Saturday, June 16, 2012

Today's Cooking Affairs

So today my bananas were going overripe of course I made my chocolate chip banana bread recipe!  Cannot wait to eat a slice for dessert after my corn chowder!

So the corn chowder recipe is just like all of mine, ADAPTED!

I started with this recipe and adapted it to look more like this:

1 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
4 chopped carrots (they were on the smallish side)
3/4 cup chopped spinach
1 minced garlic clove
A dash of dried thyme
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk (you can use more or less depending on how thick you want your chowder)
2 cans creamed corn
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne (which I was out of today :(  )

Heat the butter soup pot over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, spinach, and thyme and cook until the vegetables about 10 minutes, stirring often. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything. Pour in the creamed corn and milk (My can opener was at the house since I cooked chili there a while ago and so I muscled open the cans of corn with my utility tool from my purse!).  Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the mixture is heated through.

That is how I change recipes...somewhat dramatically I guess, but it turned out super yummy even though it is missing the tiny bit of spice kick I wanted to add!

Hope you try this and like it.

What About You?  What would you do if you were in the middle of a meal and realized you could not get a can open without a traditional can opener?  Have you tried my banana bread recipe yet?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Love My Job

So, for those of you that do not know, I am a lab/research technologist in an entomology lab.  Mostly I supervise the undergrads, make sure people get paid, offer advice, stock the inventory, help on projects when the loads are tough, and work on my own projects at the same time (It can be exhausting).

Occasionally I get really cool/fun opportunities as an entomologist and this week included one of them.  The post doc in my lab wanted to go out and catch leaf hoppers and tree hoppers for a project we are collaborating on and I got to go with her!  Now I know this does not sound all that great, but it was awesome.  I felt like such a little kid.  I was basically running through grass with a butterfly net and catching everything.  I got to see so many different kinds of insects (and spiders) and it was neat to see how many leaf hoppers I could get.  I ended up catching eight different morphotypes (they looked the same to the naked eye, but they might technically be a different species).

Here are my leaf hopper/tree hopper catches!

What About You?  Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a task you were assigned at work and thought it was a ton of fun?  What was it?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Inside (Before)

So as the post before this noted: we bought a house.  This also comes with the caveat that...this house needed a lot of help on the inside (note: I get to learn handy household skills!)

So naturally we did what every person who buys a house does before they buy a house:  make a set plan of how to attack all the things that need to be addressed about their house and what order to do it in...which immediately was thrown to the wind the day we bought our house (at least for a day) when I thought up this epic first night scenario.

Master Bedroom
Our snuggle nest in the Master bedroom
The day we bought our house we were supposed to do work on it...instead we made a blanket nest in the master bedroom, bought sushi, did laundry, and snuggled while watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones in our new house :D  (new skills acquired: how to run our washer/dryer).  The Master bedroom connects to the hallways and the bathroom (via our closet) and has lots of natural light.

After that free night our next night involved removing all of the items from the walls (screws, hooks, tacks, nails, and the things you put on screws to give them more support...the ones that expand once you have put them in your walls and make huge holes coming out...).  The lady who lived here must have had a million things on her walls...we had a handy pile of odds and ends that came out of the walls that literally would overflow both of my hands cupped together (crazy!).  Also, there were spots that looked like she had taken a board with a nail and hammered it in several times close to the same spot...cannot figure that one out.  She also put those screw supports in EVERYTHING...good thing I learned how to spackle like a boss :D  Also, took the face plates off all of the electrical sockets and switches (we have NO shortage of them).

Master Closet
Our master closet connects the bathroom and the master bedroom.  It had a janky wire shelving system we removed, and all the screws that held it in had those screw supports...(new skills acquired: removing shelving, spackling).
I don't know if you can see all the holes here, but this closet had about 100 holes...oh dear God, the spackling O.o
Laundry Room
Our laundry room has an entrance to the house from the autoport, which is nice in case it is raining.  Our house came with an energy efficienct washer/dryer set (lucked out here!) and a big old hole in the wall from the door handle (new skills: patching and spackling large holes, and installing doorstops).

And...since I do not think I have mentioned this yet...the lady who lived her was a cat lady...some of her light sockets had face plates with cat stickers.  This is the window in our laundry room, which has paw prints coming up the wall from the door to the outside, across the windowsill, and down the other side...and this is all in textured paint!  (new skills acquired: sanding crazy cat lady textured paint off the walls..., learning never to paint with textured paint...because if you do not remove it whoever buys your house will want to murder you)

The paw prints stop in the middle like the cat is looking out the window. 
The kitchen is connected to the laundry room, the hallway, and the living room.  The kitchen is actually pretty nice and the red-checked curtains inspired me to pick a pale yellow color for the paint in here :D  I think all we are planning on really doing in here is painting and reflooring--there are some burns in the linoleum...and I am not really a fan of the pattern but my husband likes it.  (new skills acquired: using pieces in a room to inspire the rest of the room, liking yellow).

The lady who lived here before was handicapped, so I can reach everything!
The bathroom is connected to our closet and the hallway.  The tub is super-nice with black and white tile which will match my bathroom aesthetic (black and white, with pops of color).  See those funny blobby shapes between the baby blue and light pink wall paint...that is a lining of cats...with paw textured maroon paint...SERIOUSLY?!  If you can see the holes in the wall and floor by the toilet, there were metal handicapped bars installed, like the one by the tub.  We removed them (including the one still present in the picture) to give more space to the room.  We also plan on reflooring in here and possibly replacing the toilet.  (new skills acquired:  patching massive holes, removing handicapped equipment--Thomas did most of that though--, and that sanding is now a dirty word.)

So yeah, crazy cat lady with textured paint strikes again...this lined both sides of the hallway...
(new skills acquired: not crying, removing sanded particles from everything in the vicinity)

The Office/Guest Bedroom
The office is at the opposite end of the hallway from the master bedroom and really just needs a coat of paint--the stuff that was in here was...very light orange...not sure what to call it other than that.  Also, it needs new carpet (as does the rest of the carpeted area, this lady was a smoker and a cat owner...this carpet has seen much better days).  (New skills acquired:  laying painter's tape)

Living Room
This is the front entrance to our house and connects to the kitchen.  It has a lot of windows and needs new flooring.  Also, see that foot wide strip at the top of the wall?  It is textured paint...we just said meh and painted over it...we might power sand it and paint it again, I think neither of us is super happy with it at the moment, but I think we will see how the stencils we made look on the textured paint before we do anything. (new skills acquired: picking/making stencils).

Okay, so while this lady was a crazy cat lady...I love cats and am so pleased and tickled that they left this cat coat hook.  It was the most adorable thing.  :D

This is our before we did much to the house set of pictures, all the new skills I put up were learned during the progress of the work, which I will post more about.

What About You?  What do you think about textured paint?  Do you think the cat things were cute or overkill?  Do you have any weird things about your house that if someone bought it they would think were weird?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We Bought a House!

So, first off--I am back!  I intend to try to post somewhat regularly now that I have a working computer and am not on vacation/dealing with having just bought a house.

So recap: we bought a house!  It is a two bedroom home with a living room, kitchen, and laundry room that used to belong to a lady in a wheelchair so we have nice wooden porches with ramps and the cabinets and counters are at the perfect height for me (I am 5 foot 3 inches, so most counters/cabinets are just a tad too high to be comfortable)!

It was somewhat of a stressful adventure with all the paperwork, showings, and new jargon as well as having to deal with what one person said via another person...caused a few mix-ups but nothing too serious!  Our house is super cute...and most importantly awesomely ours!

This is the view from the street, it came with the raised garden in the front, and we intend to keep it!  It is sort of a hodgepodge type of garden, but I quite like it.  I never was one for the same flowers to be standing all in a row...looked like too much work.  This also, makes me feel more like it is a more natural occurring grouping, with flowers that bloom all the time :D

We have a nice driveway with a parking spot in front and a wooden carport in the back 
And lots of big windows to let in natural light 
View of our standing garden from our carport
One of the three sheds that came with our property.
Our house from the back of our property.
Raised garden in our backyard with a beautiful purple flowering dogwood
The beautiful walking path that abuts our backyard and runs through the neighborhood.
We have a lot of plans for our new house and yard and I will be updating as we get things done, or that is the plan.  We have already been working on some updates, but I will post those later this week so I have more posts for you to look forward to :)

What About You?  What was your most exciting purchase in your lifetime?  What are some of the ideal things you think you would look for in buying a first home?