Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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Buffet

A few months ago I got it in my head that I needed to rid myself of any furniture that still screamed COLLEGE DAYS! Suspect No. 1 was my tv stand. It’s quite fancy really. A rectangular box with a couple of drawers I got at Walmart for $30. High end, I know.

To add fuel to my obsession, I have been seeing all kinds of cool things on that black void known as Pinterest. (You can follow my boards at the link at the top) So I also got in my head that I needed an old buffet and I would transform it to greatness!

So, I waited and I waited until at last a perfect candidate appeared on Craigslist. Score! So, I headed down to Circleville, loaded it up in my aunt’s van and headed home. This actually was a long endeavor as I had switched cars with said aunt and forgot to take the house key with me.

After finally getting back in the house I put the munchkin to bed and immediately started cleaning it up and got 2.5 coats on before crashing at 3 AM.

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The next day after work I came home and finished it up. SIX coats later.

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So here is the finished result. I have to figure out how to hide the cords, and I’ll probably get some baskets for underneath it for munchkin’s toys, but overall I think it turned out pretty well. I love how the green accents turned out. I just need that last drawer pull. Lesson learned – always check the little bags the pulls come in, even if they all came from the same drawer.


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After a long hiatus, I’m back

I love blogs. I love writing them. I love reading them. I love reading what others have to say.

But they are hard.

Between work and raising a very rascally munchkin, fun blogging can sometimes turn into a job, and thus, a very long break. Dreary winter weather doesn’t help much either. And if we’re being honest, me and the to-go window have been best friends the past few weeks.

So, I’m back. For how long? Who knows?


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Breakfast Pie

Growing up, when we went to my Grandma’s house, I remember always having dessert for breakfast. Why wouldn’t you have cookies to start you off right for the day? Or pecan pie? Or brownies? My absolute favorite were the cut out cookies shaped like cardinals. As a kid I thought this ritual was normal. Now that I’ve gotten older, I have realized I just had a very wise, very cool grandmother.

Remember how Sunday I picked black raspberries with my mom? Well, I took home what we picked, and I had to use them up before they went bad. Did you know there are hardly ANY recipes for black raspberries? Everything for the red ones or blackberries, but not black raspberries. Argh.

I contemplated making:

  • Black raspberry syrup
  • Cobbler
  • Muffins
  • Popsicles
  • Cookies
  • Pancakes
  • Jam

But in the end, I went with the trusty dusty black raspberry pie. I used my usual crust and made it all cute with little hearts. (Awwww) I used a recipe for Blackberry Pie, sub black raspberries.

Ready for the oven!

A little extra, so I made a jar pie.

Isn’t it beautiful? The crust turned out perfect, and it didn’t boil over. This pie just looks amazing. I can’t wait to dig in and try it!


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Happy Birthday, Munchkin!

It’s hard to believe my munchkin is already five! How time has flown! Since this year seemed to be the first year he really knew what was going on, I finally bit the bullet and expanded the party beyond our closest family and friends to his little friends from school.

Now every party needs a theme. I asked Keeler what he wanted. He specifically said:

  1. Dragon cake
  2. watermelon
  3. tag

Well, we were able to do two of the three. I found a pattern online for the cake. Not as hard as it looks. Watermelon – yep. Ran out of time for a game of tag.

The cake, sans frosting.

 

Awaiting wings.

I used tootsie rolls for the claws, icing for the eyes and chocolate chips for the pupils and nostrils. The spine scales were crackers I made earlier this week.The cake was just a basic yellow cake I made from All Recipes and the icing was from a can. Real high tech around here.

One thing I will say, you really have to freeze the cake after assembling, and periodically freeze it while icing to make life a whole ton easier. Less crumbs get into the icing, and the finish is much smoother when you spread it when it is harder.

I had lots of grand ideas for the theme, but in the end, the entertainment was bubbles, coloring pages, blow up swords and paper crowns from Oriental Trading Company, and a garden hose. A pop up tailgate tent from CBear served as the “castle”. Everyone had a great time, and I didn’t have to break the bank to do it. Win for everyone!

We also had everyone bring a canned good instead of presents. Hopefully that helps the kids learn about giving, and less toys around the house here to trip over. We’re going to take them to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Food wise, again, I kept simple. I made:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies sliced up
  • Cucumber Slices With Dill (since I have a ton of cucumbers and dill to use up!)

  • Confetti salad – a bean salad from my grandma’s recipe collection
  • Bread from the bread maker
  • Ham and PB&J for sandwiches
  • Amish Macaroni Salad (Everyone LOVES this!)

My family brought:

  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Orzo salad
  • Strawberry Salad with feta

Munchkin’s actual birthday is this week. I usually take the day off and we do whatever he wants to do, and we go to the toy store and he gets to pick out his own present. I’ll also take him to the food bank to deliver the food we collected. Should be a lovely day! Last year we went to the park and to the movies to see Toy Story 3. This year? Stay tuned!


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Happy Birthday – No Cake.

This weekend Aunt M came down for birthday celebrations. Mind you, this was her third celebration, but who’s counting? And what do you get someone who has everything she needs? You make dinner, of course!

We had…

Caprese Salad Skewers

Amish Macaroni Salad

Marinated Portabello Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Beets

Pineapple Salsa

Mojitos

And, for the big birthday, neither myself nor my sis are big fans of cake. Everyone else is welcome to enjoy it, but there are so many better things in the world to eat, why waste time on cake? Although, I must admit, I love to bake them. Anywho, I went with the Southern Style Strawberry Shortcake. I even made the whipped cream by hand. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! That stuff is so awesome. I may never get my whipped cream from a can again.

After our lovely dinner we had every intention of going to the Gallery Hop, but Munchkin was begging for a movie, so we went to the movie theater. Sometimes caving to wants is easier for everyone involved, and it was super hot out, so that air conditioning was looking more and more appealing. Movie sold out. Boooo. We decided to stop in a nearby store and that’s when the storm hit. Crazy wind, rain, and even hail! The power went out, so we decided to head home. Shopping is no fun in the dark!

Happy Birthday, Aunt M!


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Exercise + Cooking Show = More Exercise

Image from the Food Network

At home I only have the most basic of cable, roughly 15 channels. I get the major networks and a few random other channels. What don’t I get? The Food Network. Well, at the gym I go to they have a million channels and televisions on each piece of machinery. While exercising I tend to rotate between Lifetime Family, VH1 and of course, the Food Network. Well, actually the Food Network is most of the time. Not really a good idea to work up an appetite while exercising, but hey, it’s a great channel!

So, Saturday morning while I was on the eliptical I was watching the Paula Dean show and saw this fabulous recipe for Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw. It looks delicious, and it adds to my desire to make some jalapeno pepper jelly. Because you know, I’m obsessed with canning lately. I also seem to love anything with vinegar in it. Maybe it’s a nutritional deficiency or something.

I also watched 5 Ingredient Fix. I had never watched this show before, but it’s kinda fun. And who doesn’t love Frozen Lemon Mint Juleps?

I have been thinking about having people over for dinner sometime in the near future now that it is warming up. I think these both might make it on the menu!


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Happy Mother’s Day – You better like it!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there, especially mine! She’s pretty alright, I guess. 🙂

Mother’s Day was lovely. CBear took me out to breakfast at Bob Evans (a favorite!) on Saturday and put up with my super grumpiness due to being over worked, over stressed, tired, and not being able to breathe due to stupid allergies. Honeysuckle and I just don’t get along.

Sunday I went home. Both mom and my sister were sick with a cold, Munchkin had a tummy bug, so between allergies and colds and bugs, we were quite the bunch! But, this morning we went out to eat at Preto’s and stopped at a few tag sales where I found some new hammered aluminum and had quite a few fun conversations with the other treasure hunters. I even got to run out in the glorious, wonderful sunshine that finally has made an appearance this spring. Beautiful!

When we arrived back home, I was discussing canning blogs (How much do I love Food in a Jar!!) with my mom when she said she saw a recipe for violet jelly, and wanted to try it. So, I thought, I’ll go pick the flowers, and mom will love it!

So I headed outside and carefully picked these beautiful little purple flowers that were all over the yard. Did I mention they were little? As in super tiny? And I needed two cups!!! I finally got about a cup and went inside after about an hour of picking. We could just make half a batch.

Super tiny, super hard to pick, little purple flowers.

Mom loved it, right? Wrong. Mom did NOT want to make the jelly. She just thought it looked interesting, so suggested I make it instead. Me, who has never canned anything EVER. Blergh. I agreed to maybe. Then, a few minutes later I hear lots of talk about the flowers. Turns out my idea of little purple flowers and other people’s idea are two totally different flowers, and I had not picked violets, but some other type of flora. Doh!

So, back out I went, this time with both mom and sister in tow helping pick the correct flower. I must say, actual violets are SO MUCH FASTER to pick! I was sent home with the violets, left over pizza, canning equipment and some seedlings to plant in my garden.

Violets...what I should have picked the first time.

As soon as I got home I immediately started the jelly. Once I get my mind on doing something, I have to finish it. What do you think?

I have no idea if it will be good or not. One jar fell when taking it out of the water bath, so that one will probably need to go in the fridge. I know I heard at least five pings from the seven jars, so that is a good sign I won’t make everyone sick.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You better like your jelly!