Ten Staples for Your Pantry

With the snow still falling in parts of the country as a blizzard sweeps across the Midwest, having a well-stocked pantry is something to think about more seriously. After all, when the weather is frightful, the last thing you want to do is go out into the storm for groceries – or go hungry. Having a well-stocked pantry is important for other reasons as well. Four years ago, I got very sick. The weather was also awful, and I couldn’t get my sick self through the storms. I had to rely on what I had prepared in the cupboards, and it … Continue reading

Can You Do the Canning? Finding Old Jars

There’s a lot of can canning going on in my kitchen these days. This damp, sticky dance involves a lot of careful footwork and arm-lifting and a little bit of yelling upon occasion, as boiling hot water runs onto a part of me that doesn’t want to be exposed to boiling water. Yes, it’s canning time. This year I’ve done a whole lot of freezing. However, given that my freezers are mostly full now, I’m turning the focus to canning now. What I’ve discovered is that given my propensity to freeze jams and sauces in canning jars, I have very … Continue reading

Lightbulb Guide

We all know that we should be making the switch from incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, but which ones should we choose? There are LED bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and halogen bulbs. As far as giving up and sticking with incandescent bulbs? Well, soon you won’t be able to. The Energy Independence Security Act is getting rid of the old bulbs. Starting in January, 100-watt bulbs are no longer being manufactured, and other wattages will soon follow. There are four things to consider when it comes to comparing lightbulbs. There are the cost, the lifespan of … Continue reading

Eco Countertops

Over the weekend, we visited the place of all things good and not too expensive. Yes, I’m talking about Ikea. We are not big consumers, so a trip to Ikea on a weekend was a little bit traumatic. However, the trip was necessary, because we were buying our cabinets. Now, the one thing that we didn’t buy was the counter tops. After years of living with cracking countertops, I’m looking for something hard, durable, and yes…eco friendly. What’s available in the eco countertop market? The choices are vast and increasing daily. If you’re looking for something that looks like granite, … Continue reading

Can It!

You want to can. You want the look of all of those gorgeous rows of preserved fruit, salsas, sauces, and jams. They make you drool. You want to freeze. You want to go to your freezer in the dead of winter and pull out berries so sweet and delicious that they remind you of summer as soon as they enter your mouth. And yes, you’d rather like to dry things too: homemade teas, dried fruit for snacks, perhaps even some jerky. Then you look at all of the work involved in this process, shake your head, and laugh at the … Continue reading

Finding a Farmer Near You

Here, our spring has been persistently wet and cold. However, I have hope. I know that one day soon this weather will turn a corner, and when it does the crops will begin to come in. Yum to fresh garlic scapes and the tender leafy greens that thrive in our wet weather. And double yum to the delicious berries that will follow them in the summer time, berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Other crops will make their way down from a nearby warm area. Crops like peaches, plums, and even cherries will be here in abundance. How do I … Continue reading

Hanging a Picture

I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with you. It’s nothing profound, really, but it is rather useful. What is this knowledge of which I speak? Well, it’s how to hang things from your walls and ceilings. Now, we live in a townhouse that has metal studs. This might not seem like a problem, but it has stymied us for years. You can get stud finders that will find your wooden studs when you run them across a wall – they beep. Then you can insert screws directly into the drywall at that location and it makes it simple to … Continue reading

Thrift Store Gluttony

Are you a thrift store and garage sale glutton? I know that I am. The season of yard and garage sales is upon us, and with it comes the deep desire to buy, buy, buy. I’m not much of a purchaser of new items, and I love a good deal. This means that I can become seriously addicted to the pursuit of happiness through garage sale finds. This also means that I need to watch the clutter that enters my house. Like many others, sometimes I wonder where all of the stuff comes from. Stuff seems to breed in the … Continue reading

New Rules for Painting a Room

For the last few decades, rules for painting a home have been, repair holes and cracks, clean dirty walls, use a primer-sealer to paint over dark walls, or walls with markings on them, then paint several coats. Now, the the rules are: repair holes and cracks, wipe down excessively dirty walls, and paint. What happened to the primer step? There is now a paint with primer in it! This week we painted over a mural I painted in my daughters room when we moved into the house. She was six at the time, and now she is 13. I had … Continue reading

Wood Floors, Carpet, and Area Rugs

In addition to a new roof and a repaired ceiling, we are also in the market for new flooring in the great room. Our floors in the foyer, hallways, and kitchen are wood, and the rooms such as living room, dining room, office, and family room are carpet. Our insurance will only cover the cost of carpet, but we would prefer to have the family room floor done in wood. We will be crunching some numbers to find out if we can swing it. If we stick to replacing the carpet with more carpet we will know that our flooring … Continue reading