Work, Taxes and Ren Fest

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Ok, this isn’t a real post but it’s been almost a month since the last one. We’ve been working on taxes (which as you already know: IT SUCKS!!!!), Mike has been horribly stressed out because of work, and I discovered the magic of a slow cooker and made this for the Miami Renaissance Festival:

Mike, as a dark wizard.

PJ as a peasant.

We bought a sword and a dagger, and justified the purchase because is … just in case of a zombie Apocalypse.

Hope everyone has a good Easter weekend!

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Traditional Chinese Dance

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What do you do with the left over rice?

If you’re anything like Mike and I, when you order Chinese food, you have a lot of left over rice. I never know what to do with it, other than put it in the fridge, leave it there for a few days and then throw it out. We usually order a dish that comes with rice plus fried rice.

When I was growing up, on of the dishes that was in our rotation was “rice primavera”. It’s a simple dish: rice, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce, with about a spoonful of mayo. We enjoyed it, specially in the summer, is a nice easy, cool-off dish. Well, like every time I have to throw away food, I look at it, and feel horrible about it. Saturday we had a lot of left over rice. So I took it out of the fridge, put about a teaspoon of butter on it, and put it in the microwave for about a minute. When I took the plate out, the smell (for some strange reason) reminded me of the rice primavera we had as kids, but with a hint of something else, like coleslaw. I’m not a fan of coleslaw. It’s fine, I don’t order it, but if it comes with my food and I’m really hungry, I’ll eat it.

Now, the term “coleslaw” arose in the 18th century as an Anglicisation of the Dutch term “koolsla”, a shortening of “koolsalade”, which means “cabbage salad”.It is originally from Ireland and was made at the end of the month from leftover vegetables and cream. (According to Wikipedia….)

“left-over vegetables and cream”? while yes, I do believe I have that….

With that said, I had an idea for the left over Chinese rice. I chopped some veggies and looked up some coleslaw dressing recipes. I found some that sounded really good, and I wanted to try all of them but I couldn’t, so I picked the ingredients that sounded the most interesting, and mixed them all together.

Here’s what I got:

I paired with Raspberry – Hoisin stir-fry chicken and Michael loved it! I made enough salad for about 5 servings, and he finished it that night…so now we have left over chicken.

*Here’s the recipe for the salad

Left over chinese food rice, about a cup

1 medium size plum tomato, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

hand-full of baby spinach, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/4 red pepper, chopped (just for crunchiness)

1 teaspoon of butter

Coleslaw dressing

2 tablespoon of Mayo

4 teaspoons of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard powder (or to taste)

2 teaspoon of white sugar

salt and pepper to taste

In a microwave safe bowl, place the rice with the butter in the microwave for about a minute. You want the butter to melt, but the rice should just be barely warm. Mix all the vegetables in a large salad bowl.In a separate bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients and set a side. Fluff the rice with a fork, and mix it in with the vegetables, add dressing and dig in!

Lost and Rendered

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On a usual day, when Mike gets home, we pretty much have the same conversation. We set up for dinner, have a glass of something, I tell him what I did all day, update him on current events and he tells me about his day. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

Well, yesterday I had ordered some Chinese food, Mike got home, and (very excited) told me that he had to take a co-worker to the airport, took a wrong turn and almost got lost. Now, this type of story is fairly typical for Mike (I’ve seen him get lost half a block from our apartment). Mike getting lost is not news in this house, the story is not funny anymore (the co-worker almost missed his flight, because the wrong turn that Mike took lead them directly to a nightmare gridlock), this “condition” might be generic (legend has it that his dad’s nickname in college was “wrong way Whittenberger”), and when it happens (and it does happen at least once a week), the story is not surprising.

What is surprising, however, is that, apparently, Mike thought that this story merited more value, was more memorable, and, to him, was more entertaining than the fact that a half-ton elevator engine fell through the roof of his building!

Miraculously, nobody got hurt. Two people were actually standing very close to the crash.

Mike works on the 24th floor, of a 25 story building. The last office floor is actually the 24th floor. Here’s what happened: the elevator engine that lives on the roof of his building needed some sort of maintenance. When the crane was taking it out for said maintenance, something faltered and this half ton engine came crashing down through the roof and a couple of floors where it landed. On Mike’s floor mind you. Mike was in a meeting when the entire building shook; there was a very loud explosion like noise and then there was chaos. The fire department obviously had to come, and the entire building was evacuated. In all fairness, there was a “caution cone” right underneath the engine, but somehow it wasn’t quite large enough to cover the entire danger zone.

There really isn’t anything funny about this event. I don’t know all the facts, but I think that accidents do happen. What is funny, to me, is the course that Mike’s and I conversation took:

Picture, if you will, sitting down starting to eat dinner…

Mike: Oh, I forgot to tell you, we actually got to get of work early today!

Susie: (focused on my spring roll, more than anything else) really? How come?

Mike: The Fire Department evacuated the entire building

Susie: What? Why?

Mike: An elevator engine, crashed through the roof and landed on my floor… can you pass me the soy sauce?

Susie: WHAT?!?!?

Mike: the soy sauce is right next to your hand… oh yeah… I forgot to tell you….

A Lack of Color

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Years ago, for our first anniversary, Mike asked me what I wanted, and I said that I didn’t want any gifts, but a little weekend get-away, to a nice bed and breakfast outside the city, and I wanted to go horse back-riding. Simple, right? Well, for those of you who do not know Mike, he is a big American History fan (… Did I say “big”? I meant HUGE!). More specifically, the Civil War. Well, we ended up in Gettysburg, and my horse back-riding was a guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield…. I should’ve been a little more specific…In all fairness, it was a wonderful weekend and the B&B was awesome!

I told you that story to tell you this one:

There is a wall in my living room that was in dire need of some color. The problem was that the TV is also on that wall, and I couldn’t find anything that would go with my living room, not distract from the TV, and still bring some color. Thanks to my wonderful Mother-in-Law, I have a subscription to “Better Homes & Gardens”, and this month, they had this on the cover:

I thought this would be a good idea, with different stencils and probably different colors. Originally, I was just going to paint them on regular paper and frame them. However, Michael’s had a 2 for 1 sale on packs of canvases, so I bought a couple. I also needed brushes and paint. Since I’m not a professional artist (I repeat: NOT a professional), I got the best bang for my buck: a pack of 10 brushes, a box of 12 watercolors and a box of 12 oil paints. Total cost: $35! Pretty good considering that this stuff can get really expensive. I was so excited to make these, that while I was making them, it never even occur to me to take pictures for Hippie Points… oops!!

I found the pictures that I wanted online and made the stencils myself, very carefully (while my friend PJ was making me listen to french ska music). I used watercolors, because they are unbelievably forgiving, and I’m not a fan of spray paint. So, when Mike saw them, he really liked them and asked me to make him one of Abraham Lincoln (yes, you read that right: former president Abraham Lincoln… I know what you’re thinking, and yes I did marry him) for his office. At the very least, I could show you the process I used to make mine. I’m sure there are many different ways to do this, and a lot of them are probably easier, but this is what worked for me.

Materials:

Canvas

Paint (if you are good use whatever you want. If not, stick to water colors or color pencils)

Cutting materials (scissors, mat, etc)

Adhesive tape

paper

black and white picture of what you want.

color pencil (that matches the color you’ll use)

1. You want to frame your canvas with the adhesive tape.

2. Decide if you want a reverse or regular stencil, which is going to determine if you cut the black parts or the white part of the paper.

3. Since I wanted a reverse, I ended up with a creepy, zombie looking Lincoln.

Tip: if you have any sections of the “stencil” that’s to flimsy, of that you know is about to rip, put some adhesive tape on it, and that should do the trick.

4. Tape the stencil to the canvas centered.

5. Outline the stencil, with the color pencil that matches the paint that you’re going to use. (if you look close enough you can see it)

6. Paint! First grade refresher: stay inside the lines. Let it dry, and remove the tape.

Personally, I don’t really think it looks like Mr. Lincoln, but it is not for me and Mike loves it!

Here are mine:

I decided on a Blue dolphin

Yellow dove

Green lotus

Red sun

and a Purple “namaste” fella’…

Obviously, I need more practice. But for now, they work beautifully!

Trapped in a Box

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As it turns out, every so often, my work area needs a “touch up” a far as cleaning and organizing. I think is because I’m a very messy and disorganized person. Yet somehow, I almost always know where things are (with the exception of my keys, iPod or headphones). Mind you, Mike believes that this is the best place for the router, all 7 hard-drives, the old PC, that now doubles as our main hard-drive and pretty much every cable that he doesn’t need.

I went to the attic, (which, by the way, is always about 10 degrees hotter, and I come back down dripping sweat) to get a a small box from when we moved here, and I found these two little numbers:

I don’t know how long these things have been up there, or who they belonged to, but I thought I might have some use for them as far as my cleaning went.

I cleaned them and fixed some minor odds and ends. Then I took 2 boxes, made with really hard cardboard, and I wrapped them with some pretty contact paper that I had been saving for some time. Took everything out, cleaned, re-arranged and this was the end result.

One of the boxes had a strange top part, so I made it into a shelf.

Of course, I had a little help…

Put your shoes on!

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Last night Mike and I went outside to walk the dogs and I looked down and Mike wasn’t wearing any shoes!

Now, just so you know, there’s an abandon empty parking log behind our house, where we’ve seen pretty much every animal in Florida, including a guy passed out drunk! And Mike thought it was OK to walk about bare foot. I had to yell at him to go put some shoes on.

On a non related news: I was at the vets office the other day and I noticed that they had posters hanging on the wall of vintage “Good Housekeeping” magazine. I thought they were adorable! I came home and looked some up. Google has a bunch, and not just Good Housekeeping.  I found a few that I really liked that reminded me of people, so I had an idea.

Remembering that a few months ago I found glitter on sale, of course I bought it. I printed a few of the pictures on card-stock paper and enhanced a few details…

I think they looked pretty good framed. Great thoughtful gift.

It’s cold outside!

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And I live in Florida!

For the last few months it’s been cold. Not Montana or NY cold but cold for Florida. In fact, we hadn’t had to turn on the AC since November.

Well, Mike got us tickets to go see Rodrigo and Gabriela. They are are awesome and I can’t wait! So I decided that I needed a new fancy coat to wear. It’s actually made with medium- light home decor fabric and is fully lined. It would be a nice spring/fall coat.

Plus, I had left over buttons. It sort of has a Empire cut, and it hits right below the knees. The fabric is a medium cream with paisley design.

Front.

I Think I want to drop the buttons a bit.

Back

I wanted a wide back belt to complement it.

Sleeve

And of course the sleeves needed a button as well.