Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Muffins

Hey y'all.  How's your Wednesday?  You're halfway through the week, if that makes it better!  You're also only 7 weeks and 6 days away from Christmas, but I don't know if that helps any... I'm about to get my Christmas shopping in gear, but I keep forgetting.  Really, that reminder was more for me than for you.  Must.  Get.  Presents.

In other news...

If you're having a rough day, or a rough morning, or you're just tired of the same 'ole same 'ole breakfast 
(Mine's been generic rice crispies and a mug of tea.  Gourmet at it's finest!), perhaps I can interest you in these lovely little muffins!  I've been wanting some Peanut Butter & Oatmeal muffins for a while now, and I couldn't figure out a recipe.  So I finally perused a few recipes, took what I liked, and made these.  They're pretty good, if I do say so myself.  They're also not terrible for you, which is a bonus!

The recipe is up on Tasty Kitchen, so feel free to check it out!  Here's a few process shots, so that you'll know you're headed in the right direction!  I liked this warm and cold, although the hubs wasn't impressed with their moistness.  I had been aiming for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs sort of muffin, so I was content.  Also, as far as flavor goes, you might want to add a bit more PB (like, 1/4 cup), since they smell more peanut butter-y than they taste.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shattered Rainbow Quilt & Other Things

I know I've said it before, but can I just say again, I LOVE MAKING THINGS.  Tomorrow, I've got a muffin recipe to share with you that I made up (with some help), and today, I've got some sewing stuffs to show you!  You've already seen the T-shirt quilt that I made (and love) for baby M.  I am considering making myself one of those, just because it's such a nice weight, and so soft!  Unfortunately, the robot flannel is running low, and that just seems to take something away from the whole plan...

This weekend, after some serious thrift-store shopping, I came home with some fabrics (and three mugs, and a small toy chest, and a coffee-stained screen print, and...).  Those fabrics helped me finish up what is my current favorite baby quilt I've made.  I'm calling it the Shattered Rainbow Quilt.  Hopefully, you can see why ;)  It's made with the same paper-piecing technique as the previous quilt, too.

The colored parts are leftovers from a baby quilt I made for a friend, and the white is mostly from the thrift stores!  It's not all exactly the same white, and so I didn't put this one up for sale in my etsy shoppe.  However, if you're interested, I might start taking custom orders... just sayin' ...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

So there was this weekend... a four-day weekend, really, that started on Friday and rolled right on into Monday.  Like, today, Monday.  Handsome had 3 of the 4 days off, which made it feel so festivious (not to be confused with the holiday, festivus), and ... well, it was just what this lady needed.  Between Clemson football, Paramedic clinical hours, my many trips, and life in general, I've been missing my man.  Sometimes I think that maybe, if I didn't like him so much, it would be easier.  But really, I'm pretty sure it's impossible for me to resist his charms ;)

We went scouting for deer.  I would like to note that in the above picture, although my man is wearing suspenders, I am not.  That's a purse strap.  For my snacks.  And water bottle.  And kindle.  Because you never know what you're going to need whilst traipsing around the woods looking for sign of deer activity.  We did find some activity, and I'm proud to say that I can now correctly identify a deer rub.  See?

Deer Rub

(Whitetail) Deer routinely do this to small trees, for two reasons: to shed their velvet (a soft covering on growing antlers) in early Fall, and to mark their territory.  That's your nature lesson for the day.  If you find a whole bunch of these in the same area, that's a good sign (according to my outdoorsman of a husband) that bucks frequent the area, and would be a good place to set up a hunting spot.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Winner and Popped Corn

Hey folks!  How you doin'?  No, no, how you doin'?  Wanna know who is doing fine?  That would be one Crista Hankey, the winner of The Coin Laundry's Onesies and Twosies giveaway!  I happen to know personally that Miss Hankey currently has no children of her own to clothe in the adorableness that is The Coin Laundry Onesies, and when I saw she had won, I can't lie, I thought "Oh!  Maybe it's for me!".  HA. And then I remembered - Miss C Hank has got herself a niece (or nephew, I don't remember that part) coming into this world this Christmas!  And although I know I am quite dear to her, I have an inkling that the wee one who shares her name will likely be getting whatever onesie (or twosie!) she picks out!

I'm trying to not take it personally.

For those of you who didn't win, I wanted to share something life changing with you.  I discovered this a few months ago, actually, and although it changed my life, I failed to share it with you.  I know, it was hateful of me.  Please forgive me.  Here is my forgiveness offering:


Okay, now prepare yourself.  Your mind is about to blow.  Okay - here it is: You can pop your own bag of popcorn.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Great & Many (Different) Things

NOTE:  Today is the last day to enter The Coin Laundry giveaway!  Don't miss out!  To go to the giveaway page, CLICK HERE!

Okay, so in case you haven't noticed, things are new around here...  And if you haven't noticed, and you've been here before, you might want to (a) check your pulse or (b) drink more coffee ;)  This is the site previously known as Thee FireWife (sort of like Prince), and is now A Great and Many Things.  I had been feeling in a bit of a funk lately and after much searching, I figured out what (at least part of) my problem was - I'd outgrown TFW.  

I mean, honestly, I hardly wrote about being the wife of a firefighter.  Yes, it factored into things (like how I missed my guy or the way 9/11 affected me), but it wasn't really the theme of things.  It is much more random around here, mostly because I refuse to be tied down.  It has become apparent to me in the past couple of months that I have an authority issue.  I don't like it when I am fenced in, and it felt like TFW was a sort of self-constructed fence.  So I broke out of said figurative fence, literally.  

A few of the many, many things I've written about.
Not one is a fire...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Not ALL About Babies...

Except that lately it is.  Sorry.  Or not.  I mean, I can't say I'm sorry about the AWESOME GIVEAWAY we have going on until Friday at midnight.  Nor can I say I'm sorry about what I'm going to show you here:

How can you expect me to be sorry about that?!
ASIDE: I don't know exactly what "via" means.  I mean, I know it means "from" or something like that, but I don't know if it covers the whole "I stole this picture from someone else and so I'm linking you to the original source to cover my tail."  In case it doesn't mean that, please know that I mean for it to mean that.  That is all.
Our nearest zoo had a new arrival the other morning.  And although they set up cameras so that the world could wait and watch with baited breath until this little one arrived, I didn't watch.  There's just something about a video-taped birth that makes me feel... uncomfortable.  Intruded upon.  I know it's my own little thing.  I'm not judging those who watch.  I'm only judging those who tell me that I need to watch.  I don't.  You can't make me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Onesies and Twosies: Giveaway

That handsome man I married, bless his heart.

We were talking about budgets, babies, and all of the $$ that goes along with them.  Handsome suggested, "Well, when they grow out of the onesies, can't we just make them twosies?"

He's adorable.

And more than a little clueless regarding all of this baby stuff.  I'm super excited to explore this new adventure with him, can't wait to see him as a dad.  *swoon*

Anyhow, although he is adorable (seriously, so much love for that man I married), there's something else adorable that I wanted to share with you.  And believe me, I do mean share.  As in, one of you lucky readers will end up with something new to have and to hold and to keep your little one from being cold.

I've been nosing around on Etsy, because there's just some things you can't find in stores.  When those things (the things you can't find in stores) are made by wicked-clever people, with mad skills, awesomeness ensues.  When that awesomeness is in the form of baby clothes?  Color this momma-to-be In. Love.

Enter: Jennifer from The Coin Laundry

Based in Denver, CO, Jennifer specializes in hand silk-screened clothing and housewares all made with earth friendly inks and solvents.  In addition to being all eco-friendly, J-girl has got some clever, creative thoughts bebopping around in her head.  Seriously, the stuff she's got on sale for babies?  Flippin' adorable!  And best of all for me, most of them can be considered gender neutral - BOOM!  Here are two of my favorites:

Thug Life
We've gotten a lot of yellow stuff.
However, this is one yellow onesie I wouldn't mind receiving.

Hungry Like a Wolf
Can't get enough of this.
Need it in every size.
Even my size.
I don't care if it's a onesie.

And now, Jennifer-the-bennifer is looking to share a onesie with one of you lucky readers!  I mean, if you don't have a baby in your life who simply needs one of The Coin Laundry's designs, well, I might have an idea or two regarding what you could do with your winnings...   Here's how to enter!

I'm so excited to be able to share all of this overwhelming cuteness with you!  The biggest problem I'm having with all of it is deciding which ones(ies... he he he) to get!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

<3 M.

Monday, October 22, 2012

You Should Know

There's a whole lot of crazy going on up in here.  I'm trying to be all tech-savvy, which is not my nature, and therefore, I apologize in advance for any terrible awful no good things that happen on here today.  Also, in case I somehow ruin everything about this blog and make it disappear, it's been nice knowing you.  Always remember that this happened:

Love (for what may be the last time),

Sunday Confessions... On Monday

Yes, I know, Sunday Confessions are generally kept to... well, Sunday.  But I was late with the quilt post, and then I was going to put these up last night, until Duke left and went to bed and I thought "You know, perhaps my dog has some sense afterall." and I took myself off to bed.  Of course, that line of reasoning just goes to show how sleep deprived I was, as Duke is currently out of my good graces for the time being.  (He (reportedly) has no manners, ate a stick of taffy and a plastic bag full of coconut oatmeal crispies off of the table, and refused to let a friend into our home.  I guess that's confession 0: I have a poorly behaved pooch, and no idea what to do about it!)

So anyhow, it's late, but it's here.  And I've included pictures of German dancing, to make up for the lateness.  That's right.  I know your weaknesses.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Neutral Colors Quilt for Baby M.

While I was in PA recently, we had some bomb-phenom baby showers.  Seriously, such wonderful food, such good times.  It was magnificent.  So many people gave us sweet sweet presents, some of which I'll be sharing with you in time.  With all of these gifts and the overwhelming cuteness, I started to become even more excited for this little bambino to join us come February.  Just looking at the little onesies and the socks (Oh, lawd, the socks!) made me want to have that thing that is supposed to fill these cute clothes :)  You know, the baby!

As you can imagine, with the whole "having a baby whose gender has not been revealed" thing, I got a lot of yellow & green.  And my, it's cute!  The duck faces and the frogs, they're all pretty darling.  At the same time, I have a fear that one day, my then-grown child will look back at pictures of him/herself always dressed in yellow & green and know.  They'll know I didn't find out, and they'll somehow hold me responsible for it.

To remedy such a situation, I've been working on a few items for baby in my own neutral color scheme - Gray & All the bright colors.  To my eyes, Gray and every-bold-color-but-pink can pass for neutral.  For some reason, once you throw in a good amount of pink (it'll still work in small quantities), I see girl.  It's sexist, it's American, but it's my eyes.

So in the Gray & All the bright colors scheme, let me introduce to you the first item I've made for Baby M!  

It's fashioned out of old t-shirts and some robot flannel circa the flannel-buying-blackout of 2011.
You know, the one where I remember looking at the fabrics on sale on Cyber Monday, and that's all I remember.
2 weeks later, 24 yards of flannel are delivered to my house.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Back At Home

Home.  Oh, I love a good home.  Even though there are many things I would love to change about our home (the popcorn ceilings, the overspray on the fireplace, the awkwardly shaped rooms...)I know that we have a pretty sweet situation here.  I am warm enough.  I am sheltered from wind and rain.  I get to watch birds flit around in the dogwoods at the front and back of the house.  I get to watch Duke go all Rambo-dog on the squierells that dare trespass on his lawn ("Stay off the grass!").  Our home is more than enough.

I love coming back home, most of all.  There's just something so quieting to my soul to be back in my regular spot, doing my regular things.  Traveling is great and all, and Phoenix was really really cool, but I love home best of all.

Since I was home and could, I baked yesterday.  Bread.  Like, the real stuff.  Sounds impressive, right?  Like maybe I should open up that bakery I talk about.  It's probably because of some great tips I know.  Like the fact that if your house is, say hypothetically, 66* because you refuse to turn on the heat, under-cabinet puck lights can really heat up a space for bread to rise.

It might be a fire hazard, but dang it, my bread rose!

Or that if you think you should take your rings off before kneading the dough, it's probably a good idea to do so before (1) you get unbelievably pregnant or (2) the under-cabinet puck lights heat the entire kitchen and your fingers respond accordingly...

And finally, a good recipe is everything.  Seriously, Mel, she's got it going on.  Kid tested, mom approved, the girl has never failed me yet.  Her bread recipe takes 2 hours, start to finish, but only about 15 minutes of active time.  AND IT'S DELICOUS.  As in, I may or may not have eaten an entire half-loaf yesterday.  Okay, 1/3 of a loaf... But try it yourself, and you'll understand!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Some Favorites For You

This Sunday is a lovely one.  I'm in Phoenix, and we've got a high of 85 brewing.  I've almost got a grip on this whole Pacific Standard Time thing, although I don't know that I'll ever fully master it.  There's going to be a kick-butt presentation given in approx 50 minutes (by me!) and then I'm planning on some delicious dinner at a yet-to-be-decided-on restaurant.

And so, in honor of all that fantastic-ness, here's some things I wanted to share with you:

My taco recipe.
Hardly seems right to talk about tacos made by a Northern gal whilst sitting in the land of Tex Mex,
but I'm bold like that.
Here's the link to the recipe (secret is in the carrots, I swear!)
Here's the link to the seasoning.
Oh, and my all-time favorite shells .
Really, its the whole package.

Our new couch!
This couch is an attempt to make our awkward front room slightly less awkward.
After Handsome & I got it in the house, we both sat on it in silence for a moment.
Then he turned to me.
Said, "It's still awkward."
It is.
(anthropologie: from a consignment store near us)

And now for my always favorites:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Holiday Time

I've been having holidays lately. Not in the British sense, where they say "holiday" but mean vacation (egocentric much, self?).  No, more in the way where days and events feel special, where there is a hint of anticipation in the air.

For example, eating this awesome chocolate bar today?

While munching on it (and I did munch on it - I think sometimes it tastes best when your teeth are full of chocolate, ya know what I mean?), I suddenly felt like it was Easter.  And while I know that Easter is not all about chocolate, it is a taste/smell memory, and always takes me back.

And then, last Thursday, when Handsome finally had a full day off (first time in 8 days) we were just hanging out, chilling and laughing.  It was 100% fabulous.  And it felt like Christmas.  There was an expectation of great things in the air, a fun & relaxed festival of a day.  I asked if we could get a tree, but Husband said no.  Didn't even think about it.  Just "Hey, can we get a Christmas tree today?" and then "No."  

I tried not to let it kill my buzz :)

Merry Easter,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some Purpose

I'm a faker, as in, I sometimes prefer to fake things.  Prepare for this oral presentation?  Nah, I'd rather fake it.  How many weeks is a cow pregnant for?  58.  Is it true?  I have no idea.  I made that number up.  Cooking some sauce?  Throw in a little of this and a little of that, I'm sure that's right.  Read a pattern?  Maybe the first time, but then I just make stuff up.  

Sometimes, people ask me real questions, and I answer, quickly and confidently.  And I have no idea if I just lied or not.  Because I'm faking it.  I often like to just try and do something myself, and if I encounter trouble,  then I'll look up how others have done it.

All that to say, I kinda just started this blog thing, and made it up as I went along.  Remember Cake Week 2012??  I totally just made that up.  I mean, it was awesome, but it was also just something I did.  As is much of this blog. 

So now I've been thinking, to what purpose?  Why am I blogging?  Is it enough to blog simply because I'm alone in my house the majority of my hours and my dog doesn't talk back?  I've been feeling a little introspective, which generally goes hand-in-hand with me being out of sorts, and so I've been absent for a bit.  I would like to keep blogging, I've met friends and learned tons and all that jazz.  But when schedules start weighing on me and life picks up (and continues to pick up, as it's sure to do), I realize the need to prioritize.  However, when you're doing something with no stated purpose, it's hard to figure out where it goes on the priority list.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trip Deets

I'm here to provide you web-stalker-folk with everything you need to know.  Because, I know, you're dying to know the minutiae of my daily life.  The nitty gritty.  The ins and outs.

And I'm here to give it to ya!

Who:  Myself, the Duke-a-loop, and one very dear and easily excitable Amanda.

A little less of this going on, though.
Seeing as it'll be approx. 47*F in PA this weekend.
We're keeping the lid on Jeep Jeep.

What:  Road-tripping it.  The 3 of us, in Jeep Jeep.  Munching on some SmartPop Popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, Whoppers, and of course, good stuff like carrots and apples and celery and PB.  And water, loads of water.

Where:  PA, the hometown of the smoetown.  I don't even know what that means.

Why:  For a multitude of reasons.  For family and friends and America.  More specifically, for baby showers (eek!) and a "one last visit" before bambino.

When:  Here is where the real genius lies.  We're leaving tomorrow, which will get us in town late tomorrow night.  Which is AUTUMN LEAF FESTIVAL WEEK!  There will be so much food, and craftiness, and more food, and Soup Day, and trees dressed in fall colors and a high of 42 which means sweater-wearing... I'm so pumped.

This is quite possibly my favorite weekend for PA, and it's made even sweeter by two parties being thrown to celebrate this little bambino I've been carrying around!  I can't wait to share all of the experiences with you, but now I've got to go live it!  

Love the weekend you're with,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Making Things

I've missed making things.  I haven't made much.  Heck, up until the chocolate chip cheesecake I made two nights ago, I can't remember the last time I baked just because.  It feels good to be me again.  Of course, our grocery budget doesn't love my baking, but we're working out a compromise.

And then last night?  The sewing bug hit.  I've made a few baby quilts recently, but no purses/wallets.  Not until last week when a friend asked for a purse for a birthday present.  I gave her the purse, and she gave me two bears full of home-produced honey and a jar of apple butter (made from Honey Crisps, oh I can't wait!).  We trade in commodities.  If anyone else wants to join our barter system, feel free to list your skills below.

Please excuse the junk in the background.
Or don't.
Consider it a preparation for what life would be like if you really visited me.
Well, the purse, it got me going.  Also, I'm heading off on a trip tomorrow.  Headed for the great white North.  Except this time of year, it's mostly gray and raining with a few autumn leaves thrown in for color.  I'm so pumped.  But that trip is a post all in itself.  Today, we're talking about making crap.  And make crap I did, except not crap.  A purse and two wallets.  The purse, because I wanted a new purse for my trip (sounds so fanciful, doesn't it?!).  The wallet, because I wanted a new wallet.  It seems we have a pattern going here.  But the second wallet, that was for someone else.  And curiously enough, not Anonymous Kate, the winner I announced yesterday.

The second wallet is for a very special person (who sometimes reads here so I don't want to give it away).  She inspires me, even though I very much doubt she knows.  I do know that she'd scoff if I told her.  She'd start listing all of the un-inspiring things about her.  Makes no difference to me.  Some people are just awesome, and she's one of them.  So I made her a little present.  At least that part of my creativity fever wasn't all about me.

But mostly, I made them because I had ideas, and the ideas needed to be given some space to be.  They needed to be pulled out of the recesses of my head and made with hands.  It's the creating that gets me.  The making.  I have no idea if this will/should ever be more than a hobby.  A "Oh, I wonder what sort of purse (not if it's gonna be a purse) Mariah is going to give me for Christmas" type thing.  I don't know.  But I do know I loved last night.  Didn't even feel the hours tick by.  I've been considering buying the book Quitter.  Have you read it?  Have you "quit"?  Let me know.  Msg me, y'all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Hey Anonymous Kate!  Psst!!  You won!  Please send me your address so I can get you a fancy new wallet!

Today is a rainy dreary day.  Just the sort I like (in moderation).  I've worked my brain to the bone, and so I'm headed off to the annex to sew a few things before I take Handsome & his sidekick some dinner.  Chicken dinner, to be exact.  I'm thinking fajitas (soft "j"), with some homemade tortillas.  Ought to do the trick.  

I'm gonna try and make myself a new purse before I head off on my big trip, come Wednesday.  You know, because why pack before it's time to go when you can start a whole new project?!?  It's gonna have something to do with these guys, that's all I know for sure...

Peace, Love, and Procrastination,
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