Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE TV dinner

I envy people whose jobs shut down over the holidays. In corporate accounting, New Years Eve is always a frenzy of trying to get last minute things done before the books close for the year. Tonight was no exception, plus it was bitterly cold outside. When I finally got home, all I wanted to do was put on a bazillion layers of pajamas and watch Netflix. But alas, I'd made plans join 20,000 people to watch the "D Drop" OUTSIDE. Fortunately, it's only a few blocks from my apartment. Looks fun in theory:
photo from Detroit Unspun

To compromise with my whiny, introverted self, I made the most processed, bland, delicious meal ever: Gardein Turk'y Cutlets, Edward & Sons Chreesy instant mashed potatoes and canned peas:

This was the first time I'd made the turkey cutlets and they were pretty solid. The outside was really crispy and I liked the gravy. I think the taste and texture were a little off, but it's been a decade since I ate turkey, so I didn't mind. The potatoes were a drunk impulse buy. I don't think I've ever eaten instant mashed potatoes before, but these were pretty good. Maybe a little gummy, but the taste was solid. And I love canned peas. Now that I'm fed and warm, I suppose it's time to join the masses and welcome in a new year that will hopefully be even better (and more delicious!) than this one. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmahanakwanza!

Happy Holidays everyone! After decades of dreading the winter holiday season, I've been trying to embrace it. I'm constantly trying to buy/have less stuff, so I've been on the lookout for decorations that are upcycled, functional, and easy to store. I'm pretty happy with how my spread turned out this year:

First, the tree: Despite never owning a Christmas tree, I've received a lot of ornaments as gifts. Inspired by Pinterest a few years ago, I flipped over a tomato cage, put a rubber band around the top, and wrapped it with lights and garland. Then I hung on all the ornaments I had. Here are a few phone pictures from 2011 and 2013 to show the evolution (plus lots of cats). I also made that tree skirt out of some leftover fabric, but I didn't use it this year since the tree fit perfectly on my extra-deep windowsill (above).

Decorating with wrapped presents is another trick I picked up (fortunately, my cats don't mess with ribbon). Those giant curly bows? Every year I go through the Xmas morning wrapping-trash-mess and pull out all the ribbon, then condense it into giant bows to use the next year. My family makes fun of me, but it serves multiple purposes: (1) I can justify using a ton of ribbon to make really fluffy bows because otherwise it would go straight to the landfill, (2) I don't have to curl all the ribbon every year, (3) it saves money/waste. Oh, and that foam gingerbread house is from a kit for ages "3+". I made it with my sister while drinking wine and watching Death Comes to Pemberley. Maybe it was the wine, or the distraction of a murder mystery, but I'm a little embarrassed to admit how many times I messed up a craft meant for toddlers.

And now my favorite part - snowflake curtains!!! I just cut regular copy paper into squares, then folded it into sixths, embraced my inner second-grader and cut and cut and cut. It was pretty fun to see how crazy slivers of paper turned into elaborate snowflakes. Once they were all done, I smoothed them out with a dry iron, then glued them on clear jewelry cord (because I had a bunch, but fishing line would also work). Lastly, I tied the cord around tension rods and hung them up. Here's a work-in-progress pic:

I'm REALLY excited about how they turned out! I was a little worried about condensation, but they seem to be holding up well. I even had a few strands leftover, so I sent them to a a friend who now lives in Texas, in case she forgets how awesome snow is while she celebrates Xmas in her pool.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!