Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spice Drawer Organization

Here is a money saving tip for you- buy your spices and herbs in the bulk food department. They practically cost nothing this way as they charge you by weight. Some of the herbs I bought didn't even register on the scale so the cashier put in 10 cents and asked if that was okay. Sure, if I bought the same amount in a bottle it would have been $5. I never use all of these pre-bottled items in the sell by/freshness date, so it's great to get just what you need when you need it. 
I'm working on getting my drawer even more pretty and organized than this, the clear plastic bottles are perfect for this end. I picked them up in the art department at Hobby Lobby. I also dressed up some of my used spice bottles with some paper from Paper Source.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bath Makeover

Finished the hall bath, I am intent on banishing all of the construction grade off-white paint with a bit of color. I'm guessing the paint was original from 10 years ago, so it's time any way. I went with a pale yellow, gold, and shades of gray palette here. It is so warm and sunny with the skylight and I feel happy when I look at these colors. The paler yellow is a bit lighter than what it looks like here and I probably fell in love with the name of the paint first- Jersey Cream. Homesick for New Jersey, I guess. There must be something to the naming of the paint shades though, some of them really sell the color for me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Plover by Brian Doyle- Review

Set sail aboard The Plover with Declan O'Donnell who only wants to escape humanity out on the Pacific with his beloved writings of Edmund Burke. "No man is an island, my butt" he is quick to say, but it seems that people are much harder to leave behind than he thought. Bit by bit he accumulates more humans and animal life on his journey than he bargained for. This is so well written, Brian Doyle has a gift for making the most mundane situations sound so beautifully poetic. I listened to the audiobook and was completely spellbound, even when I wasn't quite sure what the heck he was talking about or how he got there. There were a lot of sentences that were kind of stream of consciousness and out of left field, it seemed to me. That didn't really bother me so much though, I really just wanted to sit back and enjoy the journey, knowing we would be back on track soon enough.

My favorite characters were Pipa and the minister. One is a child that is wise way beyond her years, the other is a man who has the unfettered optimism and delight in what life could be, like that of a child. The interplay of all of the folks on the boat, the stories they tell and the way that they look out for each other is beautiful beyond words. What a ragtag band of folks, they will change Declan and bring love and fellowship into his life. Whether he wants it or not.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall - Review

I really loved this, it was very reminiscent of Scout (Jean Louise) Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. A southern setting in the tumultuous 1960's is the backdrop for this beautifully written story. Sassy Starla Claudelle runs from an overbearing grandmother who is her caretaker. Starla believed she was going to be sent off to boarding school after yet another restriction resulting from her spirited behavior. Along the road to find her mother who ran off to Nashville when she was just a toddler, she meets Eula, a black woman driving along who offers her a lift. What follows is a journey of discovery and revelations for both of them. 

It is so hard to read about the horrific treatment of one human being for another that was rampant during segregation. The intolerance, hatred and brutality against African Americans that were just trying to go about their daily lives like everyone else was portrayed well. All persons should have the pure innocence of a child, like Starla, to look past color to see what a person is truly made of and that we are all brothers and sisters and children of God.
This is a lovely story about family, friendship, doing the right thing, growing up, and surviving. Beautiful. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review- American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Weird and wonderful, this was a remarkable bit of storytelling. I usually don't read this kind of book but I was intrigued by Neil Gaiman from some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who so thought I would explore some. I was totally captivated. 

This was a surreal mixture of Norse mythology- Icelandic sagas, some Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and his modern day Greek gods, Twilight Zone maybe mixed with Stephen King and Robert McCammon, some good old yarns spun by some oldster by the fire. Put that all in a blender and you may come close to approaching what I saw in this book.

Take a dreamlike tour across America with various gods, demons, and mortals all struggling for the heart and soul of mankind. They say that nobody is truly "from" America, we have all essentially come from other lands, bringing our cultures, stories, and beliefs along with us. Gaiman weaves a brilliant saga- old gods against new gods, good against evil, battles as old as time itself. Mostly it was a story about doing the right thing in the face of overwhelming odds, forgiveness, and redemption.

A bit violent and disturbing in some places, but infinitely unputdownable.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lamp filler

I really love this lamp that we got at Pier1, it's clear base is ready for whatever you want to add to it. My latest addition is various game pieces- Jenga blocks, Scrabble tiles, dominoes, and some Chinese porcelain pieces. I was looking for some cool Mahjong tiles but they are so pricey for the ones that I wanted but I will keep searching at yard sales and thrift shops.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Homemade Pot Pie

This was SO good! I looked at a few different recipes for a basic chicken pot pie on Pinterest and then made it my own. For the gravy I used one can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup, about a half a can of milk, one half of a jar of classic chicken gravy (Heinz), seasoned with a bit of salt, celery flakes and onion powder. For the vegetables, I used one Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cooked with sliced carrots. Near the end of the cooking time I added some peas and corn. Drained all and stirred into gravy along with my chopped rotisserie chicken leftovers from Costco. Put mixture into 9x13" baking dish. Rolled out the puff pastry sheet with a bit of semolina flour to keep it from sticking, laid it over pie filling, made a few vents in top and then lightly brushed top with melted butter. Bake at 400 for 30 to 35 minutes. Comfort food made so easy!