Friday, February 27, 2009

Recipe Organization

Of late, my recipes have exploded in the cupboard. Maybe blame it on too many tempting dishes that I want to make, or pure laziness; telling myself I will sort through it later.

I like to keep my recipes in a binder. Until now, they were scattered, some shoved in the front for future reference and not in any particular order.

For Christmas I received a new binder to hold my recipes. Each is now organized by appetizer, soups & salads, main course and such. Each category is broken down even further into chicken dishes, pork, beef, pasta, etc.

Each recipe is put into a page protector in case of spills or splashes.

And divided protectors for smaller recipe cards.

The best part is that it looks good enough to keep open on my counter with a cook book stand.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Talk about a new fridge

So after the old-truck-running-idle sound started in the fridge and quickly turned to a constant machine gun noise, we knew it was time for a new fridge. I don't mind, I hated this fridge from the moment we moved in roughly 3 months ago.

I, personally, do not care for white fridges. I like the look of black or stainless, but that is only my opinion. I am not complete prejudice towards white appliances. In fact, if this fridge was fully functional then I wouldn't have disliked it so.

My biggest complaint was that there was practically two shelves. You might notice the small partial shelf in the middle. I couldn't move it and it was only good for a carton of eggs or a package of tortillas.

This was one small fridge was an even smaller freezer. Thank heavens that I have a small chest freezer or we wouldn't have made it.

On Saturday this came...

Certainly a little modern for my taste, but once I saw the inside, I knew I had to have her! Plus she was on clearance for $700!
How about a tour of this fridge which really came will all the bells and whistles?!

I love the idea of the freezer on the bottom. Now everything in the fridge is at eye level and I can see exactly what I have.

I love the wine rack holder. We don't drink alcohol, but it is perfect for bottled waters and sparkling cider. There is enough room in front for left-overs (no more getting lost).

I love the drawer for the produce.

The best thing is that the compartments come out for easy washing.

Another great feature is on the door of the fridge. The shelves that you put the condiments on come out. I have never seen that before! Spill a little mustard and off to the sink for a rinse.
As I was reading through the owners manual, I noticed a very interesting feature. For practicing Jews it has a Sabbath mode where the interior light and alarm (more about that in a moment) will not sound. We're not Jewish, but still interesting.
If you leave the fridge door open for too long, an alarm will sound (not loud but enough to hear it) letting you know that you are letting too much cool air out.

This is the freezer. I like that it isn't one giant drawer to fish in, but rather smaller drawers to keep everything organized. It is currently empty. I simply haven't gotten around to hauling everything in from the chest freezer.

All three compartments roll out for easy access. The middle one is shallow and intended for ice cube trays. There is not an ice-maker which we actually opted-out for. With Eduardo's job, he has many claims for the water line braking and didn't want to take the chance. The containers, like the fridge section, also come out (without much effort might I add) for easy cleaning.

You might ask what I don't like, well there isn't a drawer for deli meat and cheese. But that won't get me down! I found a simple solution with a storage container.

For more Talk About Tuesday, head to The Lazy Organizer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Summer thoughts and garden plans

It seems like a winter ritual for me to think about gardens. I love to garden, but I wouldn't say that I am a Master Gardener. Simply that I enjoy helping things grow.

This winter ritual is even better this year because I have a new yard to design. I would say that my yard is fairly typical; nearly all grass, small flower garden up against the front of the house and a small veggie garden in the back. For me, I want a space that calls out to me and seduces to me enjoy it. So the planning as begun.

With the help of Eduardo, I set out to measure my entire 1/3 acre and its current contents. Then with graph paper in hand, I let my imagination go. Here are some things that I have collected that have given me inspiration. When I find something that I like, I rip it out and put it into my Garden Idea Binder.

I love the idea of Espalier gardens. This one is using Ivy and the photo below is using fruit trees.

An espalier fruit tree. I plan on doing these all along the sides of my fences. I figure I can plant 13 to 15 fruit trees. True, I won't get as much fruit if I planted it traditionally, but according to what I have read it will produce larger fruit.

How about a knot garden? I love formal gardens!

Wouldn't that be so enjoyable on a summer evening?

How about a hidden nook to have breakfast in?

I currently have a LARGE patio area that I plan on surrounding with trees, bushes and perennials. On Saturday, as Eduardo cleaned out the garage, I sat in an old rocker chair in the driveway soaking up the sun. (Little did I know that I would get a sunburn, in February, from that pleasure.) I thought it would be nice to have an area down from the patio where I can watch Livy play and soak up the sun, with a large umbrella of course.

I thought this was neat. Look at the patio floor. It may look like stone but really it is painted concrete. This would be a tedious task on my extensive concrete patio, but the results are fantastic!

I like this idea too. I would love to put a pergola over my patio. A little extra shade and also a nice place to hang the hammock or have dinner.
A few other things in my garden plan include a greenhouse, compost tumbler, a large play area for Livy (currently there is a sand box and playhouse), extend the veggie garden and have a fire pit.
Naturally my over-the-top-plan won't be happening this summer. The first step is to plant trees in the back and take a few garden design class at a local garden. If there is anyone in the area that would like to join me, please let me know.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Baby's love

Months ago Livy's bedtime routine involved taking one stuffed animal to bed. It was always her precious owl and soon added baby to the mix. Now the baby population has exploded!

Even though Livy will be turning 2 in a few weeks, I feel that she is old enough to help out around the house. Simple chores like putting her dirty clothes in the hamper or "helping" me make her bed.

Several days ago she helped me put all her babies in the basket next to her bed, pull the blankets up, and put on the decorative pillows. She stayed in her room while I went off to gather laundry or some other never ending household chore. When I came back in, she proceeded to tell me that her babies were sleeping. This is what I found:

Bed full of babies all tucked in.

Yep, that is the beloved Santa (or Nasty as Livy calls him) all tucked in.

Piled up on the pillows.

Can't forget the first and favorite love--"Owl Baby."

A puppet from the play room. From our Music Makers class, Livy will walk around singing the "La La" song with the puppet.

Second baby love peeking out from behind the pillow.

And we can't forget her current passion for Tinkerbell!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To love a pear

I love how things sometimes come together in just the right way that I feel joy whenever I see them. My pears make me feel this way. On Friday, after the furnace repair man came, I headed out to a favorite store of mine to use a gift card that Eduardo received from his work. I was on the hunt for decor for my kitchen, mainly to go on top of the cabinets.

Decorating the tops of cabinets is rather new to me considering my last house had beautiful custom cabinets (how I loved you!) that went pretty much to the ceiling.

After my personal opinion of a successful decor of the dust trap (plant shelf in living room) I figured that I would do something along those lines here. I needed one thing to start with to give me inspiration. Something that would help with colors and texture in the room.

I had recently painted the walls in the adjoining dining room chocolate and creme and Eduardo hung up a beautiful chandelier. There was also a red rug that has made it's home in several houses.
Once at my favorite store, I headed to the kitchen section to see what things would inspire me. That is when I found a bag full of pears; beautiful pears in golds and reds. I knew that would be a perfect accent for my kitchen. Just an accent mind you, I don't like to do themed rooms but something to carry throughout the room.

I still have a few more things to purchase and move around before I can call this space complete. Until then, I have my pears to bring me joy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

There's a machine gun in the house! Yikes!

At least that is what it sounds like. Yesterday evening the fridge changed its identity from the appliance that keeps food cool, to appliance that sounds like a beat up truck running in the driveway. This lovely model, from 2001, is more than meets the eye and takes a little practice to figure out. Anything too close to the back is frozen more solid then the top freezer and anything too close to the front ends up going bad. This should have been a sign to us, but we hoped to make it a few months before replacing it. I should say that I am grateful to have a fridge. Our last beautiful fridge (how I miss you!) was required to stay with our last house and the previous owners of our new house was kind enough to leave their elderly fridge behind.

All night we listened to the fridge and pleaded with it, "Please, make it through the night!" What a mess that would be to wake up to the entire contents spoiled. So far, it is surviving by a small thread until we replace it tonight. Multiple times Livy has gone into the kitchen, starred at the fridge and diagnosed it by saying, "broke."

Lucky for us, the President's Day sales are going on and we should get a good deal on something better. I'm making my list for what is on my top priority for a new appliance. More than 2 shelves inside would be nice, freezer with a little space, a silent model, one without the paint splatters from the previous owners, and anything but white.