Friday, July 30, 2010

if you are in a particularly good mood you may not want to read this post...

I've had a tough week.  I guess it's bound to happen.  You don't just move from your beloved home town and get to pretend like your whole life hasn't changed.  Before I say anything more I have to tell you we really do like Knoxville.  We are happy with what we have experienced here so far, but until now I have felt like I have been looking at it from the outside in.  I've been anonymous(a place I sometimes find all too comfortable)and just "visiting", but all that is going to have to change because summer will come to an end and I will have to maneuver my way through this town socially.  I have been putting it off, but it is time for me to hatch a plan. And let it be known that you do have to have a plan.  Friendships don't happen all that naturally when your 36 years old.  I wish I could get in a sandbox with some cool mom and let the good times roll, but it just doesn't quite go down like that.

So I have a couple weeks to get myself together.  Luckily there are a lot of ways to meet people, and luckily I am pretty good at it. The challenge for me is finding friends in places I feel like I belong.  I am not the same mother that moved to Cincinnati 6 years ago, but I have a child as young as I did when we got there.  I am more defined by my children and  hobbies than ever before, so much so that I may have a narrower place to fit in.  It should be interesting and a lot of work. Wish me luck.  Now here is what's been happening this week-the mostly good and little bit of bad:

Holden is registered for 1st grade at Rocky Hill Elementary(I love the name).  He hasn't said it, but I know he's nervous.

    I actually bought some school supplies and the beginning of my back to school list-underwear and socks.  The boys spent the better half of this morning half naked showing me all the super hero's plastered to their booties.

    After a disagreement(hardly, but it is now) with an appliance repair service, friendly repair man Jim left a belligerent message on my voice mail calling me TRASH for not fixing a washer that wasn't broken (this may have been where my week went down hill) I'm pretty sure if I was trash my feeling wouldn't be as hurt as they are, and I'm pretty certain Jim has never heard of karma.

    I started organizing for our two week trip to Des Moines-we leave in a couple days!

    The pond pump broke.  I'm thinking between the cost of the trees and the pond we may never make it to Disney World.

    Becca and I made plans for dinner and a pedicure-can't wait!

    I stumbled upon this in blogland.  It was actually a blog I had visited not that long ago and I was stunned to read the latest post.  I can't stop thinking about her beautiful children. It make me think of this song and wonder if I will ever feel I've had enough time.

    I worked on the guest bath and H&A's room.  Feeling like these need to be organized before school starts, but I have a ways to go before they are done.  I'll be "letting go" of that feeling.

    I was tickled to find out Grandma Jody made the pita recipe I posted. She even took a picture :)


      I drove down my new dream neighborhood on our way to check out a park.  The scenery was beautiful, the play equipment total garbage.  My only real complaint about Knoxville so far is the park and rec department.  Very concentrated on sports, not so much on play.  The kids ended up climbing trees instead of the crusty slides. 

      {all good ninjas know how to climb trees not slides}

      I miss our old neighbors in Des Moines like crazy, especially Shelly and Michael. What I wouldn't give right now to go get my mail and meet her in the middle of the street for a chat.

      Todd stayed up late last night and listened to all that was weighing me down.  He comforted me while I cried and carried on.  He helped me gain some better perspective and for that I am grateful.

      Monday, July 26, 2010

      I can be lazy...with very little patience...

      A long story made short:

      Had ugly table.
      Needed quick fix.
       Hate sanding.
      Cannot embrace primer.
      Only like to paint.
      Saw Caromal Colours on ASPL.
      Knew this product was for me.
      Bought it.
      Used it.
      Love it.

       Order Caromal Colours here.  I used the color parchment.  They have many more colors to choose from.

      The ugly table(top) with the leaf that didn't match.
      No sanding.
      No primer.
      In the instructions they tell you if it's not fun you are trying to hard. It is true. Just slap it on. Be fearless.

      The paint is thick, it covers really well but you have to put a little ity bit of muscle into it.  You can't mess it up. Sand some edges for a more "worn" look.
      Use just a bit of finesse with the Toner.  This is the point when you see the real beauty in this product.  The paint comes to life.
      Ta Da! The easiest furniture paint project I have ever done.  Thank you Caromal Colours!

      The end.

      Thursday, July 22, 2010

      I called my mom last night and she is officially the last person on earth to grill corn. Just kidding mama.  I called her because I thought I was the only person on God's green earth not grilling corn and I was so upset that no one had let me in on it's yummy goodness.  I had called to blame her, like all good daughters should, that I had been left in the dark, but it turns out she hadn't been keeping it a secret.  Thank goodness.  It is seriously a trait of the baby in the family to resent missing out on everything.  Some habits are hard to break I tell you.  Love you mom! Now go grill some corn already. 

      I had never wanted to grill corn before because I thought you had to soak it first. But guess what, such a total fib. You don't have to soak it at all.
      Just peel back the husks. Take off the silk, rub each ear with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

      Wrap the husks back up the ear, tie with cooking twine

      Grill on medium/highish direct heat for about 15 minutes(make that 17 to be safe).  The husks get all charred and shrink up and you think you've ruined it, but inside the corn is perfect.  Kinda smokey tasting.  A delicious alternative to the usual corn on the cob.


      Wednesday, July 21, 2010

      Job security for food photographers

      No worries about me taking any one's job away from them at Better Homes and Garden.  Can you believe that I take pictures of pictures and put them on my blog!?  It never fails that I start cooking and think how great it will be to share, I get one picture during preparation, but always forget the "finished" picture. More than likely because I am too concentrated on getting it into my mouth, and it is also very likely I am demanding everyone to the table and forget to pick up the camera. Anyways, not having a picture didn't seem like a good enough reason not to give you this recipe and if you are like me I NEED the picture(visual learner here) 

      I liked this recipe because it had spinach(never enough in my diet) and the surprising pita(always have a couple left over in the freezer). I served these sandwiches with steak salad, but they would be great as an appetizer, hearty enough for a husband's lunch etc...I also used asiago cheese because I couldn't find fontina.  I'm pretty sure any Italian cheese would be great. I also forgot to use the Prosciutto and it was just fine and dandy tasty without it.

      Grilled Prosciutto, Fontina & Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwiches
      recipe from Fine Cooking June 2008

      1 Tbs. Extra-virgin olive oil
      2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
      5 oz. baby spinach
      Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
      1 1/4 cups grated fontina cheese
      1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
      6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
      Three 7-8 inch pitas, each split into two rounds
      6 very thin slices prosciutto

      Heat the oven to 250. Heat the oil and garlic in a 10 inch heavy duty skillet over medium high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle steadily and browns in places, about 2 min. Add the spinach, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until just wilted about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander. Let cool a couple minutes, discard the garlic, and gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the spinach.

      In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the fontina, pamigiano, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Set 3 of the pita halves on a work surface and top each with 2 slices prosciutto.  Top each evenly with the spinach mixture and set the remaining 3 pita halves on top.

      Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and heat the pan over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add one of the pita sandwiches and set another medium heavy skillet on top of the sandwich.  Put 2lbs of weight(cans work well) in the empty skillet and cook the sandwich until the bottom starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it browns and the cheese starts to melt out the sides, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.  Cook remaining sandwiches in the same manner.  Cut the sandwiches in wedges and serve. 


      Monday, July 19, 2010

      When your husband buys one of these for weekly maintenance of your yard, you know you don't live in Iowa anymore.
      When this guy shows up in your back yard with 3 packs of smokes and a
      case of Mellow Yellow you know where you've arrived.

      That's when you stop watching and start some busy work like this. 

      Wow, that looks messy huh?

      That looks cute.

      That looks like a lot of firewood. (and one very tired husband)

      Friday, July 16, 2010

      Craigs List, A Happy Dance, A Question, And Grammy

      We are back from Cincinnati and we had a really nice time.  Although visiting Ikea was great, I was lucky enough to visit with some old friends which made the trip a lot of fun.  We had a mini playgroup reunion with Kristin and Jenny.  I have been able to keep in touch with them through the years with  our blogs, but seeing them in person was special.  I really enjoyed seeing their kiddos and just hanging out.  We were also fortunate enough to see our BELOVED Cincy neighbors Tina and Madison.  Madison was Holden's most favorite person in the whole world for all three years that we lived there.  Madison, who was 9 or 10 when we moved in was the greatest sport when it came to playing.  Those two shared the same zest for life, and love of animals.  It was soo much fun to reunite the boys with her.  Asher has now claimed her for his own.  He said she is his new favorite friend :) Thank you Jenny, Kristin, Tina and Madison for taking time out of your day to visit with us!

      Ok, on to Craig's List.  I love, love, love Craig's List.  Is there anyone with me on that?  I know! I had refinished(well more like rehabed) our kitchen table(which is now our dining room table) a couple of weeks ago(I'll post that process next week), and had been scouring sales for two parsons chairs.  Guess where I found two, brand new, for less than the price of one in the stores? Yea Craig's List and everyone on it! 

      Two brand new chairs(still in the box) for 80$.  When I was looking I didn't really care what the fabric was because I knew I would put a slip cover on them, but I think I was lucky to get such a nice neutral fabric.

      Now Ikea was fun in Cincinnati, but I was doing the crazy looking happy dance when I passed the Ballard Design clearance store.  I had just been on their website earlier in the week drooling over slipcovers and I almost peed-me-pants when I looked in the window and they had EXACTLY what I wanted for a SUPER low price(do you sense my excitement people)!

      I am pleased as puncharoo with how they look.  I can feel a slipcover addiction taking over my body.  I will be stalking the Ballard website for sales on more of these little cuties. 

      So now on to my question. This is a pretty crappy picture, but I was in a hurry-pardon moi(Holden's new favorite "line". I think I have Alvin and the Chipmunks to thank for that).
      What do you think of my drapes with the slipcover? Yes mom this question is for you. Maybe you can't even see them together.  Jeez, what a crappy picture.

      Initially I wasn't sure, but then the look grew on me.  When I look at magazines I always admire when people mix prints. Is that what I am doing here or does it just look crazy stupid?
      I switched drapes to see if I liked the family room drapes more.  The drapes are a very neutral ticking fabric that I thought looked ok, but less of a statement I think(?) I'm telling y'all this is when pulling a room together should be left to the professionals (I'm just kidding about the y'all part, I haven't heard that once here). So tell me what you think.

      *disregard the chandelier.  It needed to come down like yesterday*

      Totally off the subject, but important to share.  Todd's mom came to Knoxville last week and we had a fabulous time.  She is going to kill me for putting this picture up because she had just taken the boys on a Jurassic Dinosaur ride and her hair got a little wet.  I know I'm not getting daughter-in-law of the year for this, but I thought it was a fun picture.The boys loved it and Grammy was a good sport for taking them on it because I would have kept driving if it were me :)

      Here's a better picture of Jackie(prior to the water spitting dino).  She is a lot of fun to have around, and always so very nice about telling me how wonderful I am AND she cooks when she comes! We miss you Grammy, but we can't wait to see you in a few weeks.

      Monday, July 12, 2010

      Is this heaven?

      Nope just Ikea.  In Cincinnati.  We are visiting for a few days.  Cincinnati that is.  Ikea only once or twice.  I'll be back to blogging next week. See you then!

      Thursday, July 8, 2010


      On the way back  form NC this past weekend I was curious what it would feel like getting back to Knoxville.  Would it feel good to be back? As we drove up the street to our house everyone was silent.  I believe waiting for the same feeling I was.  Waiting for it to feel like home.  Asher broke the silence and I think summed up what we were all thinking.  "I never wanted to buy this house you know!" Yes, we know.

      Todd played this song for me and it has just torn me up.  Listening to it has made me happy, sad, joyful, reflective.  It has made me think of all that makes home for me.  My mother's touch, my sister's voice on the phone, my father's music, my husband's smile, my best friends hug, a familiar street, heavy summer air. 

      Our house in Knoxville, not quite home.   My families laughter inside that house, right now, is all the home I need. 

      (This song also brings me to a funny little place in my past.  It reminds me a friend in high school, she made such a good little hippie.  I didn't.  Thinking about you Steph...)

      Tuesday, July 6, 2010

      Weekend Review

      I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Despite making no advance plan, we ended up having a special weekend, thanks to some very good friends.

      We headed to the Knoxville Zoo on Friday(it's actually a pretty nice little zoo).  Look at these two.  It didn't take them long to ditch their Iowa roots.  Traitors! Holden can't get enough orange"T" in his life, but we remind him all the time he is headed to U of I  at 18 NOT UT.
      I painted Sloan's bedroom on Saturday.  It went from yellow to Martha Stewart's sisal and I love it.  We still have a lot of work in this room yet to do.  With a fifty year old house changing the color on the wall is only the beginning. ( Please don't pay attention to this ugly chest of drawers- it goes in the closet for storage)

      On Thursday Todd realized he had a three day weekend so we high tailed it out of town on Sunday morning.  We have friends who live outside of Charlotte NC.  They are lucky enough to have a beautiful house on a lake, and were lucky that they let us invite ourselves over. We are pretty excited about living a short distance from this beautiful scenery. 
      Lance-Our host with the most toys any one person could want
      Holden spent the day doing this

      and a lot of this. Kailey(Lance and Summer's oldest) is 6.  Holden was thrilled to have a friend.

      Asher did a ton of this-we were all tired of lighting all those sparklers.  Kara who is three was a pretty good sport to hang with icky boys
      And Sloan couldn't help but do this.  Hot sun and a speed boat put this baby down for a nap.

      Look at Toddy surf!  Who knew he was into water sports.  Maybe a boat is in our near future? No chance...the only big purchase in our near future would be a Peterbilt.

      And in case you're wondering, I worked on my tan and enjoyed getting out of town even for a mere 24 hours. One of these days I'm  going to make someone take a picture of me so I have proof I exist  and that I was actually tan :)