Funny Friday

Howdy!  Getting back into the swing of things since we got back from a short trip to see dear friends in Florida.  I don’t know about y’all, but the doom-and-gloom feeling due to the COLD, SNOWY, GRAY weather here has to stop!

Have a few laughs – you have to watch this to the end.  Enjoy!

Have a lovely weekend!


Wenz Day

Well, just when we were enjoying a break in the cold, snowy weather… we go again!  The snow was predicted to begin at noon today, but it has been going strong since 8 this morning, and it is sticking on the ground, yada yada yada….

So, what do we Seasoned Storm Survivors do?  We make sure we get to the grocery store as soon as it opens so they will still be stocked with milk and bread.  We get any last-minute errands taken care of (as if this will be the last chance to do it in our lifetime!).  For me, this meant dropping off a package with an item to return at the UPS store.  Thankfully, it was a couple of storefronts down from the grocery store, so that made it relatively painless.  Next, the bank – we know that a power failure could affect the use of ATM’s, so have a little cash on hand.  And, finally, the gas station – make sure the tank is full, or at LEAST half-full.  Post-Sandy gas lines are still fresh in my mind, anyway.  Have the car backed into the driveway to facilitate a quick exit, if necessary, and if the car is going to be sitting outside, pop the windshield wipers up off the windshield.  Keep the cell phone charged.

When Joel gets in, he’ll fire up the snowblower and make sure our little portable generator is accessible – JUST IN CASE!

Here is my backyard as of 1 p.m.:

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We probably should have covered up the patio furniture.  Whoops.

And here is what Finn has to say about it:

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Well, that settles it, then!  It’s a great day to do a little bit of organizing.  Here is my spice cupboard (not too bad, but not too good, either):

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Here is a closer look at just the 2 bottom shelves:

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I wanted to swap out the 2 bottom shelves because I’m not very tall, and I use a lot of herbs and spices when I cook.  I need them to be on the lowest shelf simply because I need to reach them.

I cleared out the very bottom shelf first:

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(It helps to keep a table or other large surface free and clear for this purpose.)

Putting it all back together:

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It looks much better now, I think.  Don’t you?  I am going to start digging into other areas.  Then it will be time for a hot cup of tea.  Stay warm and dry today.  Enjoy!


Led Zeppelin

Life is short and time is ticking away.  I am still on that Organizing Kick, but there are always other projects pending that  look forward to.  One such project is an upcoming gig.  I’ve been asked to sing with a group that is playing an evening of music by Led Zeppelin.  It is a great honor, as Led Zeppelin happens to be one of my very favorite bands of all possible time.  I have not been actively performing very much of late, except for in the church realm, so this is a lot of fun for me.  “Back in the day….”

RRInn music picSource:

More information to follow!

Rock on!



More fixin’

One day, a child’s very fancy, schmancy backpack

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had a broken zipper.

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You see, the slider had come clean off.  What was I to do?  To replace this backpack would cost a Pretty Penny!  It was not very old and it was loved by its owner.  I looked up “Zipper Parts” on the internet, but was not sure I could do what needed to be done, so our local, very cute Button-and-Notion shop in town was where I headed.  First, the kind lady in the shop tried to fit the piece in place, but kept saying, “This is not going to work.  This is not going to work.”  But, her partner saved the day.  (You see, her expertise was buttons, his expertise was zippers.)  With a nifty, plier-like tool, he removed some of the teeth, plus added stops on both ends, AND put the new slider/pull in place!  All I had to do was stitch the ripped part!  He charged me $10!  Far less than the cost of a new backpack.

I used Dual Duty thread so the hold would be extra-strong:

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(Drum roll)  And now for the finished product close-up:

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Beautiful – I hope it lasts!

Still organizing, throwing out junk, donating less junky-junk to charity, and putting things back in their places.  Gotta make room for the mini-greenhouse so I can start my seeds indoors!



January Organization

Everywhere I turn I see promotions for getting organized this month.  It makes perfect sense – January marks new beginning.  I don’t know about any of you, but I find myself astonished at how much disarray exists in my house after the holidays!  I thought I had put away all the decorations, but every day I find one more little jingle bell or Santa Claus.  And I didn’t even put out ALL the decorations  this year!  We were traveling a lot, so it just didn’t make any sense to have an over-decorated house for no one to enjoy.

I have a number of organizing projects I must either embark on, continue with, or complete.  One such project is the Paper Avalanche.  I like to start the new year by getting rid of my tax files from 8 years ago(since we only have to keep 7 years’ worth).  I keep the statements going back indefinitely, but the 8-year-old-or-older paper and crud that accompanies the statements can go to The Shredder. (play the theme song from “Jaws” for dramatic effect)

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It helps to spread everything out on the dining room table, purge, sort, and then organize what’s left.  Here is my desk area in the kitchen:

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Ugh.  What a mess.  The brown desk-top file on the dining room table belongs on the left corner of the desk.  I had to remove it to work properly.  It is still a work in progress – updates to follow!  For now, here is a more orderly part of my kitchen/office area:

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Check out Finn sleeping next to the cabinet.  When I sit at my desk he sometimes puts his head on my foot.  Now, for the INSIDE of the cabinet:

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These file boxes came from The Container Store and can be found here.  I have had them for about 14 years.  I have only had to replace one of them, the “Banking/Financial” box, because it gets pulled in and out the most, so it got ratty after about 10 years.  I keep my checkbook and bills to-be-paid in that file.  The other file boxes are in wonderful condition because they aren’t moved around too much.  Here are my labels up close:

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The labels were made with my basic P-Touch label maker by Brother.  They are sold at Staples.

Anybody doing any organizing this month?  What kinds of projects have you been working on?


Five-Minute Fix

We have a pocket door in Town Mouse House.  It separates the kitchen from the family room.  A piece broke off of the “pull,” which we needed in order for the door to fully function.

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Although I am aware that “Open Concept” floor plans are the “bomb” right now, I happen to prefer that there be some separation between rooms in a house.  It is especially useful when family members multiply.  If everything is out in the open, then the whole house has to stay pristine at all times…..OR people have nowhere to escape!  It’s probably easy for me to say, because my children are no longer little tots.  I suppose the Open Floor Plan is useful when one has to keep an eye on the tiny mischief-makers.  I happen to have a rather large, eat-in kitchen.  When the kids were small I was able to barricade them in the kitchen with me via a Dutch door, a safety gate, and our pocket door.  The kitchen adjoins a laundry room, via the Dutch door, so it made things very convenient, since I spent the majority of my days in those two rooms while children were growing.  But back to the pocket door – I looked online and found this:

Here is the link for purchase at Home Depot.

You see, I thought this was going to be a time-consuming, complicated repair.  It was literally five minutes tops!  I merely unscrewed the two screws on either side farthest away from the door’s edge.


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As you can see, it is that shiny, brass-plate that is very hard to clean and keep scratch-free.


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The new “Passage Pull” popped right on!  Well, I had to gently tap it with a hammer after protecting it with a medium-thick cloth.  It was a snug fit.  The only other tool I had to use was a Phillips-head screwdriver.


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I love how it looks!  The Oil-Rubbed Bronze is more practical than the shinier finishes.  I believe it will be easier to maintain and keep clean. Now I have to put a fresh coat of paint on the door:

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I am in the process of re-painting the trim throughout the house in White Dove Benjamin Moore.

Do you have little projects?  Now is a good time to get them started!  It is very gratifying to have done this myself.  The price was right-only $12.00 plus tax and five minutes of my time.  I will continue to forge ahead with the Home and Garden beautification process, and take you along for the ride as I go.

Stay dry today – it’s pretty rainy.  And happy birthday, YOU-KNOW-WHO!


Garden Dreams

Happy New Year!  Even though I am a few days late….

Have seed catalogs been pouring into your mailboxes these days?  I have been receiving them and all I can say is that I can’t wait to get my garden underway again!

Here is one of my favorite catalogs:

They offer both plants and flowers, which makes for convenient shopping.  This year, Joel said he wants to plant corn and cauliflower, two things absent in last year’s garden.  I have to figure out how to do this.  Corn will take up a fair amount of space – I will probably dedicate one whole 4′ x 8′ bed just to corn, but then, I read that the Native Americans used to plant pumpkins next to corn and/or sunflowers so the vines would have something on which to climb.  Hmmmm……..

Cauliflower used to be a big crop in the little pocket of Northeastern USA where we live at Country Mouse House.  In fact, every Fall, there is a local Cauliflower Festival!  That’s right!  There are rides and treats for little ones as well as flea market-type merchandise for sale.  It is an awesome celebration complete with a Cauliflower Cook-Off, where local chefs prepare and share their Cauliflower Culinary Competence.

I don’t know if our future cauliflower will meet any sort of Festival Qualifications.  I will first have to see if I can even grow it at all.  I tried it once before, with very poor results.  I am more hopeful this year, given our better fencing and critter prevention methods.

What helped me this past year was the Mother Earth News Vegetable Garden Planner.  I highly recommend it.  It has a very comprehensive list of plants, plus you can customize it if you don’t see your particular plant choices.  This is a big help because I often plant more than one variety of the same plant.  I planted 5 types of tomatoes and 3 of eggplant, for example.  The planner helped me keep track of what was where.  It works for any type of garden, and best of all, you can try it for 30 days for FREE!  After that I believe the cost was $25 for a whole year.  I think it is worth the $25, personally.   Here was my very imperfect plan for 2013:

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You can also print out a list which gives a key.  Here was my little back-door kitchen herb garden plan last year:

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If you don’t do your planning this way, then good ol’ fashioned paper and pencil works great.  I have used graph paper in the past because the squares are an especially stupendous tool for the Square Foot Gardening method.  I use a modified variation of this method.  (I don’t mark all the squares in all the beds, and I use 4′ x 8′ beds instead of 4′ x 4′ or smaller.)

Here is my sketch for the coming year:

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Looking closely, I have practiced crop rotation wherever possible, adding the cauliflower in the bed upper left, which is really lower left if you quarter-turn it once to the left.  I left it this direction because I wrote on it across this way.  Does that make any sense whatsoever?  Now, I placed corn and pumpkins upper middle, which is really middle left.  I can’t move the grapevine, hyssop, or mint.  They are all perennial.  But then, I might play with the mint a bit.  It is very hardy and will need to be thinned anyway.  Notice, also, that I have some daffodils and allium growing OUTside the fence, along with sunflowers.  We’ll see how that goes with my birdie friends!  I also plan to plant the castor plants again.  They are annual, so I have to start them anew every single year.  I think it’s worth it, though.

Again, I wish you all a very HAPPY HEALTHY 2014!  Stay warm!