Thursday, May 27, 2010


Morning folks! How are you today? I am good… it’s my anniversary! No not my wedding anniversary, but the 1 year anniversary of me being smoke free! Yep, this day last year I stopping smoking after about 17 years! I am quite proud of myself. I am also very tired. I couldn’t quite get in to a sewing groove, so I spent yesterday doing a lot out in the garden and I am afraid to say that I got a bit too much sun. My shoulders are very red and tender-burnt and my body hurts in places I forgot I had! BUT hopefully all my blood, sweat, and tears will pay off! It was rescue day cause as you know, I have lost most of everything I had going.

I went to the store and got some compost, peat, and such to “doctor” my dirt for the plants I still have left. I also used up some remaining balances on some gift cards I had to replace the plants that have died off… like all my tomatoes, etc. I started in the front yard with my rose plants… I went after I picked up my kids to get some small bedding plants to enhance the bed’s appearance. I think it turned out soooo cute!

Then when I went to get the bedding plants, my DD found this miniature rose bush and she wanted me to have it. It is so pretty and bright orange. It had a bunch of buds on it and then when I woke up this morning, the buds were bloomed open. Aren’t they so pretty?

So ok, it’s the hottest part of the day… no way I am gonna be outside risking heat stroke or exhaustion for plants. I mean I love my plants BUT my health is more important. So I decided to craft inside. Now I wasn’t feeling the sewing groove, so I decided to do other crafts. I started with this drinking glass. Now I pick up things here and there that I think I could use in other/future projects. One thing I found at the Dollar Tree was this blue glass goblet/wine glass. I thought “Maybe… so I started crafting an idea I had for a centerpiece, but I wasn’t digging it. SO I decorated it a little and the DD wants this to be her “special glass” to drink from LOL!

This led to the designing of this centerpiece, which Madison fell in love with. It doubles as a balloon weight as well.

These are the 2 centerpieces we are going with. There will be 8 of the glasses and 4 of the picture notes.

So I prepped the 8 glasses, but I still need the white gem stones for the inside of the cup. Aren’t they so cute?

This is the start of her invites. I cut the treble clef off of some music note scrapbooking paper. Then I glued it onto a piece of blue cardstock. There will be either pretty stickers or writing on the front that says “You’re Invited” or “Sweet 16”, or something similar. Then on the back the info for the party will be typed and then cut out with pretty scrapbooking edged scissors and glued down. DD says she likes it… maybe I will like it better when its put together? Cause I’m not feeling it right now.

I also did some decoupaging… I did 12 tiles that will be part of my coffee table top. I covered 4 cd’s for music theme cake toppers.

So I placed my tiles together on top of my table. This is what its gonna look like when I get the grout and such. I think its pretty spiffy really. Don’t think I am actually gonna do the hippie living room, cause this table is just too awesome not to make!

Once it got a little cooler outside, I went out to the garden area and was trying to help save my little crispy critters. I pulled my husky cherries, some dead sticks, etc. I put the tomatoes in a pot to, at minimum, save the last of the tiny tomatoes all over the dead sticks. I pulled up some of the things I HOPE to save and I disposed of those I can’t. Then I mixed up some additives into my dirt that was in the planters. Hopefully this will all do the trick, along with some serious TLC every evening and/or morning. I was outside until about 9pm… when the mosquitoes started thinking I tasted good, despite being covered in dirt, sweat, and other so-grossness! Keep your fingers crossed!

So are you in the mood to craft? Well I thought of you guys when I saw this. It’s a Solar Cooker! This is not only a craft, but a frugal energy saver, and I thought it was pretty cool. Visit the actual website to see the pictures to help explain some of the steps.

Craft Idea of the Day: Solar Cookers

How to Make a Solar Cooker
- Basic Solar Cooking
Here we offer an introduction to cooking with solar energy including an easy plan to make your own solar cooker from cardboard boxes. There are many variations of solar cooker plans on the net, along with solar cooking recipes, hints and tips for making the most of your solar cooker and solar cooking communities where you can share information and benefit from the global experience of others who are also cooking with solar energy.

With this in mind, we've compiled some great solar cooking resources for the beginner so that you can quickly access everything that you need to know - from soup to nuts solar cooker recipes, to safe and efficient operation of your homemade solar cooker.

Minimum Solar Box Cooker - (shown above, left)
This simple cardboard box solar oven can be built in a few hours for very little money, thus the title. However, don't be fooled - despite the simple design, this full-power cooker works very well and is in no way "minimum" as far as cooking power.

Minimum Solar Cooker

Two cardboard boxes, with the inner box being at least 15 inch x 15 inch (38 cm x 38 cm), but bigger is better. The outer box should be larger all around, but it doesn't matter how much bigger, as long as there is a half inch (1.5cm) or more of an airspace between the two boxes. The distance between the two boxes does not have to be equal all the way around. Also, remember that it's easy to adjust the size of a cardboard box by cutting and gluing it.

One cardboard sheet for the lid. This must be about 2 to 3 inch (4 to 8 cm) larger all the way around than the top of the finished cooker (the outer box).

One roll of aluminum foil.

One can of "non-toxic when dry" flat-black spray paint.

At least 1 cup of white glue

One Reynolds Oven Bag. Common in major grocery stores in the U.S. or Canada or by mail-order from Solar Cookers International or Amazon. They are rated for 400 °F (204 °C) so they are perfect for solar cooking. They are not UV-resistant; thus they will become more brittle and opaque over time and may need to be replaced periodically. A sheet of glass can also be used, but this is more expensive and fragile, and doesn't offer that much better cooking except on windy days.

Building the Solar Cooker Base


Fold the top flaps closed on the outer box and set the inner box on top and trace a line around it onto the top of the outer box. Remove the inner box and cut along this line to form a hole in the top of the outer box (Figure 1).

Decide how deep you want your oven to be. Ideally, it should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deeper than your largest pot and about 1" shorter than the outer box so that there will be a space between the bottoms of the two boxes once the cooker is assembled.

Using a knife, slit the corners of the inner box down to that height. Fold each side down forming extended flaps (Figure 2)
Folding is smoother if you first draw a firm line from the end of one cut to the other where the folds go.

Glue aluminum foil to the inside of both boxes and also to the inside of the remaining top flaps of the outer box. Don't bother being neat on the outer box, since it will never be seen, nor will it experience any wear. The inner box will be visible even after assembly, so if it matters to you, you might want to take more time here. Glue the top flaps closed on the outer box. Place some wads of crumpled newspaper into the outer box so that when you set the inner box down inside the hole in the outer box, the flaps on the inner box just touch the top of the outer box (Figure 3).

Glue these flaps onto the top of the outer box. Trim the excess flap length to be even with the perimeter of the outer box.

Finally, to make the drip pan, cut a piece of cardboard, the same size as the bottom of the interior of the oven and apply foil to one side. Paint this foiled side black and allow it to dry. Put this in the oven so that it rests on the bottom of the inner box (black side up), and place your pots on it when cooking. The base is now finished.

Building the Solar Cooker Lid

Take the large sheet of cardboard and lay it on top of the base. Trace its outline and then cut and fold down the edges to form a lip of about 3" (7.5cm). Fold the corner flaps around and glue to the side lid flaps. (Figure 4). Orient the corrugations so that they go from left to right as you face the oven so that later the prop may be inserted into the corrugations (Figure 6). One trick you can use to make the lid fit well is to lay the pencil or pen against the side of the box when marking (Figure 5). Don't glue this lid to the box; you'll need to remove it to move pots in and out of the oven.

To make the reflector flap, draw a line on the lid, forming a rectangle the same size as the oven opening. Cut around three sides and fold the resulting flap up forming the reflector (Figure 6). Foil this flap on the inside.

To make a prop bend a 12" (30cm) piece of hanger wire as indicated in Figure 6. This can then be inserted into the corrugations as shown.

Next, turn the lid upside-down and glue the oven bag (or other glazing material) in place. We have had great success using the turkey sized Oven Bag (19" x 23 1/2", 47.5cm x 58.5cm) applied as is, i.e., without opening it up. This makes a double layer of plastic. The two layers tend to separate from each other to form an airspace as the oven cooks.

When using this method, it is important to also glue the bag closed on its open end. This stops water vapor from entering the bag and condensing. Alternately you can cut any size oven bag open to form a flat sheet large enough to cover the oven opening.

And now… Its that time… time to eat! Today on the day of SUPER SALAD week, I am using pasta! There are tons of different salads that have pasta in them. Some people are not so crazy about pasta, and some can’t live without… I think I am the latter LOL!

Macaroni Salad


1 (16 ounce) package macaroni
4 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle
2 carrots, grated
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons celery seed


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain, and rinse. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan, and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and cool. Peel, and chop.

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dry mustard, and sweet pickle juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, celery, onion, olives, sweet pickles, carrots, green pepper, celery seeds, and eggs. Stir in dressing, and mix well.

(MOM’s now Renee’s) Generational Pasta Salad


1 bag (12 ounces) Garden Pasta (I use Wacky Mac)
2-3 small to medium yellow crookneck (summer) squash
2-3 small to medium zucchini
1/2 bottle of Zesty Italian salad dressing
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, dice squash and zucchinis (skin on). Add to cooled pasta. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold (BETTER cold!).

Well peeps, I need to get out of here, so I am going to close for today. I hope you all have enjoyed the pictures, the crafts, and the food. I will see you again tomorrow! HUGS!


  1. Debbie "MOM"May 27, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Wow, I have been waiting since 7:00 am to comment. You're late today. LOL
    Hope you have better luck with the garden this time. Gardens are alot of work but they are well worth it. My gardens are pretty much at the hands of my DH since I cant get out there. But I soon will be then watch out mother nature.
    I'm one of those people who doesn't care for pasta that much; spaghetti and macaroni and cheese every once in a while is all the pasta I can stomach. LOL But my DH loves pasta so I make some dishes for him every once in a while.
    That solar cooker looks kind of interesting. That might be a weekend project that I could get into, when I'm able. Always love to find new things to do that involve going green or that are energy efficient.
    Hope everyone enjoys the beautiful day today. Remember, even if theres rain or shine, living life each day is fine. Til next time......

  2. First, congrads to you on your one year! You need like a little 1yr. ciggy coin like they do in AA HAHA! Actually, I think its a great thing and I commend you on it!

    OK I got to admit, when I first looked at those glasses I thought "what is so special? A ribbon? Then I enlarged the picture and yes, those are very cute! I think you are going to do a great job and your daughter will be so pleased. Good luck with the garden first aid... keeping my fingers crossed for you. I am a pasta maniac so those look great! And if I have learned anything about you through your blog, you won't be happy with the invitation until its complete then you will rave on it. Right "MOM"?

    And to "MOM"- I am so sorry the doctors down there are being rude and keep putting you off. I would say that is a sign not to do those things. Continue with the therapy and you will get better. Have your daughter help you at home too. She is sure to have learned some things from her injuries and such. 8 foot tall chimes? OMG I am imagining those ones on that lady's farm on that movie Twister! PLEASE say that's not what they look like!?

    Ok I'm off to maybe go to the movies and some shopping as I am super bored today.

  3. Vincent (from Vermont)May 27, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Just wanted to stop in and congratulate you on your anniversary. Its something to be very proud of.