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Showing posts from March, 2010

Wrensday: Time for Easter

Front porch wreath Front porch bench Front screened porch dining area

Back porch shoe storage

Remember the back porch improvement project we embarked on last week?  Well, I'm still trying to improve the functionality of the space.  This week I added: A doormat and a shoe shelf.  I bought the shoe shelf at a local store called Roses for 8 dollars.  It's made out of wood and I painted it with my favorite spray paint .  I bought the rug at Ross for $7.99 (clearance from $15.99).  I was going to go for cute, but decided to go for practical.  I already had the semi-circle rug and this rug promises to trap all kinds of evil dirt and dust and keep it from entering my home.  You can already see a lot of dirt (and one stick) that came off of the stored boots and shoes.  Where's my broom?

Monday Motivation: Clean out the linen closet

I have to say right up front that THIS IS NOT MY LINEN CLOSET.  I wish it was.  I wish I had a linen closet.  But, I have to say, even if I had a linen closet it wouldn't look like this.  I know for sure it wouldn't look like this because I have WAY more linens than this closet owner does (disclaimer:  this closet was staged for a magazine article in Parents Magazine ).  My current home doesn't have a closet so I use my childhood dresser that stands against a wall in my upstairs bathroom.  Let me tell you what I love about this closet:      1.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.      2.  Baskets that work like drawers on the shelves.      3.  Plenty of shelves.      4.  Shelf platforms that give you a second shelf within a shelf.      5.  Towel bars on the door.      6.  Pull out lazy susan (it swings out) for smaller items.      7.  Room for lots of toilet paper (I have a fear of running out of toilet paper) Let me tell you what I don'

Got Beans?

In my quest to reduce my grocery bill but still feed my family nurishing food, I'm discovering different ways to shop and prepare food.  My latest adventure is beans.  I've always bought canned beans for chilli, soup, and other recipes.  The few times I tried to use dried beans, my family ended up eating crunchy chilli.  Yuck. I decided to research how to process beans and make them easier to use in recipes and more pleasant to eat.  My favorite source for info is Rodale.  Their Stocking Up book is a great resource for cooking, canning, freezing, and drying food for your family. Here's what I worked on yesterday.  I purchased three kinds of beans.  Black, kidney, and great northern.  I placed them in individual bowls in the morning.  Here are the black beans and white beans after they've had a soak for 8 hours.  Be sure to fill the bowl with enough water to cover the beans plus an extra 2-3 inches of water because the beans will exand.  Look how the black beans

Sweet Little Gift

My SIL recntly gave me a present for no reason at all.  Yup.  Just up and gave me a present cuz she loves me.  She's very good at thinking of just the right gift at the right time.  Here's what she gave me: Three of my favorite things:  Flower pots, gardening gloves, and chocolate.  Thanks SIL.  You're so sweet!  Now if you'll excuse me. . . I have some gardening and some nibbling to do. 

Wrensday: Plant Updates

Remember last weeks little baby I planted in a coffee cup?  Well, look at her now!  In just a week's time she's turned into a beautiful grown up lady. Her ugly stepsister, the sweet potato, has not been invited to the Ball.  She still needs to green up a bit. Remember the seeds I started in toilet paper tubes ?  Well, they sprouted and needed to go to a sunny place to live while they grow. Hubs set up shelves and a light kit in the garage and now they are happily getting bigger by the day.

Porch Construction

Our back door leads right into our kitchen and gets a lot of use.  The door is right next to the stove and I'm always tripping over boots and shoes that my family has obediently removed from their feet upon entering the door.   We had an additional sliding back door but it lead to a screened porch with no access to the back deck.  I'll  admit it was a bit random. Hubs was not thrilled with another item added to his "honey do" list so we hired a handyman to do the work for us.  He did a great job and now we can enter and exit without a hitch.  I still need to paint the new wood. We've been busy this weekend cleaning up the mess and washing winter grime off of all our furniture and flower pots.  I'll be shopping for new door mats and a shoe holder this week. I'm so happy to not have boots and shoes in my kitchen or strewn around the deck.  Happy, happy me.

Monday Motivation: Party Pantry

When I quickly prepared for an Open House last month, I was really glad I had taken the time to put together a party pantry.  I'm fortunate to have an extra area to store such items in the house I live in.  In our previous home, I didn't have as much space, but I still kept party goods inventoried and stored together.  I stored them in our large picnic basket. In this cabinet, I store paper goods such as paper plates, bowls, napkins, tablecloths, and paper decorations such as streamers.  We tend to have large get togethers of 20-30 people, so I usually buy in bulk.   In an extra closet, I keep holiday dishes and extra serving dishes.  I probably should have tidied this up a bit but I'm just keeping it real for ya.  I just opened the door and took the pic.  I have a very small kitchen and I can't possibly keep everything stored in my cabinets.  This closet (and the cabinet you see above) are located in an apartment above our garage that our daughter lives in right

What's For Dinner: Three Cheese Lasagna

Last night, for dinner, we enjoyed three cheese lasagna, spinach/orange salad with poppy seed dressing. Most people must have meat in their lasagna to be happy, but my family is perfectly happy to eat this lighter version. I originally got this recipe from the American Cancer Society's cookbook but I've tweaked it quite a bit. I love this recipe because you don't have to boil the noodles before you assemble it. I like to make my lasagna the night before, refrigerate it and then bake it the next evening for dinner. Sometimes I make two and freeze one for later. First, you assemble the ingredients. I make my sauce first. While it is simmering, I grate the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and mix the ricotta cheese mixture. After assembling the ingredients, I cover it with parchment paper and then aluminum foil. I don't put foil directly over the lasagna because the sauce will react with it. If you freeze the lasagna, let it thaw in the fridge for 24

Etsy shop: new additions

I've been having a fun time at my sewing machine lately. Ever since I started my etsy shop on a snowy day, I've been on the look out for fun fabrics to upcycle into accessories to sell. I'm having a little problem, though. My friends are buying the items before I can even get them photographed and into the store. I keep running out of inventory. I guess that's a good problem to have. I've made some half aprons like this: (front) (back) I made a matching "Mommy-daughter" set. (front) I lined them with a man's white dress shirt. (back) Then, I turned this skirt. . . Into this full apron. (front) (back) I'm working on 5 more to put into the shop. Also in the works are some cute Posy Pins and a few purses and tote bags.

Wrensday: Lenten Roses

One of my favorite perennials is the Lenten Rose or Hellebore . During the first glimmers of Spring they rise slowly from the dirt and gently unfold until you can see their beautiful faces. A little bit of cold doesn't bother them. Aren't they just beautiful. Thank you, Lord, for these simple beauties.

A whole lotta love for a little bit of paint

Remember my mantle decor from before? This fireplace makes me crazy because of it's size, proportion, and color. Because we use it often, I have to be very careful how I decorate it. We're not able to move the mantle down because of the vents and proximity to the firebox. Bummer! At Christmas I hung a metal stocking over the firebox to add a bit of color. A few weeks ago, I was frustrated (again) by the fireplace, and decided to take matters into my own hands. I grabbed a paint brush and made a custom color with odds and ends of acrylic paint. I then brushed several light coats of paint over the dark colored vents. I had to tweak the color a few times to get it right, but I feel like I matched it pretty well. I love how it seems to brighten up the space and you don't notice the vents that much any more. Hubs commented right away when he got home and is a bit worried about me being home alone during Spring break with the paint and paint brushes. He has n

Monday Motivation: Wastebasket clean up

I glanced at the bottom of my craft room/office wastebasket yesterday and was. . . well. . . grossed out. I'm too embarrassed to tell you what was sticking to the bottom of the can but it was YUCKY. Anyway, now is as good a time as ever to have a Monday Motivation about cleaning out the wastebaskets/trashcans in the house. This shouldn't take too long. 1. Gather all of the trashcans and wastebaskets from around the house. Having them all together in one place helps to get through the job faster. 2. Empty the trash into a large bag. Set the bag aside. You'll deal with it later. 3. Use a general cleaner to spray into the cans. I use simple green. Wipe it out with a rag or paper towel. 4. For really stubborn, stuck on items you'll need to let the cleaner sit for a while before you wipe it out. For really, really stuck on items, you'll need to scrape it out with an old credit card or scrub brush. For stubborn stains I like to use the Mr. Clean Mag

What's on my windowsill: hyacinth time

So I had to go to Wallyworld to pick up some organic fertilizer for my flower beds. I'm standing in line to make said purchase and my eye caught some little potted bulbs lined up in a row. They had tulips and hyacinths. Since I'm excited about green things popping out of dirt right now, I decided to buy one. It was only a $1.00. When I got home I searched around for a container to put it in. All of my flower pots were too big so I started searching my kitchen cabinets. I came across this coffee mug that I was given as gift. I love the mug but the rim is too thick to sip coffee from comfortably. (does that last sentence make sense?) I plopped the pot into the mug and set it on my window sill. It's already grown 1/2 inch since yesterday. I can't wait for it to bloom. What's on your windowsill?

Making your own seed starting pots

I'm loving this time of year. There is just a hint of warmer weather and it is time to start thinking about my veggie garden. Every year I plan a wonderfully abundant and luscious garden in my mind. And then real life happens and I get sidetracked. My garden ends up being a hodge podge of plants. As usual, I have grand plans for my garden this year. It starts with seed starting mix. Trying my best to reduce, reuse, and recycle I decided to make my own seed starting pots this year. I've been collecting toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes for several months. I just toss them in a shopping bag in my utility room. Besides the paper tubes, all you need is a dish of water, a pair of scissors, your seed starting mix, and a waterproof tray. Supposedly you can plant this recycled tube with the plant in the garden and it will disintegrate over time. We'll see how it goes. Hold the tube sideways. You'll get two pots out of the toilet paper tubes and 4 pots from the paper