Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stocking Up On Chocolate Bunnies and Bandages

Easter is coming.  It's about a month and a half away, so it's a little too soon to worry about what I'm going to make for Easter dinner.  Still, I'm a little scared because I've managed to hurt myself in the kitchen on every holiday since last Easter.

Along with the ham, I had decided to make scalloped potatoes.  I was using the mandolin (with the guard) to slice the potatoes, but I was rushing to get it done.  The guard slipped and I ran my middle finger across the blade.  For a split second, I wasn't sure I had cut myself because it didn't hurt.  But then it started bleeding, and I mean BLEEDING, and it hurt like crazy.  I had cut all the way to the bone.  I could actually see it.  Really.  I grabbed a gob of paper towel and put as much pressure on it as I could.  Then I put a bandage on it (which wasn't easy, I was home alone at the time and more than a little woozy after seeing bone), slipped on a disposable glove and finished cooking dinner.  Amazing as it sounds, I only have a slight scar.

On Thanksgiving, I was basting the turkey when I bumped the edge of the oven rack with my arm.  This time it hurt immediately.  I ran the burn under cold water, which probably stopped it from getting any worse, but it still left a nice scar on my arm.

Christmas was probably the strangest injury of all because, while it happened in the kitchen, it was not cooking related.  We were all sitting around the kitchen island after dinner.  My son got up to get something, so I stood up to give him more room to get past me.  He accidentally bumped me and I fell against the stool I had been sitting on.  It came down on my foot, hard.  In trying to lift it off my foot, I lost my balance and fell against it, driving it down harder. The pain was pretty intense and I truly thought I had amputated my toe with the leg of the stool. I asked Mr. W if there was blood on my sock (I had closed my eyes because I was in so much pain).  When he said there was, I was terrified to look.  Eventually, I got up the courage to take off my sock.  Luckily, my toe was still attached.  Crushed, but attached.

So that brings us back to this coming Easter.  Maybe I should just make reservations?


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cabin Fever

Being indoors all the time is starting to drive me crazy.  Today is sunny and the sky is clear blue, but I can't get out and enjoy it because it's wicked cold outside.  The wind chill bottomed out somewhere around -16 degrees this afternoon.  It snowed for a short time, but instead of coming straight down, the wind whipped it into a horizontal blizzard.

All day long I've felt overdue for a nap.  Sure, there are things I could do to keep myself busy.  I've got a few loads of laundry waiting for me and those tax returns aren't going to do themselves, but I don't have the energy or the focus to deal with either one of them.

Yesterday, we got an advertising circular from a local home improvement store.  The front page was filled with paving blocks, landscaping timbers, planters and hose reels.  Everything about it screamed spring.  It made me feel hopeful and sad at the same time.  Hopeful that spring is coming, sad that we still have five feet of snow in the front yard and nearly as much in the back.

I was working on a custom order for our shop the other day and I needed to find a particular picture to create a mock up.  Going through my files, I got sidetracked looking at pictures I took last spring and summer.  Flowers we grew, day trips we took, our pool and hot tub, summer sunsets.  All the things I've been missing so much during this long, long, long winter.

If spring flowers, road trips, an open pool and summer sunsets don't get here soon, I'll lose my mind!

All work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl, all work and no play makes Willoughby a dull girl.....


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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes!

Tomatoes are a total mystery to me.  I buy them, I grow them, I eat them, but I can't say that I understand them.

First of all, why is it so hard to get a good tasting tomato in the middle of winter in Michigan?  I know some tomatoes are imported from warmer places and some are grown in green houses.  Unless they're labeled, I usually can't tell the difference.  Neither one has much flavor and they're usually mushy.

Next, I just don't understand what to do with them.  Whether it's February and I'm getting the flavorless ones from the produce department, or the middle of July and I'm harvesting fresh tomatoes from my garden, I've always followed the conventional wisdom that you should not refrigerate an uncut tomato.  So I don't.  I leave them sitting on the counter.  This poses two problems.  Number one, I like tomatoes to be cold (I don't care that someone, somewhere says they're more flavorful at room temp.).  Number two, they go bad rapidly.  RAPIDLY!

My mom recently gave me some extra grape tomatoes she didn't want.  She had kept them in the refrigerator, so I refrigerated them when I brought them home.  The next day I took them out to put them in a salad.  Here is what they looked like:

On the flip side, I picked up a nice looking hot house tomato from the supermarket a day or so later.  I left it on the counter overnight.  The next day it looked like this:

So which is it, refrigerate or not?  I just don't know.  I guess the best choice is to buy them and eat them the same day or wait until summer and pick them fresh moments before I need them.  Or stop eating tomatoes.


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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter White - A Photo Essay

The color of the year appears to be winter white.  The snow in our front yard is approximately five feet deep.

Taken at eye level.

Looking toward our neighbor's house.

What is the weather like where you are?   *Warning, shameless plug!*  If you need to keep warm, stop by our shop for some blizzard swag!


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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Playing Catch Up With Blogging and Bucket Lists

Back in July, I tried to get back to blogging.  Considering this is my first post since then, I guess you could say that my return wasn't terribly successful. Blame it on timing, blame it on laziness....I don't know.  In any case, here I am, back again, trying one more time.

To help me decide on a topic to blog about, I went back and reread some of my older posts.  One that really jumped out at me was a post about Bucket Lists. Since the original post was written, I have, sadly, not crossed one thing off my list.  Mr. W, however, has now been skydiving.  He and our son started with tandem jumps and then took lessons to get their "A" licenses.  Wanna see? Here's Mr. W on his graduation jump.

Since the guys liked it so much, we gave our son's girlfriend a tandem jump gift certificate for her 20th birthday.  She loved it.  So now, even though when I wrote the original Bucket List post I said I was far too afraid of heights to ever go skydiving, I'm considering it.  Our 25th anniversary is coming up in April and we've considered jumping together to celebrate.  Well, sort of.  Mr. W can jump on his own, I would have to make mine a tandem jump with an instructor, but we could go up together.  We'll see....

Nothing on my original list has changed much, but I do make additions all the time.  There are so many places I'd like to go and so many things I'd like to do. How about you? Have you added anything to your Bucket List or crossed anything off?


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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Quick, Easy and Fun Project

Mr. Willoughby came across our kids' old wagon while he was cleaning out the garage a few days ago.  It's still useful for moving gardening supplies around the yard or hauling wood to the fire pit, but we had a different idea to put it to use.  We wanted it to look like a vintage wood wagon.  We didn't want to damage the wagon in any way, so we came up with a way to give it a totally reversible makeover.  If you would like to try this project, you'll need a wagon (you can do this with any wagon, old or new, but you'll need to improvise if the handle is attached to the wagon and not the axle), lumber and screws or nails.

Basically, you'll be making a four sided box, so you'll need to gather enough lumber to make the box.  We used leftover cedar decking for the sides and deck spindles for the corner supports, but any scrap wood would be fine.  Next, you need to measure the long sides of your wagon.  To that number, add the thickness of the boards you'll be using for each end.  Measure your boards and cut them.  Now you can measure and cut the boards for the short end of the wagon.

Next you'll need to measure and cut your corner supports.  These will support the box on top of the wagon and make your box more sturdy.  Measure how tall your "new" sides will be, then deduct the depth of your original wagon (we wanted to set our corner supports down from the top edge a little bit, so we deducted an additional inch).  Cut your corner supports to the determined length.

Assembling the box is simple.  Start by laying out your short sides.  Screw or nail the corner supports flush to the edge of each short side.

Now attach the long sides to the short sides using screws or nails.  Your box is now finished and can be set on top of the wagon.

Our wagon originally had wood slats bolted to the sides.  We put screws through the old bolt holes for some additional security, but it isn't necessary if your wagon doesn't have these holes.

Sand the cut edges and your wagon is ready to use and/or display!  You could stain or paint it if you want to.  I thought about stenciling ours, but decided to leave it plain and let it age.  I also chose not to clean up the wheels because I like the cracked, peeling paint.

We could have stopped there, but instead, I lined it with heavy duty clear plastic sheeting.  Then I added potting soil and herbs to make a rolling herb garden.  It works out great because I can move it around the yard to give it more sun when needed.  I can also roll it right up to the grill and clip fresh herbs while we're cooking.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Remember me, Willoughby?

I've been away from blogging for a long time.  My last post was more than a year ago.  It was never intentional, it just kind of got away from me.  Also, it didn't seem that I was all that far removed from blogging because I've kept in touch with so many of you through Facebook and email.

Every time I've tried to start blogging again, I've run into the same problem.  What should I blog about?  Does anyone care to read my ramblings anymore?  I don't know the answer to either question, especially the second one.  Time will tell, I suppose.  In any case, I've decided to try to pick up where I left off and get back to blogging.

So what have I been doing all this time?  Lots of things, actually.  Mr. W and I have been working on quite a few home improvement projects.  We've taken some great day trips and cooked some fantastic food.  A few holidays have come and gone and seasons have changed multiple times.  Our store is doing well and we've started an adventure journal style blog.  Little by little, I'll be telling you about all of these things.  Well, the more interesting stories, anyway.

I promise I'll do my best to get caught back up with all of you.  I've missed you and I can't wait to see what's new in your corner of the internet.  Also, I'll be posting a special Novica giveaway very soon, so I hope you'll be back for that.

Thanks for stopping by!


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