June 30, 2013

Party Planning

We're looking forward to hanging out at Hubbys' cousin's farm for the annual 4th of July multi-day fun fest. I sure hope the weather is good. I love planning what food to bring - it needs to be family friendly, a good quantity for pot luck and of course holiday themed. Here's what's on my list so far -

Chicken Dip - the second most requested appetizer I make after bacon wrapped kielbasa; I like to use the more subtle green pepper sauce instead of buffalo
Party Ham Sandwiches - winning combo of delicious and easy
Potato Salad - torn between buying pre-made or making my own "light" recipe
Corn on the Cob - plain and either chili lime butter or roasted in chile coconut milk
Snack Mix - great blend of salty and sweet plus themed M&Ms if I can find them
Mini Cheesecakes - I've been dying to try these with Nilla Wafers for crusts
Pinwheel Icebox Cookies - I made these today and put them in the freezer to bake later in the week

June 22, 2013

Good Vibrations

Every three years we seem to have some major appliance issue. Three years ago it was the dryer which required a brand new one with washer only a couple of months later. Thankfully the washer was an easy fix then, but shortly after it began vibrating so much that it walked across the floor. We (actually Chunky) have been stuffing things on either side to stabilize - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I figured it was the floor, the base, something. I'd asked Hubby to look at it over the years and he always said everything was fine. I finally had enough this week when a catheter leak meant mucho loads of laundry and all the washer rumbling made the dryer come unhooked. Off to Sears as we're loyal to them for all our appliance needs. The sales guy told me "heavy vibration" was a common issue with first generation front load washers. Ha! I feel so vindicated. It was a major decision ... there are A LOT of choices! Do I get the same brand as the dryer? It's three years old with many design changes so no matter as they won't look like a matched set anyway. Steam or no steam? 3.6, 4.3 or 5.1 capacity? 4 cycles or 40? OMG! I finally decided on 4.3 same brand as the dryer and steam - it was a lower mid price point with just enough selections so won't need a physics degree or pilot license to run it. I'm also getting rid of the bases - while the height is nice for loading/unloading convenience, they partially cover the window. Having them lower will give me another work surface and I could stand to do more deep knee bends as it may often be one of the only forms of exercise I get.

June 6, 2013

Fresh Coat

Our home was built the year we were married - 1987. At that time wallpaper was still somewhat popular for home decorating. I can't imagine how the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom (aka kids' bathroom) was ever popular - the floral foil pattern screamed "Help, I'm trapped in the 80's and can't get out". Needless to say we covered that up two minutes after we moved in. The wallpaper covering most of the main level wasn't bad. It was a mauve color with a bit of texture that cast a nice glow throughout the house due to the low level of natural light and woodwork. We left it alone as it was in really good shape and not too offensive. Fast forward 7 years and it was time to go.

This is a low quality close up -
Here's the difference -
BEFORE                                                            AFTER

It looks fresh, modern and clean! At least until a dog, kid or certain person in a wheelchair marks it up. I'm really happy with the way it turned out and it was worth every penny to have it professionally done. We did the main rooms upstairs, stairwell and downstairs hall all in the same color. The color selection was less painful than I thought it would be - I was worried about it looking too yellow, dirty or even too light so the painters picked out neutral colors and provided samples on poster boards for us to compare. Sassy wanted something darker, but Hubby and I decided on Benjamin Moore's Shelburne Buff. I think we got it just right!

June 2, 2013

Help Me Rhonda

The original title for this post was "Fruity". I had a detailed description of the trials and tribulations of planning 8th grade graduation at Chunky's school over the past few weeks and specifically this past weekend (7th grade families are responsible for hosting). Then I accidentally deleted everything and Blooger doesn't have an "undo" button. The short story: herding cats, diverse interpretation of the term 'responsibility' amongst 15 7th grade families and I cut up 100 lbs of fruit for 200+ people. My main task was food (shocking I know) and I couldn't have pulled it off without Sassy's help. She artfully arranged cookies and cupcakes, washed dishes and helped load/unload a carful of food at midnight following a wedding reception in the space adjacent to the next day's blessed event. I treated us to mani/pedis yesterday and it was the best money I've ever paid. Needless to say I'm over my alternative career dream of catering ala Martha Stewart.

I start my summer grad school course tomorrow. Lord willing I make it through the next two months. I will savor every moment of August. I got an A- in Marketing and am so over my perfectionist complex it's not even funny. That class was HARD! There was not a lot of synergy between actually working in Marketing (Product), going through Pragmatic Marketing training (required at work) and this class. I've OD'd on Marketing. Oy! My summer course is Professional and Organizational Ethics. I just turned in my first assignment moments ago - commentary on this article. Interesting read!