Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Apparently I've reached my photo storage limit here on Blogger. So off to Wordpress we go: Click here to visit Another Roadside Attraction.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe! These are a staple at our house, and are the thing we most often grab for an on-the-go snack.
Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 325.

3 1/2 cups oats
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup ground flax seed*
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup + a couple of glugs honey

Combine oats, rice krispies, flour, baking soda, salt, flax, and brown sugar.
Melt butter and add vanilla to it.
Add butter/vanilla to oat mixture and stir to coat.
Add chocolate chips.
Add 2/3 cup honey and stir well. You will probably have some dry, powdery parts that won't combine with the other ingredients. If you do, add more honey, a glug at a time, until it's all sticking together pretty well. You don't want to make a liquidy mess - more of a pasty one.

Butter a 9 x 13 pan and press the mixture into it very firmly. I use the back of a spatula.

Bake at 325 for 19 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into bars. We've found that cutting them in thirds the long way and then into the desired width makes for a good sized bar. We wrap ours individually to make it easier to grab and go.

If you have trouble with the bars crumbling, add a bit more honey next time.

(*You can leave out the flax if you want. If you do, you may not end up having to add extra honey.)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

With so many big projects to do, the details sometimes have to wait a while.

That just makes it even more exciting when they finally get done.

Lights! On all three entrances!

Such luxury! I can't wait til it gets dark tonight so I can bask in their glow.

These fixtures took me way too long to find. I saw plenty I liked, but they cost much more than I wanted to spend. I finally ended up at Arcadian Lighting. Their prices were by far the lowest I found, and so far the quality of the fixtures seems very good. And I think our house looks pretty happy with itself, don't you?

(Note to self: Trim that giant bush next to the stairs.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I posted the other day what's to the left when you walk in our house.

(photo by Dagny)

Here's what's to the right.

The door on the left is a coat closet. The door on the right leads to our craft room. Rather than leave the walls bare, I decided to create a little nook to play in.

On one side, there's a geoboard wall, two geoboards wide and seven tall. Some of the boards have a square pattern of pegs and some a circular.

It was inspired by the geoboard wall at a local children's museum, where Rowan and I spent hours and hours stretching elastics while Dagny explored.

On the other side is a giant magnetic chalkboard.

I had to apply layer after layer of the magnetic paint to get even the lightest of magnets to stick, but the board has been in use for years, so I'd say it was worth it.

The cans, which are quart-sized paint cans covered in patterned paper, contain chalk, elastics, and magnets.

Oh, and the answer to my question? (This time, anyway...)

Only took him about 2 minutes to notice it. He's a keeper.

Friday, April 27, 2012

When we took the canoe out the other day I finally got to see what's around this bend, which I've walked and driven by hundreds (thousands?) of times.

No sign of Bigfoot, but maybe once he gets used to seeing us he'll make his approach.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I've been eating this bread, which my sister-in-law introduced to the family, since I was 8 or 9. In my professional opinion, there's only one way to do it: toasted, with butter.

My mom always made one loaf with caraway seeds and one without. My version of the recipe makes no mention of caraway seeds. Because yuck. But if you're a caraway lover, by all means, sprinkle some in there. Just warn other people before letting them take a bite. Because yuck.

Eileen's Irish Bread

Preheat oven to 375.

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg - beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins 

Mix together by hand. 
Pour into buttered bread pan.
Bake at 375 for 50 mins-1 hour, til toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All of my houseplants are potted in soil from my yard. Not recommended procedure, I know, but it seems to work just fine.

A couple of months ago I noticed one of the plants in my bedroom window had a little green friend growing next to it. Being of the pacifist persuasion, I let it be.

Recently I moved the leaves aside to give the plants a drink and I noticed a distinctive smell. A sniff of the fingers confirmed it - definitely a tomato plant.

The earth wants to feed us. We just have to step back and let it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My sister Anna made blackberry jam.

Now the question is, will she give me the recipe or go for the extra sister points and hand me a jar every time I see her?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I spent a few hours gluing on Saturday

and Jon spent a few hours grouting today.

Our takeaway? The human body does not enjoy kneeling on slate for hours at a time, knee-pads or no knee-pads.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Santa delivered a big red canoe last December.

(photo by Dagny)

While it was lots of fun in the living room, it was even better out on the river today.

(photo by Jon)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Every once in a while, it's ok to buy something you know you'll probably think is weird in a few years.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

With the kitchen finished, our attention turned to the flooring waiting to be done in various parts of the house. Three hallways got their share of hardwood, and next up was solving the laundry room/half-bath problem. We've had a hard time deciding what the best flooring option is for this little room. It's directly off the kitchen. It sees a lot of traffic, including that of the dirty four-legged kind since there's a doggie door to the outside world in this room.

The solution ended up being so obvious, I can't really explain why it took me twelve years to think of it. Why not try to match the kitchen floor? That floor takes a beating. Scratch it, and a few days later the scratch has disappeared. Cover it in mud, slush, and ground-in chalk (yes, that happened), and it all disappears with a quick steam mop. And if it loses its sparkle, a coat of sealer makes it shine like new.

Only trouble was, how to match a 40+ year old floor? Twenty years ago, I may not have been able to. These days, Google made it simple. I searched for red slate floor tile, thinking that was the most unusual aspect of our floor. Google brought me to this site, and there was a picture of our floor. Our job was too small for them, but they referred us to Taran Brothers Slate in Vermont. I emailed back and forth with a member of the Taran family, we sent off a check, and 40 square feet of flooring plus one threshold cut to fit were delivered to our door.

One thing I've learned during our renovations is to buy things based not on what they look like today, but what they'll look like when they've been lived with a good long time. I'm confident this new floor will look a heck of a lot better in 40 years than I will.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I never heard of hummus until I started going to Jon's family's functions. It doesn't make a very good first impression, does it? Sitting there all gloppy and brown? For a long time I swerved right around it on my way to the kugel. Over the years I've become a more adventurous eater, though, and have found that hummus, well made, is delicious. Good with little triangles of pita bread, as Jon's family serves it, or on chips. Even better spread on your favorite sandwich. (Well, maybe not if your favorite sandwich is a fluffenutter.)

So live a little. Try the gloppy brown stuff. If I can do it, you can too. You can forget about the gefilte fish, though. That's just not going to happen.


2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
6 oz water
1/2 cup tahini
4 cloves garlic, peeled *
6 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin **
1/2 teaspoon salt
few dashes pepper

Toss in a blender til smooth.

*Dagny usually makes this. I asked her how much garlic she uses. Her response? "I don't know lady! A lot! A lot is always better. I usually end up doubling garlic in anything I make." To which I reply, "Of course you do! Always double the garlic is a Rue-l."

**Dagny suggests adding more cumin - to taste - after blending.

As I've mentioned, we like leftovers. This recipe makes quite a bit of hummus. Feel free to cut it in half. Or don't. Dagny thinks the flavor improves after it sits in the fridge for a while. So why not make a bunch?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When I was a little girl I loved to visit my Grampa's house. There were snow globes in the dining room and no one worried I might break them when I tipped them over and over to see the snow fall. I was sure there was magic waiting for me in the yard somewhere, if I could manage to turn just the right corner at just the right time. And best of all was Grampa's candy. A little box balanced on a picture rail. Chewy red candy that stuck in my teeth, handed out one piece at a time.

Imagine my surprise when I realized those delicious candies were actually cough drops. Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops in Wild Cherry flavor, to be exact. And imagine my excitement when I found that they are now being sold again.

I haven't ordered any, though. I'm a little nervous that the memory might be sweeter than the drop.