Delicious Pizza

Tonight for dinner, I tried out a new homemade pizza recipe.

It was deep dish.

And it was DELICIOUS!

Absolutely, positively, best homemade pizza crust I have ever tasted. No exaggeration.

I was going to take pictures with which to liven up this post. But....we ate it too fast...and I forgot.

But it's ok, just go here for both the recipe, and some pictures - remarkably mine looked a lot like her pictures....I guess that means I made it correctly :-)

Shopping Success - Take 2

Perhaps one of these days I will tire of grocery shopping, and it will become a mundane task that must be done. I am told that many household maintenance things become mundane after a while (laundry has, that is for sure!)

But for now, grocery shopping is still a very exciting adventure that is both challenging (especially end-of-the-month-on-a-budget-shopping) and rewarding!

My last grocery store run for this month happened earlier this week. I had exactly $26.28 left to spend at the grocery store. I was a little sad that there was not more left, because Acme had some lovely sales this weekend. But oh well, we shall not starve; and there will always be more sales.

Armed with my $26.28, my circular, my list and my heap o' coupons, I headed to the store.

I got all this:
(plus (3) 8 oz packages of Ham Slices that didn't make it into the picture))

Retail Value: $62.12

Amount that I saved: $37.12
Amount that I paid: $25.00

Oh so satisfying.

Some highlights of the trip:

Mon Amour's Favorite: Buy one get TWO free scrapple. He loves scrapple; I never buy it cause its gross; but I can't resist a buy one get two free sale...and Mon Amour was excited. (the ham was also buy one get two free)

My Favorite: Free Gallon of milk with the purchase of 4 bags of cereal - that were more than half off, a great deal even before the free milk. Better yet, the milk should have cost me $3.60 - meaning I should have gotten $3.60 off....but the coupon said "max value $4" the cashier just took off $4. A bonus 40 cent savings! My milk was more than free. yay!

Amount left in grocery budget: $1.28. Success.

Color Accent Photos

Just some random color-accent photos for your enjoyment.

A friend made this mask while at my house the other day. It was for a masquerade ball.
Pretty fancy for a 75 cent craft mask, some glitter paint and some colored feathers.

And some Valentine's flowers.

With a bottle of Valentine's dinner wine in the background :-)

Thanksgiving in February

It's officially a tradition. Last week, Mon Amour and I held our 2nd annual Thanksgiving in February feast. Last year we had some friends from church down for this celebration (I think there were about 12 people + kids at that one) and this year we had my family over (total 10 adults).

Everyone but Mon Amour is in the picture. Someone had to actually take the picture...

There are many reasons why we enjoy this tradition:

  1. It's an excuse to have a yummy meal
  2. What else are you going to do with that really cheap turkey you got in November that is just taking up space in your freezer?

3. February is in general a rather boring month. It is still winter...but folks are looking forward to spring, and there are no significant celebrations. So we added one.

This year there were a few extra reasons we enjoyed the celebration

4. Mon Amour and I spent Thanksgiving at his parents house - and Thanksgiving is my mom and grandmother's favorite holiday. So we needed to recreate it.

5. And, it was my grandmother's birthday the day we celebrated, and my Aunt's birthday the day before that. So we made some birthday pie (i.e. we stuck candles in it and sang the song)

It was a very lovely time. I can't wait to see what next year's Thanksgiving in February will look like.

Weather forecasts these days are getting frighteningly accurate...or rather they THINK they are getting frighteningly accurate - really the more details they guess about, the more chance there is to be wrong.

That said, I still check for the forecast pretty much daily.

Usually it says something like "sunny" or "partly
cloud" or something simple like that.

Recently though - it had a rather out
of the ordinary forecast:

I may be the only one who finds this interesting. But I truly find this forecast amusing.
I guess it was accurate - it was not raining where we were though the radar showed rain all over the area where we live. So perhaps there were some "Showers in the vicinity". Who knows.

The best part about this forecast is that I really have no way of telling if they are right or wrong. If it was raining where I was, I would be like "how nice, they are right about the showers", if it wasn't raining where I was, I would think " must be showering somewhere in this 'vicinity'".

Congratulations weatherman - an excellent fall back forecast for those days when you don't know what will actually happen.

Fire Protection

The very first thing that my mother did after Mon Amour and I moved into our small farm house was buy us a few essentials - like a set of flashlights to ward of the darkness, a fly swatter to take care of the swarms, two lawn chairs to sit in on a romantic evening watching the sunset, and a pair of smoke detectors because our house had none.

We were slackers and it probably took us a good 6+ months to actually put them up. I kept telling my mom, though, that they did have batteries in them and they were sitting on top of the mantel, so if there had been smoke it would have detected it eventually.

We did recently manage to get the smoke detectors on the wall. There is one in the bedroom, and one in the kitchen. We are now very safe.

Very very very safe!
Our fire detectors (mainly the one in the kitchen) are overly zealous about their fire detecting duties.

The first time it went off was when I was cooking bacon. Okay, I thought to myself, I probably had the heat on the skillet turned too high (I am an impatient cook)...and there was probably some smoke. I wafted some fresh air towards the smoke detector and it stopped. Crisis averted.

But, no, it goes off every single time I make bacon, or brown hamburger, or cook tortillas; and no, I don't constantly cook things on too high a temperature such as to cause them to smoke unnecessarily. We simply have zealous smoke detectors. Why am I so sure?

Our smoke detector went off the other day when I ..... burnt toast!

Yes, I burnt a piece of toast. It wasn't even black. It was just really dark brown.
And the smoke detector went off. The smoke detector is on the other side of the kitchen....a good 9 feet away.

So, in summary, we are very very very safe when it comes to house fires. Not only can you see the entirety of our house from any give point in the house, but we also have smoke detectors that will let us know if our toast is becoming overly brown.

Poor Farmer

The other day as I was taking Marge out for her first thing in the morning trot around the yard, I looked out in the field and saw this:

I don't know what you think this looks like....but to me, it looked like the cows had turned carnivorous and had gotten hold of a poor farmer and eaten everything but his denim over-alls.

I honestly couldn't come up with a better explanation than that for what I saw, and I was thoroughly amused (it was funny because even though I couldn't come up with any other explanation, I knew my explanation to be false)

All day long the cows kind of stood around the lifeless blue heap and every time I saw it, I thought the same thing.
"Poor Farmer"

Turns out it was just a tarp. It blew out of one of the barns or something. Now it is waaaaay out in one of the empty corn fields. I guess no one wants it, cause every day it blows a little bit further away.

My House

This is my house:
It's tiny, in the middle of no where, has no space for entertaining guests, has 8 door ways and only 2 actual doors one of which is the outside door and the other of which is only 5'8" tall, temperature regulation is nearly impossible, it has one tiny closet, and has wood panneling on the walls AND ceiling.

I hated it when we moved it, calling all of these things 'flaws'.

We've been here about 9 months now, and I have taken to calling these same things "character"
My house has a lot of character.

And I love it.

Too Cute: Part 7

This is the face Marge makes when you go outside, leaving her inside to merely peak through the windows in the door. She doesn't like to be left behind.

It's too cute.

Then she see something moving (probably a leaf or something)
and she gets distracted.

Then she doesn't really care that you left. Just that there is something that has moved, that she can't get to.

This face is also cute.

Moving on

This past week Mon Amour and I entered a new phase of life - we moved out of the newly-wed-we-have-complete-sets-of-practically-brand-new-dishes phase and into the, it's-just-life-who-knows-how-many-plates-we-have-left phase.

We broke our first dish. I didn't even drop it. It just broke.

That phase of life in which you have all 8 complete sets of dinner service wear that you initially bought is very brief. And once you make the switch to the yes-i-have-broken-dishes phase there really isn't any going back. We will forever have a disproportionate amount of one dish to the other dishes in the set. Even if we buy more dishes....our counts of large plates to small plates will pretty much always be off. Such is life. Today, as they say, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Speaking of phases, and thinking back to times when we started new ones and all that - today marks exactly 3 years of Mon Amour and I's relationship. Yup, Valentine's Day of 2006 we officially started dating. Its not as romantic as it sounds though - starting dating on Valentine's Day. Mon Amour wanted my dad's permission before we started dating, and it just so happened that my Dad was visiting me at college to take me to a harp-gig I had for that evening. So, Mon Amour and Dad talked - then Mon Amour and I went for a 10 minute walk in which we established that we were officially dating - then off I went to a restaurant to play romantic tunes for a 55+ community. How romantical.

Children's Lit

I love children's books.
Honestly, who doesn't?

My lovely sister, who has the wonderful privilege of writing her Senior Thesis about children's books (in Switerland, writing a thesis on kid's picture books....does it get any cooler??), recently shared with me this link:

I am not going to tell you anything about it. You must check it out.

Oh, ok. I will tell you.
You can read children's books online!!! How awesome - pictures and (almost) turning pages and everything. You must read this one. Its fantastic.

Wal Mart Disappoints

The new Wal Mart in town is a lovely thing, no question. However, they have been rather disappointing of late. I used to buy Marge's food at the grocery store...till I discovered that you can get a much bigger bag for much less at Wal Mart! So I was determined to buy it no where else.

It sounded like a full proof plan to me. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Wal Mart NEVER has dog food in stock. I tried no less than 5 times to get Purina Puppy Chow...and every single time they have been out! I have been on a weekend, on a weekday, during the day, in the evening. I have asked when they will get it in stock, and no one knows.

They have a few other kinds of dog food there...but it is either way more expensive (did you know Rachel Ray has a line of dog food? Yah, ridiculous), or it is for "mature large breeds" and marge is neither large, nor over 7 years old, so that is no good.

This past weekend, we tried again to get Marge some food...she was just about out, so if we didn't find it at Wal Mart we would have to go to a back up plan.

We walked into the store and straight to the dog food section - a quick glance at the incredibly empty shelves confirmed our suspicion, Wal Mart never has any Purina Puppy Chow.

But then! The people in the aisle who had previously had their backs to us turned around, revealing to us the contents of their cart

Yes, ladies and gentleman, they had, no more than 30 seconds before we go there, picked up the LAST bag of Purina Puppy chow.

We considered making the lucky shoppers an offer on the bag of food.....but they looked a little possesive, and a little bit like they could beat us up if they wanted to.

Oh the cruel cruel ironies. If only we had left a mere moment sooner, or walked a smidgen faster, or something!

Necesity forced us to switch to the only other kind of puppy food they had "Old Roy Puppy Food" (what a good name). Poor Marge has a sensitive stomach so I suspect the first few days on her new food will be a little rough.

Wal Mart, I am officially less entranced by your vast square footage. What good is all that space, if there is never anything on the shelves?

Fly Naps

As a result of living in such close proximity to a lot of cows, our house is always infested with a lot of flys.

There is a vast difference between city flies, and country flies.
County flies are in general much larger, and much slower moving than their city relatives. I believe that both of these attributes are due to them having 24/7 access to more food then they could ever every want to eat (courtesy of the cows). It is remarkably easy to kill them with your hand (though I still prefer the fly swatter)

The winter weather has cut down slightly on the fly population in our house, but they are still here.

And they hibernate!

Who knew, when it gets cold, the flies go to sleep. I guess I sort of knew this, cause I know (or at least am told that) you can capture bees, put them in the fridge, then when they are all kinds of out of it, you can tie them to string on a stick...and have a pet bee that you can take for walks. But, I guess I didn't realize that the whole cold-induced sleep happened naturally. But it does.

If you look hard enough around my house you are bound to find a sleeping fly somewhere.

The other day, there was one here:on my sofa.

It sat there, allllllllll day long. Literally, it didn't move all day. I could poke it, and it wouldn't move.

I was planning on tossing it outside when I got off work at the end of the day.....but I forgot about it until later that evening....

When I sat on it....


They look oddly the same dead as sleeping....

Too Cute: Part 6

Marge makes this face when you are playing with her and let her climb on top of you like she has vanquished you.

She feels very accomplished.

Too Cute.

Snow Pictures

Even though I am definitely ready for the end of all this cold and snow (mostly cause our woodpile is running low...and it will be very cold in our house once that runs out), I absolutely love the way it makes the farm look.

Cool color accent. Only picking up the pink in this sunset. Lovely

Full color is pretty lovely too

Icicles and a silo, on an artistic angle. Nice.

Pretty pink, and a spiffy tree.

More of the same.

There is soooooo much sky out here!

The name of "my" farm*.

*It's not really mine. I just live here. Alll of the benefits. None of the property taxes. Yay!

Snow - Geese

Ironically, and yet somehow, wonderfully appropriately, with the coming of snow, came the Snow Geese. The geese before this were an assortment of geese. Some Snow Geese, some Canadian Geese. Mostly just a lot of geese.

I have not seen them in a while, but they have returned. And there are just as many of them as ever.

They are still really cool.

Grown Up Snow

You know you are grown up when this:

no longer looks like a winter wonderland.

Instead it looks like a cold, wet, disaster waiting to happen, that undoubtedly you will have to drive through because your boss's snow policy is "If its too bad for you to drive, we will come pick you up in our 4-wheel-drive", and because it never snows on the 5 days you work from home, only on the 2 days when you have to make the almost 70 mile drive to work

And when you spend 2 hours of your Wednesday morning driving on some of the most dangerous roads you have ever may find yourself trying to remember what it was like to actually look forward to snow.

Maybe one day it will be delightful again.

Until then.....Spring, consider this your invitation to show up whenever. Sooner, rather than later would be amazing.

Though I must is hard to complain about a snow day that ends like this:


This is primarily how we heat our house:

As previously mentioned, we don't really have a thermostat in the house. So we improvise. The most accurate indicator of the temperature that we have is this:

It's a candle. Well, really, it used to be a candle. Now it is just a glass jar of wax.

It is wonderfully helpful. It sits on top of the stove, and anticipates the temperature of the room. When it is completely liquid (the dark pink), it will soon be very warm in the room. When it starts to solidify again, you know you had better work on the fire, or it is going to get cold soon!

It is not an exact science, but it really is more helpful than you would think.

On a semi-related note....below is a random picture of our thermostat (with me in the background, on the computer, of course). I thought it was weirdly artistic.

Too Cute: Part 5

Marge makes this face while she is sitting in your lap.

She does her best to look like a serious hound dog....while indulging her desire to grow up to be a lap-dog.

It's too cute


One day we will move somewhere, probably into a neighborhood, with real neighbors and such.

But until then, these are my neighbors.

They are not incredibly friendly...

But we amicably ignore each other usually.

Like those kinds of neighbors who typically try to avoid walking to their car at the same time as their neighbor every day lest it get awkward. But who don't mind the occasional exchange of pleasantries if civility requires.

Dinner for a Week

I am very fortunate in many things - but one in particular that pertains to today's post is that Mon Amour will eat just about anything that I serve him - new recipes, leftovers, frozen dinners, whatever, he will eat it. It makes things easy in the dinner department. It is also convenient that there are only 2 of us, it doesn't take much to make enough to have left overs.

As a result of all of these fun things, I never actually have to make 7 dinners a week. Usually I make about 4 per week. This past week though was super sweet....I made 2 meals, and they have lasted us all week long.

I made both meals on Sunday.

First I made Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. An amazing recipe that makes a TON of soup.
Simultaneously I made pizza. (I love homemade pizza dough)

I made a little more dough than I normally do, mostly cause I wanted a thick crust. But the result was that we had Pizza for dinner on Sunday, and still had 1 huge pizza left over.

Combine that with an almost literal ton of soup, and visiting a friend or two for dinner (and yes, its true, food someone else makes DOES taste better), I haven't had to think about dinner for a solid week.

Even though I love to cook, it has been fabulous.