Monday, September 28, 2009

I Wish I Could Turn Into a Pumpkin

But only so I could avoid going to work today.

Spreadsheet Project from Hell #2 is in full swing and I'm not loving it. I also find it very hard to get motivated to do a job that I know the client is getting for free by having me do it. Makes me yearn for the days in Michigan when I charged a paltry $75 an hour for my mad paper pushing skillz.

But hey, let me show you the fruits of my labor this weekend.

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Two sugar pumpkins equals 10 cups of processed pumpkin for the freezer.

One of those cups went into these bad boys.

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Simple pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 cups flour
1 cup pumpkin
chocolate chips

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and pumpkin. Add everything else. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Yeah, Twitter sucks. It kept eating my recipe tweets. Ah well.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall

Not much going on here.

I've been knitting away a sweater of my own boring design for Chunky. I've started the sleeves.

I'll spare you from a WIP picture. I know I've said it before--I bore myself with WIP pictures. Especially for something so simple and boring as a boy sweater.

We're enjoying a crappy fall day here today.

Not as chilly as I would like it, but I suppose that's good, it buys me a little more time with the Chunky sweater!

Instead today I will be digesting my very fall-ish breakfast of apple cider cinnamon waffles...

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...and later today I'll be processing the two sugar pumpkins I picked up from the little garden center in the neighborhood (the same place I purchased my Hardy Moms last year.

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(They're not really that shiny--I took this picture after I wiped the dirt off them with a damp cloth.)

Can you believe I couldn't find any sugars at the farmer's market? All they had were "decorative" pumpkins. Probably because a majority of the people that shop there would rather use canned pumpkin and use the real pumpkins to decorate the front yard of their mini-mansions.

It should be a time consuming day, but delicious!!

And before I leave you today, I'll share two gems with you.

Continuing my blatant misspelling error rant--today it was an article in the hard copy of the NJ Star Ledger picked up on the wire from the LA Times about the funeral for Annie Le. First they misspelled her name as "Lee" in one place and then described the funeral procession as a group of pallbearers carrying her shiny popular casket covered in white roses.

I guess all the cool kids are buried in popular caskets. The rest of us losers have to settle for poplar. To the LA Times's credit, the online version of the article does not have these errors. They must have caught them.

Second gem in the same vein is a website my sister T. turned me on to--The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Hee hee! Love it!

Ok, I promise there will be less petty ranting soon!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Back To School

Back to reality.

Last night was back to school night at Chunky's school.

Oh you know it's going to be a good time when you are walking into the school behind a mom sporting muffin top and shorty-shorts!!!

Luckily I was about 10 minutes late.

I say luckily because the night started with the Principal giving a speech that was akin to an Oscar acceptance speech where they thank everyone down to the caterers of the movie.

I'm all about giving the teachers through the lunch lady their props--but when you've crammed 300+ parents into a teeny gym on an unusually hot fall night, it gets kind of old.

Then they introduced the HSA (Home School Association--the modern PTA I suppose) moms. They are basically the same moms from last year but they just changed positions. The Secretary is now the Treasurer, the President is now the Vice President--you get the picture. This just further gives me suspicions that the Soprano Moms (as I have dubbed them) are indeed running a basil racket.

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After the Principal's speech we were released to our kids' classrooms to sit through a presentation by their respective teacher.

As I was sitting there waiting for the presentation to start and as I finished up my letter to Chunky (they wrote us little letters and laid them out on their desk), in walked this woman. You might recognize her as Teresa from The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

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Ok, not really. She was about 30 pounds heavier, five inches of hair higher, and two shades of fake orange darker.

Hee hee. Yes, I am so judgmental. I can't help it. It's keeps things light.

It's like living in Alaska and realizing that your neighbors really DO live in an igloo!

Overall I'm glad I went. The teacher had some good tips for us and gave us a brief overview of the way the school year will be shaping up.

I also got to check out the bulletin board of "flat" kids that the kids made at home over the summer and brought in.

You'll recall Flat Chunky:

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Chunky easily had the best one.

However my favorites included the kid who drew himself with a mohawk and a "Drowning Pool" tshirt (a completely inappropriate even by this lenient mom's point of view band for a kid of 7 to be listening to) and the girl who used REAL LOCKS OF HER OWN HAIR on her flat kid. I'm all about edgy, but eww.

Finally before I go--Dr. Mad Scientist has an assignment!!! They paired him with another Dr. (we're not sure what kind of Dr. though) high school science teacher with an even crazier mishmash of letters in her last name than ours! Yay! Hopefully he'll be able to get into the classroom next week!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seereeyouslee?

I'll preface this by saying I'm not perfect. I've let my share of typos and grammatical errors slide here on this blog and at work.

Here's the latest gem from a take-home from school:

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And the story problem on Chunky's homework yesterday:

Cal and Todd have 10 frogs. They want to to race them at the county fair. Call has 6 frogs to race. How many frogs does Todd have?

This was a story problem straight from a textbook. Yikes. Apparently they don't have carreer spellcheckers working at the textbook publishing company.

My crankiness isn't helped by Dr. Mad Scientist being stuck in limbo while he waits for the Power That Is at his university to place him into a classroom so he can complete his fieldwork this semester.

He's in this urban education program where they're out to change the world with these kids.

But guess what? If you don't have the support staff to help you create and maintain the liaisons between the schools and the teaching students, that world isn't going to change.

The Power That Is and others in the program claim the experience of having to wait to be placed is "good practice to get you used to the bureaucracy that comes with teaching."

Hm. Really?

Would it really kill you to take that 5 million dollar grant from the Insurance Company sponsoring this urban education program and hire at least a piddly administrative worker to act as the liaison to the schools you place teachers in?

Yes, I realize it's cheaper to rely on the schools to have a person to do that, but you yourselves are teaching these teachers-to-be that these schools are strapped for resources. Why would you expect them to be the ones to take on a majority of the responsiblity of placing the teachers-to-be in the classroom?

Right now the school they want to place Dr. Mad Scientist in had their liaison retire. Apparently POOF! all the knowledge of her job and what she did went with her when she retired.

Now, if you had a liaison at the school, at least 50% of the knowledge in placing teaching students in the classrooms would still exist. Not to mention that's one more job created in this shithole of an economy that's allegedly on the rebound.

As it stands, both the administrators at the school in question and the Power That Is at the university are sitting around with their thumbs up their asses trying to figure out between the two of them how to remove said thumbs.

Who knows how long that is going to take.

I didn't want to be a secretary growing up as a child. I certainly had bigger, loftier and more expensively educated goals than that.

And I'm certainly not as important as say a ditch digger, but there is a reason that support staff is called support staff. Without them, you've got a puddle of misspelled "bureaucracy."

Ok, rant over.

If you've made it this far enjoy a couple of pictures of my little baker in training.

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I love that he's wearing his Stud Puffin shirt in this picture. My little Mooch Muffin Stud Puffin!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Cookie of the Week

This week is a cookie that sounded very tempting in my flipping through of the various cookiebooks I have on hand.

Double chocolate cranberry cookies.

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Mmmmmm!

Didja know that New Jersey is the 3rd biggest producer of cranberries in the U.S. after Massachusetts and Wisconsin? Not bad for a state that's smaller than the borough I grew up in, hee hee.

I'll tweet the recipe tonight. It's freakin' delish. The recipe would work well with dried cherries too.

I finished my lounge pants and the football pair for Moochie.

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The fit over Moochie's butt was much better this time.

To clarify, a buttscye is like an armscye in a sweater/shirt. Where an armscye is where the arm edge meets the shoulder of the sweater, a buttscye is my term for that dip in the pant's pattern where the legs are sewn together to form the butt. Ha ha!

Also to clarify: No one at work contracted my illness (Actually they'd be lucky if they got what I had and not the stomach/intestinal crap that was spreading on the 6th floor).

Did you know that if you use Purell (ok, the generic off-brand alcohol based kind) enough it will nearly eat off your fingerprints?

Don't believe me? Well then what if I told you a Saturday Market Bag doubles as a cat hammock?

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See? I would never lie to you!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ooof.

The weekend has arrived. Thank god.

Last Sunday I picked Mooch up out of his crib in the morning to find I had a baby hot-potato. He was burning up with a fever. Four days of daycare and he had managed to pick up the communal crud.

While I appreciate his ability to be a go-getter, he was nice enough to pass the crud off to me.

He was over the runny nose and fever by Monday morning.

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Just as it was hitting me.

The worst part about this crud is that it was bad, but not so bad as to knock you flat on your ass. So while I felt like crap, it wasn't so horrible that calling in sick would have been an option.

It's been almost a week since my baby shared with me.

All that's left is a hacking cough and a clogged ear that will.not.pop. So annoying.

As such, I didn't do much this weekend. Just some sewing.

I made Dr. Mad Scientist some lounge-pants out of some football flannel (I didn't get a picture yet). He wore them during the CSU/Nevada game and CSU won. They probably won't be washed as a result for a while.

I also cut out another pair of lounge pants for myself.

With the scraps I made these.

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Here. Let me zoom in a bit.

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BABY BUTT!!!!

They're a little short (boy measured in at 28.25" this week)and the buttscye wasn't deep enough. But that's OK. I'll tink with the pattern to make a pair of pants to match daddy's with the scraps from Dr. Mad Scientist's pants.

Don't worry. I'm actually knitting too. Hopefully something that won't be a big FAIL like the last three things I've knit!!!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm a 21st Century Digital Boy

Ripped straight from the school events calendar for our school district--a "rainbow" graph showing the "21st Century Student Outcomes."

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Yeah--obviously a life and career skill isn't taking 2 minutes to proofread your work before it goes to the publisher.

I swear to Squash.

Speaking of produce. I canned my apple butter yesterday.

Basically I took 4 lbs of this:

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The skins and apple cores from my applesauce apples, put them in my crockpot overnight with about 1/4 gallon of apple cider.

When I woke up, I strained the apple slurry thru a strainer into my stewpot. This was time consuming.

Then I reduced the apple butter until it was "ready" (i.e. when you dab a bit of it on a plate after a minute or two it doesn't separate into solid and liquid). This took about 2.5 hours--of constant stirring. Pursuant to the hippie organic food preserving pamphlet that Dr. Mad Scientist scored me for free a few months ago, the constant stirring was to prevent scalding.

So how much does 4 lbs of apple peels and cores and approximately 3.5 hours of work (13.5 if you count the crockpot time) get you in apple butter?

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2.5 pints. (The half pint just went straight into the fridge--no official canning).

I've got 4 more pounds of cores and peels in the freezer. I might just toss 'em in the compost pile!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Funky Food

Nothing exciting in the knitting department. But I have been experimenting a bit in the kitchen.

Mrs. P, wife of Attorney P, sent her husband into work with a carrot cake on Tuesday. Mrs. P is (I believe) a schoolteacher who moonlights as a baker. The woman can BAKE.

Anyway, the carrot cake prompted Big Boss to wonder out loud about why we don't have pea cake if we have carrot cake. Peas and carrots go together well after all.

A little googlefu, and I was baking a Pea Cake.

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Yeaaaah. It was OK. Nothing to write home about.

It only got half-eaten at work.

Another conversation at work (spurred on by another secretary bringing in one of those red and white mini-coolers that you always see on medical shows holding transplant organs) let me to lament out loud that I have never been able to find chicken hearts for sale at the grocery stores in the Lower 48.

We grew up with Mom making chicken hearts. Carrs used to sell styrofoam trays of them for cheap.

Try as I might in Colorado, Michigan, Texas, and New Jersey--I could not find JUST chicken hearts for sale! They were always mixed with gizzards and livers (eww!).

I tried everywhere--big grocery stores, little grocery stores, ethnic grocery stores. We even asked about them at a Mexican butcher shop in San Antonio. They looked at me like I was nuts when they told me "no" they didn't carry just chicken hearts.

Another secretary--who is Portuguese and lives in the Ironbound district of Newark, a Portugese neighborhood, and allegedly childhood home of Tony Soprano--overheard my lament and told me they sell them in her grocery store and offered to bring me some.

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She brought me THREE trays!!!

Yes, perhaps I did hug her.

So, for lunch yesterday, Chunky and I had some good old fashioned fried chicken hearts.

All you do is warm up a skillet with some oil or butter (I used olive oil) and fry them up until cooked all the way through.

I chopped up a couple of green onions I had in the fridge that if not used in the next couple of day would have been dumped in the compost pile.

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When they were cooked completely, they were delicious with a side of homemade applesauce* and a tortilla.

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Chunky loved them! Dr. Mad Scientist turned his nose up at the offer to sample one.

I'm glad some of my tastebuds have been genetically passed on!

*Speaking of applesauce, although I didn't photodocument the process, I have two pints of applebutter in the water bath canner right now. WHEW! That's a lot of work for a little reward!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

A RosiG By Any Other Name

Wouldn't be so sweet!

Have you seen the new Knitty?

More like have you seen RosiG's Mi Escuelita?

I had the honor of seeing Little Rosi model this sweater in person at a get together last fall at Karen's place. The sweater is only outdone by the cuteness that is her daughter (I mean those eyebrows! She's got the most beautiful eyebrows! And yes, I'm weird, I notice eyebrows. Moochie barely has them, and Chunky's? Nonexistent!)

I had the even bigger honor of being gifted a mini-Mi Escuelita by RosiG when Moochie decided to grace us with his presence.

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(It's raining and nighttime--the universal excuse for crappy blog pictures!)

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Could she have picked more perfect buttons?!

Needless to say the secretness that is Knitty (well I guess any publisher) that doesn't allow you to post pictures on the internets of designs was killing me!

But now I can show you the cuteness that is Mi Escuelita + Mi Moochito!

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It's a smidge too big for him, but the boy grows like a damn weed! It will keep him warm this winter in our apartment and probably see him through to the spring during those times where it's too warm for your winter jacket, but too cold to go without something.

Congrats Rosi!!!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day Wrap Up

Despite the fact some of us were lazy...

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I was laboring making 7 pints of applesauce.

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Four with cinnamon, three without. I've got about 8 lbs of apple skins (I knife-peel my apples, my peeler broke many years ago) and cores with lots of meat on them. I've tossed them into the freezer. I'm thinking about making apple butter with them. We'll see how it works. I figure at the worst it's a big failure and I end up with an apple slurry for the compost pile!

I also finished something knit.

It's the Vine and Lace hat from the cover of the Fall 09 Vogue.

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It's not blocked. But I'm not going to bother. It's about 2 inches too big around.

Does it look familiar?

strawberry-shortcake

Yeah I look like Strawberry Shortcake's evil twin.

Blackberrybitch Pavlova....

My knitting-chi has been pretty blocked lately. This hat is the second suck in a row after the Chubby Fiefdom fizzle.

Ah well, onward and upward right?

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Yay! They Won!

Ok, gratuitious little and big boy pictures that ooze college footballness ahead!!!

First up the boys decked out in the Colorado State-wear.

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And you might remember that handknit Colorado State sweater I made for Rosie the monkey a year or so back. That's right people, even our stuffed animals have bleed green and gold.

This might be going on the Christmas card.

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I'm not too happy with my double chin, but my rack looks amazing!!

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His big brother was behind me taking the picture making him laugh!

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Chunky's official t-shirt has seen better days...

In all the preparation for the game, we needed a diversion before it started.

So we loaded the stroller in the car...

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...had a quick meeting with Mr. Ed...

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Travelled down a path...

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And went apple picking!

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Quality Control made sure the apples were fit for consumption when we got home.

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God help us next year--those Buffaloes will be out for blood!

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Yes, I realize that college football technically started on Thursday with a majority of teams playing yesterday--but today the Colorado State Rams take on the University of Colorado Buffalos in Boulder.

The Bez family is READY for some CSU football!

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WOO!

There will be an official wrap up tomorrow (game doesn't start til 7 p.m. tonight). With many a cute pictures I assure you.

Until 7 p.m. I will bask in BYU's victory over the BCS giant Oklahoma--go Mountain West! I can't stand the arbitrary nature of the BCS that gives the small school conferences the shaft. So even though I will go back to my general dislike of BYU (as a natural competitor to our beloved CSU Rams) soon enough, I will enjoy their moment of sticking it to the man.

Don't worry--there is knitting coming up. I'm about to finish something that's been fun to knit, but...

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Summer Has Come and Passed

Ok, not really, but I'm really enjoying finding these little song snippets lately that double as blog titles.

Anyway, today was a bittersweet day.

Today was the last official day of the Bez Boy Summer 2009.

Tuesday Moochie is off to daycare.

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Yeah I doubt the smiles will be that big Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon Dr. Mad Scientist has class (I need to figure out what to do with Chunky).

And Wednesday I suddenly become mom to a second grader.

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It's been a wonderful summer. I think it was just the right amount of time for Dr. Mad Scientist to be the happy house husband taking care of the boys, but I know he's itching to get back into school again.

As much as I abhor the hot weather and sweltering disgustingness of the weather in the summer, it wasn't so bad overall.

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I also enjoyed being able not to bust ass out of the office at 5:00 p.m. to pick up Chunky from school.

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I enjoyed getting to work early and illegally doing my filing.

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But there will be next summer.

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For the summer reading program.

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And just general hanging out...

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...and lying around.

Man, I wish I got the summer off!!!

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