Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Scenic Ride

My son nodded off in the car the other day. So I decided to take a ride through a surrounding town while listening to holiday tunes. 

Lots of people, thanks to television and movies, think New Jersey is an armpit and lacks any beauty. I beg to differ, but when all you see is the New Jersey Turnpike, I understand. 

As I drove along a particular road it struck me how serene and tranquil the area was at that moment. I decided I had to try and get some photos. The road was not conducive to just pulling over nonstop. Too windy and narrow in some points. When I was certain there was no one coming and going, I stopped, rolled down my window and took a picture. I was only able to take two and they are of the Lamington River. The area is really beautiful and there are a few houses here and there. I loved the tranquility of it all as my little guy slept and I hummed along to "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."




Hope your weekend was wonderful.


Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Whatcha got?

A sense of humor thank God.

Yesterday I commented on a blog post by Ben Hewitt about how some people read homesteading blogs and feel inadequate. I think it happens to the best of us. You will read that someone has cut their debt to almost nil or grew three acres of perfect vegetables. Why is it the cabbage worms have ignored their planted heads while mine had been decimated to the point where I will no longer attempt to grow said veggie??Anyway, I wanted to reassure the person who made gotten that conversation started. She apologized and I felt she did not have to. Some homesteaders don't share the rough times only they good, but I prefer when they share it all in that type of world as it makes it much more interesting.

That being said, it looks like my reply inspired Mr. Hewitt to write a parody based off my reply.

Here is the original post and you can scroll down to my comment.

Here is the parody.

I am fodder for the masses, I think, in a good way. Seriously though, Portlandia should take every word he has written and turn it into an episode.

Social media, especially blogging, is an interesting monster. We let complete strangers into our lives and share things that even some of our own family are unaware of. Or at least until we see them. :) We comment on how other people chose to do things or ask them questions about it. I appreciate when someone like Rhonda from Down to Earth shares because it is a passing on of knowledge that one may not receive in their every day interactions.

That aside, social media also distorts things. We read about how a blogger is building their dream kitchen with their own two hands or how someone's chickens are just bountiful with egg production or how their children are just so independent and talented and some folks just crumble trying to live up to that ideal . They and we forget that whatever blog we are reading, that person has bad days happen too. It is just that some bloggers prefer not to share that part of their world. They don't want you to know that the fox ate half their flock or that their little crafty genius threw a major tantrum at the Farmer's Market or ate soap and that is fine. When you choose to make your life public, you get to choose what you share. Readers need to remember this and not try to live up to some ideal Pinterest styled dream. Again, this is why I prefer people who share the shit slogging in their days. You can learn a thing or two from someone when they keep it real. It doesn't mean the ones who don't share aren't being real, but they are projecting a certain lifestyle that is not always attainable and the average reader, if having a crappy day, week or month, may forget that and start to compare themselves and feel horribly inadequate. None of us should, but sometimes it just creeps in and you just need to get a grip and breathe.

Now that I have entertained the homesteading masses, I hope I entertained you all as well.

And the mice are gone. AMEN! Seems they came in from under the porch as they ate most of the bait from the box put under that area. I admit I was a little excited because that means they probably died under there so I won't smell disintegrating carcasses. WHOOO HOOO!


Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Little "Tree"

I bought this gold, wired tree, which most likely now be considered 'hipster',  quite a few years ago at Crate and Barrel. After some good natured teasing by some loving friends who asked where we would put our child's presents since he must learn the "deception of Santa", I figured it was a safe idea to put up our little tree. Last year I had done it but it was a constant ornament chase festival and this year he seemed even more obsessed with the ornaments on our friends tree. In the end I figured if he breaks something, so what? Most of it is unbreakable and while there are one or two sentimental ornaments, it is not the end of the world if we lost them to excited little hands.

Behold our little beauty.


It was the best shot I could get and yes it sort of reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and I love that. Your eyes are not playing games, that is a batman ornament and a menorah up front next to a snow globe. We are multicultural in these digs okay?

Our son loves the snow globe as it plays music and lights up. He also has a snow globe ornament that is silent, but changes color and it is very pretty.

I cannot hook lights up because the outlet near by is pretty loose so no lights for this year. Once the contractor comes back to do the upstairs bathroom, I will probably ask him to fix that outlet and make it more secure and then look out next year!!

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Teacher From Tokyo - Children Full of Life Documentary

Mr. Kanamori, a teacher in Japan, believes school should make you happy. Yeah, get the box of tissues.


If you cannot view it via YouTube try this link.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Change in Eating

I have begun eating homemade oatmeal for breakfast once again. See, when I got pregnant the taste of oatmeal made me want to toss my cookies so I had ceased to eat it. I tried it after I had our son, but it still grossed me out.

Recently I had a really bad episode of a sugar crash. I had only eaten two chocolate chip scones and was out with my son who decided to pitch a fit in a store so I carried him out. I ended up tripping over a curb and we both crashed down. (My son hit his head on sidewalk. That was nice and terrifying for him and me. We took him to the doctor and all was well.) As I stood up to make sure he was okay since he hit his head, I became light headed, my heart started to race and I thought I would pass out. I somehow got us to our car and sat in the driver seat. holding him and called my husband telling him I could not drive. I shoved a chocolate croissant in my mouth, yeah not to smart but it was all I had, and met my hubby at dr's office because after a few minutes I was fine, more sugar, and wanted to get my son there ASAP.

This whole experience and a conversation with a friend who is a medical professional made me sit back and realize that I have not been treating my body as well as I should have. Sure I don't exercise as much as I used to and need to get that back on track, but eating wise? Holy carb/sugar overload!! My only really good meal had been at dinner and sorry, just having vegetables once a day is pretty bad. Especially when you consider I am a pescetarian!! On an aside, my favorite snack is a handful of walnuts and some cheese. I figured because I did that I was outweighing the crappy breakfast choice. Denial. A beautiful thing.

That same day I decided it was time to finally cut back as much sugar intake as possible. I have avoided eating any sweets, which is a miracle if you know me at all, and I am careful to either have rice or bread not both when say, we eat an Indian meal.

This is actually a good thing.

I have had high cholesterol for years and no matter how much I cut out cheese per doctor's orders, the numbers would not go down too significantly. There have been studies down to suggest that sugar causes an inflammatory response in some people. I am betting I am one of those folks. I am usually very bloated and that has begin to subside and my quick temper has also. I am curious to see what happens when I do go for a blood test again. If the numbers are high, that will confirm it is strictly genetic. That sucks because then I will need to go on meds which I keep trying to avoid. But if numbers go down, well then, sugar it was.

Now, back to my oatmeal. I add ground flax seed, cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey. I find I enjoy this very much now and am happy that I can have a more filling breakfast instead of eating two scones and maybe a piece of toast.

I am concerned about the holidays, though I was a small party the other night and avoided eating any displayed sweets and ended up devouring a bunch of bell pepper slices. (Who am I???)

Also, I am not one of those people who believes carbs are evil. Please, I am Italian. But moderation with food has never been my norm. A few years back I had consulted a nutritionist to help with my cholesterol problem and she hammered into my head that portions are a big deal. No, you don't need two helpings, just one. You can have a scone, but only one, etc. I have seriously strayed from that, but have come back in the last few days. Lifestyle changes are usually not easy, but this time around I feel like this is it. I had been wanting to cut down to the point of cutting out sugar and thanks to a sugar crash, I have. Our bodies talk to us, we just need to listen. How hippy dippy is that?! But it is true and we all know it. Now go forth and eat.

For tonight's dinner, I will be making: White Bean Chili from GirlMakesFood.


Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm So Glad We've Had This Time Together

Seems our furry friends have gone and met their maker. Not a one of them was caught in the snap traps which means they ate their fill of the bait boxes, which also means I have little mice carcasses in my walls. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I hope they decompose and don't smell, but I am sure one a warm spring day I may know just where they are. Now that is all kinds of awesome.
My husband already knows if I smell it, he will have to cut the drywall and remove it. I can only hope they perished outside, but what are the chances?
The exterminator comes back on the 17th for a follow up so I guess I can bombard him with any questions I have then.

I thought I would share a few articles I have read and found interesting, infuriating or just outright enjoyed.

Ireland's "New Poor" Need Food Banks to Eat - Wouldn't be nice if people made enough money so food banks became obsolete? Sadly, this is not the case.

Being an 'Elephant Mom' in the Time of the Tiger Mother - I agree with some of the author's points. I like letting our little guy just be a kid, but I still think they need to learn "no" before age 5. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you though,

The World's Most Stunning Sea Caves

The Not Naturally Organized Parent's Guide to the Holidays - This article does not just apply to parents. It is for anyone who gets immensely stressed over the holidays. Perhaps it is time to break with "tradition" and do something you and your family will enjoy and remember as opposed to doing it just because. Some people may be shocked to learn that kids don't find presents the best thing about Christmas.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Charity and Frugality

We are on the tail ends of our colds here, my son faring better than us, but I would still love to lie down and nap for about three hours. Also, the exterminator will be here in a bit and I honestly cannot wait to get this process going. I am so sick of mice poop at this point and I am sorry, but they must find elsewhere to live.

I have been reading a lot of interesting articles and blog posts in regards to charitable giving and reeling in the holiday spending. Do I think you can be frugal and still give? Absolutely. I just think you need to be wise as to where and how you give. Mindfulness is key, even in being charitable.

There is a great article in December's Money Magazine that discusses how one should decide to give to charities. It is also in Time Magazine, see the link below.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Charitable Giving Buck

It is interesting how money is more helpful than dropping off a bag of clothes in some cases, but it makes sense. The charity itself knows where it's biggest needs lie. Some have wish lists on Amazon which you can go to and order from and have it shipped directly to the charity. This is something I think I would like to take part in more often, especially for women's shelters and animal shelters.

On a different end of the charity spectrum, Frugal Queen is doing a reverse advent project which I is a great idea. Have books you no longer read? Donate to the library or to a shelter's thrift shop. Made a cake? Bring it to a sick friend or to the office to share. I look at it as little acts of kindness that go a long way during this hectic season. I like spending time with people I care about at this time of year. I like spending time with them whenever I can really, but the holidays add a nice touch of festiveness and if I can bake or cook for them that is nice as well.

Hope all is fabulous in your corner of the world.

Cheers!
MissFifi


Monday, December 1, 2014

Achoo!

Once again, my son has caught a cold. He had a fever on Saturday. Now he is just a snotty, coughing mess. Add to this that I have begun having sneezing fits and we all know this means I will soon be joining him in veritable snot land. Tissues for everyone!
The cough he has troubles me because there is not much one can do for it. No OTC meds for any child under the age of 6 if I am correct so that sucks. I tried to give him honey and he acted as if I offered him arsenic on a stick. Mommy will try the honey again later. My favorite thing he does is use his sleeves or beloved bear as a tissue. He even likes to run over and hug me, burying his face in my just washed hair. Parenting is not for germaphobes.

Now good news. Wednesday, at 1pm, John from PermaKill will be here to begin the process of mice elimination.

Hallelujah.

After cleaning my silverware drawer early this morning due to mouse droppings in there, well, these little buggers can kiss my grits. All our forks, knives and spoons are now in mason jars in the cabinet. I would like to thank John Landis Mason for creating the mason jar as we know it and bow in reverence. The poor man died penniless. That is very sad.

For dinner last night I made a Tyler Florence recipe - Shrimp and Egg Fried Rice with Napa Cabbage. It was absolutely delicious. For the rice I cooked it in the rice cooker with turmeric and cumin which gave it a very nice flavor. I did not have shallots so I used leeks and instead of peanuts used cashews. I also did not have peanut oil so I used coconut oil instead. My house smelled lovely and you will have leftovers for lunch which is always a plus.

Cheers!
MissFifi






Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mice 3- Humans 0 and Some Food

Well, the little bubonic plague carriers have taken the bait off all eight traps for three consecutive nights.

It is war.

A few friends have suggested glue traps. My mom used them once when I was a kid. It was horrific and I cannot do that ever again. Though I am tempted, the idea of something screeching as it breaks its own legs grosses me out.

Our son picked up another cold and of course the first thought I had was, "He got a hantavirus from the rodents!" Last night I had gone into his room and he was having problems breathing because he was so stuffy. I cursed those fur balls and kept hoping I would hear the traps snap and that this nightmare would be over, but no. Somehow they have alluded their deaths and I am beside myself.

All of our food is in jars or containers. My husband has steel wooled every hole he could find and yet, they are still coming into our pantry. This is baffling and impressive. What it comes down to at this point is that I just want someone to come in, rip open my walls and remove the offending nest and residents.

What a friggin' health hazard. I get that we live in the country and mice are the norm in some cases, but this is beyond foul.

Oh, we are also seriously considering getting a cat. That's right. Let nature do what it was meant to do, but our luck we would end up with a cat that ignores the mice. God has a sense of humor.

I don't want to end on a crabby note, so here are some recipes I have not tried but look tasty.

Delicata squash, Brussels Sprouts, & Hazelnut Salad with Cider Vinaigrette from Dishing Up The Dirt

Pear and Fig Mincemeat from Frugal Feeding

Apple Cider Caramel Corn from Annie's Eats

Harvest Vegetable Soup from Nourishing Meals

Cheers!
MissFifi





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snow, Mice and Bergdorf's

We woke up this morning to find mice droppings on our counters, in our son's playroom, on our stove and on a counter that separates the kitchen from the dining room. Gross. What really pissed me off is that I had left a cookie tray out to bake today and lo and behold, they had the audacity to shit all over my Silpat. No one shits on my $25 silicone baking sheet and gets away with it! I have run boiling hot water and soap over it about five times. Hooray for that.  Thanks to a neighbor, we now have four traps that will be set up tonight in the kitchen. And everything, I mean everything is in jars or containers now. Dig the pantry.


I actually like how organized it looks. 
As for any other food that was out, I moved most of the squash into the refrigerator and the apples to a bowl to be placed in the hutch. Frustrating, but for now, the best way to handle this. The less access to food they have, the less I need to kill and they can just move along. At least, they better find another place to make a nest. I really would like to avoid spending cash on a exterminator. Though is anyone has a barn cat I can let loose, please let me know. :)

Today is our first big snow storm here. We are due anywhere from 6-8 inches, down from 8-12, and it does look pretty out. Here is that tree I had posted just about two weeks back with all it's pretty leaves. Now she is covered in light snow.



This may or may not mess with our Thanksgiving plans tomorrow. We are due to head up to Rockland County in New York State which will take about an hour and a half. The roads should be clear, but one never knows since snow is not due to stop until very late and it started even later than predicted, so we may end up home instead of heading out. Sucks because we would love to see our friends, but no reason to risk life and limb to do so.

I watched "Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's" yesterday and I absolutely loved it! I have shopped there before so I understood the allure of the name and the beauty of the store. Honestly, I was always treated very well so do not feel you need to be a big ol' millionaire to go in and walk around and browse or even purchase anything.
What I really enjoyed was seeing the process of how the Christmas windows are designed. Spectacular craftsmanship goes into the ideas and I was very impressed by the artists they collaborated with. The history of the building itself as well as how the store started was interesting too.


I know a lot of folks are on a screw consumerism kick, especially at Christmas which I agree with and respect, but this type of shopping shown is a different level altogether.  Quite frankly, I refuse to ignore that there are some beautiful products out in the world. So what if I can't buy them? I can still window shop and be happy with all I have. And FYI I want that chair you see Vera Wang sitting in. Stunning. Just stunning.

Well, that is all I have for now my dears. Stay warm, have a wonderful day and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers!
MissFifi




Saturday, November 22, 2014

M-O-U-S-E

We have mice.

This is not acceptable.

I have found droppings in my pantry and they ate through a Mylar bag of my oats.

Little bastards.

I get it. We live in the country. It is cold. They need food. But I have a small child. And a dog. And me and my hubby.

Piss off little fur balls.

It absolutely grosses me out that I have vermin in my walls. This never happened when we had cats and now we are seriously considering getting another one. We did want to wait awhile, but this may change things. For now my husband has filled any possible cracks in the pantry with steel wool and covered it with duct tape. This of course is after a removed said droppings they correct way, dabbing at them with a wet paper towel to prevent little clouds of Bubonic Plague germs from shooting into the air, and sprayed with Lysol. I don't know why I think that will even do anything, but it made me feel better. We have also found droppings underneath the kitchen sink so we need to figure out how to block that area too since the prior owners cut a hole for the pipes the size of Africa.

Dumb asses.

I know you are thinking, "Call and exterminator", but I have read conflicting things on that. Why am I going to pay someone to tell me to set traps and plug up holes? We can do that and if all else fails, then I might, MIGHT, let you someone in my home with some toxic spray. I worry more about having dead mice carcasses in my wall because that will attract a different kind of pest. So we are hoping if we make said food source unavailable, they will retreat to a much more attractive home.

Next stop is Tractor Supply where we will be purchasing a 12 pack or two of mason jars to put any and all dry goods into safe keeping. Most of our food is in jars already, but I do have dried beans and pasta and sugar and they are just waiting for the mice to discover them.

So that is the excitement here. Mice have been discovered and cats are being considered. Mother Nature always has the upper hand don't she?

Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mish Mash of Stuff

I have residual snot going on, sexy way to open a paragraph eh?, but the cold has pretty much left the building with out any other collateral damage. Hooray!

I just spent and aggravating fifteen minutes on the Huggies Diaper site. (Dear Huggies IT Dept, your coding sucks.) Why was I on the site you ask? Because when we had gotten brand name diapers as gifts, we logged on to their sites and entered special codes so we could try and win prizes. The catch is you have to buy a lot of boxes of diapers to get points so mine have been languishing at Huggies. I did better with Pampers and got a nice gift certificate to Shutterfly to buy a poster.
Anyway, Huggies was holding my paltry 235 points. So I did what any decent person who does not have enough to get a freebie for themselves would do. I donated the points, via Huggies, who then give diapers to the Naitonal Diaper Bank Network. I am saddened and horrified that there are families out there unable to buy diapers. First off, name brands are ridiculously pricey and may I say that the Target brand rocks, as does their formula, and both are usually almost half the price less than Enfamil, Pampers or Huggies. Second, I realize there are people who are not fortunate enough to have access to multiple shopping options so I needed to get off my high horse and help. And this is really why I gave the points away.  Sure I could get really nuts and insist they do the cloth diaper route. We did that, but that is also not necessarily cheap to start with AND not every daycare will take cloth diapers. Dilemmas come in all shapes and sized and in places you would least expect.

Staying on the donation tip, 'tis the season, we had a clothing drive at my son's preschool with Big Brother Big Sister. The school will get twenty cents for each pound of clothing. While this is a great help to all of us needing to get rid of clothes and shoes and whatnot, and great for the charity to have things to give away and sell, it is interesting to me that fund raising can be done, while using a charity who also fund raisers. The times, they are complex.

I was in the library today doing some knitting and picked up Town and Country Magazine to read. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this little gem of colorful prints and prose, check it out. It is and always has been a magazine for the 1% and I do not lie. Ads for jewelry lines like Van Cleef & Aprels, Verdura and more obscure brands dot the pages. There is coverage of all the High Society folks and where they are eating or vacationing. Hell, you can even learn "How to Dress Like An Italian Aristocrat".  This pleasurable leisure reading. Indulge my dears.

I am seriously considering purchasing some Day of the Dead artwork in Mink's Paperie's Etsy shop.

I can see my husband purchasing this Manipulative Math Set for our son, but him enjoying it more. LOL

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen's Walnut and Kidney Bean Spread looks tasty and versatile.

Have a great day!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Damn Germs

I am home, in bed with a cold.

I have had enough of this.

Our son's pediatrician had told me that my hubby and I would get sick a lot this year due to our son being in preschool two days a week.

Little petri dishes these kids are.

Oh well. I am not pleasant to be around at all right now. I am moody thanks to uncontrollable hormones and I feel like I have been laid out by a truck. Of course I have yelled at my family because I have no sense and it is inexcusable. My poor son probably considers me a harpy and he and his father would be right.

Forgive me.

When I feel like this, well, it is when I miss my mom the most. I would love to have her here to fuss and soothe me and let me be a big, sick baby.

Perhaps I should whip up some of this cough and cold syrup from Keeper of the Home for the winter.

And if you are feeling blah like me, get some amusement from this insane post on Houzz. Seriously, a kettle for $123.50? What a steal! ;-)

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2 Recipes You Must Try

We received a serious amount of cranberries from our CSA last week and apparently we are getting more this final week. I had no desire to make cranberry sauce so I did a search, found a cranberry bread recipe and made it this evening. The only change I made was adding a glaze over the loaf and oh my, this rocks.

Cranberry Bread Recipe from Crunchy Creamy Sweet.


Last night I made a Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash using Tofurky Sun Dried Tomato sausage. Yes, it was damn good. Very filling. I also left out the tomatoes because my hubby is not a big fan and I was using my cast iron pan and you are not to cook tomatoes in cast iron. They were not really missed. I added a few sundried tomatoes to the baking part which was a nice addition of flavor.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash from Eating Well.

Enjoy!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Outing

My brother lives up in Orange County, NY which is about an hour and fifteen minutes from where we are. It was a nice crisp fall day and he suggested we head over to Long Pong Ironworks and walk one of the trails.
We had driven past the site every time we had visited so it was pretty nice to go and actually check it out.
The ruins were precarious and some were just the foundations. The water wheels though were impressive with their immense size.

We did not hit the actual museum but if you are ever in the area of West Milford on the NJ/NY border, I recommend the walk for its beauty,  tranquility and amazing photo opportunities. You can get more information here at The Friends of Long Pond Ironwork site.
Here are just a few pictures from our little outing. Note the gorgeous reddish pink burning bushes. Unfortunately they are considered an invasive species which is a shame because they really add such a jolt of color to the landscape.





Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, November 7, 2014

Welcome to the End of the Week

My hasn't it been a busy one? You do your normal and then have a bunch of extras thrown in. It is nice to be busy and it is also nice to have a moment to sit and breathe.

Last night I finished reading a friend's book and gave my two cents. She is in the process of editing and cleaning it up before sending over to an agent and asked if I would look it over. I am happy that I actually enjoyed the story and that she was willing to let me comment. I must say, I cannot wait for the day where I send my novel to an agent, but patience, patience right?

I have been roasting or pan frying most of our vegetables and have also begun drying fennel fronds. Seems a shame to throw them into the composter if I can use them.

I rearranged and cleaned out my spice cabinet area and the pantry where most of our dry goods are. Amazing how balsamic vinegar bottles leave dark rings everywhere.

Last year I sold same knitted neck warmers at a craft show in Ohio. Basically, a friend is from there, she goes home for Turkey Day and her and her mom and sis-in-law open their home and sell their wares. I made $60 last year which made me chipper. I got a text the other day to see if I was interested in doing it again and I said yes, so I have begun knitting like a maniac. FYI - My right wrist is on fire and hates me.

The leaves are almost all off the trees. Sad really. Felt like summer was so short. Got a nice shot of one of our favorite tress on the side of the house earlier this week. It just started dropping its leaves in abundance yesterday, but look how stunning it was a few days ago.


Can't believe it is November already! Ah well, we say that every year. Like it crept up on us, but man it feels like it really has this time around. Enjoy all the food!


Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kids That Rock

One day in my YouTube feed I kept getting some videos of music students. I finally decided to take a listen and may I say I was impressed. Apparently this guy, one Aaron O'Keefe, and about 26 other teachers instruct kids in various musical techniques from ages 6-18  in Cincinnati, Ohio.  These kids and teens are incredibly talented, especially the singer, featured in the video below, Kala Scarpinski. I would be very surprised if this young lady does not get far in the music industry. I know it is a tough, eat you raw business, but some people you see and just know. Check out these youngsters performing Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine.





Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Another Yummy Dinner and Halloween

The other night I made The Simple Veganista's Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf. It was hardy and damn well delicious.
I used ancho chili powder instead of the optional chipotle because it was what I had on hand. I also chose to use all purpose flour instead of oat flour. I was too lazy to ground down any oats. haha. I greased the pan with coconut oil because it seemed like a nice addition of a good old healthy fat.
The glaze is spectacularly good. I can imagine it on fish, a hamburger, anything really.  I also pan roasted a side of brussels sprouts to go with it. I used frozen brussels. I had them out on the counter for about 15-20 minutes, then I rinsed them in cold water and cooked them in ghee and maple pepper with garlic blend. Oh my!

Our son truly enjoyed going out for Halloween this year. A friend gave us her son's old costumes and so, our child was Superman!!

*Superman and his heavy bag of treats. Do you dig the fake musculature? LOL

He said "Trick or Treat" and "Happy Halloween" and was excited to receive a bounty of chocolate. I also used some of his stash to feed the rounds of kids coming through our area. A few days before I was thinking how I wanted an alternative to just giving candy and came across The Teal Pumpkin Project on Apartment Therapy. The actual teal colored pumpkin lets kids with allergies know there are alternative treats for them at that particular house. I am happy to say a house around the corner form me had the pumpkin prominently displayed on their porch. I did not have a teal pumpkin, but thanks to that post I added glow sticks and stickers to our treats and they were a HUGE hit, especially the glow sticks. (Thank you to Michael's for selling a pack of 12 glow sticks for a buck. I bought 4 and only had 6 left, but that is because I do not put everything out all at once.) I will definitely be doing the same thing again next year.

Hope you all have a happy weekend.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I Am Reading and Watching

I am trying my best to read more books. Why? Because I have always loved to read and with technology making all sorts of info easy to obtain via the internet and me having a very active almost three year old, well, holding a real book is somewhat a welcome reprieve.

The graphic novel Watchmen may not appeal to everyone, but writer Alan Moore has an incredible gift for storytelling. This particular story is brutal, ugly, real and intense. The colorist and inker brought his characters and words to life in the perfect way as well. Very impressive.

Smoke and Mirrors;  A short story collection by Neil Gaiman. This is from 1998 and I ordered this from the library with good reason. Recently Mr. Gaiman's latest children's book, The Sleeper and The Spindle, created all sorts of hullababloo because of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White having a kiss. When I saw him speak he apologized to the gay community because the one photo from the story had been taken out of context. This is NOT an LGBT representation of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and he felt like people were being misled. Anyway, reading about that book on some website, someone mentioned a story called, "Snow, Glass, Apples" and how it disturbed them to this day. I looked it up, saw it was in Smoke and Mirrors and got the book. The story is a retelling of Snow White from the viewpoint of the Queen. I have to agree, if you read it, it could mess up the whole Disney way of telling the Grimm story for a lifetime. I still cannot get over the last few pages. There is a website called "The Dreaming" that has the story online. You cannot link to it because the story was used for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which Neil is a big part of so I respect and understand. I would suggest that you either look the story up yourself or go to the library. This is not a faint of heart story in the least. You have been warned.

Later on today I am going to pick up another book I ordered from the library. It is a memoir called I'll Drink To That: A Life In Style, With A Twist. It was written by Betty Halbreich, the 86 year old personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman's for the last 40 years. I am really looking forward to reading this!!

Someone suggested I watch the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun". I hemmed and hawed and finally watched it because Netflix will be removing it on November 1.
Now, I blame my hormones here, but I teared up and got emotional more than once. Views of Florence? Sob. Views of Positano? Sob, sob. I have been to Italy so I am not complaining about things I may have missed, but I do miss the country to the point where there are times I think about it in a Utopian sense which is dangerous. No place is perfect, but for vacation, Italy is it in my mind.


Diane Lane's character is a writer who goes to Italy, at the behest of friends, after her marriage falls apart. That is all I am telling you, but I will say, I operate under a very heavy delusion that if I had a villa, like in the movie, to go focus on writing my novel, then I would be done and all would be right with the world.
Drama comes easy to me. I was born under the sign of Cancer and I am an unpublished writer. You pity those around me, eh? Hee hee hee.

So that is it for me my friends, hope you all have some good reading or movie watching to do yourself and I will let you know what is next in my queue and when I get there.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Delicious Modified Recipe

Tonight I made pasta and napa cabbage with soy chorizo for dinner and sadly, there is just a bit of cabbage and leeks and chorizo left that we will add to eggs and rice for breakfast tomorrow.

It was that damn tasty.

I found this outstanding recipe on Pham Fatale and it is called: Trenne Pasta with Napa Cabbage and Chorizo. She makes her own soy chorizo, God Bless.


Here is what I did differently in the recipe.  I used rigatoni, left out the potato, nutmeg, parsley, tomato sauce, tomato paste and instead of Tobasco I used Siracha.

This is a seriously hearty dish and I am sure if you are not little piglets like me and mine, you will have leftovers to enjoy. Or at least have a bit left for breakfast like we are ;-)

Cheers!
MissFifi


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MAPLE AND CINNAMON ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH

We received two delicata squash in our CSA box last Thursday and so the internet recipe search began.
I found this terrific recipe from For The Love of Cooking. It accompanied salmon and homemade biscuits. I pan fried the salmon with this incredibly tasty Maple Pepper with garlic seasoning my husband picked up for me in New Hampshire. I admit I am a touch addicted to this seasoning and will find any excuse to use it on something.
As for the squash recipe I am a big fan and will definitely make it this way again.

MAPLE AND CINNAMON ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH



Cheers!
MissFifi

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Dream Come True

On Thursday, October 16. I drove to the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison and got to hear Neil Gaiman speak.

YES, THE NEIL GAIMAN.

If you know me at all you know I have a thing for this man and his work. Not in the seduction Oooh la la kind of way. More in the, please mentor me because you are so fucking fantastic kind of way.

Let me share my blurry photos.

He is giving us his shaggy haired profile. This was right after he walked into the room and I gasped like an ecstatic schoolgirl.





Wesley Stace interviewed him for FDU's annual WAMFEST.  The artist Michael Arthur drew the entire time the interview went on, capturing details from the conversation in this incredible piece of artwork.

It is a complete fluke that I found out about this event. The night before I randomly went on Neil Gaiman's blog and clicked on "Where's Neil?" And there it was. He was going to be in Madison,  New Jersey. What are the chances?!?! This caused me to almost stroke out. My husband then insisted that I try to get a reservation. Shockingly, I was able to do so and my main squeeze arranged to come home from work early so I could go and see Neil speak. I am forever grateful to my hubby for indulging me in that way.
Surreal does not cover how the first few minutes felt. Then it was perfect. Neil was funny, interesting and just someone I wish I could have hugged and thanked him for writing wonderful stories. I did record his answer to the last question of the day which was what sort of advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career as a fantasy writer. I can't post the video because I do not have the rights, but his immediate answer was to read everything. Don't just read fantasy, read anything you can get your hands on because that variety will help you. I will see if I can transcribe some of that answer for you.

There was no meet and greet, bummer because I brought one of his graphic novels, 1602 to be signed, but there is always next time. And there will most certainly be a next time. Hooray!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bette Davis

She truly rocks.



Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Has Come and a Special Visitor

Leaves are everywhere. The temperatures are cooler. My garden is giving its last hurrah while the trees prepare to slumber. I have to say I am impressed with the marigolds hanging tough considering their seeds come from Spain and I would figure this recent chill would have killed them by now.



In honor of fall I am making a roasted cauliflower soup with cumin for dinner tonight.

And we have a little guest that has been hanging around since Friday.



I adore the Praying Mantis, don't you? We first spotted it when my son almost ran it over with his toy car.

 The next day it appeared among the Baptisia leaves.

Today it was on the rocks by the lavender. I hope it is going to lay eggs somewhere. Little Mantises for everyone! Or at least for me :) Japanese beetles be gone!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Being Okay With What You Have

You know you are depriving yourself right? Your house is too small, you drive the wrong car, your clothes are from two seasons ago, your hair style is boring and let's face it, your vacation plans could do with some upgrading. You deserve it. You worked hard, you could die tomorrow, you need to live and spend money and enjoy yourself.
While we are all susceptible to a touch of "Keeping Up With The Joneses", it is high time we stop putting ourselves in cycles that can only beat us down. Sure I like a high end kitchen or a piece of jewelry from Van Cleef and Arpels like the next person, but I also understand I will most likely never spend $200,000 on a pair of earrings and I am okay with that. Believe it or not, I have met people in my time, that have been covetous of such things. I knew a young lady who lived in a very nice neighborhood and a very nice home with a pool and she was angry her parents did not try to live in a more tony area with better houses.

Seriously??????

The way we are told to constantly want is disgusting and brutal, especially to the younger generations growing up with technology that lets them order anything at a snap. Will these youngsters be able to actually do anything themselves God only knows, but I have hope.

I do read a lot of simple living/frugal/homesteading blogs because it is a topic that interests me. Concepts of money are seriously lacking in all groups and any bit of knowledge helps. One are I think women are most susceptible is the wardrobe.

I remember being a teenager and going to the mall, working there as well, and spending money on the latest fashions. I was careful not to spend too much, who doesn't love a bargain, but at the same time, I was also easily swayed by what the fashion magazines told me I needed to have and how I should look. Note to all women: when you look at a model remember, doing your makeup or hair that way or buying those particular jeans will NOT make you look like them in any way. If only my fifteen year old self had understood that better.

These days my clothing and show collection is far from what it was in my twenties. Sometimes I am sad but mostly I am fine. I do need better ways to accessorize, but that is on my and what I have. There are tons of fashion blogs out there, even minimalist ones, but some of them are all about the pricey trends or too hardcore or too black and white monochrome for me. Anyway, my rambling point here is this morning, I just discovered a wonderful blog that makes paring down your wardrobe a fun experience. The owner of the blog, Courtney, states, "Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months."
That is absolutely doable. Check her Getting Started page and roll with that.
Her message is simple. Clothes do not define you. They do not make you a better person or make you less than. Buying a $300 pair of jeans will not change your life except add more debt. You are worth more than that because the best things are not things.
I can get behind her ideas because people are made to feel like shit enough these days. Experiences are more important, living is more important, not going broke to do such a thing, even more important.
So if you have the time, like I will later, read through her entries, see what grabs you and maybe feel better about pairing down or letting go or learning how to without remorse. I like her idea of taking pictures of a sentimental piece of clothing you do not wear then giving it away. Sometimes a sweet memory is all we need.

Cheers!
MissFifi


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sick and A Cemetery

Our little guy had a fever and sniffles two weeks ago. He seemed better but then in the last 24 hours he got this cough and I began to feel ill. I did not send him to school today. Instead we went to the pediatrician who proceeded to tell me our son just has a cold and from now until May this is cold and flu season for all kids in daycare and preschool. Apparently the runny nose is normal for about two weeks and I was little early on the cough as they are not concerned with coughs in toddlers unless they run over a week or more. He also told me that the hubby and I will be getting sick more often now too since our son is in preschool. Aces. Petri dishes unite! LOL

I feel bad he missed class today but hey it is preschool and another day of just chilling, this means trains and iPad and reading, should help us both.


Last week as he was in school I decided to walk around town and visited an old cemetery. New Jersey has lots of history thanks to George Washington and his troops coming through as well as early settlers.

I love cemeteries. There is beauty and sadness there. The tombstones themselves amazing records of history and some of them are pretty amazing design wise. I felt fortunate to come across some very old graves. For those who live in Europe, these will seem relatively new considering.

I love mausoleums and this one had lovely stained glass.



I am only using my phone for photos and the sun was making it hard to get a good shot. This one was from 1762 and I love the angel carved at the top.

A marker for those who died of smallpox on the site. 


The following crypts were fascinating as one had what seemed like a long piece of Scripture carved into the stone and the other told of what killed the young man. 




 
Close up of cause of death.


To some this would seem incredibly creepy and morbid but not me. Cemeteries can be the best places to reflect and meditate as well as show respect to people who have probably not been visited in a century.

Well I am off to rest a little. At least the best I can with a two and a half year old.

Cheers!
MisFifi


Monday, September 29, 2014

Small Rant on Lawns

Domestic lawns bother me. Not the little patch of grass type lawn. No. I mean the huge swaths of green that is manicured and sprayed within an inch of its life. Sure it looks nice, but I do not care for them in any way, shape or form. I sound like I have a vendetta against grass, but that is not the case. Yes, I prefer flowers, ground covers and hardscaping and I prefer lawns to just be and not have them mimic a football field.

My ire of lawns has come about due to the care they require. Most people near me use lawn services like Tru Green and that is where my rant starts.

Last week I was sitting in my son's playroom with the windows wide open when a foul chemical smell hit me. I raced to close the windows and headed out onto my porch to see the little TruGreen truck down the street.

Shit.

All this talk about pesticides and the damage it does to people and animals, hello, bee colony collapses, somehow has evaded being cared about among the "I need a perfect lawn" community.

I do not understand the desire to have a perfect lawn that will never be used. No one lays out there, no one picnics, no one runs through their lawn, except little kids. I must be mindful as to where my kid decides to run because the companies put signs up that say do not allow kids or pets on/near these just sprayed lawns for 72 hours. Aces. Is the perfect lawn all about curb appeal? Probably and if that is your thing, who am I to say anything, but there are other ways to make your property look nice and not need serious poisons.
I am not completely insane, if you have an estate, large house or McMansion, lawns are part of the deal, but there have to be better things to use to maintain that lushness one so desires.

As for my own lawn, it would most likely be considered a crappy lawn. Filled with violets, clover and random grasses, it is not a lush green nor is it weed free and that is fine by me. Bees feed off my clover, but when that pesticide is taken into the air and brought five houses down to my abode, well shit, you are messing with my small piece of pesticide free land man. I want to yell out the comical "Get Off My Lawn!" at the pesticides not people. :)

I seriously feel like The Lorax about this.




Of course I doubt anyone will give a rat's butt what I think, but can't we embrace a little clover in our lawns and a little less pesticides?


Cheers!
MissFifi




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Binge? What Binge?

While a lot has been going on here, the usual housewife-y, I am a repressed novel writer, get kid to preschool stuff. I have somehow found a way to watch episodes of a show called "Supernatural". I am incredibly late to this party, but how have I not seen this before?!?!? Can I say I love it even though I am still in season 1? Yes, yes I can.


Demons, Urban legends, mystery, all sorts of awesome!! These two brothers, Sam and Dean, are "Hunters" of all things supernatural. Their mother was murdered when they were young by some unknown being and since I am a Wikipedia cheater, I know exactly by how and what as well as everything that is happening up to Season 9. I can do that and still be excited to watch it all unfold.
Normally I am hooked into some BBC brilliance, currently The Aristocrats miniseries is on my plate and very good as well, but "Supernatural" is a nice change of pace content wise.

Now here is the best part. I am going to share why I started watching "Supernatural". Pinterest. Yes Pinterest. Somehow I ended up on a page where there were nothing but pictures of the two actors who play the leads, Sam and Dean. Of course there were various comments under certain pictures and memes made in regards to certain things about the show. It piques my interest and I decided I would give it a shot. Netflix had also recommended it to me and at this point I figure,d "Why not?"  So there it is. The power of Pinterest ladies and gentlemen, it can get you. ;-)

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Didn't have the cheese, was still delicious.

Oven Roasted Broccoli by Alton Brown


Cheers!
MissFifi


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Planning

September has come and brought us a heatwave. Now she is giving us fall temperatures. No wonder all of our plants are so darn confused! Trees have begun to drop some leaves and it makes me sort of sad.

This is the last of my garden. I will miss it when it has completely given itself back to the earth.


Below are some "just blooming now" marigolds. The seeds are from the Alhambra in Spain and were a gift. I adore the colors and hope they come back next year from whatever deadheads go into the ground.

We have decided that we shall be adding a second garden and with a mix of flowers vegetables. This means I have already made a wishlist on Victory Seeds and am promising myself that I will plan the layout of the garden better. The current garden will stay as a full on flower garden and my fingers are crossed that all those perennials will self seeds like mad. Of course I am going to add compost this weekend to help nurture that ground and in the spring, buy a $5.00 bag of ewe poo from the local creamery.

I enjoy the fall, but I will miss my summer blooms. It was my first year attempting anything from seed and I have to say it was easier than I thought it would be, even with the few fails.

In other exciting news, our little one started preschool back at the co-op this week. Just 2 days for 2 hours. They are transitioning them right now so it is not the regular full 2 hours until next Thursday. The teacher is nice and the kids are sweet, there are just 8 of them which is wonderful and two of them he had been in the Mommy and me program so that is a big plus. He seems to enjoy it, except I noticed a few hours ago that he is coughing a lot and has the sniffles. Ahh the joy of immersion into the giant petri dish known as school. Kids are walking virus and bacterial machines.  Let no one tell you different. God love the little booger heads.

Cheers!
MissFifi


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Black Bean Burgers

Hands down these were the best black bean burgers I have ever had and ever made.
Let me tell you what my modifications to the recipe were.

I used two cans of beans so it is just under 3 cups and it made no difference.
I made smaller patties and got way more than 8. Yea for leftovers!!
On a recommendation from someone, I used cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper in stead of liquid smoke and lemon pepper. I think you can have a lot of fun swapping out flavors so by all means, go wild.
I also added some cumin to the onions while cooking. What a wonderful, warm smell in the kitchen.
We ate these on regular whole what sandwich bread with ketchup.
I made roasted corn on the cob to go with them and it was perfect.

Now go and fetch thee The Prudent Homemaker's recipe for Black Bean Burgers. I highly recommend you make them for a meal soon. Best part is it is not an expensive meal to make and it is nice and healthy.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Few More House Projects Done

Isn't it lovely when you can check off the list of ever growing things one must take care of around the casa?

My hubby decided he was up for another project while on vacation so he made a version of these DIY Nautical looking shelves for our pink bathroom. Now, while I loathe that bathroom it will be quite sometime before we can afford to fix it up so I bought a new hideously bright and colorful shower curtain, thank you IKEA, and he made the pretty poplar shelf. Honestly, it makes the sad, poorly built room look much nicer. He was going to paint it, but I like the natural look.


I want to add a decorative something on the top shelf, just not sure what yet.

Next we have a very loooooooooooooooong living room. Original owners knocked down a wall and framing for an old, tiny bedroom and hence, you could probably park two cars in here. This also makes it a layout nightmare. One wall over the couch has three giant Charlie Harper posters. Then there is a beam and a blank wall. We have not been able to figure out what to put there. Recently my husband decided a desk would be a good idea. While we wanted to get one in a particular style, we had one already so we brought it down from the guest room and placed it against the wall. Still, what to do about the blank space? I suggested a mirror, but hubby was not feeling that. Then he saw a set up at IKEA where you have this wire connected to a curtain rod and hang artwork. Done. We had extra curtain rods since we have been converting most of the window treatments to roman shades. He put it up and I scrounged around for art we have that I have been wanting to hang. Love it! I still think a mirror above this, all dramatic and gothicky, will work, so we shall see in time.

 *Artists from l to r: PinkyToast, A German Poster for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, and Lori Earley

I wish I could afford an original Lori Earley, but that is not happening at this moment.

These next two are at the top of our stairs. The top oil painting was done by our fabulous friend, Nancy. She based it on the character of Mrs Trotter, played by Gemma Jones, in The Duchess of Duke Street. The bottom one I did a few years back and I stuffed the dress with fill to keep the body and those are pages from the novel "Cousin Bette". Can you guess that I am a frustrated artist on many levels? C'est la vie!



And that is just some of the stuff we have gotten done kiddos. Also, I recently relocated some plants and they seem to be doing well. Hooray for this gardener!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Monday, September 1, 2014

One Hit Wonder - Stabilizers

For some of us, music defines certain moments in our lives. You hear the first few notes and it all comes flooding back. Where you were, what you were doing and who you were with. In the case of the one hit wonder, the inevitable, "What the hell happened to them?" follows as you crank up the song and bounce around like a lunatic. At least I do.

We have a Sonos Play 1 wireless speaker and I love this thing to no end. I use the app on my phone to go to Radio where an obscene amount of music and talk radio stations await to be chosen. I have been having a lot of fun and flashbacks with the Got Radio Retro 80's station. Which also has a website here if you want to check it out. They have played so many great songs that I had forgotten about that I would crank it up so loud I believe my neighbors must think I am insane. Eh, who cares? LOL

The 80's had a lot of talented and creative bands. Also, genres were a lot more defined where it is not so much now. Crossover music, see Run DMC and Aerosmith, was not as common and almost shocking in some cases. There was also a HUGE amount of one hit wonders. The Outfield, The Vapors, Soft Cell, Tom Tom Club and so many more. The station I mentioned plays all of these. Heaven!!

The other day I had the station on and a song started and I nearly tripped over my own feet to race over and turn up the volume. A band that had one hit and one album and was gone. Wherever these guys are now, I have no idea, but dudes, thank you for making a song that should have been used in so many movies from back in the day and capturing the 80's better than most. Friends, I give you the Erie, PA band Stabilizers and their one and only smash, "One Simple Thing".  Welcome back 1986.

** Piece of cool trivia, David Fincher, THE DAVID FINCHER, was the director of this video. Rock on!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, August 29, 2014

Freezing tomatoes

We visited friends of ours this week who happen to have a garden that is producing tomatoes at an insane rate. So, I gave them mint from my garden, peaches from our CSA, we don't eat them really, and they gave me two squash and a serious glut of tomatoes.

I am giddy.

I have been noshing on them and adding them to anything I can. But it is a serious amount that we have because our CSA just gave us some as well. What is a non-canning person to do?

I froze them. Whole.

Rock on.

I did a lot of research online and of course came across the many ways you can freeze a sauce or blanched tomatoes, but I am feeling waaaaaaaaaay too lazy and am not into having to deal with too many steps. What I wanted was to have tomatoes that I could throw into chili or stews for the winter. These tomatoes will not do well for any recipe calling for fresh tomatoes so keep that in mind. Freezing about 6 or 8 large tomatoes was the goal here and a helluva a lot more simple than I thought. I really thought I had to puree them or chop them up or roast and throw in jars. But no, all I needed was to wash and toss into a freezer bag. Check out the instructions here on simplycanning.com.

I did puree some very overripe tomatoes for pizza tonight and some pasta dishes I can make on the weekend. Win win for me!

So if you are not a canner, take heart, freeze away and enjoy your chili this winter with summer tomatoes.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Riverside Church and Peace Fountain

We went to NYC this weekend to have lunch with a friend and to take in the beautiful day.

We always park up by Columbia University and right across from the school is the stunning Riverside Church. My hubby and I were married at there in Christ Chapel. One of the reasons we chose this location was that my hubby was at school then so he was able to handle most of the arrangements and they did not care what our faith or if we were regular parishioners. Another bonus was that they were very accommodating and we even had our reception in The Ninth Floor Lounge. The food was fantastic and the views equally so.


Anyway, it is quite the church, but over on Amsterdam avenue and 112th Street is the ginormous The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. It makes Riverside look like a shoe box to be honest. One of the reasons we headed over there is I have had a slight obsession with one of their statues called the Peace Fountain. I had seen it once before when driving by, but I have never had the opportunity to see it up close and personal. This weekend I had that chance.

Trippy and strange do not cover it at all.




That would be the Archangel Michael hugging two giraffes while the head of the devil hangs off the crab body which is said to be sitting on some sort of representation of the DNA double helix.

Rock on.

The blog NYC Loves NYC has better close up shots as my pictures were taken with a phone. Check them out here.

If you ever visit good 'ol NYC, check out these wonderful displays of architecture and sculpture which are on the Upper West Side. Then grab a bite at one of the following joints.

Cafe Con Leche - A hole in the wall that we really like.

Sarabeth's on Amsterdam is beautiful, delicious and a little high in price. The charm of this locale is that it looks like a French Country farmhouse inside. I have also eaten at the Central Park South location and the decor there is very modern, but the food is still good.

Rosa Mexicano - Lincoln Center location A chain, but a nice one. The guacamole made table side was outrageous!

Or let NYC Serious Eats suggest a place.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Grown-Up Closet

We had a small closet, our friend enlarged it and all it had was a shelf and a rod. We were fine with this. We added cube storage with baskets and it worked for awhile. Then we did our room, had the storage crawl space discovered and moved the cubbies in there. We have been at a loss as to what to do with the closet. We bought dressers at IKEA to put on either side of our bed but they ended up being too large and awkward looking. Then we put one the closet and one to use in the guest room. A very temporary solution.

We decided to check out The Container Store. Nice stuff and good ideas but very pricey. We inquired what one of their systems would cost for our little closet and it would have been $500, but with delivery and installation, that brought the total to $800. Uh, no. In the end, my hubby did Lowe's and bought a Rubbermaid system for about $200.

Here it is:


Some painting needs to be done, but right now, we are very happy with the result. My stuff is on the right, his is on the left. Please note my husband is a proud clothing whore, God Bless. The upper shelves do not have much but will come in handy when sweater season kicks in that is for sure. Oh and a little brag here, the knit hand bag you see on the door, there are two but one is hidden, I made them and they are fabulous.

So there is our grown up closet in our grown up bedroom.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oven Roasted Green Beans

Made these tonight. Recipe via Emeril. Big fan.

Oven Roasted Green Beans

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Generosity Of Others

Neighbors down the street offered us a kiddie pool. Since the one we have is really meant for a one year old and we had already been discussing picking up a bigger one at the end of the season sales, we jumped at the offer. About a week later we swung by, checked it out and happily took it home. They took no money for it so I see me dropping off homemade baked goods very soon.
Anyway, yesterday, I finally got around to cleaning it up and our son was beyond giddy.

This is the only full shot I have the pool.

He spent a total of 5 hours in the pool with lunch and nap and snack in between. It was stunning out and he had an absolute blast.

The cool back story behind the pool was another neighbor had this for her three sons, the oldest is now in college, and she passed it onto our other neighbors whose two children are now in middle school. That same family also has an above ground pool so they no longer needed this one.

Other neighbors had gone to a huge antique sale and picked up a vintage radio flyer car for our son. They too shall be getting homemade baked goods.



These thoughtful pass alongs and gifts are incredibly sweet and helpful. We now don't need to buy a pool and all the water used goes into the garden when done. The car just adds to more outdoor fun and he really loves the horn.

Ain't it grand when people are so freakin' nice just because?


Cheers!
MissFifi


Monday, August 11, 2014

Remake

I am not someone who is a big fan of remakes. The Women? 1939 did it so much better. Stepford Wives? Don't shame me. And may God smack around the fool that attempts to remake Gone With The Wind.
Now the 1954 Sabrina? I liked it, but I did not love it. As for the 1995 remake, I adored it. I am sure there is someone somewhere clutching their pearls right about now so I apologize and please let go. I do not recall what it was, perhaps it was the settings or the costumes or the way the story went. And while I like Humphrey Bogart as an actor, I preferred Harrison Ford's version of Linus Larrabee.
Classic movies and I are usually much better friends, but this time, the remake won out for moi.
Plus,  the 1995 version introduced me to the superb French beauty Fanny Ardant. I want to smolder like she does.


Are there remakes you loved and/or hated or preferred over the revered original?

Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Things to Make For Yourself or Someone You Love

It has seriously been one of those days so this post is all about being creative and eating. Don't act surprised cause you know they go together. Seriously. Hammers, chocolate, figs, wine, chalk paint. Ahem. Enjoy.

DIY Blue Mason Jars from A Beach Cottage blog.

4 Men 1 Lady has a really nice tutorial for a Jewelry Peg Board.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. A dozen right here please.

Want a tiled tray? Just A Girl blog has easy directions on how to make such a beauty.

Frugal Feeding has a lovely watermelon, mint and feta salad recipe. It looks so refreshing.

Need ornaments? Beneath My Heart has new way to use upholstery tacks with these DIY ornaments.

10 Minute Dinners has a homemade peach salsa recipe in case you are being inundated with peaches and want to do something else besides just can them. ;-)

A DIY Undermount Spice Rack. May need to send this to the hubby...

I grow a lot of lemon balm so The Nerdy Farmwife's lemon balm bug spray may be on the list of endless things I want to make with my herbs.

May you all have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Drying Rack

On occasion I like to send my husband links to a furniture/woodworking project I believe he may enjoy undertaking and that I will enjoy using. This was the case of the DIY Drying Rack on the Centsational Girl Blog. I liked it, passed it on and I now have my own. Hooray!

I actually wanted him to wait until we did a laundry room, but I am glad he didn't as we have already used it. There is something really nice about having things that someone has made for you. Especially when that item costs a ridiculous amount of money in the stores. 

He eventually wants to paint it, but I think it is fine for now since it is hanging in our unfinished never to be finished basement. We will most likely go with white, but one never knows does one? 






The washer and dryer are closer to where I am standing taking the picture. Our basement is a typical concrete, blah space, but that is fine. If I had to make a choice and had loads of cash, I would rather add a small addition onto the house than redo basement. We still get some water down there even though we have taken all sorts of preventative measures. Ahhh, home ownership. It can suck you dry. That is why it pays to be able to do some things yourself. 

Now to find a few other things that he may want to try to build. Tralala!

Cheers!
MissFifi