Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How far we've come

To put it all in perspective....   


Looked like this not too long ago

This kitchen...

Looked like this when we started (before cleanout and demo)

I'll be posting more before and after photos when I have more time (like sometime next month when I have NO weekend plans [other than book club and my usual local volunteer stuff]-- I am SO excited!!)

These are some shots of my dad's old workbench, which Jay did an incredible job restoring

The "chocolate" room... I took these during the party when everyone was outside, so that's why so many of these photos are cluttered up

The living room and dining room used to have a wall. Good thing we opened it all up, because whoever cut the hole in the side originally didn't put a header in... the entire 2nd floor would have fallen in eventually.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Fun

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy, and it's only going to get worse. Fortunately the end is in sight - I have nothing planned for the first weekend of November, and it is going to stay that way!

My girlfriend visited with her kids and hubby last weekend. We had a fun-filled weekend of pumpkin picking, alpacas, the Renaissance Festival and of course the Things game... or as my girlfriends and I call it, "Things in a box." Because, you know, it comes in a box. Duh.

Jen pulling Annabelle in the wagon while carrying Caroline... supermom!

Annabelle being silly

Oh hai! Wanna go on a picnic? Alpaca lunch!! (okay, I saw it on a meme)

Muffin has ears

This baby loves Phil... he's the alpaca whisperer (and also the owner of the alpaca farm)

Our game of things in a box and Jay carrying in the milk from Nice Farms Creamery.
 The products from Nice Farms are sooo freaking delicious. I've been buying their milk and yogurt for a few weeks (since the party). They recently announced that they are now making butter as well... I can't wait to smear some on fresh-baked bread. I've taken a bit of a break from baking over the summer. Now that the weather is cooler, I'm finding myself yearning for hot french bread out of the oven.

The reason I took the photo of Jay carrying the milk is because our chickens follow us everywhere... they think that they're dogs. They kind of are, I suppose. They come running when you call them and even come running when they see my car pull up. We give them treats and they're constantly underfoot and trying to sneak into the house. Naughty chickpoos.

Tim taking Annabelle down the slide at Ren Fest

Jay and Tim throwing pointy things... what goes better together than beer and sharp objects?

Nom nom nom oyster shooters! This is one of my favorite parts of Ren Fest

Late afternoon Mouse

One of my coworkers/old neighbors stuck this in interoffice to me. It totally made my day. This is me and my neighbor Neil in 1985. My dad made me my costume (looks like my antenna broke!). I love the duct tape on my wings... thanks, Dad! :)

This is one of my favorite fall activities...reading in front of the fireplace. :)

Hot mulled cider with rum enjoyed with good friends at Harry's on the Green 

Even my straw is happy, look at his smiling face!

There's a lot going on at work, home and pretty much in every aspect of my life right now. To be quite honest, it sucks. Work is busy and I've had some problems with the physicians' holiday schedules. Like getting emails so nasty that they make you cry kind of problems. It hasn't been fun. My volunteer position with the group in NYC hasn't kept me as busy lately, I think others have stepped up in my place because I'm not getting nearly as many emails or as much harassment. It's been nice. I'm supposed to go to the board meeting in NYC next weekend, but I really don't want to go. Since I'm stepping down, I don't feel like I have much to contribute, and I'm just tired of dealing with anything involving the group.

This weekend, Jay and I will be going to New Castle, PA to investigate Hill View Manor  with some of the celebrity ghost hunters. This is our fifth event and we're getting antsy to form our own group and go out on our own. We've grown more skeptical in our investigative tactics, so I hope that we get some crazy evidence this time. We used to be huge believers in the "flashlight test", but then realized that it's often just a malfunctioning flashlight. We did use the flashlight test in our own home and came up with some pretty wild results, but I think it requires more testing. I think it could possibly be used as an effective technique IF controls were put in place - using 3 flashlights, asking to light up certain flashlights, asking control questions and the like. 

I wish I had more time for things like ghost hunting!

That's all for now... maybe next week I'll have some scary ghost pictures to post. ;-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Party Rock

Well, we never ended up tearing up the carpet. Maybe we’ll leave it on until the drywall is installed in dad’s old workroom.

A good time was had by all, even though there were two significant injuries. Doug and Marty were horsing around and Doug’s head met our brick steps. I’m surprised that he didn’t break the bricks! He could’ve used some stitches, but he said he’d be fine without them. The second injury was to Beth, who slipped with the oyster knife and stabbed herself in the hand. Fortunately first aid supplies were close at hand after Doug’s injury, so we got her patched up without too much trouble. The cat knocked over our dessert & Arnold Palmer table, which made a huge mess… and the cops cruised by after one of our guests decided to set off some fireworks late in the night. They stayed around the corner for a few hours to make sure it didn’t happen again.

We’re still trying to count the number of people that came, but I think it was around 45. Definitely a huge crowd.

I wish that I’d had time to take more photos, but I was too busy running around. It took me 4 hours before I was able to eat and grab a drink… then it still took me another 2 hours to eat my plate of food and finish my drink. Hopefully I lost some weight with all of my running around and lack of food!

Here is the night in photos (and a texting fail)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Official Party Business

Our Green Carpet Unveiling party is tomorrow, and I’m starting to freak out. We’re going to have between 40 and 50 people coming. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be like other parties we’ve had and people will be staggered throughout the day (there’s certain to be lots of staggering by the end).

I have a 16 pound pork shoulder, 5 pounds of London Broil, ~3 qts of buffalo chicken dip, however many mini quiches I can make, 6 lbs of burgers, 4 or 5 lbs of hot dogs, 60 deviled eggs, 100 oysters, 8 lbs of macaroni salad, 10 lbs of potato salad, 4 pounds of cheese, hopefully enough bruschetta (I bought 4 pints worth of tomatoes to make it), and….??? I think that’s all. We’re making Grown-up Arnold Palmers… Sweet Tea Vodka & Lemonade, 2 cases of pumpkin ale for slutty pumpkins (pumpkin ale w/ vanilla vodka in a cinnamon & sugar rimmed glass), 4 30-packs of Miller Lite, plus some wine. OH! And I’m also making mini ice cream sandwiches… homemade vanilla ice cream sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies. Last night I scraped the vanilla beans and infused ice cream with the vanilla. I found that working with vanilla beans is kind of a PITA.

All of our dishes except for the burgers and hot dogs are being made with local ingredients. I’m pretty happy about that. I hope that it comes out in the taste. The meats came from Cedar Run in Sudlersville, the oysters are coming from Choptank Oyster Company in Cambridge, cheese is from Chapel's Country Creamery in Easton, any egg dish came from our chickens, milk products came from Nice Farms Creamery in American Corner, and other various ingredients came from Clayton Farms in Denton. So basically everything came from within about 30 miles of our house. Pretty cool.

Now if we can somehow pull this all off in the next 24 hours, I will be a happy camper. I’m praying that the weather holds out for us. We’ve been incredibly lucky in the past during all of our parties being on beautiful days. Let’s hope that trend continues!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crazy egg

I feel sorry for whoever laid this one. Its about the size of a duck egg!

Cedar Run Trip

Well I have some wonderful news... Dresden is alive and well at Cedar Run Farm!

On our way to pick up our meat, Jay and I were wondering if we would be seeing our little buddy again. We were prepared for the worst, thinking that his previous injuries and stupidity with picking on the wrong guy would finally catch up with him.

Turns out that we were happily wrong!

Jay goes, "I see Dresdy!!" I didn't believe him, but then there he was. We called him and he came running over to check things out.

Then, he ignored us. After all, he has an image to keep.

Cedar Run also has a host of free-range turkeys. I wish that we were hosting Thanksgiving this year so that we could get one. When they say that their poultry is free range, it really is. I'm happy that what I'm eating is kept humanely and has lived a happy life before it's sacrificed for my dinner.

A member of the Cedar Run Cattle herd... their cattle lives much longer than most other beef producers. While most commercial operations slaughter their animals at an average of 18 months of age, theirs average 4 to 5 years old.

 I hope that we have enough meat for our party... a 16 pound pork shoulder, 5 pounds of London Broil and a free range chicken for the buffalo chicken dip. Plus a few pounds of spicy sausage, which is AMAZING. I will never be able to enjoy sausage from anywhere else now... they have ruined me for life.