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Showing posts from January, 2013

Disaster Preparedness: Firearms

Seems like such a serious title and it is. Around the world weather has changed so dramatically that no one really can say what the seasons will bring anymore. Tornadoes are commonplace EVERYWHERE now. Hurricanes seem to favor the Mid-Atlantic coast more than ever. Brush fires, mudslides, earthquakes, all showing up in their normal spots as well as new ones. We need to be ready and we need to know how to be ready.

There is a great discussion about disaster survival topic going on at Down to Earth. Now, Down to Earth being an international blog and I, as an American, noticed the one thing not discussed in this post, which makes me wonder if I really do live in a much more violent society than others.


This is the touchiest of subjects, especially here in the US right now, but I feel it has its place when it comes to disaster survival. If, God Forbid, things get really ugly and desperate the police will not be able to reach you then what can you do? I am not dying for bread or …

Decadence and Fashion

While I am all for living within one's means and simple living, I do appreciate the work that goes into couture clothing, hand made furniture, jewelry (which I admit I miss making. I did wax carvings, metal work and even lovely beaded stuff, but the market is so flooded with mass production lines like Silpada and Lia Sophia, I would have to go completely high end and I cannot afford the materials). I have come across some interesting finds and want to share them. This isn't to make anyone feel bad or less than for not being able to afford these luxuries. I just wanted to show that there are folks out there passionate about what they do and sometimes it is expensive and sometimes it's not too unattainable. Enjoy!

Henry Herbert Tailors in the UK come to you on a Vespa and measure you for your Savile Row suit. Bespoke clothing is so glamorous to me.

David Linley Game Table. Just stunning.

City Joinery out of Brooklyn and Easthampton, MA has some exquisite pieces and they try to …


I set up my bird bath and got some suet cakes for my bird feeder this weekend. I did this because it is cold and snowy so the birds need water to drink and food to eat, but also because we have about 8 bluebirds hanging out with cardinals, finches and some other lovelies. The bluebirds are such a burst of color and even my neighbor commented how excite he was to see them.
There is something lovely about having birds in the garden. I have a few areas of my yard set up with gardens. The one where the bird bath and shepherd hook are is a small mound that has a yucca plant, I will never understand the proliferation of that plant in New Jersey landscaping, and there is also my gorgeous sage, cat mint, Russian sage, rosemary and oregano. I will be moving some lamb's ear to that area in the spring. The other garden was a vast wasteland of overgrowth which now has decorative grasses, lemon balm and bee balm, both which multiply on their own and makes it easy peasy to tend. Then I have my …

The Weekend Has Arrived

And snow will be here later. Brrrrrr! Winter has let us know she is back that is for sure!

We just had a bunch of stuff like an old bed frame and old clothes picked up by the United War Veterans. I like that charities will come out and get stuff. I know that a lot of it goes to for profit thrift shops, but I would rather someone else get use of it since we no longer need it. I love to purge. I have no idea why, but it feels good to remove things that are just wasting space or have been forgotten about.

I have noticed an uptick on quite a few blogs I read about personal circumstances during these hard economic times. Be it UK, Australia or the US, it is amazing how many of us are dealing with similar issues. Oil and gas prices, keeping thermostats below "normal", food prices, living on one income, living on NO income, unable to find work or taking the worse paying jobs just because they need to pay bills, being without cars and lousy public transport and even serious health i…

This Old 1920's Bungalow

I love my bungalow, I do. And while we knew it would need updates and some love which it was sorely lacking, we were also not immune to the fact that old houses bring problems with them. We have updated, with help, the electric, added a radon monitoring system, new ceiling lights, drainage, ripped out the fake fireplace and a closet, put in a closet, replace the flange in the toilet, painted the rooms, laid down a cool floor in baby's room and much more.
Our most recent fun repair adventures are dealing with a leak in the roof and mold in the attic, which we discovered just before Hurricane Sandy and a radiator in our kitchen that even with the valve off, spews water. Needless to say my kitchen floor, which is this poorly laid Pergo is shot.

But wait, let me start with the mold.

We woke up one day with a leak in our bedroom, called someone in and was told there is mold on certain parts of the dormer. The roof was done wrong, no shocker there since most updates, if you can call the…

A quick thought or two

Hope you all had a nice weekend. It is getting a bit chilly, okay freezing, in New Jersey. So we are bundled and toasty and keeping in layers since oil prices are offensive.  Anyway, I am not here to talk weather, how boring, but to just share a few things I have come across then I must dash off to get some things done.
First off, I have a serious love/hate relationship with Facebook. Because of that I have begin to tread the waters of Tumblr. I like that the arts promoted heavily there and some of the blogs are pretty funny. I have only just started posting and I think I am going to mostly focus on lovely things and places. It does not mean I am abandoning my ideas of simple living or frugality or homesteading or what have you. Life has a lot to offer and sometimes we all like to look at dream of having an elaborate gardens even when we only have a patch of grass to cultivate. So if you want to check it out here is where you go.
My love for sweet potatoes continues and I think I need…

Inside the Actors Studio

I have always enjoyed this series. One of the funnier episodes is when Robin Williams was the guest. I know he is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is a very good interview and full of laughs which I feel a lot of us could use these days. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!


BBC Documentary on Growing Up Poor

About a month ago I posted about the PBS documentary "Poor Kids". If you also watched the program, you saw the devastating effects of poverty. Be it a family caught in a cycle or one that was just one paycheck away from losing it all and did. Well, it seems the BBC has their own documentary showcasing a few teenagers in the UK. I have not watched it but came across an article about it in The Economist.

Poverty Up Close

The comments in the article regarding the young ladies' situation are telling. People chalk their plight up to bad parenting and lack of role models as well as an unwillingness to work. The worse is placing blame on a single moms for having sex and going on the dole. So the boy or man that got her pregnant is no lout or not responsible? Come on now.

I would like to see if there are any similarities to "Poor Kids" in terms of the family trying to better there situation and why they can't.

This made me think of a line from Howard's End spoke…

Chill and Comfort Food

Good Lord it was close to 60 degrees on Monday and now we are heading for the 20's! I do have many wraps and ways to keep warm. Thanks to the ridiculous cost of oil we keep the house at around 67. Believe it or not it is warm and very comfortable which is great when one has a toddler on the go. Right now there is snow on the ground which will get worse since we have freezing rain in the mix. Ahh Mother Nature is fun!

Yesterday I made a delightful Cauliflower Indian Stew in my crock pot. This is the second time I have used the crock pot and I am becoming a huge fan. To be able to throw in a bunch of ingredients and not have to rush at the end of the day to put a hot meal on the table is terrific. Now I am on a quest to accumulate as many vegetarian crock pot recipes as I can.

I have been writing my novel, but mostly at night. I want to try and do some know while the little guy naps, but he is rebelling against that so the writing may have to wait until later. C'est la vie!


Mattresses, Queen of Versailles and Tiny Houses

Yesterday we walked into Sleepy's and when the salesman asked me what we were looking for I said, "A two sided mattress." To which he replied, "We don't have any as they no longer make them."

They did not have any, but I had seen online more than enough mattresses that still come two sided. They are pricier than their one sided counter parts, but I want my mattress to last more than three years. I am not asking a lot. We told him we already had a one sided Simmons that was sagging and lumpy. He said we should contact Simmons. We will, but that still doesn't solve the dilemma of a finding a decent mattress. Anyway, we tried out a the standard brands: Sealy, Serta, Stearns and Foster. Found two we liked and decided we would come home and discuss it further as these mattresses were both over 1100 dollars. That is a down payment on an apartment in some parts of this country! Plus we had no desire to put 10% down to "hold" the price. These p…

Coconut Oil

I have become a little obsessed with the health benefits and uses of coconut oil. While I was never a fan of the coconut candy bars or the shredded stuff sold for cakes or cookies, fresh coconut is lovely. Actually, the smell of coconut oil or coconut butter just makes me swoon.
This morning I made chocolate chip pancakes using that fantastic eggless pancakes recipe and I added pumpkin spice and used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

Sing with me people! It was fabulous!

Now I am on a quest to locate more recipes incorporating coconut oil. It seems I can substitute it in all kinds of baking instead of using butter or even my earth balance bars. I want to give it a go with my beloved scones. If that works, coconut oil will become a full blown staple in our house.
I did also use some to rub on my ridiculously dry hands and lips and it was heavenly.

Here are links to some sites with recipes and a heap of information regarding types of coconut oil to buy, how to substitute it for butt…

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

I was flipping thought a Real Simple magazine and there is a section where they asked readers what their favorite short stories were. Someone mentioned a little ditty by F. Scott Fitzgerald and their synopsis was so delicious that I had to find this story online. Thank you University of South Carolina! I grabbed my tea, took time to read it while the little one napped and became immersed in this dark little story. So, I insist, please go get yourself a cup of tea or coffee or even a mimosa, sit back and enjoy.



Time to Plan

The decorations have been taken down and still need to be boxed away, but for me this means it is time to plan the vegetable garden. I decided that this year I was going to attempt every thing from seeds. That includes any flowers and of course, veggies. The reason I am going this route is because last year, my hubby brought some seeds home around May and I decided to to just sow them and see what happened.

They all grew. It was a miracle. No seriously, I am not too green thumbed and now I will have an abundance of thyme, echinacea, sage, cilantro and what I am really hoping comes back is the lavender. Herb gardens to me are a lovely way to fill unused or ugly space and you really can't fail at them. This inspired me to do the same for the vegetable garden. This could be risky, but why not? So I have started to search out all types of seed companies. I would prefer heirlooms so I have checked out Seed Savers and a few others. One place that has intrigued me is Monticello. Thomas J…

Quickie Post

Just wrapping up a fun filled and busy weekend. We had a party for our little one's One year birthday and now we are winding down for the evening.

I was doing a little blog reading before I got to writing and one of my favorite blogs My 50s Year also known as The Apron Revolution is no more. It is still up mind you, but the author has moved on and has started a new interesting blog called Charm of Notions. Instead of focusing on one era like she did with her prior blog, check out her archives it is fascinating, she is sort of browsing through many eras and sharing some of the recipes or ways of living she finds interesting. This is quite a treat as I have always enjoyed her musings and posts and factoids about certain eras. She touches on the Victorian Era a few times and that is pretty interesting. So have at it and I will be back soon!


Merry New Year!

I always loved that line from "Trading Places".

Hope everyone has had a stellar holiday and is ready for 2013!

Today will be short and sweet. First off, imagine my horror upon discovering that our mattress is only one sided and cannot be flipped. We are sleeping on something the shape of a 'W'. Now it is an 'M' because we turned it around, but I got a little miffed finding out why they stopped making a lot of double sided mattresses. It is cheaper to not add the plush backing on the other side and the added bonus is you will need to buy a new mattress once very 3 or 5 years as opposed to the old 10-20. Good times. What a disgrace. There is no pride in innovation or longevity anymore. Yeah I know, companies and their shareholders need to make money, but I am not a Rockefeller who can shell out the big bucks for a new mattress in such a short time span. Asses. This goes hand in hand with some of the new fangled appliances out there that run like crap. For some …