch Doctor father was called Tyawan. Only one creature was feared by all - the Bunyip who lived in a deep hole. When Tyawan had to pass the hole, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall. One day, waving goodbye to his daughters, he descended the cliff steps. On top of the cliff a big centipede suddenly appeared and frightened Meenhi, who threw a stone at it. The stone rolled over the cliff and crashed into the valley. Birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the rocks behind the three sisters split open, leaving them on a thin ledge. The angry Bunyip emerged to see the terrified sisters in the valley,
Tyawan saw the Bunyip close to his daughters so he pointed his magic bone at the girls and turned them to stone. They would be safe there until the Bunyip had gone and then Tyawan would return them to their former selves. The Bunyip then chased Tyawan who found himself trapped, so he changed himself into a Lyre Bird. Everyone was safe, but Tyawan had dropped his magic bone. After the Bunyip had gone, Tyawan searched and searched for his bone - and he is still searching. The Three Sisters stand silently watching him from their ledge, hoping he'll find the bone and turn them back to Aboriginal girls. As you look at the Three Sisters, you can hear Tyawan - the Lyre Bird - calling his daughters as his search for the lost bone continues.

Stingray Love- This was a fun little experiment with recoloring! I wanted something orange, but the orange dots on the paper didn't match up with the orange letters. So I changed the color! And then I wanted the word "stingray" and the scalloped paper to match the color of that beautiful Grand Cayman water, so I used that fancy color-picker and changed that too! Digi-scrapping is so much fun, because right now, I'm still inexperienced enough to feel like I learn something new almost every time I do it!
One of the highlights of our trip was definitely swimming with the stingrays! I remember my friend Skip telling me about the awesome time she and Rex had swimming with the stingrays on their honeymoon cruise, so when I saw it listed as an excursion for Grand cayman, I got so excited! David, on the other hand, wasn’t too sure. After all, just last summer we spent a day at Steve Irwin’s zoo, and if the mighty crocodile hunter could be taken down by a ray, then surely we mere mortals were in peril! But, he decided to be a good sport and go along with it. And he was so glad he did! Swimming with the stingrays wasn’t exactly what I had expected (I was thinking they’d be kept in a cove or tank, like the dolphins...but instead they were just out in the ocean, free to come and go from near and far!) but it was an absolutely awesome experience! They were huge, ugly, slimy and, once we got used to having them swarming around us, amazing! We got to feed them, pet them, kiss them (for good luck!), “hold” them, and even get back massages from them. They were so friendly... and couldn’t get enough of our lovin’!

If you want further details about the digi-supplies I used on these LOs, check my gallery at ScrapVillage.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Label Maker

A couple of nights ago, I spent a looooong time labeling (tagging) my "Favorites" in Ravelry. I love Ravelry. I love labeling. I love my Favorites. And I love avoiding my household chores. (A few people have called me the most organized messy person [or is it the messiest organized person?] they know. I can't say I disagree.)

So my passion for organizing has brought me to my blog. I especially love the kind of organizing you can do while sitting on your couch under a blanket with a can of mixed nuts at your side and the laptop on your lap. Plus, I'm out of Dymo Labelmaker cartridges and they don't have any at the BX.

I haven't been tagging/labeling most of my blog posts lately because I just wasn't into my labeling system. I had tried to rectify this once before, but I wanted a more concise list and I couldn't figure out how to delete a label from the labels list. But today, thanks to this magical place called the Blogger Help Forum, I learned how!
So now I've been able to delete some labels that just weren't working for me, maybe I made them by mistake or maybe they had just one or two posts in them. Or maybe they were just attempts at cleverness that fell short. It happens. Not often, but it does happen.

I tried to make clearer labels (for my own benefit as well as for the 3 people who read this blog, so they can, you know, reminisce on their favorite entries on a Sunday afternoon), but I just can't resist the urge to have fun with words. So while I really wanted to name a category for knitting, "Pointy Sticks" or "Just One More Row" or "I Knit So I Don't Kill People", "Dumbledore Does It," "Do My Needles Make You Nervous?" or "You Have Prozac, I Have Knitting," "I'm More Dangerous Without The Needles," "(Not Necessarily)Cheaper than Therapy," "My Stash is Legal," "Keeping Sheep in Business," "It's a Condition of My Parole," "Ensuring that My Reality TV Habit is not a Total Waste of Time and Brain Cells," or even some Latin, "Nodo Ergo Sum", (thanks for the assist, dear internet) I tried to convince myself to use the simple, yet descriptive "Knitting". And then it hit me. Behold the power of parentheses. I love parentheses (and ellipses) (Oh, look there I go with the parentheses!)! Anyway, so I went for a slightly fun label, "Wooly Goodness" with a descriptor in parentheses!
Wooly Goodness (Knitting/Crochet)
And now you, dear reader, know just what kinds of posts you will find if you click on Wooly Goodness. And I know just what kinds of posts I am supposed to label Wooly Goodness. It is a win-win situation. And I'm not making another label for "acrylic goodness" or "cotton goodness", so don't ask. It's just an *expression*.

All of my unlabeled posts are now labeled and all of the labels I didn't like are gone! So, the new categories are:
12 of 12 (Photo Project)-- When I remember to take 12 photos on the 12th of the month and blog about them, they get posted here.
Bec in Bullet Form (Lists) My ScrapVillage friend cheerfulcropper was doing this thing where she put a list on her blog on Wednesdays. And I copied it on Thursdays (well, I copied her theme, not the items on her list). But then she stopped making her lists, so I had nothing to copy. But occasionally it's easier to write in list form than sentences. So this category is ready for me.
Big Ben Parliament (Life in England)
--This is where you'll find information about my faaaabulous life abroad. It mostly consists of running shoes or pajamas. But every now and then, I do venture out of the house. Or at least think about it.
Blogger Blabber (Random Ramblings)-- a catch-all category for when the things I talk about don't really have to do with anything. Some things will be cross-labeled into more specific categories.
December 2006 ScrapVillage Picture a Day Challenge--A fun photo project some of the Villagers took part in...almost 3 years ago! Unbelievable! I hope we do it again this year!
Domestic Goddess (Cooking/Crafts/Chores/Congeniality)-- this is just a big umbrella category, most of these will be cross-posted in their own sub-categories (wooly goodness or everybody wang chung, for example) But there are a few posts that won't be in the other categories (like sewing projects). And there are some posts in wooly goodness that I just didn't get around to labeling Domestic Goddess too. Give me a break. This process took hours!
Don't Eat the Paste (Scrapbooking and Cards)--That's fun, right? For all of my scrapbook (digi and paper), stamping, cards or other paper-craft related posts. Maybe there will be more of those *after* I clean off my work table! Again.
Everybody Wang Chung (Parties)--We'll see if this label sticks around. I'm busy planning a baby shower and I think I should write more about it!
Favorite Things (Wish Lists and Things I Just Love)--This is where posts containing my Wish Lists or things I just love will be filed. Clever, huh?
Greatest Hits (My Favorite Posts)--I'm not going to lie, sometimes I really like reading my own writing. And these are some of those times. If you have a favorite, feel free to nominate it through a comment!
Minor Complaints (Uh...Minor Complaints)--Thought that one was pretty self-explanatory, but the whole visual would be thrown off if it was the only one without parentheses. So this is where I get a bad attitude and complain about stuff. I thought about naming it "When Becca Gets Angry, Very Very Angry" but didn't think many people would get the Children's Lit reference.
Nose in a Book (Reading) Sometimes, when I'm not really busy watching Gossip Girl or making cupcakes or knitting or spending 5 hours organizing my blog, I read books.
Olive Drab (Military Life) You can read all about the glamorous life of a military wife here. Interestingly, most of these posts are cross-labled as "Minor Complaints". I need to work on that. Attitude of Gratitude and all.
On the Run (Running)--I thought this label was pretty obvious, but just in case someone who doesn't know me happens upon my blog I suppose this will keep them from thinking I am a fugitive. That would've been especially important if I had chosen "I Knit So I Don't Kill People" as my label for knitting posts.
Reading 'Riting and Recess (Teacher Stuff)--Tales from the Classroom. I'm really starting to miss that place.
Stranded on a Tropical Island (Life in Okinawa)--I'm really starting to miss that place too! It's really strange how lately I've felt like I'm just visiting here on my way back to Okinawa. Totally took Oki for granted!
The Internet was Made for Procrastinators (Memes and Quizzes)--Because these are just fun and should be easily accessible, just in case you want to put one on your own blog!
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Christmas)--Another label that needed no parenthetical explanation (IMHO). Thanksgiving posts are also here, because Thanksgiving and Christmas are kind of on the same team, you know?
Wanderlust (Travel) Yeah.
Wooly Goodness (Knitting/Crochet)--Pretty sure I already offered sufficient explanation of this one.
Yummy Stuff (Baking/Cooking/Eating)--Saved the best for last!

(You can click the label titles here in this post if you're looking for something in particular right now. Or in the future, you can click the label titles that are close to the bottom of the sidebar on the left side of the screen. Or, you can say *to yourself* that you will never actually be clicking the labels to look for any of my old posts. But please don't leave that in a comment, because I have been working on this ALL DAY. Don't ruin my day. Pretty please.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have had a really delicious week!
It started off with the Raspberry Thumbprint cookies (wrote about those on 12 of 12 day) and Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal cookies.
The cookies were wonderful! I especially loved the Pumpkin ones, of course!
But I really outdid myself last night...
I invited my friend Little J and her husband over for dinner and decided to make a new-to-me Rachael Ray recipe, Turkey Paprikash with Macaroni. The online reviews of the recipe said that this dish was kind of bland, so I figured it was the PERFECT opportunity to make a super-rich dessert, Dulce de Leche Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting. I also opted not to serve a salad or vegetable so we'd all have plenty of room for cupcakes!

The Paprikash was so fast and easy to make. The sauce was really good, even if it was kind of bland. It was made with a wholelotta sour cream, so you know it had to be delish!
While we ate, the dulce de leche was still in the oven...took longer than I had anticipated. I really enjoyed prepping the cupcakes for filling... I used something called "the cone method" where you cut a little cone out of the top of the cupcake, cut the tip off the cone, and then you get to eat the part you just cut off! That was my favorite step of the process!
After dinner, I pulled out the dulce de leche, and got ready to fill my cupcakes. OUCH! That stuff is hot, even after you let it cool as long as you can possibly wait before the overwhelming urge to taste one of the cupcakes is no longer suppressible. My fingers were burning, and then Little J's hubby gave me the brilliant idea to use an oven mitt. I can't think clearly when I am surrounded by gooey, caramelly deliciousness.
Filled the cupcakes, frosted the cupcakes, tasted the cupcakes. Temporarily died and went to heaven.
I might make another batch, as I still have some pumpkin from the large can (still no small cans at the commissary), and still have lots of dulce de leche & frosting.
If you'd like to join me in making a batch of cupcakes, here's the recipe:
Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes
And if you need some paprikash too, here's the recipe for that:
Great Goulash: Ground Turkey Paprikash and Macaroni

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Latest Loves

Have you been to Etsy lately? I could spend all day there! So many great handmade & vintage finds, so little time!
My most frequent etsy searches are probably: roving, stitch markers, robots, moose, brooch and orange.

Here are some of my current favorite items:

Handmade Stitch Markers--Chocolate Mint by SeeJayneKnitYarns (I have ordered her stitch markers before and she does beautiful, quality work and is lovely to deal with!)

Handmade Stitch Markers--Don't Lose Your Marbles by SeeJayneKnitYarns
More stitch markers! I love them...and need lots since I always have multiple projects going. And because they're just so pretty!

Crochet Pattern-Chester the Turkey Boy Amigurumi Doll by Owlishly
Sooooo many cute Amigurumi patterns in this shop! But my current favorite is the turkey!

Chenille Moose Pouch/Clutch by lydalee
Love mooses. Love coin purses. Love.

RockStar Necklace Red Electric Acoustic by earthjoules
I don't want this. I NEED this! I envision myself wearing it to the Rock the Cradle baby shower I'm hosting. This necklace could make or break the shower. If I don't have it, it won't be awesome.

Birdie Bauble White by envisage
I think this is just beautiful. Delicate, vintage-ish, and different.

Custom Little City Hoop Your Dream House by LittlePinkHouse
These are just adorable! Kind of pricey to be practical for our nomadic lifestyle, but I couldn't resist sharing!

Treetop Box Tote by RoseKnits
I've been eyeing these funky box bags for carrying small knitting projects (mitts & mittens, of course! and hats, socks (if I ever regain motivation for socks!). I love this one because it has an orange zipper. Orange makes me happy.

Little Blue Sparkle Vintage Brooch
from FlourishesHome
I don't think this is the right color blue for my blue wool coat, but it's small enough to wear on a sweater or pair of jeans. Or a jean jacket...I need a lighter colored denim jacket!

Vintage Blue and Clear Rhinestone Pin Brooch
from ChantalsCreations
I probably could get away with this on my blue coat...or maybe on my newest oatmeal colored coat.
I could go on with the super-cute brooches all night, but I won't.

Hobnail Milk Glass Vase Duo Pair of White Beauties from WinkingOwl
Isn't Milk Glass gorgeous? I don't even have any...but I want some!

Baby Blue Distressed Vintage Metal Tom Thumb
from SweetLoveVintage
It would probably look perfect on my step tansu!

And my number one favoritest thing on Etsy right now:

Circa 1935 Diamond engagement ring from CamelliaCollection
CamelliaCollection, I don't really have $3,000 to spend on a piece of jewelry, but I would gladly trade you a big screen tv and a batch of cookies for this beauty!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I finally remembered...12 of 12!

I finally remembered to take pictures for 12 of 12! Warning, these pictures are not well-composed and the subject matter is incredibly boring! All photos were taken in my house, Thetford, England.
1. 0700, Living Room

I slept on the couch last night because I was too cold to get out from under my blankets and go upstairs. So I woke up all cuddly and warm under the big mink blanket. We own 4 of these babies... anyone who's been stationed in Korea probably has at least 1. I think I need one more, and luckily a friend of mine is stationed in Korea until March... I think I'll send her a check and a box of cookies and request another blanket.
2. 0715, Hallway

I was really really trying to make it until October 15 to turn on the heat, but I broke down today and turned it on. In fact, I was trying to make it until October 31 originally, but modified that plan in the past week when I had to knit myself a hat to keep warm indoors. I thought that a girl was going to meet me here and go running with me, so I turned the heat on "for her" so she wouldn't be freezing when we came in after our run. She ended up not coming, but I sure was happy to walk into a warm-ish house after my run!
3. 0800, Kitchen

My pre-run breakfast, peanut butter toast. I like to eat the crust first. I questioned my decision to eat so close to my run time (I should've been eating while I was running around the house closing all the radiators & doors in rooms I don't use!) but I was fine.
4. 0815, Hallway

These are my newest running shoes, Asics Gel DS-14. The only thing I don't like about them is that they are being discontinued. Headed out for my 2 mile run to my friend's house, then we did a 5 mile run/walk, and I ran the last 2 miles back home.
5. 11:30, Living Room

My post-run breakfast, Frankenberry. I have a certain way of eating this, too... crunchy parts first, marshmallows last. I eat the white marshmallows first, then the blue ones, then pink, and finish off with purple. It takes me much longer to eat this way, so I usually don't eat marshmallow cereals when I'm in the presence of others.
6. 1530, Kitchen

I cleared a little bit of space on my counter so I would have room to make cookies. Originally, I was planning this to be a sort of "before and after" picture, because I had big plans to clean up the kitchen after baking cookies. But baking cookies takes a long time and plans change. So, to get an idea of the "after" picture, just add a few dirty dishes and splatters of ingredients.
7. 1531, Kitchen

I realized shortly after getting all excited about new cookies that my mixing bowls and measuring cups (along with lots of other dishes) were dirty. So I had to take a brief break from cookie making before I even started in order to wash the dishes. Having clean dishes made me feel like much less of a slob, plus it gave my butter time to soften.
8. 1615, Kitchen

My first batch of cookies (raspberry thumbprints) ready to go into the oven. I could've just repeated this picture 3 more times over the next 45 minutes, but the last one would've had slightly different color jam as I ran out of raspberry preserves and had to use strawberry.
9. 1950, Living Room

I'm so glad one of my friends stopped by recently and set up my wireless internet for me. I was able to browse Road Runner Sports for several hours from the comfort of my couch while deciding what to purchase with a gift certificate I got last year. Time for winter running clothes. Unfortunately, the gift certificate was not for $1,684.46, which was the total of all of the items on my list. Spent a considerable (and excruciating) amount of time paring down.
10. 2215, Living Room

Back to the position I started out in this morning, on the couch, under the mink blanket (my heat is on a timer and it was off by this time!) Turned on Gossip Girl (much later than I wanted to, due to the running clothes decision-making fiasco) and started on the last half of my fingerless mitts.
11. 2345, Living Room

The pair is complete!
12. 2350, Living Room

I didn't actually mean for this to be a 12 of 12 picture, but I miscounted somewhere during the day, so now it is. My mitts and hat are done...and I think I will put them on and leave the house tomorrow (today now that I'm writing this).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Renewed Enthusiasm(s)

Running. I had been in kind of a running funk for a little while, and on September 1st, I decided it was time for that funk to come to an end. Since then, I've run (and walked) 183 miles. A friend of mine asked me to "train" her from scratch to start a running program, so a lot of my miles are thanks to her! We'd "move" for 5-7 miles each time we went out (usually 3 times a week) but most of that was walking. I'm counting it as distance though! Each time we go for our walk/run, I run to her house and back (4 miles total). I've also joined up with a local running group. They meet 3 times a week, but I've never gone all three times. Maybe this week? I went this morning, so I just have to try to make it Tues. and Thurs. evenings to have 100% attendance for the week! On Tuesdays we run about 45-60 minutes through the roads in town and on Sundays it's a 60-90 minute run on forest trails. On Thursdays there is some kind of speed training. I've only gone to one Thursday session and that was a 5k time trial where I surprised myself and cranked out a 23:26 5k...mostly due, I'm sure, to the fact that I didn't know the course, so had to keep the other 2 speedy guys in my sights. I also quite enjoy running on my own around my town. We have a nice path by the river, and some field and forest areas near my house, in addition to sidewalks and walking paths throughout the neighborhoods in town. On Fridays, I do my "Survivor Training Plan" and run on the treadmill at the base gym so I can watch Survivor. The treadmill would really bore me if not for all those buttons, and I looooove playing with buttons, so I usually end up playing around with some speedwork on Fridays. This past Friday I did mile repeats, but the past 2 episodes I ran at a moderate pace during the show and cranked up the speed during each commercial break. Anything to make the treadmill more entertaining. I'm getting ready to use a Road Runner Sports gift certificate that I've had for almost a year now on some cool/cold weather running gear. I only have 3 short-sleeved shirts and 3 long-sleeved shirts, since I amassed mostly sleeveless tops on Okinawa! It feels so good to be running so much!

Knitting. One of the forums on Ravelry hosts a "Single Skein September" de-stash project. I joined (and finished TWO single skein projects in Sept!) but didn't follow through on the photo posting, etc. Even so, those 2 quick knits kind of resuscitated my will to knit. I've finished 2 and a half little projects since last Sunday and have 3-sweaters-worth (and one pair of mittens worth) of yarn in my shopping cart at this very moment. And roving already ordered from Etsy...that's right, those mittens are going to be THRUMMED! (Remember the last ones?)I have officially forgotten what a pain the last thrummed mittens I made were and I'm ready to make (myself) another pair. Soooo selfish. I should probably add some yarn to my cart with the intention of making something for someone else!
Here are the projects I've finished in the last month:

Bella's Mittens. Watch Twilight...maybe (hopefully!) these will look familiar. These are a gift for my BFF, but I got to test-drive them a couple weeks ago. They are warm and snuggly!

Beer Gloves. I was sort of "commissioned" to make these for a friend. A friend who totally made fun of me for knitting the mittens pictured above...until he realized just how stinkin' cool knitting (and knitters, of course!) is! are! Quick, quick knit and I got to practice things like cabling without a cable needle and finger holes (my first!).

In Threes. My first time as a "test knitter". Pretty exciting. Especially because the friend mentioned above thought it was absolutely awesome that he has a pair of fingerless mitts made by a knitter expert enough to be qualified to "test knit" patterns. Little did he know that all I had to do was post a comment on the designer's blog offering to give it a try for her. Anyway, the sweater is adorable, although it has no intended recipient. And it was another single-skein project (but started and finished in October)

Spring Beret. It is not spring. But I needed a hat to wear in my house. That's right, IN my house. I don't want to turn the heat on until the 15th and I'm getting cold. Mr. Atria, my high school AP Biology teacher said that you lose most of your body heat through your head and that, if your feet are cold, you should put a hat on. So I needed a hat. And I made one. And what do you know, I have enough yarn leftover to make a super-simple pair of fingerless mitts to match it. One is done, the other...probably going to be finished tonight over a few episodes of Gossip Girl. 2 projects, 1 it!

Enthusiasms Yet to Be Renewed:
Scrapbooking. Perhaps after my table is clean...but I haven't been digi-scrapping either, and I can do that on the couch!

Cooking. I'm on my second box of Frankenberry, and rather surprised I haven't gone through more, as it seems that cereal, Ramen Noodles and toast are all I have eaten in weeks. I have been doing some baking though, so I eat cookies too.

Blogging. I'm trying, okay?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Party Time

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about parties. Some of my favorite blogs to check up on are party-planning blogs like Hostess With the Mostess, LolliBlog, P is for Party and Stem.

I'm in the midst of planning what I'm pretty sure is going to go down in the books of history as "the most fabulous baby shower in the history of the world" and I'm consumed with theme parties. Theme party this, theme party that. I've tried to convince my young friend, Little J, that awesome parties have themes slightly more sophisticated, or at least slightly more creative, than "beer and burgers" although there is nothing wrong with the occasional beer and burger party...especially if you replace the word "burger" with the word "bratwurst."

So a while ago, I came across Small Talk Six via another (non-party-related) blog.
This week’s topic on Small Talk Six is “6 unconventional things you think people should celebrate by throwing a party.” And since I've got party-on-the-brain, I decided to participate this week. Here's my list:

1. Full Moons. The family that I used to babysit for on a daily basis in college had full moon parties and I thought that was the most fun idea ever. Sometimes it was just a family party, sometimes a few families got together, sometimes a block party. And, be still my heart, sometimes there was a theme.

2. Black Friday. How about an after-hours type party where, after a long day of shopping (alone or together), everyone comes together at one house for present-wrapping, Christmas music, and snacks. Everyone can bring a roll or two of wrapping paper and share so your tree has lots of variety under it.

3. The Commissary Has Re-Stocked Canned Pumpkin. In my opinion, this is a very special occasion. I was hoping to have a pumpkin carving party this fall, with lots and lots of pumpkinny treats, but when there was no canned pumpkin at the commissary I stopped planning. Anyway, the party was going to be a "Get to Know David" kind of event as well, and now he might not get here until Halloween, so pumpkin carving is out. BUT...there's no reason I couldn't just have an "I have 7 cans of pumpkin!" party!

4. New Job. I'm in the middle of filling out a billion-page packet to substitute teach. I've also got my teaching application updated for the base schools, and an application for a teacher's aide position that may be opening up in November. Ideally, I'd get offered a teaching job before my leave-without-pay status expires in January, but if I could get in the school as an aide, I might be likely to be considered for any teaching positions that come up after January. If I do get a job, I'll throw a party to last party before all of my energy is drained from working all the time.

5. No Dirty Laundry. If there was ever a day when all my laundry was done, I think I'd throw a party.

6. There's a High School Dance. Why should the high schoolers get to have all the fun? Maybe I'll have to do some homework and find out when the prom is around here and have my own prom-night party. We could dress up (or dress down) and watch my favorite prom movies: Pretty in Pink (of course!), Dance til Dawn (one of my all time faaaavorites!), She's All That & Never Been Kissed.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stolen Content

Don't really feel like making a list of October goals and don't really have any interesting tales to tell, so I've bloglifted this from somewhere...

1. I have a history of overreacting.
2. What choice I'm supposed to make is something I wish I knew.
3. I'm eating (or recently ate) Ramen Noodles (actually, I plan to eat these tonight).
4. I hate seeing dead animals on the road.
5. So that's it, that's the answer.
6. Some is better than nothing!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to not getting off the couch, eating Ramen and watching Gossip Girl, tomorrow my plans include running, buying tomatoes at the market, making taco salad and dessert and going to a bbq/party and Sunday, I want to run, nap and watch Gossip Girl.
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