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Showing posts from October, 2010

How To Cook Your Halloween Pumpkin

So, you've carefully cut out 2 eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  Your jack-o-lantern is looking pretty cute - that is until the next day when it starts to rot onto your front steps.  I always hate to throw out a perfectly good pumpkin - even if it's just into the compost pile. Several years back I came up with a solution.  As you can see, my little preschool class is pretty good at making jack-o-lanterns. After we carved our little snaggle-toothed friend, I toted him home to cook him and eat him (Ewww...) First, I cut it in half. Then, I cut each half into even portions.   If you make your jack-o-lantern to hold a candle, you'll have already scooped out the goop and seeds.  If any goop is left after cutting it open just scrape across the surface with a knife and it will come clean.  Hang onto your seeds.  I'll explain how to roast them later. Place all of your pieces onto baking sheets with sides.  This is very important because as the pumpkin cooks it will crea

Wrensday: Washing Machine Flower Garden

When we bought our home 5 years ago we found many random things around the property.  One of the random items was an old washing machine filled with dirt.  We emptied out the dirt (because we couldn't move it with the dirt in it) and put it up on the deck to hold seasonal flowers.  It brings a smile to those who see it. The trick to keeping it "light" is an upside down 5 gallon paint bucket topped with a fiber lined hanging basket.  I occasionally add fresh plants, fertilizer and compost. 

I Want To Finish Well

Because I write some of my blog posts ahead of time and schedule them to publish, you had no idea that I was driving up to Richmond, VA today to visit Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University to meet with a transplant team.  You were not aware that I was being poked and prodded and evaluated to see if I'm healthy enough for a kidney transplant soon.  You couldn't see the tears in my eyes as my hubby went to the lab to have 15 vials of blood drawn to see if he is potential donor for me. I didn't want to share that with you because. . . well, I don't know why.  Because it's personal?  Because it's not pretty, and organized, and crafty.  It's not gardening, or cooking, or cleaning.  But then, tonight, as I sat down and thought of all that occurred today, I realized that if I can show you my silverware drawer and my laundry detergent then I can certainly share something as real as my pain.  Many of you have been so gracious and kind

Spicy Appetizer Recipe

This weekend we went to a friend's annual "Fall Fire Bowl".  We had a great time eating chili and cornbread and sitting next to their fire pit.  The weather was perfect and we all had a great time.  Each of us brought an appetizer or dessert.  I came up with a last minute salsa/olive/spicy/beany type of concoction that my Hubs rated "Yum -Good" and that I had to hide from my son lest he eat all of it. .  Sometimes these experiments work out and sometimes they don't. This one worked out so I'm glad I remembered to write down the ingredients as I created it. Here's the recipe: 1 can  black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup mild salsa 1 chili pepper, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 green onion, chopped 1/4 cup chopped olives 1/4 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. mesquite seasoning 2 Tbl. lime juice Mix together in a medium sized bowl and let sit for several hours before serving.  Serve with pita chips. Now, for the dilemma!  What should I call t

Monday Motivation:

This is the time of year that makes me want to clean out closets.  Call me crazy (I know you are), but the cool weather sends me scurrying into my coat closet to make sure everything is in order.  Last year's post on organizing the coat closet created a bit of a stir.  I got a lot of emails about your coat closets, the coat closet you grew up with, and your neighbor's coat closets.  I also got a few comments and emails about the review I did of the closet in the photo I used.  Since we had so much fun then, I decided to visit another closet this year and show the good and not-so-good of how it is organized.                                                                                                                source First off, I love-love-love the pocket doors.  It helps to have sliders here so the closet doors don't swing into the front door. Secondly, I like the umbrella stand, but I think it's bound to get knocked over right there next to the front d

Family Favorite: Hot Fudge Sauce

Yesterday was our youngest grandson's first birthday.  We had to celebrate long distance as he is in Boston and we're in Virginia. Our newly married daughter (who lives locally) and her new hubs came over for dinner and we all Skyped with the rest of the family, singing Happy Birthday and watching the little birthday fella practice his newly found walking ability.  Since no birthday celebration is complete without dessert, we whipped up our favorite Hot Fudge Sauce and served it over some Breyers Vanilla ice cream.  Yummmmm. I always keep the ingredients in the pantry so I can make this sauce at a moments notice.  It's hard to photograph hot fudge sauce as it melts the ice cream and causes you to drool a little bit. I had to hurry as the family was snatching the bowls off of the counter.  Here's the recipe: (makes 1 1/2 cups sauce) 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate 1/2 stick butter 5 oz. can evaporated milk (now that we eat hea

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I've been slowly converting all of my "chemical"  cleaners over to more "natural" cleaners.  For the past month, I've been experimenting with several recipes and combinations of recipes to find the best cleaning solution for my dishwasher. I finally came up with a combination that works well for me.  We have well water which is hard even though we have a softener attached to our water pump.  Here's my recipe: 1 cup baking soda 1 cup borax 1 cup water Stir together for a few minutes and allow to sit for several minutes before using.  It is very watery until it has time to sit.  Use 2 Tbl. per use.  I have my recipe written on a card that I keep in my recipe box.  It's handy when I need to make a new batch of cleaner.  I had to make a new category - Natural Cleaners -  to keep the cards in.  I'm getting quite a collection of cleaning recipes.  Along with this cleaner, I found that I must use vinegar as a rinse agent - you know, in

Thrify Finds

Yesterday I took the day off. I spent the entire day thrifting, antiquing, and eating with a dear friend.  I didn't spend a lot of money, but I had a lot of fun. Here are a few of the items I picked up for next to "nut'in". I found two amber glass votives with adorable little flowers on them.  (the clear glass you see on the bottom is only an upside down vase I used to elevate the votive to get a better pic) I'm a sucker or old linens.  I picked up these bridge napkins - so called because they have card patterns in the corners and were used when ladies entertained their bridge club. I love the pinwheel pattern of this table runner.  I'll probably use this to make something for my Etsy shop .  Stay tuned!

Simple Math: Addition for Fall Decor

Ah. . . Autumn.  I love all of the Fall colors. I was looking around my house this weekend and decided to add a bit of color to a basket I already had. First I added some sticks for height and then I added some clearance purchased orange berries for filler. A metal urn (thrifted) filled with dollar store pumpkins and gourds (dollar store) sits nearby.  I also added an uplight (from my staging stash) that I turn on at night for added ambiance.

Monday Motivation: Changing Your HVAC Filter

Today's Monday Motivation is a reminder to change or clean your HVAC filter. OK, OK, I know. Boring stuff. But, important stuff. This filter traps a lot of the junk that floats around in the air in your home. If it gets too dirty, it keeps the heating and air-conditioning system from running efficiently. It's really an easy job.  The hardest part is remembering to change it out or clean it.  An added bonus is that the air in your home will be cleaner and that means less dusting. Yay! 1. Find where your filter is. It is sometimes attached to the air handler itself but sometimes it is behind a vent cover in the wall. I have to unscrew two little screws on a vent panel to access mine. 2. If you have a disposable filter, you'll need to replace it with a new one. Don't reuse a disposable filter. If you have a reusable one, take it outside and spray it with the garden hose and let it dry. Then replace it in exactly the same position you found it in. I check my filt

Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Special Touches and What it Cost

This is the 10th and final post in my Wedding Series (can I get an Amen?) Previous posts include: 1. Tear of Joy and Tears of Sorrow 2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - But Not On The Wedding 3. Timeline For A Rustic Wedding 4. Marriage Requirements 5. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Choosing the Hardscape 6. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Stationary To Set The Mood 7. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Choosing The Wardrobe 8. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: The Decor 9.  Planning An Outdoor Wedding:  The Menu I am a sentimental fool.  And apparently, I've raised a few sentimental daughters as well.  Our minds are always looking for ways to incorporate family memories into parties and family celebrations.  We also like to look for ways to make new memories.  For this wedding, my offspring outdid me with sentiment.  Here is one of the ways wedding guests could give the couple good wishes.  These chalkboard guest frames could be written on with chalk. . . Or with chalk markers. . .

Planning An Outdoor Wedding: The Menu

This is the 9th post in my Wedding Series. Previous posts include: 1. Tear of Joy and Tears of Sorrow 2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - But Not On The Wedding 3. Timeline For A Rustic Wedding 4. Marriage Requirements 5. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Choosing the Hardscape 6. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Stationary To Set The Mood 7. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Choosing The Wardrobe 8.  Planning An Outdoor Wedding: The Decor Food, glorious food.  Can't have a wedding reception without it.  Careful thought went into the menu for this outdoor wedding.  We asked some friends of ours to head up the whole food situation in exchange for a favor we did for them - you know. . . good ol' bartering.  I definitely think we got the better half of the deal - but don't tell them that.  Along with this couple, we had a number of other friends who gave up their Saturday (and Friday night) to make this day special for our kids.  They were so efficient and professional that many

Planning An Outdoor Wedding: The Decor

This is the 8th post in my Wedding Series. Previous posts include: 1. Tear of Joy and Tears of Sorrow 2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - But Not On The Wedding 3. Timeline For A Rustic Wedding 4. Marriage Requirements 5. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Choosing the Hardscape 6. Planning An Outdoor Wedding: Stationary To Set The Mood   7.  Planning An Outdoor Wedding:  Choosing The Wardrobe   Once we got the hard scape decor taken care of (tables, chairs, dancefloor etc.) it was time to decorate. We tried to use a lot of the items we already had around the house.  With lots of chairs and benches already available, we just rearranged them.  Here's a bench I worked on several months ago with the cushions I recovered.  We borrowed round tables and topped them with tablecloths made from canvas drop cloths.  The drop cloths were then covered with chocolate brown burlap.  The centerpieces were simply various containers filled with chrysanthemums, various vases fille