October 27, 2014
by jenny
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Turnip Love

I really dig turnips. And I think I’m pretty funny for making up that root vegetable gardening pun. Sometimes I go back to my younger self imagination and pretend that I’m a Fraggle. But instead of going bonkers over radishes, I adore turnips. Maybe Katie K can relate to such visions.

Today I readied my Doozer rods turnips and I felt a little turnip love in return.

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Does it look like a heart to you? It does to me.

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October 22, 2014
by sarah
1 Comment

Monster Pillows: no sew

monster pillow9

My nieces birthday is near Halloween, so for the last several years I have made her Halloween costume as a gift for her. This year my sister in law had another idea. My niece was going to get a hand me down costume from another cousin so… Could I help with the monster themed birthday party craft? My sister in law had noticed a monster no sew pillows kit and was wondering if we could figure them out. Sure I said! I am always looking for an excuse to go to the fabric store.

This is what we came up with:

Monster Pillows: No Sew

Supplies

  • 3/4 yard of fleece
  • fabric / fleece scraps
  • fabric glue
  • scissors
  • stuffing
  • chalk

Directions

  1. I measured out 4 inches on a piece of note book paper. Cut it to be a consistent measure of the circle I was about to cut.monster pillow7
  2. With the fleece still folded, place a dinner plate face down on top of the fabric. Using the 4 inch marker mark a circle 4 inches from the plate.monster pillow1
  3. Cut out the circle.monster pillow5
  4. Cut tabs about 1-1 1/2 inches wide x 4 inches long.monster pillow6
  5. With the fabric scraps glue a silly or scary face onto one side of the fleece.monster pillow3
  6. Let dry.
  7. Tie the top piece of fleece to the bottom by tying the tabs together.monster pillow2monster pillow8
  8. I made a circular pillow with the sewing machine to make it one less step for the birthday party. To truly no sew – before the last couple of tabs are tied simple fill the center with stuffing.

I also made these instructions  for the six 10 year olds at the party.  MONSTER PILLOWS

Here is a helpful YouTube video to figure out the best tying method for you.

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October 20, 2014
by sarah
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Zentangle

tangled pattern

We have had a couple of very busy weekends! Luckily they have had a couple of hours of down time in the middle. Yesterday this is what we did to mellow out between soccer and birthday parties: Zentangles!

My very literal big boy loves these because he can be creative without having to come up with an imaginative narrative in a drawing.

 

 

 

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October 16, 2014
by jenny
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Galls

This week in Massachusetts we had a couple of warm sunny fall days which for the front of my house means ladybugs swarms. The ladybugs come out in droves looking for hibernation spots. A couple years ago there were so many that you could see the whole front of our house teeming with insects from the street.

While walking the dog this week I also started noticing some small pom pom looking things all over the sidewalk. I looked it up and these little pods are called galls. Galls can form on almost any part of a tree and are caused by (generally very tiny) wasps, mites, molds or fungi. These instigators cause a reaction in the tree or plant to form the gall and have a fondness for certain plant and tree species (it looks like these came from oak trees).  Fascinating. If you look up  pictures online, I’d guess you’ve seen different sorts of galls on different plants yourself (I bet you can walk outside and find maple leaf galls if your leaves haven’t all changed yet). The wasps and mites cause and live inside galls don’t cause harm to plants or humans, and some live inside until adulthood. I read several anecdotes where someone cracked open a gall and was stung by the wasp living inside, so watch out if you are doing your own discovery! (When I split mine, it just looked like a soft seed!)

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October 14, 2014
by jenny
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How do you do your beets?

I was never a big fan of beets, until this year. They come in our CSA box, so I’ve been eating them a handful of times in a year for years and felt they were fine, sometimes good, but not a favorite. I have tried cooking beets a handful of different ways. One of my favorite ways is to braise beets along with turnips and greens. But my go to way is to wrap 4-5 of beets in foil with or without an olive oil drizzle and slow roast them in the oven until tender (an hour at 350 or so, varies on the beet size/type). I peel the beets after they are roasted, cut them into bite sized chunks and keep leftovers in the refrigerator. I eat the leftovers heated up or cold, plain or in a salad or other dish.

This fall, by accident (I got sidetracked with other tasks), I found out that reheating the previously cut and slow roasted beets over low heat in a pan with a little butter for quite a while (15 minutes or so) caramelizes the beets even more than the slow roast did and is absolutely delicious. It’s become a favorite lunch of mine when I’m at home. The taste and texture is almost meaty (tender steak tips) and tons of flavor. I appreciate how much flavor can be created with just a beet, and maybe a little butter and salt and no other ingredients. It’s kind of remarkable for all of the seasoning used in other places.

How do you do your beets?

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(If you don’t have experience eating beets, in some people urine turns red after eating, which can be alarming at first. Poop too. I have read that this color changing phenomena can be used as a test to measure how fast food moves through your digestive system.)

 

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October 7, 2014
by sarah
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Paracord

paracord 3

This story starts with my love of hanging laundry on a line outside. A couple weeks ago I hung up two loads of laundry on my trusty clothes line. With the weight of too many wet towels and years of wear and tear the cloths line snapped and all the clothes landed in the wet grass. My big girl immediately came over to me and gave me a hug. She could see how sad I was from the death of my clothes line and frustrated that the work I just put in had to be redone.

I promptly went to the hardware store to the clothes line / rope isle and found a pretty blue paracord and decided to try it as a replacement for my dead clothes line. Of course it was too stretchy. I pulled it taught on the hooks, but as soon as I put the wet clothes on it sagged to the ground. Suddenly I had 100 feet of pretty blue paracord to use for something else. My big boy has acquired a couple paracord bracelets thathe loves,  so we decided to try to figure them out on our own.

paracord 1

 

We went to our best craft recourse YouTube!! Here is helpful video and there are endless other options:

I have found that my almost 8 year old could totally handle this by him self except for the melting of the cord at the end. My almost 5 year old liked doing them, but needed lots of hand holding. We also made a big monkey fist necklace (harder than it looks),  mini monkey fists around a hair ties, cobra key chains, and the heart knot necklace.

Amazon is a great place for supplies. Here a some great clips. And lots of color choices for cord.

paracord 2

The end of the clothes line story is…I have found that the clothes line with the metal covered with plastic has been working OK so far.

 

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October 1, 2014
by jenny
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Kraut

Hey Sarah, how did your sauerkraut turn out last summer?

I’m trying it myself now. It was easy to set up, but it stinks (not rotten, just like sauerkraut in my basement). I wasn’t prepared for that. It is dying down now, I guess that’s phase two of the fermentation process?

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September 29, 2014
by jenny
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Remove hyperlinks default in Word

It’s true it can be the little things that can put someone over the edge or bring someone an odd amount of joy and fulfillment. I have had a long relationship with a little thing doing the former and the very easy elimination of it has brought me the later.

The thing that has been driving me crazy for years is  the Microsoft Word default setting that turns email and web addresses automatically into hyperlinks. I have to go back and (on my mac) control click, edit hyperlink, and remove hyperlink. It’s removed, or sometimes part of it’s removed because I didn’t select it all, then I delete the text and start again.  I hit the spacebar and it comes back and I have to repeat. Or I go to remove again and it all comes back. Or it’s gone and I carry on and look back and that bright blue text and underline just keep coming back. Or I try to highlight the text to remove the link, which is misinterpreted as clicking on the link, and mail opens up with new email message to compose or a web browser opens to the link.

For this to be a default, it must be helpful and make sense to some people, but it doesn’t for me, I can’t think of the last time I have wanted a hyperlink in a Word document. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to change the settings, but I finally did, and I’m happy.

If this is a scenario in your life, here’s how to remove the default insertion of a hyperlink in Microsoft Word:

  1. Open Word.
  2. In the top menu bar, select Tools.
  3. Select AutoCorrect.
  4. Go to the AutoFormat as You Type tab.
  5. Uncheck the box Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.
  6. Rejoice!
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September 26, 2014
by sarah
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Toaster Oven Kale chips

I think I have mentioned before that if my kids were combined into one child they would have a balanced diet. My oldest eats fruits and veggies, but little protein. My middle will eat hard boiled eggs, tofu, chicken, sausage, hotdogs, but very little veggies. The little one is still a pretty good eater. The peer pressure of her older siblings has not effected her yet.

So when the middle one declared she liked kale chips I started making them all the time.  Below is the recipe for kale chips in the oven. I have also prepared them in the toaster oven for a quick addition to lunch. I have put the kale in a single layer on the toaster oven tray, put it in the tiny oven, and simply toasted them as I would bread. It takes less than 5 minutes. kale2 kale1

Kale Chips

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the kale, oil, and salt in large bowl.
  3. Lay the kale out in a single layer on to a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.

 

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