Monday, November 26

Shared Meals

While perusing another's blog one day, I happened to learn about shared meals. Basically, it's where you get several households to join you in creating one large meal each and then each household gives their meal to all other households in the group. It majorly cuts down on cooking, and is supposed to help with the budget. (So far I've had too many other things happening to know if it really does save money.)

We have four households in our group, and are trading meals once a week. So it ends up that we have four different cooked meals per week, and only have to heat them up. It's wonderful!

I confess, I hate to cook. So this is my answer to staying out of the kitchen.

Only, last week didn't go too well. I failed my other households and didn't get the meal ready on time. I promised it a few days later, and something else happened. So today I've spent the entire morning in the kitchen. I finished the meal that didn't seem to want to happen last week. I made the meal for this week. And I'm getting ahead of the game and made the meal for next week. Thankfully some of this can go in the freezer, otherwise I'd have to buy a new fridge to house all this till 'delivery day'.

The meals:

Cuban Black Beans and Rice; "Chicken" (vegetarian) and Lentil Soup; "Beef" (vegetarian) Stroganoff (with noodles still to come); more Chicken and Lentil Soup for the Christmas party.

Bathroom Paint-Job

We are soon hosting Dear Husband's office staff Christmas party at our house. This has been great impetus for completing a few more "renovations" around the house, one of which is the main bathroom.

The bathroom was gross. Purple in color, and a VERY bad paint job at that; caulking around the sink that looked like it was carelessly smeared in place -- if you can call down on the counter 'in place'; baseboards not even fully laid. There was also an old wall heater under the window that we are afraid to use.

So Dear Husband handled the electrical end of things and took out the heater, and then replaced the hole with new wallboard. From there, I took over mudding -- yes, again -- the patch, and various other major discrepancies all over the walls. Then, on Friday, David rolled the ceiling for me, and I rolled the walls to this new color.

I am not as thrilled with the color as I had hoped to be; it's too . . . something. It swears with the natural wood color of the cabinet and door frame. Oh, well. What it is, it is. -- For now.

We then installed some new towel bars, and did a couple other little things. I have yet to make a new shower curtain, a curtain to cover the linen cupboard, and a curtain for the window. I'm hopeful that I'll like it much better once these things are completed, which I'm hoping to finish this week. We'll see . . .


A few weeks ago, as the weather was turning cooler, I told Dear Daughter to get her slippers on. (I had knitted and fulled her a pair a couple years ago.) She put them on, and came to me saying, "Mommy, they're too little. Will you make me a new pair? A pink pair, exactly like these?"

So a trip to our local craft store produced the yarn (although not the exact yarn) for the new slippers. A few days later, voila:

These were intended to be a Christmas gift for Dear Daughter, but how do you discreetly leave slippers out to dry in a house that Dear Daughter has full roam of? They're still a Christmas gift, but they won't be a surprise, I guess. They're already wrapped and under the Christmas tree, so you'll have to wait till later to see the finished results (after fulling). We all think they turned out very cute.

Applesaucing Again

I now have 4 bushels of applesauce in my freezer, less what Dear Husband has heartily consumed. One bushel is for an unnamed person, the rest will be gone within a few months by Dear Husband, no doubt.

This photo is from the last saucing time with Dear Sister. The apples were worse than seconds, and we paid the full price for them. That was maddening! So, as you can imagine, we did a lot of carving on them. After two bushels of carving, I was DONE. So Dear Sister took over the last bushel of carving while I processed apples into sauce. We were very glad to be done!

Play-Dough Creations

Dear Daughter shows her creative side with these guys she cut out of play-dough and arranged herself. She then insisted that I take pictures of it. So of course I had to blog about it, too!

Birthday Present

Niece recently had a birthday. Of course I needed to come up with a present for the event, and Niece gave me the idea when she mentioned she really wanted a sleeping bag for her doll. When I checked out the price of the one she wanted, I about had a cow! I told her I'd make her one. So this is it:

Dear Sister made Niece the night-gown, after Niece picked out the fabric.

Sunday, November 11

Fulled Knitted Slippers

Another Christmas project, these slippers were knitted from a Fiber Trends pattern. Knitted and fulled projects are by far my preferred knitted projects. (How's that for redundancy?) I am not one to sit, nightly, knitting the same project for a year. -- I am all about instant gratification, with an element of surprise added. Fulling provides both, since I knit double-strand with large needles (I completed one slipper in about 3 hours.), and then throw the project in the washing machine in hot water and wait to see the results. This one was quite the surprise, as no project has shrunk this quickly on me before!

Here are the slippers, before fulling:

At about 12 1/2 inches in length, the slippers make my feet look like they're swimming!

After one wash cycle (It usually takes at least three cycles.), they were nearly too small, so I dried them over a hard-soled slipper to stretch them back out a bit. Now they'll fit about perfectly.

They shrank a full two inches, down to 10 1/2 inches!

And now my daughter has informed me that the slippers I knitted and fulled for her two years ago are much too small, and she wants me to make her a new pair just like the last.

My local craft store is going out of business, so my daughter and I went and bought yarn for her new slippers. They're slightly different, but I think she'll be pleased with the results, as they're her favorite color.

Thursday, November 8

Years ago, David and I bought a bunch of unfinished furniture. Of course, we fully intended to paint or stain it, but that didn't happen and didn't happen. We've moved location multiple times since buying it, and always vow we WILL finish the furniture. However, it still gets put into the house and loaded up with goods in its unfinished state.

This time, though, we decided it wouldn't even find its way into our house till it truly WAS finished. We panned off our bedroom furniture to someone else and paid to get it done. It looks beautiful! But the other pieces, I decided I would do myself. So it has waited and waited in the garage.

Finally, a little over a year after we moved into our house, the china cabinet is finished and filled up with dishes. I am very happy with the results:

I love how our wedding china stands out inside.

I love it so much, that taking pictures of it was a lot of fun, thus more focus on the dishes than the cabinet. Oh, well. The cabinet's sole function is to show off the wedding ware, right?

When I was about to deliver our son, I saw a figurine of a father holding his newborn. I melted into tears at the tenderness of the sight. I bought it and tenderly presented it to David. I'm not sure he felt the same emotion that I did, but I placed it on his dresser. Since the move, I think it has become mine. It was joined by a mother holding a baby, and then, most recently, by two sistes sitting face-to-face talking, given to me by my sister for my birthday. Since we have a ball-throwing son, I decided the safest place for all of them was in the china cabinet. And I think they go so nicely here.

Thursday, November 1


On Monday, I got together with Sister to make applesauce. We did two bushels in about four hours. -- Froze it, which is so much faster (AND neater) than canning! Now, here's hoping my freezer doesn't break down or lose electricity!

When we tallied up how many bags of sauce we had, we stupidly got to thinking how much each bag cost us, and compared it to the price at our local grocery store. BAD idea! It actually was a little cheaper, but with the labor involved (and we worked fast) and the distractions of four kids, we got to wondering if it was worth it.

But then we ate it. One spoonful, and then another, and another, and another. And then a bowl full. It was absolutely delicious! -- Sweet, without sugar being added, thick, and so full of flavor!

Definitely worth it!

We're going to do four more bushels. (I'll take pictures next time.)

FYI, we did Golden Delicious. Always my favorite.

We've opened Bag #2. My husband has demanded that I NOT hold him back in consuming it!