Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleaning Ceiling Fans

Living Area with Ceiling Fan
Living Area with Ceiling Fan

Here in Texas it is WAY too hot in the summertime not to have ceiling fans in every room. I know the designers on Trading Spaces don't like them, but I'm not planning on doing without. :)

Now that the ceiling fans are finally still, I can't believe how dirty they are! It's really odd how dirty they can get while moving so fast. I spent a good part of the day today standing on chairs and cleaning them.

I like to vacuum the edges of the blades where the most dust accumulates with the brush tool on my vacuum cleaner first. This helps keep it from landing in the carpet or on the furniture. Then I spray cleaner on one blade at a time and wipe down with a soft cloth. It's also a good idea to wash the globes on the light fixture part too while you're at it.

I know I should be cleaning light fixtures and fans way more often than I do, but at least I'm getting to them finally. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Planting Pansies

Pansy by Tony Ruta

The girls and I planted pansies yesterday. Pansies usually do very well in the winter here and we often plant them in the fall so we can enjoy them until it gets too hot in the summer. They are winter hardy in zones 4 through 8 (we are in zone 7).

The girls aren't too fond of weeding and some other types of yard work, but they LOVE planting flowers and seeds. They are more willing to weed the flower beds if they planted the flowers. It's also a nice way for us to spend time together. We can enjoy being outside and being quiet if we want, or talking if we want.

Some of the neighbor children stopped by to see what we were doing and it turned into sort of an impromptu gardening lesson. They wanted to know why we were planting flowers in the fall, so I told them about pansies and how they can survive a freeze and even snow. We also turned up a few grubs while we were digging (ewww!) so we had a little talk about that too as I threw the grubs onto the sidewalk and encouraged the kids to stomp on them. I know, gross, but I would rather have them squished on the sidewalk where I can wash them off than eating my flower roots. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Sure Sign of Fall

It must be Fall because I've taken up knitting again. It's just too hot in the summer, but I love to knit when the weather gets cool. Isn't that the prettiest brown wool yarn?

I've decided that I'm a "process knitter". It's all about the process rather than the outcome for me. Knitting is soothing and enjoyable and hey, whadaya know? You get something useful out of it in the end! :) Maybe that's why I've never really had the desire to knit anything complicated with lots of counting. I felt sort of bad about that for a while, but I've decided that's OK to enjoy something without ever really mastering it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Breakfast for Supper

We had breakfast for supper tonight. It's fun to switch things around every now and then, plus breakfast foods are often cheaper than an ordinary supper. Breakfast casseroles are usually easily refrigerated until ready to bake, so I put this one together this afternoon and it was so easy to just pop in the oven after I picked up Bobby from football practice. Then all I had to do was open a can of fruit and make some toast to go with it.

This is the recipe I used (except I doubled it which means I had to cook it longer and I toasted the bread first). You can find lots more breakfast casserole recipes here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

House Hunting

Daylilies by Dan Campanelli

The ranch has gotten to be more than my parents want to tackle, so in about a month they are going to be moving closer to town. They still want to have a couple of acres for the horses, but no more "middle of nowhere, dirt road" living.

I went house hunting with Mom yesterday and we had such a good time! I would love to tag along with a realtor for a couple of days just so I could see all the houses. One in particular that we looked at yesterday I just fell in love with. Her style reminded me of Ruthann's. She wasn't there of course when we looked at the house, but I wanted to ask the realtor to give her my phone number and see if she would be my friend. :) Her house was just so warm and cute that she must be the same. I want to know the names of all her paint colors and where she bought everything and did she put up the bead board in the bathroom herself, and...

I'm inspired to take a fresh look at my house and see what I can do on my (extremely) limited budget.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Cobbler

My sweet mother (she of the gigantic watermelons) went apple picking and brought me some apples. One of my favorite things to make when I get fresh fruit like this is a cobbler. I figure that at least a cobbler has less calories than a pie since there is only one crust. I'm all about saving calories. :)

First you need to prepare the apples. Peel and slice the apples until you have 6 to 8 cups of fruit. Put the apple slices into a large bowl.

Pour 1 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice over the apples. Stir gently and let sit for a few minutes while you make the crust. If the fruit is really juicy, stir in 2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch.

Now make the crust. I use my old standby Crisco pie crust, doubled. It's just so good and flaky.

Here is the recipe for the single pie crust (remember to double it for the cobbler).
1 1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Crisco
4 Tbsp. cold water
Combine flour and salt and cut in Crisco until crumbly like coarse cornmeal. Add the water; toss with a fork and make a firm ball with your hands. Place on a floured surface; flatten dough with hand and roll to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Now pour your apples into a greased 9 x 13 pan and dot with 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine.

Place the crust on top and prick the crust with a fork or knife. Dot the top with a couple of tablespoons of butter and sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar all over.

Place in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.

It's fantastic served warm with ice cream.