I’m working from the bedroom today because I can’t stand being in our living room where my desk is located. It’s still full of stuff and I am a firm believer that a cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind. Besides, being in our nice clean bedroom has given me time to contemplate my spider plant.
I’ve had this plant since my son was in the first grade. He went to a plant store in our village for a mother’s day field trip and brought this little tiny plant home to me. I didn’t even know what it was at the time but we kept repotting it and taking care of it and one day, years later, it sprouted a baby spider plant. My son is now in the sixth grade and this plant is still going strong. After reading about them, I’ve discovered that they’re pretty hardy little plants that will thrive in most conditions. I do need to move it to a bigger pot though, preferably one that’s hanging. I looked around online and finally settled on this one from Fiskars.
We’re going to hang the plant in the corner where I originally wanted to hang the KLÄDSAM mobile from IKEA. I showed the mobile to J on a shopping trip there and he immediately gave it a thumbs-down, so no mobile was ever hung. I think it will be a good spot for the plant because it will still receive enough indirect light to thrive and will also look nice in a space that’s been needing some ‘oomph’ for a while.
On another note, I’ve decided that I absolutely love the color on the bedroom walls, especially on a gray day. We chose Gray Shimmer from Valspar and it definitely changes with the light. Most of the time it reads pretty white but, on a day like today, it’s sort of a light moody gray that is very serene. It’s a great color and I’m seriously considering using it when we get ready to paint the hallway and living room. Of course, we’ll need to be able to walk through the hallway and living room first.
J’s parents are in the process of selling their house and part of that process involves purging their basement of a bunch of J’s ‘stuff’ (which, let’s be clear – when I am saying ‘stuff’, I’m being polite). Stuff from his childhood, stuff from art school, stuff that he found in a closet in our old house and has hung onto for years, like that deer hoof gun rack on the right. Admittedly some of it is my stuff, like the Raggedy Ann doll in the upper right corner of the picture, but most of it is not. A lot of it isn’t even J’s. Some of it belonged to somebody’s great something or the other and because of some incomprehensible invisible guilt, we are now the caretakers of even more stuff. There is stuff on the other side of the room that isn’t even pictured, some of which belonged to our kids when they were little and which is hard to get rid off due to the aforementioned guilt. Now all of this stuff has to be sorted and either purged or assimilated into our house. It looks and feels like we’re moving in all over again and I have actually cried over it a couple of times now. I work from home and being surrounded by all of this stuff is driving me absolutely nuts. I’m so busy and there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, including putting all of this stuff away. There has been a bright side, however. A very happy discovery.
My mother-in-law was sitting on a mother load of Corelle dishes in my long-coveted Crazy Daisy (or Spring Blossom Green, depending on who you ask) pattern. I’ve been wanting a set of it for years to use as my everyday dishes and she didn’t even know it. They’re just her ‘old’ dishes that she had stuck in a box and left on a shelf years ago, long forgotten. These beauties have completely brightened what has otherwise been a pretty rotten month. It just goes to prove that there is always a sliver lining, or at least most of the time. You might have to dig through 17 layers of stuff to find it, though.
We have a friend that has been baking his own bread for as long as we’ve known him. We’ve always admired his baking skills and complimented him frequently on them. One day, several months ago, he showed-up on our doorstep with a bread machine that he’d found at a thrift store for $3.00. He makes all of his dough in the machine and finishes baking everything in the oven. What a fantastic idea! I went to the library and found a bread machine cookbook and we were off and running.
So far we’ve baked bread, made pizza dough, breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, calzones, croutons and a few other things. Not only is it a revolutionary idea to me to never run out of bread again, but the fact that I’m controlling what goes into my bread is awesome. No preservatives or chemicals and it tastes a lot better.
My son has been asking for these cinnamon rolls again and again.
These calzones were delicious. J was solely responsible for these bad boys.
I’ve been baking a standard white loaf of bread for school lunches and morning toast. It also makes a mean grilled cheese.
One thing I noticed is that the lack of preservatives means a home-baked loaf of bread has a very short shelf-life. I did some research and found a bread keeper that has adjustable humidity control for dry or humid climates. Ohio has both depending on the season and I needed a way to keep my bread as optimally fresh as possible. This Progressive International Adjustable Bread Keeper seems to be doing the trick and at $12.95, will quickly pay for itself.
So far, of all the bread machine cookbooks I’ve check-out at the library, The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Jennie Shapter is my favorite.
There are a lot of fantastic recipes in this book and I think we may end-up buying a copy when I finally have to return it to the library. So far, we’ve really enjoyed our foray into all things bread related. Obviously we can’t keep up this pace of bread consumption or we’ll become a bit doughy ourselves. However, it’s still so much fun we just can’t seem to stop making more. I’m sure it will wear-off a bit after the initial excitement of creating our own bread products wanes.
So what about you? Do you bake your own bread? Any good recipes you’d like to share?
We were driving home from the grocery store the other day and noticed a large garage sale going on in our neighborhood. J and I quickly unloaded our groceries and walked straight over to the sale, because you have to jump on these things you know. Most of the stuff was your usual garage sale fare and while I was looking at some pants, J was scoping out the items actually inside the garage. He came over to me with a box in his hand and asked if I wanted it. The box contained a mint condition Nordic Ware bundt pan that was made sometime in the early seventies. I gleefully snatched it out of his hand and asked the lady how much she wanted for it since it didn’t have a price. She said a dollar and it was sold!
It still has the original liner with recipes.
I, of course, had to come home and immediately bake a bundt cake. I already had a decent bundt pan but it was dark-colored on the outside. Because our oven is located in a brick wall, it tends to hold more heat than your average oven and darker pans tend to burn things. I’ve had trouble baking bundt cakes that don’t burn or over-bake ever since we’ve lived here. This vintage pan is shiny aluminum on the outside with a Teflon coating on the inside. I know there are all kinds of warnings about Teflon but I don’t bake bundt cakes every day and, when I do, I’m careful not to scrape the coating so I’m not particularly worried about our Teflon intake because of this one particular pan. Plus, I’ve never had a bundt cake turn-out so perfectly before!
I looked on ebay and there are quite a few of these vintage pans available ranging in price from $10-$30 dollars (with shipping), so I think my $1.00 pan is a very good deal. Plus, this thing is so heavy it could be used as a home defense device if needed.
One thing I noticed on ebay is the wide variety of colors these bundt pans come in, especially the seventies ones in all the pretty harvest golds, greens and oranges. I don’t think I would buy them to bake with because they might not do as well in my oven but I might buy them to start a whole bundt pan collection to display (or not, who knows). I sure do like them, though, and they would look swell in my kitchen.
Anyway, I’m thrilled with my $1.00 vintage bundt pan complete with box. I have a couple of other garage sale scores I need to share with you soon, as well. So what about you? What great buys have you found lately?