In the mail today, I received the collage from Shari for the Marie Antoinette Collage Swap. It had a wonderful combination of colors - blue, ivory, and peach - the resolution of the pictures she used were so much better than mine, and there was a beautiful crystal hanging from the bottom.
I almost did it again, but I'm so glad I didn't. Another triple was looming, but Mel wouldn't let me do it! I offered to work for her this evening, since the guy who was going to cover her evening shift reneged on her - she had surgery for her varicose veins on Friday, and really shouldn't be on her feet - and it was getting late anyway - I was scheduled until 3, but the new seating chart wasn't put up until after 4, and I'd just had two new tables seated in my section. She decided to stay, since she was promised to get cut soon. So I went home, and Tom was kind enough to let me take a nap, even though he needed help watering the plants. I feel so much more rested than I have in a long time.
What a long day! Today was the NFL Draft Day, and the Raven's Spring Football Festival. The Pep Band performed at the festival, and at the Orioles game that followed. We set ourselves up on Raven's Walk, outside of the stadium, and played for the people who were lined up to enter the stadium. This year, we did less playing - we alternated with the drumline, rather than playing a set of music, then having them perform. When we went inside the stadium, we played for about half an hour before taking a meal break, then we hung out until it was time for us to play at Camden Yards for the people lined up to get into the Orioles game. Right before the game, we set up on the field and played the Raven's Fight Song, then were taken to our seats, where we played in the middle of the third inning, and for the seventh inning stretch. It was a long, tiring, warm day, and we wore our regular uniforms. Luckily, it wasn't as hot as had been predicted. Overall, a decent day.
Phew! I never thought I'd finish it! Last night, I finally finished my collage for the Marie Antoinette Collage Swap. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but I think it might be a little bit too "flat" (Note: Wanda may recognize the lingerie lace attached to the bottom of the canvas).
My Marie Antoinette Collage
Here are some close-up shots of each section of the collage.
Upper Left Upper Right Lower Right Lower Left
I truly hope that Shari, my swap partner, likes this collage as much as I liked putting it together!
My girlfriend, Amy, and I went to lunch today, and while there, we brainstormed ideas for her oldest son's birthday party this year. We came up with such a good idea, I just can't keep it to myself! It started out as a beach theme, since the party will be in July. We were throwing around ideas for a scavenger hunt of some sort, but after looking through the Oriental Trading Company catalog she'd brought along, we started thinking about a Camping theme, and then saw some bug jar craft kits.
That totally opened the floodgates, and ideas were just pouring out of my head. For the hunt, Amy will make up bug jars for all of the participants (like what is in the catalog), and get plastic bugs.
She will set up a campsite in her backyard, with things like a tent, a picnic basket, a bucket next to a campfire, etc. Then, in select locations, she will put piles of bugs and a picture of the next location to go to. Each child will be given a picture of a location, and they will go collect a bug for their jar, and next to the pile of bugs, there will be a picture of their next location. Hopefully, the kids will be running around all over the place, collecting bugs, and whoever finishes first will be the ultimate winner, but everyone will get a jar of bugs to keep, and a prize of some sort for participating. Then, for food, in addition to cake and ice cream, she could have hot dogs on a stick that she could precook, and put on a stick to let the kids hold over the fire for a few seconds to "cook" it, chips, s'mores, and roasted marshmallows. I think it's a fabulous idea! We're also currently working on a craft idea, like a picture frame with nature stuff glued to it, that the kids put together. She's got woods behind her house, so they could go on a nature hike to look for the nature stuff. When all of the kids arrive, Amy intends to get a group picture with the campfire setting as a backdrop. She can print those pictures before the kids leave, and put it in their frames. Not too shabby, and relatively inexpensive.
I had a pretty decent band rehearsal tonight. It started earlier than usual for me, 6:30, so that the Pep Band could get together for a quick rehearsal of things we didn't get to try at Saturday's rehearsal. Then, guess who won the 50/50 raffle? Of course it was me, you sillies! I won $41, almost enough to cover the medication I had to buy today! Not a bad day's work. Then, on the way home, I stopped at the Maryland House to pick up some souvenir pennies for the two swaps I'm signed up for with that subject matter. Overall, I'm feeling quite productive. Now, the only thing that's pressing right now is finishing the collage for the Marie Antoinette Collage Swap - it's due out Friday!
Tonight, I finally finished my ATCs for the Butterfly ATC Swap. Wow, there's nothing like waiting until the last minute - the send out deadline is tomorrow. They weren't what I had initially hoped to do, but with the limited time that I've had in the past few weeks, it's the best I could do.
My ATCs for the Butterfly ATC Swap
Wanda might be glad to see the use of a little lingerie lace on the top one, and I used a glorious amount (at least, for me) of Stickles on the bottom one. I feel like they were a little bit too plain - but with the time constraints that I had, I think they turned out okay.
I got a voicemail from Wanda tonight, letting me know that she signed us up for a Spring Charm Swap, with the theme "Things with Wings." It's a 25 charm commitment, similar to the Romancing the Charm Swap that we did earlier this year. I'm glad she signed us up, since there was a 25 person limit, and I think I could really get into the subject matter - but now I'm obsessing about getting 25 charms done in time! Luckily, the deadline is June 20, so I think I'll be able to come up with a decent idea for charms, buy the requisite materials, and put them together. But, if I keep having weeks like this past one, I might not make it... I'll think about it later, right now I'm thinking about making five sets of five charms - butterflies, dragonflies, birds, angels, fairies, hearts. I'll have to check out Wal-Mart first, since it's local and easy to get to, then I'll have to find a way to get to the nearest Michael's or JoAnn's. But first, I have to make two Butterfly ATCs and a Marie Antoinette Collage. Get to work, Wendy!
Oh, the horror! Why did I ever let it happen again? Today, I worked another "triple" at the Tidewater. I was supposed to work from 7-3, but since we had two people call out due to family problems, and the weather started out nice, five lunch servers volunteered to stay for dinner. I thought that I had been promised consideration to be the first person cut if the weather got bad - but no, I totally got the shaft and had the ultimate pleasure of working until closing time. I'm still trying to determine whether or not it was worth it. I was just too tired to be angry about three other people being allowed to leave before me, when I got to the restaurant three hours before any of them. Will it happen again? I hope not, but it probably will.
Today, I did not do yard work. I hear the collective gasps, but it's true! This morning, I had pep band rehearsal, and it went relatively well. I'm glad to see that Margie, who plays piccolo, will be joining me for some of the pep band gigs this year. For the past couple of years, I've been the only flute player in the pep band, and although I like the clarinet players and am comfortable with our tiny woodwind section, I've been a little lonely. There have been guest appearances by ladies from other sections in the band, so I haven't been completely alone, but most of the time I am. After practice, I went straight to the Tidewater to work. I had initially hoped to go home first, to help with mowing the lawn and hopefully have time for a nap, but after an early morning text message, I commited myself to going to work right after practice. It was a long day, but I'll have tomorrow night off.
After much time discussing the event, Wanda was kind enough to register me for Silver Bella last night. Registration opened at 9 pm est, and she was so sweet to register me first, because when she registered herself, one of her desired classes was already full. I'm glad and excited to have gotten the classes I was planning on taking, but also sad, because since Wanda registered me first, and my PayPal hadn't been logged out of, when she went to register herself, she got booted out of the system, and when she finally got back on, one of the classes she wanted to take was full - already! I am much more excited about this year's possibilities. When I went last year, I had picked up someone else's registration for a discount, and stuck with most of the classes that she had already signed up for. In hindsight, I should have kept them all, because I'm now interested in one of the classes that I had dropped (Soldering Charms). So, this year, Wanda and I collaborated on which classes we were interested in, and Wanda put together a schedule for each of us, so that we would take the maximum number of classes available. I think we're taking ten of the fifteen classes offered. I haven't checked my confirmation e-mail, yet, but I think that these are the classes I'll be taking:
Friday 8:00 am to 11:30 am- Snowman Clip w/ Jennifer Murphy Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm- Sweet Sweater Hat w/ Charlotte Lyons Friday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm- slot left open for potential Vendor Night set-up Saturday 8:30 am to 11:30 am- Victorious Medals w/ Teresa McFayden Saturday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm- Hodge Podge Journal w/ Rebecca Sower Saturday 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm- Vintage Charm Bracelet w/ Kaari Meng
The classes are described here, if you want to check them out.
Unfortunately, for me, Easter was just another day. I started out working at the restaurant for the breakfast and lunch shifts, then when I got home, I helped dig in the yard a little, before going inside and making clam chowder for dinner. Then, for the rest of the night, I got caught up on television that I hadn't watched for several weeks. I did finish putting together ATCs for the 2009 Birthday ATC Swap for the months of April and May. They were similar to the one I did for January, I just used different background paper and different colors for the cut-outs.
Well, today, I had a relatively easy day of yard work. It started out with loading up the hose into the cart, hitching the cart onto the lawn tractor, and running down the property line, watering plants as I went. The remaining plants around the house came next, with the plants down the woodline completing that task. They were a little bit more difficult, seeing how I couldn't drag the hose that far, so I had buckets filled with water in the cart. After laying the hose out on the driveway, I went around and marked with orange spray paint the location for holes to be dug in the grass for potential plantings. Tom had put together a piece of rebar with a string attached to it, and a garden tool on the other end of the string, so that all of the holes would be the same size - quite ingenius!
For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, in the "Bought at a Garage Sale or Thrift Shop" category, I received a booklet called "Any Idiot Can Cook with Simple Southern Recipes." Here is one of the recipes found within:
How to Cook a Turkey the Lazy Way (from "Any Idiot Can Cook with Simple Southern Recipes")
Basting a turkey all night is "for the birds!" Rub thawed turkey with melted butter --- stuff it with onion, celery & potato --- salt & pepper bird. Place in covered container --- add 5-6 cups hot water --- cover pan with foil, then put lid on. Preheat oven to 500 --- place pan in oven & bake @ 500 for 1 hour --- cut oven off & leave overnight (don't open oven door!) A large bird requires extra cooking --- turn oven back on in the morning for 1/2 to 1 hour @ 350 (depending on size of turkey)
For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Contains Green Beans" category:
Fancy Green Beans
2 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 lb fresh green beans
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup red bell peppers, cut into strips
1/2 cup thin onion wedges
1/2 cup whole cashews
In a small bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, honey, and butter.
Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the lemon juice. Drop in the beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans are bright green. Drain the beans in a colander and then plunge them into the iced water. Drain again and set aside.
In a skillet, cook the bacon until very crispy, crumble and set aside. Saute bell pepper and onion in the hot bacon fat for 2 minutes. Add the beans, cashews, and bacon to the skillet. Add the teriyaki-honey csauce and toss gently.
Sweet and Sour Green Beans
1 pound trimmed green beans
4 pieces of lean bacon
3 Tbs chopped onion
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Place green beans in boiling water. Cook, covered for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain. Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels. Add chopped onions to bacon grease and cook until translucent. Add vinegar salt and sugar. Stir to mix well, making sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add green beans to mixture and heat through. Plate and crumble bacon on top to serve.
For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Contains Seafood" category:
Garlicky Appetizer Shrimp Scampi
6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs minced shallots
2 Tbs minced fresh chives
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 lbs large shrimp, peeled & deveined
Preheat grill for high heat. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except shrimp and mix well. Add shrimp, toss to coat. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp as close to flame as possible for 2-3 minutes per side until opaque.
May serve over hot pasta for a delicious meal.
Shore is Good Seafood Dip
1 6-ounce can crabmeat, picked free of any broken shells, drained
1/2 lb freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 of a 10 3/4-ounce can cream of shrimp soup (discard top half and use bottom)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, dice
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoon butter
6 ounce shrimp, fresh or canned, drained
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Melt the butterin a skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery, and saute for 2 minutes. In a bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, Parmesan, crabmeat, shrimp, and pepper. Stir the sauteed vegetables into the seafood mixture and spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 8 x 11-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with toast points or crackers.
Today, I received the martini glass from Raychelle G for the Martini Glass Swap. It was adorable - from the Lolita collection on GotMartini.com. It was the Black & White Martini glass, and the martini recipe that is painted on the bottom of the glass follows:
Black & White-tini
5 oz vanilla vodka 3 oz creme de cacao Add black and white licorice pieces
I had a lot of fun creating my Easter Eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt Swap. Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved the sugar eggs that had the scenes inside of them, and I would try to do the same thing with origami balloons - draw inside of them, then enlarge the hole you blew into to inflate them, so that you could see the scene inside. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making this type of egg. I hope that the recipients of these eggs love them as much as I do! The pictures of the eggs I made are below. Did you get one of them? If not, then click here to return to Vivian's website and choose a new blog to visit in your hunt!
So, today, I spent way too much time working out what to do with landscaping the property line. Last night, a BMW showed up in our driveway, and I found out today that the car selling thing that Tom has been planning with his Russian friend's father is actually happening. He also let me know that all of the plants that have been showing up over the past few weeks were paid for with the money that he's already been paid for his part in the deal. So, now I don't have to worry about how all of these plants are being paid for. Anyway.
So, this is the plan I came up with. Different colors, different seasons, different species - and the shape makes Tom happy. I had to redo my original plan after he let me know some important information. We also planned for other trees and shrubs around the house and in the yard. I finally got visibly burned out on the subject about a half hour ago, so we stopped talking about it. I really wish he would have let this be a several year project, instead of a one spring project, but he said that since we haven't done any landscaping in the five years we've lived here, it's time. The thing is, I need more time to do it. To try to cram in so much stuff into the tiny planting season we have, and with me having only one day off a week - which I would love to have for other obligations - is just too much. I just feel like it's Tom's world, and I'm just living in it :-( Now, tomorrow's wasted, too, since I'm working the breakfast/lunch shift at the restaurant, and then I'm hostessing until 7. Sometimes, I just want to cry...
For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Is a Tried and True Family Recipe" category:
Easy Chicken Noodles and Corn
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 2 pkgs Lipton's Chicken Flavored Noodles and Sauce 1 can corn 1 Tbs oil salt & pepper, to taste
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken, cook thoroughly. Add chicken and corn to noodles and heat through.
1 cup sugar 6 Tbsp flour 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese 2 20 oz cans pineapple chunks, drained (Reserve 6 Tbsp of juice) 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 sleeves) 1 stick butter, melted
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, and cheese; Add pineapple and combine. Place in 2 qt casserole dish. Mix butter and cracker crumbs; spread on top. Bake 25-30 minutes. This might sound strange but tastes wonderful! We have this quite often.
For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Contains Beef" category:
1 lb groung beef 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes 1 package chili seasoning 2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
Brown ground beef. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and chili seasoning. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Prepare on box cornbread mix according to package directions and spread in bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Pour chili on top of cornbread mixture. Top with cheese. Prepare second box of cornbread and spread over top of chili and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until cornbread is done. Can be made in a deep dish pie pan, using only 1 box of cornbread on top.
Skillet Beef & Noodles
2 Tbs butter 1 lb ground beef 1/4 c finely chopped onion 2 cloves minced garlic 8 oz sliced mushrooms 1/4 cup dry red wine 1 Tbs lemon juice 2 beef bouillion cubes 1 cup water 2 cups uncooked wide noodles salt and pepper 1 cup sour cream Paprika
Melt butter in skillet, add ground beef, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook beef until browned. Add wine, lemon juice, cubes, and water. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add noodles, cover and simmer for 15 mins or until noodles are tender. Season with salt and pepper, stir in sour cream. Heat through.
Three Meat Pasta
1 pound angel hair pasta 2 cups cooked chicken, off the bone 2 cups cooked sausage, cut 1/2-inch thick 2 cups cooked ham, cubed 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded 16 ounces cottage cheese 1/2 cup sour cream 3 chicken bouillon cubes 1 cup hot water 1 to 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, boil salted water for angel hair pasta. When cooked, drain and set aside. In a large bowl mix together the chicken, sausage, ham, onions, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream. In a separate small pot, dissolve bouillon cubes with hot water and pour over the meat and pasta. Pour mixture into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch greased baking dish and top with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the bubbling around the edges.