Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Flop

Easter is our holiday to host. For the rest, we go to other family members homes. Being a good little girl, I call everyone to see what I can contribute to our meals.

My assignment for Christmas dinner this year is "a pie or two". I like that kind of assignment. It's specific enough that I'm not lost in my options (like if someone said dessert) but broad enough to play. Also, in most cases I can whip up a pie from stuff I have on hand.

My game plan was a persimmon pie (yay a chance to try the persimmon paste) and something more classic in case it turns out poorly or folks are leery of something new. I have canned apple filling, frozen zucchini filling and a couple cans of pumpkin left over from thanksgiving. Nick voted for pumpkin, so pumpkin it is.

Linda, neighbor and american persimmon guru, had tried the recipe before and swore it baked long enough to cook the tannins (which leave you feeling like you've eaten chalk) all the way out. Long story short... Not in my case and I was left with a pie and tart that were completely in edible. The goodish news is the chickens really enjoyed them.

Oh, and speaking of chickens, it appears that our 2nd Easter egger and a second Australorp are laying now. Sometimes well get 7 eggs in a day. Our Easter eggers both lay green eggs, but one lays blue-green eggs and the other lays yellow-green eggs. Crazy, no?

Friday, December 16, 2011

They've Arrived!

After much anticipation, and a few estimated delivery date delays, my counters were scheduled to arrive between 8 and noon yesterday.  At 10:30, I got a call saying they'd be there in 30 minutes.  At 10:55, I got a call saying their GPS said they were .5 miles from my house, but couldn't get under the railroad overpass on the road they were on.  Ugh, IKEA.  This is what you get for sending a semi-, when a pick-up would do.  I told them that I could give them directions around, but that it was by no means short.  As a matter of fact, it'd be 27 miles of detour.  They said their GPS thought it knew a better way.  Apparently it didn't, because they wound up calling back for my detour's directions.

Christmas from Scratch: Jar Candles

Most of my projects are pre-meditated, researched... thought out at lest to some degree.  Not this one.  Despite all the info available on the internet, i just did it... and it took over a month because of it.  Oops.

This time last year, I was given this box of barely-used, Christmas-colored pillar candles.  It'd been sitting in the basement of the church I grew up in for FOREVER (probably since we had our madrigals) and they were tired of looking at it.  How did I get it?  Because Mrs. Campbell decided if anyone could make use of it, I could.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Countertop Sealants

With our counters being delivered in 2 days, it was time to finally nail down what type of finish we're going to use .  Ikea sells it's own counter sealing oil (called Behandla), which would seem to be the obvious choice but different counters have different needs, even in the confines of my own small kitchen.  The "outer L", where the sink is and most dish drying happens, could benefit from some extra waterproofing.  The island, where most cutting and food-prep goes on, could benefit from a coating that penetrates so that even a knife gash in the wood would still be protected.

This article from Ikea Hackers, was INCREDIBLY useful.  Basically, it says that there are coating or drying barrier-like options and penetrating or non-drying potions.  Most of the barrier options are not food safe, but the one that is is waterlox.  It claims to be tung-oil based, but comes in a low-VOC formula (which means that the original formula isn't so low in VOCs).  My guess is it's a mix between an oil and a urethane.  It is the most water-proof of all the options and it's the one I've chosen for the "outer L".  It comes in both Original and Low-VOC, and original, satin and gloss sheens.  The original sheen is both a sealer and a finish, the satin and gloss sheens are just finishes, so you have to put a few coats of the original on no matter what.  Also, if you use the original sealer, you have to use the original finish. If you use the low-VOC sealer, you have to use a low-VOC finish.  This morning, my task is to order a quart of low-VOC original sealer/finish and a quart of low-VOC satin finish.

I chose the satin finish because, when the island piece is in-stock and finally ordered, I plan on coating it with mineral oil.  Mineral oil leaves a satin sheen and I'd like for the counters to have similar sheens.  All of the penetrating finishes (which you can cut on) are oils.  Tung oil, behandla oil, mineral oil, linseed oil.  There are ups and downs to each of them, but mineral oil is the least expensive, most easily gotten a hold of, and i know folks who have used it to great effect.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Last year, I shared with ya'll why we get a real Christmas tree.  This year, I want to share with you some of our tree-oriented traditions and favorite ornaments.

Every year, we go out to a tree farm, and pick out a tree.  The first year we were married, we even brought a saw and cut it ourselves.  Since then, we've relied on the guy with a chainsaw and a quad.  Much easier.

Deck the Halls

There are a lot of awesome things about living in the country.  Parades of visitors isn't one of them.  As such, aside from the occasional neighbor, not many folks get to see our casa all decked out for the holidays.

Guess the bow doesn't do much to hide the ugly step-windowed door...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More Frugal than Green

Nick's work Christmas party is this coming weekend,and I didn't have a thing to I had to go shopping, darn.  I tried on my new outfit and was feelin' all sexy in it... but my hair was lookin' really scraggly.  That's hasn't had so much asa trim for a year and a half (shame on me).

Sometimes blogger insists on sideways pictures.  You can only resist so much.  

When Green Doesn't Fit

From it's outset, this blog has always been about my journey to make a positive, healthy impact on my life.  Every time I switch a product or a way of doing thins, I carefully weigh it with what fits into our budget and lifestyle.  Sometimes, that leaves me with better, but still middle-of-the-road decisions.  I'm okay with that.  I never set out to be the ideal greenie, and I never will be.  I set out to make a change.  Sometimes, though, for better or worse, there is no middle road.