Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King
Keep flowers fresh for longer — easy tips June 7, 2010
If you are like me, you want your pretty flowers to last as long as possible. I usually weed through mine as they start to die off and make smaller bouquets in smaller vases until there isn’t a single flower left worth saving. Make sure that as you do this, tip the ends off at a diagonal under cold running water. This will allow the stems to absorb the fresh water. A couple tips for making them last longer from the start? Add a little bit of 7Up or Gin (Yes — I did say Gin) to the water. Here are a couple other tips.
- Mash an aspirin and add it to the water, if you do not have an aspirin substitute it with a multi-vitamin, copper penny or pinch of salt and baking soda.
- To keep cut flowers fresh longer and keep the water crystal clear use this recipe for vase water. Put 3 drops of bleach and 1 teaspoon of sugar into 1 liter of water.
And a little bit of honey to go along with the recipe for fresh flowers, “May all your weeds be wildflowers” ~ Author Unknown
Now that we are finally getting some warm weather we are also starting to see more bugs. Ben (my seven-year old) loves bugs and prefers to do them no harm BUT I am not a fan of the annoying flies that want to sit on my food and also the mosquitoes that bite and inflict endless itching. So a few ideas?
For the table:
Allethrin Lamps: these keep pests away within a 15 foot area for about 4 hours.
Geraniol Candles and Diffusers: this is 5 times better than Citronella
Bti Briquettes: These kill mosquito larvae before they hatch but are not guaranteed to help with bugs coming from other areas a where you put the discs.
For the body:
Bite Blocker which is recommended by the American Pediatrics Academy.
Burt’s Bees also offers a spray that is non-toxic
Insect repellent wristbands are an easy and mess free alternative to lotions and sprays and are made with Gerional
Just keep in mind that you should still use your hands when applying these products and be careful of the face area, as with most products, you do not want them in your mouth or eyes!
Do you have a favorite bug repellent? The Local Honey loves feedback 🙂
Wow — I have been lagging on my little bit of honey posts!! I just love quotes and how they can sometimes really put things into perspective. As of late, I have felt so thankful for girlfriends. They are truly like therapy (and so much cheaper). For that, I decided that a quote on friendship was appropriate today. Enjoy.
Friendship is a sheltering tree. – Samuel Coleridge
A good friend of mine has had us over for dinner several times but at a few of our get togethers, she has let the kids create their own pizzas. Ben remembered this and wanted to do it at home last week. When I say, “Create your own” I mean, “Buy dough at Nugget and add stuff”. They still get to be messy with flour and a rolling-pin which really is the best part. So we picked up some of the awesome pre-made pizza dough at Nugget. It costs $2 and makes 3 mini pizzas. I let the kids choose what they wanted to put on their pizzas. Mason is pretty vanilla when it comes to his choices. Sauce + cheese. Nothing else. Period. The kid will not even try new things. Makes me crazy but I can’t control his taste buds. Ben on the other hand wanted to make his like The Cowboy pizza at Papa Murphys. So we added some sausage, black olives and mushrooms. We had some leftover sauce from a previous pizza night but I also whipped up something a little more homemade using canned tomato sauce, garlic, fresh and dried herbs. I think it tasted better than the Ragu stuff. So for a fun little night with the family – make your own pizzas!! Next up, bbqing pizza. I have heard it is yummy. A tip if you do not have a pizza stone? Use a terra-cotta pot saucer. Creative eh? Now – what would you put on YOUR pizza?
And so it begins, “I’m Bored Mom” May 31, 2010
If you are like me, this is something that I hear all too often. It is usually not true boredom cause is there really such a thing?? I think that being bored and not knowing what to do are two different things. If you are faced with this topic statement in your house, I have a few ideas (some courtesy of Disney Family).
- Water play — parks, pools, beaches, etc.
- Go to a local book store or library — and make a date of it! Many offer weekly story times and some even include a craft. Check your local venues for a calendar of events.
- Make a movie — give them a video camera and let them create (thanks to iCarly, my 7-year-old already thinks that this is the coolest idea EVER.)
- Give them a theme
- Pick a theme for each week: Cowboys, Astronauts, Knights and Princesses, etc.
- Make Monday “music day,” Tuesday “project day,” Wednesday “costume day,” “movie day” … whatever you want.
- Put it in a calendar format so the kids can anticipate what’s going on ahead.
- Break it down — by week and then by day. A must if you want to stay on any kind of routine which personally, I need to do!! I want to have a whole lot of fun but also make sure that mommy still gets to work out and that the boys still have some learning time snuck in.
- Free movies — check out Regal Theaters (or my previous post) for more details.
- Games — There are so many games to choose from.
- Puzzles — get one of the really big ones and let it have a place in your home to come back too when you need some downtime. If you are lacking at extra table, try setting this “project” up on a card table.
- Be a scientist — go here for fun ideas http://www.greensim.com/lemonade/concoctions.html
- Be an artist — take it outside, tape a large sheet of butcher paper along a fence and paint away (tip: look for paints that are eco-friendly and washable. I found several kid friendly art supplies on theglassbabybottle.com. Check them out!
The options for fun are endless. It might take a little time and patience but remember, the memories are yours for the making so be creative, have fun, play and most of all — SMILE!! 🙂
I have been in serious cooking mode this weekend. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday so I had to whip up some yummy stuff to celebrate him. I think my fave was the homemade mac n’ cheese which I doubled and will be eating again tonight. I also made blue cheese dressing — from scratch! So easy but wow, so good! Much better than the store-bought stuff. Today as been a baking extravaganza. Some for entertaining purposes as we are having friends over for dinner tonight. One just because I had a recipe I wanted to try and the other simply because I needed to use up some old bananas. Enjoy the following recipes, they have been tested and tried by yours truly!
Here is a quick and tasty salad:
– adapted by Simple Living Magazine
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
- 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, quartered
- black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and 3 tablespoons of the blue cheese.
- Divide the lettuce among plates and spoon the dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cheese and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
** I would say to decrease the cook time as 18 minutes was too long. Check them around 12 minutes and make sure they are not getting too brown.
And last but definitely not least as I loved this is the Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Sunset Magazine. This recipe calls for dry white wine which I think gave it a really unique flavor. It did not feel extra heavy and the bread crumbs offered a great final touch. Oh P.S. — this is not a light recipe, just as an FYI but because of the flavors and types of cheese, it didn’t feel really heavy. So indulge!
- 8 ounces cavatappi, macaroni, or other tube-shaped pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for cooking pasta
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 7 ounces gruyère, grated
- 3 ounces aged gouda, grated (see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces crusty sourdough bread (about 1/4 loaf), torn into large pieces
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water until tender to the bite, 7 to 12 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse.
2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Add shallots and cook until light golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle shallot-butter mixture with flour; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Add wine and stir, picking up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cream and stir well. Sprinkle in cheeses, one large handful at a time, stirring until each handful is mostly melted before adding the next. Stir in 2 tbsp. chives, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir cooked pasta into cheese mixture, then pour all into a 2-qt. baking dish.
3. In a food processor, pulse bread with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. chives, and 1/4 tsp. salt until coarse bread crumbs form. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta and cheese and bake until top is browned and cheese is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.