Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Catch Up

It's been a little while since I've posted. A nasty cold, food poisoning and Christmas, all in quick succession, can really put you behind. So, now that that's all over, it's time to catch up a little.

So, what have we been up to?

Yard work. Two large Mulberry trees plus a significant winter storm left our front yard looking like this:

One of the culprits, looking innocently empty after dropping all its leaves:

The clean up has been somewhat complicated because we fill up the yard waste bin without making a dent in the carpet of leaves covering our front lawn. We bought two extra garbage cans and filled those up with leaves and still it looked like we hadn't done anything. We ended up just leaving the yard like that until the next garbage day when they emptied our bins and we refilled them. By then, the leaves had dried out quite a bit and were much more compactable. We now have just a small pile of leaves waiting for the next garbage day.

Getting our new bed. In my last post, I talked about our awesome new mattress. Well, we finally got an awesome new bed to put it on:

This isn't actually a picture of our bed. I'm too lazy right now to go take a picture of our bed. But, this is the picture of it in the Crate & Barrel catalog. So, imagine that bed in our room with our bed linens. Lovely, isn't it? Someday I'll take a picture of it and post it. This bed I've had my eye on for awhile. When I saw it, I fell in love with it and I wanted it. So, I started requesting Crate & Barrel gift cards as gifts to put towards the bed. We were fortunate to be gifted a little early this year for Christmas from my mom and my sister, so we got the bed and got it set up and were able to wake up in it on Christmas morning. And when I woke up and looked at it, I said "Merry Christmas to me!" Needless to say, I love it.


I was pretty fortunate this year. I was on top of my Christmas preparations and had most everything done before I got all sick and gross. However, after I came out of my head cold haze and then my food poisoning grossness episode, there were a few last minute things to be done. It kept me busy enough that no baking happened this year. I feel a little like I should be disappointed by this, but in actuality, I couldn't care less. I finished my last minute things and then enjoyed the holiday spirit.

Christmas was lovely this year. I had family in town, so that was fun. We woke up and opened our own presents at our house and then headed up to my parents' for the Christmas festivities. Here's our Christmas tree on Christmas morning:

Scout quickly found her stocking because there were treats and a squirrel coming out the top:

We opened presents at my parents' and my sisters and I compared our matching cupcake potholders that my mom had made for us:

Then we sat down to our Christmas breakfast. It was a combination of traditions. We had our normal Christmas sausage bread (think garlic, sausage, and cheese stuffed into bread. Mmmmmm!) and we also had Strawberry Crepes which is my visiting sister's family's Christmas breakfast tradition. It was divine:

The rest of Christmas was fabulous, but we, apparently, took no more pictures of it. We had more rounds of present-opening as more family arrived and then we enjoyed a yummy Christmas dinner.

And, that's what we've been up to. We've also been having fun since Christmas, but that is for another post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To The Cloud

Nope. Not talking about this cloud:

Please. As I type this on my beautiful MacBook otherwise known as Bonecrusher. Windows. Pshsh.

I'm talking about THIS cloud:

Two nights on this bad boy and I'm already in love. Some time ago, I posted about my love and need for a pillow-top mattress here. Since then, I have eagerly awaited the day when I would be back on a pillow-top. That day came on Tuesday. We went to Sleep Train on Monday because we wanted our ticket to a better night's sleep. We tried out the various Tempur-Pedic mattresses (having already decided we wanted a Tempur-Pedic based on recommendations from others and also trying them out at a home show) and settled on the TEMPUR-Cloud. I don't know if it's truly a pillow-top, but it's Tempur-Pedic material with a soft, luxurious top layer. To me, that says pillow-top. So, we gave them our money and this bad boy was delivered on Tuesday:

I was pretty much giddy with excitement. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed making a bed so much. And laying down on this thing of beauty has been heavenly. Now we just need a new bed to put it on. That is on its way, though, and when it comes, I will post about that, too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ceiling Project #3

On Saturday, we finished ceiling project #3. I didn't take pictures of the process because it was the same process as that we used for ceiling project #1. This ceiling project entailed putting up tongue and groove wood planking on the master bedroom ceiling. The only difference between that and the wood planking in the living room is that we painted the wood white. Actually, I did one coat of primer and one coat of paint, so it's thin enough that you can see some of the knots in the wood. Basically, a heavy whitewash. And I'm pleased as punch at how it turned out.

As with the living room ceiling, we owe big thank yous to everyone who helped out. The help was huge because we were able to finish it all in one day - moulding and everything. That was partly because we knew what we were doing this time around and partly because our materials were far superior to the first time around. The wood we got was better quality and, therefore, far more cooperative when it came to going into place. Lesson learned: materials make a difference. Anyway, we're very excited because now all of our major projects are totally done. Now it's just little things like putting up a shelf here and reattaching a smoke detector there. Of course, that's only temporary because I have visions of a master bedroom with a beautiful whitewashed wood ceiling, very dark wood floors, a new wall color - perhaps a blue-grey - and maybe even some wainscoting. And with the ceiling done, we're on our way!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Annual Trek

On Friday morning after Thanksgiving, we headed up to the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down our Christmas Tree. We've been going to the same tree farm every year since I can remember and it's a great tradition for us. My sister insisted we go first thing on Friday so the good trees wouldn't be gone. We all met up at the tree farm and began the process of getting the perfect tree. It's a simple process really:

First, find groundhog holes and dig for the little beasts (okay, this was really only a step for Scout).

Scout was in absolute heaven and beyond excited to be going after small, furry, live animals. I don't think she could've had a better day and she would probably say it was worth it in spite of me having to pick burrs out of her fur the whole way home.

Next, find the perfect tree. This is probably the most important step. We Jespersens always go for the White Fir.

I know that we're blocking the view of the tree in this picture, but it's perfect, don't worry. Sometimes this step in the process is very quick. Other times it's a painful and arduous task. This year, it was kind of in between. It took a little searching, but none of this hiking all over the mountainside business that has happened in years past.

Third, cut down said perfect tree.

My nephews, George and Max, helped Mr. Frisby cut down the tree. Cutting down a Christmas tree was a new experience for them. Their family goes for the artificial variety each year.

Then, carry the perfect Christmas tree to the car.

Max "helped" Mr. Frisby with this task.

And, finally, load up your perfect Christmas tree to take it home.

This step is what has caused my dad for the last several years to try to persuade my mom to go artificial.

Some may think it's more practical, convenient, and a lot less work to have an artificial tree. But, this is one of my most beloved Christmas traditions and I wouldn't do it any other way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


It seems everyone else has already blogged about Thanksgiving and moved on to Christmas preparations. I guess I'm a little behind. I blame it on spending all of my spare time painting wood in preparation for ceiling project #3. But, right now the furnace man is here to fix our Furnace/AC problem, so I figure what better way to bide the time until he leaves.

We had a busy Thanksgiving week. Mr. Frisby had quite a bit of homework to catch up on and my sister came into town with her family, so there was always something going on. On Monday, we decided to leave the kids at home and head to Napa Valley for the day. With six kids, my sister is fortunate to have two kids of babysitting age, so it's easy for her to leave the kids and take off for a day. So, away we went. It was very pretty and we had a good time checking out wine country. We also had some very good eats. Being in wine country, I naturally wanted to sample the local product. However, since I don't drink alcohol, I opted for a very expensive glass of grape juice. And it was probably the best and most expensive grape juice I've ever had. We didn't take a lot of pics of the day, but here are a few:

The next couple of days were spent doing various activities with the fam. Wednesday included a mini trip to the outlets in Gilroy where I found some screamin' good deals and didn't have to deal with crazy shoppers. Why wake up at 3am on Black Friday to deal with pushy shoppers for good deals when I can go to the stores at my leisure on Wednesday and deal with almost no shoppers and still get good deals? On Wednesday night, I got started on the Turkey.

With family in town, we had a big group for Thanksgiving dinner. I believe the number was over 20. We decided to do dinner at my sister's house and she figured one turkey wouldn't be enough. Since we live pretty close to her, she asked me to make the second turkey. I have never done a turkey before, but I told her that if she told me how to do it, I would be fine with it. She has a recipe for a brine for the turkey, so that's what we did. We would put it in the brine the night before and then pull it out and put it in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. I didn't think much of it until I actually had to pull out the turkey and start working on it. I think the most disturbing part for me was reaching into the turkey to pull out the neck. Still makes me shudder. Then, I got a little grossed out when I had to reach in and stuff it with oranges (part of the recipe) and subsequently reach in and pull them out before putting it in the oven. I survived, though, and the turkey was fabulous. I was really quite proud. Pics of the process:

Thanksgiving morning was pretty leisurely. We watched the parade and then when I got started on the Turkey, the dog show came on. Scout relaxed on the couch to watch. She was rooting for all of the Schnauzers and was a little disappointed when they didn't win.

When the turkey was done, we headed to my sister's for the Thanksgiving festivities. We had a great time.

Unfortunately, not everyone got to eat Thanksgiving dinner, though Scout placed herself in the right location for falling scraps.

After my hard work making the turkey and then eating it, I needed a little nap.

And that was our Thanksgiving. The furnace man is gone now and I have a busy day, so the conclusion of our Thanksgiving week will have to wait.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The House

We've had a busy November. I'm really quite appalled that it will be over this week. It seems like it just got here. Of course, I don't mind - I'm really excited for the Christmas holiday season. It just amazes me how fast it went. So, what have we been doing? Well, our Thanksgiving week deserves a post all its own that will come in due time, so in other news, our house has been keeping us very busy. We've been working on another project. Our second ceiling project, to be more specific. With the living room ceiling done, it was time to move on to the entry/hall/spare bedroom ceilings. I lump all of these ceilings into the same project because we were doing the same thing on all of them, so it was one big project. Fortunately, we decided to have someone else come do this project for us. Here's the low down:

I forgot to take pictures before the project got underway, so you may have to use your visualization skills a little bit. Here is our entryway and hall ceiling just as the project was getting started. We decided after scraping off the popcorn that we would just texture it to match the kitchen ceiling. The spare bedroom essentially looks the same, I just didn't take pictures. Now just picture the ceiling without the recessed light can on the left side of the picture and that's pretty much how our ceiling has looked since we moved in.

Not too bad. Really, it just needs some texture. But, here's where things got fun. This is the gaping hole in our hall ceiling. The gaping hole served two purposes. One, it was the access to our attic. Two, it housed a large, ugly fluorescent light. Yes, you read that right. Our attic access was through the light fixture. Not ideal and ugly to boot. It had to go (again, please visualize the ceiling without the recessed light can on the bottom of the photo and picture an ugly fluorescent beast in the gaping hole in our ceiling. I really should have taken pictures).

So, how would we fix the nastiness? Here's what we came up with:
1. Rip out the ugly fluorescent beast
2. Replace with three recessed lights to illuminate the hallway
3. Install a ladder in the attic access
4. Cover the gaping hole with a door
5. Texture the ceiling
6. Paint

And, in addition, we decided to add a ceiling light in the spare bedroom to augment the severely inadequate existing wall sconce. So, that was our plan. And what a relief that someone else was going to come do the work for us. The only parts of the project we had to do ourselves were to paint and to construct and install the attic door. All in all, it went well. We just ended up with a bit of a time crunch when my brother asked if he could stay with us, therefore necessitating the use of our spare bedroom right around the time the project would be completed. Here's the project in pictures:

Out with the fluorescent beast, in with the recessed lights

Fast forward through all of the other work because we didn't have to do it, and here's the painting. The little "hood/mask" I'm wearing was Home Depot's only option for a head covering while painting. Really? You're supposed to be a home improvement warehouse and that's all you got? Oh well. I didn't get any paint in my hair and that was the point.

Ta da! The finished product

We even got it mostly done before my brother arrived. The only thing that wasn't done was the attic door and he arrived just in time to help Mr. Frisby construct it. It turned out to be a little tricky, so we were grateful for his help. And, it turned out great. Now, we have a proper attic access with the gaping hole covered by something other than a gross fluorescent light

Of course, the house business didn't just include ceiling project #2. In the midst of all of that fun, we had to replace our furnace. It seems our AC would come on whenever the furnace came on. We had it looked at and something on the furnace wasn't working, which apparently was causing a short somewhere that would turn the AC on. Because the furnace was the original furnace (from 1978), we decided to fork over lots of money for a newer, more efficient model rather than fork over lots of money to have the old one repaired. Imagine our frustration when, after getting the new furnace installed and turned on, the AC still came on with it. The furnace man is coming back to figure out the problem at no extra cost to us, but it's still frustrating. Our only consolation is that with the new furnace, our heating bill should be significantly lower. Of course, since we've only had one heating bill since we moved in, we won't know how much we're saving and will just have to trust that it's a lot.

And, that's all the fun we've been having with our "new" house that constantly likes to remind us of how old it actually is. But, next up is Thanksgiving week and that really was good times - mostly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I LOVE Disneyland. And, when it comes to Disneyland, I have two dreams that I must fulfill before I die.

1. Visit Disneyland at Christmas time.

The Halloween decorations are pretty awesome, so I can't even imagine how spectacular Disneyland would be at Christmas. In my Disney Christmas dream, I will go in the middle of December when kids are still in school, so the crowds aren't bad, but the park is all decked out in full Christmas glory. The other day I saw an ad for Disneyland, promoting the Disney Christmas time fun. For a split second, I thought about finding flights and getting tickets. Then I remembered that we just bought a house and property taxes are due and we just had to have the termite guy come and we just had to replace the furnace (that I have yet to post about). So, this will not be the year for Disneyland Christmas. But, it will happen some day.

2. Go to Disneyland and stay in the Disneyland Hotel.

This could happen in conjunction with dream number one. Or they could be separate visits. Either way, it's gonna happen. The thought of leaving the hotel, getting on the monorail, and being in the park in a matter of minutes is SOO appealing. The Disneyland Hotel is expensive, though, so because of the reasons stated above, this dream will also not be fulfilled in the near future. But, these have been dreams of mine for quite some time now, so I can handle waiting a little longer. And when these dreams are fulfilled, I expect it to be glorious!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vegetable Supreme

My last post sparked the question, "What is Vegetable Supreme?" Let me enlighten those not familiar with this lovely seasoning blend from McCormick (BTW, Lenessa, I'm surprised you don't know what it is. Your husband knows of Vegetable Supreme and declared his love for it). This, my lovely readers, is Vegetable Supreme:

A tasty seasoning blend for virtually any kind of vegetable. I grew up with the taste of Vegetable Supreme and, shamefully, I probably don't use it as much as it deserves to be used. It is tasty and so easy to just sprinkle on veggies. If you see it in the store, snatch it up and start sprinkling. Unfortunately, I searched the McCormick website high and low for information on this beloved vegetable seasoning. I found nothing. This leads me to believe that McCormick has discontinued the product and replaced it with this imposter seasoning blend:

I checked the ingredient lists. They aren't the same. I've never had this particular seasoning blend, so I can't vouch for it's flavor and I can't say how tasty it will make Brussels Sprouts. But, if indeed Vegetable Supreme is gone, this may be the only option. Fortunately, my bottle of Vegetable Supreme is fairly new and I still have a lot left. But, when the bottle is empty, I can only hope this "Perfect Pinch Vegetable Seasoning" proves a worthy successor.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor and How I Make Brussels Sprouts

Mr. Frisby and I are liking Morgan Hill. It's a nice place to live. The people are very friendly, the commute isn't too bad, and our new ward is great. Lately, while out walking Scout, I've noticed several houses for sale along our walking route. So, who wants to move to Morgan Hill and be our neighbors? It would be great fun. And, we live in a neighborhood that has lots of houses like ours and also houses that are much bigger and nicer than ours. So, there's something for everyone. Who's in?

Okay, some people want to know how I make Brussels Sprouts in an edible manner. First, let me give credit where credit is due. I learned to make Brussels Sprouts from my sister. I would never have come up with this on my own. Okay, here's what you do. Rinse the Brussels Sprouts and then slice off the very end of the stem. Boil them for 8-10 minutes until tender. Take them out of the water and quarter them lengthwise as soon as they are cool enough to touch. Saute them in Olive Oil. When the Brussels Sprouts start to brown, add some pine nuts. Saute for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat and toss with Vegetable Supreme and Parmesan Cheese if you want. They're delicious!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Scout's New Friend

Meet Myrtle:

Myrtle is the Box Turtle that lives in my parents' backyard. Myrtle was originally acquired as a pet for my sister, but she has had free roaming privileges in the backyard since the day she arrived at our house. When my sister got older and went away to school and then later got married, it was determined that it would be best for Myrtle to stay in the warm California climate. So, Myrtle has remained, free-roaming, for years. She is elusive, though, and only comes out from hiding on rare occasions. One of those occasions was the other day while Scout was out exploring. The encounter was pretty funny.

I heard Scout start barking like crazy in the backyard at my parents' house, so I went out to investigate. This is what I saw:

Scout is super curious and really wanted to check Myrtle out. But, she wasn't sure what to make of Myrtle, so she was pretty cautious as well. She was a little more bold once I got out there and started sniffing Myrtle like crazy. Myrtle, of course, stayed safely tucked in her shell. I tried to explain to Scout that Myrtle is okay and she should just leave her alone. She didn't seem to care. She sat there sniffing and barking for a few more minutes, but finally lost interest when Myrtle wouldn't come back out of her shell. Smart turtle. Hopefully Scout will realize that Myrtle is a friend and not an enemy. She does eat the snails after all, so we like having her around.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

One of the things I noticed when Mr. Frisby and I looked at our house for the first time was that it has a perfect, built-in spot for a vegetable garden:

This is one side of the house and the area is totally gated off. It's perfect. Unfortunately, in the time it took us to decide we wanted the house, put an offer on it, negotiate, close and move in, the spring/summer planting season was over. As it turns out, we've been busy getting settled in and working on things around the house, so planting things has taken a backseat anyway. But, I have big dreams for next spring. And, in the meantime, I have managed to plant a few things for a winter garden.

Brussels Sprouts:

These plants I bought at the nursery and I'm pretty excited for homegrown Brussels Sprouts. I know Brussels Sprouts are not a popular or well-liked vegetable, but here in the Frisby home, we eat them often and we love them! It's all about how you make them.

Redleaf Lettuce:

These I planted from seeds and they're just sprouting. I've never grown lettuce before (of course, I've never grown a lot of things), so it will be interesting to see how they turn out. It could be fun to be eating salad with homegrown lettuce. Or it could be totally not worth it. We'll see what the verdict is when these babies are full grown.


Okay, I know that Raspberries are neither a winter-bearing plant nor a vegetable. So, technically, this is not part of my winter vegetable garden. But, the plant was on sale at the nursery and I LOVE raspberries, so I'm excited to pick these bad boys and enjoy them next spring/summer along with the other things I will be planting then.

So, it's a small winter vegetable garden, but at least it's something. And, I'm busy getting some flowers in the ground, too. One of the benefits of house-sitting for my parents was that Mr. Frisby and I quickly became familiar with the yard work that comes with owning a home. I have lots of plans and lots of things to plant. But, I will save that post for another time (like, when I actually have time to do the planting). For now, I'll be rooting for my Brussels Sprouts and Lettuce. Go Vegetables!