Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh Snap!

I swear I'm knitting. But it's all top secret!

You're going to have to settle for sewing-related posts.

You might remember the JJ Blouse I made.

I have come to realize that I'm not scared of buttonholes on a blouse, I just hate doing them. It's a cross-garment hate. I hate doing buttonholes (I started typing "buttholes" there for a sec!) when I'm knitting sweaters too.

On my JJ Blouse I used pearl snaps.

Have I mentioned how much I love that blouse? I ironed the collar down and it's really cute. I wear it at least once a week.

I want to make another one.

But I didn't have the right color snaps. I haven't been able to find snaps anywhere except online. And online the only ones I've found in the right size for my snap setter (size 16, as if you care) have been at Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy.

Using some of my birthday funds (because Dr. Mad Scientist still hasn't gotten a paycheck yet!) I bought a custom bag of 48 snaps. You get to mix and match your colors. I ordered 5 of a few different colors I could see myself wearing shirts out of.

A few days later my fat little envelope o'snaps came in the mail.

I opened it up and thought to myself, "Hm, I don't remember ordering some of these colors."

Sure enough, she had sent me the other type of 48 snap sampler package--the 2 of every color package.

Now if I hadn't been wanting to make another JJ Blouse with snaps, this would have been a fine mix up. But I want my snaps to match!

I jotted off a quick email to Cowgirl Snaps alerting them to the situation and offered to send back the 2-color-of-each sampler pack.

Within a day she had written me back apologetic for the mix up and said she'd get my right order right out the door and I could keep the 2-color-sampler pack!

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Someday I'll take the time to take nice pictures of stuff!


To conclude--two thumbs up for Cowgirl Snaps! Lovely snaps and even better customer service!

And I don't have to make buttholes buttonholes!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Out With the Old...

Continuing on with the them of out with the old, in with the new, I give you "What I did this last weekend."

I realize the weekend was three days ago...but I worked late Monday night and yesterday I was still catching up from working 6.5 hours of OT on Monday!

So without further whining, I give you a tale of two aprons.

Back in the day. Probably nearly 10 years ago when I was a sweet innocent not-so-newly wed, I wanted an apron.

So I bought a canvas apron blank from Joanns. This must have been the Michigan Years right after Chunky was born. Circa 2002 or 2003.

I took my apron and I lady-bugafied it with some stamps and puffy paint.

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Oh yeah...look at them pasty white chubby things!

See how filthy it is? I love to wipe my hands on myself when I'm baking or cooking or cleaning.

How domestic!

But the apron was getting old. And ripped.

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It was time to find a new apron. Now that I've tamed the Beast (my sewing machine), I figured I could make one.

During a 99 cent McCall's pattern sale I bought this pattern with the intent of making View A without the bottom ruffle.

But I kept putting it off.

Because I'm a creature of habit and I LOVE my green apron, I didn't want to give it up. I knew nothing could replace it.

I love the style and I knew no new apron I could make from a pattern could come close.

Then I had my ta-da moment! Which, in hindsight, is pretty obvious.

I traced my green apron on some newspaper and made my own pattern--duh!!

Behold!

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It fits like a dream!

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Ooo! Pasty white thighs, fuzzy hair AND a double chin! Sexay!

Goodbye green apron!! It was nice knowing you!

I love the cheery flowers on the brown background. It will hide those floured hand wipes nicely!

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And what did I do to break in my new apron?

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Egg bread! (Or Challah if you will...)

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Friday, September 24, 2010

My Mom Is the Bestest!

Sorry dear readers, it's true. My Mom is the coolest.

Why?

Because she sends me packages that contain...

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An old school how-to-knit comic book and a collection of surprisingly timeless sweater patterns from Red Heart from 1968.

But the best part of the package?

Well, first a little back story.

Back when I was a young Bezzie, and not EVEN a Bezzie--I was just a girl who had only met Mr. Bez...I turned 18. And sometime around then, Everyone's Favorite Blog Mom made me a pig quilt.

Oh how I loved my quilt. I brought it to college, I slept under it as a newly-wed-Bezzie, I conceived a Chunky and a Moochie under (or around) that quilt, I brought that quilt with me to four states, and a certain cat (Springs!) likes to bite whatever blanket I'm sleeping under and hump me in the middle of the night.

You can tell where this is going; the quilt I got when I was 18 was starting to show it's age.

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Doesn't look too bad from a distance huh?

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Not so much up close.

Poor thing. The back was even worse.

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That flappy of fabric was driving me bonkers in bed!

I approached my Favorite Mommy with a request: Could she make me a new quilt?

Wow, it was like pulling hen's teeth -- NOT! She was all over it!

Maybe 2 months after I asked her if she'd make me one, look what came in the mail today!!

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I LOVE IT!!!

The best part? Oh that would be the little kitty cat patch in the middle...

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I guess that's so Springs knows where to sleep on/hump me at night!

You can't tell, but the back is pieced with three different lady bug prints.

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This matches the...

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Ladybug pillow case she made me!!!!

See? I told you she was the Bestest!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Dog Days Are Over

Fall is coming!

The B boys have shed their summer hair.

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Can you believe I was able to cut Moochie's hair? I did it one evening as he brushed his teeth. Got hair everywhere, but hey, I got it cut!

It's finally chilly enough in the morning to wear sweaters.

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That's the Mi Escuela Rosi G. knit for Mooch--it still fits!

And it's time for some delicious fall-ish baked goods.

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Applesauce gingerbread! Oh YUM!

I wish I had time to show you more. Alas, most of my knitting is Top Secret Gift Knitting and I've been working.

I wish I was young and naive like I was when I first started blogging because the stories I could tell you about the characters (one in particular) at work. I could keep you quite entertained.

Alas, you'll just have to settle for applesauce gingerbread.

1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
1 teas. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. ground ginger
1/4 teas. ground cloves.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat the applesauce in a small saucepan on the stove till boiling. Add in the baking and soda and molasses and remove from heat.

In a separate bowl combine the oil, sugar and eggs. Alternate adding the flour and spices with the applesauce mixture into the wet ingredients until everything is mixed together smoothly.
Pour into an 8"x8" baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean.

In response to some of you who said "But what do you do with apple butter?" to my apple butter post, this is a great example.

I substituted applebutter for applesauce in this recipe. As such (good lord, I work for too many attorneys -- "as such"!), I cut the spices down to 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves.

Mmmmm...sayonara summer!!!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

78-102

That's 78 days till Hanukkah and 102 days til Christmas.

How's your holiday knitting coming??

I'm on the ball!

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The sockhead hat ball that is!

I was going to keep this one for myself, but I think I'm going to gift it.

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When I get excited, the hat rises!

Never fear procrastinators!!!

I've got something that will make your hat rise!

giftlet cover

It's the Knitcircus Special Gifts Issue!

Check out those glovelets! I'm a total sucker for a picot edge. My inner girlie-girl coming out I guess.

Remember to check it out on Wednesday, September 15! Don't be a scrooge! Even if you think knitting gifts for unappreciative unibrowed uncles that may or may not be related to you because that limb of your family tree is a little "shady," it's OK!

No one ever said the things you're going to find in the Special Gifts Issue you have to give as gifts!

Finally, before I go, I'll share my personal favorite part of the gift issue--the gratuitous cookie p o rn!

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oat cherry bites

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Because what's a holiday without COOKIES?!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classroom Consequences

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Dr. Mad Scientist is erm, creatively challenged, so he asked me to write up his classroom rules, consequences, and electronic device consequences for his classroom.

Squeaky wanted in on the action.

It's enough to make me behave.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Put Up Or...

Fall is in the air!

Ok, not really. It's still too hot for this Alaskan Girl.

But the plants are coming to the end of the growing season and soon it will be time to put the pot garden to bed.

I harvested about half of my basil this weekend.

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The oregano is still going strong, so I'll keep cutting that for as long as I can. I usually just let the pot stay outside in the winter all year long since oregano comes up every year.

I know my coolest sister in law asked me how I dried my herb.

It's easy, I tie some kitchen cotton around it and hang it up to dry.

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When it's dry in a week or two, I'll strip the leaves off the stems and stick the oregano or basil in the proper baby food jar I keep my home grown stash in.

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I also have some bitchin' catnip that I've grown this year. That goes in a plastic baggie.

This past long weekend I also made apple butter from the two and a half gallon bags I had on hand of apple cores and peels I had left over from making applesauce.

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Just dump it into a pot, add some apple cider and simmer it until you get a disgusting apple slurry that looks like someone vomited up on your stove.

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Now you can either put your apple vomit through a food mill to separate the skins and seeds from the good stuff or you can do what I do and push the vomit through a strainer.

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It's hard work with not a great yield, but apple butter is SO delish, it's worth the time!

Put your skinned and seeded apple vomit, which now looks like apple velvet, back into your pot (I rinse out the pot to prevent any stray seeds/skins getting in there) and add your spices.

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I like to add about a teaspoon of allspice, ground cloves and cinnamon to my apple butter.

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Pay no attention to the fact it's been over three years since I've set foot in a Kroger store.

Before you start simmering the apple butter, this is where I like to wash out my jars and set them aside on a clean towel to dry.

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Now, for the hard part, you have to simmer and constantly stir (to prevent scorching) the apple butter for anywhere from an hour to two hours.

I keep a clean plate around to "test" the butter with.

What you do to see if the apple butter is done is dab a bit on your plate and see how much of a liquid ring you get around the butter.

Here you can see it's pretty darn close to being done. There's still a bit of a ring.

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Right before you are ready to ladle your butter into your jars, dip your jars into your hot water to sterilize them and bring them to the same temperature as your apple butter.

Fill your jars leaving 1/4" to 1/2" of space to the lid, wipe down the rims of the jars with a damp towel, toss on the lids, and put in the water bath for 20 minute.

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For all those hours of work, I got only 5 pints of apple butter.

Whew!

But so worth it! YUM!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Obligatory Kid Post

First day of school!

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Evil Baby Who Refuses to Nap and Is Hell on Two Chubby Feet screams: "Let's GO Mom!"

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First day of third grade!

For poops and grins, here's the obligatory first day of second grade from almost exactly a year ago.

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Shoot, he got tall!

We watched all the Soprano Moms and Jersey Shore 10 Year Reunion Dads (they're fat and orange tan--so fast forward the cast of Jersey Shore 10 years) walk their kids into school.

I lined up with Chunky his first year of "real" school back when he was in first grade, but the past two years I've just dropped him off like it was any normal school day.

None of that schmaltzy stuff.

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Watch out world! Here he comes!

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Like A Good Neighbor

No, this isn't a blog post about State Farm.

Although it could be.

Have you seen their commercials lately?

With that weird ass dude that's always lurking in the crowd, listening in on your conversations and turning them into a reason why you should use State Farm Insurance?



Lose the Members Only jacket dude!

This commercial bothers me because there should NOT be this much sexual tension in an advertisement about insurance.



Enough with the "come screw me" looks dude! Just kiss your insurance agent already! I'll bet that iPhone isn't the only thing in his pocket he wants to show Larissa! Sweep that step file, pencil cup and date stamp off that desktop and just get it on already!!

I might actually consider buying State Farm insurance if they had a commercial like that.

Ok, obviously I've gone off on a tangent and lost the original message of this post.

I'm talking about good neighbors.

We had planned to toodle into NYC yesterday to watch the Colorado v. Colorado State opening season football game at a sports bar and restaurant where the CSU-NYC Alumni Association was having a get together. It was to be the only game on TV we were going to watch this year since there are no games on ESPN, ESPN 2, or Versus this year. Bummer.

But that trip would have cost us some dough that would be better spent on school supplies for Dr. Mad Scientist (I dropped $30 making copies at FedEx/Kinko's half an hour before they closed the night before school started).

But the main reason we didn't go was because of Basement Neighbor.

Earlier Dr. Mad Scientist was griping about how there were to be no televised games for his team this year to Basement neighbor.

Well, Basement Neighbor works for a TV Installation Company so he's very handy in that department--and he left us a note on our front door Saturday morning that he had set up the TV in the back yard (yes, weird, I know) to receive The Mountain, which is the regional Colorado sports channel that carries all the Mountain West team sports.

I asked him how much we owed him since he had to add this to his package--he said no worries.

So on Saturday we got to watch our beloved Colorado State Rams play football.

Now if only they had won or made the game worthwhile...but that's a different story.

You can bet as the season progresses, Dr. Mad Scientist will be in the back yard watching football rain, shine, or snow! Ha ha!

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Hot For (Substitute) Teacher

Holy cow, what a week.

I'm exhausted.

Strap in kids. This is a long pictureless post!

Monday was Moochie's first day back at daycare. My checkbook winced after having a nice two months off from having to pay for that.

Chunky accompanied his brother to daycare on Monday and Tuesday because Dr. Mad Scientist originally had been scheduled to take a training course that The (teaching) Program he's in was offering to it's students. Training on how to use some electronic gizmos in the classroom...fancy schmancy things like that. Digital whiteboards, smart boards, digital projectors and projection microscopes... I remember chalk boards, and those transparency overhead projectors. That's about how fancy we had it.

Anyway, he didn't get to go to all of the training on Monday.

Because he had an interview.

Now, before you get all excited, keep in mind this was his fourth interview with his fourth different high school.

We weren't really expecting much, especially considering he was interviewing on Monday and school started in Newark on Thursday.

He emailed me later in the day to tell me that the interview went well with the Science Department Head, but not so hot with the Principal.

I figured it was another dead end when he said that.

A half hour later he emailed me to tell me "Oh by the way, they verbally offered me the job and I verbally accepted."

Grrr! That's bad karma coming back to me after informing him via email I was pregnant with Chunky.

*Cue hesitant optimism*

Tuesday, I packed up the boys again and Dr. Mad Scientist prepared to go to day 2 of Teaching Gizmos 101 Training put on by The Program. But 10 minutes after we left, the Principal of the school who interviewed him called him and told him they were sending the Recommendation to Human Resources to hire him.

*Cue a little less reluctant optimism*

He toodled off to attend the first part of Gizmo Training where he was called by Human Resources and summoned to their headquarters to sign his contract and fill out his benefit information.

*Cue mounting excitement*

Once he arrived at HR, it was apparently an effing mad house due to school starting in T-minus two days and general chaos due to the in processing of new teachers and tenured teachers who were reassigned as part of No Child Left Behind*.

I feel for those poor people working at HR. What a PITA this week must have been for them.

Anyway, after three hours of waiting he finally got summoned to have his paperwork looked over and his contract presented to him.

And they told him they couldn't give him his contract!

*Cue crushing blow*

Why?

Because he was offered the position of a Chemistry teacher.

His certification is in Biology. His Chemistry certification is "in process" down in Trenton.

The kicker?

All he needs is ONE item to complete his application for his Chemistry certification. That's his transcript from the NJ University where he was trained to be a teacher.

However, The Program that paid his tuition in exchange for him teaching in Newark for 3 years (and who also "guaranteed" to find him a position in Newark--they didn't find him this position, he found it on his own with some help from a fellow Program participant) failed to pay $166 in tuition.

That created a hold on his account and you can't get a transcript when you have a hold on your account.

Instead of going through the rigamarole of trying to get The Program to pay that $166 like they entered a contract with him saying they would do (and what's with the New Jersey University never telling us we owed them? Don't you normally send notices to people who owe you money??), because that would be akin to circumcising a baby mole with your eyes closed, I told him to just pay the damn $166 so he could get his transcript.

He put it on our credit card.

And the $166 showed as "due" for another two days because in this instant digital world of EFTs and lightning speed data transfer, the New Jersey University can't accept money from a credit card faster than 2 to 3 days.

For some reason, I can order a blow-up Mary Poppins sex doll on E-bay, pay for it with my credit card and shipped the next day, but paying money to someone we owe money to takes longer.

Cut to Thursday, the first day of school for Newark and Dr. Mad Scientist's first full day on the "job"--the payment is finally processed, but the hold still remains.

Meanwhile Human Resources and Anonymous Newark High School that hired Dr. Mad Scientist are treating him as a "permanent substitute teacher."

This means he gets to be a teacher, except with a) less pay and b) no benefits.

HOORAY!

Let me tell you how fucking irked I am that we fell for this shit again. Just like we were lured into think The Program could hook him up with a job (because you know, he signed a contract saying they would) we fell for the teaching contract bait and switch.

I mean hooray, he's "employed" but why oh why did no one bother to tell him after three hours of sitting there and filling out the reams of new hire paperwork that he couldn't sign a contract?

I mean I get it, the rules make sense, but in those three hours guess what he could have been doing?

He could have been at Anonymous Newark High School getting three extra hours of orientation to his new "job."

After they delivered the news to Dr. Mad Scientist that he couldn't sign the contract they had the gall to inform him that back in the old days (i.e. 10 months ago when that Dickwad Chris "I Hate Teachers" Christie was NOT in office) they could have allowed him to sign his contract while his Chemistry cert was pending. But now that Krispe Kreme Christie is in office, they're under more scrutiny.

Thanks for rubbing salt in the wound.

The director of The Program called him today to see if there was something she could do to help speed up the process of getting him to the promised land of signing a contract (because after all a signed contract makes The Program look good).

He told her that the only thing he needs is that hold removed from his account at the New Jersey University so he can pay the school to give him a transcript.

She told him there's nothing she can do to help him with that, but told him once he gets that taken care of to call Human Resources so they can call Trenton (where they process certifications) and put pressure on them to expedite his certification.

Really?

First off, there's NOTHING you can do at your own university, but you have knowledge on how to put pressure on a State Agency?

Oh, and can I get a side of fries with my heaping pile of steaming bullshit?

Thanks!

On the plus side, a paycheck is a paycheck and if he hadn't gotten this "job" he'd be subbing anyway.

And Dr. Mad Scientist is really digging his new gig. There's still many, many more fucked up things that are beyond his control that all teachers are dealing with in Newark right now that make their jobs 10 times more difficult, but hopefully by Halloween (of 2012) everything should be worked out.

Except for maybe that Chemistry certification.

I get the feeling nailing that transcript down is going to be harder than oil wrestling an albino leprechaun.

Sometimes I feel sorry for those people who obtain jobs the normal way with no massive kinks.

What do they complain about? How horrible it is to have health insurance?

Poor things!



*Due to No Child Left Behind, two high schools in Newark had to be metaphorically blown up and rebuilt from the bottom up. New teachers, new administration..the works. But because you can't fire a tenured teacher without seriously good cause, you have to put them somewhere, and thus all the reassignments this year.

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