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Water Counter

Everyone knows that we should all be drinking more water; however, the actual doing of it leaves a lot of us at a loss.  For me, the big hang-up seems to be keeping track of how much I’ve drunk.  It’s all well to say, “I’m going to drink X amount today.”, but the fact is that after a while it all sort of runs together in my head.  Hence, my latest project: the water counter.

They have counters made from paracord and pony beads for almost everything, but I’ve never seen one for this.  It isn’t anything fancy or complicated.  You simply slide a bead down for every container of water you drink that day.  So far, I’ve drunk one and need a refill.

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It also gives me a heads up to where I should be depending on the time of day.  That’s a big one for me because as I said, I always start off with the best of intentions and then I’m like: “Did I drink one… No, I refilled it… Or was that BG’s water bottle?”  Of course you could just go with the theory: drink more, but hey…  It’s pretty, too!

 

On the practical side, you could use whatever kind of beads and cord you wanted.  I thought of making one for my friend with big chunky crystal beads because that’s more her thing and she’s always lamenting the lack of bling on her water bottle.  Also it makes a great leash for dragging the thing around.

Let me know what you do with it and if it works for you!

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Fitness

 

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Something Old into Something New

We’ve all seen those posts on different websites about how to recycle/up cycle/whatever cycle (sorry, I never have been good at keeping up with latest hip terms) stuff.  I actually found one that made good sense to me.  From my long since defunk marriage, I have kept a few things that I just really liked and therefore have kept.  One of those things was a small photo album, despite the fact that I don’t like photo albums or looking through them.  I’m really not sure what it was about this one that has made me keep it this long; however, it is what it is and here I am.

My seeds have been in little plastic baggies, inside envelopes from the people who sent them to me, and all of those collected into a manilla envelope that bulged in all its repulsive unorganized glory atop my desk.  (Have i mentioned how much I detest anything unorganized?  Not that you can tell from looking at my house.)

I started with this:

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From there I went and found something else that has been hanging around my house for who knows how long.

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From there I trimmed the envelopes because they wouldn’t fit the slots of the photo album.

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I added tape to the self adhesive lip because we all know that those things don’t hold for crap.

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From there it was a simple thing to se a sharpie and label each envelope and slide it into the slot of the now Seed Album.

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The other nice thing is that the pages of the book are also just right for holding even the larger commercial seed packets.

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I will note that I wound up taking some of the empty pages out of the book because the seeds made the book too fat.  I will save the extra pages to use in another album.  I’ve found that the thrift stores often have the little photo albums for a good price and in good condition; however, the pages are usually thrashed, so I’ll use my extras.

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So at this point, all I really need to do is find a great picture to go in the front.  Perhaps, I’ll simply print one out on my computer with a title, since I’m going to have multiple books.  This one I believe I’ll use for my flower seeds because of the roses on the cover.  I wonder if I can find ones that have herb and vegetable themes?

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Turkey Dressing and Gravy (gluten-free)

We made cornbread, now we’re going to turn it into a Holiday stand-bys.

Pan of cornbread
Boiled turkey thighs (2 per pan of cornbread)
Turkey thigh broth
Eggs (4-6 depending upon size of eggs)
Celery (to taste)
White or yellow onions (*to taste)
Green onions (*to taste)
Cream of Mushroom Soup (2 cans) **
Salt and Pepper (*to taste)

*to taste because some people like these things and others HATE them.
**gluten-free soups are available or try this alternative: Cream of Anything Soup!

Make your pan of cornbread and let it cool.
Boil your turkey thighs and allow thighs and broth to cool. De-bone thighs.
Slice and dice your veggies to sizes that you and your loved ones like.
Add cans of soup, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Mix it all in a huge bowl with enough of the broth to make is pretty wet but not soupy.
Pour into a lightly oiled casserole dish (save back about four cups of mixture for a separate smaller pan).  Pop them both into the oven at 375 degrees until golden brown and firm.

Turkey Gravy
When your Turkey Dressing is done, dish all of the smaller pan (four cups) of dressing into a sauce pan and pour the extra broth over the top. Stir in corn starch and cook low until nice and thick. This is the best turkey gravy you’ll ever try.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Not Your Normal Muffin

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so…

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Now for the nitty-gritty of making these bad boys!

 

“Country Breakfast” Muffins

18 eggs

2 cups cheese

4 green onions

2 1/2 cups shredded tater tots or hash browns

Salt and pepper to taste

1 package of thick sliced bacon

Mix everything together in a bowl except the bacon.

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The mix before the eggs were added.

 

 

Break out your muffin pans and line them with a strip of bacon. I used a full length strip for my muffin pan with the big cups and cut down the strips for the smaller cup size muffin pans.

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Pour in the mix and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees.

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As a side note I made this pan of muffins in my toaster oven just to see if I could.

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So no excuses!  You don’t even need a real kitchen to have these.  I made a bunch because:

1. Who isn’t going to eat a bunch of these!

2. They should freeze really well for another day.

 

CC and I were going to snack out before BG woke up, but the Force is strong with this one.  She appeared before we got our first bite.  She took one sleepy look at our plates and lit up with the most angelic smile!  She gives them her seal of approval but says the green onions are not to her taste.  I wonder how these would taste: bacon filled with blueberry muffin with chunks of pre-cooked sausage links?  Hmmm….

 

Let me know what you try.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Eating Scraps

We’re all seen those posts about how you can grow real food from scraps. The ones that interested me the most were celery and green onions. We love them. We eat them all the time. They are such a nice addition to so many of the foods we like. (Remind me to get you the recipe for my Cajun Celery Beef.) I did the rough math and for our family it looks something like this:

1 head of celery per pay period: $3.00
2 bunch of green onions per pay period: $2.00
Pay periods in a year: 26
Total yearly savings if I can make this work: $130.00

For many people $130 is not all that much, but in this family that’s a lot of money! Especially, when you start considering that you can add that to the money we’re saving growing our own herbs. Basically, I looked at my little kitchen window and I see that it all adds up to about $300 plus a year. Wait a minute, you say. Yeah, all of a sudden it starts to make sense, huh? $300 plus is nothing to sneeze at.

So we bought celery and green onions, not organic or anything, just regular old celery and green onions.  We used the celery like we always do, but as we got down to those last few stalks attached to the stump, I simply lopped them off leaving that little core of leaves in the middle.  Then I put it in a jelly jar on the window sill. Everything was going great. It was growing like none other, then I put it in dirt like it said to do.

It rotted within days.

I’m nothing if not stubborn. I’m trying again. This time I plan on putting cinnamon on the stump because it is said to be anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. I have three stumps growing very well, as you can see, but I’m not sure it is going to work because I still don’t have a single root on any of them that I can see.  If it doesn’t work this time, I may have to break down and try the organic celery to see if that makes a difference.

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Now in regards to the green onions… Did pretty much the same thing as the celery. I cut all the green off and cooked it. The white ends were placed in a jelly jar on the window sill such that the water was only over the very bottoms. They sprouted roots immediately! When the roots were about an inch long, I transplanted them into this little pot.

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They’ve been helping to feed us for weeks now.  It takes about three days for them to grow almost two inches. (CC has talked about setting up a time delay camera to capture the growth of these rascals.)  I am starting some more from the grocery store today to basically double what I have in this one little pot.  I feel that this amount doubled will give us all the green onions that we’ll need or want.  So hopefully today will be the last time I buy green onions!

(One thing I have noticed about the onions, is that some of them just will not thrive. Do NOT waste your time on them. Throw them into the compost pile and concentrate on the ones that are thriving.  If my experience is anything to go by, the ones to thrive will be the big fat healthy ones that aren’t knicked or roughed up.)

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Continued Cilantro Chatter

If you read the earlier post about putting the wilted cilantro in water, you know that I found that it survives better in the frig when you put the stems in water.  To add to that post is this new info: Cut the brown withered stems before placing them in water.

Also, if you want to start cilantro in your window, according to the internet you can put them in water on the windowsill and they will develop roots.

We shall see, as I bought cilantro to make salsa tonight and I’m going to give it a try. (No, I won’t give you my salsa recipe.  It isn’t perfected, yet.)

What am I out? $.30?

I’d like to point out to those of you who haven’t thought about it, that I’m actually saving a lot of money by growing my own herbs in the window.  Sure it isn’t much at this point, but it adds up really quickly, especially if you’re buying the fresh herbs instead of the dried ones.  For me, that money goes for any number of things, but if you don’t have anything to spend a little extra money on, far be it for me to tell you how to save a buck.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Wishy Washing

One of the ways I’ve reined in our spending is soap making.

Have you recorded how much you spend on what and how frequently? $4 per bar, $10-20 for laundry detergent, 88 cents for the cheapest hand wash dish soap and another $4 for the dishwasher detergent. I hate to bean count, but at some point I have to treat my family to wise business practices. When something that literally goes down the drain rings up $300 of the grocery budget every year I have to take notice. That’s a month’s worth of groceries!

I started out in January 2013 with Super Laundry Sauce (blender method). Then DG found Rural Spin’s Green Tea Blender Soap and we’re turning out bath bars. And we found recipes we want to try for dishwasher detergent, too.

But once I’ve been at something for a few rounds I invariably start tinkering. Really, it’s all a part of learning, and I hope that you’ll do some creative learning and tell us about it. That’s how complex evolution and higher thinking continue. Evolve or die.

I looked at making my own powdered laundry detergent but found that aside from weight, pre-packaging and spill clean up there aren’t many advantages. Quite the opposite, in fact.
But then again, Super Laundry Sauce isn’t perfect either. It can be messy, doesn’t dissolve and leaves smears on DG’s uniforms; the process is mildly inefficient and while sweltering through summer insomnia I discovered that the chemistry behind it is flawed (sorry, no links)- more on that once I’ve finished my trial runs.

And just so you’re aware, it looks like a meth lab or explosives if you don’t keep your storage cabinet, containers and loose chemicals well labeled and cleaned. Hit up google, it’s entertaining and educative. Various chemicals and some weird stuff in old peanut containers with a crust around the lid. Yeah. Too bad I can’t turn this into an amusing continuing ed opportunity for the local fire department any more.

But the goal is making it better, right?
First I threw a measure of SLS in an old jar with a cup of water and shaking. And hey, it was an improvement over plain paste. It’s just a little messy and time consuming, especially when BG only needs 2 seconds to sneak down stairs and set the water heater to self destruct.

Next up, diluting it via counter top blenders and stick blenders. OK, except for the time and noise – the Basement Troll works nights, and frankly I’m too lazy to spend half an hour every week on something so mindless.

Enter Home Depot. Or as I hate to call it, the Tim Taylor Method.
DG, in her infinite and varied wisdom, pointed out that Gnome Depot has 5 gallon buckets, lids and drywall mixers – paint stirrers on steroids.

A quickly drilled hole in the lid and a drill chuck adapter for the mixer and I was set. OK, I lied. I tried 2 gallon buckets – messy and not enough output. And I already had a 5 gallon with a hole from my failed hand washer project.
Oh, and use a siphon because pouring is messy and means dealing with a fourth of a jug of foam.

I tried my neighbours discarded laundry detergent dispenser/container for storage, but it was tough to clean out and I had to shake it every time. If you haven’t read elsewhere, home made liquid laundry soap separates. I’m working on a cure, but in the mean time I use a 1 qt peanut container, marked per load. For the bulk I just use a well rinsed gallon milk jug.

Now I can muck up a month’s worth of laundry soap in 5 minutes.
Stay tuned for the sciency stuff and hopefully a video to come.
-Cappy

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in A Penny Saved

 

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