Sunday, October 31, 2010


So, we were giant Scrooge McDucks this year and didn't buy/carve any pumpkins or put up any decorations and we're not dressing up. I was just too lazy to go dig out the Halloween decoration box and we weren't too keen on putting any time or effort into carving pumpkins just to be stolen again. I'm not a total failure though, I mean, I did buy some candy for the little beggars.
I bought about 200 pieces of candy, which should make it through all the trick-or-treaters. In the past we've only had about 20-30 kids during the evening. But the biggest kid, Chris, will account for at least a third of the candy on his own. He already had me pull a piece of each kind out for him because if I ran out he wouldn't just be a sad panda, he'd be an angry panda.

In Hartman Halloween tradition we're having our Papa Murphy's jack-o-lantern pizza for dinner.
This year I stopped off at S&S and picked up a hard apple cider to go with it. Chris will of course sample one of many beers in the fridge, but I wanted a little something special too - that didn't taste like dog piss. Scooby Doo, who bagged my groceries, agreed that it looked delicious. We're eating early so that I can be ready to pounce on the door when the doorbell mayhem starts at sundown.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sisters and salads

Wilson was up in town for the weekend so we got together this afternoon for a lunch date at T Bar. I've got her hooked on their awesome deliciousness. A couple of salmon bowls and some tasty tea were a good way to spend the afternoon.
I tried a hot green tea and coconut latte which was heavenly and Wilson sipped on an iced pomegranate lemonade tea which was nice and tart.

After lunch I stopped at Kohl's on the way home and picked up a super sexy fleece zip-up housecoat for my surgery recovery. We learned last time that one housecoat is simply not enough. That, and I had a couple of really good coupons I couldn't stand to waste. You know how it is, you've got to spend money to save money!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birthdays - Canadian style

Today the old man turned 36 and we celebrated by both taking the day off from work. We started off the morning by opening presents and eating a birthday breakfast from Burger King.
The birthday fairies (me and my mom) brought him a Phil Collins CD, some Ken Follett books on tape, an argyle zip up sweater, two beer t-shirts (from Shmaltz & Stone breweries), and a variety six pack of beer. After my doctor's appointment we headed down the hill to Oroville to check our their new brewery, Western Pacific, for lunch. The menu was pretty limited between sandwiches and hamburgers, but it was good. The most anticipated part however, was the beer sampler.
Overall Chris really enjoyed the beers and we might need to make another trip back to try something off their appetizer menu which we seemed to have missed seeing this time. After lunch we wandered around downtown checking out some of the cute little shops. I found a clothing store that I scored a dress and some tank tops in. Trendy clothes for a really good price. I'd actually make a special trip back just to visit that store. We eventually made our way back home around 4:30 pm just in time to find a box of goodies sitting by the front door from the mailman. Seeing who the sender was I ripped it open to find...
Baked birthday delights from Face!! Pumpkin scones, cranberry orange scones, chocolate dipped macaroons, a mini cinnamon swirl loaf, and a triple chocolate brownie. I immediately stole a macaroon to accompany my heated up cup of coffee and nearly died from its goodness. These were to replace the scones she'd previously mailed me for my birthday, but were apparently stolen by disgruntled postal workers. Now, instead of just one variety, I got five! Do yourself a favor and befriend a baker!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New recipes

One of my co-workers (the one I made the cookies for) brought me in some of her cookbooks to peruse over the other day. I made copies of a handful of recipes and have tried two out so far this week. Last night I made the Chinese Rice Casserole;
I browned lean ground beef, onion in celery in a pan while cooking the equivalent of 4 cups of cooked rice. Once done I mixed the two, added in a can of cream of chicken soup and some soy sauce and spread the whole mess in a 9x13. Then I topped it all with crispy chow mein noodles and stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes. It was nothing earth shaking, but tasty enough for us. Unfortunately the leftovers won't be as crunchy since I'm sure I'll just nuke it. Tonight I made 'String Pie' which is a baked spaghetti dish;
A layer of cooked spaghetti mixed with two eggs and some parm cheese, then topped with a layer of cottage cheese followed by a layer of cooked ground beef (with green bell pepper and onion) mixed with a jar of spaghetti sauce and then the whole thing is sprinkled with shredded mozzarella and baked off for 20 minutes. We both REALLY liked this one. It was like a spaghetti lasagna. I'm definitely going to pick up a loaf of sourdough bread to go with the leftovers.

I had to serve the Canadian his meal on the couch since he is currently an invalid.
His left calf is all cramped up and tight from a jog he did the other night at the gym. This was the first attempt to relieve the pain by wrapping a heating pad around his calf before reading online that you're supposed to use cold, not heat, on a pulled muscle. So now he's got a cold pack strapped to his calf. Is this just a taste of what 36 is going to be like for him? Falling apart at every turn? I need to check what kind of warranty he came with!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birthday cookies

Tuesday is not only the Canadian's birthday, but my co-worker Wendy's birthday. And Wendy's weakness are homemade, soft chocolate chip cookies. Since I took Tuesday off for my pre-op appointment with my surgeon, and to celebrate Chris' birthday, I made Wendy's cookies today so that I could bring them to work tomorrow for her.
Of course Chris and I had to do a little quality control, make sure they were soft enough, and what better way to wash down warm chocolate chip cookies than with mocha mint flavored coffee? I'd stopped at Michael's yesterday and picked up some cellophane bags to stack the cookies in and close up with a festive tie for Wendy, so when they cooled down enough I packed up a cute little stack of six cookies for her. What? You thought I was going to give her all four dozen? Please, I would never do that to a fellow dieting co-worker. That, and the fact the Canadian would crumble into a pool of tears if I came them all away. When Chris could smell the cookies baking he asked what I was making for my co-workers. He doesn't even assume they're for him anymore. Sad panda.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here fishy, fishy

True to the decree of the weatherman, today was a lovely, overcast rainy day.
We snuck in our errands in between bouts of rain and then spent the rest of the day hanging out at home. The Canadian spent some quality time in the garage while I puttered around the house.

Per Chris' request he was in charge of dinner tonight. He really wanted a seafood stew to curl up on the couch with.
A bag of frozen seafood blend (scallops, shrimp and calamari rings) from Traders mixed with a can of oysters and onions in a tomato based broth. Tasty if you like seafood.

Now we're rotting our brains with a really bad Hallmark movie called 'Growing the Big One' about growing the biggest pumpkin in a small town starring Shannen Doherty. Cheesy movies are so addicting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting schooled in Sacramento

Since I was going to be late getting home tonight because I had class in Sacramento again today, we did our regular Friday night Barnes & Noble trip last night instead. And while out on that side of town, we stopped at Lowe's for the boy to price new garage shelving.
"I think I've found another clue, Blue." That's immediately what I thought of when he whipped out his little detective pad.

So, today was my last class in Sacramento. Loved the course, it was about mapping laws for subdividing land. The kind of stuff I have to review at work.
When I ran back out to my car during one of the breaks I noticed a sticker on the back window of the car parked next to me.
A Panamanian flag! How random is that? That's going to be my next tattoo - I'm thinking on the inside of my left wrist (so I can cover it with my watch).

On my way home it starting raining as I got close to P-town. The news said it would start sprinkling today and work its way up to real rain by Sunday. I'm ready for sweater weather - bring it on!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bruce the skeleton

Bruce is our animal control dog at work who is the friendly pooch on the force. He even has his own police dept issued ID card with his nose print as his fingerprint. Anyway, Bruce always dresses up for Halloween and this year he showed off his costume early for the ladies at work;
Isn't he cute? He's a skeleton. Bruce also has a Superman costume, a convict costume, and a hippie costume. Bruce makes the rounds around town hall knowing exactly which offices carry doggy treats for him. Such a spoiled pooch!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boss's Day

Saturday was Boss's Day so we waited until today to celebrate so that some vacationing co-workers would be back to participate. I brought a hot artichoke dip in the crock pot to accompany all the baked goods. There were breads, muffins, brownies, and whoopie pies.
Scrumptious! I stole some goodies for the Canadian so that he wouldn't get the pouty face. A buffet of naughty foods is always a good way to start the week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stewy weather

Much to my delight/dismay it decided to rain this morning while I was in church which of course I did not anticipate and therefore did not wear a jacket with a hood or closed toed shoes. And not just light sprinkles, but a torrential downpour. And even better was that I promised Chris I would run to Trader's after church to pick up potatoes for the stew that I forgot when grocery shopping. So off I sloshed through rivers of water in the parking lot to buy the perfect fingerling potatoes for Chef Chris which he transformed into a delicious rainy day stew.
A nice warm treat for a nice chilly day. It never got above 60 degrees today so we mainly stayed inside and watched TV. I spent a little time in my craft room and finished up the rest of my photos.
Later in the evening we went on a stroll around the block before heading over to the gym a little earlier than normal. Now we've got a little extra time to wind down for the evening before crawling into bed on brand new flannel sheets for the coziest sleep ever. What an excellent plan!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Birthdays and Bunko

Tuesday night I had a hot date with Susan and the boys so that a) I could drop off Connor's birthday gifts and b) I could score a free, hot dinner before bunko. Connor turned three on the 8th, but his party was on my birthday so I couldn't make it this year since it was my Sunday to sing and we were having birthday lunch for me. Besides, turning two 3's trumps only turning one 3. Anyway, Connor was happy to stop playing on the computer long enough to rip open his gifts.
A new VeggieTales movie and card game and a new winter coat (per his mom's request). In exchange the boys gave me my gift which was a really cute pumpkin decoration and thanksgiving sign that are currently decorating my work desk. After visiting and dinner I headed up to the far north for bunko. As expected, I dominated their moldy oldie asses and won "most 5's" netting me a cute set of fall themed kitchen towels.
Yes, those are ridiculously cute Hello Kitty Halloween stickers. Next month is my turn to host bunko so I brought home the bunko basket full of the supplies and money to do my gift shopping with. I've already bought three of the five gifts and have plans to check out Michael's for the other two over the weekend.

Today I spent the day in Sacramento for a UC Davis Extension class about subdivisions. By the grace of God I managed to make it there and back without getting lost. There were white knuckle moments, but I managed to avoid any calamities. It's been a long day though, I left home at 6:00 am and got home just after 6:00 pm. I'm going to sleep good (and early) tonight.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yeah, you know you wish you had a cool birthday like 10-10-10, too. Today was the big 3-3 for me which was pretty low key and uneventful. Just the way I like it. It was my Sunday to sing at church today and during the announcements my birthday was mentioned so everybody in the congregation gave me a big 'happy birthday' and applause. That was nice. After church I came home to my beautiful new present from my darling husband;
A fancy pants sewing machine full of a million stitches for me to use on my scrapbooking projects. I don't sew, nor do I plan to, I just want to add a little extra something to my homemade cards. Unfortunately this lovely beast did not come fully assembled (or even with any string - WTF?), but Chris saddled up and eventually got it running.
In addition to my sewing machine I got a super cute scrapbooking kit from my sister, Jessica.
I love, love, love the papers (lots of glitter) and the letter stickers. I already picked out one of the papers to use for my birthday layout.

My birthday dinner turned into a birthday lunch since we were out running errands and getting hungry like the wolf. This year I chose La Hacienda for their fiesta salad with the super secret house dressing.
It's spanish rice, pinto beans, cheese, a mountain of lettuce, tomatoes and avocado in a fried tortilla shell. Then you douse it all in the house pink sauce which is like a vinegary thousand island sauce. I could eat it straight out of the bottle. It's a family secret and they won't let loose of the recipe, not even to Bon Appetit, but as long as they're willing to share some with me on my birthday then I'm happy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Chris and I went to the Sierra Nevada Brewery Oktoberfest this evening at the brewery in a tent set up in their hop fields. Since there was no parking at the facility (reserved for the restaurant) we parked around the corner at Barnes and Noble and walked over when the event started at 4:00 pm. We were literally part of the first 10 people to arrive and initially had the whole place to ourselves.
Chris' first order of business was to head out back to get an Octoberfest with the first of our four drink tickets while I splurged on a stein full of iced tea.
Our tickets also included dinner and we figured out pretty quickly that the buffet line was open whenever we were ready.
You're looking at a mountain of kraut, sausage and beans, beer infused pulled pork, cucumber salad and German potato salad. You only get one trip through so you have to make it count!
Also in the tent was a display of blown glass beer steins that everybody got to vote on to decide which one the brewery would commission a limited run of for the gift shop.
Next to the display case was an actual glass blowing demonstration.
And you can't forget about the 'hardcore polka band'.

Much to our surprise we ran into a work friend who we spent most of the evening hanging out with.
What I liked most about the event was that there was no set schedule, you just milled around drinking your beer, checking out the glass blowing, making fun of people's outfits, and listening to the polka band. We made it four hours before calling it an evening and heading back home.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I wonder what it tastes like...

A little something-something showed up at my front door today from one of my sisters for my birthday, but don't worry Jessica, I didn't open it yet.
But I sure wonder what it tastes like..... (my youngest sister would always say that when she wanted you to offer her some of whatever you had).

Since it was Friday I brought home all of my birthday cards from work and made a lovely tribute to myself on the shelf above the TV for all to enjoy.
Count 'em - eight cards! That's eight people who like me enough to buy me a card. And you thought I didn't know that many people - ha!

On a whim I bought tickets this morning to the Oktoberfest event at Sierra Nevada tomorrow. I saw an ad in the paper yesterday and remembered about it this morning. It's out in their hop fields and for the price of admission you get a stein, two drink tickets, and a traditional Oktoberfest meal full of kraut and meat. It's from 4-10 pm tomorrow and sounds like a lot of fun. Especially the "hardcore polka band"!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A very merry unbirthday to me!

Much to my surprise, my co-workers celebrated my birthday today (along with two other October birthdays) with many an edible treat.
My favorites were a pumpkin spice bundt cake and a strawberry cloud pie. Yes, I might have had multiples of each. And about a pound of fresh guacamole and chips. I was also surprised with multiple goodies from my co-workers like this handmade candle holder;
and a new Silpada necklace that goes with the last one I bought.
Another co-worker bought me a little scrapbook kit - always something I could use. And then when I got home I had this super cute card from my sister in the mail;
I'm going to keep this party rollin' all weekend!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bustin' out some brownies

Since we didn't get home until late afternoon on Monday and I still had to do grocery shopping and laundry I didn't get a chance to do my usual weekend baking to take to work. Tonight however, after whipping up some jambalaya for dinner, I got back in the kitchen and made some peanut butter cup brownie bites.
My official taste tester declared it edible after rubbing his buddha belly. Hope he enjoyed his sample because that's all he's getting!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Birthday celebrations in Medford

We just got back from a quick, overnighter in Medford at the 'rents for a funeral service and a birthday extravaganza. A long time family friend had passed away so Chris and I had come up so that Chris and Mr. A. could attended his Sunday afternoon service. And since both of our birthdays are this month, the 'rents put together a little dinner party for us complete with cake and gifts.
Chris got an automotive stethoscope and some lounge pants, while I got a beautiful, embroidered tank top.

While there we met the 'rents new dog, Chase.
He is so lovable and fun. Even when he's sneaking off with a pair of Chris' underwear or socks for a quick chew. He was abandoned as a puppy so he's a little timid and scares easily, but he warmed up to us quickly and had us eating out of his little paws.

Mum and I also managed to sneak in a little trip to the mall so that I could wander endlessly around Macy's until the perfect pair of jeans and two tops fell into my arms. We also stopped by Kohl's where I scored a black cardigan for only $7 which I used my b-day gift card on from my mom. So much good shopping, so little time...