November 30, 2010

Welcome home

When Todd and I got home on Sunday everything looked great for a house that had been closed up for a week.

The temperature in the house, which we had turned down, was good.  The place hadn't been broken into - always a plus - and our mail had been graciously picked up by our friend Jeff.

Then we started hauling stuff downstairs.

In the laundry room something was definitely wrong.  There was a pile of dirt that looked like it had been washed in and a trail of dried dirty water to the drain.

What the h-e-double hockey sticks??

And whatever water had come in had found its way to behind one of our bedroom walls...

The best we can figure right now is: the pipe outside to our sprinkler system had burst and the water had been on.  This doesn't make any sense because Todd turned our sprinklers off several weeks ago and shut off the water.  What we can't figure out is where the water came in through the wall - in that quantity... (That repair was done before we owned the place.)

So, now we have a busted valve to fix, plus new pipe that leads to the sprinkler system, and a leaky wall that we can't figure out.

Welcome home!

November 29, 2010

A Capitol Christmas

Wyoming's little (big) tree has traveled from the Bridger-Teton National Forest on the western side of the state all the way across the country and was presented this morning to the Capitol Architect.  I SO wish I could have been there!

Have you seen that this year's U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is from Wyoming?  This was the first time a Capitol tree has ever come from Wyoming and it's been quite the pride and joy of the state!

I've been following the tree on Facebook and I just love it.  I get emotional over our little tree adorning the Capitol lawn and I love how so many other people love it too!  I love how every town it rolls in to has a special event to welcome the tree.

When I lived in D.C., the Capitol tree was my favorite.  The White House tree, surprisingly, was always a disappointment.  It was cool 'n all to walk around it every year, but it just didn't compare to the Capitol tree.

The Capitol tree was always decorated so prettily.  And it was a little less visited, so it was more enjoyable to walk around.   Also, I always considered it to truly be the "People's Tree" since it stood outside the building where every state is represented.

This guy's post on the tree's facebook page kind of sums it up.  You can't help but feel proud to be an American when you watch the videos and see the photos of the tree in each town...  
Charlie Magee: As an American living in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, it has been wonderful watching your journey over the past few week from Jackson to DC! Seeing all the crouds, the childrens faces, and the public show of support, made me remember how proud I am to be an American. This trip made me long for being back home again for the holidays. Congratulations on a lifetime journey and thank you again for sharing it over Facebook for Americans worldwide to see...
The tree made several stops through Wyoming first and Todd and I went to check it out when it came through Casper.  I was hurried for time because of an engagement for work, but Todd, who was in his work uniform, stayed and then got asked to work security on the tree for a while that day!

Here's the tree in the parking lot of the Historic Trails Center...

Here's me attempting to sign it.  I say attempting because there were seemingly two markers for every 100 people and I couldn't find anything to sign it with!  Another girl tracked down a Crayola marker, but that wasn't going to cut it.  Besides, I didn't want my name washed off - I wanted it to make it to D.C.!  Being crunched for time I couldn't actually sign it myself, but Todd signed it for both he and I later...

On a side note, I always imagine that tree's chosen to be Christmas trees feel so proud!  They were picked out of all the other trees in the forest to be taken in to a family's home and get all dressed up.  I think all the trees are secretly saying, "Pick me!  Pick me!" as people in the woods are hunting for just the right one.

And to be chosen as the Capitol Christmas tree??  Wow!  That tree just got the honor of honors!  Can't you just imagine how proud and glowy that tree must feel as it stands on the Capitol lawn being admired by so many people?

Love it.

November 28, 2010

I'm baa-aaack

Yeah, I know I've been off line for a while.

There was work to be done, a week-long Thanksgiving vacation to be had, a lot (and I mean a lot) of miles to be driven, wine to be drunk, and visiting to be had...

And now, I'm back.

The real kicker is: We spent the night at some friends' house in Cheyenne on our way home (we were tired and thought it best not to push it) and I left my camera there, tucked neatly under the chair in the spare bedroom...right where it belongs!  Consequently, I have no photos of our fun trip to share until I get the camera on Tuesday when I go back to Cheyenne for work.

Ho hum.

So, how was your Thanksgiving?

November 14, 2010

Be vewy, vewy quiet...

Last week, on Veteran's Day, Todd and I went pheasant hunting.  Well, Todd did.  I didn't have a license so I just followed along.

We saw just about everything but a pheasant.

We saw a hawk feather...

And a snake skin...

And a dog pooping...  I had to include this one because look at him!  I love how his tongue's out like he's just so nonchalant...

Todd also spotted an eagle...

...flying overhead...

I liked this picture of Todd with the mountains in front of him...

Then Todd saw a rabbit.  Actually we saw several rabbits.  So, he shot them.  Rigby was totally in to the rabbits and chased down his first one. Dust and feet were flying and finally Riggs came back with the rabbit in his mouth!  Good boy...!

He thought it was his treat and didn't want to give it up to Todd...

Don't my boys look so cute??

This is a completely undoctored photo of the sun setting that day.  Gorgeous, huh?

A pic of Riggs and I by the river...

And the bowl of skinned rabbits!  This bowl posed a problem for me because I've never cooked rabbit before.  I've spent a fair amount of time researching recipes for a good one...

And it paid off...!

I found the recipe on the Food Network through a clip from that show Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.

And here's the recipe.  I made a few moderate changes to accommodate for three rabbits and not one.  I've made the changes below.

Hunter's Rabbit

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 rabbits, cut into 6 to 8 portions
  • Garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. medium-size mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 2 shallots, minced (I used one onion)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Palm of dried thyme
  • Palm of dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup less sodium beef broth


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To a large warmed skillet over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle the rabbit with garlic salt and pepper, to taste. Add the rabbit to the hot oil and brown on both sides. Remove the rabbit to a medium-size casserole dish.
In that same skillet, over medium heat, add more olive oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic and shallots and saute for about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the casserole. Sprinkle the flour, thyme, parsley and the bay leaf over the rabbit and stir in the tomato sauce, wine, and the beef broth. You may add a pinch more of salt and pepper if you wish. Cover with foil and put in the oven to bake until the rabbit is tender, stirring every hour, about 2 to 3 hours. Rabbit meat should pull off easily from the bone with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve.

November 7, 2010

Game day chow

Todd's favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys, who just so happen to be playing Green Bay tonight in Wisconsin.  Todd may be from Wisconsin, but he is not a Green Bay fan.  I repeat, not a Green Bay fan.

So, tonight's game was kind of a fun one for him.

He hardly gets to watch football because he's usually still working when it's on.  He was pretty happy about being able to watch tonight's game, so I was pretty happy to make him a tasty football snack to watch it with.

Enter The Pioneer Woman's jalapeno poppers.

I can't seem to find the right recipe on her site, so I'll post it below.  Look at her page though, because it gives you the basic idea.

Yes, that is my glass of wine...

More prep...

I have made these once before and there was just...something...missing.  I fiddled around tonight and I'm pretty sure I've nailed it.  To the cream cheese filling I've added 1/2 tsp. garlic salt and a couple tablespoons of pineapple juice.  Then, I pressed a pineapple chunk into the filling before wrapping it with the bacon.  If I do say so...these were all very good modifications...

I think it looks like I'm swaddling a little pineapple baby as I do this...

Nestled snuggly into the pan thatI lined with foil and lightly spritzed with cooking spray...

And here's the pan after baking at a toasty 300 degrees for a while...

And the plate I brought in to a very happy Todd!  He loves these things and totally agreed that my alterations were right on...

Got a sports loving guy in your home or are a sports loving gal?  These are perfect for chowing while cheering!

Jalapeno Poppers from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook

12-15 fresh jalapenos split in half with seeds removed (Depends on their size.  If they're smaller use more.)
One 8-oz. package of light cream cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (her recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I've found it better with double that)
2 green onions thinly sliced (her recipe calls for 1 green onion, but I wanted more taste)
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
4 tbsp. or thereabouts of pineapple juice
1 can pineapple chunks (you may have to halve the chunks so they fit better in the peppers)
1 pkg. bacon cut in half
bottled bbq sauce (I have been using Bulls Eye because it is basically the only bbq sauce I can find with ingredients I can read, for the most part, and no high fructose corn syrup.)
rubber gloves (You might want to use these to protect against the oils in the jalapeno.  It can be quite painful if you later rub your eye!)

Wash and cut each pepper in half length-wise.  Scoop out the seeds.

In a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid), mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onion, garlic salt and about 4 tbsp. pineapple juice.

Stuff the peppers with a small scoop of the cheese filling.  Gently push 1-2 chunks of pineapple in to the middle of the filling.  Wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Lay peppers in a pan lightly spritzed with cooking spray.  Brush BBQ sauce over each pepper and cook anywhere between 300-350 degrees (depending on how much time you have before they need to be served!) until the peppers soften and some of the tips slightly "char."  


November 4, 2010


Just a little of this and that from the last month...

Our house in fall.  Isn't it pretty...?

The leaves we still haven't raked up yet.  We need a rake...

My gnome riding his ladybug into fall...

Rigby desperate to come with me to Omaha, Neb.  He kept jumping in the back of the car.  When I called for him to get out the last time he nestled down into this "please take me too" pose.  I nearly did...

Todd's mom gave me a bunch of old crocks!  I love them!  But I don't know what to do with all of them yet.  I've used the mixing bowl a few times already, but there are only so many things I think I can do with the bigger ones.  I don't want to use them for utensils because a) I don't have counter space left to set them out, and b) I have plenty of drawer space already assigned to my cooking tools.  Ideas...? 

This one is cool.  I think it's a mortar, but I already have one of those.  Right now I'm using it as a catch-all on the counter...

Nancy also gave me this jar, which so happens to match the bowl I use for our fruit.  This will be a cookie jar and Todd's already requested oatmeal raisin cookies to fill it...

Rigby chilling in my office.  I'm set up in the sun room and it's pretty tranquil in here.  He's being lazy in this photo...

The cinnamon bread I made!  The recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.  It's quite tasty...!

That's about it around here!  Except that I'm crazy behind on my homework which I will be settling in with this weekend.  Exciting, huh?

November 2, 2010


am usually big into Halloween.  I love finding a fun costume, maybe hosting a party, going out and seeing other costumes...

This year, we just didn't.

We have been so busy this month and we didn't have time to really plan anything, let alone really care, until, of course, two days before.

Actually out of the house, I kept hearing radio ads for bar parties and other things going on.  I even saw a sign for a karaoke costume night.  That was it.  We needed to do something.

Halloween afternoon I raced around to make Rigby his "costume" and to find something that Todd and I could answer the door in.  

Little Rigby Mortis...

I dusted off my angel wings and halo.  Rigby's eyes are wild in these photos...!

Todd CRACKED me up when he came upstairs as a lumberjack!  Too bad Rigby isn't blue...

A sampling of trick-or-treaters.  We were slammed!  They came in droves.  This is nothing...

We had one trick-or-treater ask if Todd's ax was real...  

Todd's response?  "Yep!"  Then he swung it into the pumpkin.  The trick-or-treater's eyes were huge.  They won't be egging the place anytime soon...

Rigby Mortis and his guardian angel waiting for more candy goers...

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