Monthly Archives: March 2010

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Candied Citrus Peel

Yesterday the appraiser came by to size up our home for our refinance and HELOC. Fingers crossed. At the least, we are hoping the house has held value since we purchased it less than 2 years ago, which is possible just due to the square footage. At the best, we are hoping for an increase in value, which seems about as realistic as having Christopher Peacock himself as my Kitchen Design Bitch.

I am trying to get back to blogging as a way for me to distract myself from endless web searches for products I cannot afford and then the subsequent endless web search for the perfect affordable counterpart. Also, how much school work can I really absorb myself in? If I have one more class that re-teaches me Bloom’s Taxonomy, my lower ordered thinking abilities might just go on the fritz. Oh, and did I mention that there is a second Bloom’s Taxonomy? As if.

Soon this semester will be over and I am hoping my summer fling with my kitchen remodel will begin. Permit papers are all filled out, just need the time to submit them. Main thing, though, is we need the money. Wednesday we will find out about the appraisal.

In the meantime, I am revisiting sunshiney cooking pics, specifically the evocative sugared citrus shots of candied peel. Mmmmm. I can almost smell it. No wait, that’s my Origins grapefruit body mist. Honestly, I hope that the new kitchen will allow gleamingly lit food shots, even though the one tiny window will be half covered by cabinets. Okay, so a sun-bathed kitchen is unlikely, but still, hopefully the white marble will do its job and lighten up the place.

Here’s a parting tip. Be warned about buying a house with a kitchen dead set in the middle of your layout. The Sadowskis know what I am talking about!

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Getting Loquacious Over Loquats

Talk it up! Loquats. To me, taste a lot like green grapes. With some fuzz.

Awwww yeah! It’s loquat season. At least at the loquat tree in the parking lot of my husband’s work. Our own loquat tree doesn’t have much, by the way of ripe edibles, decorating its branches right now. But that seems to be how Florida works. A totally unpredictable schedule for plants.

Last February, our yard was an Eden of azaleas and camellias. This year, the camellia bushes all blossomed at staggered times and the azaleas are just now coming. Our loquat tree should be giving out tummy aches soon, but right now our only source is the parking lot tree.

My kids love to eat fresh picked fruits, veggies and herbs, so although I personally am surprised they love the loquat, I do think they love it in the best possible context: straight from the branch to their squiggle mouth, their tiny hands the only middle man.

Sweet Babu has been working on a garden with the kids. Not the fancy raised bed kind that is popular these days. We’re talking total nostalgia here–just a square of tilled yard planted in rows. My son even picked out a little fencing to surround it. Some from seed, some from seedlings, we have a good variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Through all the stages of our ag development, the kids have been involved. I am really happy my husband is doing this with them. I know we will still need to get vegetables from the market and I won’t be putting up jars of tomatoes, not from our harvest anyway. But I like that my children have this memory in the making. That they will watch the cause and effect of their actions grow. And that they’ll enthusiastically munch raw greens. All while having fun and walking barefoot through the soil.

If that’s what you can call the darker variety of sand that we have here in Florida.

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My Figurative Bedroom Slippers & Pink Foam Curlers

My husband is on the phone with the credit card people finding out how many reward points we’ve racked up. I’m really hoping to get my KitchenAid stand mixer through this free money. We are going in Monday to the credit union to hand over our survey and figure out what the F is up with the interest rate listed on our HELOC papers.

In the meantime, I am revisiting old friends–bookmarked pages of things I will buy–for the remodel. I have gradually gone from high style/high cost items to more wallet friendly stand ins. Must. Be. Practical.

While there are many curtains @ Anthroplogie that I lurve, I really can’t afford to spend $2,000 on cotton rectangles. Nor can I find any way to justify going into debt for such a purchase. Believe me, I tried, but my husband threatened to make me get corian laminate countertops if I dared click “add to cart.”

After much soul searching (yes, that’s right…the internet is my Soul Mate), I have decided to buck the system of overpriced window panels and decorate my dining room with shower curtains. Yes. Shower Curtains. Did I stutter?

Shower curtains in the dining room? Kind of like wearing bedroom slippers and pink foam curlers to the supermarket. Obviously, I've hit bottom.

They’re not just for the bathroom anymore! Ideally, I would use 100% cotton curtains, but the pattern I am smitten by comes in half cotton, half polycancer. No worries. Our dining room is a tad dark and dismal, so the sheer quality of the synthetic will serve the room well. And the $20 a panel price tag will allow me to go over budget elsewhere in the project.

Just don’t tell my conscience husband.

UPDATE: We have almost enough points to get the mixer for FREEBIEBABY!!!!

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Disaster in Florida: Thanks Sen. Thrasher

We have gotten through the pre-approval part of the refinance and HELOC for our Florida house. What’s really great about the refinance is that our monthly payments will be the same but we will pay the loan off 10 years earlier. Still waiting on the PA house refinance. The loan people for the PA credit union are swamped in applications.

Right about now I am feeling a bit burnt out on school. The one I attend at night and the ones I sub at during the day. This semester I am taking 4 classes, which is kind of a lot with subbing and family and my kids getting sick. Now that the weather is absolutely gorgeous, it is a bit painful to sit in class all day on Saturdays.

The other day I had a sad thing happen at the middle school I subbed at. Within the first 10 seconds of class, without any reason, one boy told me to “suck my cock.” This was sad because, due to school policy and the simple need to establish order in the classroom, I had to send the child to the Dean. How lame. What a dumb move on the part of this kid. It just baffled me that he would do something so stupid that would yield such permanent results on his schooling.

Plus, that day my son was home puking. I much would have rather spent my day cradling my boy in my arms than babysitting kids with foul mouths. I have seen inside the classroom of America’s educational institutions and I have to say, it is rather disappointing.

To top it off, on my way home from my evening classes, I heard about about a disastrous bill affecting teachers in Florida. The Washington Post Blog I linked (surprisingly, I cannot find anything in the NYTimes on this) doesn’t even do the disaster full justice. Basically, no tenure. Teachers who do not perform get fired. Performance measured by test scores of students. So much for getting rid of the FCAT. It has not been specified what scores exactly will be used. Is there a benchmark score that needs to be met? Will it be the AYP score for each child? What if you are teaching gifted students? They don’t make big annual gains since they are already scoring high to begin with.

This really encourages “teaching to the test,” which is something I thought the state was tiring of. Apparently not. And teachers of subjects that are not on the FCAT have the pleasure of also getting their jobs/pay increases dependent upon test scores. Only those tests don’t exist yet. And every school district will be responsible for making up/funding their own test. This is a real guinea pig educational system.

Years spent in the profession, as well as advanced degrees, will no longer impact a teacher’s pay. Also, the whole pension system is being re-done for all state employees. This, along with being told to suck a 7th grader’s cock, is a bit dispiriting for me.

Right now I am debating whether or not  I want to apply for an instructional position for next year or if I just want to continue subbing, build my work history and take some time to think about things. I will surely finish this program I am in at Santa Fe. But really, right now I just want to cuddle with my kids.

Last weekend was the festival @ Kanapaha Gardens...

...Saturday the weather was splendid, but I was in class all day....

....so we went, as a family, on Sunday...

...the day was cold and rainy. The kids wished we could have gone Saturday.

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Knobs

Right about now I should be working on a Powerpoint presentation for some class I don’t even know the name of. But how can I concentrate when the fate of our kitchen financing is still up in the air?

Today we headed to the local credit union to apply for the refinance of our present home, which will save us loads of money in interest payments as well as get our mortgage paid off 10 years earlier. Also, we applied for our HELOC on our Florida home. In three days we will find out how far our awesome credit gets us. If we advance from that round, on to the home appraisal. This is the only loan shizzle we have to pay for out of pocket. Hopefully we won’t be paying for news that is too depressing.

To make it all work, we also need to refinance our PA house. Remember that one? The one that we are still trying to sell? Well, here is a refresher:

Oh, I how I miss thee!

Thankfully, we have a renter, so at least our monthly payments are covered (fingers crossed). But when we took that mortgage, it had a five year arm on it. And guess how many years have passed? Yup, it is getting time to refinance. Thankfully, rates are low, so it’s a great time to do it. However, we are also trying to get equity out so we can move ahead on the kitchen remodel. Did I mention the kitchen remodel?

It may never happen.

Or it may happen soon.

I am eager to have my house torn apart so by the end of the summer I can begin to reassemble the pieces. By then I will be done with my program and hopefully have a job starting up at a school. Oh, and by then I should definitely be done with this Powerpoint presentation!

You see, I find the whole kitchen thing very distracting. I have everything picked out, except for curtains and hardware associated with curtains. I have spent countless hours searching online for the best prices for every little thing I can think of. I have contemplated my layout over and over again. I have engaged casual friends in math equations to figure out how changing door styles of my cabs would effect my quote so I wouldn’t have to bother my cabinet guy since, well, I have no money to actually buy cabinets.

And I decided upon knobs. And pulls. A variety of such. I really want this to be my forever kitchen. How could I limit it to just one style knob? Or pull? Or finish? I couldn’t. Sure, as we get older, we have to make choices. And those choices essentially close off other avenues of pleasure in our life. However, I will not be denied a variety of pleasures when it comes to cabinet hardware.

Horton Brasses Cup Pulls

The larger sized cup pulls here (4″) will be used on a few drawer banks 30″ and under. On one stretch of white cabs will be satin nickel hardware and on a walnut stained island will be the antique finish, a pretty similar look to what I had going on in my old kitchen. These pulls are very affordable considering the quality and finish.

Sand Casted Victorian Cup Pulls from Horton Brasses

The pull on the bottom, in antique finish, was what I used on all my drawers in our old house. It looked so rich and lovely with the walnut stained pine Shaker cabs. They are decorative, affordable and remind me of my old kitchen. These pulls will go on two 12″ wide 4 drawer banks flanking the range.

Simple knobs from Horton Brrasses. I like the larger sized knobs. The satin nickel will go on the white cabs and the antique brass on the stained cabs. Frugal yet fashionable.

White Octagonal Milk Glass Knobs

These lovely knobs are surprisingly affordable considering they are vintage milk glass reproductions, not acrylic. My husband is not crazy about them and I do fear some sort of weird tactile reaction to the faceted surface. However, I am strangely drawn to them. Maybe it has something Freudian to do with milk. But I was never breast fed. But I did breast feed my kids. My daughter longer than my son. And she still remembers it. Hmmmm……

Anyway, these girls will be used on the white sink base cabs. The logic in this will become apparent once the bigger picture is made available. Which basically means once I get all three loans, have my house torn apart, have my house put back together again, photograph it and then blog it. So just wait.

Restoration Hardware

With hardware so damn expensive, you would think they could pay for some better lighting for their online catalog photographs? These pulls are nice because they come in a variety of widths. I will be getting them in 8″ width for 4 larger drawers. They push uncomfortably against my budget, so I am limiting myself with this hardware fix.

Satin Nickel Clear Glass Knob from Restoration Hardware

Again with the ugly treatment of the satin nickel in the RH catalog. I assure you it is not even 1/5th as ugly in real life. These knobs are lovely. And expensive. Again, I will only get four. There will be four doors of cabs in a taller height and narrower depth. While I cannot totally justify the design sense of this choice, I just cannot resist having my very own clear glass knobs to get filthy and clean.

So, there you have it. My choices. When I think about my knobs and my marble, I naturally think of Boyz II Men.

Now to work on my Powerpoint.

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Eggless Pound Cake Recipe

Can't find my pound cake pic 😦

Recently a friend asked me to share my pound cake recipe, which I adapted from the clever and inspiring Veganomicon cookbook. This recipe is way tasty, but try not to over-bake! Moistness will be lost and you will find yourself sad and cotton-mouthed and just might be so depressed that you go on a pound cake binge. Which is kind of circular logic, but hey, you’re emotional!

Preheat the oven to 325

Combine:

1/2 yogurt (vanilla preferred)

1/2 cup blended silken tofu (I just use half a block)

1/4 cup milk

1  1/4 c sucre (that’s sugar, duh!)

1/2 cup buttah

2 tspn vanilla extract

1 scraped vanilla bean (optional)

zest from 1 lemon/lime and 1 orange, plus juice

2 c AP flour

2 TBSPN arrowroot powder

1  1/2 tspn baking powder

pinch o’salt

Combine ingredients, transfer to a loaf pan and bake in oven for an hour. DO NOT open oven for first 45 minutes!!! At around 55 minutes stab with a toothpick to see if it is done. Remove from oven, cool a bit, remove from pan, enjoy it warm. I like mine with jam and cream.

This recipe works great when doubled. Cake can be frozen if wrapped well. No one can tell the difference if you warm it up a bit before serving. Great for impromptu coffee klatches with the girls.

On a completely unrelated note (oh, is it?), today my husband ventures to the credit union to start the ball rolling on the 3, yes, THREE!, loans we need to get to remodel the kitchen. Two refinances, one HELOC. Our house in PA has a 5 year arm on it which is about to change and our rate on our FL house pretty much sucks, so we will definitely see an improvement in our payments even after taking out equity. Whatever equity is left after this whole real estate bubble thing.

Maybe I should Fed-ex the appraiser a frozen pound cake…with warming instructions.

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PORN

If you  share some kind of fetish regarding the inanimate, you might understand the sensations these graphic images stir in me.

These days, there is nothing that gets me more excited than the site of a large slab of white statuary marble. You have no idea.

High ceilings, lots of lovely natural lighting, weathered and light wood.  A bit formal for my taste, but if this kitchen is ever in the mood to slum it for a night, give me a call!

I try not to look at the sink. It is ordinary and fine but does not belong in this kitchen. But look at that long and narrow white marble topped island. Mmmmm.

While out of my price range, I enjoy the simple “design within reach” look of this California bungalow kitchen. Humble yet pristine. A good hand holder.

Windows, windows! And the perpendicular pattern of the wood floor. And the farm table. So nice and warm. Let’s cuddle.

Wide open. This kitchen is the kind you can take home to meet mom and dad.

How very rich.

Generally, I am not a fan of floor tile. But mercy mercy me, the things I would say I would do on that tile if I didn’t have to worry about being a role model for kids. This kitchen is HOT!

Too pretty for a long term relationship, but this kitchen would be fun just to casually hang out with.

Walnut stain on alder, coffered ceilings. Way out of my league. Still, I wouldn’t mind getting this kitchen drunk and having my way with it.

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