Sunday, January 18, 2015

Let's make some stuff!

One of my goals in the new year is to make some stuff. 

I have a lot of unfinished projects and ideas galore.  One of our favorite sayings is, "More ideas than time."

In an effort to make good on some of my promises to myself and the desire to make some stuff and tell people about it, I made vanilla.

I get a real kick out of trying something, just to see if it will work.  I had read about making vanilla and it seemed pretty straight forward.  My first batch was purely for our consumption - just in case it went terribly wrong.

Well, it didn't!

I read a few recipes and followed the instructions and it turned out pretty great!

Just before the holidays, I started four more jars.  You can see in the picture a jar that has had three months to process and a new jar on the right.  The small bottle in the foreground is the sample that I sent home with my mom.  The big jar of vodka in the back - the main ingredient that makes all of the magic happen.

One of the hints I discovered in my research was to order the vanilla beans in bulk - they can be expensive at the local grocery store. I ordered from Vanilla Products USA on Amazon.

I also read some conflicting advice about the vodka to use - some recipes recommended the cheapest possible and others recommended buying something more expensive.  I went for middle of the road.

Dreaming of spring

This time of year always begins to wear on us - too much time cooped up inside, too little sunshine, too much cold.

We begin to feel a little hopeful when the seed catalogs start to arrive in the mail.  My dad has already called and asked about my wishlist for our combined seed catalog order. The tradition of collaborating in planning our separate gardens is one that I love.

This month's Midwest Living has a feature on a plant about which I know very little, but it has made it's way to my wishlist.

Hellebores is touted as an early bloomer, but I can't figure out if it will grow in Kansas. It has an old-fashioned look that
I love and the idea of having early blooms is certainly attractive.

I will have to see if we can some to plant as an experiment.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

This rose smells like cheese...and other signs this might have been a long week

 This lovely rose was given to me at the grocery store.  I must have looked like I was having a long week (and I was) and the kind lady at the floral counter must have thought that giving me a rose would make it better (and it did).

This week has been one for the record books.  My husband has a bad cold that has caused him to lose his voice.  This is terribly inconvenient for a high school basketball coach who instructs through each game. (I wanted to say that he yells, but that sounded much too much like he is screaming at them to do better.  It truly is instructing and being positive.  It's kind of fun to watch.) This week has been about trying to get his voice back and him feeling better.

I also have the sniffles and work has offered the usual back to the semester chaos.  It's messy, but it's my mess and I am ok, but I am tired and kind of grumpy. 

We're just both peddling as fast as we can to try to keep up.

This morning I woke up, made breakfast, put two lasagnas in the oven for tonight and tried to get some things ready to take with me to the C-team basketball tournament.  It was a typical morning when we have a small window to get some things finished before we run out of the house.

I was moving my rose from the bedroom to the living room and I took a minute to smell it.  And, it smelled like cheese!  I thought, "Wow.  That's really weird.  This smells like cheese."  So, I took it to my husband (who is super congested and can't smell anything) and asked him if he thought it smelled like cheese.  His response was that something smelled like cheese. He was kind of non-committal about the rose smelling like cheese.

And, then it hit me.  The rose smelled like cheese because the whole house smelled like cheese because I was baking two lasagnas!

Just one more sign that it has been a long week.