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Posted on Feb 20, 2015 | 0 comments

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Did you know you can make your own candles right now? Out of two ingredients you already have at home? This is a strikingly impressive project and just as easy.   If you’ve got oranges and olive oil, you’re in business.   If you want to get fancy, you can cut some shapes out of the tops, or stick in some cloves.   But that’s totally optional. I only added those steps so my kids would have something to do.   The rest of it pretty much just involves cutting an orange out of its peel. You know, Big Person Work.   Cut the oranges across the middle. They don’t need to be exactly in half. They should sit flat after they’re cut. Put them on the table first to get an idea of where to cut so they will sit straight. Then, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Make sure the pith in the center of the orange stays attached to the bottom. That will be your wick. It’s really...

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Posted on Dec 19, 2013 | 2 comments

Whole Spice Ornaments

Whole Spice Ornaments

As you may remember, I received a jar of mulling spices for Christmas last year. I never did mull a darn thing, but I did make Hot Chai Cereal several times for my kids, to much delight (theirs) and surprise (mine). Spices don’t last long, so when I came across this inventive way to use them up, I jumped on it. It combines my favorite things: seasonal crafts that yield a product you actually want to use, fun things to do with my kids, and yummy smelling stuff. So, we made spice ornaments! As per usual, I did not create this idea. I cannot claim creativity in the artistic arena. You want a closet organized, a desk sorted, a multi-page spreadsheet formatted? Yeah, I’m your girl. Art?? Not so much. So, I turned to What To Do At Home With The Kids. It turns out, spices aren’t just for eating.     First, I sorted out the biggest spices for the kids to decorate with. If you are doing...

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Posted on Jul 16, 2013 | 1 comment

To DO List

To DO List

What I Did Today: 1) Made a list of things to do this summer. 2) Wrote “watercolor.” 3) Put list down. 4) Watercolored.   As usual, my child’s talent surpasses mine by quantum leaps. This is his “Sitting Man.”   And, from his father’s work, you can see where my son gets his artistic talent.   Either way, watercoloring is fun. It’s relaxing. It’s zen. And it’s crossed off my To Do List, so I’m happy. An activity to please Type As and Type Bs alike! Ommmmm. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jun 21, 2013 | 1 comment

Knit Me a River

Knit Me a River

My child is convinced he needs to knit his great-grandmother a hat. Why? It’s her birthday. And? Because she crocheted him one. And? To keep her head warm. (He can go on forever. Try him.) While these are all valid reasons, the problem with his proposal is that he doesn’t know how to knit. Oh yeah, and he’s FOUR. So, for three days I skirted the question: “Mommy, can I make Gigi a hat for her birthday?” All my reasons for not doing it were expertly matched, point by point. Finally, I wondered why I was spending all this time saying no, when I could just say yes and let him learn for himself exactly what is involved. We trotted off to the craft store today (check my Facebook page for a nifty craft store tip). It was a real campaign, but I managed to sell the idea of a scarf instead of a hat, which seemed much simpler. We parted with a basic scarf knitting kit for young children,...

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Posted on Jun 2, 2013 | 1 comment

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

Coming soon, to a weed sanctuary near you!!! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on May 28, 2013 | 3 comments

Wildflower Walk

Wildflower Walk

The kids and I went wildflower hunting the other day.     Considering we live in a suburb, it’s not all that easy to do. Also considering spring has fairly well sprung, we had even fewer choices. But it was a nice day for a walk, and this gave us a purpose. The following is what we came up with, entirely from objects found in the neighborhood, and around the house.     Some call them weeds, some call them wildflowers. Ha.     And some weren’t flowers at all.         This year of living life to the fullest began with stopping to smell the flowers. These gardenias are particularly, pungently, gorgeously fragrant. They insist you breathe all the way in just to get as much of the scent as possible.   The bonus is that all this hard work hunting in the sunshine made for two very sleepy, nap-compliant children. The perfect surprise ending. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share...

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Posted on May 8, 2013 | 2 comments

Someone May As Well Use It

Someone May As Well Use It

Wetsuits not being the fashion for swimming pools, I tend to stay out of ours until late August and then I venture in only for about two weeks. But this little guy is a sign that warmer times are coming. There’s a duck in our pool! Also of note: the weeds, oh the weeds. Another sign summer is coming. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Playroom (One For the Kids and One For the Grown-Ups!)

Playroom (One For the Kids and One For the Grown-Ups!)

Having houseguests is great for home decor. You rearrange things for them and when you put them back, you can end up with entirely different rooms. This is what happened when my dad came to stay this week. This was particularly useful for us, since we are on year two of moving in to our house. My dad stayed in our office. One night, as Cute Banker and I were sitting on the couch, looking at the toys in the living room – our living room, the grown-up space – we thought: Hey! Why not move the office stuff out here and put alllll the kids stuff in the room? It took care of two issues: 1) having a visually calming adult space (while simultaneously giving the kids their own space), and 2) filling up a huge empty wall in the living room. Cute Banker and I were starting to feel like college students, with no art on the giant wall, and no clue how to fill it up. I...

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Posted on Feb 22, 2013 | 0 comments

February Showers Bring February Flowers

February Showers Bring February Flowers

So this is happening at my house. Given the actual hail this week, as well as the freakish windstorm, I was quite taken aback to see this plant in full bloom already. But, there it is: life. Spring. Renewal. Hope. Beauty. I like this one. It looks like she’s shy. I know I said I’m not a fan of receiving flowers, but I suppose that’s only when they are cut. I love to see the ones still vibrant on their stalks. Also, you don’t have to change their water. It looks like spring is springing! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 14, 2013 | 1 comment

Moving In and Moving On?

Moving In and Moving On?

Cute Banker and I have a date this weekend.  Not a romantic, flowery, chocolatey Valentine celebration. What fun is that? No, I’m looking forward to something much more exciting: organizing the garage! My grandmother always says it takes a year to fully move in to a new house. You’ve got to live in a house for a while to discover how it works for you. From finding the perfect window treatments, to arranging all the furniture in the most pleasing and functional way, to organizing the last cabinet under the guest bathroom sink, it takes a year. I have always found that to be true with two exceptions: 1) Schedule a housewarming party three months from your move-in date and you will be amazed at your decorating speed. 2) Have one or more small children and you will be stunned by your decorating slowness. I believe that for every child under four, you need an additional year to get your house together.  I have two of those, and I’m...

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Posted on Jan 21, 2013 | 1 comment

Veggie Tales – Prepping Veggies For the Week

Veggie Tales – Prepping Veggies For the Week

Today was one of those rare and wonderful days when I get to realize how much I miss my kids when they’re away. (Thanks, Mom!) What do I do when I get some time on my hands? Relax and catch up on my shows? Not really. (Okay, yes, I did watch 1.5 episodes of Downton Abbey while eating lunch and folding laundry simultaneously.)   Do I hang around with an adult beverage in my hand? No. Well, okay, yes, Cute Banker and I combined the Vitamix and vodka to great effect. We got our daily servings of vegetables in as we toasted our solitary couplehood.   But do I nap? Pay bills? Clean something?? Nah. Even in my “time off,” I spend time in my kitchen.  Today, I unloaded three bags of produce, started to push it into the fridge, and thought, “Hey.  The kids are gone.  It’s relatively early in the day.  I have plenty of phone calls to procrastinate.  Why don’t I prep all my veggies for...

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Posted on Jan 7, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Things (Today)

My Favorite Things (Today)

There is nothing in life more fun than a new cookbook!   Add a comfy place to sit, a blankie, and someone to entertain my vermin so I can read the thing in peace, and it’s Heaven. While I’m at it, this also makes me happy: the fact that our weed patch has suddenly gone from scary, prickly brown to lush green (green weeds, but…still) without so much as one new seed of grass introduced by us, the terminally too-busy-to-bother-with-lanscaping people. Except that gaping dirt hole. My kids are never too busy to contribute a gaping dirt hole.   This little crew is also one of my very, most favorite things. Especially while engaged in home improvement activities. (Is it too much to hope that unassuming little avocado pit will evolve into a great, shady, fruit producing tree? Well, it’s a start to our landscaping efforts.)   These rusty old chairs are suddenly an inviting place to be, thanks to their new, green surroundings.   This pinot grigio kind...

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Posted on Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments

Stuck On You

Stuck On You

This is is the greatest tip.  If you, like I, have a cast iron pan which refuses to become nonstick, no matter how much butter and oil as you throw at it, you are in for a very satisfying treat.  Here’s a time-saving, material-reducing, and mood-salvaging idea! (I get very excited about cleaning tips.  Like the time a housekeeper gave me some squares of drywall mesh and told me it scrubs tubs like nobody’s business.  I used a lot of exclamation points then, too). Since I denounced nonstick surfaces, in the name of all that is good and non-toxic, I am left with stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans.  By far, my most used receptacle is a square, un-enameled, cast iron pan that has already been used in three generations that I’m aware of. I use it for everything from meat to veggies to…eggs.  UGH.  Scrambled eggs.  They love my pan as much as I do.  So much that they never want to let go. I treat...

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Posted on Dec 26, 2012 | 1 comment

Table Scraps

Table Scraps

“Shabby chic” is an oxymoron I haven’t always been able to muster much enthusiasm for.  I’ve leaned decidedly more toward the solidly “chic” category. But, tastes, times, and circumstances can alter preferences, even aesthetic ones.  These days, I’m looking more hopefully at estate sales, hand-me-downs, and even, gasp, do-it-yourself. It was nice and timely that I saw Martha Stewart talking about this new centerpiece idea.  My family was due for Christmas brunch, I was up to my elbows in empanadas for Cute Banker’s family celebration, and I have two tiny humans living amongst my ankles.  Thus, I was running a wee bit late. When my sweet grandma came in and offered to help, I choked down my natural response to shove a glass in her hand, and firmly point her in the direction of the couch.  I handed her a tray of a homeless Christmas ornaments, had Cute Banker bring in the last box from our move a year ago, and unpacked some wine glasses. I also managed to...

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Posted on Dec 22, 2012 | 0 comments

Deck the Smalls

Deck the Smalls

You know those adorable photo cards people send you every Christmas? The ones printed on the thinnest rectangles of slightly bowed photo paper that simply won’t stand up on their own? You prop them against the sturdier, folded, cards but they angle away, and eventually slip down, taking other cards with them, and they drive you crazy all season? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Or, you put them on your refrigerator, but you really don’t want them on your refrigerator, but you have no where else to put them that they don’t fall down? Or get knocked over by a cat tail, a stray breeze, or the breath of a spider? Again, maybe just me. Whether or not you suffer from Fallen Photo Card Syndrome, I thought of something fun to do with them this year. Since they are almost always pictures of children, I taped them to the wall in my kids’ room. They add to the festive decorations in there and I think the boys like seeing...

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Posted on Dec 20, 2012 | 0 comments

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kippis!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kippis!

As my one-year-old would say. Just a few days left!  Are you ready? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Nov 10, 2012 | 1 comment

December Dreams

December Dreams

I want to make EVERYTHING in the new Martha Stewart magazine.  Too ambitious? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Resident Artists

Resident Artists

When you don’t have any art for your big ol’ wall, commission some! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 7, 2012 | 0 comments

Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween Pumpkins

It’s a bit challenging to get photos of the pumpkin carving when one of your carvers is a little nudist.  So, here’s what we’ve got. Yep, that’s all the G-rated ones! Here’s a basic recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s infinitely customizable; these measurements are just to give you an idea where to start. Add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne if you want a spooky little kick! Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds   Print Prep time 10 mins Cook time 45 mins Total time 55 mins   Sweetly spiced (not hot) pumpkin seeds. Try instead of popcorn - or mixed in - as you watch The Great Pumpkin! Author: Michelle Q / Sand and Table Recipe type: Snack Ingredients 1½ cups raw pumpkin seeds, scooped from two small pumpkins, or one large one ½ tablespoon olive oil ¾ tablespoon refined sugar ½ teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (or ⅛ teaspoon table salt) Instructions Preheat oven to 300. Put seeds and any attached pulp...

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