Sunday, March 28, 2010

Give-Away Winner and Muppet Bonus!

1. Congratulations to Caitrin, who won our March give-away. Caitrin, your book and kitchen timer are in the mail... plus an extra little surprise!

2. Remember my totally awesome Muppet Whatnot? Well, you can get one for yourself right now at a bargain price! They're on sale for $99.99 at FAO Schwartz, and they're even throwing in free shipping!

3. Speaking of Whatnots, my friend Kate is pregnant, and apparently someone at her work (she has the coolest job in the world, by the way-- Kate, when are you going to start a blog?) told Kate she would buy her a Muppet Whatnot if she would find out whether she's having a boy or a girl.

4. Even if you don't think $99.99 is a great deal for a custom-made Muppet, at least do yourself a favor and try out the Muppet Whatnot Generator. It's fun!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where would I be without...

  • My pannier bike bags? They're so useful, and they eliminate the need for biking with a backpack. I'd call them a bike-commuter necessity.
  • Trader Joe's? At first I resisted, but now I love it. My knitting group meets at a coffee shop across the street from TJ's, so most Tuesday nights I find myself wandering the aisles. A couple of my favorite products are the "just a handful" nuts, the ready-made whole wheat pizza crust dough, and the frozen cubes of ready-to-use garlic.
  • My knitting group? We've been meeting for at least five years. It's so nice to get together with people who are so real... and so talented.
  • My husband? He's in the middle of his nursing degree, and somehow he still finds time to put up shelves in the garage, fix everything, and watch The Office with me! Plus, he's a hunk. tee hee hee.

Just a small dose of gratitude on this lovely spring day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Give-Away

Yes, friends, it's time. Time for the great spring give-away here at Team Struckmeyer! One lucky entrant will receive:

This kitchen timer from Anthropologie. I have had my eye on these for a long time, so I finally bought one for myself... and one for you! I chose this pretty blue, but I'll send along the gift receipt in case you would rather have red, yellow, or orange.

This classic Easter book, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward. This hardcover version comes with a special golden necklace. Perfect for tucking in an Easter basket!

If you haven't seen this book before, trust me when I say that you are going to love it. Here are some sneak peeks inside...

Enter by leaving a comment telling me your favorite Easter tradition or book or food or... well, anything favorite and Easter-ish. I'll choose a winner randomly this weekend, so enter by Friday night!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Special Baby Present

This weekend, I started assembling a baby present for my friend Jessica. I don't think she reads my blog, so I'm not ruining any surprises. But if she does, well, SURPRISE!

In the bag are a Sandra Boynton board book, an elephant I knit, and a pair of Babylegs... they tell me those are the best! I'm also working on a baby sweater, but it's not ready for the camera yet. Actually, I'm thinking about ripping the whole thing out and starting over with a new pattern. Good thing babies are small, so their sweaters don't take too long to knit! I'm using luscious hand-dyed washable wool in variegated bright pink and yellow, and I don't want to waste it on a so-so pattern.

I also have a hip-hop picture book to add, because Jessica and I once took a hip-hop class together. She was the best in the class, and I was... well, I was the opposite of the best.

I came across this sweet board book not long ago, and I knew she needed it for her soon-to-be-born daughter. It's going in the bag!

Seriously. Does it get any cuter? Jessica once gave CPR to her kids' hamster after it fell in the fish tank in the middle of the night. She's pet-oriented. I know she'll love this book.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am so lucky!

I am not a winner. I mean, I'm not a loser either, but I don't usually win things. Until today, when I won TWO things! How awesome is that?! I basically cannot get over it.

Thanks to Jenn over at Knee Deep in Munchkin Land, I will soon be the very happy owner of a Starbucks gift card! Just in time for Frappuccino season, too!

Jessica at Living the Swell Life recently held a give-away for a beautiful felt flower pin from Kelly Hanson Handmade. I entered, thinking there was no way I would ever win. But I did! Thank you, Jessica and Kelly!

Thanks to these three lovely ladies, today went from "meh" to marvelous!

All this winning makes me think it's about time for another blog give-away here at Team Struckmeyer. What will it be??? I'm not sure, but it will be something fantastic. Fortunately for all of us, Anthropologie is on my way home, so maybe I'll pop in and see if I can find a give-away item there. I bet I can!

Hooray for give-aways, generous bloggers, and strangers sending little treats to one another!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of Spring

This post could also be called "My Husband is Really Awesome." Our kitchen sink has always been a dripper. The other day, I was getting ready for work. Karl had worked overnight and was heading straight to class. I was doing dishes in the kitchen, and when I turned the water off, I turned the knob extra hard to try to minimize the dripping... so hard that I actually turned it all the way around, and then the water wouldn't stop running. So I called Karl and he told me how to turn off the water at the pipe. That afternoon, we bought a new faucet, and Karl had it installed and working perfectly the next day. He's amazing! That is our new sink under the window in the second picture. No drips!
P.S. The dripping sink always reminded me of the song "Southern California Wants to Be Western New York" by Dar Williams. If I knew how to put a link to a video or an audio clip here, I would. But since I'm not exactly a techno-star, you'll have to look it up yourself. Oh wait, I might have figured it out...

Recipe Binder

Over the weekend, I organized all of my forlorn ragamuffin recipes. I had so many that were crammed between cookbook covers, stuffed in my recipe card box, and thrown in the bottom kitchen drawer. Poor babies. So I got myself a binder and organized the heck out of them.

First, I threw away any recipes that sounded gross or just didn't sound like something I would make. Then I threw away any recipe with the word "oleo" in it, with one exception. I know that oleo is just margarine, but that word reminds me of this woman in my hometown who had sparkly gold hair (definitely not natural). She would always say that before she and her husband went out drinking, they each ate half a stick of oleo to keep the alcohol from absorbing into their stomachs. And I just cannot handle that image, so good-bye, oleo-inclusive recipes.

My mom threw a really great wedding shower for me. She sent recipe cards with the invitations (the cards are from Etsy-- aren't they cute?), and guests wrote their favorite recipes on them and brought them to the shower. I love those cards, and they all went into the binder. This is where the one exception to my oleo rule comes in: my friend Laura gave me a recipe for a Hungarian coffee cake, and it calls for oleo. Laura is so wonderful, I can only imagine sweetness and light when I read her recipe, not sparkly-haired margarine eaters. So that recipe stayed.

This is the recipe I made for my first date with Karl, almost 4 years ago! It's still one of our favorites.
I'm in love with the recipe binder. Maybe this weekend I'll make something from the Soup section... or the Salad section... or even the Dessert section (which, by the way, has more recipes than any other section).

Monday, March 15, 2010

To Be Completely Honest

1. On Mondays, I work from 12:30-9pm. I went for a little walk today around 4:00. It was so sunny and nice out, and I wasn't exactly relishing the thought of five more hours of work. So when I saw the #74 bus driving by, it was really really hard not to get on and let the bus driver take me home.

2. I would like to work part time. I love my job, and I am really lucky to have it. But there are so many other things I like to do, and it's impossible to cram everything in. If I worked four days a week, I would have a whole extra day for knitting, reading, around-the-housing, banjo plucking, letter writing, sewing, thrifting, organizing (yes that is one of my favorite hobbies, not a chore--I'm a librarian after all), bike riding, yoga-ing, coffee with friends-ing, and all of the other things that make me happy.

3. If it really came down to it, I wouldn't be opposed to just working three days a week.

4. Or two, actually. But that's where I draw the line-- a girl's got to bring home some bacon, right?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

'Cause You Know That Your Friends Are Always There

One of the most fun parts of being a librarian is choosing which books to order. Ordering was especially fun today, because I ordered the re-issues of Kristy's Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, and The Truth About Stacey, the first three books in the Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. Apparently, the books have been "updated," so the girls don't have cassette players or perms; they have headphones and expensive hairstyles. Nothing like stripping a book of all its vintage glory. Hopefully the publisher didn't change any of the outfits! Those are the best part.

But that's not all! I also ordered the brand new prequel to the series, The Summer Before. I can't wait to read it. The cover is a teensy bit lame, but we all know you can't judge a book by its cover. I'm sure the book itself totally rules.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This is going to be so great!

Karl and I got married in September of 2008, but we never really went on a honeymoon. We went to a cute little town north of Milwaukee for two nights, which was super fun, but we missed out on the lounging-on-the-beach-reveling-in-wedded-bliss type of thing. Until now. Because we are going to Mexico! Puerto Vallarta, to be exact. And we're not just stopping by; we're staying for two weeks. Two weeks! I cannot wait.

Of course I've checked out a bunch of travel guides from the library, so we're reading up on all the fun things to do around Puerto Vallarta. I probably need to start shopping for things like flip-flops and sunglasses pretty soon. Oh my gosh this is so exciting!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Way to go, Little Bro!

Congratulations to my brother, Elsworth, who was recently named as one of UW Madison's Forward Under 40 award recipients. If you get the Wisconsin Alumni Association magazine, you have probably already clipped out Elsworth's profile and framed it. But if not, here's a link to Elsworth's profile. Not every guy can pull off a red and pink argyle sweater vest!

I'm so proud of Elsworth! Especially since I know where he got his start...

This is newborn baby Elsworth with his big (four-year-old) sister Amanda, who couldn't even wait for him to be out of the hospital before reading him his first book. Our grandma, who he mentions in his Forward Under 40 profile, is holding him.