Friday, December 31, 2010

And In The End...

...the cookies I make are equal to the love you bake. Yeah, I don't know, go with it. I was listening to Abbey Road last night.

It's New Year's Eve.

Which means cookies! I always feel a little weird waiting to make all my cookies until AFTER Christmas, but it's so worth it.

Dr. Mad Scientist was stopped a few times at his meeting last night by people inquiring if he'd be bringing cookies to the New Years Alk-a-Thon tonight.

Hee hee!

At about 8:30 last night I got down to business.

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First up were some old standards--peanut butter blossoms.

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I should have picked REAL Hershey kisses, not the mini-ones. Ah well. No one will complain.

I made another batch of Nutella fudge.

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The one critique at work I had about this fudge is that it was too sweet. I don't think that's necessarily the worst thing that I could hear about some of my fudge!

Next up, cranberry chocolate chunk.

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I love those ones! Mmmm!

And finally, the "cookies" I only make once a year:

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Blurry date balls! Mmmmm! I bought enough dates for another batch for US!

2011 should be even better with New Year's Eve falling on a Saturday. Oh man!

Here's hoping 2011 is sweeter than 2010!

Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

White Kwanzaa

Seems like an oxymoron huh?

But yesterday, we had a lot of the white stuff grace our town.

Remember my only hang up about moving here from Squirrel Gables--the lack of a driveway? Well we came to find out that on snow days we could park at the softball field recreational parking lot two blocks from our house. It's about a three minute walk. Five when you're up to your knees in snow.

As the first flakes came down, we parked our cars over there.

I went out there this morning to survey the damage.

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Eh. Not too bad. Dr. Mad Scientist's car shielded mine from the blowing snow so his car was more buried than mine. Which is OK since he's off all week.

Here's one side of his hood.

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And here's the other.

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The drifts were up to my crotch in some places!

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I was able to clear our cars pretty easy in the rec parking lot. My only concern now is whether or not they'll plow the parking lot (they had already done so once sometime yesterday) and the road that leads to the parking lot.

Chunky's getting the most out of the snow.

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Chunky is 4'8" tall. There's your reference for these piles of snow they made.

He's been outside today literally since 8:00 a.m. (it's now 1:30 p.m.) with a one hour break for lunch playing in the snow and helping Downstairs Neighbor blow everyone out with the snowblower. Chunky will break the berms up with the shovel making them less dense for Upstairs Neighbor to plow thru.

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Moochie on the other hand has been content to hang out inside.

And supervise operations from the warmth of the house.

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Can you tell which child was born in Michigan and which one in New Jersey? Ha ha!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Merry Christmas to all,

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and to all a good night!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twisted

Unlike what seems to be 99% of the rest of the country, here in Northern New Jersey, the kids are in school until December 23. Then they're back to school January 3.

Of course that 99% can suck it when the kids here have basically two spring breaks -- "winter break" and "spring break."

Because we're so close to Christmas the kids are basically on autopilot just biding their time till the 23rd.

It's a little hard to keep them engaged I guess.

Chunky came home complaining his seatmates kept distracting him by having pencil sharpening contests and yelling "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" all day long.

Honestly, that kind of sounds like life in my office, but I digress.

Dr. Mad Scientist was trying to come up with a decent lab for this week for his chemistry students that would be science-y but fun.

Behold--

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We made candy canes last night to test-run the recipe to see if it would actually work.

It was a lot of fun.

Apparently the lab went over well. It was a little hard to squish it into 40 minutes, but he said some kids actually had things resembling candy canes at the end. Ha ha!

Added bonus: No one got sugar burns!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Countdown

I've been blaming work for my less than jovial Christmas feelings lately.

But I learned about something this weekend that puts all of that in perspective. Therefore, this Monday morning and the prospect of working four days (while everyone else seems to be out of school/off of work already) for once doesn't seem so dour.

Plus more Christmas frippery knitting seems to be helping.

This weekend I finished a knit Christmas tree.

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Pattern: Oh Christmas Trees by Moltingyeti

Needles: US4 DPNs

Yarn: Some Caron Simply Soft my Youngest Younger Brother gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

Notes: This was a cool pattern. I liked the way it was written. It seemed a little weird at first, but when I actually stopped to read the instructions, it was pretty clear. Ha ha!

I did not make a fourth tier or a stump/skirt for my tree. A fourth tier would have put too many stitches on my needles. I suppose I could have switched to circular needles, but I was feeling lazy.

I stuffed the bottom of the tree with popcorn to give it some heft and plopped it in front of my Santa lamp* for display.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mooch seems to think that the Christmas tree is his and therefore I keep finding it all over the house.

So far so good for pushing out the jive and bringing in the Christmas love!


*My mom and any siblings reading this will recognize that Santa lamp. If I remember rightly, it was one of the first Christmas decorations my mother bought when she went out on her own as an adult. This isn't hers, but it's the same type of lamp. I got a wild notion last year that I wanted one of my own and went trolling on the internet for one under $20.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two Years Ago Today

Mr. Mooch graced us with his presence.

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Hard to believe my little babyman is 2!!! Noooooooooo!!!!!

For the record, that's Nutella smeared all over his face. Yum!

And speaking of Nutella, I believe it was Jo who posted this link on Karen's Facebook page chiding her to make some.

As Costco recently sent out coupons for $2 off a twin pack of jumbo jars of Nutella and I splurged, I couldn't resist making some.

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I didn't make mine with seasalt though. Seasalt is a little too white for me. I used roasted hazelnuts.

Result? Delicious!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cardboard Christmas!

Have I ever mentioned that I have my own personal kitchen elf?

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He'll push a chair up to the counter and try to help me when I'm in the kitchen, or whine til I plop his butt down on the counter so he can "help."

Chunky went through this phase too. It was a few years before I started this blog.

Back then we was po'. And I reallllly wanted to buy a toy kitchen for Chunky. But I ran into the following problems:

a. Most (not all) toy kitchens are uber-girly;
b. The decent toy kitchens are expensive!; and
c. They take up a buttload of room--and then you've got to either sell, give away or trash them when the kid has outgrown it. What a pain in the ass any way you slice it.

A toy kitchen seemed like such a big and burdensome investment.

So, being the cheapass that I am, I made Chunky a toy kitchen out of cardboard boxes and contact paper.

I wish I had a picture of it to show you. Alas I do not.

The cardboard kitchen solves all of the above problems.

It's not pukishly pink and sparkly.

It's not expensive.

Ok, it does take up room, but when he's done with it, you literally smash it and toss it in the recycling.

Now that Moochie is going through the same phase of wanting to play in the kitchen* I wanted to get him a kitchen.

But I ran into the same old problems.

So back to the cardboard kitchen like I made his big brother seven years ago!

Here's what I came up with.

Now keep in mind it's not full of polished and clean lines like this cardboard kitchen, but you have to remember my target audience--a (soon to be) 2 year old. He doesn't give a care if the craftsmanship is a little, erm, off.

Besides, lord knows he WILL trash the hell out of this thing with regular play.

Sorry--the pictures!

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The full view!

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I never made Chunky a fridge--but I found this PERFECT box at work with the inner-lip and a flap that covers the entire width of the box. I couldn't resist. I even made him little produce drawers--ha ha!

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The dollar-store-roasting pan sink. Milk bottle caps for the hot and cold taps.

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A couple of burners and some cupboards.

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And my favorite, a spacious oven!

I tried to do a tutorial for this, but in all honesty, I tried, and couldn't. You just gotta get yourself some boxes, packing tape, scissors, contact paper, and basically some trash (empty toilet paper/paper towel tubes, bottlecaps, plastic handles) and just go for it!

The most expensive thing I bought for this was the white "granite" contact paper. That ran me about $4. And then I found contact paper at the dollar store. My only advice if you buy contact paper at the dollar store--buy two rolls of each color you want to use. I nearly ran out of the fake woodgrain!

I hope he likes it!!! The hardest part is going to be resisting giving it to him BEFORE Christmas!


*Upstairs Neighbors rolled their eyes when I told them I was buying Mooch a set of toy pots and pans for Christmas. Fuck that. I mean how many chicks want to throw their panties at that Alton Brown? Or any of those other "hot" celebrity chefs? Nothing wrong with a boy playing with pots and pans. If anything, he'll end up learning to cook (and clean--Mooch is also getting a kiddie sized broom, I'm sick of sharing mine, for Xmas) and be the best husbandly catch ever!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are You There God? It's Me, Bezzie...

So things at work have been, um, tense to say the least.

And sadly because work's been consuming me, I haven't many non-work things to blog about.

So instead of focusing on the negative henpeckapalooza I could devote thousands of posts to, I'll relate this funny story to you.

Or at least I thought it was funny. Perhaps I'm just a little fried from working so much that it seems hysterical.

Every year Big Boss sends Harry & David gift baskets to three people: the legal secretaries at his Uncle's law firm, the priest who runs the prep school he's on the board of trustees for and his priests at his home parish.

And because, I, lovable, not so furry Bezzie, work for Big Boss, he usually hands over his credit card to me with his choices circled in the latest Harry & David catalogue and I phone in his order.
Last year was a royal clusterfuck because they screwed up the name of the main priest at his parish.

The priest's name is Liam, but the rep I placed the order spelled it "Leeyam." And apparently by the time the confirmation email came with the order spelled out, it was too late for them to change it or some malarkey when we called back.

Thus, this year I was extra careful in ordering the three fruit baskets.

First I ordered the Legal Secretaries' basket.

Easy peasy. My rep, Shanna (not her real name), aced my instructions for the type of basket I wanted and the note.

Second up was the basket for Father Robert Jones of the prep school.

I spelled out the padre's name for her, had her repeat it back to me and then gave her the message to put on his basket:

"Dear Father Bob--Merry Christmas! Love, Big Boss and Big Boss Wifey"

Shanna recited back the message to me dutifully.

Finally with the third basket, we hit a bit of a stumbling block. This is what I was afraid of because this was the basket for Father "Leeyam."

Father Liam is the head priest at the Immaculate Conception church.

When I read her the address, I slowly said:

"Immaculate Conception Church, 123 Jesus Lane, Bossville, New Jersey"

But she kept stumbling over the word "conception."

So I carefully spelled it for her..."C as in cat, O as in Oscar, N as in Nancy..."

To which she replied "Oh! Immaculate Confection Church?"

Ok, so I spent half my childhood being raised Catholic, but is it really hard to understand what the Immaculate Conception is?

I mean I understand that I didn't clarify it by calling it the Mary-Got-Conveniently-Knocked-Up-Sans-Coitus Church sorry, I stand corrected (I toldja we cut and ran half way through my childhood from the church!!)...

But my error proves my point. Even though I'm wrong about who the Immaculate Conception was about, I still know the name---but Immaculate Confection? Really???

Although, if we had attended a church called the Immaculate Confection growing up, I might still be Catholic....

I'll bet the hosts at communion are Necco wafers at the Immaculate Confection church.

Anyway, Shanna finally got the order right AND she spelled Father LIAM's name back to me twice so I felt confident she got it.

I completed the order, hung up, and five minutes later I got the email confirmation of the order that reiterated what Big Boss had me order, where to send it, and the gift messages.

I skipped over the other orders and quickly scanned to the order to Father Liam at the Immaculate Conception church.

And it was RIGHT! Hooray! Irish priest's name nailed and no extra sweetness to the church name!

But then something caught my eye--the order to Father Bob at the prep school:

Father Robery Jones
c/o Newark Prep School
123 Allegedlyscary Street
Newark, NJ

Gift Message: Dear Father God--Merry Christmas!

After spending half an hour on the phone with Shanna, the idiot sales rep for Harry & David, I could only laugh that she a) accused a priest of robbery, and b) sent the fruit basket to Father God instead of Father Bob in one fell swoop.

Poor Father Bob. I know he's a humble servant of God, but to have to give up his fruit basket to the big man too?

Awww!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Arrrggg!

Arrrrggg! indeed.

My latest FO.

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Chunky's teacher is big into pirates. I figure I'll wrap a Staples gift certificate in this washcloth.

Tada. Merry Christmas.

I'm not sure if our school's teachers have to buy every little thing like Dr. Mad Scientist does, but I figure she'll find some use for a couple of bucks at Staples.

Now I just have to find the time to actually go to Staples.

I keep self-editing here. Trying to push out the jive and bring in the love.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Your Money or Your Life and Definitely Your Freedoms

Sorry for the radio silence.

Things have been insane around here.

I had a busy weekend and then I worked late Monday night.

Some shit went down at work Monday night that I've ranted about before. I won't go into it again. Let's just say I'm convinced everyone in my office is a latent racist and classist.

But whatever.

Wanna see a WIP?

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It's a keyhole scarf I made for a hat/coat/scarf/mitten drive Chunky's school is having. I hope they accept it.

It's kind of short, but I really dig it. It's a cotton chenille I had in the stash that I initially didn't think would be too warm. But it's soooo soft and squishy. If I didn't have so many scarves already I'd keep it for myself!

Alright, that's enough distraction for now. I need to submit my Spring cookie recipe for Knit Circus. I went out of my comfort zone for this cookie and it was well worth it. Spring will sadly be here before you know it!

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Mark It!

We made it to December 3*.

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Mainly it was Dr. Mad Scientist who caved. I could have probably gone another week.

Weenie.

Right now it's set on 65 and Chunky just turned to me and said "It's kind of hot in here."

That's my boy!!!

Hopefully more normal blogging will resume soon.

Work has been a Bitch with a capital B. Oh there's so much to whine about there but I fear anyone at work finding this blog. Let's just say it involves lots of mandatory OT**, juggling already overwhelming workloads, and very low morale among the secretarial staff.

And then poor Chunky got the 24 Hour Barfing virus that has been making the rounds at school. He ended up blowing chunks at school. Poor kid was pretty embarrassed.
Thankfully that was Tuesday and he was fully recovered on Wednesday.

Ah to be so young and bounce-backable!

Needless to say, I'm happy to see this week in the rearview mirror!


* We were "lucky" to have warm fall weather. I mean it was 60 degrees a few days ago. In DECEMBER. Maybe Al Gore isn't just full of himself after all.

** Next person I hear say "Oh but at least you get paid extra for it..." in reference to overtime or mandatory overtime, I will smack. Whores get paid too. Do you think they enjoy what they do just because they get paid? Money doesn't buy happiness!

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