Posts Tagged ‘blogs’



January 14, 2010

I am flying high!  The last 48 hours have been filled with one happy surprise after another:

  • I had an e-mail from my friend Susan.  I haven’t heard from her in months and months and knew she had a really rough 2009, so it was great to hear her outlook is up and life is good.
  • I ran into a friend who was coming out of the gym.  He has been getting chemo for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but said his last PET scan was clean. 
  • I had my usual several times a day e-mail conversation with my friend Vicky.  It is so great be able to dash off a quick observation, respond to something she has said, or share a funny – at least as good as a daily phone call – and much cheaper. 
  • My husband e-mailed and not only will we be having a date this Saturday but it will include a couple that I really want to get to know better. 
  • I had a meeting – a drug prevention task force meeting – the type of meeting that could be deadly dull – but was actually filled with people in good-humor and we all laughed a lot while we also had a very productive meeting.
  • I had a surprise e-mail from the editor of a textbook I authored.  They want a third edition!
  • I had an e-mail from the publications office at work.  They are interested in the story behind some survey research I’m doing on beekeepers.
  • Today in the mail I received my first copy of MaryJanesFarm: The Everyday Organic Lifestyle Magazine, a Christmas present from the aforementioned Vicky.
  • And as if that weren’t enough – Retro Housewife Goes Green gave me (and 9 others)  the Happy 101 Award!  I would like to thank all the little people who have made this possible…

Happy award

Here are the rules for the Happy 101 Award (yes, an award with rules – there are no free lunches in this world):

  • List 10 things that make you happy. (Try to do one of them today)
  • Tag 10 bloggers that make you happy.
  • Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you.

So here goes – my 10, very self-centered, things that make me happy:

  1. A conversation with my husband
  2. Making my teenager laugh
  3. A hug from daughter
  4. Knitting, beading, or reading a good book (hmm, I need to get to the library and pick up this month’s book club book)
  5. Making myself a cup of tea
  6. Doing a jigsaw puzzle
  7. Chocolate
  8. The scale going down
  9. A cat curled up next to me in bed
  10. Writing – writing my blog, writing my column, heck – even writing lectures (on interesting stuff anyway)

[It’s been a good day, I’ve done 9 so far – and there is still time to make that kid laugh.]

And here are 10 of the many blogs that make me smile – a Happy 101 award to each of you!:

  1. Squash Blossom Farm – Susan and her family’s adventures on their new small farm
  2. Nyack Backyard – reminds me to keep my eyes open to the nature around me (hey! I’ve seen a bald Eagle twice this week!  another happy thing)
  3. The Mommy Porch – “meandering thoughts on food and life” – sums it up pretty well
  4. (not so) Urban Hennery – started reading it for the bees and then continued reading – and now she has got me involved in The Dark Days challenge
  5. My Green Conscience – a fantastic approach to encouraging an eco-friendly lifestyle
  6. Fessenden Farmstead – chronicles of Stacey’s urban farming and homesteader lifestyle
  7. Are We There Yet? – fun and candid observations
  8. Mayberry Mom – comments about and from a life with young kids – such a fun reminder for me
  9. Divine Nature – beautiful photographs
  10. A+A Adopt a Baby – a new baby in a happy family – what’s not to like?

Thank you Retro Housewife for the award!


Holiday Treats

December 24, 2009

This is not a cooking blog. I know that is kind of hard to tell lately, what with all the Dark Days posts. But anyone who knows me well knows I’m not much of a cook, but I do eat, and I do have a sweet tooth.  At this time of year I have a handful of holiday treats that I like to make  – and if you do it three years in a row it becomes a tradition.

Every year I make fudge – mostly because the kids and my husband like it.  I make coconut swirls – which taste like mounds bars.  [I don’t think they are actually a family secret recipe – but I’m not ready to share it.]  And I make 2-minute cookies – which are an oatmeal “cookie” (milk, butter, sugar, oatmeal, cocoa and then coconut, nuts, or raisins – I like the nuts and/or raisins – but the kids don’t – so this year it is coconut).  Often we dip pretzels in chocolate too.  None of these requires any kind of oven time.

I make up plates for various and sundry people around town, take some with us when visiting, and eat too many ourselves.

When I went to the store last week to stock up on treat supplies I made an effort to look for organic ingredients and got a lesson in what is available and what isn’t.

First, I failed in the butter category.  I had intended to make butter from our local, natural (not quite organic, but hormone-free) milk – but we weren’t able to get cream this week.  So, I had to resort to the butter in the fridge – which is what we can get in town – your typical run-of-the-mill unsalted butter. 

I need lots of chocolate for all of these treats.  I was able to get organic chocolate semi-sweet chips [Kroger’s store brand – Private Selections Organics].  I also got organic sugar and organic powdered sugar (also Kroger’s Private Selections Organics].  In my cupboard I have some organic cocoa powder.  The other items I needed were oatmeal, sweetened condensed milk, and powdered milk.  At the large grocery store I was at (Kroger – which has an impressive “natural food” section and increasing number of organic products intermixed with the nonorganic) I could not find any organic versions of these items.  Bob’s Red Mill apparently makes organic rolled oats, but it wasn’t readily available to me.

So, I guess I did 1/2 way ok on the organic factor.  None of the ingredients are particularly local though. 

As for taste – I can’t say as I can tell a difference.  But since much of the ingredients are organic I know my family, my friends, and I are ingesting minimal pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer chemicals.

Anyway – it’s Christmas Eve.  For everyone who celebrates Christmas – I wish you a very merry one.  For everyone else – I hope you have a lovely, peaceful day.



What’s been put up?

October 31, 2009



My friend over at Fessenden Farmstead had a piece on preserving fruits and vegetables, which made me think I hadn’t talked about what has been put up at our house.  I’ve been derelict on that because I’m not the putter-upper – my husband is (and I am ever so grateful). 

I suppose that isn’t totally true (it’s true that I’m grateful, not true that I’m not a putter-upper).  I am the runner of the dehydrator – and in fact, I intend to dry parsley today.  I am also the freezer of fruit.  This year it was only blackberries (wild) – it is also often peaches, but apparently peaches are biannual and this is their off year I guess (plus a frost came and killed the blossoms last spring… that couldn’t have helped). 

Peaches look fine frozen, but as soon as they thaw they start turning brown.  Last year I “solved” that problem with camouflage – I froze spiced peaches – the spices (heavy on the cinnamon – but I can’t remember what else) already colored the peaches brown so the discoloration wasn’t as off-putting this year when I used them (great in my oatmeal).  Next year I’m also intending to freeze in single serving sizes.  That should do the trick.

Berries are easy – wash, dry, freeze on a cookie sheet, dump in a container or bag.

I dry tomatoes – and have been enjoying them in many things already.  Salads and sautéed with onion and polenta being my two favorites.

My husband is the tomato freezer.  We stopped canning and went to freezing, primarily because I didn’t like the lemony taste of the tomatoes when they were canned.  I’m sure we could have adjusted his approach, but freezing is so darn easy (we won’t discuss the power usage of the freezer – although a full freezer is more efficient than a 1/2 empty one – and the tomatoes really help keep ours full).

My husband pickles also – and they are soo good.  Pickled green beans are to die for!  And pickled asparagus, and pickled banana peppers – – and pickled cucumbers too.  He most recently made green tomato relish – I haven’t had a chance to dip into that yet.  I made green tomato relish once in my single years – and my face got blotchy and puffy – the doctor said it was probably the steam off the green tomatoes causing an allergic reaction.  I now avoid the kitchen on green tomato cooking day.

So the pantry is well stocked with the fruits (and veggies) of the garden.  All set for the Dark Days Challenge.  That’s the once a week meal made of SOLE food – sustainable, organic, local, and ethical. For more information you can click the badge in the side bar.  Sign up too!


Win Green

October 27, 2009

A blogger friend (Retro Housewife Goes Green – – we’ve never met, but we seem to share some values) is having a giveaway.  I haven’t gotten into/figured out how to get items to review and to get businesses to provide products to give away – – but then again, I don’t really have time either, so I’ll leave that to others.  But I don’t at all mind passing on the word about products that seem to fit the bill.  In this case it is a green lunch bag and food container by New Wave Enviro Products.

First go to New Wave and identify your favorite product.  Mine happens to be the stainless steel food container. stainless steel food container It looks like the perfect thing for my lunch.  Actually, I think I need 4 since we all take our lunches to school and work.

After you choose your favorite product then go to Retro Housewife Goes Green’s blog and leave a comment about what the product is.  Don’t forget to leave your e-mail address so she can contact you if you win!

When I went to the New Wave site I used their store locator to find places I could purchase their products.  One is a natural food store I often visit, but then I found another I didn’t even know existed – how cool is that!  It’s even closer than the first one – I’ll have to go check them out.

Be sure to enter the giveaway – it would be neat if a reader wins (let me know if you do!).  Of course, it would be neat if I won too.