August 28, 2015

Knitting: The Big Brown Shrug

This thingy is a shrug, apparently. I don't know how these things get their names. A shrug is like a wrap which is dangerously close to a shawl. Who knows. 

This pattern is available for free (of course) and here are my notes on Ravelry. This is the most boring thing I've ever knitted. It took me 5 months (!) to finish, because it's boring, and because all the work on the house sidelined it.

This is a good project for a beginner. It's literally one gigantic rectangle with a little knit-and-purl ribbing on both ends. Then it's folded in half and sewn up partway on both sides to create sleeves. 

I'm just happy I finished the damn thing before January rolled around. 

See you later!

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August 26, 2015

A Change in Location

Lately there have been a few working-on-the-house type posts on the blog, and plenty of (constant) complaining about being covered in paint. I am finally ready to explain. 

The house is for sale. Hallelujah. 

We've talked about moving for the past, oh I don't know, five years. Last winter we decided to get the lead out and have the house listed sometime this summer. Unfortunately, we live in an area that does not have the fastest selling real estate, so we plan on being here for quite awhile yet. When it does sell, we are moving to....



I wasn't going to mention it on the blog at all, but I might as well. At some point there's going to be a rant on here about trying to live in a staged house (I can feel it coming already) and y'all will be mighty confused if I don't explain why my house is staged.

(I took the pictures. This is what happened when I got the living room just right.) 

So that's the big news. The husband and I are excited, and are ready to get on with life in a place we like a smidge better than northern Wisconsin. You know, in forty years when the house actually sells. 

It will probably be a little weird to sell the house I grew up in, but I am not exactly a sentimental person. I am one of those annoying MUST GO FORWARD types. 

That, and I love moving. LOVE it. All that packing. All that sorting through of things you want to bring and want to get rid of. Lovingly wrapping dinner plates in bubble wrap. Yaaaaasssss. That's the good stuff. Very much looking forward to that part. 

I know. I'm in the minority there. 

See you later!

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August 20, 2015

Health(ier) Apple Cake

Last week I mentioned that this week's blog posts would feature more house renovation stuff, but then I woke up this morning. Early. And it's raining. And it's cold. And I look at the pictures and think oh who cares, when we could be having cake instead. 

It's not autumn yet, but that did not stop me from making apple cake this week. Normally I do not care for apple cake, but there's something about this one that just slays me. I think it's the way the apples are sliced, which we will get to in a minute. 

But here's the thing with this cake. There were apples in the fridge that needed to be used up and the husband requested apple cake. So I made it, basing it off a Pinterest recipe and then modifying it. And he ate half of it the first night. 0_o. I've made it twice this week, that's how good it is. 

I think it's the apple slices. Instead of dicing them and ending up with big chunks of apples studded through the batter, I busted out the mandoline, and sliced them very, very thin.  

The batter is a real bitch to stir with all those big apple slices in it, but if you prevail, 'tis worth it in the end. The batter is thick and spiced all to heck. 

I put a little powdered sugar glaze on top, because it reminds me of an apple fritter and I am no dummy.

The cake doesn't rise to great heights, but is more on the dense and slightly gooey side. I switched out most of the oil for applesauce and olive oil, and then used whole wheat flour as well. It's sweetened with honey, and there's just a bit of sugar in it, mostly just to keep the texture the same as regular cake. Cake, much to my sadness, will never be good for you, but I try.

Health(ier) Apple Cake

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cardamom (optional, but lovely)
3 apples (I think mine were Red Delicious)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9 inch pan, or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl, whisk to break them up a little. Then add the applesauce, honey, olive oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk it, whisk it good.

2. In a separate bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom. Mix well, and then dump into the bowl with the egg mixture. Stir everything well, the batter will be thick. 

3. Using a mandoline on the 'very thin' setting, or using a knife and a lot of patience, core and slice the apples into 1/8 inch thick slices. I don't peel the apples first, because this is 2015 and I don't have that kind of time, but if you would like to, then go ahead. 

4. Add the sliced apples and the walnuts to the batter, mix in well. This will be annoyingly difficult, but you will persevere.

5. Plop the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just clean. If a little crumb or two hangs onto the toothpick, that's fine too.

6. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes, then take a fork and poke it all over. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and add a teaspoon of milk, whisk until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. The mixture should be thick and smooth, and should be a good consistency to drizzle with. 

7. Drizzle the glaze over the cake. 

8. Try not to eat it all in one sitting. 

Go forth and bake. 

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August 18, 2015

What Everyone Thinks Wisconsin Looks Like

I realized last week that I only ever post pictures of the woods. Out in the woods. Dirt roads in the woods. Crappy through-the-windshield pictures of the woods. This is because I live in the woods, but still. Most people probably think flat farm fields when they think of Wisconsin, and in certain parts of the state, you would be correct. 

I live in the Northwoods. Or, as some say, Up North. Both of those make my ass twitch. After the 4,000th time you hear them, it gets a little, you know, meh

So let's start with the familiar, yeah? Crappy through-the-windshield picture.

Bam. A field!

I will admit that this was a slightly prettier area of NE Wisconsin than most. 

And for the first time ever, cows. How I live here and have never, to my knowledge, put up a cow picture before, I don't know. 

Cows. Who doesn't love a good cow. I think this picture was taken just after we turned down a road that had AN ABANDONED FARM on it. Not just a barn, but the whole shiteree. The husband couldn't stop and let me take pictures because someone was right behind us, so we drove on for awhile before turning around and going back.


Now, whoever owns the farm probably thinks I'm a lunatic, because their house was not that far from the abandoned one. 

The things I do for pictures.

See you later!

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August 14, 2015

Tool Boxes for Makeup Storage

A few months ago, in the grip of a serious house decluttering episode, I began to resent all the crap I had piled everywhere. I started looking for something that could hold makeup, jewelry, and whatever the heck else I wanted, all while being sturdy and not insanely expensive. Honestly, finding something to fit those requirements should not be this difficult. In the end, I settled on...tool boxes. 

Okay, so yeah, maybe this is overboard? I can't tell anymore, I've lost all sense of perspective. 

A lot of people online recommend the Ikea Alex drawers for makeup and jewelry storage, but I don't live near an Ikea and their shipping costs are insane. Also, the drawers look really nice, but are made of particleboard, and particleboard eventually bends and bows.

I found these Homak tool boxes at Fleet Farm, but they can be found at Northern Tool. The top box is blue because I liked the drawer setup, and the bottom box is black because it was on clearance and was half the cost of the corresponding blue one. (I hope you didn't think I would go an entire blog post without mentioning how cheap I am.)

These two cost about the same as two of the Ikea drawers, but are (obviously) huge and metal and filled with wonder. The drawers are shallow enough that you don't have to dig around for anything, which is a huge time saver. I hate digging through piles of things to find that one item I need. 

Ah, storage. It soothes me. 

I've had these about a month now, and they are the cat's ass. Really. Yes, they are pricey, and yes, they are overkill, but I'll have them forever. Fair trade. 

One of my favorite things about this setup is that both boxes have a lock, so if I wanted to lock up my jewelry, I can. Because protecting my $50 worth of costume jewelry is v.v. important. 

Next week I think I'll share a few more house before-and-after pictures, because I don't have a lot else going on at the moment. Unless you would like to hear me whine about car shopping. 

I shall spare you that. 

Have a good weekend!

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