Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pasta, Deer, and Bad Shoulders

Note: Picture sizes are fixed!

I hurt my shoulder. I have no idea what I did, but it was fine while I was putting The Boo down for his nap, and it was definitely not fine afterwards. It is okay as long as I keep my arm down to my side or swing it straight forwards or backwards, robot fashion. But anything else, and it hurts! Which reminds me, I was going to take some ibuprofin and put an ice pack on it. Back in a sec....

...Okay, hopefully that will help some. Besides that though, it was a very nice day! This afternoon I was entertained by a couple of deer taking a foodie-tour of my neighborhood:

Here, one of the deer spots an odd wire version of him/herself (hard to see, but it's in front of the garage)

Jon and I also pulled out the pasta-maker attachments for our mixer that my parents got us for Christmas, and tested them out. We made the Semolina Egg Pasta recipe from the booklet that came with them. I had a little trouble getting the dough consistency right, and then when I put the dough through the roller, it crumbled into lots of little pieces. Jon figured out that you really need to break out ye olde rolling pin and roll the sections of dough as thin as you can by hand before putting them through the machine. Patting them down just doesn't cut it. It worked MUCH better after that:

We were very happy that we weren't going to have to throw out a batch of dough that used an entire bag of Semolina flour (not the cheapest flour around). Once we got the hang of it, it was lots of fun. We both wanted to do it, so we took turns. Then we cut the pasta into beautiful strips of fettuccine.

I was so proud, I had to pose with the bowl:

Then we cooked it up. (Um, yes, there are lots of wine bottles in the background. No, we are not lushes. We don't have a wine rack, and it was just Christmas, so we bought some, and other people brought some,... and some of those have been open for awhile and are being used in cooking. Really. It's true.)

...and we tossed it with some olive oil and some freshly grated parmesan and ate it. It was yummy! And much more filling than it looks.

We got so wrapped up in making it, that we kind of forgot about vegetables and protein and stuff. But that's okay. It was great fun and we had a great time eating it. We made more than we cooked. So I let the rest dry a little and popped it into the freezer for another night.

Wowzers! I just looked at the time and realized that I have spent way too much time putting this post together, what with all of the photos and all, and have stayed up past my bedtime. I guess I had better call it a night.

Monday, December 29, 2008

In Which Introductions Are Skipped...

As this is the very first post of this blog, I should probably introduce myself and tell you a little about my background and all that, but I'm not going to. Mostly because I am an impatient person, with very little time to myself, and I just want to get into the thick of things. I'm sure you'll learn interesting (and not so interesting) things about me as this blog goes on. Maybe if I'm in the mood, I'll do an introduction post another day. In the meantime, you can check my profile info for the basics.

So! This week is my New Year's Resolution Trial Week. In otherwords, I'm going to try to start some of the major projects on my resolution list before the New Year actually begins, to sort of ease into them. The major one has to do with keeping house. I have never been very good at this. In fact, I used to be quite terrible. I have improved considerably over the last year or so. When we moved out of our old house and into a rental while we looked for a new house to buy, I finally got the cleaning bug. Owen (my now 19 month old) was beginning to crawl, and therefore could get into stuff. The rental was also about half the size of our old house, so squeezing around all of the boxes and furniture and other stuff started to really get to me. So I bought this handy-dandy book called "Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelson. I LOVE this book. I just stumbled across it at the bookstore when I was looking for (shudder) Martha Stewart's book on the subject (Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home, if you are interested), which I was looking for reluctantly because I've found I really don't care much for Martha Stewart. I'm so glad I bought Mendelson's book instead. It fits me better.

Anyway, I read the book and started adapting the information and advice to my needs, but it was still difficult to keep up because: 1), my house was too small for our stuff, but as it was temporary, I didn't want to pair everything down until I knew where we would eventually end up, and 2) I have trouble sticking to things. Well, not anymore. I am going to stick to it this time. I love my new house, and I can't enjoy it as much if it is constantly cluttered and messy. Obviously it will always be a little disheveled because that's what happens when you have a toddler who has a knack for strewing every toy that he owns across the entire floor of the family room within 2 minutes of coming downstairs in the morning. And that's OK. He's a toddler. That's what toddlers do - let him enjoy it. But we are going to be better about picking our toys up at the end of the day, yes we are. (I type this as I sit in an easy chair surrounded by blocks, wood puzzle pieces, little plastic people and train tracks that never seem to remain connected and used as an actual track for more than 2 seconds at a time. But hey, the kid was super over-tired today from waking up early this morning and then not napping very long, so I wasn't going to push it.)

I think I've gotten off to a good start. I have created a weekly schedule, including chores to be done once or twice a month. I've even tried to be realistic this time and paid attention to what can actually be done in one day, taking into account what it's possible to do while the munchkin is awake, and what has to wait for nap time or bed time. I am reminding myself that for the first couple weeks it will seem like a lot of work, but once I get caught up on things, everything will be done much more quickly because there won't be any scrubbing to do or massive amounts of items to be picked up and put away. Right? Right.

Oh, I have some other resolutions too. The ever popular "loose 10 pounds" is on the list, of course. Also: finish the quilts I started years ago, write the first draft of my book (of which I keep re-writing the first 10 pages and am therefore getting nowhere - this one may not happen), unpack all the boxes in the garage (so we can put the cars in there - this year's snow storm gave me that idea), and remember that it's okay to pamper myself once in a while.

So I'm going to go now and pamper myself with a little reading and (hopefully) a good night's sleep.