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How I do

1 Aug

This weekend I co-hosted my first shower (congrats Margo!). Despite blowing the fuse in my apartment about 2 hours before the party, everything went smoothly, and it turned out to be so much fun.

I would like to take this moment, after having eaten another, to compliment myself on the absolutely delicious cupcakes I made from scratch (from here: http://bakelovenotwar.co.za/2011/03/04/cupcake-recipe/ except I doubled it and added 2-ish teaspoons of Watson’s vanilla extract; I say 2-ish because let’s be honest, I just dumped the bottle over the bowl).

However, this is how some of them looked, not that I judge, because, just like people, it’s the inside that counts:

It was like an explosion of cupcake up in here.

And I would also like to give a shout out to my talented mother who so adroitly made two gorgeous bouquets from flowers I got at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market (after she judged me for saying I would’ve put the flowers in a vase how they were arranged by the growers):

Thanks for coming, everyone! And to those of you who haven’t experienced my cupcakes, oh, you will…

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Summer Wrap-up!

21 Nov

First gardening summer is over, and there are definitely things that I plan on doing differently last year. Some of which I’ve already started on (see here).

Here’s what went wrong:

  1. I planted approximately 30 radish plants. They all seeded and the leaves looked pretty good, but there were zero radish roots, which, you know, if what you eat on a radish. Sad.
  2. My lettuce plants either didn’t grow at all, or were so puny I didn’t even bother picking and eating them. Seriously puny.
  3. I planted a couple different kinds of flower seeds. None of them seeded at all.
  4. The bees took over my compost pile.

So, looking at that list, it’s actually not so bad. But here’s how I’m planning on fixing those things:

  1. You know, St. Paul has an amazing Farmers Market that Chris and I live 5 minutes away from and love frequenting. There are many, many beautiful radishes to be bought, so I’m just going to let them take care of the radishes.
  2. See above, but replace “radishes” with “lettuce”. And lettuce only costs $1!!
  3. After I planted the seeds, my lovely mother told me that it’s really difficult to get flowers to seed. Since I had never planted any flower besides sunflowers, I didn’t know that. However, it’s not hard to get sunflowers to seed. I just happened to plant the sunflowers in the wrong spot, not knowing the tree next to it had gigantour leaves
  4. In the spring, before the bees awake from hibernation, I’m going to rebuild the compost bin. According to widipedia, bumble bees don’t nest in the same spot 2 years in a row, so I’m hoping for the best. However, I think there’s a hole that I don’t know about on the bottom of the compost, that by rebuilding I’ll be able to get rid of. I’m not going to try to do anything too pretty, but there’s a lot of plywood in the shed that Betty left that should do just fine.

And my other new ideas

  1. I want to build a rain barrel. This summer was great for rain, and I almost never needed to water anything. I doubt I’ll be that lucky next year, so I want to be prepared with a rain barrel.
  2. So, last year, my vegetables that were beautiful and delicious were green beans and tomatoes. Now, not all the tomatoes had time to ripen before the first frost, so I’m going to plant the tomato plants earlier (thank you, again, Farmers Market). Now, obviously, the @#$% deer ate my beans, so I’m going to try the suggest my aunt made and use liquid fence, since it doesn’t harm the environment or animals, but yet will keep deer, bunnies, squirrels, etc. out. Excellent. In addition to tomatoes and beans, I’m also going to try planting onions and green peppers. Maybe one day I’ll try lettuce and radish again, but I get the feeling my garden isn’t the best place for them.
  3. There are a couple sections of the garden that I didn’t do a thing to this summer, not wanting to overwhelm myself. But this year, I’m going to do some more pruning and planting. Part of the garden I didn’t get to has ferns and lilies that never flowered. I’m going to replant the ferns in another section of the garden, and just get rid of the lilies because I don’t have faith they’ll ever flower again. Instead, that’s where I’m planting the sunflowers, and I’m going to need some of that space for the onions and green peppers.

So, there you  have it. I love, love, LOVE having a garden. I stand in the kitchen and stare at it sometimes, just thinking about what else I could put in it, and looking at the pretty flowers. I never thought I’d be one of those people… Yup, I’m a grown up. I guess.

The food preservation gods are smiling on us now!

3 Oct

The fridge! The beautiful fridge!!!

We’ve had it for over a week now, and each day we love it more. The filtered water tastes amazing, and the best part: no leaks! No leaks at all!!!!!!! Which means, the bottom of the freezer does not have an 8″ x 8″ chunk of ice, and therefore we can use the bottom drawer. Not that we need to. I had no idea how much old food we kept in there that we’d never eat! It’s really amazing and/or disgusting.

That is all the gross food that was thrown away!

Yes, some of it was rotting. Which made me promise myself that I’ll clean the fridge more often. Any bets as to how long that lasts?

Anyway, now that the excitement has built, here is your sweet release:

Do you see the floating legs in the reflection? Yes, I'm wearing some pretty nice pants. Only very special people have seen me in those pants.

And here’s where the angels sing:

We (and by “we”, I mean mainly Chris) have done considerable damage to our bedroom, but I’m waiting until it’s 100% done to do the big reveal. Oh, it’s going to be fabulous!

What’s that smell?!

31 Aug

So, I said in my last post that I’d write about my compost pile.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia>Compost

Well, it’s been a journey, let’s just say that…

I started said compost this winter, with the purchase of a garbage can at Target. Now, you can get really spendy with your compost bin. They have these crazy-shaped round monstrosities, but I wanted to stick with something simple (and cheap). You know what? I stand behind my choice. I just use plastic grocery bags as a liner (but always ALWAYS check for holes beforehand), and make sure the lid is firmly tight. But all spring and winter, the garbage can worked perfectly, and it will again. But right now, fruit flies are driving me and Chris crazy, so we’re keeping the compost in an old tupperware container in the fridge and emptying it every couple days.

However, the smell when emptying the compost bin is another story. I have to hold my breath, and I still gag. Ugh, nothing is a worse smell than the combination of banana peels, radish ends, egg shells, and kiwi skins.

Quiz! What can’t you put in a compost?

Answer: animal by-products! Or vegetables that have touched animal by-products! Or corn cobs! Some people use a specific 3 browns (grass, leaves) to 1 green (vegetable products) ratio, but…I don’t try that hard. And mine still works. You have to keep it wet, though! I empty my dehumidifier into the compost pile to keep it moist when it hasn’t rained in awhile.

Luckily for me, Betty and her husband (whose name we don’t know, so he’ll just be Betty’s husband from now on, or we could call him Peanut Eater, as his peanut shells can still be found all over the backyard–those things don’t break down!) already had a sweet two-compartment compost bin. For those of you who aren’t compost savvy, you need two compartments for your compost: one for the old stuff, one for the new stuff. Then, the old stuff is ready for you to put on your garden while the new stuff is still decomposing and readying itself. The compost bin is falling apart in some spots and needs to be tuned up a bit, but that’s a later project.

Early this summer, I had my first compost harvest and used it on my beans and tomatoes. And those beans=delicious! The tomatoes=pure beauty!! Oh, the tomatoes! I could write a song for them. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten tomatoes so amazing.

But since then, disaster has struck. A family of bees have made their home in one-half of my compost bin. Which, explains my bee sting this weekend. I know, I know–I should’ve stayed away. My mom told me to leave it alone for the rest of the year, but I was just working on the other half! They didn’t live there yet! But, it didn’t matter. I made those bees angry, and I don’t think I’m welcome back. But they’ll see…next spring, that compost is mine! And just think how rich and beautiful that soil will be…

Oh, and of course, wikiHow has a post on how to compost.

Ok, Mom (and you other composters), please tell me what else I shouldn’t put in the compost. I know the banana stickers don’t belong there, but, honestly, I’m too lazy to remember to take them off.

Wikiwiki….WikiHow!

28 Jul

igoogle, anyone? I’m a fan. It has all these fun gadgets and tabs and links that it could keep me entertained for the entire day. Sometimes, on really slow work days, it does. I have several favorites:

  1. I can quickly see my new emails without actually having to log onto my email account.
  2. It has the newest and most read stories on people.com. I love celebrity gossip. Love it. I know, I know, I should be more cerebral than that, but you know what? Sometimes I want to read about Jessica Simpson’s new ex-football player boyfriend and look at pictures of the Jolie-Pitt clan.
  3. Wikihow. Also known as “How to of the Day”. This is misleading, as they post at least 2 how-tos each day. And it’s awesome. And at times, hilarious.

Some hilarious examples: Care for a Hedgehog with Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, Tactfully Ask Emotional Questions, or Hunt for Wild Ginseng.

But other times, it’s totally stuff I want to know. Today’s, for example: Make Wood Floor Polish (Beeswax and Essential Oils). I’m absolutely going to do that when our floor needs to be polished. And no, I’m not joking.

Or this one: How to Find Uses for Fabric Scraps (with video) – wikiHow. Yes, I’m going to do that! Some of it. Probably not the animal pillow, but I do have a 3 year old niece, so you never know.

wikiHow - The How-to Manual That You Can Edit

the how to manual that you can edit

Epic fail…of minimal porportions

13 Jul

Chris’ mom gave him a grill for his birthday last month, and it took us a couple weeks to get around to using it. We plotted what amazing feats of fire and meat were in our future, with visions of beef and chicken dancing in our heads.

For our first grilled feast, we chose kabobs: chicken, sweet onions and red potatoes from the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, green peppers. How could that go wrong, right?

Moments before we were to start up our experiment, we both realized….we didn’t know anything, and I mean not one thing, about grilling. So we went to google, because google is an all-knowing entity that only speaks capital T Truth.

And it took us over an hour to cook kabobs. And it probably should’ve only taken us, I don’t know, 15 minutes?

Afterwards, we researched and read and studied up on grilling…and we still couldn’t figure out just what we did wrong. We lit the charcoals, made sure they were grey all over, used the correct amount for how much food we were grilling, had all the right supplies. So, what the hell could we have done wrong?????

This weekend, after my grill-master father made us the most delicious, gourmet steaks on his itty-bitty Weber (which is his preferred method), we asked for some advice. His first question:

“Did you open the vent?”

Oh…