Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Old Soldier Named Robert

Today we went to the University Village for some light shopping and lunch. We headed to Barnes & Noble to buy Remy a "Big Girl" present since today was the day we said good-bye to the binky. We picked out a ladybug nightlight toy from their new toy section. After perusing the cafe, children's and crafts sections, we wandered back downstairs to pay for our items and then go next door for lunch. While standing in the long, slow moving line, I noticed a very tall, old gentleman leaning on a cane and resting against the counter. I had originally thought that he had come in with a companion, but as the minutes ticked by and he continued to stand alone, I started to wonder if the only cashier behind the counter had noticed him. Clearly, this man was by himself. He was obviously old, in delicate health and in need of assistance. I kept staring at the cashier, willing him to at least go over and say hello. But the line was fourteen people deep and so the old man remained, somewhat gasping and grunting for the continued strength to stand there and wait, and the patience until someone could (or would) acknowledge him. Finally, after what seemed like ten minutes, Michael (at least that's what his name tag said) approached the man and asked if he could help him. He turned towards him and said "I'd like to have lunch in the cafe, will you call someone to assist me, please? Thank you kindly, sir." After calling for customer service over the intercom, he went back to dealing with the rest of us. Two customers later, it was finally our turn, Michael hadn't said another word to the man and yet, there he still stood patiently waiting for his lunch, waiting for his assistance.

My mother and I are both very sensitive to the needs of the older generation and we both glanced in his direction and hesitated before approaching the desk to make our purchase. We were trying to offer the cashier another chance to help this gentleman before he helped us. Michael looked at us, standing at the front of the line, and abruptly shouted to him that "someone would be right there." Mom turned to me and said "Why don't you go help him to the cafe, I'll pay for our things, and meet you back down here, ok?" So, of course, that's exactly what I did. He was surprised, I think, that a fellow customer would offer to assist him.

We set off for the elevator and as we made our way, we talked about the weather, commenting on the mild, "warm" January temperature and the blizzard on the east coast. We bumped and shuffled and slowly made our way across the store to the elevator where he told me that his name was Robert and that he had just come from the V.A. where he'd had a "medical appointment" and had decided to stop for lunch. It turns out that he was a veteran of the Korean War and that he had been in the army. He said a few things about how awful it was and that he was glad to be out of it alive, stating that the people at the V.A. are some wonderful people. I told him that my grandpa had served as a marine in the Korean Army and that my uncle was a soldier of the army during the Vietnam War. We had a lot to say in such a short ride. I was a little sad when the doors opened, one short floor above the one in which we had met.

But, there we were. We had made it to the cafe, our journey was over and my services were no longer needed. Our conversation had come to an end. It was only a brief five minute meeting with an eighty-something-year-old soldier, but I was sad to leave him. Sad to think that here stands an American hero that has seen so much in his life and probably has no one to go home to at the end of his meal. I wanted to buy his lunch, to sit with him and talk but as I had spent the last of my cash and had to get back to my daughter and mother, I wished him well and thanked him for his service all those years ago. He turned his milky blue eyes towards me, grasped my hand with surprising strength and thanked me very much for "bestowing such kindness" on him. He even used my first name. A true gentleman. I must admit, I had quite a lump in my throat as I rode that elevator back downstairs. A thousand thoughts ran through my head, but mostly my thoughts turned towards Robert and the five minute blessing that he added to my day.

I know it's a long shot, but I sincerely hope I get to see him again...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Years Ago








A very happy birthday to my little girl, who turns two today. I love you, Moo!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Covered E-Reader Carrying Case



So, I'm thinking about entering the Simply ReMarthable Contest being put on by Martha Stewart. I have something really cool up my sleeve for it that I'm not quite ready to share with you yet. But, I needed to come up with a pattern for my secret project and it worked out so well that I have decided to share it with all of you! (Not the secret part, just my pattern.)

For Christmas, my husband and I gave my mom an Amazon Kindle and a nice red leather protective case to go with it (which totally matches her Harley Davidson Deluxe, by the way). My sister even crocheted her a gorgeous little green envelope-style purse to slip it into. Even though she already had this pretty little handmade purse for it, I still wanted to make a carrying case for her. It was just the type of thing that would work perfectly for this contest and I needed to come up with a pattern for it. So, I sat down, while Remy had her nap, and got it all figured out. I am pretty darn proud to say that I managed to get it right on the very first try!! So, here you go! Set aside about 2 hours from start-to-finish for this project. This is my pattern for...


COVERED E-READER CARRYING CASE
(Made to fit a covered Kindle or Nook)

SUPPLIES

3 Coordinating Fabrics, 1/4 yard of each
1/4 yard fleece
1 9" Zipper
Button
Thread



Here's What You Do...
You will need to decide which of your fabrics will be the Outside, Inside and the Accessory pocket
-The Accessory Pocket fabric will also be the Outside Pocket Lining.
-The Kindle Pocket will also be the Outside fabric.

CUTTING

Cut your fabric as follows:
Outside (Fabric #1): 19"x8"
Inside (Fabric #2): 18"x8"
Outside Pocket Lining (Fabric #3): 18"x8"
Kindle Pocket (Fabric #1): 8"x8"
Accessory Pocket (Fabric #3): 6"x8"

You will also need to cut the same dimensions from fleece for the Inside, Kindle Pocket and Accessory Pocket.

LAYOUT AND SEWING

1) With right sides together, sew the accessory pocket fabric to the accessory pocket fleece across the top using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn pocket right side out, press and topstitch across the top using a 1/2" seam allowance.


2) Baste sides and bottom of accessory pocket with a 1/4" seam allowance; set aside.

3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the Kindle Pocket.

4) Next lay your Outside Pocket Lining right side down. Lay your fleece on top, matching all edges. Lay the Inside right side up on top of the fleece, matching edges. Pin in place and baste all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance.

5) With Lining face up, match the Kindle Pocket with the bottom of the lining. Match the Accessory Pocket in the same way and pin in place. Baste sides and bottom of pocket pieces to Lining piece and set aside.


6) Now you are going to add a zipper to the Outside. Starting at the bottom, measure 7" up and cut across. Your zipper is 9" long and your fabric is 8" wide, so you will have a bit of overhang. I lined the butt of the zipper up with the edge of my fabric, and pinned it with the zipper face down on the right side of the fabric. Sew with a zipper foot; press open. Lay the other half of your fabric on the other half of the zipper, right side down and matching long edges of fabric pieces. Pin in place, sew and press. Top-stitch the zipper seam. Set Outside piece aside.




*LEAVE THE ZIPPER OPEN FOR THE NEXT STEP*

7) With right sides together, match the Outside to the Lining and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around. Clip corners, turn and press. (It is important to leave the zipper open for this step because you will need to use it to turn the case right side out.)
You might have to trim off an inch or so of excess fabric from the Outside piece. The above picture does NOT show the layout, it is just an example for marking where to trim the Outside piece.



8) To make the fold-over line, measure 9 1/2" up from the bottom of the case and sew a straight line across.

9) Center and sew the buttonhole on the Outside flap, approximately 1" up from the edge.

10) Center and sew the button to the Accessory Pocket approximately 2" up from the bottom edge.

You are finished! Wasn't that easy? Now, to save your money to gift everyone you know an E-Reader so you can make them a nifty carrying case. You'll be everyone's best friend!



If you make a case, please come back and post a picture in the comment section, I'd love to see your completed project! Don’t forget the Link Love if you post or blog about this. Thanks and Happy Sewing!

-Kristi


©schnitzel & boo 2011. All Rights Reserved. For personal use only.
www.schnitzelandboo.com and www.schnitzelandboo.etsy.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

May-ya Make Dookies, Mommy.

When your child says to you (in her own way, of course,see blog title) that she wants you to make cookies with her, you drop everything and oblige, right? Right. So, we made "dookies". Lemon Curd Sweetie Pies, to be exact and here's our recipe:


Lemon Curd Sweetie Pies
For the Lemon Curd
2 Large Eggs, plus 2 Large Egg Yolks
Finely Grated Zest of 2 Extra Large Lemons
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

In a mediumk sauce pan, combine the eggs and egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and butter. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, still whisking constantly; it will be fairly thin. Remove from heat; whisk 30 seconds more. Let stand until cooled down to warm. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled and thickened, at least 1 1/2 hours. The lemon curd may be kept in fridge for up to 4 days.
Or you can do what I did and buy a jar of Lemon Curd from Trader Joe's for $2.99, it's delicious
and imported straight from England! How authentic and easy and hey-there's a lot in the jar left for later!!

For the Cookie Dough
2 2/3 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Finely Grated Fresh Lemon Zest
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Water
2 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Generous Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare a few cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, water, vanilla and lemon juice, mix until well combined. Add half the flour mixture, beat on low speed until thoroughly blended; repeat with remaining flour mixture.

Shape tablespoon size blobs of dough into balls, keeping about 1"-1 1/2" apart, they will spread slightly. Make a teaspoon size indentation into the top of each ball and fill with about 3/4 teaspoon lemon curd.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes, or until lemon curd is bubble and cookies are lightly browned and set. Remove from oven and let stand for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The filling will be very hot, so allow to cool completely before you eat one.

Store in a covered container for up to 2 days.

And there you have it! These cookies would be excellent with a cup of earl grey tea, or by the handful in front of twitter as you tell me how fabulous you think I am for passing out this recipe.





Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hey What's For Dinner?

You guys will come to know, if you don't already, that I love to cook. I love it as much as I love to sew and that's A LOT. So, tonight, I made macaroni and cheese because that's what the snowy cold weather told me to put on the table. I used my own recipe for it, which I have decided to share with you. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, so you'll just have to imagine it's gooey, cheesy yumminess on your own.

Kristi's Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

1 16oz box Elbow Macaroni Noodles
2 Chicken Breasts seasoned with:
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
4 Cups Milk
2 Bay Leaves
1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Chiles (like Ro*Tel)
4 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese (I use the pre-grated stuff in the bag)
4 Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
"Fresh" Breadcrumbs from Day-Old Bread
butter

Cook your noodles according to package directions (be sure to salt your water), drain and stir in 1 Tablespoon butter, return to strainer and set aside. In the meantime, season the chicken and saute in a frying pan coated with cooking spray until cooked through. Dice chicken and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350*, coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In the same pot that you cooked the macaroni noodles, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking quickly (say that five times fast!) to break up any lumps. Add your bay leaves & tomatoes and let simmer on Medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir in diced chicken and then add the macaroni. Pour into lasagna pan, and sprinkle with bacon and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 15-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Please come back and leave me a comment if you make this, I'd love to hear how you liked it.

-Kristi

PS I have also made this with a kick by sauteeing 1 tablespoon of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with 1 minced onion and 1 chopped green bell pepper. Stir into the cheese sauce with a teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sick Toddler

Today we have a sick toddler on our hands. Poor little Remy Roo has a temperature of 102*, the yucky-runny poos, body aches and trembles. I hate when my little sweetheart is feeling sick and this is the worst little bug she's caught to date. We have managed to get some yogurt and fresh blueberries into her for breakfast, but she has no appetite for anything else so far. Not even cookies or chocolate milk-milk (as Remy calls it). So, we've spent the morning reading books and attempting to watch Cinderella. I say attempt, because she doesn't ever watch TV, therefore, it doesn't hold her attention at all. I am really hoping that she'll feel better soon, it's heartbreaking to watch her have no energy and look so miserable. At least Jamie has the next two days off with us and can help snuggle the sickie and get her back to her usual bouncy self.

Here's to hoping the flu doesn't catch up with all of you.

-K
PS Here is Remy playing on her new tricycle, a picture we took of her last week.