Wednesday, October 27, 2010

There's gold in them thar pumpkins!

Okay, excuse the hokey title, but I really felt the need this morning. After all, I'm trying to renovate the disaster area known as our toy shelves in the second living room. More on that in the next few days after I get it done (teehee).

After discovering that two of our local grocery stores were completely out (yes, really) of carving pumpkins this Sunday, I panicked. Monday night, I took the two kids with me to yet another local stores which (yay!) had plenty of nice pumpkins to choose from. They both chose really nice ones and of course, I had to pick up two for Mr. K and myself. Not only for the joy of using a knife on something to get out my frustrations (I kid, I kid), but for something that's been a tradition in my family for a while.

Look closely in the picture below and see what I mean:

No, no. Look CLOSER. Like in the center of the table where the most important things go:

Pumpkin seeds = gold to me.

You see, one of my favorite things about Halloween is eating roasted pumpkin seeds for a couple of weeks after carving, depending upon how 'seedy' your pumpkin is. *THAT* is why I buy at least 4 pumpkins and harass my friends into giving me whatever pumpkin guts I can get my hands on. Seriously.

You can find the nutrition info on pumpkin seeds here. I think it's probably without the shell, since the fiber content is so low. Also, they mention no salt (ahem). I found a cute video of Alton Brown's stovetop method on FoodNetwork; click here to see the short video. Also, there's a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse (no video, sorry to disappoint LOL) for spicy pumpkin seeds that you bake instead; click here.

I personally prefer to do mine in the oven. I can do LOTS more this way and I usually do a few batches spiced differently. The important thing to me is that I'm getting all the mileage out of the pumpkin I can and the smell of roasting seeds takes me back to childhood. You know, childhood; when the house magically cleaned itself and presented you with hot, home cooked food every night . . . a big thanks to you, Mom!

And here, my post would be woefully incomplete without sharing the ultimate finished product of our labors!

What do you do to get the most out of your Halloween? Feel free to share your ideas!



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tires and Dishwashers and Water Heaters: Oh my!

We hit the trifecta this week. Sadly, not the good one, but the three things that go wrong in an expensive kind of way.

Sunday, I visited Sears to get a replacement for our elderly (13 years old) dishwasher. It has been needing replaced for a while and I finally begged (whined) hard enough and Mr. K gave in.

Much to his delight, I visited Discount Tire on Monday and got 4 new tires for my ride. Never a cheap option, but this was starting to hit a little hard after the dishwasher.

The wonderful new dishwasher was installed on Thursday and it works *INCREDIBLY*! I mean, clean dishes from an appliance? Wow! I guess our old one really had outlived its useful life.

Not to be outdone, our water heater pulled a fast one on Saturday. I'm guessing it was feeling a bit put out by all the attention lavished on our kitchen appliances (the oldest one, the stove, is a mere baby at 5 years) and decided to pull out all the stops. Mr. K and our son had just visited the hobby store to see about the latest young boy obsession (remote control airplane - NOT cheap) and had come home for lunch. Upon entering our lovely abode, my nearest and dearest happened to open the door to the basement, whereupon he used some not so lovely words, prefaced by, "What the . . .?" I looked under his arm to see the beginnings of an impressive indoor pool in our non-pool climate Colorado basement.

Suffice it to say, the project involved LOTS of money, swearing (on both our parts - kids were ensconced upstairs out of hearing range [please]) and at least 6 hours of hard labor. Not to mention at least 4 trips to the local Home Depot.

Note to self: when installing a new appliance, just buy all new connectors. Nothing that worked with the old one will pretend to work with the new one and it will all need to be brought up to code anyway.

I've resigned myself to the fact that my car's new tires are probably my Christmas present. And really, I couldn't ask for a better one. After all, they are a perfect fit and they keep me and my precious family safe and mobile for the next two years. A bargain!

Here's hoping that your last few weeks were NOT as expensive as mine and infinitely more enjoyable!

Please do share your 'feel good' stories. I'm in need of some consolation here recently!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today's (ongoing) project: concrete

Yes, that lovely substance that provides us with driveways, sidewalks and various other niceties of life which require a smooth, hard surface.

My project for today was to start contacting various contractors and seeing what the cost would be to tear out our existing patio which has settled and cracked horribly. Oh, and the front steps which are now starting to list to port might cost us a few trick or treaters sliding off into our bushes should it snow that night. Yes, it is usually cold around here at Halloween (sadly enough).

My first step was to start asking friends and acquaintances if they had recently had work like this done and whether or not they could recommend someone. I start this way because I would rather give my (husband's) hard earned money to a local business that's a known quantity and has someone I personally know to vouch for their work.

I have set up a few companies (usually about 3 for a large job like this) to come by and give me estimates on the work. I will ask them about start dates and completion times, as well as other contingencies depending upon the job. For instance, working in the back yard with all this labor and equipment brings to mind the other expensive component of our outdoors: the sprinkler system. I was assured by the contractor today that if they happened to damage any portion of the sprinklers, they would cover the cost of replacement. I will also be sure to get this in writing when I agree upon the final contract. There might be other special considerations and concerns with certain project; the best thing to do (I think) is sit down and list everything you can think of that relates to the project you have planned. That way, you can be fairly sure that you've covered most, if not all, of your bases and won't have any nasty surprises.

Oh, well. There is no shortage of things to be done around our house, both major and minor, but as long as I keep working on them, I'll be done eventually (right?).

Thanks for being a friend and reading my blog. It feels good to know there are folks like me (and my family) out there trying to keep up with everything!

Take care,