Friday, December 4, 2009
Then came the reality that my tastes have changed quite a bit from the 22 year old, still in college, 90's bride that I was with lots of jewel tones like forest green, burgundy, and navy blue in my color palette.
Next comes children. Need I say more? I didn't have that much in the way of nice furniture, housewares and such to begin with, but what little I had quickly got trashed - some literally, some figuratively. Case in point: I have always liked Dansk dinnerware and flatware. I find it to be simple and elegant with clean lines and, for the most part, tasteful colors. I had had my eye on a flatware pattern called Solara, but at almost almost $30 for a 5 piece place setting it was a little out of my price range. Imagine my delight when a few years ago while I was perusing Costco (after all, all things good come from Costco) and happened upon a 45 piece Dansk 18/10 dinnerware set for around $50 that was very similar to Solara. I love having a spoon that I can scoop ice cream with! It was all fine and good until I started noticing that pieces were disappearing. In fact, you might say that I had an out of body experience when I realized that pieces were missing. I went a little crazy....
Which brings me to the reason for my rambling. My mother suggested that I try a company called Replacements.com. After much searching I found my pattern, and would have purchased from them had it not been for Ebay. I love Ebay! It just so happened that I found a couple of sellers who had the pieces that I needed and voila! I'm back to a complete set. It cost me almost as much for the replacements as it did for the entire set, but that's beside the point.
The moral of the story is, don't let your children clear the table if you're using your good quality flatware.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Card: Glitter Cards - DCWV
Cardstock: Stampin' Up, Bazzill, Georgia Pacific
Dies: Cuttlebug and Quickutz
Embossing Folder: Cuttlebug
Embellishments: White organdy ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter, assorted gems
Monday, November 16, 2009
So what do you do when you're trying to use the oats and wheat in your food storage and you don't particularly like getting up at the crack of dawn to prepare breakfast for your family?
Prepare breakfast the night before!
I have found the most yummy recipe for crockpot oatmeal at one of my favorite food storage websites:
This makes a really big batch of oatmeal, so if you don't need that much you can either refrigerate leftovers and just reheat with some milk later, or you can try a slightly modified, scaled down version that I use. Personally, I didn't see the point of leaving the crockpot on all night since I have a handy dandy timer that I could program and plug the crockpot into. Here's my version:
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (you can't use regular or instant because they cook too fast and you would have cement in the morning)
4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup powdered milk (and they'll never know it's in there)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
To be added in the morning:
Brown sugar to taste
Toasted, chopped almonds
Put all ingredients into a 3-4 quart crockpot set on Low, and set your timer to be on for 3 hours (mine goes on at 4 am and off at 7 am). In the morning, stir, and sprinkle with brown sugar and toasted almonds. YUM! Serves 5-6. Oh, and if you want an extra easy clean up, butter the crockpot lightly before adding all the ingredients. Butter makes it better, right?
If you don't have a timer, add 1/2 to 1 cup of extra water and turn your crockpot on to low at bedtime.
I have tried this with cracked wheat too, although I'm still perfecting that recipe.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This is a recipe file that I made as a wedding gift. It was made using a 4 x 6 chipboard calendar from Maya Road. Chipboard is basically a fancy name for (non-corrugated) cardboard and it certainly isn't anything new, but I haven't really appreciated all the fun stuff you could do with it until now. And Maya Road has way more than just chipboard - lots of great products and ideas. Check them out!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Cleaning is a dirty (ha ha) job, so thank goodness for tools that can make it easier.
Monday, October 26, 2009
So, what do I do when it's my week to blog about the joys of domestic life but I'm not really feeling it?
I'm such an all or nothing person. Sometimes I'm really domestic and organized with my lists and meals planned out and at other times, I do nothing. Like this past week. I left the dishes in the sink. We ate out twice because the dinner hour was too fast approaching and I had made no preparations. There's dust everywhere in the house because of our recent remodeling project. And what do I want to do about it? Read my book. And maybe play around in my sewing room (I guess that's sort of domestic) or watch season 5 of Project Runway (I'm pretty sure that's domestic too).
So that's how it is. The good news is, it's only 3:15 pm here. I still have time to redeem myself. Maybe I'll go fix dinner....
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I went to a book release party recently for the wife of one of my husband's colleagues: 101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes, by Wendy Paul. Wendy has all kinds of fun and easy recipes for yummy cupcakes, all made using cake mixes! Wendy also has a great blog that you can visit here. The party guests were invited to create a cupcake recipe of their own, and the kids and I had all kinds of fun coming up with cool cupcake recipes. I went with a Toasted Almond Fudge cupcake, which was a chocolate fudge cupcake filled chocolate ganache, and frosted with almond buttercream and topped with toffee almonds and chocolate shavings.
In the spirit of all things cupcake, I created this card.
Stamp: Hero Arts
Cardstock: Bazzill and Stampin' Up!
Embossing folder: Cuttlebug
Brads: Doodlebug Designs
Markers: Copic Ciao
Glitter: Stampin' Up!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Back to Andrea's turn...
Autumn to me means so many things: beautiful colors, the smell of the falling leaves, a crisp bite in the air, harvest time, pumpkins, warm sweaters, hay rides, apples. There must be something magical in the air when your child comes in and asks if they can rake the leaves.
I love the community that I live in because I am surrounded by apple orchards and have lots of varieties of fresh apples right at my fingertips. What I love, maybe even more, is apple cider. Last week we made our first trip of the season to Farnsworth Farms and bought 2 gallons of unpasteurized apple cider. YUM! And since it's unpasteurized you have to drink it quickly because you wouldn't want all that fresh goodness getting too happy and fermenting. This cider mill was a great find thanks to one of my favorite housemuffin websites:
pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and (dare I say) Christmas tree farms and lots. Check it out!
Friday, October 16, 2009
- 1 roll toilet paper
- orange square of fabric (2ox20 ish. Mine is 22x22 and plenty big)
- bit of rafia
- paper lunch sack
- torn strip of green fabric (roughly 2x8)
Set your toilet paper in middle. Depending how thick your roll is, is how big your pumpkin will be!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Today I'm busy wrapping up the end of my gardening season. I've already plucked all my tomato plants out of the ground and brought in the last clinging tomatoes (we already had our first freeze!). I've got them in boxes hoping they're far enough along that they'll ripen, or else it's green tomato salsa for me! But to be honest, I am so done canning this year. I didn't get quite as much canned as Andrea (I think I only did about 100 jars--mostly tomatoes) but the thought of getting out all the gear--strainers, and stockpots, and jars, canners... ugh. I've got more ripe tomatoes sitting on my counter that I've neglected a bit too long. Oops! Into the compost pile! All right, it's canning time for me!
And just in case your tomatoes don't ripen, there's tons of recipes for green tomatoes also at Tipnut. I might be testing these out!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
- The recipes are rated, so you don't have to worry about using a dud. And you can actually go through and read the reviews written by other cooks so you can get ideas on how to improve the recipe, or a pitfall to avoid. You can also rate the recipes too!
- The ingredient search: I LOVE THIS! I have literally plugged in ingredients that I needed to use up and seen what kinds of recipes came up. Sometimes I know what kind of recipe I am looking for and just need to find one that has a certain ingredient, and maybe one that doesn't have another. You can search for ingredients that you want to include and exclude. This would be a great feature to use if you have food allergies.
- Nutritional information: A lot of the recipes also have nutritional information provided. This is fabulous for people who are counting their calories, or needing to watch their sodium intake.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
What could be more natural than for me to combine my favorite season with my paper fetish?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Emily and I have both been canning up a storm the past few weeks, and she asked me yesterday how many bottles I had canned. I honestly had no idea, so I decided while the latest batch of applesauce was in the steam canner that I would take inventory. There were 193 bottles! Here's what I have canned this year so far:
- Pears - 7 quarts
- Pear Jam - 13 pints, 5 half pints
- Pear Mincemeat - 3 quarts, 1 pint
- Peaches - 39 quarts
- Peach Jam - 6 pints, 5 half pints
- Peach butter - 7 half pints
- Peach chutney - 4 pints, 4 half pints
- Tomato Salsa - 26 pints, 4 half pints
- Tomatillo Salsa (salsa verde) - 9 pints
- Tomatoes - 7 quarts, 16 pints
- Elderberry Syrup - 4 pints
- Elderberry Jelly - 5 half pints
- Chokecherry Syrup - 4 pints, 1 half pint
- Blackberry Jam - 8 pints, 5 half pints
- Apples - 5 quarts
- Applesauce - 5 quarts
Just for laughs, here is my Top 10 ways that you know you've been doing too much canning (and I'm not admitting anything!) and they are in no particular order:
- If your two year old has watched every DVD in your collection
- If said two year old refuses to eat at the kitchen table anymore because he has eaten so many meals on the couch in front of the TV
- If your 8 year old sends you an email saying that she hopes that I, "have good canning days," and when I'm done could we please do some crafts together?"
- If your house hasn't been properly cleaned in weeks
- If the weatherman says that there's going to be frost, and instead of covering up your beloved heirloom tomato plants you just let them succumb to nature
- If you tell your neighbors that they are welcome to anything in your garden they want, if they will just come and help you do the canning!
- If every horizontal surface in your kitchen is covered in a layer of sugar syrup
- If your husband has been able to sample 4 different varieties of salsa
- If your fingers are burning for days after chopping the peppers used to make the salsa (I know, I know, I'll use gloves next time)
- If your family would never know that you love to cook because you have been feeding them frozen pizza and every other frozen leftover you've been able to find.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Here's my confession: I'm a housemuffin. What is a housemuffin you might ask? I don't know who originally coined the phrase, but I know that I am a housemuffin because I am the daughter of a confessed housemuffin. My mother is one of the most creative, intelligent people I know. My mother sews, cooks, gardens, and is an incredible artist just to name a few of her many talents. She taught me the joys of working with my hands, and perhaps more importantly, home was a place that I wanted to be because of her. Because of her fine example I too am drawn to the "domestic arts". I like to cook for my family, I love to go into my craft room and play, and I love a clean and orderly house - well theoretically, it doesn't happen that often!
I would also like to welcome my good friend and fellow housemuffin, Emily. She is one of the most talented and creative people I know, and I might add, is much more adventurous when it comes to trying new projects than I am. I love reading her blog and can't wait to read her contributions here.
If you don't feel like you have been blessed with talents in the domestic arts, I am here to tell you that they are worth aspiring to! As Emily and I find the divine in our day to day domesticity you will have opportunity to share in our triumphs and failures in everything from crafting to housekeeping to provident living. Here's to finding fulfillment within the walls of our homes!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thanks to a friend's vigilant care, I returned home to find that my garden not only survived but that she had been feeding it steroids! Seriously though, I can't believe how huge everything is, especially my tomatoes! My zucchini and squash plants are ENORMOUS (bush variety, my foot!) and I have already harvested 2 zucchini. I may just have to get the shotgun out yet though because I can see evidence of where some zucchini blossoms have been nibbled off. Those stupid deer!
As you will see from the pictures below, the stars of the show are definitely the tomatoes. I decided to try some heirloom varieties this year and for those who are interested, here are the varieties I am growing: Japanese Black Trifele, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Cuor di Bue, Tigerella, Speckled Roman, Yellow Brandywine, Super Sioux, Italian Heirloom, Hillbilly, Snow White, Cherokee Purple (not sure if that one is heirloom), and Brown Berry. In the future, I won't try and fit 5 tomato plants into these planters because I am going to be hard pressed when it comes to harvesting trying to find all the tomatoes! The tallest is my Yellow Brandywine which is 46 inches tall! I am not the most experienced gardener, but I have never seen tomato plants this size. Now I just need to figure out how I am going to get the tomatoes to grow as big...
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Oh, and now I really want some Copic's. The Bic's worked well enough, but the Copic's have a huge color selection and have much nicer tips so they're easier to work with.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I am SO SICK of winter. This is the view from our back door. In the second picture, in the foreground on the left you will see our poor peach tree - covered in budding blossoms...and snow.
I am reminded of the musical Camelot where King Arthur sings, "The winter is forbidden 'till December, and exits March the 2nd on the dot!" I am dreaming of Camelot right now...
Friday, April 10, 2009
My inspiration, this ribbon:
You may recognize this ribbon from one of my previous projects. I prefer not to fall prey to the latest trends, but I can't help myself! I just love the pink & brown, light blue & brown color combinations. Actually, I think my friend Emily is to blame. I have been loving light blue & brown ever since I saw her baby announcement. So cute!
And I think these are the first stamps that I have been excited about in a really long time. I am just not crazy about the direction that that other stamp company that I used sell for has gone. My sister calls my creations "cutesy" but I prefer to call this style "whimsical". I made the dinosaur card with "Dinosaurs RARRR".
And this is a card that I made a while ago for my new nephew, which I thought was particularly adorable. It's hard to tell from the picture, but those are bottle shaped eyelets in the corners! This is good that I am finally getting into boy mode. Daniel is 2 years old after all, and some day I really would like to do some scrapbooking for him.
This on the other hand has absolutely nothing to do with my creativity, but has everything to do with Samara's. She won the "Seriously Gorgeous" award in the 4th Grade Easter Egg decorating contest today. How's that for some bling!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
One of the indicators for my state of mind is my desire to craft. I feel very strongly that everybody needs to have some sort of creative outlet in their life. For the past couple of months I have really wanted to want to create, but I have literally sat down with supplies in front of me and been TOTALLY uninspired. Well, I think I have found some inspiration! I have a huge paper fetish, so of coarse it involves paper. These are some Easter treat boxes that I have made. You can find the instructions for them here. It's a humble re-start, but hopefully the beginning of creative things to come!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Daniel got a cap gun for Christmas - just look at what the girls taught him:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Here's a quick synopsis:
1/7/09 - flew to Tampa, stayed at a Sheraton where we had to change rooms at midnight because we found bedbugs in our room
1/8/09 - boarded ship, to find out that we were on a floating combination spring break party town/casino. Paul narrowly avoids entering an elevator that a drunk has just urinated in.
1/9/09 - Day at sea. Came down with a horrible head cold
1/10/09 - arrive Cozumel, board a ferry to the mainland, take a bus to Tulum to see Mayan ruins. It was SO hot and humid. Leave Cozumel that evening.
1/11/09 - Day at sea. Almost step in more excrement in the stairwell.
1/12/09 - arrive back in Tampa, debark, go to Aquarium, fly home.
In spite of the above mentioned unfortunate events, I really did have a good time. The people we were with from Paul's office were so much fun! It was really nice to have adults to associate with. The staff on the ship were incredible, the food excellent, and I didn't get sea sick (well, not as bad as I usually do anyway). And our excursion to see the Mayan ruins was a chance of a lifetime. We didn't have anywhere near enough time to spend at Tulum, but our tour guide was fabulous and I learned a lot. Here are some pictures:
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Happy New Year to one and all! Not that I have been particularly consistent with blogging in the first place, but I will most likely be MIA for at least a month. Next week Paul and I are going on an all-expense paid trip including a cruise to Cozumel, something Paul earned at work. I can finally say that I am starting to get excited about going now that I have found someone to watch the kids. The truth is, I got the travel bug out of my system a long time ago and I'm a homebody at heart, plus I get extremely sea sick. So the thought of going on a cruise doesn't hold a whole lot of appeal for me. But Paul earned it so I'm trying to be a good sport. So maybe I'll post some pictures from our trip after we get back.
Within the next week I have to get things ready for the babysitters, cook extra meals and freeze them, and pack for our trip. Then when I get back I have about a week to pack up my house, clean the house, and move. I'm a tad overwhelmed...