Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Potato Failure





Several years ago, I read that you could grow up to 100 lbs of potatoes in a trash can.  That the potatoes would layer up as you added more dirt. 

Then enter Pinterest.

And it was ALL the rage this year on Pinterest. 

So I finally decided that after three years of thinking about this project, I was all in. 

I spent my summer tending to two trash cans worth of potato plants.  I spent a mint on dirt, knowing my biggest problem come fall would be how to eat, store and share my bounty.

But that's the thing about the internet.  And especially Pinterest.  While it contains lots of truth and good and reality, it also contains oodles of smoke and mirrors. 

Do you click on all the links you pin first?  You should.  Because half of them are fake or stolen.  Ever wonder why your cookies don't look anything like the Pinterest version?  It might be because the photo you pinned was taken from another source.

What's my point?

Don't believe everything you see and read!

This is how much I managed to produce in two trash cans over the summer.  Not 200 lbs, that's for dang sure!




But don't forget to subtract the weight of the pot the potatoes are in.




This is what I have.  Which is fun.  But about 193 lbs short of the Pinterest promise.




I've come to learn that lots of bloggers tried this with similar success rates.  Sad.  I'm potato-less and sad.  Ha.

Speaking of haha laughter...

Want to laugh your ass off (I seriously crack myself up...don't laugh...it will only encourage me)?!  I am not a fan of potty humor but this was a home-grown gem too hilarious not to share. 

This is ONE potato.  I didn't put 'taters together.  Nope.  God grew that puppy.  My very own, home-grown, dirty vegetable humor, penis potato! 



Stolen By Sandy







The biggest impact Sandy will likely have on my area is stealing fall.  Specifically leaves. 

But if that's my biggest problem, I'd say I'm in good shape!

Of course I am writing this the night before and all the area schools are cancelled for tomorrow.

But I am sticking to my story.  To me, Sandy was the witch who stole fall! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To Prepare For A Hurricane





This is what I ran out and picked up at Target and CVS yesterday in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.

* Half and half for my coffee. 
* Diet Coke.
* Candles.
* Applesauce squeezy thingies. Just in case. Plus, I love them. Great to toss in a bag for a snack on the go.

Notice that my haul does not include batteries. I searched high and low for D batteries to use in an old boom box in case of power outage. But it seems that everyone else beat me to the punch. Which makes sense as I went on this big search around 2 in the afternoon.

Bottom line. I was happy as a clam. I had a chicken in the crockpot and a big glass of wine and all my necessities at the ready. Just in case.

How did you prepare for Hurricane Sandy? And did your area have much damage? I hope not!

Three Awesome Sales Today


Beginning at 11AM EST today, Lilly Pulitzer, Vera Bradley and French Connection will all be on sale at Ruelala!  Ahhh...that's a crazy fun trifecta!

Go forth and get your shop on.  Even if it's just your window shop! 









Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Grew That





It has taken me five years to figure out how to grow carrots.  Oh I've planted plenty of seeds.  But this is the first year I've ever produced something edible.  Or visible.

I know they are just carrots.  But I am hella proud, y'all!

Rainbow carrots.  Prettiest carrots ever.  Don't lie...you know my bouquet of carrots are fabulous!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lighter


So here's the thing.  I build things waaaay up in life.  I get myself all anxious and nervous and tense.  

Sometimes it takes me years, decades or a lifetime to let go.

But this week, I did just that.  I let go of something.  Or made the official step to eventually let go.

The weight that has been lifted off my shoulders in just the first few hours has astounded me!

I can't wait for January.  I can't wait for a new year.  It's going to be a scary year for me, on a personal level.

But I am going to make some big, fun changes this year.  I don't know what those changes are yet.  But I made the big first step and I am not stopping now.  I really believe that just yanking off that band-aid has re-set my world.

Why do I wait so stinkin' long to follow my gut?  The right decision is not always the easy decision but it is always the RIGHT DECISION.

Tons Of Tomatoes





I had to bring in the last of my tomatoes the other day.  Most are green and not huge, but that's OK.  They will ripen just fine in sunny windows.  And if I can manage to get them all ripe at the same time, I will can another batch of salsa.  Otherwise, I will just eat lots of tomatoes for the next month or more. 


Notice the celery.  A Pinterest special.  I had to try.  This is after just two weeks.  And of course I now call myself a celery farmer.




There certainly could be worse problems, right?

I know they aren't beautiful.  They are organic and it's the end of the season.  But the thing about growing your own anything, especially tomatoes, is that it actually has flavor.  So while those grocery store t'maters are purdy, these taste like tomatoes.  Sweet and juicy and delicious.

Just like human character...it's what's on the inside that counts!



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Most Ridiculous TV Show


So there is a new show on the most ridiculous channel on TV.  TLC of course!  The weird of the weird finds its way to TLC. 

And in true form, they have found a new form of weird to feature. 

Extreme Cheapskates.

I love a saving money and a good deal as much as the next girl.  And thought that this show might be fun with people shopping with coupons and sales and turning out lights when they leave the room and such.

Oh no.  This show is just flat out gross!

Dumpster diving for food.  Sleeping on a found yoga mat instead of a bed.  Not flushing the toilet.  Not using toilet paper.  More dumpster diving for food.  Broken furniture.  Lack of furniture.  Paying with pennies.  Washing clothes in the shower instead of washing machine.

All in the name of saving a buck.

And that folks is where I draw the line. 

We do not live in a third world country.  Toilets are meant to be flushed. 

While I agree that stores likely throw out a fair amount of edible food, it is also likely mixed in with super non edible food in a trash bag.  That has been sitting on a hot street corner or back storage room floor or hot dumpster for who knows how long. 

I love a DIY project as much as the next blogger.  And have no qualms bringing home a piece of furniture that someone discarded if I can realistically use it.  In fact, I have a very nice antique table as a TV stand that I found recently when a neighbor moved.  But it's only a project if you intend to fix the furniture.  Leaving it broken and hoping the chair doesn't fall apart just seems this side of dangerous.  And dumb.  And weird.

Again, we do not live in a third world country.  Clothes do not need to be washed in a river.  Washing machines are reasonable and laundry detergent can be purchased cheap if you find a sale or use coupons.  That's just bad hygiene to not have truly clean clothes.  My favorite was Kate who said, as she is washing a shirt that has more holes than a slice of cheese and is now an unknown color because it is 13 years old, that washing by hand in the shower makes the clothes look nicer than a washing machine that can ruin clothing.  Honey, I think you have a few screws loose!

So in conclusion, this show isn't even the same kind of Honey Boo Boo gross- where it's so bad that it becomes good and you can't look away.  This show is just gross gross where you must look away immediately.

Cheapskates is as misleading as Dancing with the so called "Stars."  It should be called Extremely Gross and Unhygienic People On Display by TLC.



Stripe On Stripe




This is what I wore to take the dog outside to tinkle last weekend during the monsoon that came to town.  It was at night and in my private back yard.  But still...it was quite the fashion statement I decided to make.  Stripe on stripe action.  Meow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clarity


Your prayers worked.  I have come to two very big decisions regarding my volunteer gigs.  I'm nervous for both.  But feel strongly that both are the right things for me. 

I am going to find my sanity again.

I lost it somewhere.  But I am going to find it this next year! 

Changes are hard.  But good.  New never comes from old.  New only comes when we shake life up. 

And I am very ready for new!

Even if it's a little bit scary and sad, too.

Stop Worrying

Monday, October 22, 2012

Love Getting Lost


I've been under a lot of stress lately from unlikely, yet consistent, sources.  It has nothing to do with my love life right now.  I realized recently that I was perhaps leading some to believe that was the problem.  I mean, it's always a problem of course.  But the current stress and feeling like I am drowning comes from other sources.  Well...pretty much one source. 

So the other night, I let myself watch TV (Greys...I don't know why I still watch.  And Scandal.  Best Show in my opinion.  Sooo good!) and get lost on Pinterest. 

I fantasised over making luscious pies and tarts.


source


source


source


And something sweet...


source


source


So tell me...what have you been pinning lately?  Recipes?  Crafts?  Wedding ideas?  What are your favorite pins?

Back To The Vet We Go

Poor Sadie has been battling a terrible rash all weekend that is just getting worse.  So we're off to the vet.  Again.  I swear we're there ALL THE TIME. 

Thank you so much to all who participated in the Prayer Share yesterday.  I thought that was such a special way to pray for each other.  I really concentrated all those requests all day and still am today too.

If you missed it yesterday, please feel free to add your prayer request now. 

Care to wager a bet on how many millions this vet visit will cost me?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prayer Share


Today is the day.  And I really hope y'all feel comfortable participating.  I would love love love it if you would leave a comment with a prayer request.  Everyone is welcome- no blog is required. 

Is there something weighing you down?  Job?  Family?  Friends?  Finances?  Dreams?  Illness?  Heartache?  Unrest?  Confusion?  This is the post to share.  We all have something.  There is no prayer too big or too small.  And if you need prayer but are too shy to give specifics, it's OK to just ask for general prayers for personal matters.  God will know. 

As for my requests.  I have two. 

The first is for wisdom to make the right decision.  I work with a group that I love with all my heart but it has added more stress and unrest to my life than one could imagine possible from a volunteer gig.  And this is not recent- it's the better part of my tenure.  I don't want to abandon ship.  But I am having to make a lot of personal sacrifices to keep this up.  It's not healthy for me.  But I don't want to leave on a low low spot either.  I am just so confused and need some sort of clarity and peace on the matter.

The second is for my future.  I never imagined I would be this old and unmarried.  I thought I would share a life with a partner and adopt a few children and grow green beans in the garden.  I thought this phase of life would include field trips and PTA and ballet recitals.  I thought by now I would have a hand to hold for life.  If that's not the life I get to have, I pray daily that God lifts the desire from my heart.  I just ache to have that life.  The family.  So I ask for prayers that I either stop having the dream or that the dream becomes a reality.  This limbo is crushing.  Literally.

So please let me lift you up in prayers today.  Tell me what is on your heart.  Or tell me about someone you know is in need.  And please share in praying for each other.

I promise tomorrow we will be back to our normal chatter around here. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kohlrabi Soup. Or The Recipe I Won't Make Again.





I grew a few kohlrabi this year.  Even though I'd never even seen one before.  And finally picked one (no easy feat...those puppies are tough) and decided to make a soup from it, including the more tender leaves.

I just made up the recipe.

First mistake.

Let me say that again. 

I made up a recipe for a vegetable that I have never before tasted or even seen but managed to grow in my garden.

So it didn't taste bad.  At all.  But it didn't taste great.  At all.

I needed to do a better job of peeling the root.  And saute it longer before adding liquid. 

So just to keep things honest, I thought this was important to post.  I get so many sweet compliments on my recipes.  Which in and of itself amazes me as I am a very basic cook.  I cook simple things but try to do them well.  And in a crockpot if possible- ha. 

But it's only fair that you know I have flops in my kitchen too.  Win some and lose some.

I mean, I ate the soup.  But tossed the leftovers after a day when I admitted I wouldn't indulge in round two of my experiment gone not quite right.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SUYL: Favorite Charities


Today on Kelly's Show Us Your Life she is featuring favorite charities.  Something near and dear to my heart.

I put in a LOT of my free time working with two non-profit groups.  I choose to work with both for a few reasons.  Because they are very near and dear to my heart.  Both were childhood dreams.  Both instill the importance of community service.  And while both are asking for and donating out finances, both are just as grateful for your donation of time.  In a tight economy, sometimes that is the best we can do.  Give of our time. 


AGD


The first is my sorority.  I volunteer as an alum.  And it is a very hard job.  Nothing fluffy or easy about it.  And in nearly seven years, exactly four women have thanked me for helping them.  Four.  It is thank-less for sure. 

But I also love giving back to an organization that means so much to me.  I am (present tense- not past tense) proud to be (present tense- not past tense) an Alpha Gamma Delta.  It is not something I did in college.  Being a member of a Greek women's fraternity (sorority is Latin...not Greek...and while widely accepted....you are actually a member of a women's fraternity and not a sorority) is a life-long commitment. 

Many forget about that commitment when the graduation cap comes off.  And that's OK.  But think back to your collegiate days and how important it was to have that advisor support to run your chapter.  Chapters cannot exist without that support. 

Even if my kids never say thank you, I know my role is important.  And it is important to me to give back and work hard.  I believe so strongly in the Greek system.  I believe in the experience that it gives collegiate women.  I believe in the leadership skills and the community service hours and the campus participation roles and the scholarship programs. 

And so I give back.




And my other favorite non-profit is the Junior League of Albany (but really, all Junior Leagues are amazing). 

My Albany League is tiny compared to my first League in Washington, DC.  But I've grown to absolutely LOVE it here!

Our signature project is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.  (If you are looking into this project, email me, I have some very strong thoughts on it that you should be aware of.)  We provide one new, age appropriate book to children between birth and five years in our community.  We get books into the hands of children who might not ordinarily see a book until their first day of kindergarten.  Thousands of children will have a library of books at home, completely free to them, because my small League raised the funds entirely on our own.  No major financial backers.  Just a small group of women working hard for a great cause!

Past Junior League of Albany signature projects have been Race For the Cure, Ronald McDonald House, Hope Club (formerly Gilda's Club) and Equinox.  Those are all here in Albany because of my little League.  Impressive! 

The Junior League trains volunteers to go out into our communities and make an impact.  But the Junior League is also an amazing way to meet friends from a variety of backgrounds and stages in life.  Honestly, most of my local friends are from the League.  They are just the most special group of women who challenge me and teach me and inspire me daily.  Plus, they're sweet and fun. 

I call the Junior League my big girl sorority.  It is the sisterhood and togetherness mixed with community service.  We volunteer in soup kitchens and shelters and at hospitals and so many other amazing places in our community.  It's fun and fulfilling at the same time.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

~ Margaret Mead

Free Curry Sauce






I know this is random but it's sort of fun for a Friday.  Plus, I told you the other day that I am on a curry kick.  Cannot.  Get.  Enough!

Patak's curry sauce is giving away free jars on their Facebook page right now.  They will go super duper fast but it's so fun to get freebies that you like to use in the mail.  So hurry on over if you are a curry fan, too.  You can always just donate it if you are not, though.

Prayer Share


I know that many of us have been going through some tough seasons.  Our shoulders seem to be more weighed down than normal.  And we are struggling to figure things out.

So I am thinking it might be nice to share the burden.

You know what they say.  Sharing is caring. 

So this Sunday, I am going to ask that you come back and leave a comment on a special prayer request post.  Tell me what's on your heart or just ask for a general prayer because it's personal and God is good at figuring it all out.  It can be large or small.  We all have our own burdens that seem to consume us at times.  And then you can read through the comments.  And pray for your fellow blog pals. 

I've done this on another blog that is very faith-centered.  So I am not sure how receptive my readers will be.  And it's not the end all, be all if it flops. 

But I'm going to try it. 

If I can say a prayer on your behalf, please leave me a comment on the special post on Sunday.  It's as simple as that.

See you Sunday, sweet friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Cute Riding Boot


It's probably obvious that I am on a quest for the perfect riding boots!  I have thin legs.  They are actually my best feature, physically.  But boots tend to be so wide at the calf.  And my gams could both fit into a single boot.  So don't be surprised if you see me post a few more times on the "there must be a perfect and affordable boot option out there for me" adventure!

Today's pretty find is from Gilt...


Suits On Sale For Just $19.99


So as I was cruising around Zulily yesterday, I noticed they have suites on sale.  As in a jacket and a bottom (either pants or skirt).  Wow!

If you are looking for a new suit, I've never seen them for this price. 






A great idea if you are looking for a new job.  Sometimes wearing something new is just enough to boost your confidence in an interview.  Pop over to Zulily to see if they have something in your size.  The most expensive suit that I saw was only $22.99, though many were just $19.99!


















Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Help Me Pick A Boot...





Zulily has some of the prettiest shoes for sale right now!  I've been searching high and low for new boots.  Which pair do you like the best?






This pair below is my favorite but they are out of my size.  Boo.  But I like several others.  I'm thinking about it...






I need loafers and flats like a hole in the head.  But of course I love them.  I'm really into metallic lately.








Squirrely





Um....this is adorable!  Scratch that.  It's squirrel-tastic!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gifting With Pie





I decided that a homemade apple pie with my magical crust would be a far better thank you than flowers.

Oh sure, it cost about the same amount (when did apples get so expensive?) and took hours of my time. 

But the flavor is out of this world, roll your eyes back in your head, moan with joy amazing. 

No vase of flowers can do that. 

Oh and cello wrap and grosgrain ribbon can make pretty much anything look great.  They are my secret gift giving weapons.

Muddy Mood

I am in a seriously muddy mood. 

And I can't seem to snap out of it.

I want to focus on two aspects of my life.  Deadlines and things that bring me joy. 

But instead, I am spending every moment focused on something that brings me zero joy and stress as far as the eye can see.

So I need to shake the funk.  And figure out a way to shake this mucky muck load.

Remember when I had my friend break up in the spring?  I felt like a new woman.  So much lighter.  But even then, I knew my next step would be to take a break from this other thing in my life. 

I can't yet figure out how to make that happen without actually moving to a new state.  But I'm at least putting it in writing that I need to get out of this situation before I require medication or an AA meeting. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Last And A First





We had our first frost last night.  Or close to it.  So before all was lost, I pulled in the last few big tomatoes.  There are still a bunch on the plants that I covered up though because the next few days are said to be sunny and warm.  But the biggies needed to come inside just in case. 

I also picked all of the remaining basil.  I'll make a big batch of pesto and freeze to eat later. 

But the exciting news is that carrot.  That is the first time I have grown an actual, edible carrot, y'all!  I've planted seeds for years but they just never grew.  This year though, I have a bunch of them.  And after a good wash, this one the most delicious petite carrot ever.  The rest I left in the ground a while longer.  As you can see, this is not exactly setting records for size.  But the fact that I grew it at all is a mini orange miracle. 

Admit it, that's the cutest carrot you've ever seen!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tomato Powder


I've done several posts on my love of canning.  And I've definitely told y'all that I LOVE to can my own salsa.  It is just the best treat to eat my own tomatoes year-round. 




But this year, I went one step further with my waste not, want not mentality.

I don't know where I first saw tomato powder to be honest.  It was a while ago.  But lately I've seen it pop up on blogs more and more.

I thank blame Pinterest

So this fall when I made two big batches of salsa, I reserved the biggest pieces of tomato skin in a separate bowl.  After I got all the salsa in jars and in the pot and then cleaned up the kitchen, I set out to make tomato powder without using a food dehydrator.






Do you see the little bowl of reserved skins to the left?


It was so simple.




Just lay out the tomato skins in a single layer on a wire cooling rack, placed on top of a cookie sheet.  Pop the cookie sheet in your oven on the lowest temperature setting.  It will be in the 170-190 range. 

And then just go about your life for about four hours.

They are done when they are no longer soft and pliable.  They will be crisp but not burnt.  You basically want to dry all of the moisture out of them.




Once completely dry and cool, toss all of the crispy skins into a food processor or blender.  And let it run until you have a powder.




Store in a zip top baggie or canning jar.  Add to anything that has a tomato base such as stews, soups, pasta, pizza sauce and chili.

Tomato powder, just like all other dehydrated foods, has an intense flavor.  In this case, intense tomato flavor of course.  It is just a really great (and free!) seasoning to have on hand to kick up the flavors in any dish.


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