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Showing posts from March, 2011

How To Make A Quick Baby Gift From An Upcycled Cabinet Door

I wanted to make a baby gift for a friend, but didn't have a lot of money to spend (I know, what's new). I was inspired by Heather's cabinet door trays and decided to make a name plaque for the new baby. First, I took a trip to my local Habitat For Humanity Re-store where I purchased a white cabinet door.  This door looked like it had been a business's sample door because it had never had any hardware attached to it.  Then, I turned to my stash of Dollar Store wall vinyl stickers.   The baby's name is Hope, so I lucked out that one of the stickers had the word "hope" in it.  I centered the sticker on the front of the cabinet door and added a few butterfly stickers that were also from the sticker sheet.  To make it possible to hang on a wall, I turned it over and attached a small toothed hanger, centering it at the top of the plaque.  *Make sure to double check which end is the "top" before hammering in the nails. I really wante

Wrensday: Looking Forward To Planting Time

I transplanted my veggie plants from seed starting trays into real pots last week.  I also moved them into the garage and under the grow lights.  They are making good progress and should be ready to plant out in the garden as soon as warm weather decides to stay.  It is going to stay, isn't it?

Is It Called Nesting Even When You're Not Expecting A Baby?

I've been nesting a lot recently. Cleaning out closets, cabinets, and drawers. Washing windows, scrubbing floors, polishing furniture. Rearranging furniture, swapping out accessories, fluffing pillows. Hugging people, saying "I love you", and rejoicing in God's blessing. Why? Because 2 weeks from today, I'll be getting a second chance at life. You could call it a "New Birth".  I'll be getting the gift of a new kidney from a dear friend.  In two weeks, at this same hour, we will both be in side-by-side operating rooms.  My friend will be in the "giving" room and I'll be in the "receiving" room.  Her generous gift will allow me to live a more normal life.  I will no  longer sleep for hours at a time.  I will be able to run after my grandchildren.  I will be able to sing praise songs and clap my hands at the same time without being exhausted.  When my surgeon asked the two of us if we had any concerns about the surge

Monday Motivation: How To Keep Your Bathroom Clean

You've worked hard all month to get your bathroom organized. First, you took inventory of how your bathroom functions . Then, you organized the medicine cabinet . Then, you cleaned out the cabinets and drawers . Now that everything is purged and organized, how do you clean it and keep it that way?                                                                   I think the secret to a clean bathroom is to do it frequently.  Of course, no one wants to hear that, but the truth of the matter is that a little bit of mess is easier to clean than a whole lotta mess.  Follow me? Here are some tips to help you make the task more manageable:      1.   Keep cleaning supplies handy.  Nothing slows momentum quicker than having to retrieve cleaning supplies from another room.  I keep a roll of paper towels, a bottle of Sparkle cleaner , a canister of Borax , and a sponge under each bathroom sink in my home.  I also have a toilet brush in a covered container, tucked be

Two Week Menu: March 27- April 9, 2011

Oops.  I should have posted this yesterday, but sleep took over my weary body again.  Please forgive me the delay. Sunday, March 27:   No kids!  Date with Hubs. Monday, March 28:   Pasta E Fagioli (leftover from last week),  homemade Italian bread Tuesday, March 29:   Veggie Quiche, fruit salad, pumpkin muffins Wednesday, March 30:   Tuna burgers, spinach salad, baked potato Thursday,  March 31:   Enchiladas Suizas (make triple batch - one to eat, one for another family, and one to  freeze for a future meal), green salad Friday, April 1:   Chicken and barley bake, collard greens Saturday, April 2:   Homemade veggie pizza, brussel sprouts Sunday, April 3:   Family Birthday Celebration:  Kielbasa with sauerkraut and apples, cornbread, roasted green beans, birthday cheesecake Monday, April 4:   Corn and potato chowder, popovers, orange wedges Tuesday, April 5:   Salmon, quinoa, sugar snap peas Wednesday, April 6:   Venison meatballs with red sauce, whole wheat pasta, spinach

Wrensday: New Residents At The Wren

My how the times have changed. A few years ago when we first got chickens we called them "members of the family" and  I set about to name them. How did we pick their names?  Well I decided to name them after our grandmothers:  Gwennie, Gertie, Bertie, and Elsie (after Gwen, Gertrude, Bertha, and Elsie Marie) Let me just tell you - don't name your chickens after your grandmothers.  If you do, you will be doubly horrified when a fox sneaks in and eats them.  I'm just sayin'! We only half learned our lesson the next time and named the chickens, but not after family members. We still have two of that batch (Suzie and Reba) (Our goats, Gus and Bubba are a little afraid of the chickens.  See how they climb up on their platform when the chickens roam near their pen?)   This time, we ordered 5 peeps and they will not have names.  We will only refer to them as egg layers. They are really cute and fluffy and make the sweetest noises - but  I. Will. Not. Name. Them

A Trick To Clean Really Dirty Cookie Sheets

I tried to think of a fun way to title this post, but I kept coming back to the idea of just stating the facts.  A Trick To Clean Really Dirty Cookie Sheets. I guess I have to humble myself and show you what I mess I had on my hands. I'm so embarrassed.    It all started around the holidays.  Several heavy baking days without scouring them caused a build up  of. . . I'm not sure what. My little green scrubby just couldn't handle the job.  I've been using parchment paper in the mean time so that I'm not cooking on the surface.  I decided that it was time to pull out the big guns. . . yes, my bottle of ammonia and a kitchen garbage bag.  I was waiting for a warm, sunny day to make this trick most effective. The process is pretty simple.  You put your cookie sheets into the bag, pour 1/2 cup or more into the bag and seal it shut. Let it sit all day in the sun.  In late afternoon, carefully open the bag (don't breath in the fumes) and take out the pans.

Monday Motivation: Organizing Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers

In most bathrooms that I've helped organize and stage, storage has been a problem.  It seems that many bathrooms are built without thought to where one should store one's "jams and jellies" (as Candice Olsen calls them).  In addition to lack of storage, most of us hoard keep too many supplies in our bathrooms.  What are we to do?  Get creative! I've had to get very creative in our current home when it comes to storing our necessities.  In our main bathroom, we don't have drawers, shelves, or medicine cabinets.  To keep our counters easy to clean, I like to keep most items tucked away.  Here's where I keep our toothbrushes, toothpaste, dixie cups, and jewelry cleaner.  For directions on how to make a canning jar soap dispenser, check this blog post. The jar of jewelry cleaner fits perfectly in the left drawer, a small stack up cups in the right drawer, and toobrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss in the bottom drawer.  My meds are currently in a ceram

It's Seed Planting Time

I've been taking care of some babies. They are just about ready to head off into the real world. I took these pics just last week and now all of the seeds have sprouted and the plants have doubled in size.  I'll be moving them out to the garage to live under the grow lights. I reuse the seed starter trays every year, filling them with a non-soil seed starter.  I keep them up on the third floor window seat because it is toasty warm up there in the sunshine. This year I planted all heirloom seeds that I purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( ) Their catalog is so beautiful that I almost drool while reading it.  I picked veggies that will grow well in our hot, humid Summer. This year I'm growing: Onion:  Red Creole Cucumber:  Dib Daub Tomato:  Big Month Tomato:  Beefsteak Tomato:   Marglobe Supreme Pepper:  Emerald Giant I'm also growing greenbeans, sugar snap peas, potatoes, leeks, and green onions that I got from a local garden center.  I

The Lazy Person's Way To Build A Vegetable Garden

We were blessed to have several raised garden beds on our property when we purchased it.  Sure, they were full of weeds, but the foundations were there and that is the hardest job to do.  We've been talking about adding onto the garden for a few years and planned to do it this past fall (the best time) but between our daughter's wedding (in our yard), the death of my sweet MIL, and an early onset of freezing weather, we never started the project. A few weeks ago, we decided that we would put in a modified version of the raised bed - a concept called "Lasagna Gardening".   We've done this process several times around our yard when planting flower gardens.  It works very well and involves NO DIGGING! Lasagna gardening basically layers compost ingredients and then covers them to enrich the soil, enabling you to plant through the cover and into the soil.  Usually, the process involves removing sod before doing the layering.  Because we're lazy creative, we us

Wrensday: Yellow Springtime

I love to plant yellow flowers because they make such an impact when viewed either up close or far away. These Johnny Jump-ups will soon tumble over the edges of the window box. Daffodils seem to shout "Spring is here"! The Carolina Jessamine blooms over half of the year in my sheltered courtyard.  The flowers seem delicate, but sometimes bloom while covered with snow. Upon further inspection, a little bird's nest was discovered.  I'll have to keep my eyes open to see what type of bird built it. The Johnny Jump-ups by the front porch show off next to the red Camillias.  The Forsythia is a beautiful backdrop to the pink Camilias and our wonderful American flag. More yellow Johnny Jump-ups fill a pot in an old wheel barrow in the middle of the gravel driveway. Reba, one of our free ranging chickens, checks for bugs near the front light pole.  Now that she's finished molting, her new feathers are really beautiful.  (just for the record - molting chi