Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wonderful Vintage Information


Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations left a comment on my post Mason Jars where I wrote about how I use my Mason jars on my blender. I went to Louise's blog to check it out and she has lots of information about using jars on your blender! I was thrilled to see that she had copied some vintage booklets explaining how to use them properly complete with illustrations and a few recipes. Wow, love that! Thanks Louise for this wonderful look back! Check out her blog yourself; you will love the time savings you get when using your blender this way; with your hardworking Mason jars.
pint widemouth jar with a 4 oz baby bottle inside
One more way I use my Mason jars! I fill my jar about 1/3 to 1/2 with water, heat in microwave for 30 seconds, up to 1 minute and a 1/2, (never more than that!) depending on the beginning temp of the bottle I’m warming. (if it came out of the fridge or not) I carefully place the bottle into the warm water, and one happy baby is soon to be had!

Please note!!! I am always very careful to not have little ones close by when I take things out of the microwave. Be sure not to over heat it as over heated water sometimes can explode when it is moved. Please be safe, and have the kids stay back; don’t hold the baby while you are taking the jar from the microwave either! I only use new microwave safe jars, I don't use yardsale, thrift store finds or vintage jars in the microwave. Ok? Be safe, and not sorry!

Update:
I made a huge mistake and orginally posted the link to Months of Edible Creations blogger as Jesse; but the wonderful, gracious lady who is Months of Edible Creations is in fact, Louise! Wow! I am so sorry about that Louise and thanks for pointing that out to me. Thank you for understanding too!

If you love anything vintage, be sure and check out her blog, it's full of vintage source books, recipes booklets, etc. Great recipes too. You will get a beautiful glimpse back at what our grandmothers and maybe your mother had in their day. I love that!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

A New Painting

Here is the latest painting by local awarding winning artist Tom Haas.

Grand Canyon oil 24x30, by Tom Haas

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? You should go if you haven't been there, it is amazing! I could not imagine the grandeur and the size of it! It is very hard to capture on canvas. Notice how Tom has painted the light on the top of the river canyon walls. Looking at this painting makes me want to see whats just around that bend in the river! Beautiful!

Thanks for sharing it with us Tom! For more information about Tom Haas, his contact info, or to see more of his paintings, see my previous post on Tom.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What Would You Lose?

What if someone broke into your house and stole your computer? What if they took that external hard drive you back everything up on? It would be awful! Horrible! Right? Well, it has happened to someone in our family! Think of all the documents, pictures, legal information, collections of things you wanted to keep; your privacy invaded, personal and financial information in the hands of someone who was uncaring enough about the law or you as a person, to do that!
What about a fire in your home or office, that could be a disaster too. What can you do to protect yourself as much as possible and not lose all your precious pictures and documents? I didn’t know so I decided to find out what could help, should such a situation ever happen. We had our computer crash about 2 years ago and there is one thing I have started doing since then. I email folders of documents and my uploaded pictures to an email account I created just as a storage place online. I have a folder were I save all my new documents to, then after it has several docs in it I email the folder to my storage email address. I do the same thing with my newly uploaded pictures; I upload them to a folder that is named New Uploads, email the folder and contents to my storage email.


After the contents of the folder have been emailed to storage, I then can send each document to where it should be filed on my computer; same with the pictures, they are sent to appropriate folders after emailing to storage. You can overload the folders and will not be able to email them because the content is too large so look out for that especially with pictures. There are several email providers that are free, extra storage may or may not be free. Be sure to check if you will have to buy more storage for your needs.


This email idea was at the suggestion of the computer tech who fixed our computer. I have no idea if anyone else out there recommends it or not. I do know that saving things to cd's and dvd's is also risky because it is not yet known how the quality of your information on these disk will be after a number of years. If you have pictures saved on disk or any other way than an actual photo, beware! They may not be as safe or as archival as you think.  At this link you will really find some valuable information about photo storage, how safe cd's and dvd's are, etc. Here is more info on digital photo storage. Check out this link to see what they have to say about cd and dvd's.


Of course there is always paid online storage with automatic back up systems too and these are great because you don’t have to think about it too much. Just make sure it is password protected which is one of the best ways to protect yourself; have a very strong password for everything. Don’t use things like your address, phone number, birth date, kids or pets names. These are easy things for hackers to figure out. It should be something that is not connected to your daily life at all. Passwords should include upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols and be at least 9 characters long. You really have to think about this password because you don’t want to forget it and not be able to open or login to things. If you have a trusted family member of friend, or even lock box at the bank, maybe they can be a password keeper for you in case you are afraid of forgetting it, though most experts say not to tell anyone.

Here is a link for a review of an online storage solution called Mosy, and another one called Carbonite. I think they are good to use, though right now I'm doing the email thing. Soon we will decide on which company to go with and use an online back up for our computer. It is easier as backup is automatically done, and I will be happier knowing my files and photos are safe.


And by the way, I do not know any of the companies of the sites I have suggested for you to read. I searched online and found them; they seemed to have clear and easily understood info available. That's the only reason I linked to them. I hope they help you too.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Things Are Not Always What They Seem to be

We went to Home Depot the other day, my husband pushing the cart, me trailing along slightly behind. I veered off to the side to ask at the customer service desk about an item I was looking for. My husband hadn’t noticed I wasn’t still following him and kept going, and the answer to the question I asked about was taking longer than it should have. When I finally turned around to follow my husband he was long gone.
I started walking in the direction he was last going, and looking down each aisle as I went.  I passed two women laughing about something. Not finding my husband down the aisles I turned around and headed back the way I had come. The two women were still standing there so I asked them if they had seen a bald gentleman pushing a cart walk by. They looked at each other then asked “Does he have a jean purse in his cart?” “Yes he does” I replied and they burst out laughing again. “He went that way”, they pointed, “we thought he had matched his purse to his outfit perfectly!” I laughed then too getting the joke.
So the next time you see something that seems out of place to you, just remember, there’s another side to the story.


I linked this post at Hobbies on a Budget for her Spring Flower Contest.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Growth Chart Boards

I like to make heirloom quality gifts to give my grand kids. Here is a gift that each one received last Christmas, designed with the personality of each child in mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Money Saving Decor Links


*Join me for my link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.

photo courtesy of Little Lucy Lou, used with permission

I am currently looking for a free curbside old wooden ladder to use as a place to hang garden tools, and to hang and dry herbs and flowers from. There is a picture of one in a laundry room that gave me the idea at Little Lucy Lu. She has more pics and how she made it there. Great idea right?

I love the look of old wood ladders. Here is a link for a few more ideas. If you don't find a use for an old ladder there, you will find one here! Fabulous! The trick is to find an old wooden ladder to use, sometimes the fun is all in the hunt!

**Below are Amazon affiliate links and if you purchase through one of them I may make a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog. 




Look at this great idea for a lamp, it shows you how easy it can be to redo a lamp shade.


Or this one, that takes lamp shades to a whole new place! Think I may try this with my own twist.

Don't be afraid to try new ideas and experiment on your own. When someone is throwing something out, snag it and start your creative juices flowing. What's the worst that can happen? You can throw it out too if it just doesn't work out.


*Join me for my link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Day of School Photo Memory Cards

My oldest grand daughter, Anne, will be starting kindergarten in a few days. She went to pre school so she knows what it’s all about. Grace will be attending pre school, and her mommy will be her teacher for this year. I want them to know that Gramma and Papa will miss them at our house.

Anne will be attending a brand new school where she doesn’t know anyone. She makes friends easily, but I know she will be lonely for the rest of us, and maybe a little afraid. I want to help them both remember we are thinking of them, so I am making them photo memory cards to take with them.




The cards will have pictures of Gramma and Papa (of course), Mom and Dad, Aunts and Uncles, and fun times with the cousins.


These photo memory cards are made the same way I made the Scavenger Hunt Chore Cards, except that they are wallet photo size. I would have covered them with clear contact paper, but I was out of it; so I used the chore card method. There are pictures on both sides of the cards. I put a hole in the top of each card with ribbons attached; they can be tied together or they can tie them onto backpacks, lunch boxes, etc; right there to remind them how much they are loved!



This is the picture that I think Anne will like the best. Her new baby sister who she is very attached to. This one I made from an actual photograph rather than a computer print out version. While the quality of the picture is nice, it curled some when I was making it. I don't expect these Photo cards to last a long time, just long enough for them to get settled into school with love, from Gramma.

P.S. If you make these or the chore cards with the acrylic medium, it will take up to several days to completely dry depending on the level of humidity were you live. Plan ahead for back to school!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Family Day at Harvest Time

A couple of years ago I was eager to start having family gatherings that my grand kids could take part in. Something more than just getting together for family dinners and birthdays; something centered around family, and what being a family means. I wanted to create a strong sense of belonging to one another, a knowledge of how we came to be together, and a knowledge of our unique history as a family.


You have to understand that I was starting all this from scratch. This was not a tradition passed down to me, though my family did have some pretty strong roots. I had a vague sense of what we should be as a whole, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. I thought that if I could get us all together and involved in activities, tell them a little family history in a fun way, that would be a good starting place. So I began what I called Family Days, and the first one was at Harvest time. We now have Family Days that are centered around different themes through out the year. I am careful not to overload everyones busy schedules by taking into account family birthdays and not scheduling Family Days at busy times.

Our first Family Harvest Day was in 2009; and my two oldest grand kids were three years old. (read the About Me page for an explanation of my many grand kids under age five) I only invited the ladies and the kids of the family, the only man there was Papa who was needed as an assistant at times during the scarecrow construction. Our first Harvest Day we made scarecrows with the kids, and I served lunch that was made from family recipes. A bread recipe from my grandmother, a fruit salad recipe from my mother, and a chicken salad recipe that was mine. I used vintage table clothes and napkins. It all turned out great; the kids needed a lot of help of course at their age with the scarecrow building. We used real straw and they had more fun throwing it and playing in it than they did making the scarecrows. Boy oh boy did we have itchy kids afterwards! And I was vacuuming up straw bits that were in their hair and clothes that had fallen off in the house for days after. We use plastic store bags now to stuff the scarecrows, soooo much better!

Last year, 2010, we had Family Harvest Day again and it was wonderful! Actually, that is how this blog got started, because of all the request for pictures and recipes of the day. (again, read the About Me page to see what happened) We had all our family there this time ( men too), and a few friends with small children. Everyone was encouraged to dress for a day on the farm and to come with clothing they had chosen for their family’s scarecrow that they would be making.




Papa and I provided the inner support structure made days before, and the scarecrows head also made by me before hand. We also had a few other activities that day around the theme of Harvest, like a pumpkin toss, and pin the nose on the pumpkin. For the pumpkin toss I purchased three very small real pumpkins for them to use. The oldest kids were four then, so we keep the activities age appropriate and short.




The ‘pin the nose on the pumpkin’ game was made from poster board and construction paper with two sided tape on the back of paper triangles for the nose. We used bandanas as a blind fold for this game.




The food for Family Harvest Day 2011 was all cooked by me, also a ‘down on the farm at harvest time’ menu. I chose Chicken Salad again because it is mostly enjoyed by everyone, kids too, and can be made ahead of time. I roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and included green beans. I made Irish Soda Bread served with home made honey butter. Dessert was dutch apple pie baked and served in half pint Mason jars.  I also had a pitcher of buttermilk and a Shoo Fly Pie for everyone to sample, if I could get them to!




I like to use and have ‘real’ things instead of artificial, but I am also very conservative with money, you know, frugal, tightwad, penny pincher? So, I did buy artificial decorative items to go with the harvest theme, and you can be sure I saved them to use again this year. I gave in though on using real pumpkins because I thought I would later make pumpkin pies from them. That’s another story for another day. At our second Harvest Day, because the amount of people attending was beyond what we had for ‘real’ service items, we used disposable plates, cups, etc.


the 'scare' security crew reporting for duty

My plans for future Family Harvest Days include having enough flatware to go around, and hopefully at least most of the plates and drinking glasses needed. It can be stored and used over and over for any family day gatherings we have. I have purchased some flatware at a thrift store already, and now I’m trying to decide if I want to have ceramic plates, enamelware plates or use pie pans instead of plates. I will probably use..... guess what; Mason jars, for drinks! The fun thing about the theme of Harvest is that nothing has to match giving it an even more down on the farm feel, and can be as serviceable as a pie pan for a plate. I am sticking with a down on the farm feel of everything I do for the day. I want it to be a fun experience for all; something that takes attendees out of their usual status quo and brings the farm life to them.


Currently I am planning this year’s menu, games and activities, and looking for a location because my place is way too small. I have sent out the first of several e-mails to everyone attending with the expected date of Family Harvest Day, and to remind them to save their plastic grocery bags to stuff the scarecrows with. It takes a LOT of plastic bags! I am expecting more than 50 people to attend this year! Coming up I will be posting;
·         My Shoo Fly Pie recipe.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Way I Saving Time Cooking

I really hate cleaning a messy greasy stove after frying meat. One way I help myself out is by cooking a big batch of hamburger all at the same time and freezing it in batches to use later. This saves clean up and the time it takes to clean up. It saves energy, not using gas to cook  multiple times; and A/C cooling cost because of the added heat burden in the house. Cooking hamburger in big batches really saves time in meal preparation too. One less step when you are cooking dinner.
As an example, if I wanted to make pasta for dinner, I would put my thawed cooked burger in a sauce pan, heat gently then add my pasta sauce. No skillet to hand wash, my sauce pan will go in the dishwasher and clean just fine in there.

When I find a good sale on hamburger I buy enough for several meals. Some of the meat I freeze raw wrapped in foil, the rest is frozen after cooking. I cook the hamburger, careful not to over cook it, which can result in dry meat in your dishes later; Then I fill my mason jars in serving sizes that works for us, and freeze them for future use. I try to cook this way when I am already involved in preparing a meal. It doesn't take that more effort to cook the extra meat.

I take a jar out of the freezer the night before I will need it, and put it in the fridge. If it isn’t thawed enough when I need to use it, I finish thawing carefully in the microwave, lid off of course!
A canning funnel helps fill your jars. Don’t pack too tightly so there is room for expansion during freezing, and leave room at the top. I always freeze food in my jars with the lids a little on the loose side, then tighten them later after they are frozen just to be safe.

This blue painter’s tape ( I use this tape for everything) I get at the hardware store for labels on my mason jars. It comes off easily after you have used it. By the way, the lids on mason jars are reusable if you have not gone through the heat canning process with them. Use only brand new lids if you are canning your foods.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dinosaurs

Playing with her toy dinosaurs, Grace (4 yrs old) just said, "I think Jesus made dinosaurs because He knew how much I would love them."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thrift Store Find

Look what I found at my local Thrift store! I stopped to drop off some donations and went inside for a quick look. It was 1/2 off housewares day. This sweet little tea set was $5, making it $2.50 with the discount. I have been looking for just the right set for my kiddos, and this is it! I usually find better deals at little neighborhood thrift stores than I do at the big chain stores you see everywhere.



It is missing the lid to the tea pot, and the sugar bowl. But we don't mind because it is for play anyway. Oh, and perfect price too! I prefer real to plastic any day. I don't have ceramic tile floors so no worries with breakage and safety. Can't wait for our first tea party with this new set!