We keep our fat in a jar under the sink

It’s not fudge.

On Saturday afternoon I made a batch of suet cakes for the bird feeders. It’s one of the items on my 101 in 1001 list and since the weather has turned cold I thought this was the perfect time to cross it off. I like to give the birds suet cakes in the winter so they have some extra fat in their diet. We keep a 20 gallon tub of bird seed in the garage year round—a mix of millet, corn, and sunflower seeds. When we make bacon we pour the grease into a glass jar and keep it under the kitchen sink until it the jar is full. This fat became the main ingredient for the suet cakes. Let me tell you something about grease that has been sitting at room temp in a closed jar for several months—the smell is overpowering.


I found a few recipes online as a guide and adapted them to use what I had on hand. For the 11 x 7 block I used:

Bacon fat (approx. 1 Tony Packo’s pickle jar & 1 med. salsa jar full)
Peanut Butter (a heaping tablespoon or so)
Bird Seed (probably two cups worth)
Flour (the recipe called for 5 c. per 1 lb. lard—I just poured and stirred until I found a consistency I liked)


Doesn’t this look stratum or a multi-scented Glade candle?

In a large glass mixing bowl I microwaved the fat for 45 seconds to soften it up into an almost liquid consistency. Then I mixed in the rest of the ingredients until the mixture had a soft fudge-like feel. I lined a 11 x 7 pan with foil and poured the mixture into it to cool. I stuck the entire pan in the freezer for a few hours. The foil made it easy to lift the entire mixture out of the pan and cut it into 6 squares to fit the suet feeders.





I put one in the feeder on Sunday, stuck the rest in a gallon ziploc bag and threw them back into the freezer. This one batch should last us through most of the winter. I hope the birds approve.

I’m sorry for how I might smell if you happen to stand next to me in the next couple of days

Want to know how to expedite a project you’ve been putting off? Go down to the basement to switch over a load of laundry while your spouse is showering. When you get down there, notice WATER RUNNING DOWN THE WALL from the bathroom above. Freak out, run upstairs, get towels to wipe of mess and tell your spouse to hurry up and GET OUT OF THE SHOWER.

Tearing out the tile and drywall will commence within an hour of this discovery.

So, yeah, that busted, ancient soap holder built into the shower wall was apparently letting water in behind it. Which was disintegrating the drywall right below it. I think my no-holds-barred scrubbing of the wall with a homemade bleach paste the other day open up a hole in the wall. Which then ran down into the basement in buckets. Okay, not really, but when you see water running down the wall that should not be, any amount seems massive.

That was our evening yesterday. We now have lots of exposed wood in the shower area. And by lots I mean, out of the three walls that enclose the shower, we have three walls that are exposed down to the structure. Super fun. Remodeling the shower area has been on our to-do list for awhile. It just became a priority.

29 down, 72 to go

This afternoon I set my laptop on the kitchen counter and compared the list below to the one I have taped to the kitchen cabinets. Highlighting and dating the items on that hard copy as I complete them gives me a sense of real satisfaction and accomplishment. I’m not as diligent about marking them off the list online. So today I compared the list and updated the one below. I’ve now completed 29 out the 101 items. Not too bad in just 6 months, right? That’s an average of 4.83 items per month or about 1 per week. I’d say that’s pretty good—especially since some of the items took an entire week before the goal was actually accomplished. For you math lovers that’s just under 29% complete—and I still have 824 days to go.

Here’s a look at the updated list and all that I’ve accomplished so far. I’ve included a blurb from the original post for you newcomers (and those of you that don’t memorize random facts about my entire life). I really value the thoughts and feedback from all of you so don’t forget to leave a comment!


The reason I’m doing this is here.

There are all sorts of reasons that these items are on my list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. Wonder why I put something on my list? Just ask. See something on there you’ve always wanted to do? Let me know in the comments. Think I’m crazy? Well, that’s a given.

101 in 1001

Start date: Saturday, April 19, 2008
Finish date: Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Others
1. Participate in a walk for charity
2. Volunteer for a least one hour somewhere
3. Donate to a worthy cause
4. Write a letter to someone
5. Send a “just because” package to a friend
6. Send a “just because” package to a blogger buddy (5.13.08)
7. Give $5 to a stranger in need

Health & Nutrition

1. Get back to goal weight
2. Exercise (cardio) 3 days a week for one month
3. Do Strength Training 2 days a week for one month
4. Do Yoga 3 days a week for one month
5. Eat whole foods (nothing processed) for one week
6. Buy bikes (again) and go on a long ride (6.07.08 rode to Penguin Palace & back—approx. 7 miles)
7. Shoot my bow
8. Do 10 “regular-style” pushups
9. Eat breakfast (by 10 am) everyday for one week (7.18.08)
10. Do not eat after 10:30 pm for one week (7.18.08)

Family Time
1. Take G-tot to Butterfly House 8.05.08)
2. Take G-tot camping (just the 3 of us)
3. Travel overnight with G-tot
4. Go to a corn maze
5. Take a hayride (9.26.08)
6. Take G-tot to Storytime at the library (9.18.08)
7. Take G-tot to the Art Museum
8. Have a picnic with JQ & G-tot (7.11.08)
9. Become Zoo Members (4.27.08)
10. Take G-tot to an outdoor music event (7.11.08)
11. Get a family portrait taken
12. Take G-tot to the pool/beach (6.12.08)

Cooking & Entertaining
1. Make bracciole
2. Make a cake and frosting from scratch
3. Can something (homemade pasta sauce, homemade pickles, etc.) (6.29.08, rum soaked cherries)
4. Make creme brulee
5. Host an “Appetizers” party
6. Host a wine and cheese party
7. Make homemade ice cream (6.14.08)
8. Showcase the harvest from our garden in one meal (7.10.08, 7.15.08)

Arts & Crafts
1. Make a wooden “g” for G-man’s door
2. Take an art class (preferably glass blowing)
3. Learn CSS
4. Edit home movies into DVD’s
5. Learn Screenprinting
6. Letterpress something again
7. Sketch everyday for one week (6.30.08)
8. Enter a photography competition
9. Exhibit my artwork in a gallery setting
10. Create a short art film (abstract, documentary, or conceptual)
11. Create photo books
12. Make plaster hand print (G-man’s)

Gardening
1. Grow Melons or Pumpkins
2. Finish bird sanctuary in backyard (7.05.08)
3. Plant bulbs (4.19.08)
4. Enlarge garden (5.9.08)
5. Make a worm bin (composting)
6. Make a rain barrel
7. Make a yard compost bin
8. Build a platform bird feeder
9. Build a birdhouse
10. Make homemade suet cakes for birds
11. Grow a root veggie (spring/summer 2008, green onions)

Domestic Life
1. Remodel bathroom
2. Repaint the living room (7.24.08)
3. Create prints for the bedroom
4. Tile the back steps
5. Compile an emergency kit for home
6. Organize the office
7. Put up cabinets in office
8. Sell or donate unwanted items in basement
9. Get all items from Gam’s that belong to us (7.26.08)

Meeting New People
1. Meet neighbors (Toby’s wife & son)
2. Befriend Amanda (other neighbor) (Fall 2008)
3. Network at a design function (10.14.08 Madhouse)
4. Contact a stranger for a student group function

Enriching our Lives
1. Canoe
2. Take a train ride
3. Visit an aboretum (preferably w/ japanese gardens)< br />4. Go to planetarium
5. Meditate on regular basis (2-3 times per week for one month)
6. Learn to play Chess
7. Play Risk with JQ
8. Go on a guided tour (park, museum, etc.)
9. Attend two Summer/Fall Festivals (Blackswamp, Crosby Gardens, Apple Butter, etc.)
10. Take at least one class towards my Master’s Degree
11. Take a dance class
12. Attend a religious service
13. Go to a book/poetry reading
14. Go to an open mic event at a cafe/coffeeshop
15. Attend a play put on by a local theatre group
16. Learn to play a kid’s tune on the guitar

General/Others
1. Obtain domain and launch website
2. Launch Etsy shop (9.06.08)
3. Sell something on Etsy (9.11.08)
4. Write reviews of books (Sourcebooks)
5. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a sunrise
6. Read 10 books in 2008 (8.21.08)
7. Read 15 books in 2009
8. Get up by 7:30 am every morning for one week (7.26.08)
9. Take public transportation (or walk/ride bike) for an entire day (5.27.08)
10. Wear fingernail polish for entire week
11. Wear toenail polish for entire week (5.31.08)
12. Write a reflective essay about the process of 101 in 1001

Did you read them all? Good for you!

turn the page

This past Thursday I earned the right to cross a big goal off not only my original 2008 goals list, but also my more comprehensive 101 in 1001 list (making that 23 things completed). Read 10 books in 2008. I’m super excited about achieving this goal well before the end of the year because, while I read lots of books every year, I don’t usually get (or make) the time to read just for me. No kids books, no technical manuals, no design theory or academic books—just a good old-fashioned novel that sucks you in and leaves you wanting more.

I read some great books this year and I really think I owe a lot of that to setting this goal for myself. I read some classics and got swept away by a band of contemporary vampires. As I finished each book I couldn’t wait to pick the next one to immerse myself in. I’ve become a library junkie and find myself wondering how many books I’ll actually finish this year.

Several of the books on my list were chosen based on recommendations by all of you. Please keep them coming. Vegas Princess emailed me a huge list today and Shades twittered several titles last night (which I really need to write down or something). Of course there is always Good Reads but I have yet to add a book I’ve read, much less peruse what you’ve all read. It’s so much easier when you bring the information directly to me. So just leave your suggestions in the comments for me won’t you?

What’s that? You want to know which 10 books I read to complete my goal? Well, okay…since you asked.

  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (finished 1.30)
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (finished 2.3)
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (finished 2.8)
  4. Animal Farm by George Orwell (finished 2.15)
  5. Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (finished 4.12—my least favorite of the bunch)
  6. 1984 by George Orwell (finished 6.24)
  7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (finished 7.8)
  8. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (finished 7.30)
  9. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (finished 8.14)
  10. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (finished 8.21)

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

putting it out there—it’s time I gave a shit

When did I stop giving a shit about myself? I mean, really…when did I start to plummet into this “ehh…whatever” attitude? I’m not a sloth-tastic slob or anything, I just feel like I’m riding the river of indifference right now. LIving a life that doesn’t pose much of a challenge. I keep telling JQ, that we need to stop living the life we KNOW and start living the one we WANT. Sounds great doesn’t it? Then why is it so difficult to do?

I went to a Weight Watchers meeting today for the first time in a month. I had gained 4.8 pounds and I just didn’t give a shit. I even had a cup of coffee before the meeting. That’s a HUGE deal—when I was really “on program” and taking care of myself I wouldn’t have so much as a sip of coffee before I walked into that morning meeting and met with the scale. But today I figured, what the hell, it’s not going to change what I already know—I’m putting on weight and I need to take control of my life before I’m miserable by my standards.

During the meeting our leader Linda asked us, “Why this time? Why are you going to be successful in your journey this time?” Holy crap! This meeting could have been customized for ME. It wasn’t, but it was exactly what I was looking for. As the members around me raised their hands and shared their answers, I thought about my reason. Then I struggled not to break down and cry in the middle of the meeting room with my Mom next to me and G-tot on my lap.

It wasn’t the “Why THIS time?”. It was the “Why the hell haven’t you been successful for the past year?” that was surfacing in my mind. It was the realization that I just haven’t really given a shit about myself. And it was totally depressing.

*Fuck, some dude just knocked on the door to solicit something and here I am crying. Sorry dude, I’ll talk to you through the window but I’m not opening the door. Don’t want to enter your contest or fill out your form. Have a nice day and go away.*

Anyway, it is time this attitude about my life has stopped. It’s not just about the extra 25 pounds. I need to start consciously taking time for myself, in all aspects of my life. I could start by buying myself some new clothes—I HATE shopping for myself because I never like anything I try on. I could use a haircut. I need to start exercising. I need to start watching what sort of crap I’m eating ALL THE TIME. Less caffeine and more water. More sex (sorry Mom). More activities that utilize my creativity and talents. I need to start meditating and being more spiritual (whatever that may mean for me I have yet to find out).

I need to get out of this funk of feeling just so-so. I need more. Why am I going to be successful in my journey?


*Mom, this is not something I want to discuss on the phone. I needed to WRITE about it, not TALK about it. Your comments are always welcome here. I love you and I know you are dying to call me right now and console me. Please don’t. I’ll be okay. You know how sensitive I can be and I would probably cry. I’d rather not. *

101 in 1001—an update

I went to update the post that contains my 101 in 1001 list, and holy crap, I was super behind on marking off my items in that post. I have a copy of the list taped to the kitchen cabinet—lovely, I know—and I’ve been writing down the date and highlighting the items as I’ve completed them.

So far I’ve completed 15 things. The updated list is here.

picnic

My wish for a family picnic came through last night. I never made it to the meat market so we picked up some fried chicken to go, but everything happened as planned. We ate the bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed jalapeños before we left the house and JQ could not stop talking about them. Looks like we will be making a bunch of them in the near future.

unpacking the basket

JQ almost always makes a funny face when I ‘m taking his picture. On purpose.

It’s not very often we get to use our fancy picnic basket. I thought picnic time warranted the use of a real picnic basket so I dusted it off and packed it full of all the goodies I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Everything was delicious.

Yummy!

The gnats were a bit annoying and at one point when I had tired of their constant buzzing about my food, I yelled to them in disgust, “I will eat you!”. Good times. G-tot would not sit still while we were trying to eat (as witnessed below in my awesome stop motion style film) so—in an effort to actually enjoy dinner instead of just chasing after him—we had to bust out the stroller for him to eat at.

One of JQ’s friends was playing at another park for their summer concert series last night so after dinner and some playground time we headed over there. The show started at 7 pm and so did the rain. We went up onto the gazebo along with the band right before it started pouring. We had been there about a half an hour when it let up enough that we could make a run for the car. By the time we got home G-tot was exhausted having just experienced his first picnic and first outdoor concert. I love family time.

ice cream in a bag

A couple of Saturday’s ago JQ, G-tot, and I made some homemade ice cream. Which really translates to, I made the ice cream and all three of us ate it. Making ice cream—without an ice cream maker—is one of the items on my 101 in 1001 list. I found a few recipes online, picked the one that suited my needs, and gathered up the necessary ingredients (including rock salt). Not having any idea how the recipe would turn out, I opted to make a single serving size.

I can’t get much easier than this. The ingredients are put in small ziploc bag, then placed in larger ziploc with ice & rock salt. Shake, shake, shake. The salt/ice combo brings the temperature down to make the freezing conditions necessary. It was pretty cold so I wrapped it in a towel for the majority of the shaking.


After just 5 minutes we had ice cream.


It turned out yummy and was fun to make. It would be a perfect activity for a sleep over or any summer event with a bunch of kids. G-tot is a bit young to really understand what was going on but he liked eating the outcome.


I bought more half & half today to make it again this weekend.


Looks pretty good doesn’t it? I mixed in some fresh strawberries after I took this shot and gobbled it up. If we make individual servings again I might throw in some different fruit. Or nuts. Or bacon… (I’m kidding. Just seeing if you’re still paying attention.)

Want to try it yourself? Here’s the recipe I used.


Ice cream in a bag

What you’ll need:

* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 cup milk or half & half
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 6 tablespoons rock salt
* 1 pint-size Ziploc plastic bag
* 1 gallon-size Ziploc plastic bag
* Ice cubes

How to make it:
1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
3. Place the small bag inside the large one and seal again carefully.
4. Shake until mixture is ice cream, about 5 minutes.
5. Wipe off top of small bag, then open carefully and enjoy!

have you seen the little piggies

I painted my toenails yesterday. It’s one of the things on my list. Although, I won’t technically be able to cross it off of my list until next week. While it’s not a big deal to paint my nails I cannot remember the last I actually had. It’s been at least a year. At least.

So I painted them.


They look super cute and make me feel surprisingly sexy. G-man is quite taken with them too and can’t stop looking at them and touching them with his finger. I’m loving how girlie they make me feel and will probably be sporting painted piggies all summer long.

101 in 1001—the list

The reason I’m doing this is here.

The main reason? To become a better, more fulfilled person. The list took quite awhile to put together. I wanted all of my items to be something I could accomplish but nothing too easy. Some will be cake compared to others if I just do them. As I complete each item I’ll be referring back to this master list to check them off. Because I’m Obsessive-Compulsive I’ve arranged my list items into categories. I did this not only for the orderliness of it, but also to make sure that I didn’t have any one area too heavy with to-dos. I fell a bit short in the “meet new people” section. I guess I need to work on that next time.

There are all sorts of reasons that these items are on my list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. Wonder why I put something on my list? Just ask. See something on there you’ve always wanted to do? Let me know in the comments. Think I’m crazy? Well, that’s a given.

Here we go…

101 in 1001

Start date: Saturday, April 19, 2008
Finish date: Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Others
1. Participate in a walk for charity
2. Volunteer for a least one hour somewhere
3. Donate to a worthy cause
4. Write a letter to someone
5. Send a “just because” package to a friend
6. Send a “just because” package to a blogger buddy (5.13.08)
7. Give $5 to a stranger in need (4.10.09—Spohr family)

Health & Nutrition

1. Get back to goal weight
2. Exercise (cardio) 3 days a week for one month
3. Do Strength Training 2 days a week for one month
4. Do Yoga 3 days a week for one month
5. Eat whole foods (nothing processed) for one week
6. Buy bikes (again) and go on a long ride (6.07.08 rode to Penguin Palace & back—approx. 7 miles)
7. Shoot my bow
8. Do 10 “regular-style” pushups
9. Eat breakfast (by 10 am) everyday for one week (7.18.08)
10. Do not eat after 10:30 pm for one week (7.18.08)

Family Time
1. Take G-tot to Butterfly House 8.05.08)
2. Take G-tot camping (just the 3 of us)
3. Travel overnight with G-tot (3.5.09–3.8.09—Rockford/Chicago)
4. Go to a corn maze
5. Take a hayride (9.26.08)
6. Take G-tot to Storytime at the library (9.18.08)
7. Take G-tot to the Art Museum
8. Have a picnic with JQ & G-tot (7.11.08)
9. Become Zoo Members (4.27.08)
10. Take G-tot to an outdoor music event (7.11.08)
11. Get a family portrait taken
12. Take G-tot to the pool/beach (6.12.08)

Cooking & Entertaining
1. Make bracciole
2. Make a cake and frosting from scratch
3. Can something (homemade pasta sauce, homemade pickles, etc.) (6.29.08, rum soaked cherries)
4. Make creme brulee
5. Host an “Appetizers” party
6. Host a wine and cheese party
7. Make homemade ice cream (6.14.08)
8. Showcase the harvest from our garden in one meal (7.10.08, 7.15.08)

Arts & Crafts
1. Make a wooden “g” for G-man’s door
2. Take an art class (preferably glass blowing)
3. Learn CSS (fall 2008)
4. Edit home movies into DVD’s
5. Learn Screenprinting
6. Letterpress something again
7. Sketch everyday for one week (6.30.08)
8. Enter a photography competition
9. Exhibit my artwork in a gallery setting
10. Create a short art film (abstract, documentary, or conceptual)
11. Create photo books
12. Make plaster hand print (G-man’s)

Gardening
1. Grow Melons or Pumpkins
2. Finish bird sanctuary in backyard (7.05.08)
3. Plant bulbs (4.19.08)
4. Enlarge garden (5.9.08)
5. Make a worm bin (composting)
6. Make a rain barrel
7. Make a yard compost bin
8. Build a platform bird feeder
9. Build a birdhouse
10. Make homemade suet cakes for birds (11.22.08)
11. Grow a root veggie (spring/summer 2008, green onions)

Domestic Life
1. Remodel bathroom (11.26.08)
2. Repaint the living room (7.24.08)
3. Create prints for the bedroom
4. Tile the back steps
5. Compile an emergency kit for home
6. Organize the office
7. Put up cabinets in office
8. Sell or donate unwanted items in basement (12.29.08)
9. Get all items from Gam’s that belong to us (7.26.08)

Meeting New People
1. Meet neighbors (Toby’s wife & son) (Christine & Chase 11.12.08)
2. Befriend Amanda (other neighbor) (Fall 2008)
3. Network at a design function (1.29.09—AIGA Toledo event)
4. Contact a stranger for a student group function (10.14.08 Madhouse)

Enriching our Lives
1. Canoe
2. Take a train ride
3. Visit an aboretum (preferably w/ japanese gardens)
4. Go to planetarium
5. Meditate on regular basis (2-3 times per week for one month)
6. Learn to play Chess
7. Play Risk with JQ (12.25.08)
8. Go on a guided tour (park, museum, etc.)
9. Attend two Summer/Fall Festivals (Blackswamp, Crosby Gardens, Apple Butter, etc.)
10. Take at least one class towards my Master’s Degree
11. Take a dance class
12. Attend a religious service
13. Go to a book/poetry reading
14. Go to an open mic event at a cafe/coffeeshop
15. Attend a play put on by a local theatre group
16. Learn to play a kid’s tune on the guitar

General/Others
1. Obtain domain and launch website (2.02.09 & 3.24.09)
2. Launch Etsy shop (9.06.08)
3. Sell something on Etsy (9.11.08)
4. Write reviews of books (Sourcebooks)
5. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a sunrise
6. Read 10 books in 2008 (8.21.08)
7. Read 15 books in 2009
8. Get up by 7:30 am every morning for one week (7.26.08)
9. Take public transportation (or walk/ride bike) for an entire day (5.27.08)
10. Wear fingernail polish for entire week (11.20.08)
11. Wear toenail polish for entire week (5.31.08)
12. Write a reflective essay about the process of 101 in 1001

Did you read them all? Good for you!