29 September 2008

tried a new cake

I thought this cake was beautiful and it has fresh ginger in it. So I tried it last night. It was pretty good. Mine did not look as pretty because I messed up the caramel sauce, but it was good.
Recipe and photo from marthastewart.com

And in case this link doesn't work, the cake is called Molasses-Spice Cake

dirt and shoveling

I had mentioned before that we would start working on the yard after the kitchen was done. Well that time has come and I wish it was over. (I'm warning you this could be very boring but it is taking up my life right now and therefore is going up on the blog.)

We started with a bumpy front lawn and a vine/trash tree infested back yard. The back yard also sloped down on two sides, which was making the whole yard significantly smaller. Earlier this summer we had a concrete wall put up to hold up those two sides so that we could make the back yard much larger. Then we had a guy with a Bobcat and an Excavator grade everything.

You'd think then we'd be able to put down grass at that point but no. We've always had leaking water in the basement when it rains, so we started putting french drains all around the house a few weeks ago. What a job! We dug trenches, some 1 foot deep, some 2.5 feet deep, depending upon where they were. Then we lined those trenches with heavy plastic. Then we filled them a little with gravel. (Shoveling gravel is the hardest work I've ever done. I'm hoping I've lost at least 10 pounds by the end of this whole digging job.) In some of the trenches we put perforated pipe and then more gravel. Then landscape fabric and then dirt. We have just tonight finished the last of the french drains. Yippee!

But that only gets us to phase 2 of the project which is sprinklers. We are paying someone to regrade the front and back yards (again) and move the remaining gravel. This will cost a lot, and it's worth every penny. Then Dan E. will help us with the sprinklers. (Can't we just pay you to do them Dan E.?)

THEN we're laying sod. I'm not sure we'll even get to the back yard before it gets too cold. If not we'll do it in the spring and then add a fence. What fun a house is. Today I wish I lived in a condo where all the landscaping was beautiful and I didn't have to do any of it.

28 September 2008

top 5

I've been trying to figure out how to do this post without offending my very attractive husband. He isn't easily offended, so I'm not sure why I'm worried. He also already knows everything I'm going to say in this post. And since Paul Newman died this weekend, it's time I post this.

1. Paul Newman has to be one of the very best looking men. ever.

2. Christian Bale (even though sometimes his teeth look like fangs.)

3. Harrison Ford (Han Solo era.)

4. I can't pick a number 4. It's between Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Jared Leto (when his hair is trimmed), Robert Redford (Sundance Kid era), and Tom Cruise (I know he's weird and short, but he's pretty good-looking.)

5. Patrick Dempsey. Okay - he shouldn't really make it to the top 5, but he's so much better looking now than he was in Can't Buy Me Love. Am I right?

Please feel free to add or disagree. (Sorry Emily - JT didn't make the list).

23 September 2008

new look

I've really been getting sick of the bad picture of one of my favorite quilts up there. I've also been loving yellow with black and grey lately but it's hard to see yellow text. So here is my compromise. I think I like it. What do you think?

17 September 2008

birthdays and cakes

Sam and Charlie just recently had their birthdays (8 days apart). Sam wanted a Sponge Bob cake and Charlie wanted a chocolate alligator cake. The boys were so cute when they saw them. They kept saying, "Wow! How did you do that? It looks just like Sponge Bob/an alligator!" It was fun to make them (especially in the new kitchen.)

ps - I realize that my cakes are both missing arms and legs. Frankly, I didn't feel like trying to figure it out, so I just didn't. The boys noticed, but they didn't really care. Also, if you want to see some really awesome birthday cakes, you should check out Sara's blog (not exactly sure where the cakes are, but there are a bunch.)

15 September 2008

loved it

I know I'm so behind on movies. We rarely go to see them at the theater so I've just watched this tonight for the first time. And I LOVED IT!
ps - also just watched Baby Mama and it was hilarious. Much better than it looked from the ads.

11 September 2008

sewing again!

I finally got my sewing machine back out (after many months in the closet) and decided to make a few projects. One of them I've already taken apart because I hated it. I'll start it again later. The other one was a pillow case to match the quilt I made for Katie. I took an applique class in the spring and decided to applique the hardest shapes possible (I didn't know that at the time). Luckily you can't tell where I messed up unless you look closely.

08 September 2008

ahhh . . . garden tomatoes

I LOVE tomatoes. I didn't get to grow my own this year, but I got some local garden tomatoes at a really good little grocery store. Here are my must haves for garden tomatoes:

Salsa. In mine I put cilantro, green onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. I add the tomatoes last and pulse it in the food processor until it's the right chunkiness.

Tomato salad: Layers of tomato slices, white onion slices, and cucumber slices. Let it sit for a while and add lots of salt.

Bruschetta: Chopped tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, and salt. Spoon onto crostini.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Grilled Corn Salad (from Everyday Food): pictured above. recipe here.

Tomato Sandwich: good bread (white or wheat), mayo, cheese, and a few fat slices of tomato (salted). Also great with bacon.

I could eat tomatoes in lots of other things too, but those are the faves. I can't wait until next spring when I get to plant my very own!