Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wolf Moon Rising. First full moon of 2017.


January's full moon is known primarily as the "Wolf Moon," according to the Farmers' Almanac.  The Wolf Moon was sometimes referred to as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule. Some tribes called January’s full moon the Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to February’s full moon. 

What is a Wolf Moon? In January, amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Native American villages. Thus, the villagers began calling January’s full moon the Wolf Moon. 


i've never been able to capture good moon pictures, they always just look like a bright light in the sky. The other day, i saw the moon out during the day and it was so huge, and clear that i couldn't help but try to capture it with my camera.  i was so surprised when my picture came out so well. You can even see the craters on the surface of the moon. How amazing is that? i just used a point and shoot digital camera with the auto setting.


A few night later, when the moon was almost full it had this beautiful halo around it, so i went out again and tried to get a picture. Lunar halos usually signify that rain is coming.


The first full moon in January 2017, was on the 12th.  i tried to capture it just as it was coming up over the trees.  i thought this photo turned out neat.


i took many photos trying to get the moon into focus, but it wanted to focus on the trees in front of it instead. i thought this photo was just as amazing. i'm actually tempted to turn it into a painting.


Once it got above the trees i took a ton of photos. This was the closest to in focus as i could get. My son got a telescope for xmas, and had it outside looking at the moon. The moons was actually so bright that it hurt our eyes to look at it through the telescope. The night was surprisingly warm for January, and we really enjoyed being out in the moon light staring up at the night sky. The full moon is a time for releasing and letting go of negative energy.  Although the poem below is about a summer moon, i still really liked it and couldn't find one for a winter moon that i liked as much.


The moon is at her full, and riding high, 
Floods the calm fields with light. 
The airs that hover in the summer sky 
Are all asleep to-night.
- William C. Bryant

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year, New Resolutions. #noplastic

So i know i already mentioned that i've never been one for resolutions, but this year i really wanted to start off the New Year with some goals to work towards. De-cluttering and removing most of the plastic from my kitchen is is one of those goals.  When our house burned down in 2013, we were gifted/donated a ton of stuff, and now coming around to 4 years later we are still using a lot of it. Some items i kept because i needed them and hadn't gotten around to replacing them, but many were kept because of emotional attachment. Even the plastic measuring cup set i've been using evokes memories of the kindness of the neighbors that gave it to us. 

This year i am finally ready to let it go. 




Pro kitchen Chef contacted me about working with them to promote their stainless steel kitchen products, and i thought this would be a good opportunity to finally replace all that hand-me-down plastic with Stainless steel.  The appliances in my kitchen are all stainless, so it's not only functional, but it looks nice as well. 



ProChef Kitchen tools set me this Stainless steel kitchen utensil set to review. It features 6 different utensils and a rotating stand. Each of the utensils are made from one seamless pieces of stainless steel, they are all heat and dishwasher safe.The set also includes a slotted turner, a ladle, a pasta fork, a turner and a spoon. The handles are quite long, and they feel very strong and durable. i love that the stand rotates making it easy to grab the utensil you need.  


The large slotted spoon/skimmer is my favorite new tool. i'm not sure where this has been all my life! It will be perfect when i'm blanching and freezing garden produce.  


It also works great when i'm making cheese. i'm able to scoop out all the curds, while the majority of the whey stays in the pot. Then transfer it to a colander to drain.  i use to pour the curds and whey into a colander to drain it, but there is so much whey it would always make a huge mess. This is so much easier, and less messy.

With all of the utensils on a convenient stand, it also means less clutter in the drawers.  i'll be working this week on cleaning out all those plastic utensils cluttering up my kitchen drawer and passing them on to someone else. This is big step in my #noplastic resolution goal.

i'll be sharing more #noplastic posts as i replace items in my kitchen with non-plastic solutions. i already use a lot of glass, pottery, wood and stainless steel, but do have a fair share of plastic in my kitchen as well.  

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? What are your goals for the new year?



i received this set of stainless steel kitchen utensils in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

First Snow 2017



Winter has officially arrived.  First week of January, we saw our first big snow storm of the season. Around 8 inches fell overnight and we woke to world covered in snow.  


We had filled up the feeders the night before, anticipating the snow. The birds seemed quite grateful for the meal. They completely cleaned out the feeders in only a few hours, and my sweet husband bundled up to go out and refill them all. We've been visited by goldfinch, purple finch, juncos, titimice, nuthatch, chickadee, a pair of cardinals, bluejays and a redbellied woodpecker.  


The kids bundled up as soon as they saw the snow and headed outside to play in it. It was so cold, they couldn't stay out for long. They came in warmed up, made hot cocoa and headed back out.  It's not unusual for us to only have a snow for a day or two all winter, so we have to make the best of it when it comes.


So we all bundled up and went out sledding.


We threw a few snowballs along the way.


Then took a walk through the woods, enjoying the beauty and peace that this season brings.

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
 And we, we were children once again. ~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year's No plastic Resolutions and French Press Review. #noplastic


So hard to believe it is 2017. We rung the New year in at home, sitting around playing bored games with the kids.  i don't usually do a lot of New Year's resolutions, but this year i do have a few goals that i am working towards. One of them is to eliminate plastic in my kitchen and replace as much as i can with wood, glass, pottery and stainless steel products. 





My husband loves French press coffee. We've been using one i picked up at the goodwill a few years ago. It has a glass cup, but the lid and handle are plastic. So when i had the opportunity to try out a stainless steel french press, i was very excited to get the old one of my kitchen and pass it on to someone else. 
This Stainless Steel French Press by #BitElegant is a 4 cup french press. It holds 34 oz. It is made from stainless steel and borosilicate glass, so it is thermal shock resistant. It's easy to use and dishwasher safe. 

 

Using a french press is easy, just remove the lid and add your freshly ground coffee to the cup, then pour in boiling water. Stir slightly, replace lid and let seep around 4 minutes. Then slowly press down the plunger, which traps the grounds in the bottom of the press so you are not drinking grounds. When you use a french press the grounds steep instead of filter, so the coffee tastes richer. You taste all the flavors, which adds to the experience. 


The press cup has a pour spout for easy pouring. French presses can also be used for brewing loose leaf teas. i really like the look of this french press, and fits well with the rest of the stainless steel in my kitchen. It really makes a fantastic cup of coffee. We grind our own beans for it, and the finer the grind the richer the cup. 



This set is part of the Delux series and would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. It includes 3 extra micro filters and a spoon to scoop your coffee . The glass can be removed from the base for easy cleaning. My only suggestion is that i would love to see this set come with a metal spoon instead of plastic, since i'm trying to eliminate  plastic. 

Overall it's very nice set! Available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H4U5FA8/ Use the following code QUG5EUSY at check out to get 20% off as a new year promotion. The coupon is good until  31 January, 2017.

i received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. i was not compensated. 


Yule traditions, creating new memories and a bit of magic.

This year's celebrations were simple, but special. We had no family visiting, so it was just us.


This years celebrations were simple, but special. We had no family visiting, so it was just us.  We usually dig our Yule tree, but the one we had last year didn't survive and our past Yule trees were all too big to dig. i went out looking for a live potted tree and came home with this small Norfolk Island pine, that i named Stanley. i was afraid the kids would be a little disappointed, because it was so small but they loved it. My daughter introduces everyone that walks in the house to Stanley. :)  Norfolk Island Pines are native to the South Pacific and will not survive our cold winters, so Stanley is inside with us year round. i'm hoping i can keep him alive so we can spend next Yule with him as well.



In 2012, my girl received this doll house on the left from Santa (my mom found it at a garage sale), and less than a month later our house burned down and we lost everything including this dollhouse. Although Santa surprised my girl with a brand new wooden doll house the next year, she has never stopped talking about that old plastic doll house.


This was her santa letter that appeared in the paper Dec. 2013. They wrote them at school and they were published in the Floyd press. Although she received a new doll that year, she never really liked it.  Every year since, she has asked for the giant dollhouse with dog and the accessories. i had looked for another one at the goodwill/garage sales, but since it was an older model used doll house i was unable to find it.  

This year when it came time to making her list, she again asked for the giant dollhouse with dog and the accessories like she had before the fire. She is 10 years old, and i realized that in another year or two she'll be too old for dolls and dollhouses, so i started looking again and found the same style (different colors) on ebay. It didn't come with any furniture or accessories, but it was a start. i started checking the local thrift stores for barbie furniture and accessories and found a bag that contained a barbie dog, barbie puppy, a toilet and a few other accessories.  Then i purchased a few pieces of furniture to go with it.  





It was a bit challenging fitting all of our packages under such a small tree, but we managed. ;)



Now that she is 4 years older, the doll doesn't seem quite as giant but i think she loves it anyway. Even if just for the memories. i didn't want her only memory of that dollhouse be that she lost it. i'm hoping she can replace that memory with new ones now.



Many of our holiday traditions are a bit unconventional. We tend to add new ones each year. The last couple of years we started opening wizard crackers. Ours are not as fun as the ones at Hogwarts, but they are filled with treats and small toys. We also have a Christmas pickle, that we hide and who ever finds it gets an extra gift. This year, we went and saw the Nutcracker Ballet. It was a first, but i think we'll probably be making it a new tradition as well. 


Our stockings and wizard crackers were filled with Jelly Slugs, Bertie Botts and doctor who mini-figures among other fun things. :) 


We ended the evening with pumpkin pasties, chocolate frogs, warm mugs of butter beer and a Harry potter marathon. A wonderful end to a magical day.