Spooky, scary…

Happy Halloween!!!

Today’s blog title has absolutely nothing to do with my post, except that it’s Halloween.  And it makes me think of this song from 30 Rock.  Go watch- I’ll wait.

This weekend we got hit by some chilly fall temperatures (finally!!!), which always puts me in the mood for cooking a big hearty meal.  So I made my go-to Sunday dinner- pork roast.  My husband repeatedly asks for this dinner, and I make it several times a year (even when the temps are NOT chilly).  I love it because the pork will make an entire week’s worth of dinners, but I don’t make the same thing every night.  Here’s the dinner line up for the week:

Sunday:  Pork with roasted veggies
Monday:  Leftovers
Tuesday:  Cubed pork with mushrooms and gravy over rice (hands down husband’s favorite meal- he would eat this every day if he could)
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Pulled pork sandwiches (simmer pork in crock pot with bbq sauce and shred) and sweet potato fries (using home grown sweet potatoes!!)
Friday:  Leftovers

Yesterday I cooked my pork.  I love doing this on a Sunday- there’s nothing better than a lazy Sunday with football on and the smell of pork cooking in the oven.  Seriously.  My dad gave me the following recipe for the pork and I do it the same way every time:

1 pork shoulder (I usually get 7-8lbs which feeds us for a week)
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 250.  Wash your pork shoulder and place in a large pan on a rack (or directly in the pan, depending on whether you have a rack or not).  Drizzle with olive oil (2-3 tablespoons?) and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Then slather with dijon- don’t hold back here!  I use almost a whole jar of dijon.  It should look something like this:

Cover your roast with foil and bake at 250 for 1 hour.  After an hour, bump your temperature to 270 and bake until the roast is at 165 degrees or greater.  It usually takes mine an additional 4.5 hours to reach this temperature, so around 5.5 hours of total cooking time.  Out of the oven it should look like this:

Yum.  That dijon forms a beautiful crust on the outside of the pork and adds a nice flavor (not overwhelming).  Once my pork finished cooking, I threw some veggies in the oven to roast.  My dad has the ability to roast veggies in the same pan as the pork, but every time I try to do that, they end up dry.  So I cook mine separately.  I did carrots, red potatoes and some small sweet potatoes from the garden, tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper:

 They turned out great, including the sweet potatoes.  I also made this brussels sprouts recipe, which was just OK.  My husband ate the brussels sprouts which is kind of a big deal (he does NOT like vegetables), so it must have been decent, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the roasted apple (which smelled SO good but just tasted mushy) and the balsamic vinegar.  All in all it was a decent Sunday feast.  Of course I have no after photos- we were too hungry to pause for picture taking after smelling that pork all day!!  I’m looking forward to leftovers tonight!!

I hope everyone has a safe, fun filled Halloween.  We haven’t done anything Halloween related this year- we didn’t even buy/carve pumpkins!!  I guess we just weren’t in the spirit this year. Oh well, there’s always next year.  I’m kind of hoping I can score a couple of pumpkins after today for cheap, to put on the porch as a fall decoration.

A pinterest(ing) challenge

I love me some Pinterest.  Funny, because I resisted signing up for a looooooong time.  I’ve only been “pinning” for maybe 3 months, give or take.  Now it’s my go-to page for when I need to find something, whether it be a craft, a helpful tip or a delicious recipe.  I’ve actually re-created several of my pins (remember the melted crayon art?)

Two of my favorite blogs (Young House Love and Bower Power) have created a challenge- a Pinterest challenge!! 

It’s super easy to participate- just pick a pin and re-create it!  Then blog about it and if you want, link it up to one of their sites (Young House Love or Bower Power…or both!!) next Wednesday, 11/2/11.  This is so fun to see what other people decide to re-create, and also a good way to motivate yourself to actually make one of the millions of things you’ve been pinning.

I’m planning on participating- I could cheat be lazy and use my DIY art project, but I have another one up my sleeve that is going to be a Christmas present, and I’m using this challenge as a motivator to get it done!  I’m keeping it a secret for now- stay tuned until next Wednesday…

Knitting…

I use the left side of my brain a lot in my profession.  When I was in grad school, I decided that I needed to learn to do something that exercised the right side of my brain a little bit- enter knitting!  My sister taught me, and I haven’t looked back since.  I started out with scarves, and quickly got bored.  Then I attempted a sweater (I am nothing if not ambitious- jumping from straight lines to clothing, yikes!)  Sweaters are fun, but they involve a lot of sewing (which I still don’t love, especially hand sewing) and yarn.  and time.  I moved on to socks, and I’ve knit a ton of those (don’t ever let on you can knit socks, because then everyone wants a pair!).

A favorite place to visit for knitting inspiration is Ravelry.  It’s like facebook for knitters (and crocheters)!!  I have found many great patterns on there- some free and some paid.  Here’s a collage of just a couple of things I’ve made in the past two or three years:

Top left: Jaywalker socks.  Top right: French Press felted slippers.  Bottom left:  Teddy bear.   Bottom right: Selbu modern

 I don’t actually keep a lot of the things I knit- I honestly really enjoy knitting for other people.  Watch out though, if you ask me to knit you something, you might not get what you ask for.  A friend of mine recently had a baby and she asked for baby socks.  I got really excited and knit her a blanket, a teddy bear and a sleep sack before remembering I was supposed to knit her socks, so knit up 2 pairs really quickly before her baby shower.  Whoops!! The sleep sack ended up being really popular, and I actually had a couple requests to knit it for other people:

I started with this pattern, but heavily modified it

I’ve discovered I really like knitting colorwork lately- something about knitting with more than one color.  It’s actually fairly easy to do too- as long as I don’t get some hugely complicated chart, which I’m guaranteed to screw up.  Here’s my very latest knit, a Christmas present for my sister (yes, the same one who taught me to knit.  I can now out-knit her!):

Opus spicatum hat

With all the projects we’ve been doing around the house in the past year, it’s been a lot harder to find the time/energy to knit.  It’s also really hard to be interested in knitting when it’s 90+ degrees outside with 90% humidity!  But now that things are cooling off, and we aren’t painting every room in our house, I foresee more knitting time in my future.

Any other knitters/fiber artists out there?  What’s your favorite project that you’ve done lately?

A Missoni giveaway…

So I apparently live under a rock…because I actually didn’t know anything about the Missoni event at Target until it had already started and everything was gone.  Yep, not sure how I missed out on that one.  I hope y’all were more up on things than I was!!  BUT…if you weren’t, there’s still a chance to get your hands on some fun stuff!!  Allison, over at Sweetbriar Bloom, is having a Missoni giveaway!  She’s got some super cute rain boots up for grabs (perfect for fall right?)- so head on over there and check it out!!

Calling all dog lovers!

Our dogs are our kids- I think I made that pretty clear in this post.  We love to spoil them, and try to feed them as well as we might feed ourselves.  This includes treats/chews/bones.  One treat I love to get them is a bully stick- have you heard of them?  They’re made from bulls- a specific part of the bull’s anatomy actually (read more about them here– don’t worry, there’s nothing obscene!).  Here’s a photo:
Image courtesy of www.bestbullysticks.com
Anyway, these chews are great because they last a long time.  We have crazy chewers at our house (remember, Jackson can chew through chain-link- he has jaws of steel!) and they last around 45 minutes per dog of non-stop chewing- not bad.  This is better than the alternative- Kirby chewing my shoe.  Hypothetically.  Or maybe not. 
There are lots of places that sell these, under various names, and they are not really cheap.  Example:  Our local pet store sells them for around $7-$9 per chew- for only 45 minutes of chewing time, that can get pricey.  Enter my favorite site:  Best Bully Sticks!  They sell their chews for a fraction of the price the pet stores do- plus you can buy them in bulk!  And their chews are quality- they’re made from free-ranging Brazilian cattle and are 100% beef, meaning your dog will actually digest them, unlike rawhides. They sell them in a variety of lengths, and even make odor free ones (some bully sticks do have an odor to them but the odor free ones do not, which makes giving them as a treat inside more pleasant!).  Also this site is great because they don’t just sell bully sticks- they sell a ton of other kinds of high quality treats (some that you may not find in your pet store, like moose antlers or venison), many made in the US.  And they also sell dog food, supplies and toys as well- basically a one stop shop!
So what are you waiting for?  Go get your fur-kid a chew or two!  
 

Layout

So I’ve showed you quite a few of the rooms in our house (and you can see most of them on this page), but I always find it helpful to see how a house is laid out- so many times I picture someone’s house laid out completely different than it really is- pictures are often so deceiving!!  So I messed around with floorplanner the other day, and came up with a rough drawing of how our house is laid out.  This program was fairly simple to use, and it had decent amount of things for me to choose from to put in the various rooms.  These pictures are by no means perfect- and the scale is off because I was too lazy to get didn’t have the measurements of each room/window/door. 

Here’s the main level:

Basically you come in the front door and there is a bedroom off the left (that’s an exercise machine in there, FYI- yeah, was having a little fun with all the extra things I could add!).  The stairs to the 2nd story are directly in front of you.  The bedroom has a walk-in closet and a bathroom that also connects to the office.  The living room is long and rectangular.  The kitchen and dining room are connected and the deck is directly off the dining room.  Through the kitchen is the laundry room, and then the garage (which we only keep a car and lawnmower in, according to my picture- ha). Our bottom floor is basically a big circle- which is often confusing for some people. 

A funny story- the first night in our new house, Tim and Jackson went up the stairs to go to bed.  Ellie was being wild and zooming around- and she had never seen stairs before this house.  She watched Jackson go up the stairs, but instead of following him up, she ran around to the dining room and stood waiting for him to come out in there!!  Silly girl.

Anyway- speaking of, here’s the second story:

As you go up the stairs you end up in front of the bathroom, with a bedroom on either side.  We made the left hand bedroom our master bedroom because we were afraid if we didn’t, we’d never go upstairs!!  Plus it’s warm and cozy in the winter.  Both bedrooms have large closets (we are not lacking in closet space in this house).  There is a little storage space off our bedroom closet.  And a dormer in each bedroom.

And that’s it- all 1900 square feet!  Just the right amount of space for us and our 5 fur kids!  I love that we have enough extra space to have family and friends stay over.  I know that will change one day when we have non-fur children, but for now we have 3 extra rooms worth of space.  We had 5 friends come stay with us this summer and every one had their own room- it was awesome.

Did the layout surprise you or was this how you pictured our house?  Have you used Floorplanner before?

Meet the Davenports!

Happy Monday everyone!  I for one am glad this day is almost over- work things made it a rough start to the week, but I made it through.

So I have yet to properly introduce myself and the rest of my family, even though you’ve seen some of us appear a few times on the blog.  Without further adieu, meet the Davenports:

Photo by Maggie Fan Photography

From left to right we have:  Kirby, Tim, Jackson, Ellie and myself (Emily).  We also have two kitties, Amber and Tweaker (yeah, weird name I know.  Trust me, it fits her!).  Here they are in my car on our drive across the country (Amber’s on the left, Tweaker on the right):

Let’s see- I’ll give you a quick crash course.  Tim and I met in Washington (state, not district!) in 2003 while I was an undergrad.  We got married in 2006 and moved to Georgia in 2009 from Washington.  We bought our house in 2010.

Jackson is the oldest “child” at 12 years- he’ll be 13 in 2012.  Tim has had Jackson since he was a baby.  He’s kind of a high maintenance dog, but we love him anyway.  He’s extremely thunder phobic, which we didn’t discover until we moved somewhere that actually had thunder.  He’s chewed through chain link and plywood and is now 7 teeth lighter than when we moved here- life is very exciting having him around.  He still loves life though and we joke that he’s going to live forever. 

Amber and Tweaker are sisters and are 8 years old this year.  Tim got them when we were dating- I like to say I married into having pets, since all I had were fish when we first met.  Not that I mind!  These ladies are super sweet and more like dogs than cats.

Ellie is 2 and the spoiled brat of the family- she’s very sweet but stubborn.  She’s a pound dog- we got her when she was 5 weeks old from our local pound.  She’s also what they call a “Georgia black dog”- a black, mixed breed dog.  That’s typically the most common dog to find at the pound and also the least likely to be adopted.  She and I do agility together, although lately her stubbornness has gotten in the way so we’re taking a break from that right now- she’d much rather prefer to play ball in our back yard anyway!  Here’s a fun action shot of her though, when she wants to behave for me! 

Photo by Maggie Fan Photography

Kirby is the youngest and newest member of our family- we adopted him in June of this year.  He’s 1 years old and was an owner surrender at our pound- when animal control went to pick him up, they found his brother dead in a crate.  So sad!!  We think Kirby has spent the majority of his life in a crate, but this doesn’t seem to get him down in any way.  He is the happiest, friendliest dog I have ever met.  And he has energy to spare.  We just got him started in agility so hopefully he can focus some of that energy!  My favorite part about him is his tail- it looks like a pom-pom and we joke that he carries his own personal cheerleading squad with him wherever he goes:

Kirby on the deck, prior to staining it!

Along the way we lost a family member- actually on the drive from Washington to Georgia.  Ty was 8 and Tim also got him as a puppy, when Jackson was 2.  We’re not 100% certain what he had, but he got sick suddenly right before our move, and by the time we hit Texas we knew we had to put him down.  I like to think a little part of him lives in Ellie and Kirby- I can definitely see his spirit in both of them.  We still miss him like crazy- 8 is too young!!

That completes my family- I hope you enjoyed “meeting” everyone.  One day hopefully we’ll add a non-furry child to that list!

What about you- do you have any fur-kids?  non-fur kids?