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Showing posts from July, 2009

Heirloom party

I was inspired by Emma Calls Me Mama's Heirloom party and it got me to looking around my home for family heirlooms. I've gotten most of my family heirlooms by default. It's usually because the other family members consider it to be junk. It is these very pieces that I fall in love with, more for the story behind it than anything else. Below, is a little wooden picture that my Grandpa Gray made for my Grandma. He was a gruff, army major and I never imagined that he had the ability to dream this up and make it. I guess he had a special sweet spot for grandma (I guess we all did).


I'm really a baby when it comes to dragging myself to the doctor. I act calm and cool on the outside, but on the inside I am frazzled and a little sick to my stomach. To help me get through blood work and exams I bribe myself with something. I've been to the doctor enough now to know what works as a good bribery and what doesn't. I've tried shoes, earrings, purses, and ice-cream. These are many of my favorite things but they don't have the same effect on me as something "USED". After my last doctor's visit, I found this little treasure at my local thrift store for $1.98. The lady at the checkout looked at me funny when I plopped it on the counter. "Oh, what are you going to do with this?" "Actually, what is it?" As I explained that it is a small terrarium and I would be cleaning it up to put in my house, I realized that she could not see the forest for the trees. In other words, she could not see the cute terrarium because o

Are you a "Filer" or a "Piler"

We all have a tendency to put items in certain places. Without thinking, we will either stack things (Pile) or stuff them away (File). It doesn't matter which tendency you have as long as you can find what you want later. I, myself, am a Filer. I can't stand to have things all over my desk, countertops, coffee table etc. This has been a problem in the past when I got a little too creative in my filing. For years, now, I have been trying to create ways to keep track of items I will need to save so they can be found later. I am married to a Piler. He likes stacks of books on his bedside table, piles of papers on his desk, and layers of clothes on the bedroom chair. It makes me furious chuckle to see his piles. Anywho, as a filer, here's what I do. I MUST HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. In order for that to happen I must be proactive. My favorite way to file something is to make a binder. I have binders for medical records, use and care manuals, recipes, address/

Banana Bread Recipe

So. . . we start where we left off yesterday. Thawing bananas that have been frozen. This batch of 6 bananas will make 2 loaves of bread. Cream together:(beat on medium speed for 2 minutes) 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup oil 1/4 cup applesauce Add: 2 eggs and beat for 30 seconds Add: 3 bananas (cut open the end of each banana and smoosh out the insides like you are squeezing toothpaste out of a tube) This part might gross you out! Add: (mix together until blended well) 2 1/2 cups white flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. baking soda Then add:( mix together until blended well) remaining 3 bananas 2 tsp. real banana extract Divide batter between 2 greased loaf pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes and remove from pans. Allow to cool completely before slicing unless your little next door neighbor comes over and askes for a piece of "banama bwead" first. This recipe is for 2 loaves of

What to do with brown bananas

We eat a lot of bananas. But, during the summer, our bananas get brown and "speckled" pretty fast. Since I hate to waste anything, I've come up with a way to use them up. We only have 1-2 brown bananas at a time and that is not enough to make a loaf of banana bread. My solution is to freeze them until I have enough to make a batch of bread (my recipe calls for 3 bananas per loaf of bread). I freeze them in a large ziploc bag. When I've gathered enough bananas to make 4 loaves of bread, I thaw them on a drying rack over a bar pan (to catch drips). Tomorrow I'll show you how to make my healthy bread. It's great to have on hand, wrapped and stored in the freezer.

God is good!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! He has done great things, He has done great things, He has done great things, bless His holy name! These words have been swirling around in my head. Written by Anreae Crouchin 1973 and performed by Watermark a few years ago. Love it!

Make a drawer out of a basket.

I have a love/hate relationship with my kitchen. I like to spend time in my kitchen, cooking and baking. But. . . I hate the way my kitchen is layed out. I have a lack of drawer and cabinet space. A kitchen re-do is not in the budget for a few more years thanks to college tuition for 3 kids. In the meantime I have to improvise. Here's my "tupperware drawer". I simply use a rectangular basket with a handle to house all of my plastic ware. I pull it out like a drawer when I need to access something. It works pretty well.

A little visitor

Hearing a ruckus outside my patio door, I went to take a look. I was able to observe a baby robin checking out the big wide world for the first time. My presence made him very nervous and made his mother freak out, so I left them alone and went back to my ironing pile.

Wren'sday: Rooting plants

It's Wren'sday at Brown Wren Acres. Here is a picture of what's happening at the kitchen window. I'm rooting Coleus for the butterfly garden and basil for the vegetable garden. My Grandma rooted Coleus in this same container when I was a little girl.

Fresh Summer Melon

It's my favorite time of the year. The time when backyard gardens burst with wonderful, fresh produce. I really could eat my way through a garden. I LOVE fruits and vegetables. I've discovered that some people won't purchase a whole melon because they are intimidated by slicing into a lumpy sphere with a knife. So. . .here's a little "look-see" on how to do it. The most important thing is to wash the melon first with water and a vegetable brush. The rough rind tends to trap dirt and germs. Now, cut the melon in half. It works best if the stem end is to the side. Then, slice each half in half again. Slice each half in half again until you have 4 fat slices. Then take each slice and scrape or scoop the seeds and goop out. I put mine in a plastic bowl that I will empty later into my backyard compost bin. Then slice between the flesh(the part you eat) and the rind (the part you don't eat). Next, cut that slice in half, lengthwi

My favorite chickens

My chickens are smart. Well, as smart as chickens can be. They have found the perfect spot in the yard to keep cool. Gertie and Gwenie are fun pets to have. They don't require much upkeep. We let them run around the yard and eat bugs and tender green things. Sometimes those tender green things are growing in my vegetable garden but they don't eat very much. They reward us with fresh, free-range brown eggs every day. In a future post, I'll show off my custom made portable chicken coop.

You CAN travel for a week with only carry on luggage.

Well, I did it. I was able to travel for a week with only carry on luggage. It took some thinkin' and some organizin' but I made it happ'n. I'm still talkin' like I was out West, 'cuz I wuz. Anyway, we flew out from the east coast on Saturday and flew into Phoenix, AZ. We then drove down to Flagstaff and spent the night. The next day we drove to Williams, AZ and took the Grand Canyon Railway up into the Grand Canyon. If you ever get the chance to go to the canyon, TAKE THE TRAIN! It was great and we didn't have to worry about parking. We met an adorable family from New York on the train and became instant friends. The next few days found us traveling east through the Painted Desert and The Petrified Forest. We ended up in Amarillo, TX to visit with family and celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday. It was a great trip. Now, about the packing of the luggage. I packed items in 2 1/2 gallon ziploc bags. I packed like items with like. Th

True Confessions

I don't travel much. And there's a reason why. I have a weird routine I must follow before I can leave the house with suitcases in hand. First, I must clean my entire house (in case a robber breaks in - I don't want him to think we are slobs). Next, I must wash, dry, and iron every item of clothing in the laundry hamper (I will be packing some of the items and the others will be waiting for me when I return - all neat and tidy). Then, there is the packing. I am an over-packer. A "just-in-case" packer. A "in case I get bored on the trip" packer. A "what if I need a snack" packer. For someone who likes to organize and simplify, I am an absolute travel wreck. Right now I'm trying to decide what to pack for a week long trip to Arizona (Grand Canyon) and Texas to visit family. I haven't been on an airplane in 22 years. My husband wants us to travel using only carry-on luggage. Is he serious? What if I get bored? What if I

butterfly garden

Just wanted to share a picture of my garden right now. Notice Old Glory in the background. Yes, I'm very patriotic.

Pleasing Pantry

I love an organized pantry. You can find what you need very quickly. And let's face it, when you're cooking, you don't want to spend all of your time looking for ingredients. To neaten a disorganized cabinet just follow these steps: 1. Bring in some boxes or laundry baskets. Choose one bin/basket for each category of food. 2. Empty everything out of the cabinet, sorting into the categories as you go. 3. Vacuum and clean the shelves. You can line them with contact paper or liner if you want to. 4. Place like items together. Some of the categories I use are: veggies, beans, baking, meats, soup, cereal, paper, extra supplies. It's important to put the most used items in the front and at eye level. Also, face the packages so you can read the label. (These are a few tips I learned from my friend,Chris, a grocery store manager) 5. Label the shelves with the category name to help others in your family locate ( and replace ) items. 6. You can add shelvin