Monday, September 24, 2012

ISO Card makers

I'm putting together a little card kit exchange swap. This may be a different from other swaps you've been in. Each month, one of you will be a hostess. You'll put together a mini card kit and send it to each of the participants. Feel free to shop from your stash (we all have one, right?). The kit does not have to contain the latest and greatest, just good quality items.

Each participant should post their cards before the end of the month, when we can all admire your creativity. If you don't have a blog, you can send a photo of your cards to me and I'll post it here.

I've started to put together the first kit and would love to mail it out on Monday to you. If you're interested, you can let me know in the comments or e-mail me. I'd like to keep this swap small (4 to 6 participants including me) so it isn't too expensive with supplies and postage.

  • Hostess sends out card kits by the 1st of the month.
  • Swap participants post cards before the end of the month (maybe I'll figure out the Mr. Linky thingie or some other way we can share).
  • Each kit should contain enough supplies to make 3-4 cards. You can include envelopes, but it isn't necessary. I'm not sure how much they'll add to the postage costs.
  • Supplies can be from your stash, but kits should be all the same (or the same as possible). For example, don't include blue twine in one kit and pink ribbon in another.
  • Include both paper and embellishments. 
  • At the end of 4 (or 5 or 6 months), I'll start another swap.
I'd love to have you join in!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Food storage

I'm trying to increase my glass storage containers because I think they are a better storage medium. They don't absorb odors or release toxins like plastic does. My mom used glass jars to store dried goods for years and I'm convinced food stays fresher in glass than plastic. I'm not giving up my beloved Tupperware yet, baby steps people, but if anyone is interested in purchasing part of my collection (I have a huge box of new Tupperware from when I was addicted to it, plus used stuff in excellent condition), let me know. Modular Mates anyone?

I've been saving glass jars and have found fewer and fewer foods come in jars, peanut butter and mayo to name two. Makes me sad that plastics are taking over.

One place I want to replace (some) plastic is the freezer. I had read that you can freeze regular glass jars as long as you don't fill them full so there is room for expansion.But that made me nervous. So I purchased some canning jars for the freezer, on sale and with a coupon, of course. I plan to use these to freeze fresh tomatoes, soups, marinara sauce, and stock. I did buy plastic lids because I thought they would be more leak proof. We'll see. Here's the first test: chopped toms from the garden. I like to freeze them when I have too many to use. The jar was the perfect size!

Monday, September 17, 2012


After a difficult start, I was finally able to harvest some kale. The first few seedlings were devoured by caterpillars, which was making me rethink the whole pesticide avoidance thing. I was picking teeny tiny caterpillars off by hand (gross!) because the little suckers wouldn't wash off. But I kept replanting (good thing seeds are relatively cheap) and finally had some success.

My schedule is such that I do most of my gardening on the weekends. Some days, I leave for work when it's dark and some days I get some after dark (and some not-so-good days, both), so I harvest when I can, even if I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I had a decent sized batch, but didn't know what to do with it, so I decided to blanch and freeze the leaves to use in the future. This was way more work than I anticipated and I'm not sure if I'm going to do it again. I ended up with 2 quart size baggies.

Here's my method for removing the leaves from the stems. Many websites suggest cutting the stem off the, which is pretty easy. I prefer to tear the leaves off, which is even easier. You can then tear leaves into whatever size pieces you want.

What to do with the stems? I baked them with some parmesan cheese and a bit of oil like this recipe from Kayln's Kitchen. I should have parboiled the stems first. I forgot that kale stems are tougher than Swiss chard stems so the dish ended up tasty, but chewy.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Help! I need to evict my new roommates

I'm sure you've had them. Roommates you can't get along with. They have no respect for your belongings. They eat your food. Leave a mess. Are constantly bothering you. Just when you think they've agreed to the house rules, they're back annoying you.

I didn't invite these roommates in. They just snuck in one night and moved in on their own about a month ago. Despite my best efforts, I just can't convince them to leave. Yep, we've been invaded by ants. We have found them in EVERY room in the house. We've tried bait, we've tried all kinds of insecticide, we've tried the honey/borax treat. They just keep coming back and I'm pretty sure they are bringing all their relatives too and are living in the walls of the house.

I'm open to suggestions. On the plus side, my counters have never been cleaner.