Friday, July 30, 2010


I don’t have time for a long blog today but here are a few pictures from our family trek to Home Depot last night. 

Since this blog is being written from a bathroom this week, the first picture is especially appropriate.  A guy with toilet plungers on his head?  Whose name is John?  How funny is that?


As we were leaving the store, I came around a corner and saw two very strange people.  Doing very strange things.   Of course,  I took their picture so that I could, um, show it to my family when I got home.


On the way home from our exciting journey, we splurged on ice cream at McDonalds. Since Snowy used to get treats at our old bank in Smithfield, he was quite convinced that the lady at the window had a doggie snack for him. 

She didn’t.   He’s still getting over it.


Have a great day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blog. From A Bathroom.

From this particular angle everything about today’s blog writing looks pretty normal-ish, doesn’t it?


However, in this picture, we move from normal-ish to a little bit odd-ish.

Yes, it’s true. I really am writing this blog from a bathroom. Sitting on a chair that is usually in the bedroom. Hovered over by yet another chair that is supposed to be in the bedroom but has now taken up residence (propped upside down on the bathtub) in the bathroom with me.


I even made a footstool out of a magazine rack and a bed pillow. I am so content and comfortable, I may never leave this room again! (Well, maybe to get a Little Debbie snack cake.)


Usually when I blog, Snowy comes and finds me and tucks in beside my leg for as long as I sit and write. He is of the considered opinion that the Smithellaneous blog could not possibly exist without his masterful writing and editorial assistance.

However. This morning when it was time to write, he came looking for me. And found me. And gave me this look. Which made me laugh out loud.


Then he looked off into the distance as though he were thinking, “If I just rest my eyes for a moment, the horrible vision of my Mom writing in the bathroom will go away.”


However, when he looked back. I was still there.


Yes. Here.


And so he thought he should move in a little closer in order to investigate the troubling matter further. And to show his great and grave canine-ical concern


He said, “Mom, is everything alright? Is there some reason you have moved your blog writing from Nathan’s room to the bathroom? You can tell me. It’s okay. I’m here for you.”


I told him my reasons. He pondered them for a moment.


Then he sighed loudly, made a mental note to make some changes in any future writing contracts concerning having to do bathroom work, and resignedly crawled up beside me to ponder the depths to which he had fallen in his career. Poor silly doggy.


And since I’m already on the subject of bathrooms, let me regale you with a few more bathroom pictures. (I know, I know. You’re so happy you stopped by here today.)

Here is what the bathroom looked like Wednesday night when Steve was still painting in our bedroom. Bedside lamps, decorative tables, sitting chairs—they were all piled in there.





I, of course, found plenty of photographic fodder in the mess, including taking this shot of myself and the lamps reflected in the mirror.


And today? Well, today, Steve and a guy from the church are painting in Nathan’s room and using the office for a staging room for all their paint stuff. And since our bedroom is still rather torn apart, that is the reason I made the executive decision to retreat to the bathroom to do my writing.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


Next up . . . .

Pictures of the before and after bedroom paint job.

Also, comments on your comments.

Signing off from . . . er . . . the bathroom.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clutter Meter. Pretend Poodle.

I’ve always tried to keep a fairly clean house. Or at least, a fairly uncluttered house. Since clutter makes me break out in hives, I’m usually on “clutter alert,” looking for opportunities to reorganize or straighten or get rid of stuff so that there is at least a semblance of order surrounding me.

But this week? Not so much.

This week, clutter will rule my world. Because this week, we are painting. And by “we,” I mean that Steve is painting and I am oohing and ahhing and telling him how wonderful it looks. Painting is not my gift. Trust me on that.


And so this week, I am busy recalibrating my Clutter Meter so that it doesn’t go off with all sorts of bells, whistles and alarms when I catch a glimpse of these kinds of sights.

IMG_6560 IMG_6334 IMG_6538 IMG_6540 IMG_6545 IMG_6559

But the good thing about clutter? And painting?

It means that we are one step closer to getting rid of this old, stained carpet and getting our new carpet installed. I am so very excited about ridding our second floor of blue. Although I have seen many homes decorated beautifully in blue, I don’t own even one blue decoration or accessory, so it’s been a bit of a challenge to try to make all of our browns, golds, and berry colors fit in with the acres of blue that we inherited when we bought the house.


We will also be getting rid of all of these marks and scratches on the walls. Yippee!



This morning, Snowy even dropped by the painting area to take a look around and see if anyone needed a Doggie Supervisor on site. (Since he can only supervise between naps though, it sort of limits his career opportunities in that field.) While he was perusing the painting process, I took his picture so that you could see his poor little pitiful legs. The vet obviously shaved one leg for an IV, couldn’t find a vein and then had to shave the other one.


Here’s another shot of his shorn self.


He looks just like a Pretend Poodle! (But don’t tell him I said that. Because he still think he’s all macho, and everything.)


Monday, July 26, 2010

Recipes and Rambling: Poppy Seed Casserole

I know. I know. I already posted this recipe a few weeks ago. However, it was sans pictures and sans rambling and we we can’t have that now, can we?

And since some of you were having a bit of trouble trying to picture what the end result was supposed to look like, I thought it would be helpful if I posted an end result pictures. Right here. Right now. Just for you. Because I’m nice like that.


This is the casserole my sister, Debbie, made when she and mom were staying with us after my mastectomy. Something about this casserole just tasted so delicious to me when I finally felt like eating again; in fact, I remember feeling distinctly disheartened, deeply distressed, and downright discombobulated when the last of the casserole leftovers disappeared from our fridge.

A post-mastectomy woman who has delved into the depths of discombobulation is not a pretty sight. So. Let’s just move along, shall we?

To make this wonderful casserole, here are the steps . . . from my slightly wacky perspective.

First, cook egg noodles till tender; drain.


Open cream cheese. Amuse yourself by standing the cream cheese package on its end and arranging the foil so that it looks like one of those high-collared dresses that queens used to wear. Chuckle and pat yourself on your back for your brilliance and witty creativity. (Note: It is probably best to make sure you are alone when you do this so that your family does not think you have suddenly gone bonkers. Giggling over cream cheese dressed like historical queens is not generally regarded as socially acceptable behavior.)


Step over the dog who believes that it is his duty to find the most inconvenient place in the kitchen to stand. And then stands there. (Please note that he is between me and the stove, in addition to the counter that holds my ingredients.)


Soften cream cheese a bit (30 seconds) in the microwave. I try to ignore the fact that my microwave hasn’t been cleaned since 1943 and is full of mysterious food stains that will never (ever) come off. Even if I tried really hard to get them off. Which I haven’t. Because I’m lazy like that.


Measure out a cup of cottage cheese. Random Confession: I do not eat cottage cheese—at all, ever, not to mention never—unless it is in a casserole. Plain cottage cheese? Eaten with a spoon? With nothing to disguise its cottage cheese-ness? Eeck. (I’m only telling you this so that if I ever come to your house for a meal, you will not put cottage cheese on the menu.)

I firmly believe that it’s always more picturesque and eye catching if a little dribble of cottage cheese falls down the side of the cup. And please ignore the fact that I over filled the cup and didn’t level off the cottage cheese the way a good cook is supposed to. Sometimes I just get a little carried away and overdo things just a little teensy tad. (Because I’m bad like that.)


While the noodles are still hot, mix them with the cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt and poppy seeds.


Your little ol’ casseroled concoction should look like this. Kind of exotic, isn’t it?


Now this is about what it should like once you’ve gushed it all together. Ain’t it purty? Well, maybe it’s not purty, but it is sort of yummy looking. (If you like like white and speckled globules of noodled food, that is.)


Step around the dog. Again. Sigh loudly. (Snowy’s main passion in life—the thing that gets him up in the mornings—is that each day holds for him the promise that some small morsel of food might accidentally fall to the kitchen floor, thereby becoming officially and irrefutably his. Standing guard over the floor and all its wondrous possibilities is his primary calling in life.)


Now. Where was I?

Oh yes. Brown meat (adding pepper and salt and onion if you’d like) and drain. Then add tomato sauce.


Dig through disorganized cupboard and find Pam. (Do you see that bag of pecans? I always feel extra happy about life when I have a bag of pecans in the cupboard. I just thought you might like to know that.)

And in case you’re wondering why the pen is in the cupboard, it’s because my grocery list is taped to that particular cupboard door and it makes me feel all nicely organized when the pen is right at my fingertips whenever I feel the need to write something on The List. (Don’t you feel better for having learned that?)


Now. Spray your pan with Pam. Actually, I sprayed the pan at the beginning of the recipe—you can tell ‘cause all the surrounding containers are still full—but you can spray the pan anytime you jolly well please. I will let you be the boss of when you decide to do your Pam pan spaying.


Spread 3/4 of the noodles and cheese mixture on the bottom of the Pam-sprayed pan. (And if you’re like me and not good at math, then ignore the whole three-fourths bit and just put in “most of a whole lot” of the noodles.) Then add 3/4 of the hamburger mixture, leaving a border.


Fight with the very real temptation to step ON the dog rather than around him.


Spread the rest of the noodles (leaving a border) and then finish with the meat on top leaving—you guessed it!—a border.


I just absolutely adore these borders. They make my heart almost as happy as when I have pecans in my cupboard.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (covered) and then uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Here is the finished product. Is that beautiful, or what?


When I first posted this recipe, I asked Sarah to make a diagram for me to show how the layers were supposed to look. I think it was a lovely and helpful diagram. (Thanks, Sarah!)


The best part of this casserole is that it re-heats very well. However, it may be difficult to maintain all the borders once the casserole has already been through one serving. When I reheated it, I just smushed it all together, sprinkled a little shredded cheddar and parsley on top of it and it was still pretty, even though it wasn’t layered.


But I’m good with that. I’m still happy. I’m able to deal with an occasional spell of non-layeredness in my life--as long as I have pecans in my cupboard.

(The non rambling version.)

Poppy Seed Casserole

10 oz egg noodles (wheat or regular)

1 lb ground hamburger or turkey

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 C cottage cheese

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 C vanilla yogurt

1 T poppy seeds

1. Cook noodles till tender; drain. While they’re hot, toss with cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt and poppy seeds.

2. Brown meat—may add salt, pepper, and onion if desired. (To save a little time, you can brown the meat while the noodles are cooking.)

3. Drain meat and stir in tomato sauce.

4. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray and spread 3/4 of noodles and cheese mixture on bottom of pan.

5. Spread 3/4 of meat mixture over that, leaving a 1-inch border.

6. Spread the rest of the noodles, leaving a border.

7. Top with remaining meat, leaving a border.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees covered; uncover and bake 10 minutes more.

This also heats up great as a leftover