Monday, June 30, 2008

My Clothesline Arrived

and here she is...see item 3000. I'll post a pic once my husband gets this baby into the ground.

Because my kids won't eat peanut butter and fruit sauce sandwiches...

Hey folks! I've been busy canning and drying some of the fruit we receive from the CSA. I'm not one to follow recipes so I have been making lots of "fruit sauce" instead of jam. I now have surrendered to the recipe; wish me luck! To further the challenge, I'm trying to master the use of Pomona's Universal Pectin because it doesn't require sugar. I prefer the taste of no sweetener in jams or if needed, honey. I buy the honey and the pectin from Azure Standard. I haven't broken down and called the hotline yet; give me a few more attempts as I'm stubborn. I would love to hear from anyone who as tried universal pectin.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Homegrown - The Movie

I'm looking forward to seeing this documentary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In the news...Designed to Sell

The Hanford Sentinel wrote up an article on our appearance on Designed to Sell.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary Husband!



How to recycle those corn utensils...or not.

From today's LA Times

RESTAURANT JOURNAL
Dig into debate over 'green' utensils

More Los Angeles-area restaurants turn to eco-friendly to-go packaging, but not everyone's up on how to dispose of them.
June 18, 2008
Now that you feel environmentally conscientious for having used a corn fork -- those forks made with corn starch that lately are the darlings of the takeout world -- what will you do with it?Santa Monica passed an ordinance banning all non-recyclable plastic and polystyrene (Styrofoam) at food service establishments in February, and with daily fines topping $250, restaurants have been quick to comply."Our goal is to become zero waste . . . to go back to a 1950s approach of using less, like wrapping a sandwich in paper instead of plastic," explains Josephine Miller, an environmental analyst for the city of Santa Monica's Green Programs Division. "But first we've got to do what it takes to get the Styrofoam and non-recyclable plastic out of the ocean."Acceptable choices include recyclable aluminum and plastic, paper and those compostable vegetable products.But compostable isn't the same as biodegradable. Corn forks must be professionally composted at high temperatures, or they'll end up sharing landfill space with Styrofoam.Some chefs, including Daniel Snukal of , have always preferred paper products "because they just decompose." And they cost a fraction of their shiny new vegetable great-grandchildren.But others aren't as up on their composting lingo. At Bar Pintxo, manager Angel Stork says the restaurant recently switched from aluminum to corn to-go containers "because they were on the city's list, and they sounded better, so we thought they must be." Aluminum, almost 100% recyclable, is also on the list.The problem isn't the product, but the lack of public compost bins. "The city said we could sign up for a food waste program," says Sang Yoon, owner of Father's Office in Santa Monica. "But we don't use to-go containers. Our customers do."Santa Monica doesn't currently have public compost bins. Miller says the city plans to provide green compost bins for all single-family homes "very soon" (some private homes already have them). But getting compost bins to apartment buildings and office parks "is much more complex."At Andiamo in Silver Lake, which isn't affected by the ban but "tries to keep everything compostable," manager Casey Anderson offers to take customers' used corn products and "put them in our composter." So far, no one has brought back their used cornware."You can always boil the stuff until it dissolves," Anderson says. But he calls back to say, "Forget that -- it'll only turn the fork into a twisted-up, weird science experiment."And distinguishing between recyclable plastic items and corn products isn't always easy. The website for Tender Greens in Culver City touts its "strong sense of environmental responsibility." But co-owner David Dressler says he doesn't alert customers that the box housing their tuna ni├žoise salad can't be recycled. "We're not the end user of the product, so it's not our responsibility."At Father's Office, Yoon is more direct. "We choose not to give people forks at all."--Jenn GarbeeSmall bites* Animal, the new restaurant from Carmelized Productions caterers (and former Food Network hosts) Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, has opened, with its daily changing menu of seasonal dishes including fried soft-shell crabs with pancetta vinaigrette and more than two dozen wines by the glass. 435 N. Fairfax Ave., (323) 782-9225.* SugarFish, sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa's latest restaurant, opens Monday with "Trust Me" (omakase gone casual) menus that include his blue crab rolls and white shrimp sushi. 4722 1/4 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, (310) 306-6300, www.sugarfishsushi.com.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More On Tomatoes

Another good article on contaminated tomatoes, this one from the Rodale Institute. Uh, don't wash your fruit and veg in contaminated water, no duh. But did you know the bacteria can become internalized when washed at a processing plant and that is why washing them doesn't clean them? Icko.

Frugal Friday - Cut Back on the Television

Hey there folks,
I've been making lots of changes and always looking for ways to challenge myself on being frugal and more self-supporting. Well, I pulled the family into this one... We cut back our cable. My husband works in the tv biz so this is a big deal in our house. We, I confess, had 3 cable boxes. I further confess that I did like to watch Judge Judy on the flip-down kitchen television while I cooked dinner. Well gone are those days, at least for now. We are now down to one box that is shared in operating the living room tv and the one in the master bedroom. Third confession, I just ADORE falling asleep to some Masterpiece Theatre! Step two of the cable cut-back is programing changes. Do we need HBO and Showtime? I know you're thinking, do we need cable at all? Well, we live in the foothills, and 1/2 mile from a mountain and the only way to get reception is by cable or satellite. So now you're thinking, do we need television? The answer is yes because I do need my husband, LOL!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Co-Op Delivery

Path To Freedom picks up from the same co-op drop as we do. They took some pics and posted about yesterday's delivery. You can see my backside. I'm wearing a pink top and a denim skirt and am holding on to my little guys. I do like ordering through a co-op as it allows me to buy 25-50 lb. bags of flower, pectin and granola in bulk and more. I think the best buy can be found in spices. You can easily buy 1lb. of a spice for the same price as one small jar that you would find in a grocery store. We order our goods from Azure Standard and we get our fruits and vegetables from Abundant Harvest Organics.

Are you organic-transitional?

Laundry & Children posted a very funny video.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sustainable Living

There is a family nearby who has been living sustainably for years now. CNN just ran a segment on them. It's great to be able to see inside their live and see how they pull it off.

Click here to play video

I showed this to my husband and he said that he was discussing the way I run our home with one of his co-workers. It came up because she is a vegan, does she eat organic, does she belong to a CSA, etc. The co-worker wanted to know if I worked, yes part-time. Wow, how does she get all that done, etc. My answer is learn to love what you have to do. The family in the video knows no other way and must love what they do. I took on this attitude when I first married and had kids and realized that if this was what my day-to-day would be like I better learn to love it or else risk turning into one grumpy gal.

Today, we had homemade cinnamon-raisin bread for breakfast. We had something fabulous and homemade for lunch, oh, I remember. We had some great southwest chicken with a potato casserole. I made extra for later in the week and some goes in hubby's lunch tomorrow. Hubs took one of the boys to see the new Narnia movie and I canned some pickled beets while my little guy tried to nap. I started some homemade tomato-basil bread (what do I do with all these tomatoes - problem solved). For dinner we had cold teriyaki chicken, cucumber salad and cherry pie for dessert. I still have lunches to pack for preschool tomorrow, bread to pull out and a bit of counters to wipe. Oh, I just remembered I did tons of laundry too. Now this was fun for me today. I took a break for tea, called my folks, talked to my dad about what to do with all the green beans I had. It was a good day. It's only 6:30 now and I am off duty soon. I gave one kid a bath already, forgot about that. If I didn't like all that I needed to do in a day, I would be in a real pickle! I'm sure I can complain another day but now I have a cute 5 year old who wants to cuddle!

ps I don't like to organize clutter. Ick. I need to learn who to love that next.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day!



DAD



GRANDPA



UMPA












It's My Birthday!!!

WooHoo!! It's my birthday, well yesterday! I'm 38 which has been really great so far. 37 felt a bit stale, hmm. 38 seems like a fresh year.




I'm kinda excited about having received some birthday money. I'm leaning toward buying an electric food processor. I only have a manual food processor. It's great but, you know, it is 2008.




Now my husband and the boys gave me the most amazing gifts.





This was gifty number one from the guys, a garden kneeler. My son A says this will help me "to get close to the thing I'm gardening." He's so right. In addition it will cut down on the comments from people driving by the house such as "Nice butt." I obviously need the kneeling pad, okay. I can admit that.









Now ladies, I bet you're as surprised as I was when I found out that there are garden fashion accessories for the lady gardener. The men folk also gave me this garden tote. It has a zipper compartment in the middle, two open compartments on either side of that and these exterior pockets. Now to make this gift even sweeter, well the one they gave me was PINK! You know this means that hubby won't fill it with plumbing tools! I'm so stoked!! I'm going to call this my gardening purse!





This is called a hori hori. This ladies is a knife for you!!!! Whoa! I never knew I wanted a knife until I received this one! This has a million uses in the garden. It digs holes for bulbs, it cuts away stubborn weeds, it's uses just go on! I admit this was my favorite gift.

Of course there was a celebration, I'm not just into the gifts, really but that was where the pictures came in so I started there to keep you reading. Okay, my oldest son wanted me to have a Power Ranger party and I wanted a garden tea party. Since we couldn't agree we simply winged it. My hubby got off work early and we went to eat at a restaurant. This is a rare occurrence in our home. We went out for Mexican and I even drank a margarita! I made it through the whole thing; I was celebrating! Then we came home for cherry pie. I'm not a cake girl, never have been; I adore fruit pie. Anyway that was my birthday. It was great and I'm thoroughly recharged and ready to tackle my chores this Saturday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Frugal Friday - Life as Mom: June CVS Primer

Life as Mom put together a nice little primer for CVS shopping in June. Even if you don't give it a try yourself, this is a great description of how it all works.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How Good Tomatoes Go Bad

Homegrown Evolution has a nice and simple article on how cooties get into our tomatoes. Boy am I glad I'm growing lots of tomatoes this year. I have 12 plants. My neighbor thought I was crazy for planting so many! Hah! Anyway, here is the link to the article.

Homegrown Evolution: Dookie in the Tomatoes

Weeds-day New Comoposting Tools


I have new composing tools, cool! I have a compost turner. Yes I do move my pile and that is the best way to go but sometimes it just needs a quick turn not a big turn, you know. I also have a pink tote to store my completed compost. Pink is so pretty in the garden and besides, my husband won't take my pink bucket now will he. I know I won't see this bucket being used to wash cars. It's mine, mine, MINE1

Friday, June 6, 2008

Frugal Friday - Ebates

Edit: Egads! I just realised that this post was drafed a wee bit ago and the info might not be totally up to date. Oops. The shoes.com deal, etc. might not be going on anymore so be warned. I can say that the experience with KB Toys was bitter sweet. The free delivery was a bit of a pain as they required a signature; this wasn't cool since they didn't warn me about this and in fact KB said they didn't intend to do this. My husband had to go to the post office to pick up the packages by the way. Anyway, KB was so nice when I called trying to sort out the snafu that they gave me a $10 gift certificate!! So the prices were great, free shipping, getting a rebate and scored a gift certificate. Woohoo! Always call if there is a problem you never know, you might get a gift certificate.

I heard about http://www.ebates.com/ at a few other blogs. It is similar to other sites in that you earn rebates for your purchases. The main difference is that this one actually pays you and the deals are pretty good. I did purchase our Entertainment book through the ebates link. It was on sale and I received the rebate. I think I received a check for about $15. It isn't a fortune but it was better than if I purchased directly from the Entertainment website. I saved again recently. I found out about a KB Toy sale from the ebates website. I got great deals on my son's birthday presents, and received free shipping. The rebate was only $2 but overall, I did save quite a bit on his birthday gifts. I used to use UPromise.com to find out about online sales but the rebates were so small. Yes the rebates go into a college fund, I know but they were soooo small it just didn't seem to be worth it. Click on this referral link if you decide to try ebates and I'll get a referral bonus - http://www.ebates.com/referral/0508bonusosu.htm?referrerid=%2FerZ%2FSx32KkJmNKlCXxdyw%3D%3D Right now there is an offer for 8% cash back from shoes.com orders and 10% from Snapfish, not too shabby.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weeds-day Fuschia


This fuschia was only planted a few weeks ago and it's going crazy with blooms, no shock for this plant. The parent to this fuschia is at my parents' home and I'm told it was my grandmother's prior to that. I planted it, like I said, only a few weeks ago. I have been pinching it back to encourage new growth and it is growing like a weed. I'm seeing new growth everywhere. I live in zone 9 and it turns out that if you're a fuschia this is where you want to be, better still my particular Sunset hardiness zone.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Celebrities and Such

Why is this little boy so happy?
Oh, that is Husband sitting next to him with one eye on him at all times.
Well, could that be Elmo and Mrs. Mister (Joanne) Rogers at the Fred Rogers Scholarship Awards?


Yo Gabba Gabba! creators.



DJ Lance!!!!



Aunt Mimi chatting up Mrs. Mister Rogers.




Hello! It's me, the boys and Mr. McFeely. Sppedy Delivery!
We attended this super fun scholarship ceremony. It was a blast! Not only did we meet all these great celebs from childrens television but they served ICE CREAM afterwards! The kids were on cloud 9.




The $0.01 Cherry Pitter

All you need is a straw and an incredible hand model.


Score the bottom of the cherry with the straw.

Slide the straw over the stem then score and push.


Out goes the pit.

I came up with this solution for pitting cherries as we received a bunch of organic cherries in our CSA basket last Saturday. Okay, I don't let the kiddos eat cherries with pits. I just have nightmares of little boys jumping on top of the backs of dining chairs while they choke. I think they teach that in preschool, right. Anyway, normally I solve this problem by waiting for the kids to go to bed, taking the cherries to my bedroom and eating all of them myself while watching Masterpiece Theater or some other worthwhile program. Ahh, peace and quiet.

For some reason, I had my fill of the cherries and decided I would share "my" cherries with the boys, but had to pit them quickly (didn't want to spend all day on it like when I was shelling peas, arghh) and frugally (I wasn't going to buy a gadget). I confess the truth, I waited until my husband was out with one of the boys so I only had to share them with the other boy, but I did pit them first. Good mommy!

Organic Squash


A sampling of what was in our CSA basket last Saturday.

Take Time for Tomorrow - Tuesday


My new pressure canner arrived. I didn't buy the top of the line since I'm a beginner but I did select a monster Presto 23 quart model. To give you an idea of the size of this wonder of wonders, I've asked my 5 year old son and his Bionicle to sit next to it. Wowee! is that baby big (and so is that canner, hee hee)! So far I have successfully canned pickled beets and stonefruit jam. The first Saturday of June I will receive my order of 15 lbs of stonefruit. I'll make jam with that fruit in my new ginormous canner! Clear the kitchen!




Monday, June 2, 2008

Do you ever just...

throw a tea bag into a tea cup, throw it in the microwave, hit beverage, hit start, hear the beep, stop to tie on some bandana capes to your kids, retrieve your cup from the micro only to find that you never put the water in the cup? Do you ever just need a cup of tea that bad?

It's 5:24pm and I'm finally getting my 3:00pm tea. Ahhh.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Today is my baby's birthday. Watch the years go by...





















He's 4 years old today!!!!