Farmhouse Table – DONE!

I briefly mentioned in this post we were building a farmhouse table and I’m happy to say it’s done.  And it’s beautiful, oh it’s so lovely that it makes my eyes sparkle with sunshine.   In one week Matthew and our friend William built the table from scratch, then we sanded and stained it.  Then the table was done – but what about chairs?  So we found chairs from various places in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to paint them to our liking.  I knew I wanted color, but I was unsure if I wanted color in the table or chairs – so I picked  the 2nd option.    This project was lots of fun to do and done pretty quickly.   For the price  of a farmhouse table and chairs  in a store, I would definitely recommend building your own so you get to customize it to your liking and pay WAY LESS.
Here it is our.. our farmhouse table!
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The stain turned out beautifully.  We used Minwax water based in color Classic Black.  It’s the perfect shade for what we wanted, so happy with how it looks.
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I have been saving chair inspiration and finally we decided on purple, blue and yellow.  4 of the chairs have 2 shades of each color, such as the purple seat’s is slightly darker shade than the rest of the chair.  For these we just primed, spray painted and then put on a protective coat.
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We have very high ceilings so even though the table is 8 feet long it seems tiny still! We have alot of ideas of general renovation in here so the table is going to be eventually moved near the kitchen where lots of other things will be changed nearby. 
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This was how we felt when we finished, thumbs up.
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I came home to Matthew spray painting the chairs and saw this on the wall, hugs hugs hugs.
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Last night we had our first dinner at our new table.  This was our first real table we had in 10 years!  I felt like I was at a fancy restaurant.  I love our table.
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I also really liked the pepper steak tacos we had, nom nom.
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The table is also a big hit with Xanadu who protects (and attacks) from above now.
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I will post behind the scenes to making this project later this week.

Projection Mapping

This weekend I took a projection mapping class at Harvestworks.  Projection mapping is a technique for manipulating video and graphics to create illusions of deconstruction and redefinition of physical shapes by moving away from traditional flat projection surfaces.  Basically you project your video/graphics onto a 3d space, but you have to shape your projected material to that surface.  You might have seen projection mapping on buildings or on objects before.  Here are some great examples that will blow your mind. Amazing, right? 
I went into the class not really knowing much technically about it.  Matthew has messed around with the program MadMapper slightly, but besides that I was a newbie.   I wanted to take the class to learn more about it and see how we could possibly use projection mapping either in gallery installations or create sculptures to record projection mapping on and use in our work.
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This was Day 1.  I’m using the program MadMapper. I was very confused in the beginning but felt my way around and figured it out to an extent.  To the right are boxes set up in the classroom, this was a picture of them.
Taking a projection mapping class at Harvestworks.  This is my first masterpiece.
And then I projected this onto the boxes.  It changes quite a bit from designing on a picture of boxes, and then seeing it real in front of you – you have to do quite a bit of tweaking.  If you had the exact measurements or were able to scan the sculpture, then it would line up pretty perfectly.

This is a video of what i made in the first day.
Day 2 projection mapping at Harvestworks, working with Modul8 and rainbow cats.
On the 2nd day we learned Modul8 and how to use it hand and hand with MadMapper.  Modul8 lets you create animated video elements and really lets have you great control.  WP_20130224_005.jpg
Here I’m back in  MadMapper, with the assets to the left being Modul8 created and opened live in the program.
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I was looking forward to today because with learning how to use these 2 programs together I was able to put my own Pamela spin on things and make things visually look more my style.

Here is my final upon day 2.  It was much more fun and cute – what I like!
The class was really great and I’m going to explore it more.  Both programs are pretty indepth so it will take some time to figure them all out, but I’m really excited to see the possibilities of what it can do for our work.

Uncle Mikey’s Dried Pineapple

Have you ever eaten something so good that all you can do afterwards is shake your head?  That’s what I find myself doing every time I eat some Uncle Mikey’s dried pineapple. Let me take you back 1 week ago..
It was Saturday February 16 and someone stopped by to take a look at our garden in perhaps getting some thoughts for their thesis project which focuses on gardening.  Upon stopping by they gave us a gift, it was a small package of dried pineapple.  Thank you Ann for giving this to us….You shared this with me and now I will share it….
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I am not usually a fan of dried fruit because every time I buy it in the store it’s looks like gummy candy that is filled with sugar. Dried fruit shouldn’t have a big list of ingredients.  I want my dried fruit to taste real, like, well, fruit.    I am a big fan of pineapple so I was excited to try this.  On first look the dried fruit wasn’t poofy at all, in fact it looked very thin. I never saw dried fruit that actually looked like it was a dried version of the fruit! So I tasted it, and unicorns and sparkles magically appeared around me.  Glitter fell.  The angels sang.  Man, this was GOOD.  So good I immediately declared it out loud my new favorite snack in the world.  I did a quick Google search and learned that Uncle Mikey’s was based in Hawaii and they didn’t sell their products in New York. I was heart broken.  But there was still hope – they sold it online! More angels singing.  So about 20 minutes after finishing this bag above, I bought a 16 oz package of dried pineapple online. I could not wait for it to arrive!
So yesterday, Friday February 22 my package arrived!  Can we just say how amazing it is that I got fresh dried pineapple from Hawaii in less than a week?  Can we also say how amazing it is that Mikey himself sends out emails curious about how you learned about his product, telling you it was shipped, and just other great words of happiness because he is a good guy. I want him to be my new best friend so bad.
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Here is my 16 oz of dried pineapple, aka, the greatest pineapple in the world.  Their slogan is “no weird stuff added” which is true, this is just fruit, nothing else.  How can dried fruit be this amazing?  I don’t know! But after snacking on some, I found my way writing this blog entry. The pineapple puts me in a trance – “I must tell the world about this pineapple”. 
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It was vacuum packed so I quickly cut my way in.  WP_20130223_050
There it is.  Oh my god, look at this pineapple.  People, look at it. 
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The texture is rough (in a good way), you need to chew it.  It’s not gummy, it has bite.  Do you know when you eat pineapple and your tongue burns afterwards?  Well you know this is the real deal because after eating this dried pineapple, I get the burn. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
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He also sent this other sample pack.. I was dying to try everything when I saw the selection on his website.
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The apple banana! Oh heavens! Did you even know there was a such a thing? It’s delicious! The guava leather is delicious too, I snacked it on the way home tonight on the subway and the ladies next to me complimented the smell. I almost offered to share but I couldn’t part with it.

If you like dried fruit – please try this.  I know it isn’t cheap, but honestly it’s worth it.  It’s one of these things you find in life and hopefully you will have forever. I know that was a dramatic statement, but I mean it.  It’s that good. 

Thursday Thoughts

Pictures from the last week..

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This is my new favorite website.  The truth is that I worked out tonight while dancing to this, when the cats come in, I dance hard. 
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This is our daily afternoon snack.  It happens between 4-5PM.  We each have one piece of whole wheat bread with cinnamon raisin peanut butter + red raspberry  jam.  It’s magic.
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This is a outtake of a project we did earlier last year. I found it today and now I want to rework it to share it with the world.
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We had Mexican a few nights ago.  The tortilla soup was not as good as mine, but the cheese fries with black beans were magical.
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This is my new sweatshirt.  I do like cats.
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I have important roles like standing on top of the table to hold the boards in place while Matthew puts in screws below. I do this with fluffy heart socks on.
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Magical devils food cheesecake at a Nets game.  This is the best buy at the Arena at my opinion. It’s a giant (2 people serving) piece of cake for $8.75.
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Grandma pizza is real good.
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Some goodies friends brought us back from Cambodia. It’s black pepper beans and lotus tea.
Construction victim, poor Sambas.
Matthew’s shoe was in a construction accident.
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Turkey + avocado + tomatoes + walnut pesto + lettuce sandwich.  With tomato soup.  Had a solo lunch with a book…
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I’m current reading the biography of Marie Antoinette.  I’m really into that time period right now.  I had homemade tortilla soup one night with this book.  This book is such a great date.
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A friend came over and brought donuts.  The bottom right is my favorite – roasted coconut.  LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE.  If you ever come to New York, go to Dough in Brooklyn!
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I had went to my favorite tea store in New York, McNulty’s. The men in the store are so helpful and make me smell every single tea, I adore them.  I could spend a very long time in here.  I was in here because my doctor told me I have to cut down on caffeinated tea, apparently he thinks there is something wrong with 7 cups of black tea a day.  Apparently he thinks it’s causing my horrible headaches that I have been taking medicine for. This is such sad news, because I need my tea! Oh man.. what am I going to do.
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So I got decaffeinated chocolate mint and english breakfast.  I also got a oolong which is much lower in caffeine.  The ceylon was for a friend.   I can now report almost a week later, my headaches aren’t as bad or as often.  I am on the lookout for great decaffeinated teas, this is a major change in my life.  But if it’s helping my headaches, I welcome it.. although I miss my usual teas. :(
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I met a clown in the Subway and got this balloon.  I carried it all the way home.  It’s on my wall now.WP_20130215_005
I dressed in ice cream cone colors.WP_20130212_005 (1)
This is Brother Bear’s crinkle ball.  he puts it under his body.WP_20130212_004 (1)
And then slides it under his belly.  Don’t touch it.

Hello Halupkies

I grew up in Pennsylvania.  I am Polish.  The result of these two things is that I love halupkies.  Growing up halupkies was one of  my mother’s specialties.  I would help her peel the cabbage and roll them up, sneaking bits of cabbage into my mouth when she wasn’t looking.  Look at how good of a kid I was, I was snacking on vegetables!   You might call them halupkies or you might call them stuffed cabbage or maybe you call them something else, either way, these are pretty easy to make and I hope you love them!  By the time dinner was over, these were cleared out and the pan was empty.
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Ingredients:
1 head of green cabbage – 8 to 10 leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10.75 ounces) can condensed tomato soup
16 oz tomato sauce of your choice

Directions:
Peel your cabbage to get 8 to 10 leaves.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and boil for 3 minutes.  Drain, set aside.
In a saucepan, bring your 2/3 cup of water to boil.  Add rice, stir.  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine ground beef (uncooked), onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, your cooked rice, egg, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of tomato soup.  Mix it all together.
4.  Spoon the beef mixture into your cabbage leaves evenly.  Roll them up, secure them with a toothpick.
5.  Put the cabbage rolls in a large skillet over medium heat.
6. Pour the rest of the tomato soup on top of the rolls.
7. Pour the 16 oz of additional tomato sauce on top of the rolls.
8.  Cover and bring to a boil.
9.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes until the meat is cooked thoroughly.
Enjoy!

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More pictures/walk through behind the cut.

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A Trip to Home Depot – Stain and Torture

I visit Home Depot for style – think colors and design.  I will go for the garden section, paint supplies, or plastic containers, or even some cleaning supplies. I usually will not go to buy wood and screws, I leave that for my builder, Matthew.  Matthew can spend hours roaming up and down those dusty aisles while I hold on to his leg crying to be released from this torture.
This is me crying and waiting on Sunday while Matthew is in the tool aisle.  I told him to get the pretty neon green ones, but he ignored me.
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Today I went because I had to buy stain.  For what? We are building a farmhouse table!
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Well I should say the farmhouse table is basically built already, the top still needs to be screwed in and then it needs to be stained.  Then I need to find chairs, but that’s another story.    So for the last few days I have been agonizing over what color stain.  I have spent hours every single day looking up stain examples online, having a deep conversation with myself about what would  we best.  Matthew kept asking me what it was going to be and I would start to shake in fear.  Just writing about it causes me anxiety, I’m not kidding. It’s such a important decision!  So I received a text this morning from Matthew saying “Get Stain!”.  I held my phone, shaking, not knowing what the decision was going to be.  I had a idea in my head, but I couldn’t confirm anything until the paint is made.

I texted back to Matthew “How dare you!”.  He didn’t understand why I said that.
I went to Home Depot and visited the stain section.  I still wasn’t sure.  I visited the paint section.  I saw this pretty paper towel with lots of colors on it!
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I texted it to Matthew saying “How Pretty!” but he ignored it completely.  WP_20130218_004
Then I made the choice.  The kind of stain we wanted was water based so it had to be made, it wasn’t pre-made.  We wanted this because the fumes will be much better and it’s quick drying.  They didn’t sell gallons of this unfortunately so I had to get 3 small cans made (I hope that’s enough!).  So there I am, telling the Home Depot worker my color choice.  “You sure?” She asked me.  “No, but let’s get it over with” I mumbled between tears of anxiety.
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Then I needed to get wood conditioner and a protective finish – all water based.  This wasn’t as stressful but the price tag of the protective finish made my eyes pop out of my head. I picked them back up in Aisle 8 and kept moving along.
I thought I was done, I could leave this store.  Then I got the dreaded text.. “I need a few more things”.  Oh god, no.  Please, no.  Please don’t make me buy things I don’t know what they are.
“Get me 20 4 inch wood screws” – Matthew texted.
”What color is the box? Or are they in plastic baggies?” – I responded.
“Whatever is cheapest”– M
”Where are they at?” – P (that’s me)
”In the screw aisle”-M
”Very helpful.”-P
”Do you want 16 or 24 screws?”-P
”I want 20” – M
”They are sold in 8 sets” – P
”24” – M
”They also have 2 in bags” – P
”How much are they?” – M
Then I start texting photos..
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”There’s these ones” – P
“How much are they?” – M
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”Oh, then theres these ones, look at the nice box!” – P
”How much are they?” – M
Then I just ignore him because he ignored my box comments. I got the ones in the box, of course.
A new text comes in..
“I need a hatchet tie down” – M
”What?” – P
”I need a hatchet tie down”-M
”A ratchet?”-P
”A hatchet” – M
”What?” – M
”Where are they?” – M
”In the back of the screw aisle, across opposite the screw anchors” – M
”Which one?” – P and then I text him this:
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”It’s just a single thing on the top shelf wrapped in cellophane” – M
”Not hanging on a hook” – M
”Where” – P and then I text him this:
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“Yeah there was a bunch yesterday just laying on top” – M
”Are they below or to the left or right?” – M
”No” – P
At this point I have asked 3 employees who all tell me I am crazy and they don’t sell them in single packs.
”Wtf” – M
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202065674/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=hatchet+tie+down&storeId=10051#.USJzIaUqZ8E” – M
”No luck with the tie downs?  Website says they are in stock” – M
”Aisle 18, 36 in stock”-M
So then I find another employee who told me they don’t sell them and then I show him the website link that says they have 36 in stock.
“They are looking, it is intense” – P while watching boxes fall all over.
”I see” – M
”How many?” – P
”1” – M
The employees are now in the back of the store looking at the receiving trucks because they are missing completely.
”They missing, lol” – P
”Wtf, there were tons” – M
”Sorry” –P
Then I sent him this picture of them missing on the shelf just to prove to him.
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”They are out, sorry” – P
”Guh” – M
“?”-P
”Guh, bs, but ok” – M
Then I leave the store and text him this picture..
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”Look at everything I got!” – P”
”You go girl” – M
Then I text him this picture:
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”Thinking of a new wall color behind my desk” – P
No response from Matthew.  Rude.
Then I text him this picture:
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”Best man” – M

Agreed!

Tea For Cats

My good pals William and Lia brought us back us back some goodies from Japan (aka, my dream destination).  In this bag of goodies were a couple satchels of this cat tea.  Not being able to read Japanese, I wondered, is this tea for a cat? Is it for me? Is it for both of us? What is this?  I mean there’s a cat on the front who looks like they are drinking some tea – really? What kind of tea is this?
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So a quick text sent to my friend Saya who is from Japan confirmed this is in fact tea for your cat.  Not any type of tea – this is CATNIP TEA.  I know, take a second to think about this..
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So I opened up the package and inside was just one tea bag – very catnip smelling by the way. How catnip smelling? FiFi Bofinkles showed up to smell it.  Then I confirmed with Saya the amount of water (16 ounces), temperature (hot or cold would work) and then I made it.
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I used 8 ounces cold, 8 ounces warm water. I let it cool down to room temperature.
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You can see it turned a slight yellow/green color while steeping.  Omg guys, I’m steeping tea for my cats.  I question my sanity.
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Then I put it into a bowl because I thought a tea cup might cross the line for me….
And I waited.
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FiFi Bofinkles showed up first.  She wasn’t interested.  She knew the smell but in liquid form? Not having it. She moved away to a food bowl and ate instead.
The real girl I was waiting for was Essy.  Essy is catnip obsessed, I’m sure some would say she needs to rehabilitated or needs a detox.  Girl likes her nip.  She’s 19.. she does what she wants.
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I left the bowl for a few minutes and Matthew called out “Is Essy ok?”  I walked over and Essy was laying on the ground rolling around, rubbing her paws into her cheeks.  “She’s all wet” Matthew said feeling her face.  ESSY HAS A TEA FACE.  That sneaky girl.  So Essy was really feeling the magic of the catnip tea.  She was doing her stretches and rolling movements when she’s under the influence.  Then I played with her and she bit my finger because she probably thought it was a dinosaur.   She felt good. 
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I waited until she went back to the tea and she did.  Where she then slid her cheeks all over the bowl, inside the bowl, dipped her chin.  Basically she bobbed for tea.   After rubbing her cheeks in the tea some more, she just stood there and stared at her Dora the Explorer plate.  I wish I could know what was going through her head during those 36 minutes of non movement.  Was Dora talking to her?  Was she plotting to hurt Dora? Was she living in a animated rainbow? Who knows.
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20 minutes later, she was still here.  I rubbed her face and she was soaked.  I’m pretty sure she just put her head in it, so in fear of Essy drowning in catnip tea, I removed it.  The tea bowl was full of Essy fur.

If you can get this, I would try it.  I have a few more teabags that I will let Brother and Xanadu try.  Just watch out for Essy!

Seedlings Update – 1 Month

So it has been a full month since many of the Spring seeds were planted.  How are they doing? Well I’m glad you asked.  I have been waiting to do a post on this.  I have been very anxious.  I would like to post every time they grow a centimeter but I know that probably isn’t very exciting to you.  So I wanted a whole month.  I really keep things riveting here!   Here they are today…! WP_20130214_007
But let’s go on a journey.. back to January 2013 to watch the progress… On January 15, the first one decided to pop up and greet us: WP_20130115_009
Then on January 16, more of it’s friends came out to play.. WP_20130116_002
On January 24, we had alot of growth action that already happened in the 12 days since they were planted:
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Then on January 28, the onions decided to start growing quick. WP_20130128_007WP_20130128_005
Check out this amazing guy, isn’t he beautiful? It’s New Zealand spinach. WP_20130128_013
Then on February 6, we had to pick favorites.  This is always so hard.  I don’t do it, I make Matthew while I sob loudly on the floor yelling “IT ISNT FAIR”. WP_20130206_051
Check out the broccoli roots! They are already growing out of their cups… WP_20130206_053
And this is yesterday.  Hey  spinach and kale – how are you guys doing? Kale, man I’m excited to see you!
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Onions, I won’t eat you, but I’m very happy to see you looking so well. WP_20130213_033
Everyone this is cauliflower.  Cauliflower this is everyone.  Say hello! WP_20130213_032
Broccoli – you beautiful people. WP_20130213_035
So everything came up….. so now we just keep watering and giving hugs. WP_20130213_038 WP_20130213_037
This was taken a few minutes ago.  I almost fell off a chair, but I’m ok. The onions and cauliflower are so big they are in the light.  Good luck guys.  Also note the fan to the right that we put up in mid January.  This keeps it windy so they aren’t shocked when they hit the roof.  It also makes them very strong as they are growing wind muscles (my term, not technical). WP_20130214_007 WP_20130214_008
How’s your seedlings?

Super Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a big part of my childhood.  I remember my dad would make homemade macaroni and cheese after school for me and we would sit there and eat it while talking to one another.  The two negatives about this was I was eating dinner at 3:30PM (which would result in me eating a box of cake mix at around 11PM) and eating macaroni and cheese 3 times a week probably isn’t the best.  But man those were good times…thanks Dad!
I had a block of Velveeta left in the fridge and came up with this super easy macaroni and cheese.  From boiling the pasta to melting the cheese, this is a 20 minute meal.  Also it’s really good macaroni and cheese, honestly!  Some people frown on good ol Velveeta, but not me, I worship them. This is cheesy goodness.   Serve this with some bread and enjoy!  There were leftovers, but someone during the night… (not me, I swear!).
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Ingredients:
2 cups elbow macaroni – uncooked
12 oz Velveeta – cubed
2 slices Muenster cheese – ripped up in pieces
1/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Optional: Adding broccoli or peas would be great too!

Directions:
Boil your macaroni noodles as instructed on the box.  Drain.
Put back in pot over low/medium heat.
Add your cheeses, milk, pepper.  Mix.
Keep mixing. 
It will take a few minutes for the cheese to melt.
Keep mixing.
Eat it up!

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Winter Garden

After a little snow storm this weekend I decided to take a look at the garden to make sure it was still there.  In the winter time we don’t see  it everyday as there’s not much going on, so today I wanted to take some time to say “hi” to it.
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We didn’t get that much snow from Nemo, probably about 5 inches.  What’s left though is either slush or ice.  In this picture it’s one sheet of ice in front of the garden.  I risked my life for these pictures!
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In these boxes shortly there will be sugar snap peas growing!  It’s always funny to compare this month to June when things are green and beautiful.
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This is one of our flower plants we keep covered in the winter, but some of it decided to poke out and get some sun.  It will be shining bright soon!
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Some people cover their strawberry plants but we don’t.  If it goes great in the wild, then it can grow great in our wild too.  This would be a good shot to compare in July when it will be full of juicy berries.
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I took a quick look under the greenhouse and saw the onions. I couldn’t reach all the way down to see if they have bulbs or yet.  Will probably check them out again in the next few weeks..WP_20130211_014
Even though we picked the broccoli a while ago, it’s still been growing small little heads in the winter.  What a surprise!
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A view from the garden:  Stay warm whenever you are!

New Work: The Family

We love stuffed animals!  We really love stuffed animals!   We really really really love stuffed animals!  Check out our new Creator’s Project project that features our very own “The Family”.  It was hard to choose just 7 to feature, but we’re happy with how it all came together and being able to share these amazing people with the world!  Be sure  to read all their bios too!

Welcome to Big Papa’s night club:

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Cauliflower + Cheese Soup

Do you love cauliflower? We do!  This week I bought 2 heads, one for dinner and one to snack on.  I was going to make yummy Mexican cheese cauliflower but then I remembered I have been wanting to make cauliflower soup.   So tonight we had this delicious, creamy soup which was just perfect for the snowy world we see outside right now.  I would serve this with some crusty or garlic bread, it’s great for dipping.  Feel free to put your own spin on it as well, you can really use whatever additional vegetables you want in it.  Corn would be great. So would broccoli.  Onions if you are into that sort of thing.  Even tomato slices on top would be good (and pretty!).    Give this a try next week…
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Ingredients:
3/4 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (or vegetable if you like)
1 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
1 medium sized potato – peeled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
4 ounces Velveeta cheese (I used this) or cheddar cheese – cubed
salt + pepper

Directions:
In a large pan add bouillon cube to your water.  Add cauliflower, potato, celery and frozen peas.  Boil for 10 minutes. 
In a saucepan melt your butter over medium heat. 
Stir in flour a little bit at a time and stir until combined.  Remove from heat.
Stir in milk a little bit at a time, you want it all to be blended.
Return to medium/high heat and keep stirring until your milk sauce thickens.
Add your vegetables and season with salt + pepper.
Stir in your cubes of cheese and stir until melted.
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Serve, enjoy!
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10 Years Anniversary!

We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this weekend (blizzard style).  On February 10 it will be a official 10 years!  Our 2 blue haired selves would have never imagined everything that would happen in the upcoming years, from school to moving to New York City to our work to traveling to our cats to just growing up together.  It’s been a fun 10 years.  Can’t wait for the next 70.
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(PS. I bought this card for Matthew off Etsy.  You can buy one too.  It’s one of the best cards I ever seen in my entire life, I want them all).

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Hello to 2003 Pamela + Matthew.