Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden report: Good to go!

The garden is in!

This year's lineup:

Tomatoes (3 varieties)
Peppers ( 3 varieties)
Beans (5 varieties)

Everything has gotten, er, plenty of water with our torrential rains this past week. But my reward: The beans are sprouting. I also see tiny peppers on a couple of plants, but not sure that they'll survive.

Hopefully, the wacko weather (50s one day, 90s the next) won't mess things up too badly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Free doughnuts

June 3rd is National Doughnut day!

Interesting holiday .. it was founded in 1938 in part to honor the Salvation Army volunteers who handed out doughnuts to the "Doughboys" of WWI.

Anyway, to celebrate:

Krispy Kreme is giving away a free doughnut of any variety.

Dunkin' Donuts is giving away a doughnut, provided you buy a beverage. (Personally, I hope it can be something other than coffee ....)

If Tim Horton's participates this year, I'll update ...

Also, check with your local shop ... they may be giving away goodies, too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The wrap-up

Attended a graduation party over the weekend, given by friends for their eldest son. (A great young man ... we're delighted for him.)

Anyway, we decided to give him a gift card (maybe he can buy a couple of pages of a college textbook). I could have bought a card, or made a card to tuck the gift into, but wanted to do something a little more interesting.

I found this scrapbook paper at and decided to make an envelope. I took apart an envelope to use as a template, then printed out the pattern on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Almost a perfect fit!

For the enclosure card, I printed out a gift tag from Actually I cut off the "To" and "From" portion, but there was still enough room to write a short message and sign it.

Used a mortarboard sticker from my stash to seal the flap and put a small silver bow on it. Presto! One dressy envelope.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New additions to the family

I've been AWOL this week, getting ready for a happy event:

We have new furbabies!!!

We adopted two kittens this weekend; a brother and sister, about 7 months old.

They were on sale, too. (Well, more like B1G1F. The shelter wanted them adopted together, so we got them both for the single adoption fee.) We did think long and hard about adding a 3rd cat to the house, and decided that we could swing it (though I will be paying lots more attention to cat food and litter coupons and sales)

Of course, they are funny and adorable. They spent their first afternoon here looking out the window and chattering at everything that flew by.

So I've been putting away all the shiny things and such, trying to kitty-proof the house ... something I haven't had to do in oh, more than a decade. Good excuse to house-clean, though.

They haven't met Big Sis yet. (I can't really call her Younger Cat any more ...) Right now she knows something's going on, but doesn't seem overly bothered.

So the new adventure begins!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cereal deal

If you're a member of Vocalpoint, and you recently received the sample of Kellogg's Mini-Wheat Touch of Fruit, here's how to score 2 free boxes of cereal:

Use the B1G1F coupon that came with the sample and get, well, 1 box free.

When you buy, look for the specially marked "Try Me Free" package and send in the rebate form (along with UPC and cash register tape) to get the 2nd box for free. (Or at least for the cost of postage.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden notes

A few odds and ends from this year's garden extravaganza:

Did a bit of repurposing to create a trellis for my pole beans this year. I had the metal poles from one of those over-the-toilet bathroom storage units. (The shelves have been gone for years.) Pounded those into the garden and laced some leftover fencing to them. Presto! One trellis!

I'm trying to put more edible landscaping into the yard, so as an experiment, I slipped a cayenne pepper plant between the flowers in the front garden. Hopefully, the neighborhood bunnies won't munch on it. Of course, if they much on the peppers, they'll be ruining at NASCAR qualification speeds!

Speaking of plants, the basil and the cilantro are sprouting. Nothing yet from the parsley. The lettuce is ready to thin out, so we'll be having fresh-grown salad!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stamp Out Hunger Day

This Saturday is the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (and other fine folks).

Donating is easy: just bag a non-perishable food item (no glass or expired food, please), and leave it at your mailbox. In some areas, your letter carrier may have left you a bag ... if not, I'm sure they won't mind if you use one of your own plastic bags.

Please help if you can: Things are still tough for many people, and food banks are feeling the strain.

For more info, go to (And pass this on!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Menu: I'm jammin'

Even though my jelly-making abilities are rather suspect, I decided to use up some fruit by making jam.

So I rooted around the internets and came up with this recipe, which I proceeded to fiddle with:

3 cups fruit
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine the fruit and water in a saucepan and boil over moderate heat for 15 minutes until the fruit is softened. Process in a blender or food processor until smooth. (I use one of those submersible blenders .. the kind that looks like a boat motor. That way I can process it right in the pan)

Return to the saucepan and add the sugar. Boil 30 to 40 minutes until thick and the proper consistency for a jam. Pour into a sterilized jar.

I just pop this into the fridge after it cools. The process turns 3 cups of fruit into about 1 cup of jam.

I tried it with mango and pineapple, and it came out really well. The original recipe called for 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla. Frankly, I don't think it added anything and just darkened up the jam, so I won't do that again.

Then I tried it on my jelly nemesis: mulberries. With this, I threw in 6 drops of raspberry extract along with the sugar. The jam is rather ... er .. seedy, but I think it will turn out just fine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Don't spend it all in one place...

My laugh for the day ...

I got this message about an account:

You just received a dividend from xxxx. The money is now available in your account. Use it to shop online, or keep it in your balance to earn more dividends.

Amount: $0.01

Yep, I can go buy that yacht now, LOL!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April freebies

Not a bad month at all ...

Propel water
Breathe-right strips
Sundrop soda
Dove men's care deodorant
Dove men's care body wash
EmergenC blue
Stevia cane sweetener
Glad trash bag
Valspar paint sample
1 Pepsi Max
2 Starbucks coffees
1 grapefruit
Jell-O Temptations
International Delight coffee creamer

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Monday: Cinnamon muffins

Here's my fiddle of another recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)

1/4 honey

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. in another bowl whisk the egg, sour cream and honey. Stir into the dry ingredients until everything is moistened.

Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 15 to 18 minutes

These came out very light and spongy, though that may be the fat-free sour cream's doing. You can also adjust the cinnamon to taste.