Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Use A Wide Mouth Container For A Flower Arrangement

Sometimes,you just want to use a basket or a big bowl for a flower arrangement but you just don't have enough flowers to fill the entire thing.

Select a small, narrower container that is the same height as the wide container. Fill it with water and put it in the wider container.  I used a plastic kiddie cup.

I tucked foil around the cup to steady it.

Added flowers and herbs making sure the stems were in the smaller container. The flowers draped nicely and filled up the basket. You could not see the hidden inner vase... 

I love it, don't you?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How To Eat A Cupcake

Start by enjoying a great dinner with your family

Next ask your grannie for a carrot cake cupcake.

Settle yourself on the cushy window seat. Put the biggest pillow behind your head and relax.

Try the icing first. Yum.

Narrate your progress to the rest of the family still eating dinner.

Take your time.

What could be better?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can Opener Problems

I've had a series of can openers- all frustrating. 
When I was first married, I shunned electric can openers in favor of the environment and using less electricity. (I also used cloth napkins at the table and cloth diapers for my kids). These manual can openers were basic and difficult to use. Most of the time when great strength and perseverance was applied, they worked and opened the can, but left a ragged edge. Care had to be taken to dispose of the lid and the can.

Life went on, cloth diapers became rags and I was busier outside the home so began using paper products and I got a series of electric can openers, each more frustrating and flimsy than the one before.

 I think they are why I got into the habit of preferring fresh food and also why I continue to preserve some things on my own. Hours in the kitchen with the hot water bath boiling are worth all the frustration even one of those can openers caused me. Until now! 

I was given a lovely can opener for Christmas, but it promptly broke. As I had no other, I hunted for another. This one looked different:

It was made in Switzerland. I remembered my visits there, the calm efficiency, the trains always on time, the landscape by the highways always free of bramble and debris. Hmmm...

I bought it. It works. It works like no other!!

Attach the device to the top of the can. It clicks into place with no trouble at all. Turn the lever on top and the can opener rotates around the top of the can. You think nothing is happening, but that's because it is so smooth and easy! 

Attached to the handle is a tiny set of pliers.  Use these to grasp the lid. 

It comes up. Notice anything? Anything wonderful and amazing? 

The entire can lid lifts up! No ragged edges, completely, astonishingly neat! 

See what I mean? 
Oh, I made spaghetti and meatballs with the tomatoes.  Would you like the recipe?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Reader's Review

of Solomon's Puzzle


Book Review: Solomon's Puzzle

Imagine for a minute growing up the red-headed stepchild, so to speak, of a father who seemingly despises you for no apparent reason other than your mere existence that fuels his anger.

Imagine enduring a secret life of pain inflicted by the person who's supposed to love you unconditionally and ignorance from those who should be bold enough to stand up for you.

If you can't quite fathom such a life, you'll have no trouble sympathizing with teenager Ben Hunter, son of Colonel Max Hunter, a USNA graduate with skeletons that lurk deep and plentifully in his closet.  When the booze doesn't quite bury the skeletons enough, an out of control temper and brute force against the son he clings to with an iron fist will try to finish the job.

Solomon's Puzzle by Loris Nebbia tells the story of this deeply afflicted father son duo. (Read more...)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Science for Preschoolers

I love doing science sort of things with my grandchildren.  Of course this includes cooking which is really a form of chemistry with a bit of art mixed in. But it makes sense to help them learn how the world works.  They love it, too.  A friend recommended this book for help in creating simple science experiments.

I like it because the experiments require simple objects commonly found around the house (such as in your junk drawer -if you have one).  Balloons, twist ties, duct tape, etc.  

But because this book lists the needs so plainly, I plan to create a plastic bin with items for science experiments.  I'll let you know when this actually happens. Until then, on a rainy day, Joey, Jack and I did these experiments.

First we made a tornado in a bottle:

Good thing there was duct tape in the drawer.

Triumph! We did this over and over again, replacing the duct tape and fixing the imperfect seal. 

Then we tried the diver/gravity experiment:

They each made a diver from tin foil. With a paper clip, we attached a bendy straw to the diver's back to simulate his breathing tank and to create a place for air to be trapped and then displaced.

They put their divers into the "tank."

At first they didn't know what would happen.

And then...

squeezing the bottle forced the lighter air out of the straw taped to the diver's back and forced the heavier water in, so he sank -- to their delight and fascination.

Next we made clay people and parachutes as suggested in the page pictured above.  I don't have a picture of this because while the boys were flinging these all over the family room, I cleaned up!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Finding Things In Common at the Craft Show

Right next door to us at the craft show were friends sharing a table. Tracy makes hair clips

One of the great things about Tracy's clips is that they come in different sizes. There was lots of variety of beautiful, bright, seasonal, cute clips tiny enough for little girls with just wisps of hair.

I love the clever display and I'm so glad Tracy was placed next to us again.  Tracy is a hard-working professional. She's also a mom with many inspirational ideas. Turns out she wants to learn to sew... I love finding things in common with people.

Sharing her space was Julie who makes a variety of things for little girls...

These onesies have been given a tiny skirt...

By using camouflage fabric, this outfit was made to honor those in the military.

Julie hopes to sell her work on her website

and then, to end a lovely day, this nice lady gave us chocolate dipped pretzels... just to be kind. And it turns out... she's writing a book, too!