Custom Search

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

I just threw away the Rubbermaid container I lent Dave when we were dating. It was clear with a light blue lid, his last name (now also mine) in faded blue permanent ink. I wrote his name on it 9 years ago. The lid got a crack in it. I had to toss it. Aah, the memories.

On the other hand, I still have this...


The first time I saw it was in my mom's bathroom when I was 6. I found it while getting into her makeup bag. (Do you know what happened in the early '80s when little girls got into makeup bags? Let's just say it involved copious amounts of blue eyeshadow.) This lovely artifact used to have a comb on the backside of the brush, but the teeth broke off some years ago.

I say "Awwww." Dave says. "Ew."

I attempted to replace the eyebrow brush about 5 years ago. We had bought a new home, and hey, why not get a new eyebrow brush along with it. SO GLAD I held on to my antique one because the new one broke within a week. Something about not being able to withstand the hefty lusciousness of my brows. I stuck with my oldie but goodie.

"Why didn't you just go out and buy anoth---"

HUSH, BLOG READER!

Are you having trouble getting past the hornets' nest of bacteria I brush across my eyebrows on a daily basis? You might as well know I use the same make-up sponge for months to apply foundation to my skin. I thought nothing of this until a few weeks ago when my friend Amy came to my house to give me a makeover. As soon as I grabbed my trusty makeup sponge, I felt her cringe.

"This is grossing you out, isn't it?"

"Yeah. You're supposed to toss those or wash them after every use."

She refused to commence with the makeover until I supplied her with a new, clean sponge.

Amy knew about my eyebrow brush relic. She also knew I'd been using a disposable eyelash brush from six years ago. And she knew I was using the cheek blush I purchased in middle school. Not the same color I wore then, THE ACTUAL ONE I PURCHASED. I'm sure she marveled at how my skin remained clear and how I hadn't yet lost an eye to infection.

I'm not sure why I have had trouble considering the disposal of the eyebrow brush circa 1979. It reminds me of simpler times. It was my mom's when all I knew was about little girlhood. It symboliz---

OoooooooH!

Amy pulled out a fancy schmancy eyebrow crush brush.

It brushes, it combs, it lines! I imagined its streamline design transforming my makeup drawer. I would use it in the morning whilst donning an Audrey Hepburn up-do, a little black sheath dress, and long-satin gloves. My miniature pink poodle would watch me contentedly as her tail wagged in time to chic French lounge music.

I could totally see my daughter treasuring it. And her daughter. And her daughter. This brush would stand the test of time and bless my progeny.

Hmmm...


Every good thing must come to an end.

I took a photo of my ancient brush; It will last longer.
Maybe.

Sexy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

If You Think You Can, You Can Can

This morning, I celebrated the warming weather with a bowl of peaches I canned last year. Yummmmm!

I'm so grateful I learned to can a few years ago. Heather had done a lesson for a Relief Society enrichment, and then the Relief Society passed around a sign-up sheet for people who wanted to learn hands-on at someone's house. I went to Christi's house and there we canned pears and peaches. I hadn't realized until then that canning fruit is pretty easy! I have done it every summer since.

Canning peaches is intimidating if you have never done it. But, like most everything else, once you actually do it, you'll realize how simple it is. Most people don't learn to can peaches because they think: It's complicated. It takes all day. It's unnecessary.

A) It's complicated.
True. You have to wash the peaches. Then, you gotta cut them so they fit in the jars. And then, to top it all off, you have to boil water for 20 minutes! It's crazy complicated.

Seriously, you could only complicate this process if you balanced a live turkey on your head while playing hacky sack. If you desire the adventure, go for it!

B) It takes all day.
True. It might only take you 2-3 hours to can about 80 peaches all by yourself, but you could easily stretch it out to an all day event if you sing the ABC song between washing each peach. You could also mow the neighbors' lawns between peach slices to prolong the canning process.

The last time I canned peaches, it took me 3 hours to do it:
1) by myself
2) taking breaks to check on and feed my baby
3) not having all my supplies out of the basement
4) wearing high heels (A peach canning peaches. Meow!)

Do this with one other friend and have your supplies out clean and ready and you can do it in a shorter amount of time. Gua-ran-teed.

Canning is a bunch of short simple steps. The step that takes me the longest is cutting up the peaches; they are so darn slippery, they keep falling into my mouth.

C) It's unnecessary.
True. Who the heck wants to save a surplus of fruit when you can just let it rot in the kitchen? Of course, food prices never rise and people never panic and buy out the grocery store shelves. And who needs to learn anything?

Canning is so simple, you might as well learn how to do it. You never know when any of your new talents will come in handy. Last fall, my then visiting teacher brought me a bag of apples. (Thanks, Sheree!) Typically, Dave and I would eat through such a supply with no problem, but this particular week, Dave was going to be out of town and I wasn't going to be able to eat all those apples before they went bad. I googled "canning apple pie filling" and then preserved those beautiful red orbs to be ready to use in pie or on pancakes. Yum! Nothing to waste.

To review:



This is A GREAT TIME to get yourself set for this year's harvest. The following is a basic list of supplies you should gather in time for the next canning season. If you wait to collect this stuff all at once, it will be freakin' expensive. After getting your supplies the first year, you will only be paying for fruit, sugar, and lids the following years.

Essential to have:
a. Canning steamer; Estimated price: $40 (not a water bath canning pot; The steamer uses less water and therefore takes 1/2 the time as a canning pot, or "water bath canner." But if all you can get is the pot, go ahead. It'll work just fine.) (I don't know why it's currently this price. Just TWO years ago, they were $20! Maybe it's all those aluminum "green" cars now out on the road.) PSST... I got one for free on freecycle.

b. Canning jars; estimated price $12 or less for a dozen wide-mouth quart jars (I prefer the wide-mouth kind as they are easier to fit fruit through; small-mouth and smaller jars are cheaper.)(You can sometimes also find these at Deseret Industries or your local thrift store for 50¢ each. Just make sure the jars have no cracks or nicks.) (Or get them for free from people cleaning out their kitchens. ) PSST... I got mine free when my mother-in-law cleaned out her house prior to moving.

c. Canning rings or "bands"; estimated price: FREE; $1-2 for a dozen when they need replacing, if ever. (These will be included in your purchase of brand new jars; you will buy more of these when your canning rings are rusty or damaged.)

d. Canning lids; estimated price: FREE (first time), $2 or less for a dozen wide-mouth lids when replacing. (These will be included in your purchase of brand new jars, but these are one-time use only so you'll have to buy more of these when reusing the jars.)


Nice to have, but not absolutely necessary:
Jar lifter to handle hot jars; $4 or less
Funnel to neatly pour syrup or drop peach slices into jars; $2
Magnet wand to lift canning lids out of hot water; $1

A luxury to have:
A peach orchard and cannery;











Price: one meelleeeon dollars....








Places to gather your supplies from:
garage sales
thrift stores
freecycle.org
local grocery store (Macey's in Utah is absolutely great about carrying this stuff)
Santa Claus

Also, you must play the song "Peaches" in the background at some point of the canning process.

Happy canning!

[Posted song: "Peaches" by Presidents of the United States of America]



UPDATE: The steam canner is not recommended for low-acidic foods (meats, vegetables) or borderline-acidic foods (tomatoes). It is acceptable to use with fruits as long as the canner directions are followed properly and adjustments are made for altitude (an extra 10 minutes of processing in my case).

Here is the latest word on steam canning from USU Extension:
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/newsletter/No__002.pdf

and here's a helpful discussion on the matter:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg031834147252.html

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Merry Springmas!


Oh, excuse me, I must have hit the snooze button one too many times.
I meant to get up in April and slept in 'til December.
Good thing the Christmas lights are still up on the house.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Frustrated

UGH! I'm so frustrated!
Specifically, about everything.

I'm frustrated with:
The weather.
My baby's refusal to sit anymore.
Husbands and household duties.
Family Home Evening.
Going to bed late.
Waking up late.
My use of time.
My parents.
My dog.
The cost of postage.
Rude people.
Unanswered mail.
AVENT baby bottles.
Feelings.
My mentor.
My stubbornness.
Shoes.

BLAGH!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chatty Walls

A few months ago, I decided I wanted a declaration posted in my house that our family has faith in God and His abundance. Every so often, when I would sit in the living room playing with my baby or chatting with my husband, I'd imagine the words "peace and plenty here abide" written over my archway. I was too preoccupied with other things to consider where I'd start the process of that vinyl order, but I knew I'd have the phrase up there. About a week ago, I entered a giveaway (which is unusual for me) at the domestic goddess blog at the suggestion of a friend's blog. And I won!

As a prize, Chelon, of Chatty Walls, sent me this vinyl quote for my arch. I was so excited and still am absolutely amazed that the idea in my head materialized!


Isn't it amazing what faith can manifest? This kind of thing happens often to me, but I am still in awe every. single. time.

Bonus: I also got a second quote to put on the kitchen-side of the arch.


(I admit that as I was putting up the letters, I was tempted to leave off "as friends" for a few days as a joke.)

Thanks, Chelon! Thanks, Chatty Walls!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dirting


I dirted today.

Other people call it dusting, but "dusting" implies there's a light coat of feather-like debris involved.

Shortly, after waking today, I said, "It's been a while since I've dusted" and thought the task sounded novel as I pictured myself light-heartedly making things look shiny and new with the swipe of a magic wand. I grabbed two rags, moistened one, and headed for my bedroom windows.

HO.LY. CRAP.

I should have grabbed a chisel, a dustpan, and a priest. I found on my sills the ruins of ancient colonies, abandoned adobe homes, and the powdered remains of what were probably once pottery made by teeny tiny hands. My wet rag was, in one swipe, coated with mud. I grimaced and rinsed the cloth out in my bathroom sink.

As I returned to the window, I attributed the quarter-inch build-up to the neighboring construction work, but immediately after that thought, my mind flashed to the last time I remembered dusting, which was when I was still pregnant with my now-10-month-old daughter. So, really, I have no one to blame but my... ... husband.

I continued working on the window sill and found gaps where caulk was missing. Apparently, what had kept us from freezing to death this past winter was a compact bed of dirt. Huh- that explains those "mysterious" night allergies.

In the living room, I lightly shooed an upside-down fly off a sill with the dry rag and then shoved off its curled-up eight-legged companion. Neither of them stood a chance in the arid desert that is my windowsill. They were probably once friends, but as they crossed Little Sahara, they began to hunger and thirst and the spider apologized for having to go the way of his ancestors and eat his BFF for survival. My negligence in up-keeping my home triggered the break-down of The Fly-Spider Peace Treaty of 2007. (I cry for you, Fly and Spider.) I'd have to vacuum those suckers up off the carpet later. Eventually.

Finally, I ended up in the dining area where I came across a sacred insect burial ground. Insects of different races were piled up on top of each other, reminding us that we all return to dust (ahem) and need to put our differences aside. I swiped around them lest I stir up some ancient curse and rinsed my rags one last time before tossing them with the laundry. I'd have to get the vacuum attachment hose and "relocate" the bug remains. When I vacuum. Later. You know, when my daughter starts preschool.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feelin' Foolish

This is David's least favorite day of the year because it is one of MY most favorite:
April Fool's Day!

I still smile when I remember the year that David, near tears, asked me to "please" not pull anymore pranks on him. I had started his morning by putting Saran Wrap on the showerhead, the toilet, the faucet, and his toothbrush, so he had a bunch of unwrapping to do just to get ready for work.

What is it about April Fool's Day that has me brainstorming in giggles? I get all giddy inside getting ready for it! I'm usually up the night before rigging up the house as David is turning in. One year, I rubberbanded the sink sprayer so that it would spray someone just turning on the water, and I forgot about it and sprayed myself. I had to hurry and change so as not to give myself away. I learned not to set pranks up too soon before I'm ready for bed.

Here's one Kiki pulled a few years ago when she lived in The Hood.

Here's a prank I saw in Lee's photostream.

And here's one I saw quoted on msn.com: "My wife packed me a lunch and put cardboard in where the meat should have been. I took a bite at a crowded table and sat there being laughed at with the card board sticking out of my mouth with "April fool" wrote on it! She got me good!"

(I admit I chuckled even more because of "wrote on it" and "she got me good.")

Back to Dave a couple years ago.
I had played prank after prank on him throughout the day and he was so utterly and emotionally exhausted from all the surprises that he was relieved that night to just go to bed. I was finishing up brushing my teeth trying not to giggle when I heard Dave let out an exasperated sigh, "Can't you just let this day be over?"

Ah... the classic short-sheeted bed.