Monday, October 29, 2007


well, last week chris and i had an anniversary. it was our 4th. we had a great dinner (prepared by chris), we put max to bed and began our adventure in making our first batch of lemoncello. i searched for a few recipes and found this one that i liked, it was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette few weeks ago and the amount that it makes seemed to be what i would need for some christmas gifts. the recipe calls for lemons from the Almalfi Coast, yeah, not gonna find those anywhere locally so i went to my local costco and bought two large bags of very large lemons, each bag had 10 lemons each. these lemons weren't the normal sized ones that you find in the grocery, they were huge! very nice, plump, and gave off a nice amount of zest. this photo shows how much zest you get from one large lemon. i used a potato peeler to get as much of it as i could.

each of the recipes i found said to keep as much of the pith, the white part under the zest, out of the mixture, apparently it will make it bitter. another good tip was to gently wash the lemons with some sort of abrasive cloth to get the wax off prior to peeling. apparently that will also cause unwanted bitterness to your batch. i gently scrubbed mine with a green pad.

NOTE: all photography except for the shot directly above, has been graciously donated by my photographer husband, chris. disclaimer: the background in the photos keeps changing... items keep disappearing, the knives, the plate on the wall, etc.... this annoys the crap out of me but chris was going for a certain look so he kept taking items out of the photo.... :)

once all 20 lemons were peeled i stuffed the peels into a large jug.

once all the peels were into the large jug i poured two large bottles of Nikoli 100 proof vodka in with them. most all the recipes that i found called for 100 proof grain alcohol but that is not available in pennsylvania so as an alternative vodka is recommended.

the two large bottles of vodka and all the peels filled the entire one gallon jug. i put the lid on gave it a few shakes and into a dark cabinet it went where the vodka is now taking on the lemony flavor and goodness from the 20 lemons worth of peel. i plan to let this mixture steep until the first week in december (about 35 days). at that time i will strain the peel from the vodka and a 1/2 gallon of simple syrup will be added to the whole batch. total, i should have about 1 1/2 gallons of lemoncello for christmas gifts this year. i purchased these from IKEA to bottle the finished product in. i like the look of them and how they seal. then a friend of mine, who is also considering making a batch, came up with the idea to make a little card that includes some serving suggestions. this is a great idea that i'm totally steeling, thanks blogless alyssa :)

this project was very easy and hopefully the outcome will warrant a repeat.

one more photo.... thanks for being my personal photographer honey, my photos just weren't working out the way i had planned so i'm glad you stepped in to assist.

as for the fate of the 20 peeled lemons, they did not go to waste. chris juiced all 20 of them on the worlds smallest hand juicer and then we made a small amount of simple syrup and made some of the BEST fresh lemonade i've ever ever EVER had. the 20 lemons made enough lemonade to fill another 1 gallon jug.

there will be a follow-up post sometime in december regarding how the batch turned out and the rest of the process.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

it's our anniversary and a few other things too

four years ago today, we tied the knot :) i can't believe that it's been four years!!! to celebrate, chris is cooking dinner for us tonight. he has a flank steak recipe that is super duper good and served over rice. i can't wait. then this saturday we're heading to dinner at Kaya in the strip for an evening out alone. i haven't been there in a very long time so i'm excited to sample some of their soooo sooo different foods :)

as for max, he's walking more and more, it's so cute :) he's also getting tooth number 8 and has been a bear to deal with the past few days. i know it will pass but dang i hope it's soon.

as for me, i seem to be developing big lip syndrome.... something that some but not all pregnant ladies seem to develop. basically the soft tissue in the body swells... lips and noses included. fun times... i really don't want to start looking like a big puffy mess... that's not any fun for anyone. plus in direct relation to this problem i've been sneezing and stuffy like crazy. i'm talking 5-7 sneezes at a time. talk about annoying, especially when you're trying to talk to someone important on the phone. then they ask you, "oh are you sick?" my response.... "no, just pregnant." it's almost like i would rather be sick then have to tell them that it's a symptom of pregnancy.... a strange one at that!

as for knitting.... what's knitting? ugh i need to get working on my baby moderne in a BAD way it's due to be given to it's recipient in a month and 1/2. then i need to cast on more booties and find fabric for another scalloped baby blankie but that's not due until the end of march... however i want to have those finished prior to my own new arrival gets here.

UPDATE: here's a photo of the flowers that chris had delivered to the house today :) aren't they pretty ? i used gerbera daisy's for my bridal bouquet and the bridesmaids carried them too, so pretty and so perfect for fall :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

i've been tagged

thanks for the tag annie!

Jobs I've Had
1. i delivered a small local newspaper when i was about 13.
2. i bussed tables at a local restaurant while in high school called Hohman's.
3. student employee in the orientation office at slippery rock u. (this is where i met chris). i did all sorts of fun thing which included taking parents on a van tour around the campus and in town, some days i would drive the 15 passenger van and other days i would give the tour from the passenger seat and other days i would do both.
4. Real Job number 1: assistant media coordinator for the UPMC/City of Pittsburgh Marathon.
5. Real job number 2: ad/pr agency downtown, called Burson Marsteller.
6. Real job number 3: pr coordinator for Education Management (the art institutes).
7. Post 9/11 job to pay the bills - administrative assistant for AFLAC.
8. Post baby havin' - stay at home mama, regular household organizer, business owner and landlord.

Places I've Lived
1. Emsworth, PA
2. Slippery Rock, PA
3. Midway, PA
4. Coraopolis, PA

Foods I Love
1. Chocolate - dark
2. fillet mignon
3. crab cakes
4. grilled summer veggies
5. most everything mexican and greek

Places I Would Rather Be
1. maui
2. in the woods on a beautiful fall day
3. on vacation, permanently

TV Shows I Watch
1. the office
2. 30 rock
3. er
4. weeds
5. back to you
6. a slew of reality tv shows that aren't worth the time but i can't stay away from them

Books I Love
1. Catcher in the Rye
2. goodnight moon
3. the giving tree
4. a light in the attic
5. where the sidewalk ends

I am tagging:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

on the move

well, the date is 10.10.07, max is 13 1/2 months old and he has as of tonight taken his 1st steps! talk about exciting :) and talk about being excited! max can't stand it he's so excited, in fact he gets so excited that he's just walked that he can't seem to do it again until he calms down a bit... it's really funny!

how it happened: he took three solid steps from daddy to me. then we tried to get him to do it from me to daddy but that didn't work, so i handed him back to daddy and he did it back to me again! then later this evening, he did it from the chair to the couch, then from the couch to a toy and again a few more times between us.

it's so much fun to watch him learn new things and to be there to help him learn these things :) it's such a fun time!
i tried to take a few photos of him in the act but my camera is really not all that great and won't take a photo on demand... there is some serious lag time... daddy's on the job of getting mommy a better one so that she can better capture these important moments :) thanks daddy!

i took a few more photos, you can see them here, one is a little freaky looking but he's actually just in motion.... he's not playing the part of casper, so don't be scared... then i figured, duh, i have video capabilities on this camera, i should just capture him walking on video... well, i switched it to video then my batteries crapped out. so we'll try that again tomorrow then hopefully try to figure out how to share video on youtube. wish me luck with that... i'm not the best at video work...

onto the next part of our lives... the one that will require that we have enough caffeine to keep up with a toddler :) ack, i guess this means that my baby is now a toddler.... oh my

Sunday, October 7, 2007

inspiration - scalloped baby blankie

ok, so last post i was all nutty blogging at crazy ass hours of the night and not able to sleep because i was feeling so creative and needed to get some of it out in order to fall asleep.

well, the following morning, i *sorta* went to my meeting... we won't get into details as to how i *sorta* went but after that "meeting in the parking lot with my cell phone while i called a few people and got caught up a bit (not the sort of meeting that i had intended but...ehh)" i went to joann's with my mother in law. she's a sewer so i figured she would be able to help me with fabric choice or at least with distracting maxwell while i did some shopping. we started looking for two fabrics, one pink, one brown to coordinate with Amanda's baby bedding that she is sewing. i had a few options out, but really wasn't feeling it with any of the selected fabrics and neither was my mother in law. UNTIL, i found one of the fabrics that Amanda was using for her project. this find made me realize that they had purchased the other fabrics here too so i kept looking for the brown fabric that she was also using. BINGO! found it! i put everything i had chosen prior away, and went with her exact fabrics. off to the cutting counter i went :) very very excited and home we went.

i traced the scallop pattern onto some pattern paper that i purchased because i am intending to make a few of these for a few friends so i figured having an actual pattern would be a good thing to have. then it was time for max to wake up. ... so the project was shelved until he took another nap later that afternoon. this took about 15 minutes, but i'm not really counting it towards the entire project time table because having this pattern template drawn out will just make future projects much quicker.

during his nap later that afternoon, i cut my fabric and started to pin it together. this took about 15 - 20 more minutes. project shelved again, i had some household duties to tend to.

max went to bed by 8 that evening. i quickly finished pining and up to the machine i went. by 11:30 i had my finished blankie. and was VERY happy with the outcome:

the pattern is the scalloped baby blanket from amy karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. her directions were very easy to follow, especially for a novice sewer who has never followed a sewing pattern (at least since 8th grade home-ec class). there are many more projects in this book that i will be creating, along with this one again for another friend and her baby.

to review the blankie, it not only looked great (if i do say so myself) but it felt great too. in fact it reminded me of my blankie that i had as a kid, it's not puffy in the least bit, it's quite thin, but it's got weight to it from the interior layer which is flannel. it's cozy, and cool to the touch and snuggly. perfect blankie criteria :)

i can't wait to go shopping for more fabric and i plan to do so within the next few weeks... i'm itching to sit back down at my machine again and be creative :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

i have been inspired

i can't sleep... it's 1 am and i have to be at a breakfast meeting by 7:30 am (today!!) and i'm blogging instead of sleeping... go figure.

my mind is racing, with lots of inspiration. which, i figure, is a good thing. i just wish my mind would keep these racing thoughts in check and only have them during daytime or awake hours. instead of having them at 1 am....

anyways, my cause of inspiration? a new book. THIS new book, Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. there are so many projects in there that i will be making. at first i thought i would try my hand at sewing in a zipper... thus making the small pouches, the first project listed in the book. then i got further and further in and really i think i'm going to make a bunch of them. for one, i'm making max an elf hat for no good reason other than to embarrass him in year to come. but really, i have a moth munched on kelly green wool sweater that is just screaming to be repurposed, and this is a perfect reposition for it. max will look dashing in a green elf hat :) i'll have to find some fun way to decorate it, something tells me a little flower isn't appropriate for my little guy. maybe just some large bold colored buttons. we'll see.

as for other projects on my list. i've been so inspired by one of them that i am planning a stop at the fabric store tomorrow morning so that i can start it right away. it has a due date of this saturday and the recipient reads this blog so i can't go into any more detail. just know that there will hopefully be some photos and a blog entry to follow this coming weekend. i'm so excited to make this and i sure do hope it turns out as giftable :)

i have finished (all but sewn on the buttons) booties for a friend. i need to cast on another pair and buy some fabric to match because, again, i've been inspired to sew something to go with the booties for another friend. i might wait a few weeks on that project though because hopefully by then she'll have found out what sex her baby will be and i can find appropriate fabric for that certain sex.

as for me, i'm feeling great and feeling lots of movement, especially in the evenings and early morning. such a great part of pregnancy.

as for max, he's getting sooooo close to walking. he took a half step to the couch on sunday and did about the same thing today. he mostly has found that being upright is much more fun than on all fours. but instead of taking that full out step he'll be more willing to just launch himself towards whatever it is he wants to walk to... thank god those things are usually not much further than arms reach for him and he ends up catching onto those things, couches, chairs, mommy's arms etc.... before falling face first to the ground. i however am not rushing him in the least bit :) i know he'll take a step and i know he'll do it on his own terms.

as for everything else... i think that's it.

again, please don't forget to read and sign the petition that i have listed in my post below. i don't want that to get burried just yet. it's for a really important cause and these folks need your help. go here for lots more information. and thank you for helping them out.

ok, so let's hope that posting this blog has put an end to my insomnia for the evening and that i will be asleep by 1:30.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Important Information

I have a few close friends who are directly involved with adoptions from Guatemala and need your help tremendously. Please go here, sign this petition and know that you are doing your part to help bring these little babies home.

if you feel like you would like to do more, go here for a full explanation of what is going on and how you can help.

thanks for your time!