Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Winter is the time for feeding our little feathered friends, especially in areas where it gets cold and snowy. I have a recipe for a Birdseed Wreath that is very simple for you to create.
1 1/2 cups water
4- 1/4 ounce pkgs. Knox unflavored gelatin
8 cups birdseed
Boil 1 1/2 cup water.
Empty the 4 packages of gelatin into 8 tablespoons of cold water in a large bowl.
Let the gelatin sit for 1 minute.
Add the boiling water and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the gelatin has dissolved.
Stir 8 cups of birdseed into the gelatin, mixing thoroughly.
Let the mixture set for a few minutes, then stir again. Repeat this process a few times allowing the seed to absorb the liquid.
Spoon the mixture into a greased bundt pan and put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Remove the wreath from the mold by inverting the pan and tapping along the bottom. The pan may need to warm to room temperature before the wreath will come out.
Allow the wreath to dry overnight or longer if necessary.
(I found it needs to be on a cooling rack to let the air circulate.)
Use several strands of raffia to form a loop to hang the wreath.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
This recipe is found on one of my favorite "Green" websites - National Geographic's ~ "The Green Guide". Check out their website for more practical information and ideas. You can also subscribe to their newsletter on their website. (click on photo to be taken to website- Photograph by Alec Hemer for Coastal Living )
To clean and deodorize, sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, add white vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.
Tub and Tile
Dip the face of the lemon half in borax to create a hand-held scrubber for dirty areas. Rinse and dry the surface afterwards.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
1. The Internet Archive describes itself as a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. Great and interesting resource.
Retro to Go ~ Fun Shopping site for all things Retro.
3. The Anti-Coloring Book - I loved to color as a child. When I had children I looked for something a bit more open ended and found these Anti-Coloring books created by Susan Striker, which my sons loved. This link takes you to printable pages so you can try them out with your children (or yourself) before you buy a complete book.
4. Photoshop Roadmap - Give your photos a Retro Comic Book Effect.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Okay, so I live in the Northern Hemisphere of the United States, precisely in the State of Maine and we know there is generally snow here in January. Granted I live in Southern Maine and on the coast, which tends to be a bit "warmer" in the winter than Northern Maine. "Warmer" being a relative term - it is still colder than I enjoy. (It is 0 degrees as we speak).
I actually enjoy “winter” from about November through December. Okay, so it isn't officially winter in November and even the beginning of December with the solstice usually falling around December 21. So I guess I enjoy winter for about two weeks. I could easily be persuaded to visit places with less snow for the months of January and February.
This winter has been especially cold, thus has required more indoor heating and warmer layers inside. I work at home and want to minimally contribute to global warming so we keep the thermostat at 62 degrees. On those days when I do venture out, I feel thirty pounds heavier from all the clothing rather than just the 5 that I probably gained from the inactivity of winter.
So, with that said, we are presently in the “Winter Blahs Zone”. How can we survive? I mean Spring is not "officially" until March 20th this year. I've come up with a few quick tips to fight the Winter Blues.
1. Read interesting books or magazines and maybe plan your Spring or Summer garden. If you live in colder climates where there is no yard work for months (one perk if you don't like yard work), take time to read. You can also visualize what kind of landscaping you envision this coming year around your home. If you are in an apartment, create a patio or kitchen garden. Go to your local Library or book store and pick up some garden books to plan your vegetable or flower garden. Order seed catalogs (usually free) and perhaps to save money, start growing your own seedlings this year.
2. Try something new – Work on that “Bucket List”. Pick up a new Hobby or try something you’ve always wanted to do. Take a class at a Adult Education Center (usually at a minimal cost) found at your local High School. Discover books on numerous Hobby choices at your Library.
3. Socialize. As much as we want to - Bears Hibernate - Humans do not! We sometimes have to force ourselves to get out and visit others. Visit friends, family, play a board game on a weekly basis with a group. Volunteer at your local Shelter, Nursing Home or Hospital one day a week. It has been shown that socializing with people can actually improve your state of mind.
4. Watch what you eat. Okay so we have all heard that the average person gains 3 - 4 pounds in the winter months. The Holidays, those yummy comfort foods we all crave and the lack of activity are not a great combination. This might be a good time to discover some new foods and healthier recipes. You can make hearty meals without the heavy calories. The Internet is a great resource for finding new recipes. Try different Ethnic food recipes – you may discover a new favorite.
5. Get outside and soak up some sun. I personally have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and studies have shown it is beneficial for most to expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day in the winter months. I am grateful that in Southern Maine we do have many sunny, albeit cold, winter days. Dress warm, in layers, and go for a walk around the block.
6. Bring a bit of Spring in your home with Flowers or Plants. Color has a way of lifting our spirits. You can force hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and other bulbs inside during the winter months. If you don’t have a green thumb, then buy a pretty flowering or green plant for your home or office. Download a wallpaper floral for your computer desktop.
7. Simplify and bring organization to your life. Winter is a great time to tackle such tasks. Reorganize and clean out closets, drawers and desks. Clean out the basement or attic and get ready for that Spring or Summer Yard Sale. Give away things you no longer need to charity.
8. Participate in a winter sport. My eldest son loves to snowboard. My younger one is more like me and considers going to the movie theater a winter activity. But many people actually like to pursue winter recreation. Check out your local Parks and Rec Department where they often offer affordable outdoor sports and activities. Visit a public rink or local frozen pond for skating, go sledding or cross country skiing (just remember to dress in layers).
9. Get those indoor Household projects done. Soon Spring and Summer will be here and the warmer weather will take us outside. But now that we're indoors, why not see what indoor projects need to be addressed. Fix that leaky faucet or paint that room you've been meaning to get to. Tackle that inevitable "to - do list" .
10. Learn to relax. We are all faced with everyday stress, some of us more than others. Finding ways of coping with stress can improve our lives and our outlook. Try to come up with ways that work for you and your particular needs, health or schedule. It can be as simple as taking time to stretch each day. Learn to mediate or do Yoga. Even something as simple as remembering to take deep Breaths. Visualize and think happy thoughts of Spring and Summer, just around the corner!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
AMERICAN APPLE PIE
- your favorite double-crust for a 9”-10” pie
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Baking tart apples, peeled and sliced (5 - 6 cups of sliced apples)
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup white or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Egg wash of 1 egg yolk & 1 tablespoon water, whisked
- bit of sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375F.
Squeeze juice into a large bowl. Add apples as they’re sliced, tossing to coat with juice to prevent browning. Toss sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch into apples. Roll bottom crust and arrange in pie pan, patching if needed, letting rough edge hang over the side. Refrigerate.
Roll top crust. Fill bottom crust with apple mixture. Gently smooth the fruit, tucking slices that stick out. Arrange top crust over filling. With a knife, slice off excess crust, leaving about a half-inch beyond the pan’s edge. To form the crust, tuck the outer edge under itself and gently press to seal, then gently crimp between thumb and forefinger to form a decorative edge. Brush top (but not the edge) with egg wash and sprinkle slightly with sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until top crust is golden brown and juices inside are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1. The Presidents Website with a link to his plan for all of us in organizing for America ~ http://www.barackobama.com/index.php
3. Our American Museum that is very accessible online featuring American Art - The Smithsonian ~ http://www.si.edu/
4. The Great American Food Festival ~ http://www.foodis.com/
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
America - a wonderfully diverse and varied group of individuals. Are we perfect - no. But we do, I personally believe, strive. We strive as a people who for the most part uphold the same ideals. The ideals I am referring to are Autonomy, Sovereignty, Freedom and Independence, Liberty, Justice and Tolerance - ideals which ignited our nation and continue to drive its success and its quest for unity. We may have varying opinions and ways of expressing thoughts on those ideals. We are too often divided by political parties, gender, race, creed .... but perhaps by moving forward together as one nation, we can bridge these gaps.
My hope of our future is that we focus on how we are similar, what brings us together as Americans. All that we are, should transcend that which we are not. We are at a sort of crossroads. The problems we face as a nation are our problems, not just the governments to solve. We need to do our part, as individuals of this nation and take responsibility in our individual lives, so we can all move forward together. I am very hopeful of Mr Obama's vision and wish him and his family great blessings, strength, success, health, happiness and peace.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Dr. Martin Luther King
Let us celebrate the birth, the dream and the life of this great man and let us do our part in our lives to bring dignity, equality and freedom to all races and peoples.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup of half and half
2 teaspoons black tea (only black tea will do)
1-2 sticks of cinnamon (I love cinnamon)
1 cardomom pod
2 whole cloves
1/2 piece of star anise
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
6 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Today's post is a quote from Carter Godwin Woodson... "For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better."
Speaking of Education, we are very happy because our youngest son Evan was accepted into Massachusetts College of Art and Design (his first choice). He would like to pursue a career in Graphic Design and we are ecstatic he will be under two hours away (I love Boston). Here is photo of Evan, with a happy face and his acceptance letter! Our hope is that he will develop a career, but more importantly that he will be inspired and learn to inspire others to live life fully, and leave this world a better place.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The above scene is from his Garden in Giverny.
This week I feature 5 websites with a French Theme that I have found to be of interest. Perhaps they will be to you as well.
1. A favorite book ~ French-Inspired Jewelry by Kaari Meng of French General. Can be found here: www.amazon.com
2. Video of the wonderfully, talented Édith Piaf ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Yj7ksB2t0
3. A fun Place to Shop: Sadie Olive ~ http://www.sadieolive.com/
4. And a most unusual site (I have translated). Complete with clickable links to explore. http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.adoptanescargot.com/
5. Bon Appétit ~www.frenchgourmetstore.com