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.
Today I went because I had to buy stain.  For what? We are building a farmhouse table!
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!
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.
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..
”There’s these ones” – P
“How much are they?” – M
”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:
”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:
“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.
”They are out, sorry” – P
”Guh” – M
”Guh, bs, but ok” – M
Then I leave the store and text him this picture..
”Look at everything I got!” – P”
”You go girl” – M
Then I text him this picture:
”Thinking of a new wall color behind my desk” – P
No response from Matthew.  Rude.
Then I text him this picture:
”Best man” – M


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?
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..
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.
I used 8 ounces cold, 8 ounces warm water. I let it cool down to room temperature.
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.
Then I put it into a bowl because I thought a tea cup might cross the line for me….
And I waited.
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.
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. 
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.
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:
WP_20130124_008 WP_20130124_009 WP_20130214_008
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!
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!).

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!

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!


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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
I took a quick look under the greenhouse and saw the onions although the problem was it had ants, so we needed to get a power ant control service to help with this. 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!
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:


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…

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

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.
Serve, enjoy!

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.

(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).

Hello to 2003 Pamela + Matthew.

Portrait Party Behind The Scenes

As I mentioned in this cupcake post, we recently had to get our portrait taken for a project.  The project is focused on our stuffed animals, “The Family”.  I will make a post about it soon! Here’s how the final turned out.  This is one of our better portraits we have had taken because it’s very Pamela +Matthew with fun, cats, our stuffed family.  Thanks to the photographer Claire for putting this fairy tale setting together.
Portrait Reed+Rader
One of the first things we got asked about is the cat up front.  Everyone wants to know if it’s real.  Of course it is! It’s Xanadu Pluto, our crazy Siamese.  The thing you have to know about Xanadu is she’s a model and loves the spotlight.  In the hour we sat for this portrait, Xanadu basically didn’t move (except once she came back to lick some of the icing off the cupcake).  She lives for attention. 
I had to stretch my legs a few times because I can’t bend like I used to.  Xanadu looked over but didn’t move her body.
Nope, still mot moving.
This is her helping the photographer set up.
Yes, this floor is very comfortable.  It will do. WP_20130203_081
No, I think those markers need to be moved.
I approve of these props. 
Xanadu liked the Care Bear crown.
Also the My Little Pony. Man I love My Little Pony.
This octopus is not part of our stuffed family but he was a nice gentleman on set.
These guys are part of our family.  They are the Grandpas and they are eating pizza and talking on the telephone here.
Then the shoot was over and the party was thrown into suitcases.

Chicken Pot Pie: Please Make This

I have to tell you about this Chicken Pot Pie recipe. If I don’ tell you about it I will forever feel like a horrible friend.  This is one of those recipes you need to save, laminate, cover in love, cherish forever.  Do you know how to tell  when you have a killer recipe?  When you spot someone in your house, eating all the leftovers during the middle of the night.  That pushes it over the edge of just good, this is amazing.  When I was making the sauce to pour in the pie, I took a spoon and almost fainted.  I then called over Matthew to taste it before first proclaiming “This might be the best thing I ever tasted in my life”.  During dinner I kept getting praises on how good it was.  Ok, I will stop. ITS REALLY GOOD!  Just be careful.  If you take it to a dinner or have friends over, you will forever be the friend who makes chicken pot pie.   People will demand it! It will change lives!


The recipe I used is here, but I want to tell you about  my tweaks.
-I did not use a onion.
For extra vegetables:
      -I used 1/4 cup of frozen corn.
      -I used one medium sized potato – peeled and cubed.
-Instead of boiling my vegetables and chicken in water, I boil them in chicken broth.  Save it for the following step in the recipe!
-For chicken broth I just use chicken bouillon cubes.
-I had quite a bit of cream sauce left over, which I kept hot and then you could spoon it on top of your pot pie if you want to when it’s done.


More pictures behind the cut.

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Rainbow Cupcake Party


This past weekend we had to get our portrait taken for a project we were releasing.   The photographer shooting us asked if I could  make cupcakes for the portrait so of course I agreed.   I hit up NYCake which is my favorite baking store in the city for pastel dye, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers and more.  I love that place, but it is a dangerous store.  Every time I come out of it I have enough supplies for a elementary school party for the entire first grade.   So the night before (much later than expected – Xanadu had to go to the emergency clinic – more about that in another post) I got some Funfetti cakemix and made some cupcakes.  Can we just talk a minute about how good Funfetti is?  I know you are not supposed to eat raw cake mix, but whatever, half of the time I just want cakemix instead of actual cake.  After about 10 spoonfuls of raw cakemix (which is probably close to 8 cupcakes) I needed to tell myself to calm down, but it’s hard, it’s so good!
Pillsbury Dough Friend – I love you and your Funfetti magic.WP_20130202_088.jpg
Beautiful cakemix. If I stare at the screen hard enough, I can smell it.WP_20130203_010.jpg
Mixing the whipped icing with some pink…WP_20130203_006.jpg
Mixing the whipped icing with some sky blue…
I used a piping bag for the icing.  Note to self: If using a piping bag you need double the icing. I also used some sprinkles for more rainbow  magic.WP_20130203_045
I found these cute little cupcake wrappers that had lions, elephants and seals dressed up in party hats.  NYCake store has every type of wrapper you can think of.  That aisles causes me happiness and stress at the same time.
For the actual portrait, they were decorated with more sugary sweets like cookies and candy. 
Here’s Matthew while we were getting our portrait taken.  He said they needed to be a little more “boyish” so he added a Storm Trooper and some Pokémon plastic decorations I got.

I didn’t want to keep 2 dozen of cupcakes around so I sent them home with the photographer as a treat for her and her roommate.  The one cupcake I had while sitting for the portrait (and the spoonfuls of raw cakemix) were delicious!

I will share the rest of the portrait session soon!

Birthday Bear Turns 19!

Today our beloved Essy Francis turns 19 years old!  Essy is the shining sun in my life, the stars in my sky, my heart pitter-pattering.  I love her dearly.  Happy Birthday Essy Mom Cookie Bear!  You can have unlimited Fancy Feast and white bread all day today! 
Essy received special emails, tweets and voicemails on her birthday! <3
This is Essy when she was 1!  What a cute baby.
essy old
Have a great day Essy.  Relax with some catnip!


PS. Don’t forget to check out her blog! It’s been active since 2006!

Window Farm Cleaning

Our Window Farm has been feeling neglected the last few months.  It had a few basil plants that were drying up naturally and a swiss chard plant requesting love.   We kept saying we were going to clean it out, but we got busy with other things.  So last night we planted new herb and vegetable seeds and today I cleaned out what was in it.
Here’s the Window Farm before.  The good part of this is the majority of the basil was already dried so I just collected it, crumbled it and now have dried basil for recipes.  Not like I need it though. I have 6 jars of it still left from the summer.  Does anyone need dried basil?
There was still some green fresh basil on some of the plants.  These were picked and will be used for pizza later this week.
Swiss Chard is so pretty isn’t it?  It’s the best shade of pink.  WP_20130130_011
Here is proof that hydroponic roots can grow big!  This is the roots of a basil plant.  If you have a Window Farm you have to be sure these don’t clog up the bottles or your plants below it won’t receive water.  Also you will have a flood. Trust me on this one.  
Dried and fresh basil all picked.

Here’s the seeds we planted for the next round.  There’s plenty of basil, buttercrunch lettuce, black seeded lettuce and dwarf pok choy (Thank you Wanda for the seeds!).WP_20130130_017
So now we wait.  Once the seedlings are big enough to stand on their own, then we will sprinkle off the dirt from their roots and transplant it in a rooting sponge.  The dirt like sponge has great aeration, it’s made from composted organic materials with a special water based polymer that ensures just the right amount of moisture is maintained