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Showing posts from February, 2011

Monday Motivation: Kitchen Drawers and Counter Tops

I was happy to hear from several readers about how they've been working on their kitchens.  I have to admit that I was a bit slack this past week and didn't get around to finishing my kitchen.  Two special visitors stole all of my attention.  I couldn't help myself. I promise to get back on the wagon this week and finish everything.  For those of you who are a step ahead of me, I've got your Monday Motivation ready to go.  Cleaning Kitchen Drawers 1.   Take everything out of a drawer (unless you're revamping your whole kitchen, just do one drawer at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed). 2.   As you remove each item, decide if you want to keep the item or not.  When was the last time you used it?  Do you have more than one of those items?  Is it broken?  3.   Vacuum the drawer and wipe clean with damp cleaning rag.  4.   If you use drawer dividers, place them in the drawer. 5.   Replace items into drawer.  If you have a choice, place the most used ite

Two Week Menu - February 27th - March 12th

What's for dinner?  I struggled with that question for years.  My family used to joke me about the method I used to answer that question every day at 5:00 PM.  I would stand in front of the freezer, open the door, and cook whatever fell out.  Yup, that was me.  Fortunately for my family (and myself) my method has improved immensely and we now eat a very healthy, and mostly whole food diet.  In addition, our grocery bill is very reasonable due to relying on less processed foods.  Starting this week, I plan to post our family's two-week menu.  If you would like a particular recipe for something listed, just email me and I'll send it to you.  Eventually, all of the recipes will be posted on the blog.  Sunday:   Eating out for Hubs birthday (we promise not to notify the wait staff that it's your birthday to avoid the embarrassing birthday song and dance routine) Monday: Whole wheat spaghetti, venison meatballs with tomato sauce, cabbage salad Tuesday:   Roast chic

Just Call Me Trigger Happy

I was so excited to have a warm, non-windy day this week.  And you know what that means? Spray paint! I have been trigger happy;  itching to get my hands on cans of spray paint once again.  I decided to start on a smaller project and work my way up to harder projects. Here's what I started on . . . I originally bought this little table for $2.98.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll remember when I brought it home and spray painted it a hammered bronze color.  I used it for a while on my back porch, but decided to move to another space (are you surprised?).  The color wasn't working in it's new spot, so out came the spray paint. I spray painted one coat of Rust-oleum's chrome colored paint on the base.  Then, in a flash of daring spray painting, I decided to paint the glass top as well.  I turned the glass upside down and sprayed the bottom side.  After the paint dried, I flipped it over and found that it had a wonderful frosted look to

Undercover Gardens

I've been trying something different in my Winter garden.  Well, I guess the different idea is that I actually have a Winter garden.   I usually pull up all of the old plants in the Fall, let the garden sit idle all Winter, and then plant more veggies in the Spring.  The problem with Spring gardens in this area is that our Spring is very short.  Summer hits us before we know it and any cool weather crops get fried before they get a chance to produce very much. I read Four-Season Harvest last year by Eliot Coleman last year and decided to try my hand at his techniques.  He actually grows veggies all year round and he lives in Maine.  I figured if he could succeed in Maine, then I could give it a try in Virginia.  I decided to use row covers to start with and add plastic sheets as the weather got colder.  But with my crazy life, I never got around to adding the plastic.  The process still seemed to work well. The hoops were made with PVC tubing.  I attached the row covers wi

The Vase Makes All The Difference

Remember the vase of flowers from yesterday's post ?  The flowers I set aside to rearrange later? I did get around to rearranging them and I thought I'd show you the changes I made. This vase was full of two sets of wrapped flowers (you know, they come already bunched together, bound with a rubberband, and wrapped with cellophane and a packet of flower food). One set was from the lovely ladies at a church where I spoke, and the other set was from my grandson who thought Honey needed some purple flowers.   When I first put them into a vase, a friend helped me trim the ends and we plopped them into a vase. Then my grandson brought me the second bunch and I just added them to the first.   Throughout the day, I kept looking at the vase and thinking something wasn't right.   The vase was too tall and the flowers were too tall.  Everything was out of proportion.  I decided to take everything apart and start again.  I picked a shorter and wider vase (it's a beautiful pin

Monday Motivation: Organizing The Kitchen

Wow, my kitchen really had a work-out this weekend.  We had a large family lunch on Saturday to celebrate our son's birthday and a visit from our oldest daughter and her family from Boston.  I cooked all day on Friday to make it easier on Saturday when I had a whole house full of company.  We had homemade pork BBQ with homemade BBQ sauce and Carolina vinegar, homemade coleslaw (with homemade mayo), homemade potato salad, and a wonderful homemade chocolate turtle cheese cake for dessert.  The only thing I didn't make from scratch was the sandwich buns. We enjoyed the leftovers after church yesterday and today I'm faced with a disorderly kitchen.  I just didn't have the energy yesterday to put all of our "party" supplies away.  Thankfully, mornings are usually a good time for me physically, so I thought I'd photograph how I whip my kitchen back into shape in a short amount of time.   So, this is what I woke up to this morning.  It's not really too,

Rock-what-you-got Muffin Recipe

Back before Christmas I was given a huge amount of persimmons.  In the area I live in, Fuyu persimmon trees produce fruit in the Fall and a small tree can produce a lot of fruit.  The persimmon fruit looks like an orange tomato, but inside, it is firm like a plum.  It is rather sweet, having a honey like flavor. We like to eat them fresh, but after awhile, our huge supply was more than we could handle.  With what was left, I peeled them and pureed the flesh in the food processor.  I froze the puree in 2 cup batches in freezer bags. One of my favorite ways to use this persimmon puree is to make muffins.  I have a basic muffin recipe that I use and it is very adaptable, allowing for any kind of puree to be used. I've used all kinds of pureed fruits and veggies to make these muffins.  I've used sweet potatoes, pumpkin , apples, pears, bananas, zucchini,squash,blackberries,blueberries, and figs.  I've even used a combination of fruits and veggies to get the 2 required cup

Fresh Decor For Late Winter

Well, cabin fever is beginning to set in.  I've been trapped in the house for a few weeks now and I'm feeling good enough to start rearranging the house.  Hubs never knows what he's going to find when he returns home from work in the evening.  Last month I swung into a little thrift store on my way back from a doctor's appointment.  It's my reward for being a good girl at the doctor's office.  I found a few treasures that made me happy.  Now I have the perfect opportunity to show them off. I like to place my dining room centerpiece on a tray so that it is totally portable.  As this is our only table, we have to be able to access it easily during meal time.  I've had the tray for a number of years and it also came from a thrift store (really, not much in my house was purchased new).  Last month, I found the handmade, flower embellished vase and the miniature creamy colored urn.  I simply added a spray of yellow flowered branches and topped the urn with a

Wrensday: Flower Power

God has blessed me with some amazing friends.  They are much better friends to me than I am to them.  I really don't deserve them! Upon arriving home from the hospital last week, I was greeted with beautiful flowers that had been delivered to the house.  Isn't it amazing how much flowers cheer you up?  Especially on dreary February days.  Of course, I couldn't really appreciate their beauty until the pain meds were out of my system and my eyes could focus properly. The colors of this orchid are beautiful.  Really. . . beautiful. I am blessed.  I really am.

A Different Valentine Present

Because I haven't been able to drive since my surgery, I was at a loss as to how to make Valentine's day special for my husband and son. Since they both love peanuts, I decided to make a special presentation of a bag of peanuts I had in the pantry.  They've been happily nibbling on the peanuts whenever they come through the kitchen.    I set a star shaped bowl from Pottery Barn into a red bowl from Williams-Sonoma.  It happened to fit perfectly.  My guys can grab a peanut from the star bowl and drop the shell into the red bowl without missing a beat. Every few days, I fill the peanut bowl.  When the red bowl is full of shells, I'll empty it into the compost pile near the garden.  My guys were very happy with their Valentine's present this year.  It's just a small token of how much I love them both.

Monday Motivation: Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

I feel like I'm finally back amongst the living this week.  My surgery went well, but as with all surgeries, there was anesthesia and pain medication involved.  For the record, I don't do well with either.  Apparently, during recovery, I was offering all of the hospital staff chicken recipes and housekeeping tips with abandon.  When I got back to the safety of my home, still on pain medication, I recall little of any conversations I had with people.  It seems that I also posted on Facebook and returned a few emails - none of which I remember.  For reasons of safety (for myself) and respect (for others) I decided (with help from Hubs) that I would not work on the computer until all meds were out of my system.  So, now that my body is free of pain medication, I'm eager to get back to having fun.  I promised you a few weeks ago that we would work on organizing the kitchen in February.  Since February is half over, I think it's high time we at least got started.  We


I'll be taking a break for a few days as I prepare for  surgery next week.  A lot is happening and it's happening quickly.  I'll be having my gallbladder removed on Monday in preparation for my kidney transplant in a few months.  The last 7 days have been a hectic time of lab work, doctor's appointments, and preparing presentations for women's groups.  I'm also training someone to take over one of my jobs.  It's a crazy time, but I'm reminded that I'm in good hands.  I'm . . . (Click here to read about this picture) I'd appreciate your prayers for me and my family during this time.  I'll be resting in the fact that God is in control.  Hopefully I'll get back to work crafting, sewing and blogging soon.  I'll miss all of you!