Monday, April 23, 2012

What's Up?

 listening  to David Bowie during dinner. I look around and there is evidence of chair dancing all around. Especially Miss Olivia. Bowie is the musical savior.
 hoping I can finally get myself to majorly attack some seriously cluttered, o.k., dangerously cluttered sections of my home.
 feeling grateful that last week is over. It was a baaaaaad week and I am trying to move away from the crappy mood that it draped me in.
 seeing my awesome Husband's positive influence in my children more and more. And I love it.
 noticing that my "worm tea" has been doing my plants all kinds of good. My one plant is some type of geranium. My guys gave it to me a few years ago. I almost killed it, but my vermicompost tea has rejuvenated it and it is about to bloom! I didn't even remember what color it was, so this is exciting!
 wondering what I should do about my dumb "smart"phone. It acts a fool, even though I had it replaced with a new one. Sometimes I have no dial pad, sometimes I do. Sometimes I am unable to hang up, Sometimes I can. Argh.
 dreaming of tropical sunsets thanks to my daughter's latest creative endeavor 

 loving that my Sister-in-love sent out a belly shot! She lives far away, so I don't get to check in with her face to face. She is a gorgeous Mama-to-be(e) (tee,hee, inside joke!) And I am so happy for her! And my bro-in-love too, of course, can't forget the Daddy :)
 thinking About the world's smallest socks that I am currently knitting for my very first niece or nephew!
 promising to switch to buying only organic apples. Apples can be sprayed as many as 35 times with pesticide before picking. My family loves apples, so it is time. Now I have to find a local organic orchard for autumnal adventures too.
making a fresh batch of yogurt, as I sleep. In the A.M., I will simply pop it in the fridge. Love it.
 anticipating my baby Sister's birthday which is coming up very soon!
 feeling inspired by all the making going on around here. I've been knitting, Matt has been woodworking and designing some t-shirts for the kids. Jas has been designing new nail masterpieces. Vlad is constantly building new Heroes with the giant lot of Bionocles we scored on Craigslist. Wolf has been writing comics. Busy, busy.
changing some habits around these parts. I have been experimenting in the kitchen with switching to bar soap instead of liquid dish soap. It has been pretty successful. We use a lot less soap, less packaging, less cost. I have been using my trusty Kirk's coconut castile soap,because it lathers a lot and rinses easily. I am going to try making my own coconut soap to see if it lathers as well. My olive oil soap is a success! We are actively using it. It doesn't lather much, but leaves a squeaky clean feeling. Mild and effective, perfect. Also, my homemade dishwasher detergent seems to be working great too!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

These are a few of my favorite things...

I made a recipe from real Simple magazine tonight and it was sooooooooo good! Lemon creme pie with ginger snap crust. Super easy and totally worth every last calorie.

Wiggling loose teeth. I remember constantly wiggling my teeth when I was little. I would twist them, jiggle them, intimidate them with whole apples. Not my Wolfie. Wolf has 3 loose teeth and will not wiggle them. N-O. No. He will not. Don't ask.

I love a good tree lawn treasure. I simply cannot resist sturdy chairs, even if they need a little, ahem, cosmetic surgery. But what I really love is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I rescued this chair from the trash during a rain storm. This baby was the perfect project to try my paint out on. I gave it a good scrubbing, but did not sand it. At all. Can I get a hallelujah? Anyone that has sanded something with spindles or cut outs, or other nice features knows it is a ton of work. I loved skipping this part. <3

I let Matt loose with my can of ASCP in emperor's silk and some dark wax. He did a fantastic job and we LOVE the finish from the wax as opposed to polyurethane.  This chair is officially a beauty. I threw on a cushion I made from a vintage tea towel. I can't wait to try out some of Annie's other colors. 

I finally checked out the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Fun! I bought this truly unique lamp (more on that later). I will definitely have to head over there often, because you never know what you will find.

The boys and I made our own dishwasher detergent, finally. My Sister, Megs, sent me a recipe eons ago from Lady with the Red Rocker. But, I just had not gotten around to it. I washed my first load and was impressed! I'll need to monitor it at first to see how it continues, but so far, so good!

We walked to the store to get some lemons this afternoon, in the rain. Everyone had an umbrella. It was lovely! I fully recommend a bubble umbrella. You go inside it and look out through it. This keeps you so much drier. Plus, you look weird. Ergo, we like 'em.

Enjoy your weekend too!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Woman vs. Waffle Iron

     I was very lucky to receive a vintage cast iron waffle iron from my sweet, generous husband this Christmas. Trouble was, being vintage, there were a few spots of rust. So, I got to it, with a wire brush, steel wool, laser beams shooting out of my eyes...whatever I could do to get that rust off. Turns out, reseasoning a waffle iron is WAY different from reseasoning a nice flat skillet. After the clean up, I then tried to reseason and got a craptastic, uneven finish. In a brilliant move that must be the sign of some yet undiscovered mental illness, I tried to make waffles anyway. Stuck to that waffle iron like you wouldn't believe. I somehow scrubbed and reseasoned a few more times and proceeded to get not a single waffle because they  stuck to that iron like that was a full-time job. So, I put it in the oven on the self-cleaning mode and made everything in my house smell like an old McDonald's uniform. But, I got it so clean....and even rustier. poo.


I wire brushed it best I could and decided I was NOT going out like this. I reseasoned the beast, many many times by coating it lightly in crisco and baking it at 400 degrees for 2 hrs at a time. Then I would leave it to cool overnight. I'm not sure how many times I did this, but it kept us warm and toasty for the rest of the winter. Finally, the irons were as black as my soul and water beaded up on them, unlike my soul, which is porous and fairly absorbent. 

 I dared the impossible. I got it heated up, I sprayed it with canola oil spray. I poured the batter. I waited for the longest 3 minutes of my life (1 1/2 minutes each side). I bravely opened it... and flowers bloomed, violins sang, an angel wept, and a delicious golden waffle fell out. Fell out! I smothered it in real butter and blueberry syrup and I devoured it. 
     Best f@#$%ing waffle I ever had. 

     I will now share the recipe I use. I have this written on a cute little strawberry recipe card that I wrote out when I was a kid. Back then, I would make these for my 5 siblings. I made a lot of these. I have changed to using whole wheat flour and they are better than ever.
                                                          Whole Wheat Waffles
(makes 8 or so waffles)
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups wholewheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.

1. Beat eggs
2. add milk, oil, powder, soda and salt and beat some more.
3. add flour and stir until mixed (small lumps are okey-dokey don't over mix)
4. pour into hot, oiled waffle iron and pray to personal god of choice that it comes out :)
5. Enjoy!

Well, I may as well include my Pancake recipe. I usually double this one for a family of four.

Whole Wheat Hotcakes
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1. beat egg
2. add milk, oil, sugar, powder, soda and salt and beat again
3. add flour and stir until mixed, lumps are not a problem, just don't over mix.
4. pour into hot, oiled skillet. When bubbled, flip that flapjack.
5. Enjoy!

Both of these freeze well, just cool leftovers and put in a freezer bag with waxed paper between. The waffles can be put frozen into the toaster the same way you do with store bought waffles. I usually microwave the pancakes at 50-75% power for 30 second intervals, flipping them so they don't get hard. These are great to have on hand for something quick to offer the kids, or better yet, yourself  :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Current Events and Stuff

:: We made a most excellent Pea(B-n-J)cock sandwich.
Vladdie hunts the elusive Pea(B-n-J)cock
:: We visited the new Mythical Creatures exhibit at the Cleveland Natural History Museum with some wonderful friends!
A really nice collection of vintage Japanese vinyl at the exhibit, which included many family favorites like Ultraman, Gamera and Gojira.

Enjoying the outdoor animal exhibits with friends
:: Eggshellland!!! This is a local family's labor of love. They create this every year out of real eggs!


Mario and Luigi, aka Vlad and Wolf

:: Garbage-picking  Treelawn treasure hunting
We discovered an old circa '70's tv wooden frame bound for the dump. It had drawers at the bottom that still worked beautifully. Matt used a previously rescued very old solid wood door to create shelves on it. He painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint (emperor's silk) and a dark wax. It now houses our computer, printer and video games. Matt is AWESOME!
After adding two shelves
extreme close up of door-into-shelf

:: Easter egg hunt with Mr. P!

Ollie Bean is sooooo spoiled! She gets Papa P to dangle her over the eggs Mission Impossible style so she can get her egg! Boy does she love him! She chases him everywhere!
Wolf and Olivia meet the E.B. but Vlad refuses to sit on his lap, claiming it is "Frank" from Donnie Darko. Just kidding.

The generous hosts gave the boys baskets with tons of candy. Vladdie treated himself  to a fresh blue moustache.

:: Easter!

We dyed our eggs in turquoise, apricot, green apple and amethyst. Fancy, I know, but that's how we roll.

I went out on Easter morning and cut some flowers from the yard.  Our kitchen smells wonderful! Between the flowers, fresh baked bread, horseradish and home made veggie dogs, my sniffer was in Heaven! We had some wonderful dinner companions as well, so it was delightful.

:: Matt's birthday!  
     First we went shopping at Lehman's, where Matt received a case of Moxie! And the boys were put in a cell so that we could shop more leisurely. Just kidding, but they should totally think about offering that!

Ollie Bean gets right into the mix with her Uncles now. 
I see you, Uncle Vladdie!
 Then it was off to a late lunch at Des Dutch Essenhaus, a family favorite. Salad wagon, fresh bread, amish coma.

After a brief stop at a local Shreve thrift store (I scored a milk glass fruit bowl, canning funnel and retro school desk! yeehaw!) we headed home. There were homemade cards proudly delivered to birthday Daddy and of course, Japanese toys and Legos! 

Whew! What a whirlwind these past few days have been! But so nice. I love times like these because we are reminded of how many special people we share our lives with. Thank you everyone for an amazing weekend!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's that time of the year again!

Lilacs are beginning to bloom at Hoffmanhaus!