Monthly Archives: June 2009

Confessions, Part Two

Confession: I’m a nerd.

There’s no getting around this one.  I would rather read than run, despite what my previous post may lead you to believe.  I’d prefer to diagram sentences or dissect something rather than go out partying.  I like sudoku so much that I had to throw away all my sudoku books because I would get sucked in and do nothing else.

I love techno-gadgets of all shapes and sizes.
I love love LOVE my Blackberry so much that I managed to somehow pop a key off of it while sliding it and out of its case over and over and over again.
I like to play around with all the settings on my camera just to see what happens.
I also like to take things apart just to see how they work.
I love putting things back together.
I love reading directions and instruction manuals.
I love assembling cheap furniture.  (Call me if you need a desk or bookshelf put together.  I’m pretty efficient awesome when it comes to those.)

I, however, am not a very good nerd because I suck at math.

Confessions: Part One

So I’ve decided that it’s was time for me to do a little series of posts.  I’ve thought about it for a while, but I felt like I was stealing from this blog.  Then I decided that I could always claim the “imitation is the highest form of flattery” bit and I’d be good.  So without further adieu…my confessions.

Confession:  I have always wanted to be a runner.

Yes, you read that right.

In theory, running seems to be happy and wonderful and exhausting but ultimately fulfilling.  I like the idea of my hair blowing in the wind.  The mundane sound of my feet rhythmically slapping the ground drowning out the constant chaos in my head.  The burn.  Running a marathon.  Crossing the finish line.  Feeling like I actually accomplished something.  Pushed myself beyond what I thought my limits were.

That all sounds great and all…but see, I know myself.  I know that when I “run” I look dyskinetic.  I also know that when I “run” the wind doesn’t blow my hair behind me like a kite tail, it blows tiny strands of hair in my eyes and mouth.  I know that when I “run” that slapping sound is more likely to be my boobs assaulting my fat roll.  And I don’t enjoy that so much.  So I guess I’ll just have to resort to my old standard: reading a cheesy chick lit book in which the heroine is a young graduate student who has fallen in love with her married English literature professor who promised that he was going to leave his wife, but then she saw them looking like a smug and happy couple at the Renaissance festival and realized that it’s she who is a fool, not the wife, and so said heroine decides to go for a nice, long run to clear her mind.  During the run…wait.  I could totally write one of those books…but this post is about running.  Or my lack thereof.  Oh, well…

The One I Forgot To Title(Or Who I'm Reading)

Like me, many of you use Google Reader.  If not, you’ve at least heard me talk about it.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, let me give you the 10cent tour:  You subscribe to different blogs by typing in the blog name/web address under “Add a subscription”.  After you’ve signed up for a blog,  Google Reader lets you know when any of those blogs have a new post.  (Versus my pre-reader days when I would obsessively check each blog hourly daily.)

Through Twitter and other people’s blog rolls, I’ve found many other blogs I like to read.  But the nunber of blogs I follow has gotten to the point of ridiculous.  So I’m paring down.  Cutting people out.  Unfollowing them.  It’s hard not to feel a little bit guilty about it, but if all I ever do is “Mark All As Read” then there’s no reason for it to be in my reader.

So as I went through and tried to figure out who to nix, I realized something.  For the most part, the blogs that I read the most are either people like me, people I would to be like when I grow up, or people that are just so fascinating and/or funny that I can’t not read their blogs.  Oh!  And there are a few with super fabulous recipes.  I never get rid of people with food!  Or good pictures. 🙂

<—-Right there: I have a blog roll on the left.  See it?  It hasn’t been updated in a while.  I promise I’ll do that soon.  But for today, here’s what you get.

Blogs that make me giggle:
Not Going Postal
Moosh in Indy
The English Major
Peapod Squad Stuff
Hope 4 Peyton
Mrs. Fussypants

Blogs that inspire me:
The Spohrs Are Multiplying
Simply Me
Momopoly
Bethany Actually (love love LOVE her “dottery”)

Blogs that make me hungry:
A Southern Fairy Tale
Eat Drink and Blog
Notes from the Cookie Jar
Trouble with Toast

Blogs that make my brutal honesty not seem so brutally honest
(Or alternately titled “Blogs I wish I had the balls to be”):
Baby on Bored*
Her Bad Mother*
Attack of the Redneck Mommy*

Blogs with purty pictures:
Stacey Cooke Photography
Kyle Hitchcock Photography
Sarcastic Mom (she’s funny, too)
CityStreams

*Don’t like curse words? Don’t click here!

Mouthwatering Monday: Greek Spaghetti

greek spaghettiThis is yet another Taste of Home recipe changed a bit to suit my family’s taste buds.  The original is here.

Prep: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 1box spaghetti (I like Barilla Plus.)
  • 4 cups cubed chicken breast, sprinkled with lemon-pepper seasoning and cooked
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetting according to package.  While it is boiling, mix together cooked chicken, spinach, cream of chicken soup, mayo, sour cream and lemon-pepper seasoning.  After spaghetti is finish cooking, drain and return to large pot.  Add chicken mixture and mix well.

In a small saucepan, wisk together milk and flour.  Add bouillon.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Pour over spaghetti mixture and mix well.

Place spaghetti mixture in 13×9 baking dish.  Top with mozzerella, bread crumbs and parmesan.

Bake, uncovered, at 350ºF for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.

Adorable (& EASY) Pillowcase Dress

I’ve blogged about this before, but the page I linked to with directions is now gone.  So, I decided provide a step-by-step guide here based on my experience.  If I were a supa-awesome blogger, I would make one and post pictures along with my directions.  I, however, am only awesome.  (And Lydia has 6 of these, so I have no reason to make another one.)   But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m going to add some really crappy drawings that will hopefully make the directions easier to understand!  Hopefully is the key word.  (Click on “pcdress#” to see the drawings.)  **I’ve never inserted pdf files before…I hope this works!  And if not, they weren’t that great anyway.**

This is such an easy project that if you can even barely work a sewing machine, you can make this adorable dress in less than 30 minutes!!  And if you make it large enough, this is  a “grow with me” item.  Lydia has worn hers so that it was long, and now it’s short.  I have seen several girls wearing them as shirts(adorable!)

Materials you’ll need:
1 pillowcase
matching or coordinating thread
2 yards of matching ribbon
Fray Check(optional)
Washable fabric marker or chalk
Tape measure
Sharp scissors
Sewing machine

Lay the pillowcase flat, with the hemmed end at the bottom.  Measure upwards according to the following measurements:
6 month – 14.5 inches
12 month – 16.5 inches
18 month – 17.5 inches
2T – 18.5 inches
3T – 19.5 inches
4T – 20.5 inches

Once measured, cut off everything above the line you’ve drawn, saving the scraps. (pcdress02)

From the leftovers/scraps, cut a strip that is 1.5 inches tall.  Cut the strip open and then in half, so that you have 2 strips.  Each strip will be about 1.5 inches tal by about 20 inches long. (pcdress03)

Now take the large part of the pillowcase and fold it in half longways.  You will be cutting out the armholes, and it keeps it even if you fold it in half and only have to cut one time. (pcdress04) For sizes 2T and below, cut in about 1.5 inches and 3 inches down. For larger sizes, cut 2 inches in and 4 inches down. (pcdress05)

(You will have to read and re-read this next paragraph several times, I assure you.  There is no way I can draw this for you.  It won’t make sense until you try it, so just get out your machine, start sewing and make sure you have a seam ripper in case you make a mistake!)

Take one 1.5 inch strip and place it on the inside of the armwhole, right side of strip to wrong side of dress/pillowcase.  Fold down the top of the strip about 3/8th of an inch.  Meet the top of the fold with the top of dress.  Stitch the strip all the way around the armhold.  When you get close to the end of the armhole, stop and cut off the extra strip, leaving enough to fold down 3/8ths of an inch.  Fold down, and finish off the armhole.

Next, fold the strip TWICE: once so that the raw edge of the strip is touching the raw edge of the armhole, and then fold it over again to the other side of the armhole(essentially making a binding).

Fold like that all along the armhole, pinning as you go.  Then stitch along the binding.  Don’t stress out about trying to make a pretty stitch, the inside stitch won’t show when you’re done.

Now do the other armhole just like this one.

Then fold down the top of the front, first by 1/4th of an inch and then by 5/8ths of an inch.  This will form a casing (with no raw edges exposed) for the ribbon once its stiched up.  Stitch it up, and then do the same thing to the back of the dress.

Now thread a yard of ribbon through each casing.  If the casing is small and the ribbon is wide, it may help to put a safety pin on the end of the ribbon to help you pull it through.  Once you have the ribbon through the casing, trim the end and seal with Fray Check.

Now just tie up the ribbons and you have this adorable dress:

pcdress

That's NOT an answer!

This conversation is heard very, very often in our household.  It doesn’t matter which parent or which one of our “big” kids you plug in below.

Parent: Why did you (insert wrongdoing of choice here)?

Child: Because I shouldn’t.

Parent: I know you shouldn’t, but why did you (offense of choice)?

Child: Because I won’t do it again.

Parent:  Okay.  That’s great.  But why did you do it this time?

Child:  Because…because…because I can’t.

Parent:  You can’t what?

Child: I can’t do it again.

End scene with frustrated parent and bewildered-looking child.

Wordless Wednesday: Is There Something On My Face? Edition

Something on my face

Picnik Winner!

Why did I do this to myself???
Picking just one picture was SO hard…you guys are really creative!

BUT…I chose this picture because really?  It’s hilarious & awesome!
britrain Congrats, CindyStreams!

CindyStreams is a long-time blogger who has just recently started a new photography business!
Go check out her new site for more adorable photographs!

For people who live near me:

We need your help.
There is a family in need who just had a new baby.
They literally have nothing.
I am not exaggerating.

If you have any baby stuff that you can donate or would like to buy diapers, wipes, onsies, or other baby necessities, please contact me via email(queenofhaddock(at)gmail(dot)com or my cell).

We often don’t realize just how much we have
until we’re faced with a situation like this.
The poor and starving aren’t just in Africa,
they’re in our backyard.
Please help.

Let's do lunch. **Premium Picnik Giveaway**

How about a Picnik?

I am really picky about catchy little names that are misspelled on purpose.  Kountry Kitchen. Disaster Kleenup.  Krafty Kathy’s Scrapbook Shoppe.  And seriously, why would you purposly lead kids astray by misspelling the word Preskool??  (And why is there a “k” theme?)

Given my dislike for all stoopid spellingz*, you can see why I didn’t rush to check out this Picnik thing when I first heard about it.  I’ve been putting it off for a while now, but I could only hear about it so many times before I had to go check it out.  And you want to know what happened?  Ah feld in lurv.

There are so many things you can do on this thing!
You can add words to an already awesome picture:

babymcdreamy
You can make these cute and easy little Fancy Collages that have backgrounds already prepared for you:

PrincessEmmiecollage

And you can make simple Collage from templates provided:

The Many Faces of Tucker

And, ooh-la-la, you can make pictures look all dreeeeeeeeamy:

ICeremony039softened

Those are things that you can “make”, but you can also do simple editing(crop, fix red-eye, etc.) and create masterpieces with the different effects provided.  Below I have made a slide show sampling some of the effects offered.  The first picture is the original photo I took of the flowers that Marshall brought home for me on our anniversary. (Thanks, Marsh!)  After that one you’ll see variations of the same picture.  I only used one effect per picture, but you could easily use more than one!

[slideshow id=936748722515507168&w=426&h=320]

So now that you’ve witnessed the amazingness that is Picnik, I’m going to offer you a chance to win a one year subscription.  Anyone can sign up for a free account that offers limited access.  But with a subscription to Picnik Premium, you have access to all of the effects, templates, fonts, collages and other options.

Want to win??
This time it’s a little different.
Everything a giveaway probably should not be: unrandom and biased.
Go to Picnik, and use the free(non-premium) editing tools and effects on one of your pictures to create a masterpiece.
Then email your creation to me at queenofhaddock(at)gmail(dot)com
(You obviously have to use @ and . instead of the words,
but I get more spam if I type it like normal.)
I will pick my favorite photo, and that person will get an e-gift card for the one year subscription!!

This giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on Saturday, June 6th and go until 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 8th.

*There is one reason to enjoy misspelled words. They get away with it because it is really funny.  Comedy will get you a long way in my world.