Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waxing Nostalgic

This year my baby failed her school eye test. So over the hill and through the woods to the optometrist we went. As fits with our family history glasses were in order.

Now me? My heart melted. I think she looks adorable in glasses. But her? She wasn't too sure about this latest development. It took some poking, some prodding and some serious reassuring. It also took a touch of bribery; cooperation for an original mama made case worthy of a little girl. She acquiesced.

Not wanting to disappoint I got right to work. She got her glasses yesterday. I presented her with this today:

A lined felt case with a touch of embroidery. This is a pattern of my own design -- it was quite simple. Perhaps if I'm feeling saucy I'll make another and photograph the steps.

Tonight I'm waxing nostalgic. Watch out for those gushy gooey mama hormones. My baby, at seven, is not such a baby anymore. She looks so grown up and is darling to boot. Why oh why can't they stop this growing, this morphing, this maturing? I guess that's what photography is for. To capture these moments in time.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dinner ♥ Crock Pot Beans 'n Meat

Tonight I have to work (5 pm to 8am). As such I won't be home for dinner. We are also running low on our stock pile of frozen tamales and kibbeh. I've also decided I should add ravioli to my repertoire (to freeze and demolish as desired). However I won't be slaving away in the kitchen today. Instead I am crockpotting.

The crock pot has been my life-saver on those nights when I work. I can prep food in the morning and have it ready in the late afternoon for me to take to work and for my family to be fed.

We've been sharing recipes at work (I'm not the only gal who routinely abandons her family at dinner time). Our husbands are, shall we say, not so good in the kitchen and none of us has yet to win the lotto. As such we need easy, tasty and frugal meals.

I've struggled with sharing some of my recipes, not because they are near and dear to my heart, but because I am a "little of this, little of that" type of cook, i.e. I rarely measure out my ingredients.

However, this morning, while prepping dinner I *actually* measured things. As such I present to you crock pot beans 'n meat.

  • Stew Meat (~ 1 quart bag full -- I buy my stew meat in bulk, parcel it out into bags and freeze it for later use)
  • 32 oz Chicken or Beef Stock (My favorite is Pacific brand, I think it has the best flavor. I use chicken stock because again I buy in bulk and keep it in the pantry)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • Two cans green beans, drained.
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • Rice

Cut onion into slices and place in crock pot. Top with stew meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and allspice. Pour in stock. Cover and cook on high until meat tender (6-8 hours). About an hour before serving add green beans and tomato paste. Stir, cover and continue cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over a bed of rice.*

* Any rice will work. I have to admit I *love* my rice cooker almost as much as I love my crock pot. It even has a timer to delay cooking. We've been using brown rice which seems to take
F O R E V E R. You'll have to time your rice accordingly. The beans and meat can happily stay warm in the crock pot while the rice cooks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

At least I have my orange juice.

Today is one of those days. One of those "at least I have my orange juice" days. The morning started off with Middle berating me about her wardrobe.


Um, yeah. Taking a snotty nearly eleven-year-old to the mall is not on my agenda. Nor does it fit in our uber tight budget. Thankfully I deposited her at a friend's house shortly thereafter.

Next I thought I might go to Target to look for inexpensive t-shirts. I had freezer paper stencils on my mind. But no. Little pitched a fit and we stayed home.

Instead we spent the WHOLE DAY watching the Disney Channel. And yes, I know I'm the mother. But I was simply not in the mood to be out and about with snotty #2 (sister to snotty #1) and I gave in to the dagnamit television (which I really ought to smash and be done with).

Then Mr. Peculiar called. A rock hit the rear windshield in his truck shattering it into a thousand little pieces. The best part? Not covered by our insurance. Yippee!

Mr. Peculiar and the Boy were out thrifting -- buying tons and tons of vintage clothing which they are going to sell going to deposit in my ever shrinking living room. On the upside I soon might be a participant in the show Hoarders.

This male thrifting would be all well and good if they actually moved some of their merchandise. But they do not. That part is hard. Poor poor boys. They'd best get their hides in gear, however, as we can't eat vintage clothing (though it might keep us warm once the electricity is shut off).

On top of that my head hurts, my house is a total disaster and I have no idea what's for dinner.

But rather than, say, clean or cook or paw through the cupboards for crumbs I decided to applique.

I dug up some tees from an old project. Three of four of them were, *gasp*, boy shirts. Which are, you know, totally and completely uncool. Nonetheless I attempted to gussy them up and make them girl worthy.

If I get extra lucky I'll keep the I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR monster at bay. The shirts will be an early birthday present for Middle (aka Snotty #1). She doesn't know how lucky she is.

And I suppose I could say the same for myself. I'm telling you Duckie, you're really quite lucky. Some people are much more. Oh muchly much more unlucky than you.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊


  • The monster has been appeased, at least temporarily.
  • It was the back passenger window which was shattered, not the back windshield, which is still expensive but not nearly so.
  • We will be having eggs on toast for dinner with left over goat cheese from last night's meal -- frugal frugal. (I voted for popcorn, nutella and wine. I was voted down)
  • I've got a pot of coffee brewing which will, hopefully, help with the ache in my head.
  • I'm taking comfort in the thought that money is fiction. To extrapolate the absence of money is also fiction.
  • The boys have promised, I mean really promised, that they'll sell some of these superfluous clothes. Expect to see them in the shop soon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Simple Things

"It's the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

We've been busy crafting over here; making embroidered mushrooms and felted gnomes for our upcoming party. As I was digging through my crafting cupboard I came across the very first piece I embroidered (the cat pillow). I must've been five or six years old. This was a school project and I was quite proud of my work.

Little has been intrigued by my sewing and is making pieces of her own. You can see her interpretation of the mushroom house in the green hoop above. She also made a cat of her own design. I'd like to collect her work and make a pillow or even a small quilt.

I love that she's interested in fiber arts. The simple pull of the needle up and down, up and down soothes the soul. There's no better way to to unwind than with embroidery and knitting. It's meditation with a tangible by product.

And now back to it. The party approaches and there are three little girls in need of favors.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day is ...

Valentine's Day is:
  • Thrifted pillows embroidered with love
  • Fresh bed sheets (even though I won't be home to enjoy them)
  • Mama unloading the dishwasher after coming home from work
  • Papa reloading the dishwasher after he comes home from work
  • Heart-shaped breakfast for the young man who stayed home sick
  • 1st grade embroidery made for a special friend
  • Messages of love on our newly painted chalkboard pantry
  • Beef stroganoff bubbling away in the crock pot
  • Chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes in jars
  • Five precious minutes with the hubbie (he'll come home from work just as I'm leaving)
  • The prospect of a lunch date tomorrow (if we don't opt for a nap instead)
  • Knowing we are doing what it takes to keep ourselves afloat
  • Homemade valentine bookmarks and pretty pencils
  • A kitchen table shrouded in glitter
  • Forgiveness to the makers of the mess
  • Having an open heart and extending it to all who cross our path
Another year has passed. We are still here. Still tip-toeing that financial tightrope. And we are so tremendously lucky. We have each other. We have our health. We have a roof over our heads and food to eat. We are insured and employed. We have learned (and continue to learn) the art of frugality. We are weathering the storm.

And, most important of all, we love and are loved.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Ah the perils of winter. Each day starts with so much promise. By day's end something always remains undone. In summer the days are longer. The energy lasts. In winter not so much.

Case in point. At the end of December the littlest Peculiar turned seven. She was honored with a small family celebration but we've yet to have her "official" party. And yes, her birthday was two months ago.

But I'm on it. The planning has begun (finally). As compared to last year we are going small. Next weekend Little and a few good friends are going to see Gnomeo and Juliet. Our family doesn't often go to the theater so this will be a real treat.

The invitations were born from a Gnome book which belonged to my Grandfather. A quick photograph and a touch of photoshop magic and voila! Invitations. As for party favors I'm planning on making these and these and these. I might even tuck in a few acorns to boot. Oh and I have some old Gnome Nick and Nora pajamas. They will likely resurface as a goody bags. The beauty of a small affair? More time to spend on the details.

I'd like to tell you I'm doing this just for Little and friends. But the truth of the matter is these gnomes and mushroom houses are medicinal. An infusion of cheer smack dab in the middle of a drab winter.

Now off to embroider, that is until a client bounds through the door. Ah life in the ER!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dear Universe ...

Dear Universe:

I try not to be covetous of things I do not have. I try to appreciate that which is before me. But there are days. There are days when the longing hits. These things I know I do not need but oh how I desire them. And because I can not stop thinking about these objects I thought I'd put them out there. To you, Universe.

If you could find it in your heart to place said objects in, say, a garage sale or a thrift store then direct me to such place I would be ever so grateful. Oh how my heart would swell.

And now, with further adieu, the objects of my desire:

Le Creuset Dutch Oven in Gorgeous Caribbean Blue

Fun and Pretty Hypoallergenic Earrings

Vintage Style Dress Forms

and finally

A gorgeous pair of boots (size 8) to wear with skirts.

Thank you, Universe, for your kind attention. Now back to reality ...