Friday, September 27, 2013

Apple Season!

We have an apple tree in our front yard. The kids have been eating the apples all summer but now that they are ripening, The Husband wanted to pick them and cook with them.

Very cool to go outside, pick some fruit and come back inside.  Just missing the cider and donuts from the orchard.

We cut up a lot of apples for apple sauce and cut the rest to flash freeze for pies and cakes for the next few months.

The Husband and The Girl worked together to get the apples ready for me to arrange and freeze.

We filled up the ziploc bags for apple sauce.

I filled up 8 quart size bags of the sliced apples.

Tomorrow we are going to try to can some apples. Wish us luck....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Wreath

I love decorating my front door and entry. I am not sure what happened to my Fall wreath but I realized I didn't have one. People around here go all out on wreaths but I didn't want to pay $30 or more for one so I decided to make one.

 I picked up a grapevine wreath.

And a bunch of "silk" flowers.

Then I pulled the blooms off the stems.

I felt a little like Morticia Addams, beheading those posies!

I took my hot glue gun,made a pattern and voila!  Wreath!

I am pretty happy with it.  Simple, easy and about half the price of a store bought one.

I had extra flowers so I threw them in a vase and put them on the dining room table.  Now I need some pumpkins and mums for the entry!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

dehydration fail

Here is another half-assed experiment that was a huge FAIL!!  I tried to dehydrate pears and I failed on 3 attempts.

Again, this is The Husband's dream.  We bought a dehydrator.  We bought a box of pears.  Adrienne told me what I needed to know and I googled before I tried.

The first night I prepared a batch of pears; I peeled and put them in lemon water (to stop them from browning).  I wanted The Husband with me when we used the dehydrator just in case I screwed it up.  We put them on the trays, turned on the power and.....


The dehydrator must have had a faulty circuit board because the digital read out was all flashy.  We tried several different outlets before he gave up and sat on the couch. (I have since mailed back the top and am awaiting a new one.)

Had The Husband not been there as a witness, he would have accused me of effing it up, right??

I couldn't waste all those pears but I so didn't want to be baking at 8:00 at night, but The Girl and I did.

We made pear bread, pear pie and pear sauce.  The Girl thought it was so much fun but I had lost my sense of humor. Luckily I am a pretty good baker so everything came out yummy and we didn't lose any pears that night.

The next day I borrowed Adrienne's dehydrator.  I prepped the pears and plugged it in all by myself.  It worked!!  Hard to believe but it takes 8-10 hours for those suckers to dry!!  I had to set my alarm to check on them but by 2:00 AM I turned it off but they didn't look right.  I think I cut them too thick.

They look like steak fries, no?

So I made another batch with the last of the pears. That night, by midnight I just unplugged the damn thing and gave up. They were slimy and maybe they were just over ripe. They looked like slugs.

Sigh. I will try again with apples. Glad the kids like dried fruit and it is something I can eat, with no added sugar. Sigh. This isn't rocket science!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

canning peaches!!

Over the last year or so my husband has really become interested in canning, as in *I* should learn it. I had no desire. But then my friend Adrienne of Free Time Frolics, was willing to teach me. 

First I bought a box of peaches and needed to wait for them to ripen.

Then we soaked them in hot water to blanch the skins.

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The longer they soaked, the easier they were to peel.  I was slow and clumsy and for every one I peeled, Adrienne has at least 3 done!  We cut them into sections and jammed them into the quart jars, filled in the cracks with sugar water.  I was disappointed that you need to add sugar (for preservation) as I thought they'd be healthier without the extra sugar, right??

Adrienne has a fancy schmancy water bath machine that cooks up the peaches and seals the jars.

Some of the scraps.  My chickens would have loved this yumminess.  But they are back in CT.

At the end of the day, I had 14 quarts of yummy peaches, that I will be able to eat (I am allergic to most fresh fruit).

It wasn't  hard process but it is time consuming, and everything gets sticky.  I'd be happy to do more canning with friends or by myself, as long as I have a good movie to watch!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

decorating with greenery

With the kids at school and my day off at the gym, I wanted to run some fun errands.  I have/had a Michael's gift card burning a hole in my pocket so that was my main goal.

Of course, nothing really jumped at me but I did buy a few things for some upcoming projects. 

My cute little purchase was this:

Two sprigs of whatever this type of greenery this is and a decorative vase.  All on clearance.  I've been looking at the pre-assembled ones but either they are way too expensive or on clearance but the colors are off. 

 I've been wanting color in the Laundry Room but it is in my bathroom for now.

It is in front of the outlet so I am sure it will bother me when I need to straighten my hair.  But it's cute and I like it!

Then I went to the Thrift Shop to see what I could find.  Believe it or not, I brought home this baby:

I know, who uses fake crap like this anymore, right?  A lot of people use these around here on the really high cabinets.  For $2.95. I thought I'd try it out.

I think it looks ok up there.  If I find something better or we don't like it after awhile, I won't feel bad.  For $3.00 it is a donation to The Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store!

They had a couple pf those fake potted trees for $30 and I was tempted.  The Husband hates them but I think it would look good in our office.

My last goody was from Michael's. 

I need a frame like I need a hole in my head but I do have an addiction.  I thought this one (on clearance!) will be perfect for our holiday picture (not taken yet).  Someone asked where I got all my frames.  I look everywhere, especially in clearance sections at Target, Home Goods, etc.  I am not afraid to paint something a different color or tweak it a bit.  Lately I prefer black or white frames but I am trying to overcome that!

That was my morning.  It was especially nice to do this Kid Free!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

wasabi tape fail

Yes, I know the proper name is washi tape but my brain always pronounces it as wasabi. Just like Downton Abbey, I could have sworn it was really Down TOWN!  Speaking of wasabi, it makes me think of sushi, none of which I've had in a few months.  I miss it.

Anyway, I finally bought some as it seemed like it could give me a quick Craft High without a lot of time and effort.   I picked up this pretty pack of tape.

I thought I could take one our huge bulletin boards and pretty her up, for my craft room.

I added the tape, then I added a second coat of tape because it seemed to light.

Then I threw some plain, white paper for more pop. One sheet of something would look better but I was going with what I had.

End result?  I HATE IT!!  The colors remind me of the Miami Dolphins and will totally clash in the craft room, which is mint green.  What looked good under plastic just didn't work with what I had in mind.  Luckily, the tape is very forgiving so I can always rip it off and redo it.  Or, I might just hang it up in The Boy's room.

Not to be deterred, I took the small board we have in the kitchen and did this.

The one colored tape looks better and I am happy with it.  Now I bet The Husband is going to take another look at the board because I did it last week and I doubt he's noticed!

I do think The Husband jinxed me.  Last week he said if the name of the blog is The Unexceptional Housewife, my things should look half-assed.  Honey, my stuff looks like the kids did most of it!!  Most of the bloggers I follow use miter saws, drills, power sanders....I am just beginning to use a hammer!