Our Family Has Shrunk

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I've been very proud of our growing fur baby family. With already having two cats and then adding a dog into the mix a year ago, I was proud (and a bit amazed) that we were keeping it together so well. But, underneath the surface there were problems abrewin'.

Our sweet guy Linus was the first of the cats to accept the dog. But, when Charlie wanted to "play" all day long and Linus finally had enough, he wouldn't a high place to hide out. Rather, he just stayed on the floor, turning our living room into wrestle mania all day long. Le sigh.

One can only handle so much wrestling - cat/dog wrestle matches loose their cuteness real quick. But during all of our unhappiness, we finally realized that Linus was unhappy as well. I have no doubt that he loved the dog, but nevertheless, Charlie was cramping his style. Linus wanted to roll around and play, bat around toy mice, and really enjoy his youth.

We decided to do one of the hardest things ever and find Linus a new home. Double sigh. Giving away the pet that I once said was "my most favorite pet of all times" was terribly difficult. I felt so guilty and frustrated that not only could we not give Linus the home that he deserved, I couldn't even explain to him why he was going away. Fortunately, Linus has loved every single person who has ever crossed his path, and we knew he would do ok.

Here's our "little guy" right after we adopted him in March of 2008. He was only 6 months old and already bigger than our other cat!

We posted a Craigslist ad, and within a day had a hit from a woman with two kids who was very interested. She came over two days later to meet Linus and brought her little girl with her. Both of our cats were in love - they've never seen kids before! We felt that they would provide a good home for Linus and give him all of the attention and play time that he craved. So just a few days later, they came by to pick him up.

Just a little bit before Linus was to leave, I said my goodbyes to all 14 pounds of him (yes, 14 pounds. We like to think he's just big boned). Needless to say, I was slightly more sentimental than Linus. I like to think he was just trying to keep it together for my sake.

From what we have heard, Linus is doing well. His new family sent a couple of pictures after a few days, and Linus looked like a gigantic dinosaur next to the little girl - adorable! And now, we just assume no news is good news.

I won't lie - our household is much calmer these days with just two fur babies. And, our other cat Basil seems to be thriving. She's always been a loner, but since she and the dog don't get along, she was spending even more time on her own. Without Linus in the house, she cuddles with us much more and is much braver around Charlie. I also think she enjoys having the food and litterbox to herself!

I still miss my fluffy kitty and all of his stupid, clumsy antics, but I'm excited to know that there are two little kids who get to enjoy all of his affection and goofiness. Have you ever made the tough decision to give away a pet? Did you have any regrets?

Banana Bread Bribery

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The past few months at work, we've at a high school intern coming in every other week to learn about working in an office. Fortunately for everyone involved, she loved filing and helped us get a lot done in a short amount of time! Last Wednesday was her last day, although if all goes as planned she'll be coming back a bit during the summer to help us out some more.

Just to sweeten the deal and ensure she doesn't forget about us, I made some treats for her last day. I also realized that I hadn't baked anything to bring into work since I started this new job in January. From what I can tell, I did good with these babies:

I've actually made this chocolate swirl banana bread before as a loaf. It translates easily into muffins, although I found it hard to actually swirl the chocolate through...much easier to do as a loaf, but I'm certain it tastes just the same.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (you can use flavored if that's what you have on hand)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Measure the flour by spooning into the measuring cups. Place flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and stir to combine.

Place sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine, about 1 minute. Add egg, yogurt, and banana. Mix to blend, then add flour mixture. Blend until moist and fully combined.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave or over low heat until just melted. Allow to cool slightly. Add 1 cup of the batter to the chocolate and stir until blended.

If making muffins, fill baking cups by alternating the batter, then swirl though with a knife. If making a loaf, grease a bread pan and alternate layers of chocolate and plain batter, then swirling through with a knife. For extra decoration, place banana slices on top and press down.

For muffins, bake for 50-55 minutes, or until testing done. As a loaf, bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it tests done.

iPad + Meatballs = ?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Steve was very nonchalant about Apple's new iPad that just came out. He said he would just wait for the second generation iPad to be released, as first generation Apple products always have kinks that they need to work out. I thought this was odd since he is usually all over a new Apple gizmo.

All he had to do was touch the screen once and he was smitten. He had to have one. After 2 straight days of his iPad chitter chatter I finally told him to go ahead and get one...I just couldn't handle anymore pad talk! Hee. I'd like to think that my approval of the purchase meant something, but he would probably have just gone out and bought one anyway.

After his wonderful day of picking one of these babies up, he told me he had a surprise for me when I got home from work. An iPad for me?!

Nope. A big bag of frozen meatballs. Yes, you heard me correctly. The "buy an iPad trip in the suburbs to save on sales tax" trip was originally an IKEA trip to pick up a few things we needed. I always tell him how much I love the Swedish meatballs at IKEA...but I just like eating at IKEA, not necessarily eating IKEA at home.

While not quite an iPad, I took my bag of frozen pre-cooked balls...or K├Âttbullar for you Swedes out there...

...and cooked them up for dinner last night. Traditionally they serve them with some noodles and sauce. I went ghetto and just threw them on a plate sans adornment. Meatballs au naturel if you will.

I'll admit it, the meatballs were tasty and satisfying. Not quite a new tech toy, but I'm sure when iPad: The Second Generation is released, Steve will upgrade and this first one will be allllll mine!

Dyeing & Deviling Over the Weekend

Monday, April 5, 2010

This year we went all out for Easter...for our first 3 years together, we followed a tradition of making pizza and watching The Godfather. Yes, we are that cool.

Well, this year we decided to mix it up a bit and go crazy...we made pizza, dyed Easter eggs, and watched the feel good flick The Blind Side. Steve had never ever dyed eggs before, so it was fun showing him the ropes - you know, mixing the dye together, using the egg dipper, the magic of the white crayon.

While I mixed up the pizza dough, Steve went to town on the eggs. For a rookie, he didn't do so bad, although you'll notice he had an odd fascination with the pink dye.

Here's our kitty basil. It's rather lifelike - she does have whiskers and ears.

Also, what's Easter without a little "thug life"? I think the pink really softens up the message.

And, finally, the "Koo" egg! I'm glad our last name is short...would be hard to scrawl something like Featherstonehaugh with that messy crayon (yes, I Googled it, and Featherstonehaugh is the longest English surname...so there ya go).

Since Steve did the dyeing on Saturday night, I did the deviling on Sunday. Mwah ha ha. Deviling. I saw a lot of people on Facebook struggling with their deviled eggs, but I thought it was super simple and extra delicious.

I made mine pretty straightforward - Dijon, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of paprika and a very special ingredient...

Vegenaise! Steve started buying this from Whole Foods a little while back and it tastes just like the real thing but with half the fat. Score! I like to think that the Vegenaise made it a-o-k that I ate like 11 deviled eggs yesterday.

I hope you had an extra special wonderful Easter...did you start any new traditions this year?