Thursday, March 28, 2013

strawberry transformation

How does one transform a strawberry
you ask?
Better question:
Why would one want to?

When one's husband is following 
(or should be) a strict diet which
includes no pop/soda or alcohol...
well, a good wife
tries to make creative alternatives

all that to introduce
Homemade Strawberry Soda

I searched around
trying to find a recipe for what
I was imagining.
The closest I got was at
Food Wishes with Chef John.
With that as a general guide
I devised my own recipe
to create a soda
for those who need to watch their
sugar intake.
Basically, all of us.

Before we begin, might I recommend
preparation listenings:
Blackwing Butterfly
Across The Borderline: More Lies
BettySoo & Doug Cox

clean and hull
one pound of ripe strawberries
roughly chop and put
in a sauce pan.
Add 1 and a half cups 
filtered water...
and bring to a boil
over high heat.

Reduce to a simmer
for 15 minutes
to release all that strawberry

Put a strainer above another pot
and pour the strawberry mixture
into it to separate
the juice from the pulp.
Press down gently to get 
all the juices.

Compost those strawberries.

To the juice
add 2/3 cup agave nectar.
(or your preferred sweetener)
and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
and let cool.

Pour into a storage jar.
What you have now
is actually
Strawberry Concentrate.
This is much like a syrup that can be
drizzled on ice cream
added to lemonade
or iced tea...
a margarita for those...ahem...that enjoy that
kinda thing.

But for my purposes today
lest I forget...
Homemade Strawberry Soda.

So easy.
You're in the homestretch now...

Fill a glass with ice
fill that glass almost half-way
with the concentrate
and then top-it-off
with sparkling water.
Give it a stir.


And that's how a strawberry
can be transformed.

Now I'm thinking blueberries...
so many berries
so little time.

Make a drink for those you love...
one worth toasting with!

(Italian style for "to your health")

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

thinking transformation

This is a quick
little post told in
a visual

Follow with your 

Because I'm not the
only one
fluffing my nest.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ottoman transformation

I will never out-grow 
the desire for a 
new Easter dress.

My child's eye remembers
having a new dress
every year.
(now new may have been
new to me hand-me-downs
or freshly-cleaned
last year's summer wear...
there were 7 of us
after all!)

But I know there are pictures to
prove that mom
got us scrubbed clean
and sparkly
all at the same time...
Easter Sunday.

I haven't bought my boys 
a new shirt...yet!
I haven't picked out a new dress...

But my ottoman is all set for
the big day.

This was such fun...
and if you are anything like me
you'll truly enjoy 
this project.

I have always wanted
to make slipcovers
but for some reason it felt
so overwhelming
and I would quickly talk myself
right out of the idea.

Then my sister Mary
told me about a site
Miss Mustard Seed
"Move Mountains in Your Home"
I just love that.
She has a really great 
tutorial series dedicated to
making custom slipcovers.

Her relaxed attitude
toward sewing
had me saying
I can do this!
I gathered all my supplies
per her instructions
and got busy.

She recommended starting
with a simpler project I wanted to dive right into the
matching chair
but...I decided to take her advice
and get a feel for the
whole process.

I took to it like 
that fish to water
because Miss Mustard Seed spoke my language...
no exact measuring
no precise patterning
you use the piece as your guide
and you jump in
feet first!

Her tip for using painter's
drop cloths
is the BEST.
Love the color...
great weight...
plus you can tear the seams
in straight lines
rather than cut...
Oh, what loud, rip-roaring fun I had!

(that night)

All dressed-up
and ready for 

I gotta share this little story with you...
my hubby was watching this process
and said...with ambivalence...
It has a cottage look.
To which I replied,
Thank you!
He added,
But our house isn't a cottage house.
To which I said,

(the next morning)

Thanks for stopping by.
I gotta run.
I have some shopping to do.

Monday, March 25, 2013

lamp transformation

Brentwood Table Lamp Base
This Pottery Barn lamp
served as my inspiration.
and the sticker price...
over a hundred
not including shade!
with two old brass lamps
standing at the ready
I headed to the nearest Lowe's
for a can of
espresso spray paint.

Weather got balmy here
so with a cardboard box for
over spray
I sent James
(who was begging me)
out to do the honors.

Gave it a full twenty-four
before I started 
distressing at
key spots to give it a
"I was naturally born with it"

I need to back up here
to add that I found two shades
while perusing the aisles
that gave me 
the Pottery Barn look I was hoping for.

Natural burlap
adds texture and an earthiness
to its surroundings
not to mention
it's everywhere right now.

Not that I'm a trend follower
but it was nice to find
exactly what I was looking for
at Lowe's.

Here's a day shot
with a flash...
because normally there isn't a sheen
on the shade.

I got both lamps
painted and shaded
for the cost of
one Pottery Barn shade!

Not to mention 
the fun of a DIY 
(and with those you love)

Now I feel compelled to be completely
honest and say
I'm not sure I love the new look.
I think they turned out great
but they might be a bit
heavy for this room.

A living room that is slowly
going through a
as well.

If I don't use them here
they will be perfect in the
family room.

I'm definitely NOT missing the brass...
even if it is making
a comeback!

Stay tuned
for a full week of

Friday, March 22, 2013

~this moment~

a still life
capturing memories past
stopping the clock on now
planning future

Life in still.

Have a Wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

stout, biscuits & tips

A late St. Patrick's Day 
From the kitchen of
Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Post Punk Kitchen
(I've added her to my sidebar
since she's a regular mention)

Mushroom Stout Pie With
Potato Biscuits
Recommended Listening
while preparing:
Gillian Welch
One More Dollar

Recommended Viewing
While Eating:
The Quiet Man

Actually Watched:
Big Bang Theory

so I wouldn't be posting if it

Boys drawn to the kitchen
during gaming
to see what
smelled so darn good!

Joe asking for seconds
with a
"Thanks, Mom!"
Ahh...priceless I tell ya.

Quick confession after yesterday's post...
I kinda hinted at the fact
that gathering at the table is as frequent
as a Spring Equinox...
well, maybe not that rare...but...
our meals are most often
enjoyed while...
dare I say it...
watching television!'s true,
we're one of those families!
So I've decided to post movies
I think would pair delightfully
with your meal.
Believe and trust me here.
I have VAST experience in this area.
Basically what I'm saying is
don't question me...
just do it.

With that over with
I had to share this picture
I was so thrilled with the
picture perfect.
I never made anything like this before
so I was very impressed 
with myself.

Those potato biscuits were so
flaky and moist...
I have many plans to incorporate them
in my upcoming meals.

Now for the tip.
You know when you have
a recipe that calls for 
1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste?
You go to that little can
in the it...scoop out what you need
refrigerate what's left so you can
toss it in a month when it
has turned a shade of
Spring Green?

you've never done that!
Well, I have.
So I decided to be smart and freeze
the leftovers...frugal me.
Not so smart though
cuz...when I went to use it...well...duh...
it was frozen in a nice
hard brick I had to thaw.

Plan B:
A Genius Little Plan.

Measure the leftovers in
1 Tablespoon scoops
place on wax paper and an old Corelle plate
Flash Freeze
and then...

store in the freezer
in a small Ball Jar and you're all set
for that next pot o'
Stout Pie.

Accolades accepted.

I came upon this idea with my
own wee brain.
So if some of you have been doing this
for years...why didn't you tell me?!

And, yes...I have heard about the paste in tubes
but there aint no way I'm paying
3 bucks for what I can get for 59 cents.
Dems the facts o' life.

Music and Making.
Movies and Meals.
Musings and Masterminds!

Happy St. Patrick's Week!
Happy Spring!

Alleluia Chorus!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

coming together

It doesn't happen often
but, oh...
when it does.
Like a final fare-thee-well
to winter
(unplanned but special none the less)
we prepared the food...
 James grilling the pork chops
while I created
Creamy Cauliflower & Broccoli Casserole
which stood as the main 
for me.
Table set.
Candle lit.
Family called to gather
Saying a prayer
 as fast as we can
"digging in."


Breaking the bread.

Tripping upon the perfect pairing
as they dip their cutlets
in the creamy

Going for seconds.
One minute wanting winter
to end...
the next holding these
cloaked in darkness
so close to my
Knowing they too
will change with the 

Monday, March 18, 2013


You know how certain days 
have a feel
about them?

When I looked for images of 
I was surprised by the vast

This, however,
 spoke of my today.
Some look at Monday
as a return to
just another four-letter word
A return to schedule
after the freedom
of the weekend.
For others
it's just another day.
For me
Mondays are filled with
like little New Year's in and
of themselves.
Monday I will begin that
(not me mind you, but I've heard of this
new curriculum
 (my homeschool Monday)
exercise routine
cleaning project
craft project

No doubt
Monday means
a fresh new start
the promise of a new beginning.

Sounds great on the screen.
But like any good resolution
that loses its momentum
by February...
Monday loses its
strength by
possibly sooner
like today when I rolled from my bed
still groggy with sleep
to another gray type 
end-(already!)-of-winter day.
A bit of snow and ice covered the drive.
I was good with that
because snow brings light...
so does that big yellow thing in the sky
that hasn't shown its face
for far too long.
Which is why my house painting
project has flowed with
the sun phases.
Energy with.
Drained without.

All this to say.
I'm okay with it.
I am fighting this Monday tendency
that threatens to 
suck all joy from my life 
and I am attempting to replace it with
a more relaxed version.

No time like right now
to begin something.
(much like the "no time like the present")

Not to be confused with
the time honored
never put off tomorrow 

I'm talking about those changes
you know will help
and benefit you
your loved ones
the world!
The world.

Start today.
if it isn't gray and you really don't
want to do whatever it is anyway.

and there lies the rub.

I have found that I do that
which I want to do
much faster and with
excitement and an insurmountable amount
 (there's a tongue twister!)
of energy
than that which I really
don't want to do in the first place.

if you've made it this far in my 
don't message me with the dangers
of this theory.
I know...I know...
every job has its mundane side
and sometimes we must just
plow through it.

To which I will say to you...
with teenage attitude.
Because if you have made it this
far in my writing
you too must be experiencing
Monday Madness.
I'm not fooling myself here
I am completely cognizant of the fact that
this is not very compelling stuff I've got
going here...
so what's your excuse?
Get out there
and do as you say already!

Go on!
Get on with it.
As for me and my house
we will
wait for the 
(double-entendre not intended
but hey...
it works!)

Oh yeah...
and don't forget to...

Friday, March 15, 2013

~this moment~

They just don't get
any better.

Have A Moment Filled 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

hit or miss

I've discovered a strange anomaly
in my home recently
Mixed Reviews...
where soup is involved.
I could have it with every meal.
My boys...
not so much.
 So when I joyfully shouted,
Soup's on!
and got
Ugh...not again,
in reply.

My mind's ear heard...
Lotsa leftovers for me...

Smoky Tomato & Lentil Soup
With Spinach and Olives
wasn't my favorite either.
I love the kalamata but this was too...

Moving on with our evening
and a very special evening it was.
My baby girl
turned four
with mama's cupcakes and family
singing along to a fast paced
rendition of Happy Birthday
provided by a musical candle.
She was all smiles.

Grandma Jenny's Chocolate Yogurt Bundt Cake (PPK)
was a MISS with Kierstin
(well, come on...who can compete
with mama's cupcakes)
even with strawberries and
chocolate ganache.
with me and James however.

We'll call that one

An attempt at catching family
in the act of
serenading Kierstin...

Kierstin took over
with the new
thinking that a four-year-old 
can do better.

She schooled me.

Although the fuzzy factor does make me look
ten years younger so I will
call it

She turned the camera on her
 beautiful self 
for this HIT
Birthday Bliss.

Quickly followed by
Dang That Flash is Bright!

The camera was trying to
keep up with those fast little
when it captured
My Striped Pants and Purple Polish.
Oh come on...
 a HIT.

Let's tally it up
for the official count.

Drum roll...

The HITS have it.
I do believe
would agree.

Happy Birthday, Light of My Life!