Improvisation

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Don’t have a bag clip? Keep the bag of kettle corn closed with the bottle of gin. Duh.

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Vacation: Getting It Right

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’re spending five days in the Adirondacks in a camp “borrowed” from my cousin. Right now, it’s pouring out, but you know what? Who cares? This trip has been the perfect mix of doing and not doing. Of hiking and watching movies. Of eating out and cooking in. Of walking and resting. Of being connected (Internet, Pandora radio, blu-ray player) and disconnected (no cell service, no cable or satellite tv).

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Charlie’s face says it all. This time we got it right.

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Sooo…last Sunday Fred and I spydered our way to Cooperstown for the 3rd annual Hall of Fame Classic baseball game, which featured “vintage” players like Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Phil Niekro, and Bill Lee (aka The Spaceman). The day was gorgeously sunny and warm from start to finish. Everything ran like clockwork. The parade started at the stroke of noon, the home run derby at the stroke of one, and the actual game at two on the dot.

So while I was happy about the cooperative weather (a rarity, lately) and the chance for a short road trip, I was MOST excited about the giveaway at Doubleday Field. As each guest entered the stands, they were given a program and a free Hall of Fame themed Pencil Shield. Office products! Adrenaline rush! (Who needs baseball?!)

The Pencil Shield consists of a golf-size pencil capped by a plastic “extender” which also houses an eraser. When capped, the pencil can be carried in your pocket without fear of pencil pokeage, and the sharp point is protected. The plastic sheath ALSO serves to extend the short pencil (or any short pencil you have around the house) into a longer, easy to hold pencil. Soooo…less pencil waste! (Usually once a pencil is sharpened to a nub, it has to be tossed. Not so anymore.) There’s also a pocket clip AND a cool looking red and white striped eraser.

We each received a complimentary pencil and then I found one that had been abandoned on the bleachers. (Who would do such a thing?) Score!

Who won the game? Who knows? I was too busy admiring my new pencils. Yes, I have issues.

Want to know more? Check out the Pencil Shield website: http://www.pointlessproducts.com/

Spring HD

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Field Trips, Walks

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I’m not a gardener, but the world is. After spending so many months steeped in grey and ice and slop, I can’t get enough of the colors of spring. Today’s it’s raining, but who cares? When it stops, the greens will be greener and the pinks will be pinker.

Spring HD. Spring 3-D. Who needs technology?

Mabel’s Bowl

Posted: March 14, 2011 in Gifts
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I have a thing for bowls, and the one we call “Mabel’s bowl” is a favorite. Mabel Bohling (Bohl/Bowl…hee), an old, old (soon to be 98) friend of Fred’s grandmother gave us this as a wedding present 17 years ago. It’s sturdy rose-colored glass, and reminds me of so many of my grandmother’s bowls. In fact, when I look at the bowl, I instantly smell percolating coffee, oatmeal, and fresh, warm apple kuchen. When I look at this bowl, I’m in my grandmother’s kitchen, sitting at the round oak table, listening to her jaw at my grandfather while I drink grape juice out my Flintstones glass and reach for another slice of the warm cake.

Who knew that a bowl could do magic tricks?

Chocolate cake

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Treats

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From a mix. With canned frosting. But you know what? It’s still great.

What? This old thing?

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Cooking stuff, Necessities

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I’ve had this thing for YEARS. Bought it somewhere sometime, and have NEVER USED IT. I think all of the Japanese scared me. And the directions with all of the arrows pointing to all of the parts that appear to be designed to cleanly slice off bits of fingers. But today I needed to slice up a bunch of potatoes and onions for scalloped pork chops with potatoes and onions, and it just seemed dumb to do all of that manually, even if it did mean risking my fingertips.

Holy cow…how awesome was this?! After I worked through the possible blade options and selected a thickness by turning a knobby thing (technical cooking term), I had those potatoes and onions sliced in minutes. And by using the plastic guard thing, I came through with all fingers and toes.

The box boasts “Wonderful sharpness, speed and Completion,” and that’s no lie. The Completion was all I hoped it would be.

Oh, Japanese Benriner (??), where have you been all my life. Oh, yeah…in the cupboard collecting dust.

Stupid me.

Is there such a thing as the perfect pen? Probably not, but that won’t stop me from trying to find it. In Target, I’m in the pen aisle. In Staples, I’m in the pen aisle. In Rite-Aid, I’m in the pen aisle. But true pen heaven exists online at www.jetpens.com. Hoo boy…fountain pens, gel pens, pen pens, highlighters, erasers, notebooks, refills, reviews, pictures. I swoon. I order. And while I’m at it, I might as well order $25 worth to get the free and FAST shipping. They play me like a fiddle.

These beauties arrived in today’s shipment…the Pilot FriXion Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pens. (Knock? What?) I tried the 1st generation FriXion pens years ago and they were ghastly. The ink was a washed out gray instead of crisp black. All of the colors looked diluted. Not my thing. At all.

But THESE…wow…what an improvement. The colors are vibrant. The ink is smoooooth. AND it’s erasable. As I understand it, the heat generated by the friction (or friXion!) of using the pen’s “eraser,” causes the ink to disappear. Put it in the freezer and it will reappear…or so I hear. So, yeah, not good for checks or legal documents or journals you leave in a hot car, but for everything else? Super sweet.

Maybe even approaching perfection.

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Cocomotion

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Necessities, Treats

I’ll start with the bad news…you can’t get one anymore. Well, maybe on ebay, but not from Mr. Coffee.

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I love hot chocolate, but let’s face it, there are issues:
1) Instant- frequently watery and sludgey. Not a fan.
2) Real stuff via prep in a saucepan- decent, but it has to be watched, and again, prone to sludginess.
3) Purchased (Panera, B&N, etc.)- good but pricey.

Enter COCOMOTION! I picked this up for ten bucks at Wal-Mart last January (clearance), and should’ve bought all they had. What a deal.

Cocomotion blends (completely!) and heats (perfectly!) your hot chocolate mix into milk so that all you have to do is drink and enjoy. So simple. So good.

Mr. Coffee, why oh why would you stop making this? Dopes.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Field Trips, Necessities

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For the past two summers, we’ve borrowed my cousin’s camp in the Adirondacks, and spent a handful of blissful August days hiking, walking, reading, and lounging. There is no agenda. There is no cell service. There is no cable. In these few days, the knots in my scrunched up shoulders slowly unkink, and my mind and body reset. I look forward to these days all year.

Along with borrowing Todd’s camp, we’ve also borrowed a little of his Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. (Is it still borrowing when you don’t give it back?) We bring our own mini bottles of hotel shampoo, but never use those, so drawn are we to that bottle with the blue label and all that writing. This stuff is, I warn you, oddly watery, but you only need a tiny bit to lather up its pepperminty goodness. Hair and body feel all zingy with mint when you’re done.

The label claims that this minty concoction can be used for 18 things, including teeth brushing. Castile soap? On my toothbrush? Yeah, no.

As you can see, this label has a lot to say, but since I never wear my glasses in the shower, it’s all kind of a blur. What I DO know is that it’s a Fair Trade product, it lasts FOREVER, and it’s peppermintylicious.

On our way home from camp this year, we bought our own bottle. And it’s still going strong.