My love of cooking…

One of my goals for the year is to become a better cook and start using the many available resources I either own (cookbooks and magazines) or have access to, like my Cook’s Illustrated online membership.  I’ve had this online membership for the last two years, and its really a huge benefit. I can access how-to videos, some of them specific to a recipe they are featuring either online or in their magazine; I can browse the current magazine or past issues; and my absolute favorite feature is that I can save any of these videos, articles, or recipes online, and access them at anytime.

The only downside I’ve seen is that I’d love to be able to access the Cook’s Country website without having to pay to be a member also…or some sort of discount for being a member of both. But that’s just me being cheap/frugal. If you use the website(s) as much as I do, or want to, it’s totally worth the $19.95/year fee.

Other favorite sites (and free!) are All Recipes, MyRecipes and Taste of Home.

Getting organized…

So tonight A is off duck hunting, spending the night in MS at his parents, so I’m home watching movies, hopefully knitting at some point and thinking of all the things I need to do this weekend. Did some organizing to-do’s, like loading the Firefox morning coffee add-in, and programming some pages for it. Now I need to research Evernote and OneNote, and see how other people are using those two programs. Personally I love OneNote…it might have been the most important factor in buying MS Office Home and Student version last year. I love blank paper and blank notebooks, and it’s like an electronic version of the best possible spiral notebook you could ever create.

What I’m liking about Evernote is that you can access it anywhere…email notes to your notebook from your phone or work or whereever, and it’s added automatically. I could access files I need to work on at home by emailing them to my notebook from work, since I can’t log on to my network from home. This could really come in handy someday. And it’s free…there’s a limit on the amount of stuff you can upload each month, but I’m not even close to it at this point and my usage will probably never be more than the free amount. But if it was, I could easily afford the $6 a month for more storage space.

I really do need to become more organized…and I can always learn from others’ ideas and ways of using things like this.

Diary-wise today, I wanted to murder my dentist. I woke up at 6 AM with an excruciating earache. One of the teeth I had a root canal on a week and a half ago has been hurting for several days. I called them on Tuesday, but no one called me back, so I called again yesterday. They called in antibiotics, which I expected. But I did NOT expect the pain this morning…I’ve never had a tooth hurt like this after a root canal when it was supposedly not that infected when they did the procedure. So I called them first thing and told them it was hurting all the way up to my ear, and they basically told me oh well…they didn’t have time to look at it today, and to give the antibiotics 24 hours to work. This time I told them to call in some pain meds ’cause it’s Friday and I’m not going to wake up like this tomorrow. This was at 7:45 AM…they finally called them in at 1:15 PM. And thank goodness, because the tooth is still hurting. I’m hoping I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling much better. I’d wanted to leave work early today and just go home and load up on meds and get some rest, but I sucked it up and stayed. That 7 hours of overtime this week will come in handy the end of the month.

Goals for 2009

I think I’m beginning to accept that procrastination is a huge part of my personality. For instance, it’s almost halfway thru January, and I’m just now getting around to thinking thru my goals for 2009.

I’ve seen this around blogland, and I’m feeling the need to document things this year, both in my personal life, spiritual life and in my crafty-life.

Personal/Home:

  • Get Direct TV. This is not a lofty goal, more of a to-do; and prompted by the fact that I’m trying to watch the Golden Globes and my digital tuner keeps cutting out. REALLY frustrating. I read in today’s paper that the government coupons are all gone…and this is something I’ve wanted for a couple of years now, so I think I’m worth it. DH may not agree – he feels that when we have cable TV, we tend to watch too much of it, and in different rooms, so we don’t spend enough time together. I would agree, but I think if we did have it again, especially when he gets back to working days instead of nights, we can cuddle on the couch while watching Turner Classic Movies.  (in the time it took to type this one paragraph, my TV still hasn’t tuned back in to NBC. UGH!)
  • Get my house clean. REALLY clean. I don’t mean spotless, I just mean out of the CHAOS state it’s been in forever. I plan to use Flylady to do this…babysteps. This is beyond frustrating for me because I want it clean NOW, but I keep reminding myself that it didn’t get into this state overnight, and it won’t get clean overnight. But I would like to be able to have friends and relatives over by March and not cringe when the doorbell rings.
  • Begin meal planning and cooking again.  Most days cooking feels like a chore to me, especially after a long day at work, and that’ s a shame because I really enjoy cooking. And I really enjoy homecooked food, instead of the frozen stuff we eat most nights. And we need to save money; it’s ridiculous how much we spend for food each month. I’ve got a literal ton of cookbooks, many of which I’ve never made a single recipe from. I want to change that.
  • Get daily/weekly/monthly/biannual/annual cleaning routines into a calendar I will use on a regular basis. I don’t know if that will be one in Microsoft Works, Microsoft calendar (or whatever is on my computer) or Google calendar, or something else.
  • Begin using technology to my advantage – using OneNote, Evernote, Google Docs, etc. Find out more about what technology is out there and customize it to my needs.  Find more ways to use my computer to my advantage…I know it can do so very much to help me organize my life, and I’m not utlizing it to its full advantage.
  • Buy or have A build bookshelves and other items around the house that are desperately needed…like a kitchen table, instead of a pool table, in our dining room. 🙂
  • Begin keeping a binder of decorating ideas and really planning how I want our house to look – in terms of paint, linens, curtains, furniture, etc. Maybe hire a decorator or artistic friend to help me with this.
  • Start maintaining regular contact with my friends. I’ve been a real slacker lately in terms of emailing my good friends, and I never call my best friends, which is awful.

Spiritual:

  • Begin having a regular quiet time. I’m terrible at this; I want to do it in the morning so the rest of my day goes smoothly, but I hate losing sleep. I’ve read and reread Laine’s letters and know how much I would grow spiritually and how much both my life and my husband’s life would benefit if I would just make the sacrifice to do this.
  • Begin going thru the many, many bible studies I have. Like Beth Moore’s studies, Elizabeth George studies, Experiencing God, etc. I want this year to b e a year of spiritual GROWTH, instead of the a stagnant life .
  • Find a church (whether a new one or the one where we are members) and begin attending regularly. I’d like to get involved in a women’s study if possible and meet some women my own age.
  • Read thru the entire bible this year.
  • Make it my mission to have a significantly better marriage by the end of the year, by praying for my husband daily and attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage conference.

Crafts/Hobbies:

  • Set up a studio at home for quilting and knitting. Get my yarn organized and put away.
  • Get my yarns photographed and put into Ravelry.
  • Get my Ravelry queue in order and cleaned up. I didn’t take advantage of the ‘favorites’ feature as intended when I first joined, so I have tons of things in my queue that I won’t actually knit.
  • Try my hand at colorwork.
  • Finish or frog my UFO’s. And there are MANY.
  • Finish the Christmas wall hanging quilt I’ve started.
  • Complete at least two of the other quilts I’ve purchased material for.
  • Make at least 16 pairs of socks this year.
  • Make a pair of mittens.
  • Knit one classic cardigan that I will actually wear.

New year, new adventure…

I’m hoping that I can be a little more regular with posting in 2009. Someday I’d like to be able to look back at what I’ve written and take a trip down memory lane.

Last night was definitely one to add to the record books. A found a great deal on a 4 wheeler (from a friend of coworker) and bought it late yesterday, then loaded it up on his trailer and headed to MS to duck hunt with his dad and brother. Duck season only lasts two more weeks, so he’s trying to take advantage of it. This trailer is a homemade trailer he’s been working on for weeks, poor guy, but this is the first time he’d used it.

So he’d gotten just past the Kerr road exit on I-40, just outside of Little Rock, when he lost a tire off the trailer. Thank God, he made it to the side of the road and didn’t lose the trailer or the 4 wheeler. He called me just after 6 PM to ask me to load up some ramps and grab some tools, then drive out to meet him. I got there a little after 7 PM. We loaded the 4 wheeler in the back of his truck and headed back to the house.

A little background – A had worked all night long Thursday night and had had about 90 minutes of sleep all day. To say he was tired would be an understatement.

By the time we got to the house, he’d gotten a second wind and was ready to grab a jack and some tools, go buy a trailer tire and head back out to fix it…so that’s what we did. We got to Lowe’s just as they were closing, but the nice girl standing guard at the door let us in to buy a few bolts, lock washers and nuts, along with some Lock Tight thread stuff. We ran thru the Chick-fil-A drive thru and headed out.

By the time we got to the trailer it was around 10 PM. A grabbed the jack and learned it had picked last night to stop working (it’s a pneumatic jack he’s had for years). So he had to lift the trailer every time he had to put a bolt in, and I had to try to turn the tire and line things up. It took more than just a while to get it done, and neither of us were very happy by the time we got on the road. The trailer was wagging from side to side and we were both worried it wouldn’t make it back…we stopped twice to try to fix it but finally found if we got above 60 mph, it was fine (it was an empty trailer at that point; we’d left the 4 wheeler at home.

On the way back, A was saying he felt fine, wasn’t tired, and would probably try to leave the house about 2 AM to go on over to MS and meet up with his dad and brother to hunt. Now keep in mind that he’s not going to actually hunt, because he doesn’t have a MS hunting license and it’s pointless to buy one with 2 weeks left in the season. This is all about using the new four wheeler and spending time with his family.

I begged him to stay home and told him I would strap myself to the front of the truck if necessary, but I didn’t want him to go anywhere with everything that had happened and him not getting any sleep. He didn’t want to do it, but he agreed. By the time we got home, it was 1 AM. He took a shower and started playing video games; I went to bed.

I woke up at 2:30 AM because my phone was ringing. He had decided to go anyway, but this time he only made it 15 minutes from the house before the tire came off again.

It was hard, but I was able to bite my tongue and not tell him AGAIN that GOD DIDN’T WANT HIM TO GO TO MS THIS WEEKEND.

So I’m barely awake, but I put on my shoes and jacket to leave to meet him again, wondering where on earth we’re going to find the money to buy another tire since the one we just blew $60 on is now by the side of the interstate, and I can’t find my keys. Why can’t I find my keys? Because A has them…since I drove when we went to fix the flat on the trailer, he’d just left them in the ignition and used them. And…drumroll please….he has his keys too. I have no way to go and meet him.

So he drives his truck down an embankment to try to level the playing field between his tailgate and the ground, so he can drive the 4 wheeler off the trailer and back into the truck. Thank God it worked…but the truck then got stuck. At 3 AM. Fortunately a really nice guy stopped and somehow helped him get unstuck so he got home.

But the trailer is still sitting by the side of the road…less than a mile from the central Arkansas State Police Headquarters. I figure it’s either been towed by now, or there’ s a nice ticket on it. Or maybe they mail those to you? Who knows. I guess we’ll know soon, though…

A has been asleep all day long. It’s now 7:30 PM, and when he does wake up, he says we’ll go buy a new tire, get the trailer home, then return the tire and get our money back since he won’t be using the trailer again.  Which sounds fine and good…but now I’m sleepy. 🙂

edited to add: we went to fix the trailer on Sunday morning and it was still there…no ticket, no note from the state police, nothing. And no trailer tire…which means another $60 down the drain. VERY frustrating. We got it home…where it will stay for the indefinite future.

better late than never…

Wish I could get the hang of this blogging thing once and for all. I’d just like to have something to go back and look at sometime in the future, but I can never seem to find the time to actually post anything.

I’m still knitting, and am now quilting also. I’m taking a beginning quilting class at a local fabric shop and I really like it; though I can’t really say too much about it because I’ve only been to one class. I’d planned on going back two weeks ago, but missed, and then was supposed to go back today, and missed again. I have a really good excuse for missing today’s class – I had two root canals yesterday, and the first one went fine, but the second one didn’t – the tooth was badly infected and just kept draining and draining and draining. I was in so much pain by the time they were done; I asked them to numb it up again before I left, but whatever they did didn’t work. I’ve never been afraid of the dentist, but I may have nightmares when I go back. By the time I got home and took pain meds, both prescription and OTC, plus something for nausea because I almost lost it in the chair, it was hurting not just in my tooth, but my entire cheek, up by my ear and into my sinuses. I have a pretty darn high tolerance for pain, but I was pretty much ready to go to the ER, or go back to the dentists’ office and demand that they numb that entire side of my mouth. I finally fell asleep, sometime around 2:30 or 3 PM (I’d left the dentist’s office at 1 PM) and when I woke up this morning, my cheek is so swollen, I look like i have gauze stuffed in my mouth. There’s a big knot in my cheek too. I can’t smile, I look like a freak. It’s not good. I’m hoping the antibiotics they gave me kick in and make it return to a normal size before Monday; I don’t want to go to work like this!

Getting the hang of this…

So it’s only been a little over a week since my last post…I’m finally getting the hang of this posting thing. (insert stupid joke here).

It is almost 9 PM here in central AR, and it’s 83 degrees. It’s barely June, and its already miserable. We were trying desperately to not have to turn on the A/C in the living room/kitchen/great room until at least June, but we really didn’t make it; we turned it on over the holiday weekend for a few days. Since it in effect triples our electric bill, I think this year we’re going to try to just turn it on during the day, and turn it off at night. As long as I remember to turn them (they are window units) on before I leave for work, they shouldn’t have to work too hard to cool it off; and since they don’t ever turn themselves off, that’s quite a bit of electricity that we’ll be saving…which means we can just put it in our gas tank. Prices here have reached $3.75/gallon in our area, and in some places I’ve seen it as high as $3.84.

Just this morning, I realized that we are within $100 of spending the same amount of money on gas that we pay for our house payment. Ridiculous. I really hate to do it, but I think I’m going to have to consider looking for a job closer to home. At this point, I could afford to take a bit of a pay cut and it wouldn’t make a difference; in fact, it might help. If V gets either of the jobs he’s hoping to get, he will be driving farther, and we’ll be spending even more than we do now; unless he gets the job he was initially turned down for – then he’ll be carpooling with a couple of other guys, and we’ll actually save money.

The story there (on the job) is that he applied again for two different positions within the company and they called him to come to a job fair on Saturday for an interview. I’m praying fervently he gets the job; it’s a no-pressure, take-your-time kind of position that is PERFECT for him. He went to a separate company today and filled out an application – hopefully he will get a phone call back to come in for an interview sometime soon. He knows someone who works there, and got a chance to speak to him today. The guy told him that if he’d come in last week, he’d probably have been hired on the spot. But things have slowed down now, so he said he’d call him if something came up, and he put his name on V’s application. The only thing that concerns me about that job (besides the long drive) is that V found today they use the computer for most everything…and V doesn’t have a lot of experience with computers. Web surfing is pretty much it for him, so I don’t know how well that would work out. But God is in control and has a plan and He will work it out for the best for him. I just pray it is SOON, because the heat is just too much for him these days.

As for knitting, I’ve been working on about five different projects that I haven’t touched for a REALLY long time – the On Deck Pullover, the Zig Zag pullover, and three different socks – jaywalkers, simple stockinette socks, and the embossed leaves socks from Interweave’s Favorite Socks book (all Ravelry links). I think I’ve finally come to accept the obvious – I’m a process knitter. I don’t think it matters much to me if I actually finish anything, though I’d love to have some of the many, many projects I have long admired and that are currently on the needles; but I just love to knit, and no day is really complete without it at this point.

Now if only I could apply the same discipline to my spiritual life and my physical fitness, life would be almost perfect. 🙂

Back to the real world…

We enjoyed a pretty quiet, uneventful holiday weekend here at home. I haven’t felt the greatest the past couple of days, but it’s to be expected, so I was grateful to be able to be off work for quite a bit of the misery. More misery ahead tomorrow, but knowing is half the battle, right?

We rented a few movies and V (aka DH) had quite a bit of fun making his own console for his truck this weekend. He’s a true craftsman and comes up with the best ideas, things I could NEVER think of on my own. Several of the decorating ideas in our home and our first apartment were all him, I had nothing to do with them; these are usually the things we get the most compliments on. I realize that doesn’t say much for my own decorating abilities, but that’s OK – I’m a lucky girl to be able to bounce my ideas off him and have him come up with something much, much better.

In our first apartment, we spent a Saturday at a wholesale florist, buying some silk flowers and some home decorations. When we got home, he took what we’d purchased along with the leftover silk flowers and a few decorations from our wedding and made this great display above our kitchen cabinets. It was easily the best thing about our apartment. I hated having to take it down when we bought our house; I’d hoped we could recreate it in our new kitchen, but we haven’t yet.

In our current home, he came up with the brilliant idea of taking long wooden curtain rods and inserting them into bookshelf brackets, then gluing on those decorative moulding cubes/squares that have flowers in them; he stained everything and we painted the flowers to match the curtains I sewed. We plan to place a shelf above the curtain rod and I can put decorative items on it; just haven’t done it yet. When his aunt saw it, she begged him to come and do the same with a large window in her kitchen. He really has an eye for these things – I wish I had a smidge of his creativity. I’m the logical boring one; he’s the fun creative one.

His truck has been a work in progress the past few months as we’ve finally paid it off. He’s installed a sound system and a DVD player, and taken out the middle part of his seat so he’d have bucket seats and a place for his amp. This left no place to put drinks (not that he had it before) but just a huge empty space. So this weekend he built a box from scratch, lined it with carpet, put carpet in the truck, then made a padded top for the console and covered it with vinyl fabric. I’ll try to get pictures tomorrow, but now he has a place to put drinks, his CD binder, and anything else he has to take with him. The padded cover was mostly for me, he said, so I can take a nap on long drives.

He’s a keeper, that man of mine.

Today he drove 2.5 hours to Mississippi to see his family; I stayed home because I felt so bad. Wish I’d been able to go and see their new house; they were blessed to be able to purchase a home of their own after renting a home for 12 years. I’ve seen photos, but I can’t wait to see it in person and help his mom with it; I’m just so excited that she finally has a home of their own. It was really cool how God worked it out for them; the house was worth much more than they paid, and it was everything they’d been specifically praying for…it’s right across the street from their church, and big enough for them to house overseas missionaries when they are in town; V’s parents are missionaries with an international Christian school organization, and when the teachers come home for conferences, they are usually housed in employee’s or church member’s homes.

Tomorrow it’s back to work for both V and I…and neither of us is really looking forward to it. He has the worst end of the deal – it’s already 90 degrees here in AR and he has to work outside in it all day. It’s been one big wet blanket of humidity the past few days and I don’t think thats’ going to change any time soon…though it is raining right now and hopefully that will help instead of just make it worse. He’s really had a bad week – long story, but he didn’t get a job he was really hoping to get, one that he was basically told he had, and then in the end, he didn’t…though the guy that he just helped get a job at his current employer who also applied got hired on the spot – because he knew someone who worked there, and V didn’t. Just a very frustrating situation when we had to help the guy get his resume together and even submit it for him online; and he gets the job and V doesn’t, when V has more experience than him. We’re choosing to believe that God has something better for him, but tomorrow that will be hard to remember when you’re trying to keep from having a heatstroke, and knowing that the other guy is in an air conditioned shop, getting paid more than you.

V is headed to another possible place of employment sometime this week to fill out an application and hopefully he’ll be called in for an interview; this would actually be a better job as we think the shop is owned by Christians. I’m just praying for something else to open up very soon; I don’t want him to have to go thru another summer in the heat. He is a very hot natured person and can’t physically take it.

I’m headed back to another busy day at the office – really wish I had another three day weekend. I may just have to take one next weekend, or the weekend after – I think I’ll need a mental health day by then.

Knitting-wise, I went thru my projects on Ravelry today and marked several of them as either hibernating or frogged…I still have to do the actual frogging, but I’m trying to be ruthless in what I will actually knit and what is just not as interesting as it once was. The problem is that I have several other things on the needles that aren’t even in Ravelry, and they also need to be ruthlessly weeded out. I don’t even begin to know exactly how many UFO’s I have, but I’d guess close to 30, and that’s ridiculous. I’m hoping next weekend, or the following weekend, when I’m feeling better, I can go thru those projects, frog them and reskein the yarn, restock my needles, and take photos for Ravelry. I need to clear it out and clear my head in the process – just too many things on the needles, like I have too many things in my house that need to find homes elsewhere – I’m in major decluttering mode and I hope my house and V benefit from it.

Fun times…

Am I the only one that occasionally wonders if all the work that goes into setting up a blog is actually worth it? I know I’ll love it once I’m done, but right now – it’s a little overwhelming. Gotta say that with the existence of Ravelry I had to really think about even starting a blog – I mean, it has everything – I can log all my projects and details, post photos, join the forums and groups and be part of a community. But I do want a place I can direct friends and family to and an actual log of events in our lives…

Two weeks ago we had another near miss when we dodged a tornado that touched down less than a mile from our home, as the crow flies. I’d like to say we were the consummate informed storm watcher, who was set up in an interior room with a NOAA weather radio and a mattress for safety, but no – we were on the porch watching the storm go by…

I realize these aren’t the best photos, but I thought they were kind of cool. This is looking towards where the tornado actually touched down – we never saw the funnel cloud itself, but we did see a neon green flash when it hit a couple of transformers and heard it go by. Exciting, but not as exciting as the first one we dodged -we did see that one as it went back into the sky. I was on the phone, which went dead when the electricity went out, so I went to the window and saw the tornado just off to our west. By the time I’d run to the back door to get our outside dogs to come inside for safety, it was pretty much over. That one touched down just 1/2 mile down the street, and almost leveled a body shop that had just shoddily repaired one of our vehicles – proof that God has vengeance. 🙂
This is the damage the tornado did – a mobile home park was severely damaged and some trees were uprooted; a lumber yard sustained some damage, as did a car dealership. Fortunately no one lost their lives.

As for knitting, my current addiction to socks is still going strong. Today’s count is 2 completed pairs but that will change in the next half hour or so – I just need to finish the toe on sock #2 for my third pair. Then it’s on to the Embossed Leaves socks in a beautiful color of green – Dream in Color Spring Tickle, I believe. I only wish that meant I would only have one pair on the needles, but alas, that’s not even close to being true…I have a pair of plain black stockinette socks for DH, which he’s now asked to have toes – I don’t even begin to know how to do that one! – along with another plain stockinette pair, done Magic Loop style, in Berroco Comfort – I keep this pair in my purse for those short drives or standing in line; just about to start the heel flap on the first sock for that pair. And last I have a pair of Jaywalkers that is also just to the heel flap…I’m hoping to have all three pairs completed in the next month, because I have plenty more in the queue behind them. The plan is to stay busy knitting socks as I lose weight this summer, and then start knitting all the beautiful cardigans and sweaters I’m dying to knit…but in much smaller sizes that are currently needed. The money I’ll save on the smaller amounts of sweater-quantities of yarn will be spent on more sock yarn! It’s a win-win, all the way around!

 

the first time

so here we are, first post and like many before me, I’m not quite sure what to say. Guess I’ll start with the usual boring stuff and go from there.

I’m a fairly regular reader of blogs; I trend towards knitting, cooking, homemaking, and frugal ones, though I’ve been known to stray to some others from time to time. I’m a confirmed lurker on all of them; I’ve made probably a handful of posts in the two years I’ve been reading them. The main reason I lurk is because I didn’t have a blog of my own, a place to share my life, my crafts, my cooking, my views, my photos, my days. Now that I have a home computer with a stable internet connection (FINALLY, no more dial up!) AND a digital camera; now that I’ve joined the current century, I figured it was time to jump in with both feet.

First the name (pronounced like “sc-onion”) – my maiden name was Scallion, and this nickname was a big hit with the boys at church when I was a kid. Not sure where it actually originated, and I can’t say it’s used that often these days, but from time to time I hear it from my husband’s lips – he was one of those boys 20 years ago. 🙂 We grew up together, “went together” as 13-year-olds for a few weeks, and then began dating seriously a month after I graduated high school. Four years later we were engaged, two years after that we married. That was almost nine years ago, and it’s still just the two of us…well, and the four dogs we share our home and lives with.

Mr. Scunion is the most talented woodworker I’ve ever known, and he’s currently a kid in a candy store since he just purchased a long-awaited table saw. I’m almost as thrilled as he is -expect to see photos of his handiwork soon as he’s building some beautiful bookshelves in the coming weeks. It’s been fun to see how happy he is with this project…I’m hoping he continues to be so I can add more projects to the list!

I currently work in a marriage and family ministry as an executive assistant, and I love my job. Really I do. Except for the commute. Could do without that. Hopefully someday will do without that, either working from home, or maybe as a SAHM. That’s my dream job!

I’m addicted to knitting, have been since I started two years ago. I’m not a good finisher, though – I have tons of UFO’s, mostly sweaters that I haven’t finished, either knitting, or sewing, or both. I’ve now started knitting socks, which are much faster, but I still have five currently on the needles…I did mention I was addicted to knitting, right?