Monday, August 24, 2009

Laundry Awesomeness

Our new casa comes with this lovely stacked washer/dryer combo. While not original to the house, it's pretty old. And small. And probably not very energy efficient. We're guessing it's the first appliance that will need to be replaced, preferably by something that has a larger load capacity and is more energy efficient.

Good news for us! The government is implementing yet another stimulus program later this fall that will offer tax credits to people who buy new appliances for their homes. Yes!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Packing, Packing, Packing

I cannot believe all of the stuff we've collected since we moved into our apartment over three years ago. It was great to rediscover our Waterford candlesticks, Orrefors crystal pieces, and other miscellaneous wedding gifts we haven't seen for almost two years. The 20 + yellow highlighters, 15 cans of tennis balls, and forty million batteries? What were we thinking when we tucked them away into corners of our closets and drawers? We are by no means compulsive hoarders, but one might wonder if they attemtped to help us pack our belongings.

I'm glad we don't have to pay for garbage removal. We'd be broke.

Although it seems there's no end in sight, it's nice to know that every box we tape shut means we're a little closer to packing up our apartment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Homemade Pizza Recipe

G and I used to frequently make homemade pizza. We were craving it over the weekend, so I made one last night. I wish I had taken pictures, because it looked pretty and it was really, really good.

For the dough, I used a super simple recipe for pizza dough on I modified it slightly by adding a few hearty shakes of Tuscan Sunset seasoning (a blend of herbs sold by Penzey's, my favorite place to find spices).

I hand stretched and pressed the dough into a round pizza pan and brushed the entire surface with extra virgin olive oil. Next, I cut up three cloves of garlic and sprinkled them on the dough. I covered the olive oil base with Muir Glen pizza sauce. [Note: G and I are always surprised at the variation between pizza sauces. Muir Glen is definitely our new favorite - not too salty or sugary, just right.] I used leftovers from last week to top the pizza, including red onion, Canadian bacon*, and spinach. Two cups of mozzeralla on the top, and it was read for the oven.

The dough recipe didn't include recommendations for oven temperature or how much time to bake the pizza. I set the oven to 450 and checked the pizza after 10 minutes. It wasn't done, so I gave it another four minutes, which was a little too long. Our pizza was a little brown in some places, but it was still good ("the best yet," according to G). When I make it again, I'll probably check it after 12 minutes. I'm guessing that might be about the right about of baking time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Say what?

I just scheduled our annual dermatology appointments. First available date? My birthday, which is several months from today.

After 15 minutes of trying to find a date with two back-to-back times available, the poor scheduler couldn't find my husband's name in the system. I suggested she try flipping two letters in our last name (a very, very common error). She found an entry, but the individual's first name was my husband's middle name. She asked what his birth date was, and I told her. Her response? "There's no way this can be him, this person's birthday is [same month, two days earlier, same year]."

Clerical error(s) or just a weird coincidence? Seriously, what are the chances that someone has a name and birthday so close to my husband and is a patient at our small clinic?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pandemic Preparedness Kits?

Last week, I read an article in which the reporter claimed that Americans needed to stock up on supplies (food, water, over-the-counter drugs) in preparation for the expected explosion of H1N1 this fall. I mentioned it to a friend of mine, who happens to be a physician, and asked her if she thought the reporter might have been over-reacting. "No," she said, "it might actually be a good idea."

Over the weekend, I mentioned the same article to my mom, who until last fall consulted on public health-centered emergency preparedness plans at the county and state levels. I expected she might downplay the advice of the reporter - she is extremely levelheaded - but she, too, agreed that it would be a good idea.

At the advice of my friend and my mom, two of the women I trust most (who also happen to be very educated on this issue!), I'm seriously creating a pandemic planning kit. I never thought I'd actually do something like this. To be honest with you, I've made fun of people for doing it. And yet here I am, trying to determine if we need to have a kit in place...

Do any of you have supplies stashed away? Do you think I'm crazy for doing this?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back from the Big Bog

Last night, we safely returned from our weekend camping trip to Big Bog State Recreational Area. We spent a total of 12 hours traveling to and from the park. Last Thursday, if you asked me if I was excited about making the trip to Big Bog, I would have groaned and complained. Having finished the trip, I have to say it was really nice. Despite the cloudy weather, coolish temperatures and millions of mosquitoes, it was nice to get away from civilization (and trust me, we were far away from it) for a few days and spend some time with my parents. Our cell phones were muted the entire trip, and we had no access to television, radio, or internet. It was nice. Really, it was.

A few pictures from our trip:

The main campground was actually separated from the beach area (just across the road) and the Bog Walk (9 miles north). We were 29 miles from Canada, unfortunately only one person had his passport so we couldn't justify the drive to the border. Who had his passport, you might be wondering? My husband, who still hasn't removed it from his messenger bag after using it to confirm his information when he started his job over three years ago.

The Bog Walk. One mile out, one mile back. This was, believe it or not, the most mosquito-free part of the entire park. We thought the bog would be swarming with them (since every other part of the park was), but I don't think we saw more than just a few during the entire walk.

The park's beach area on Upper Red Lake was really nice. Too bad it was never warm enough to enjoy the water!

My dad and I managed to find a frilly purple orchid. . .

. . . and a wild iris. Pretty!

We found some carnivorous plants on the bog walk. This is called a pitcher plant.

And we ate. Boy, did we eat. My dad and brother spent a lot of time fishing for walleye on Upper Red Lake and made dinner for everyone on Saturday night. I'm not a fish fan, but my husband reports this was the best fried fish he had eaten in a long time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Packing is no longer fun.

That is all.