Next Post from my New Home!

That’s right! Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of my hubby (which is the most important days of the year to me), entertaining on Tuesday, movers come on Thursday and we head off on Friday!

We should arrive at our new home and new home city on the second of August so while I’m thinking about more things you need to know, that I can tell you, why don’t you do me a little favor and tell a friend or two about all the neat things I do over here. No, you don’t have to go telling everyone your secret but I’m a giver, see? And I am just not helping quite enough people at the moment so I’d love to see some new faces (not that yours ain’t pertty) around here. Thanks and I’ll see you again soon!


July 25, 2010. Me and Mine. 2 comments.

Poached Eggs

July 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Eggs. 2 comments.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Know your Eggs

A fresh egg will sink in water.

Old ones are smooth and shiny,
fresh ones are rough and chalky.

Eggs beat up lighter and make a better cake when they are not too cold.
(When making angel food cake or a sponge cake,
remove your eggs from the fridge several hours before use.)

July 25, 2010. Tags: , , . Eggs, Tip O' the Week. 2 comments.

Bestest Ever

Remember this?

I thought you may like to see it in action.

I think he loved it.

Thanks to our amazing photographer for this fantastic shot of our lovely friends’ offspring, Paul.
I’ll show you more of his work from our wedding very soon!

July 23, 2010. Tags: , , , . Art and Neat stuff. 2 comments.

Update: Summertime Golden

Silly me! What good is it to know how to cut a pineapple if you don’t know how to pick one? Thanks to a reader suggestion, you’re about to find that out too.

  1. Look at it.
    A pineapple is not ripe when it is green. This means, the higher up the pineapple you can go before seeing green, the better. Look for a nice golden color on the eyes which are at the bottom. The higher up the yellow goes, the more even the flavor. Look for brown spots. These are no good. Deep bronze color;also no good.

    That color, plus a pleasant, mild pineapple aroma at the base are the best guides to ripeness.

  2. Smell it. You should actually be able to smell the fruit through it’s skin. If it’s over ripe and on it’s way out, it will smell fermented. No bueno.
  3. Feel it. It should be firm but “yielding to the touch”.

    And according to many “The ability to pull a leaf from the crown proves nothing about ripeness, despite the enduring popularity of that myth.” So be careful.

July 22, 2010. Tags: . Cooking tips, Too Embarassed to Ask. Leave a comment.

Summertime Golden

No. Not everyone knows how to cut a pineapple. In fact, I didn’t until I was about 20 or so. And now I can honestly say I have cut over 300 pineapples.

So I’m going to start a new “section”:

Things you need to know but are too embarrassed to ask

I wish I had something similar years ago when I didn’t know how to cook a turkey or cut an artichoke or boil water.  Luckily, I don’t believe in being too embarrassed to ask anymore. And I don’t believe you should live without fresh pineapple because you haven’t learned to cut one yet.

Twist the head and the body in opposite directions. If it is not ripe, you can also hold the body firmly with both hands and hit the top of the head against a counter and it will pop off.

Slice off each end as close to the end as possible. We are trying to get the most fruit out of this.

Stand the pineapple up and slice off the skin one side at a time. Go all the way around. It's o.k. if you leave some spots. It's better to use a little knife on those so you don't keep loosing fruit. You can see how little fruit there is on the skin over there? Yeah, that's good.

Remove the core by cutting around it. Slice just off the center. If it feels hard, you're at the core so scooch outward.

Remove the last bit from the core. Then give it to some lucky champ to gnaw on.

Now take each section and slice in a grid for bite size chunks.

Yuh’ welcome!

July 22, 2010. Tags: . Cooking tips, Too Embarassed to Ask. 4 comments.

My Favorite Thing

Of all the amazing, beautiful things we’re finding in RPK’s  family belongings, this is, by far, my favorite. It was his father’s and it was in his truck which has been with us since he passed. His father was a nudist and this is a very typical find among the naturalists. You can usually find things like this at the camps. It really brought tears to my eyes. I imagine he was the sweetest, kindest man.

July 22, 2010. Tags: , , . Art and Neat stuff. 1 comment.

Fibers Update

So I finally finished my 28 Thirty. It is incredibly comfortable minus the expected scratchiness from the wool. The pattern is well written in that it is very specific and detailed. It is written clearly but it’s not excessively so. There are some spots where I think a very experienced knitter might think, “that’s obvious” but that gives it a larger audience. It only took me 3 hours to pick out the buttons. 🙂

There are just a couple things I would change about this pattern and if I were to make another. First, I realized that the buttonholes came out on the wrong (left) side. This was not my fault. The pattern actually puts them there. This is a surprisingly big annoyance and was not the case in their photographs. I believe this was a mistake.

The other thing I would change is the buttonhole placement. I had actually read this in one woman’s notes but was not experienced with buttonholes and therefore didn’t have the courage to mess with it which is unfortunate because it really would have made a nice difference, not to mention that it would have been a cinch. They are 2 stitches away from the edge which is too close so if it is the slightest bit snug, you can see how the holes are tugging away from the buttons which I hate because that is how you’re supposed to know that a shirt is too small for you. I also ended up adding 7 extra rows to the body to lengthen the waist.

You can also see here that there is a bit of a difference in the collar. It doesn’t actually stand up slightly stiff the way it looks here. I really thought it would but it’s pretty heavy and likes to slouch. No biggie. Just not what I expected. I really like the shaping. it’s very simple but effective. The Peace Fleece also softened up just a bit already so I am eager to see if it will get even softer. It is mostly merino after all.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with it. I am really looking forward to wearing it over a dress in the fall. (Maybe a red one!…or something with red shoes or tights…buwahahaha!)

I began RPK’s sweater and I really wish I could explain how amazing this yarn feels against my needles. I really look forward to getting more from these people somehow. I’m just using a basic how-to for a simple raglan. I especially wanted to do it from the top down in case I run out of these colors, I can do the bottom ribbing in black or even a color maybe. I only bought 1200 yards of this so we’ll see.

July 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Knitting. 5 comments.

Smooth Move

I’m in the process of packing to move about 18 hours away. I actually enjoy moving. Let me repeat that…I LIKE moving! (echo, echo, echo)

I have to learned to love the feeling of cleaning out the corners of my mind which, if you’re obsessive compulsive like me, is really what you’re doing when you are packing and decide you don’t need that chipped glass anymore or those pants you are seriously never going to fit into again. These things that we keep around clutter both mind and home which eventually starts to weigh you down emotionally.

My favorite part of moving is getting to the new place and starting fresh. With boxes whose contents are well organized, you make setting up your new home a fun and exciting activity. No, really!

Okay, Okay…Well, these tips may not make it fun for you but they may, at least, make it easier and less stressful so if you’re moving or know someone who is, here are some things I have learned throughout the years that I find are very helpful and worth considering. I’m sure you know some of these already.

  • Start early
    It IS possible. The earlier you start, the more casual this chore can become. You say, “but what if I need my stuff?!” How much stuff do you need when you travel? Do you need more than half a dozen books? I don’t think so. Do you need your entire out of season wardrobe? I am knitting a sweater, 2 sets of socks, planning menus, and posting on my blog right now…I move in less than two weeks. I have time to do these things because I started early.
    Starting early also helps cut down on the amount of things you will have to move as well as your costs because it gives you more time to make difficult “toss” or “keep” decisions. When you are pressed for time, you tend to keep everything in order to avoid going through it which makes you move more things which costs MORE MONEY.
  • Keep trash
    Hah! Okay, what I really mean is hang on to paper bags, plastic bags, pieces of cardboard, old boxes, and newspaper. These will all prove extremely useful. (We were receiving wedding presents so I started saving all the boxes and packing materials. Crate and Barrel use awesome, excessive amounts of padding paper which comes in VERY handy.)
  • Keep a station

    This is very important. Find a corner. This may seem like it will be an eyesore but it’s not as much of one as having moving supplies and paper and boxes strewn about your entire house. I’m using an old card table in the spot where all my art supplies were. You will need it free of things so that you can do all of your wrapping and taping and packing here. As soon as you are finished with a box, move it off of your table.
  • Invest in materials

    There are some things you are just going to need to buy. It’s worth it. 3 or 6 packs of packing tape, bubble wrap, blank newsprint (see last tip) and FRAGILE stickers. I know moving is expensive but I swear, the money you spend on these three things is worth it. Bubble wrap comes in huge rolls for 17 dollars. This roll goes far when used in conjunction with paper and they are usually perforated! When I discovered that, I was thrilled. The Fragile stickers are bright red so you can’t miss them. They aren’t that expensive either so you do not have to use them sparingly. You’re going to need a lot of tape. Suck it up and buy the value packs. You’ll save in the end.
  • Recycle boxes
    (Okay, I know you’re thinking you already know this, but just hear me out.)
    Ideal places to hunt for boxes are in the dumpsters/cardboard only dumpsters behind shopping centers. We scored two giant boxes filled with earth friendly (water soluble) peanuts! We found ours behind an electronics store. If you think about it, there are some stores that sell fragile things. Well, they have to have these things shipped to them, right?  These are the places you’ll have the best chance of finding free peanuts, bubble wrap, and stuffing paper!

  • Check box bottoms
    Always check the bottoms of your found boxes that haven’t been broken down before packing them. You may need to add some extra tape to insure the bottom doesn’t fall out once it’s packed.
  • Make your own boxes
    You’re going to eventually come across something that has very odd shape to it and won’t fit in any boxes you’ve found. Don’t go hunting down some perfect sized box. Make your own out of a larger box. (I’ll admit, I am no good at this but RPK is.) All you have to do is break the box down flat and the use it more like wrapping paper.
  • Multiple boxes in view

    Have many different boxes taped up and put together and have them in plain view in your area. This makes it much easier to just grab a box of appropriate size.
  • At least two of everything
    This is if you are the only one packing. If there’s 2 of you packing, have 3 of everything. This means, markers, tape holders, and areas. This will cut down on wasting time and getting frustrated searching for a misplaced roll of tape or a marker that rolled under a box. It may sound small but it’s the lack of these little “situations” that keep you and your loved ones…well, loving one another.
  • Pack decor first
    I have ALWAYS done this. This means all knick knacks, anything on the walls and anything that serves no purpose besides sitting there and looking pretty. You won’t believe how great this makes you feel. This is something you can do very early on, at a nice pace and it is helpful when stacking boxes against the walls as you will not have to worry about anything on the walls. This is also nice because when you open these boxes in your new home, it will feel easier to switch up where things are as opposed to hanging all the same things in the same rooms.
    *Doing this will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and can get the ball rolling.
  • Then books
    This puts a serious dent in your packing!
  • Color code rooms
    This can be good for kids to help. Kids LOVE putting stickers on things. When all the boxes from their room are taped up, skip writing which room it’s for all over the box. Let your kiddo pick out his/her color and stick the appropriate stickers all over it. This saves YOU time and gets the wee ones out of your hair for a little while.
  • Go Easy on yourself
    Take plenty of breaks. If you start to feel stressed, go outside or away from the packing for a little while. Being surrounded by chaos can make you feel, well, chaotic. Lift as little as possible. If you need to see if something is going to fit in a box, put the box over the item upside down instead of lifting the item itself. Drink lots of water.
  • Blank Newsprint
    You can buy large boxes of blank, fresh wrapping newsprint. Often, you can also buy it directly from your local newspaper for very cheap.
    Yes, printed newspaper is very cheap and easy to come by but keep in mind these major things: it gets your hands filthy and feels gross AND you will need to wash/rinse EVERY dish that is wrapped in it after you move. Blyuch, right?

Remember, this is a great opportunity for a fresh(er) start. Be nice to yourself so your start in your new home is a happy one.

July 18, 2010. Tags: , , , . Cleaning tips, Me and Mine. 9 comments.

Basted Eggs

O.K. You may find this hard to believe but I make basted eggs the healthy way.  But just so you know, the alternative to using water and the more common way to baste an egg is to use butter or fat or oil. It’s totally up to you.

July 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Eggs. 2 comments.

Over Medium & Over Hard

Over Mediums do not get their own video. I’m sure you’re relieved.  Simply add about 10 seconds to cooking time on over easy and you’ve got over mediums.

Here’s your over hard, also, sometimes referred to simply as a fried egg.

Note: You will notice I use my finger to bust the yolk. I’m a firm believer in getting to know your food intimately. Also, I DO NOT recommend using the shell of the egg because if your egg were to have a trace of any type of bacteria, it tends to be on the outer shell of the egg rather than on the inside. We’ll discuss this more later.

July 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Eggs. 2 comments.

Stop it with the Toothpaste Already!

On your silver I mean.

O.K. There is some controversy over this so let me tell you what I think.

I am a bit disappointed in some online magazines/blogs, that shall remain nameless, that are encouraging people to polish their silver with toothpaste or a paste made from baking soda just because some readers said you can. (This method was mentioned in comments sections, and without doing any research, they have repeated this without additional information.)

If you care enough to polish your silver, you probably plan on keeping it around a while. Both, baking soda and toothpaste have teeny, tiny grains in them. The suggested use (in the very naughty articles) is to rub this grainy paste all over your silver. Unfortunately, these grains are not tiny enough for my taste and can cause scratching. Yes, yes. It is a very small amount of scratching but it is visible and over time, these scratches start to accumulate and dull your beautiful heirlooms. They really won’t be the same.

You CAN use baking soda WITHOUT scratching your silver. Here’s how.

Why this method rules:

tarnish is dissolved, not removed by granular abrasion
no harsh chemicals
cheaper than toothpaste
many professional silversmiths from Tiffany and Co. swear by it
gets into tiny crevasses

Otherwise, find a polish made for cleaning silver. These are manufactured to have much smaller grains to minimize damage.

If you insist on using toothpaste for whatever reason,  (I’m not saying, do it!)
here are some other pointers for minimizing the damage:

Wash with warm water and a gentle dish soap first. You may be amazed at the amount of tarnish a little soap will remove.
Do not move in a circular motion. Rub in long strides.
Rub very gently
Use a 100% cotton cloth.

July 8, 2010. Cleaning tips. Leave a comment.

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