Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trimming the Hedges

I have lived in this house for a little over 9 months now, and my husband and I have really done only the bare minimum when it comes to taking care of our yard. And by bare minimum I mean we have mowed the lawn....that's really about all we've done (just ask our neighbors!). And, so far it's pretty much been my husband's domain. Unfortunately, he doesn't have all that much time to devote to the yard. Pair that with the fact that I'm too cheap to pay someone to do it for us (why should we pay someone to do something we are fully capable of doing ourselves?) and you end up with me taking it upon myself to help Will out in the yard.
Our poor hedges are one area of the yard that needed some desperate attention - they hadn't been trimmed in nearly a year! So, this was one of the first tasks that I decided to tackle. Here are a few "before" and "after" pictures.




So, as you can see it made quite a difference in both the appearance of the hedges and in the ability to see the porch. I was amazed at how simple (and satisfying) it was to trim the hedges back and shape them (except for that last one - it refused to let me shape it).

What will my next project in the yard be, you ask? Take a look at this:

Unfortunately the weeds have taken over our yard (and footpaths) so I think I'll tackle them next. And in the process of tackling the weeds I hope to re-grade and re-seed our back yard....I guess my husband and I have a lot to learn about taking care of our yard!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stuffed Shells

I recently tried this recipe for stuffed shells. So far in my life I have never made stuffed shells, but this recipe looked interesting and didn't have too many weird ingredients so I figured I'd give it a try.

After looking at the recipe I decided to split it in half so I could cook 2 variations of stuffed shells on 2 different nights. This my husband and I would have less to eat on any given night and would get a little variety.

To do this I mixed together the filling minus the chopped walnuts (which I decided to replace both nights anyway). After preparing the filling I split it in half and stuck half in the fridge to use another night. 

On Tuesday night I decided to make spinach stuffed shells, and on Thursday night I did meat stuffed shells (with ground beef).

spinach filling
meat filling

All I had to do was replace the walnuts with the chosen ingredient for the night. It was super easy, and cooking and stuffing the shells was surprisingly uncomplicated (before I tried it I was sure I would make a mess of it).

my lovely shells so neatly stuffed :)
spinach stuffed shells ready to be devoured

My husband says he liked both versions equally (Yay! I have another recipe I can add to my list!) but would have preferred a little less meat in the second version. I will admit that I did use quite a bit of meat in the second version by putting the extra meat in the sauce which may have been a little overkill. Now the fact that my husband like the spinach stuffed shells was a little surprising to me because he generally doesn't like spinach and isn't super keen on cheese. It must have been the pasta and sauce that won him over ;-)

I would also have to agree with my husband that both meals were delicious, but I would have liked to taste the spinach a little more in my first attempt. So, next time I think I'll definitely add more spinach - I only added about 1/2 cup. I'll add at least 1 full cup next time.

Overall, the stuffed shells were a success! And this is a meal that is really great because it can be prepared ahead of time and then just popped in the oven whenever you're ready to eat it. I also think it would be super easy to make a couple large batches of the stuffed shells and freeze them for later. And for those of you with kiddos around you can give them the broken shells as a treat :)

delicious broken shells that can't be stuffed

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Towels and Hammer Have Been Rescued

I would first like to say if you're ever at dinner with me and I go to order any beverage with caffeine in it please stop me. I had several glasses of diet coke with dinner and I am now unable to fall asleep - I don't even feel tired (hence this post at 12:30am)!

Ok. On with the real reason I write. Well, in my insomnia I decided to do what any reasonable person would do - I got on the internet. One of my friends says she is dying to know what happened with the laundry chute incident so here it is (thanks Liz!).

When my husband came home from work he tried a similar method to mine, but his way was a little smarter. He first took this rope thing (he uses it to stretch and do exercises and stuff, I don't know what it's really called) and put it down the chute so he could determine just how far down the towels were stuck. He determined that we needed something long, flexible and relatively heavy to push everything through, but was unable to produce any object that fit that description. He did try tying an umbrella to the rope, but that clearly didn't work. I don't think he even tried putting it down the chute. After untying the umbrella he said, "what we need is a cinder block."
Right. A cinder block. I was like  "See!? The hammer wasn't such a bad idea!! It just wasn't nearly as heavy as I thought it might be." I then analyzed his apparent proposal (dropping a cinder block down our laundry chute), and I reminded him that the end of the chute is at an angle, so it wouldn't work because the cinder block would get stuck before it went all the way through.
Silly me. He wasn't suggesting that we simply drop a cinder block in the laundry chute - he was going to TIE IT to his rope so he could easily bring it back up.
Now to get a cinder block.....

Yea right. That didn't happen. What happened is me unscrewing the cover to the laundry chute on our main floor so we could actually reach UP and pull the towels down.

The cover doesn't actually swing out like that. It was the massive amount of paint I (apparently) applied earlier this summer that allowed that to happen.
Here's a shot of the lovely paint job I have to fix now that the cover is back on the chute.

So, mystery solved. The towels are now safely back in the linen closet, and the hammer is home again with the other tools.

Ahh, well. I suppose that is all for now.
O - except for one more comment my husband made to me after failing to fix the laundry chute and me telling him that I was planning on starting a blog (these 2 things occurred the same night). He said to me (jokingly, of course) "Are you going to keep doing stupid things just so you can blog about them?" The answer to that question has several parts:
1) I didn't get the towels stuck on purpose - he conceded to that.
2) Throwing a hammer on the towels wasn't THAT bad of an idea - he wasn't(isn't?) ready to admit this.
3) No, I don't PLAN these things or plan to create ridiculous events just to amuse ourselves or other people (even though this was a kind of amusing situation).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Laundry Chute

I generally try to wash our towels and sheets on Tuesdays. So, as usual I collected our towels and threw them down the chute. Now this included some towels that had been used to help prevent flooding in our bedroom (another story altogether), so there were more towels than usual. Afterwards I go to the basement to get the laundry started and notice there aren't any towels there. 
I looked up to see if I could see the towels - nope. So I went upstairs to see if I could push them down. I stuck my arm as far down as it would go and didn't feel anything. So I did the same thing on the second level - same thing. Nothing there. I threw a couple more hand towels down from the 1st floor and those made it through so I have now confirmed that the clog is somewhere between the 1st and 2nd floor. I figured that maybe throwing something with some weight might give the towels enough of a push to make it through, so I decided a hammer might just do the trick. 
Alas - it didn't work. I now have a bunch of towels + a hammer stuck in my laundry chute. Hopefully my husband can fix everything when he gets home.

Lesson learned: Don't shove everything in the laundry chute at once. It really isn't that big.

My first post

Hi! I have never blogged before, so I'm not sure how often I'll write or exactly how this all works. But, I am hoping to post whenever I try out a new recipe and whenever I embark on a new sewing project or other such "crafty" adventure.
Here goes nothing...