Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Day Brunch

Tangerine mimosa
Chai eggnog
Valrhona hot chocolate with shortbread

Cheddar gougeres
Sausage bites with dipping sauces
Aspen trail mix

Vegetable strata
Sugar-and-spice bacon
Roasted vegetable has browns
Winter white salad

Mini chocolate pancakes with maple cream
Fruit-and-yogurt parfaits
Danish coffee cake

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clean & Green: All-Purpose Liquid Cleaner

All-Purpose Liquid Cleaner

1 gallon hot water

1 tbsp baking soda

2 tbsp liquid castille soap

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chihuahuas for Christmas?

I came across another post asking for some help for dogs in need. The original post is here. Here's the gist of the problem in California right now:

California shelters are overrun with chihuahuas. According to this article from CBS news, “there are so many Chihuahuas at shelters in Oakland, they have started shipping the dogs out of state, said Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services. Chihuahuas make up 30 percent or more of the dog populations at many California shelters. And experts say pop culture is to blame, with fans imitating Chihuahua-toting celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, then abandoning the dogs. One of these California shelters’ biggest problems is a lack of money to fly the dogs to other states.”

They actually refer to it as the Paris Hilton syndrome. Yet another reason why I'm just not a fan. It's so sad to think of all those people who get these cute little guys and then realize that it's not a toy- you have to take care of them. Those of us with dogs understand the time and attention they need- even the little ones. It's not for everyone, but I enjoy it, and I know I get a lot out of having Loki around.

So if you know of anyone who's in California and looking for a small dog, or if you're going to be there and want to bring one home with you- and you're prepared for the responsibility of a dog- don't hesitate!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Clean & Green: Surface Spray

Surface Spray

16 ounce spray bottle
2 tsp borax
1/4 tsp liquid castille soap
hot water

Friday, December 4, 2009

Saving Some Furry Friends

I saw this post on Hamburger's House, one of the blogs on my Google Reader list, this morning.

Here are the details:
Dairyland Greyhound Racetrack in Kenosha, Wisconsin will be closing on December 31, 2009. Over 500 Greyhounds need to be adopted.

Please help get the word out; there are only a few weeks to get this done! For anyone interested they can call:

Joanne Kehoe at 312.559.0887
Dairyland Race Track Adoption Center at 262.612.8256.

There were some rumors that the dogs would be euthanized, but that isn't the case. But still, it would be great to see them all in loving homes for the holidays!

Loki would be awfully excited to have another dog around to play with, and I'd like it too, but that's not in the cards for us just yet. For now he'll just have to keep his toys to himself. Somehow, I think he can handle that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Hour

One of the things we knew we didn't want in a house was a stuffy overly formal living room that no one would use. As we looked at houses we came up with ideas for how we could use a space like that. Maybe a music room, or a movie room. But we kept coming back to a martini lounge kind of space. Think the Rat Pack and blue cheese stuffed olives. Nice right?

But then we found our house. No front room in danger of getting neglected. In fact the whole downstairs is one big room. No walls separate the front from the family room from the kitchen. Makes things nice and easy as far as the flow for entertaining goes. But we still want to create some distinct areas within the space.

So we started with this piece. More seating, and a place to put snacks and appetizers that Loki can't get too. He's all about the appetizers. And anything else he can get too.
We found it on our local Craiglist. So happy with how it looks in the front of the room.

And I love the curves on the back of the chair.

Then of course, came the big piece that the area was meant for- our bar. See when it's closed, it looks very respectable. Like it might be a lovely cabinet or small armoire of some kind. But there's more than meets the eye.
Once she opens up, this gal is ready for quite the party. Lots of storage space for glasses and beverages and mixers, and some cute cocktail napkins in the drawers.

After living with the bar in that space for a while, and making slight adjustments to the placement, we were ready to put up something on the wall above it. It was a little blank, and needed some more pizzaz.

Since we had originally talked about a martini lounge feel in a separate room- it seemed only fitting to add these four pictures above the bar. I got them with my friend Jessica and we hung them in our first apartment after college. They've moved with me to new apartments, in with the big guy and now here they are in our house. I hung these using the same graph paper technique I used to make the headboard in the third bedroom. So easy, and my little OCD self is very happy when things are evenly spaced.

Someday we'll replace them with a larger single piece. But not just yet. It's going to take us a while to find just the right piece. And for now, they're doing an excellent job as place holders. When we do move them, they'll look great in the garage with some of our movie posters and tin ads for various beers. Until we get a basement, the garage has to pull double duty as a place to store paint and keep our cars, and be a place to chill during beer pong tournaments.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clean & Green: Drain Cleaner

Drain Cleaner

1 cup baking soda (first)
1 cup white vinegar (second)

allow to foam for 5 minutes

1 gallon boiling water

I have to admit I was skeptical, but it definitely helped the clogged drain we had in our master bathroom. But I think we waited to long to try something to really see the benefits. Had we done this right when we noticed that the sink wasn't draining quickly, I think we would have been much better off than what we actually did, which was wait until the water completely stopped moving.

It was not pretty. So not pretty, I avoided all pictures. You wouldn't have liked them, trust me. But we did learn a valuable lesson about responding early. A lesson that came in very handy with our water heater. I'll tell you more about that later.