not ready for prime time

January 10, 2011|Posted in: family, food, frugal, no waste, preservationista, sustainable living, yarn

Working on my challenges this week has kept me busy. Want the deets? Read on…

1) FYI, don’t put nonrechargable batteries into a recharger. They blow up. This happened a few minutes ago and we then had a nasty battery acid spill to clean up. It was my fault — I’ve been hounding the corps about recharge the batteries! I stuck them in there but apparently didn’t realize. I just stuffed them in. Oops. Sorry. Mr. Husband not amused.

2) We are coasting toward payday and I’m sticking to my no-shopping-til-payday mini-challenge, because we had so much leftover holiday foodstuffs that I couldn’t see the back of the fridge. I’ve spent a few days actively eating down the extra and preserving, freezing, feeding to the chickens, etc. Today, for example, I emptied the cookie jar into a gallon ziplock bag and rolling-pinned it to make cookie crumbs. These will make a sweet pie crust for an ice cream or pudding pie, can be used to make a parfait or trifle, or merely sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt. A tablespoon of mixed up cookie crumbs is better than munching my way through a mountain of Christmas cookies. Far fewer calories, no waste. No leftovers. (I know, whoever heard of a leftover cookie?)

3) My ever-over-achieving friend Max at My Roman Apartment is doing a 52-kinds-of-jam-in-52-weeks, and I guess that means one per week. Well, rock on, Max, my dear, I can’t go along for the ride. But I did make marmalade out of a bunch of citrus fruit that was going south. A couple of hardening pink grapefruits, a lime that was turning into a golf ball, some sliced lemons that we had with seafood, a handful of orange peels, plus 5 homegrown oranges that were not exactly Sunkist quality…are now about 7 jars of beautiful sweet citrus marmalade. It’s very orangey, but you can taste the lemon and the grapefruit notes. It’s just divine. (hold out spoon) Taste it! I reused several jam jars for sealing, and a couple of other jars for the fridge that have lids but couldn’t be sealed. I will play Marmalade Fairy later in the week and deliver jars to some local friends who asked. I think I’m getting some Meyer lemons and yellow grapefruit in return — yummy!

4) Simplify, pare down, declutter — we got all the Christmas stuff off the walls, tree, front porch and floor, into boxes, and finally up into the attic. As we did so, we started rearranging the living room, and now it’s a spacious, wide-open modern-looking place to sit. I would take a photo of it, but my batteries died, and then I exploded them trying to reload, and…anyway, I’ll get a photo in a day or so and post. Also noticed that we need a dust mop of some sort. Something to grab dust bunnies better than a broom, which just seems to chase them away.

5) The savings and couponing are all going well — nothing to report, since I haven’t been shopping this week, but I did some work toward taxes, I’m sniffing out coupons and savings every day, and have pretty much decided it’s foolish to pay full price for anything if you can find a discount  or a barter for it. We’re working on getting a new computer for The Boy, for example, for his room. A friend of ours is assembling a Frankenstein model out of lots of leftover parts. He — our friend —  does this for a living, and naturally, his living room is full to the brim with extra computer bits. We’ll be getting a super fast up to date computer with sound system, fully loaded, made outta leftovers saved from oblivion or landfill, when all is said and done. This is a lot for a 13-y.o.’s birthday gift, but we decided a) it’s an investment for his middle and high school years that can be upgraded easily, since our buddy is creating the computer, and b) it’s actually a safer deal to let him have his own computer for homework and such, so that he won’t monopolize and crash the house computer (with financial records on it). If we went through Best Buy or wherever, we wouldn’t be getting this good of equipment for anyone — not even the house.

6) The Handmade Challenge/MIY continues as well. We needed jam, I made marmalade. We needed salad dressing, I whipped some up. I need my shoes polished; I’m doing it tomorrow. As we continue through the living room and into the next few rooms, there will be a lot of making it myself. Curtains, pillows, painting furniture…and back into the kitchen, where I’ll throw some stuff in the bread maker tomorrow and see what pops out. I’ve got to find that half-made Scrappy Sweater I was knitting last winter (out of scrap yarn, of course) and get back to work on it.

Time for bed, sleepyheads. May your days be filled with ruth and grace, and your nights full of dreamless sleep, or dreams of wonder.
(PS: that’s the chalk board on the kitchen door. Fabi, our German student, added the I <3 U.)

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

3 Comments

  1. noreply@blogger.com'

    LisaPie
    January 10, 2011

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    Hoolia,
    I crocheted some covers for my Swiffer out of extra cotton yarn and don’t buy the disposable things any more. Maybe you have a Swiffer or something with a flat head that you can make little covers for to be your dustmop?

    After I did mine I found something online that said using wool would be better for hardwood floors, but I am sticking with my cotton for the time being.

  2. noreply@blogger.com'

    LisaPie
    January 10, 2011

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    I used a pattern and of course I adapted it to my style of crochet and the size Swiffer i have. There are scads of patterns out there you can google. The one I did had lots of extra loopy things so that it would catch more cat hair fluff.

  3. noreply@blogger.com'

    Practical Parsimony
    January 11, 2011

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    Julia, Long ago when I was a child, my mother would take a towel and diaper a broom, making a dust mop (broom?) to catch dustbunnies or just plain flyaway dirt. To this day I still use a towel on my broom. Lay the towel down, put the broom head on half the towel, fold the other half of the towel up around the handle, fold the first half around that. We used a huge safety pin to pin it making sure that both sides of the towel are in the pin. Just catch bits of the towel in the safety pin in order to be able to use the pin. A string, rubber band, huge twist tie or anything to secure the towel will do. You only need it to stay long enough to sweep and then you need to be able to remove it to shake the towel. Oh, you could probably use a sweatshirt turned inside out and use the sleeves to tie around the broom handle. NO need to buy a dust mop.

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