26 Mar
2014

Seed Starting

It is almost April. Usually, by this time of the year, I’m well along in my garden plan with seedlings growing under lights in the house. Sadly, this year I am behind. I’m trying to make up for it this week. Today’s project was making some homemade seed tape for my raised beds.

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It is really easy to do, only requiring toilet paper (which will dissolve), Elmer’s glue (which will dissolve), and seeds. So far, I’ve made tape for multi-colored beets, rainbow swiss chard, parsnips, and purple carrots. Radishes, lettuce, spinach, and two other types of carrots are to come. When the glue dries, I’ll place them in my garden beds and lightly cover them with soil.

I find it much easier to sit at the warm kitchen table with a mug of hot coffee and make tapes than to be in my damp, chilly yard, bent over my boxes — especially since my boxes have chicken wire around them (to keep the rabbits out!) making them kind of uncomfortable to reach into much — so they keep me out, too.

Here’s hoping for some warmer weather and some hard core gardening soon!

21 Mar
2014

Freaky Finds

A couple of piggy banks:

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How satisfying it would be to smash them open when full.

17 Mar
2014

Questions and Stuff

A little Q & A — inspiration from here.

What is the last thing you watched on TV? I can’t think of anything. I rarely watch TV.

When did you last step outside? What were you doing? Yesterday afternoon. It was sunny and beautiful so I washed the outside of the windows, did some garden work with John — tidied up the beds for the coming year and replanted a grape vine, and re-shingled the roof of the chicken coop.

What is on the walls of the room you are in? Art work from my kids’ grade school years.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? A new minivan to replace the 13 yo one that is slowing falling apart.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know. I love to read about strange and unusual diseases.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone? My daughter — arranging a ride home.

What was the last book you read? Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do? Kitchen renovation — big time! I’d love more counter space, cabinets and a gas stove with a gorgeous hood. Double wall ovens would be a dream.

What was the last thing you bought? Do groceries count? No? OK then, a vintage tennis racket from the thrift store. I’m thinking about making a mirror out of it.

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be? David Lebovitz. While he might not quite qualify as a famous FAMOUS person, I love his blog and his cook books and his sense of humor. Bonus would be if he made the lunch.

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Williams Sonoma or maybe Crate and Barrel. But, reality is I would never max out a credit card.

Is the glass half empty or half full? Half full. Always.

Name something that took you by surprise. The warm and beautiful day we had yesterday. It was wonderful to be outside. Today we’re getting ice and snow.

Name one TV show you will watch every time it’s on – none

Name a movie you will watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Dunno…..maybe Gone with the Wind?

What’s your favorite musical? Hands down — Evita!

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been? Rome.

What’s under your bed? Not a thing — yesterday was clean house day so there isn’t even any dust under there.

What is your favorite time of the day? Early morning when I’m up, the sky is just starting to lighten and I have a steaming cappuccino in my hand.

What Inspires You? Sunshine

15 Mar
2014

Cheap and Easy Subway Art

I switched out my Christmas mantle for a travel-themed one in anticipation of some fun trips we have planned. I needed a big statement piece for the back and had been eyeing subway art posters. Sadly, personalized ones are expensive — like $100+ expensive. I toyed with the idea of painting one by hand but had not managed to do that in the two months since I started thinking about it. Some googling around led me to a tutorial with an easy way to make a subway art poster. This took all of 10 minutes to create. And five minutes to drive to the copy shop and less than 5 minutes for them to print it. Talk about an instant gratification project!

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Even better was the cost – under $6. I printed the .jpg at Kinkos — size 24×36 as an engineering print. It cost $4.50. The print was big enough to wrap around a piece of foam board bought at the dollar store. I love a cheap project! It leaves more money for the actual traveling. 🙂

14 Mar
2014

Freaky Finds

Check out these lovely little dollies:

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It’s no surprise they have been lingering on the shelf for a few weeks. I think they would make great mascots for a mascara company.

12 Mar
2014

Home Ec

Margaux is taking FACS class this year. FACS stands for Family and Consumer Science — or more simply, home ec. She missed a day last week when she had a bad cold. Her homework was to cook something, anything, with vegetables. She was very eager to get to work and raided the vegetable bin in the fridge. With a few peppers, a carrot, some snow peas, bok choy, and scallions, she got to work.

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And she made this:

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A fast and easy stir fry. She proclaimed it “delicious” which is high praise from a kid who doesn’t like her veggies. If I had made this and served it to her, it would have been eaten reluctantly. Instead, she devoured a bowl. I think she needs to cook more often around here. Not only will it improve the consumption of healthy food, but I rather enjoyed sitting back and being served my dinner. I give her an A+.

10 Mar
2014

Downton Attire — Finally!

I have a mild obsession with Downton Abbey. The characters, the scenery, the costumes — I don’t know which I like best. Imagine my excitement when our local history museum decided to host a Downton Abbey premiere party. John scored tickets for us. I made costumes, we ordered gloves. The excitement was building. And then, a big snowstorm moved in. The premiere party was cancelled.

Weeks later, the museum decided to host a final night party to replace the premiere party. Again, John scored tickets for us. Sadly, the party time was at the exact time of Oliver’s Blue and Gold Banquet — an event that was a quite a bit higher in priority to us. The costumes sat unused.

But, finally, my chance! Our grade school has a trivia night and auction each year. A group of our friends reserve a table and we always go in costume based on the the year’s auction theme. This year’s theme was TV! And, you guessed it, our table theme was Downton Abbey. Introducing the Duke and Duchess of Glendale:

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We decorated our table with flowers, silver and a tea service. I brought scones and tea sandwiches. We had fancy hair and gloves on. It was a true party. And, I believe, even more fun than the museum party as we were surrounded by friends — equally as eager to play dress up as us. And, we won second place for costumes and table decoration to boot! A great ending to a long run (11 years!) of grade school parenting.

9 Mar
2014

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

This salad comes together quickly. Even kids who don’t like cooked brussel sprouts may find this one delicious!

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Ingredients:

1 – 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts, shredded (I use a food processor)
1 peeled and chopped apple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (walnuts would be awesome but I was out of them)
1/3 cup cheese
3 thinly sliced green onions

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle on dressing.

Dressing:

1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together in a jar and shake until emulsified.

This keeps well in the fridge. I like it better the second day when everything is just a bit wilted, but maybe I’m just weird like that.

8 Mar
2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate

This has been the endless winter. Since cold weather isn’t my thing, I’ve had to come up with all kinds of coping methods for this season. My latest is this:

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Mexican Hot Chocolate! We are lucky to have an International foods market in the next town — Global Foods. Browsing inside the store is an escape for me. I love to slowly move down each aisle, looking for unique and interesting items. In the “Mexico” aisle, I found the hot chocolate tablets. They get dissolved in hot milk, frothed with a whisk, and then enjoyed. And, man, have we enjoyed it! If I can be warm on the outside, this helps me be warm inside.

7 Mar
2014

Freaky Finds

If you’re looking for a vase or planter, a thrift store is always a good first stop. You are certain to find a one-of-a-kind vessel. Like this one:

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The half-baby diaper pot. I stared at this a while, trying to imagine what kind of plant or flower arrangement was intended for this. Cacti? Spider Mums? Any ideas?

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