Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fred Can Do It

My husband has decided to join the blogosphere. You can find a link to his blog on everything but software development at the right. You can also subscribe to it. We are doing a very complicated kitchen renovation that involves pulling up the wood floors, fixing a sagging floor and replacing with new wood. Then we will get new granite countertops. I'm thinking green. I'm worried about critters coming up from the subfloor. I really don't like being able to see dirt when I look down the cracks of the subfloor. Fred assures me that this subfloor will be sealed and no critters will be able to get into the house.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bye Bye Big Guy

Thud passed away on Friday. His big heart just gave out. Back in May we thought we might lose him and he underwent about a week of tests and needles poking in his heart to drain off fluid. The good thing was that he came home perfectly fine. And he remained perfectly fine until Friday morning.

He definitely slept more, ate slower and was more fond of sitting and giving you disapproving looks when you wanted him to move. But overall, from May until Friday we had a pretty healthy old man dog on our hands who got lots of treats, lots of love and lots of naps. He was a very fine dog. On Thursday night he was eating popcorn and had is ears all perky. Then on Friday morning it was like a light was switched off. Not moving, not eating. We took him in to the vet's that morning and they called that night to say his heart had stopped.

We still see him out of the corner of our eye, a solid black blob on the floor, but when you look directly at the area, he isn't there. Willow misses him and has been sleeping with us. To the right is a photo of Thud and Willow.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Twilight Tea Party (Breaking Dawn Spoiler info: Beware!)

Tea Party was a big success. Here we are with all the on time people (BE ON TIME! COLD SCONES DON'T TASTE GOOD!). 8-)

We all had questions about how Edward was able to impregnate Bella since he wasn't able to cry or have any bodily fluids other than blood. So how is 100-year-old sperm supposed to stay active? Really, Stephenie! And the whole, it's our honeymoon, we kissed and then when we woke the next morning.....WHAT? Three books we wait for the honeymoon scene and you give us that? Really, really disappointing. And then she makes Jacob into a wuss. A total Wuss! Please. And the name Renesme? OMFG. Honestly! There were so many things that you just want to scream about and yet, I have to say that with this book I liked Edward. I even liked Bella. She grew a spine and stood up for something. I was riveted. I spent all day Sunday reading and fending off requests from my husband to "Please honey, don't you want to help me in the garden?" "I have 400 pages to go." "Would you like to plant those plants YOU picked out?" "I have 200 pages to go." So is it worth reading. Heck yes. I liked it best I think in spite of all the problems. The host, I'm not so sure about.
We are missing Katie and her daughter, but I think everyone is in the photo except the boys, and they really weren't into the discussion of Edward's bodily fluids.

Food breakdown. The tarts were fine. One brownie tart was great, but the other was a bit gooey I thought. The pie was a no-go as only Bess and Fred had a piece. I guess fruit pie is a loser compared to chocolate. The new bread I used for sandwiches made making the sandwiches much easier, but I didn't like the bread and will go back to fresh baked and slice my own. I did like the little toasties for hummus. That I will use again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Snakes in a Door Jamb

Yep. That's a snake and it was trying to live in the door jamb. See, when you live in an 80+ year-old house, things have gaps. Weatherstripping (oh, Phil Hartman....I miss you!) is a must. Why is it a must? Because freakin' snakes will mistake the long dark space under your door and the stone deck for a snake house, that's why! Criminy.

Anyway, I was going outside and the french door wouldn't open. So I twisted the locks and shoved and shoved and then I shoved harder, and then a snake popped out of the door jamb (thankfully on the other side of the quickly slamming door!). Clearly I had surprised the snake who was snuggling in. I also spilled coffee all over my book (well, Allison's book, sorry!), the dog (sorry willow! It was an iced coffee so no harm done) and my floor. Fred had to go outside and be snake wrangler and get it to move off to the vegetation. I think I kinked its back a bit. I'm hoping it will shake it off and be ok as it seemed to be a really good natured and nonvenomous snake. Sigh.

Monday, August 4, 2008

After Pie and Twilight Tea Party

Well, everyone said the pie was great, but later when we were home, Fred said that the topping was crap and that it would be better with a second crust top and ice cream on it. So I made it that way for the Twilight Tea Party tomorrow (see right).

I am also making Chocolate Chess Tartlets (see right). I put a dark chocolate chip on the top, but it sank in. I'm very disappointed, but I don't feel like being Martha Stewart and putting a dab of whipped cream on all 48 tartlets or a dab of whipped cream and another chocolate chip. I'm also using Barbara Share's recipe for amazing brownies. You take a brownie mix, mix it up, put 1/2 in the pan and then layer on top Hershey Symphony bars (the super sized ones in the grocery store) and then put the rest of the brownie mix on top. I've put them tart pans, so they should be fluted and pretty. We'll see.

I'll post some photos from the tea party late tomorrow. I must say I thought that Breaking Dawn is a great ending book for the series! Loved it! I powered through almost 800 pages on Sunday. I am a voracious reader of vampire romances.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tom's Visit and Cooking

We have had Tom, Fred's nephew, visiting this week. It has been quite fun spending time with him and getting to know him better. It's his first trip out by himself to visit. I have been making quite a few desserts for him. Tom picked an apple blueberry pie for dinner tonight at Patrick and Theresa's (there will be poker tonight as well! But most importantly, there will be amazing food cooked by Patrick. mmmmmm!). The pie recipe is from Betty's Pies Favorite Recipes. If you don't know anything about pies, then you have to get this book! Betty ran a pie shop outside of Duluth, MN and it is the very best pie in the whole world. My favorite is the five-layer chocolate pie (to die for!, honestly.) But Tom picked a fruit pie to try. Here are some photos of the pie before, during and after cooking.

Here is the pie filling with 4 cups of sliced apples, 2 cups of fresh blueberries and sugar, etc., before mixing.

This pie doesn't have a crust for the top, rather it is a crumble mixture of butter, nutmeg, brown sugar and flour that is sprinkled on top of the fruit and baked.

Here we see the baking pie.

Here is the finished pie. Looks delicious. I'll let you know tomorrow if it actually is! 8-)

I also made some cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookies. I'm not sure if I spoke about our trip to Gualala, but it included a very fine bakery that had Chocolate Ginger cookies. I didn't have the recipe, but you'll notice that the cover cookie on the right is a chocolate ginger cookie and the cookies I made on the left are from the book. I think I need to make them large next time and wait until they are more cracked. The recipe says to remove them when they just start to crack, but then they don't get real cracked like the ones on the right. However, word of warning: these cookies are not an afternoon cookie. You have to chill the dough for two hours and then you have to roll them into balls and chill again and then roll them in granulated sugar. Quite a process. I think these are special occasion cookies. The thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies were made in a snap and Tom seemed to like them quite a bit.