Sunday, April 26, 2009

British Car Show

Today was the British Car Show at Canyon Oaks Country Club. We went last year and enjoyed it so we called the 'rents this morning and invited them with since Canyon Oaks is literally about two blocks from their place.

In addition to the cars, they had a silent auction going on, a saxophone quartet playing music and a bbq with tri tip sandwiches and bangers. I didn't take any of the photos, so these are by no means my favorite cars, but here's some that were there:

I'd tell you what my favorite was, but I've already forgotten and even if I told you I don't have a photo of it so you'll have no idea what I'm talking about anyway. So there.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sabado Gigante

Today was an action packed Saturday. We got everything done and then some.

We started off this morning with some interesting homemade baked apple french toast. I'd made it last night and let it soak overnight, but I think I should have blended the cream cheese/egg mixture a little better because all the cream cheese ended up on top. It was good, but I don't think I'll be rushing to make it again soon (except that we'll be eating the leftovers tomorrow!).

Then, at 8:30 a.m. the DirecTV man showed up to install our new service. We refuse to pay the ridiculously high increased prices of Comcast so we're switching services. Next weekend, AT&T will be out to get our internet hooked up.

Since "Jeremy" took almost 4 hours to get us all set up we hung out outside and made our plans for the patio and visited with Mum and Justin when they each stopped by. We kept getting interrupted though by numerous pass-overs happening this morning.
We also took some time out to spy on our neighbors down the street who were having some kind of beauty pageant party going on. It was a group of young teenage girls being dropped off who were all wearing pageant sashes. Except for the boy who was dressed up like Woody from Toy Story. I don't think they were from gold nuggy days because they weren't period dresses. Some of them were wearing prom like dresses, others were wearing sundresses, one was wearing shorts and a tank top. It was mysterious and weird, but luckly we have this handy new fence we can peek through unobserved.
On a more productive note, Chris did do the finishing tap work to the sand in the patio area. We needed to make sure it was completely compacted before we laid the brick.

Once we were inducted to the satellite television family we hit the road and made a b-line for Home Depot where we picked up some aggregate stepping stones to inlay in our brick patio.

Next we went to Lowe's where we picked up 350 bricks. Luckily they got to load them in the truck. We just had to shrink wrap them down.

After lunch we got started on the patio. We made an assembly line where I unloaded bricks from the truck down to Chris' work area.

By dinner time Chris had the whole patio laid, pending some finish filing on the perimeter bricks that were slightly too long. We both liked the way it came out.
Nice, huh? This is the point at which Wilson and Raquel stopped by to say hello. I don't actually have any photos of them, if you can believe that, so you'll just have to trust me that they were here.

I called Chris in from his finish work at 5:30 to eat dinner, after which I headed out for a little get together with some work friends for a "spring swap". We were all bringing our no longer used clothes, shoes and accessories to swap with each other. I didn't get there until 6:30 (it started at 6:00) so most people had already sorted through the clothes, but thankfully nobody wore my size so I had my pick of anything sized S or M. But also to my disadvantage, nobody wore S or M clothes so there was very little I could use, but I did manage to snap a couple of tops and two skirts. It was fun, but it would have been better for me if I attended a swap with other midgets who wore S and M clothes. I also brought a bunch of jewelry with me which went over big. Nobody else brought any and my stuff was pretty nice, I just wear a different style now. Here's me sampling some of the clothes at the swap:

Captain Sleepy Pants wimped out at about 9:50 tonight so I sent him to bed while I watch QVC and blog. I was desperately tired earlier when Wilson was here, but now I've caught my second wind and even though it's almost 11:00 p.m. I'm not that tired. I'll have to remind myself that when I'm falling asleep in church in the morning!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Secretary's Day

While Jessica and Tyler were busy hugging whales and saving the planet, I was busy at work reaping the benefits of Professional Administrative Assistant's Day, which I believe is a glorified way of saying Secretary's Day. My boss is Al, the Community Development Director who oversees Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The other boss is Dennis who keeps an eye on Engineering, Sanitation and Public Works. They've learned that it's easier to do something together for the office ladies than each taking care of their own staff. This year they brought us all vases of roses (picked from the yards of Dennis and one of our Engineers, Radley):

They were so cool because every bouquet was different:

In addition to flowers they also arranged for a breakfast spread from Juice and Java to be delivered. There were bagels, muffins, coffee and orange juice. I couldn't eat any of it, but I did have some delicious coffee.

This week has gone by crazy fast. I've just had a ton of stuff at work going on. Meetings, meetings and then some more meetings. Oye!

A note of highlight, though. We made the seafood chowder soup mix Jessica bought us at Christmas. I bought a frozen mixed bag of scallops, shrimp and calamari from Trader's to throw in. Other than that you just had to add some crumbled bacon and a can of evaporated milk to the mix of seasonings and dried potatoes. It was absolutely delicious. And even better as leftovers the next day because it thickened up a bit.

Now we just have left a wild rice and chicken soup to make. Of course I waited until the weather was in the 90's before I made the chowder. Nothing says summer like a nice hot house and hot soup!

And the winner is.....


The Reigning Champ; Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage:

The Challenger; Baked Corned Beef and Cabbage:

And the winner is..............

It's a TIE!!!

Here's the deal, I absolutely loooooved the baked cabbage. It was so delicious I could have eaten the entire head if cabbage wasn't on my 'do not eat' list. I think the concentrated liquid made it super tasty. However, we both preferred the softer, more tender crock-potted beef. The baked beef was good, but we both remembered the stewed version being better. So there you go. Next year we'll crockpot the meat, bake the cabbage and continue to roast the potatoes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Fence is Up!

After much persistence and sweat by the boys, the fence was stabilized in an upright position by the end of yesterday. I really like the way it came out.

Now that the fence is up Chris can finish leveling out the patio area to the fence line. Next will be bringing in the sand and getting the bricks. I don't think I'll be getting out of that part.

We're just hanging out watching "Two Weeks Notice" while the corned beef finishes up in the oven. It smells soooooooo good. 10 more minutes....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Landscaping and Laundry

One word that sums up this week? Landscaping. Oye! The boys (Chris and Justin) have been working on the front yard all week long. Cutting, digging, talking, drinking beer, more digging.

Monday: While I cooked dinner the boys started leveling out the patio area 4-6" below the existing walkway.
Let me rephrase that, Chris watched while Justin started leveling out the patio.

Tuesday: Bunko night way up in the boone's of Magalia. But to reward my efforts I did win "most losses" which got me a pretty stained glass hangy thing that I put up at my desk at work.

Wednesday: More yard work. I guess Justin had come over Tuesday, too, but they only got as far as to have some beer.
This time the boys broke out power tools to break up the soil and that made it go much faster. By the end of the evening the area was all excavated.

Thursday: I had to work late (8:00 pm) for another Emergency Operation Center volunteer presentation. While I was at work Chris was at home digging post holes in the excavated area. He had two done by the time I got home.

Today I got to stay home because I worked so late last night and I have to go to a forum tomorrow on behalf of the town regarding compliance with a state assembly bill that deals with greenhouse gasses. I actually got up at a decent hour this morning and got all my grocery shopping done by 11:00 am which was fabulous because all the stores were empty. Thank you, Jesus! I'm making taco salads tonight with some leftover chicken that I'm going to shred and heat up with some taco seasoning. We have teflon taco salad molds to bake the tortillas in which I like because they're not fried. I also picked up some marinated country style ribs at S&S for Chris to BBQ tomorrow and we're going to make another corned beef and cabbage on Sunday (baked a la Jessica).

Alright, time to move the laundry into the dryer and start another load. How do two people generate so much laundry?? Wait, Chris wears the same pair of pants and button-up all week so I guess it's me. Ugh.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Some-bunny Got Ham Today...

No Easter egg hunts around here, but we still kept busy with lots of stuff. I got up this morning and went to first service at church. Much to my surprise it wasn't super packed like most holiday services are and we didn't sing any hymns. It was practically perfect in every way.
We went to Lowe's this afternoon and bought all the fixin's for the fence. $600 worth. Oye! Even though the panels are vinyl they really do look nice.
Gee, do you think this picture was posed? Boys!
Chris measured and marked where all the post are going to go. Now he and our friend Justin are going to dig the post holes this week after work.
We had a dinner date at Mum's at 5:00 for some ham extraordinaire. She made ham, homemade mashed potatoes (maybe she didn't know they make those boxed now), asparagus (ha ha Jessica) and fruit salad.
For dessert we had some lemon cake from a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Of course we made out with bags of leftovers and we each got to take a colored hard boiled egg. Not too bad for no effort on our part.

So, yesterday I was talking about my chimichanga experiment. You'll be happy to know they came out really tasty. The roast made about seven chimichangas so we each ate one last night, I put two in the fridge for lunch today and I froze the last three.
I also got a little scrapbooking in this weekend. I have a co-worker who's birthday is this coming Tuesday so I needed to make a card to go with her gift. I borrowed the cover from a design I found online, but the construction of the inside was my pure genius!

Check that out! I made the extra length a folded back flap that holds the gift card with the help of some stellar sewing along the edges. And by stellar I mean that it looks like a blind person sewed it. Whatever, nobody will notice because they'll be so impressed with the awesomeness of the design.

Biggest news of the day? Chris turned the annoyed shutter sound off on my camera so now I can be super sneaky picture taker. Watch out because you'll never know if you're about to be in my blog!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fortress of Solitude

After lots of discussion Chris decided this was the weekend to get started on our front yard makeover. We've decided to put up a fence in the front yard, making a little rectangle courtyard. Both to keep our crazy neighbors from eye shot and to help muffle the sound of the diesel, jet engine powered transit buses that drive by every five minutes. After I cleaned our breakfast dishes this morning I went outside and found Chris laying the fence parameters:
While he worked on the yard I ran out and did some errands. When I got back he'd started removing sod:
That strip of dirt is on the outside of the fence line. We're going to put low perimeter logs along the outer edge of that swath and then fill it in with soil and shrubs. The dirt swatch follows the fence line at a rounded angle to keep the fence area from looking so square. After lunch Chris headed back out to pull all the sod out of the courtyard area which we are going to replace with either bricks or paving stones.
The fence is a white vinyl material with the top foot or so made out of lattice. We're buying them in 6' wide panels. Then you buy the coordinating posts and snap them all together. At least that's how it works in the perfect world, or on TV. In reality we're going to have to do a little ground leveling first with the help of a rented rototiller and a rented friend. Then we've got to do some exploratory work in the area of our posts for water and sewer lines. Today's goal was just to get the sod up, any tilling will probably wait until next weekend. Plus we still need to run over to Lowe's and buy the fence panels. Details, details.

Other than that, the week went pretty fast. I had bible study here this week so I made the crock pot chili that I included in Wilson's cookbook, cornbread muffins and broccoli salad. It was my first attempt ever at broccoli salad, but I dare say it came out very tasty. But how can you go wrong following a Paula Deen recipe (and no, there wasn't a stick of butter included).
Broccoli, cheddar cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, bacon, red onions and cranberries. The dressing is a mix of fat free mayonnaise, sugar and white wine vinegar. Surprisingly very tasty. Not that I would make something gross on purpose, but the idea of broccoli salad has never interested me and I had no intentions of actually eating any (raw veggies are a no-no for my tummy). But one little sample bite had me hooked so I doubled up on my tummy meds and served myself up a serving, too.

For dessert I made a homemade pumpkin cheesecake with Splenda. It's okay. I think when you use Splenda exclusively in a recipe and in such large quantities (1 1/4 cups) you're bound to get an odd aftertaste and consistency. Nobody spit it out, but I would never make it again and I think they deserve a real dessert next time for sitting through this one.
Speaking of food, I picked up some teriyaki mahi mahi from S&S yesterday for Chris to bbq. It's not as spine tingling delicious as the cajun catfish, but it's still good. Chris made it even better with a little glaze of additional teriyaki and some of my Thai chili sauce.
I'm making baked chimichangas tonight. It's a recipe of Kari's that she's made for me before. I'm crockpotting a rump roast right now in onion soup mix which I will shred later and add to a pan with cumin, southwest seasoning, salt and red wine vinegar. Then you spray both sides of a tortilla, pile some filling in the center and roll it up like a burrito (when a folded over bottom) and bake it until golden brown in a 450 oven. Then you top it with cheese, salsa and sour cream. They're really good. Hopefully I do them justice. Either you'll see photos, or this will be the last you hear of them.

Tomorrow we're going to Mum's for Easter dinner. Ham, potatoes and asparagus. Mr. A's still in Orygun so it'll just be the three of us (and Izzy). And of course I'll be stopping in to say 'hi' to Jesus in the morning. It is Easter after all. When I told Kari that Easter service was one of my least favorites because I don't like singing all the reserection hymns and as an example I belted out a couple of lines of "He Lives" to which she said that was her favorite song to sing. Ugh. That just ensures that we'll be singing it tomorrow. Way to go, me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tennis for Two

We had a wild hair today to dig out and dust off our tennis rackets and go for a jaunty game of tennis at the Pleasant Valley High courts. We actually had a couple of good rallies, but that was followed up by mile high lobs and me yelling "sorry" a lot. Rusty skills + new balls = good times.

Yesterday we relaxed, went to Barnes & Noble's and got Chris' fro cut.
Chris would only let me take a photo if I turned off the flash so that nobody saw me. He didn't want to be embarrassed by his wife taking pictures of him being a big boy.

For dinner that night I picked up some cajun catfish from S&S Produce for Chris to bbq. It's our absolute favorite fish from there. The marinade is to die for and Chris gives the fish a fabulous crispy coating on the bbq. Since the fish is a little spicy we serve it on a bed of herb and butter rice a roni.

I took Friday off from work since I have a ridiculous amount of vacation time and I didn't have to be up in town for nails. Instead, I stayed home and slept. And I managed to get some grocery shopping in too. The 'rents called and invited us over for some evening wine after dinner. Since I don't drink white or red wine (I prefer rose) I brought a mug of coffee with me, but Chris is no stranger to the red. We drank and caught up with them about their trip to North Carolina. They brought a t-shirt back for Chris and Mum got me a handmade lapel pin that is a woven flower basket with sewn flowers.

Mr. A. is heading up to Oregon for a week so Mum has already made plans to have us over for Easter lunch/dinner with her next Sunday. I think Chris is going to spend Thursday night with her, too, since bible study is here this week and I expect a full house, which is 6 too many for Chris' liking. My bible study group has decided to go to Spirit West Coast this summer in Monterey at Laguna Seca. It's a big Christian woodstock with a bagillion bands. We all bought our tickets last week while they were still at the cheaper $98 rate. It's a three day concert so that's a pretty good price. We're going to rent a house there, too, so that should be fun.

Oye! It's gym time already! Gotta run. Figuratively and literally!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

All done babysitting

The 'rents are back! No more babysitting. We went over last night and had a last chance love fest with Izzy.
We also stopped by California Pasta Productions and bought them a family meal pack for their return since it's not like they'd have a bunch of groceries awaiting them. We also left them a note about all the naughty things Izzy was up to in their absence. All night kitty keggers and catnip parties.

Other big news? I got my hair cut. Actually I just had my wanna be mullet cut off. The back was getting too long and was taking the attention away from my mustache so I called Colleen and she got me in that same day.
I tried another new recipe earlier this week. Homemade peanut butter cups. A mix of cool whip and peanut butter scooped into muffin cups and topped with sugar free chocolate syrup and then frozen. Cool whip doesn't freeze completely so you can't actually peel them out of the paper wrappers and hold them, but they were still delicious none the less.
Next time I think I'm going to line the cups first with chocolate because that seems to harden up well, freeze them and then scoop in the filling. Then maybe you could pop them out of the wrappers.

Speaking of food, Chris finally popped open his jar of homemade kimchee from his old co-worker in Oregon that was at the Sacramento conference with Chris. It looks hideous, but doesn't really smell. Until it comes out the other end....
I steer clear of any kimchee that isn't the sweet stuff from Asian Gardens.

Oh, other news; I got a new camera! It's the top rated camera for it's class last year and it happened to be on sale this week at Home Depot. It's a Canon PowerShot A1000. It's smaller than my Panasonic (like Jessica's), but not the super compact kind. I made a promise I wouldn't drop this one on the ground. You can't trust me with anything!