Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Tiny Pantry Project for a Worknight

I couldn't resist getting another hanging plant of colorful flowers for fall. I need to put up a nail to hang it from!

Last night I had my first fire of the season, even though it wasn't quite chilly enough to justify it. I sat in front of it with a mug of tea and some magazines, and of course was soon joined by all the pets in the house!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Need to do any mid-week laundry?
  • How about mid-week vacuuming?
  • I'm trying to use up some leftovers so I can go into the weekend fresh and make new tasty things for my meals! How is your fridge looking for leftovers?
  • Do you have your social plans set for this weekend? Or if you have too many things going on this weekend, have you carved out some mandatory downtime for yourself?
  • Are you on track with your book club reading (if any), homework from any online classes you are taking? Still doing your journaling?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Sorting Half My Baking Pantry

I decided to get a little jump on my big autumn kitchen renewal ritual by doing little projects here and there ahead of time when I have the chance. I'm going out to dinner tonight, so I'm taking half an hour during my lunch break here at home to do a small tidying project. This is the top half of my "baking supplies pantry" where I keep my box mixes. (I'm not much of a 'from scratch' baker, sorry to say). I'll do the bottom half tomorrow afternoon when I have some more time. (I like to do my homemaking projects in manageable chunks).

I'm taking everything out, checking the expiration dates and becoming shocked at how many expired items there are. This means I'm buying too many items, not baking as many as I had anticipated, and wasting food and money!

This sorting project has taken up half my kitchen counters! I'm clipping any Box Tops 4 Education off my Betty Crocker items before tossing the mix and recycling the box. I'll sanitize the pantry cupboard, dry it, then put everything that I'm keeping back in a more organized fashion.

The top half of my Baker's Pantry is done. I'll do the bottom half tomorrow night!

Tomorrow I have some baking to do. I've learned a lot about my spending and baking (or lack thereof) habits. I plan to bake a batch of cornbread tomorrow morning while I'm home waiting for the pest control company to arrive (don't ask! sigh). While I have an idea to bake a second batch for my cousin's house, I shouldn't do this unsolicited - I can't make my overshopping problem be someone else's food-temptation problem! I'll ask her first if she wants a pan of Trader Joe's cornbread. I suspect she'll say yes if she has chili or baked beans on her menu plan for the week!

How is your pantry looking? Do you have a bit of time to sort it now before we fall into our big autumn cleaning projects schedule in a couple weeks?

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Harvest Teas

I'm planning to gift this stackable set of three autumn-themed teas a few times this season. I'll tuck a tin in each autumn care package or gift basket I'm making up for friends and family. You get a few teabags (12) in each little tin. The flavors include Cranberry Spice Hibiscus, Hot Apple Cider, and Pumpkin Spice.

Harvest Stackable Tea Tin, on Amazon

Harvest Stackable Tea Tin, at Republic of Tea

LOVELY BLOGS: Amuse Your Bouche

Becca blogs about simple vegetarian recipes. (I thought this might come in handy not only to Lovely Living's vegetarian readers such as myself, but to people wanting to do more veggie sides or Meatless Mondays, etc). Becca blogs from Hertfordshire in the UK. Her blog includes recipes for main meals, light lunches, appetizers, side dishes, soups, snacks and desserts. Recent posts include 10 Delicious Vegetarian Sandwiches, Toasted Gnocchi Salad, Full English Breakfast Baked Eggs, and a Healthy Apple Crumble Smoothie.

http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Golden Delicious Cookie Apples (Bake at 350)

Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars (Love From the Oven)

Basil Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Sauce (A Beautiful Mess)

A Blueberry Pie to Write Home About (The English Kitchen)

Bruleed Buttermilk Tart with Roasted Plums (Annie's Eats)

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Pasta (Brown Eyed Baker)

Crispy Zucchini Tacos with Cherry Pepper Crema (How Sweet it Is)

Dragonfruit Vodka Tonic (101 Cookbooks)

The Easiest Way to Can Fresh Tomatoes for Sauce (Lille Punkin')

Framed Pumpkin Halloween Decor Tutorial (Craftaholics Anonymous)

Gentle Reminders: Clean Kitchens (Martha Stewart)

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream (Behind the Camera and Dreaming)

Pickled Vegetables Rice Noodle Salad (Honest Cooking)

Tart Cherry Pie (Bake at 350)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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Lovely Living University

Monday, September 14, 2015

Slowly Putting Away Summery Things

I've enjoyed using this Southern Peach hand wash this last month of summer

Today I'm slowly beginning to put away my summer things - patio umbrellas, the fans I've been running in our bedrooms, my snow cone maker, etc. There's still time to enjoy summer though, and I intend to make the most of it.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

A fall color flower pot I've purchased recently to brighten up autumn on my patio deck

  • Look over the week ahead - any appointments you must keep? Birthdays you should call or quickly send a card or gift in honor of?
  • Do you do a regular Family Night? If not, why not try one out this week or next. It's also nice to invite one person from outside your household - a favorite aunt, a neighbor, or someone your children are close to.
  • Time to squeeze in a pedicure, brow wax, hair cut or color touchup just for yourself?
  • Enjoy the last of summer's bounty whenever possible - fresh berries, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and watermelon. I'm also sneaking some potato salad in every chance I get.
  • If you still have nice weather, why not plan a picnic this weekend? You'll miss picnicing when it's cold and rainy or snowy.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Packing Away Summer

A messy stack of my outdoor cushions, currently residing in my breakfast nook

Yesterday a friend alerted me to the fact it was raining in our part of the city. On a lazy Sunday, I was too busy drinking my breakfast tea and snooping around on the Internet to look outside the window. I dashed outside to gather in all my outdoor cushions and pillows. Luckily they'd only got a light misting. They seem to have dried off just fine in my kitchen overnight.

I'm looking over the weather forecast for the next ten days in my city. Light rain and cloudy, but a day or two of 69 and 70 degree partly sunny weather. It's hard to decide if I should give up and store all my cushions away properly for next summer, or if it would be premature to do it this week. It's not THAT much work to take them in and out again, but I'd rather not do it twice. I have been looking over my diaries and blog posts from the last couple Septembers and Octobers - it seems we've had warm sunny Octobers right up until the third week of the month. I'd love to keep eating my meals outside, lounging comfortably outdoors when I read, and working in my back yard office.

It makes me sad to look at my cushionless, unusable outdoor furniture. My dog is very confused, as well!

However, I can't stand this messy pile of pillows in my breakfast nook much longer. Perhaps I will relent and put everything away, wipe the outdoor living room furniture and bring it back inside. I keep an indoor/outdoor couch, armchair and footstool in my breakfast nook instead of a table. (The table always seemed to get cluttered up and never actually used for eating!) Perhaps I can bribe myself with thoughts of eating breakfast and blogging in this sunny window, surrounded by my cookbooks and keeping an eye on something tasty baking in the oven or bubbling merrily away on the stove?

What things might you have to bring indoors from your own deck, patio or back yard this week?

LOVELY BLOGS: Modern Mrs. Darcy

Anne strives to "explore what it looks like to be an accomplished woman in our modern world." She writes about beauty and style, relationships and family, and looks at the modern woman's role in the changing workplace. She also reviews books.

I especially enjoyed her recent post titled "When You're Good at Overcomplicating Things."

http://modernmrsdarcy.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: Festive Feasts

"Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas" just came out last week. I seem unable to resist any holiday themed cookbook, so I'm sure this will be on my bookshelf soon. However, I'm disappointed there isn't an easy way to get a peek at the Table of Contents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. So I was glad to find this helpful review over at A Well-Seasoned Life.

LOVELY SHOPS: A Pocket Full of Sweets

It was these burgundy edible gems that first caught my eye at this shop. Their barley sugar lollipops come in so many intriguing shapes. I'm definitely getting some of the fall leaves for an upcoming Woodland party I'm hosting. Their Holidays section has some interesting things for Halloween, autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. So many cute and yummy treats!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/APocketFullofSweets

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Balsamic Tarragon Chicken Skillet (Sweet Peas and Saffron)

Cheesy Potato and Bacon Scotch Eggs (The Flavor Bender)

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese (Jam and Clotted Cream)

Chicken Pot Pie Crescent Ring (Tiffany Harvey)

Chicken Pot Pie Pasta (Food Fanatic)

Chicken and Pumpkin Soup (Taste the Islands)

Chickpea Pot Pie (Princess Pinky Girl)

Confetti Cauliflower (The Body Book)

Eggplant Stacks with Buffalo Mozzarella (East of Eden Cooking)

Grilled Garlic Herb Potato Wedges with Corn Pesto Burrata (Yes to Yolks)

Lemon Roasted Cauliflower (Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat)

Menu Plan Monday (Life in the Lofthouse)

Mini Pot Pies for a Lazy Sunday Afternoon (The Frugal Blogger)

Pumpkin Biscuits (A Pretty Life in the Suburbs)

Simple Chicken Pot Pie Recipe (Cloudy With a Chance of Wine)

So Long Summer Salad (Love & Olive Oil)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

www.lovely-living.com

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fruitful Friday in Late Summer

The transitional tea I'm enjoying drinking - I'm not ready for autumn tea flavors yet!

I want to get a few things done this afternoon before I go out to dinner and a movie. I want to feel like I have accomplished something going into the weekend, so if I spend the rest of it lazying around, I won't feel so bad! I bet I can pop a load of laundry into the washer real quickly, swap it out into the dryer on my first tea break this morning, and bake a quick banana bread mix during my lunch break today. After work, a quick session in the garden, and then I can get dressed up to go out and enjoy my evening!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Take advantage of summer's bounty as long as you can. Shop for heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, fresh berries.
  • I'm eating up all my popsicles while the weather is still hot enough to enjoy them. I won't buy any more - the season is almost over!
  • I know I will miss being able to have all my doors and windows open, and air my comforters on a sunny railing outdoors. So today every window and door in my home is thrown open to the fresh air, and my bedroom and guest bedroom comforters are hanging out in the sun right now. I'll take them in just before it gets dark (and buggy) outside.
  • Prepare your home for the weekend. Sweep or vacuum as needed; empty trashcans throughout the house; declutter dining table, coffee table and mail table as applicable. Empty or fill sink/dishwasher and wipe down kitchen counters. Check bathrooms for toilet paper, towels that need to be hung, and replace hand towels with clean ones. Water houseplants; recycle newspapers and magazines.
  • Create your social plans for this weekend if you haven't done so already - call, text or email friends with your ideas! But don't forget to build in some down time and alone time for yourself if possible!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Planting Flowers

Yesterday I stopped at Home Depot to pick up these lovely colorful snapdragons and pansies. They'll likely last through November, making an empty part of my flowerbed cheerful and pretty. I am determined to plant them today before I go out to dinner and a movie. I won't let myself make excuses this time - "It's too hot," "It's too cold" or "It might rain." If I really buckle down and just plant them, it should take less than 20 minutes!

LOVELY BLOGS: Highgate Hill Kitchen

Sarah blogs from her home in Brisbane, Australia. I'm really impressed by her recipe ideas. She doesn't cook the same old dishes as every other blogger, she doesn't seem to have jumped on the bacon and cupcake bandwagon, and yet she exhibits restraint in her creations. Sometimes I'm just startled by six or seven ingredient blog recipe titles. In this case, Sarah envisions unusual combinations but limits the flavors wisely to two or three. I'm going to attempt her Zucchini Frittata today. It's Spring where she lives, and late summer here, but we have plentiful zucchinis and I think this will make a lovely lunch for me today.

Recent intriguing posts have included Green Tea Soup With Roasted Eggplant, Rhubarb Pistachio Galettes, Leek and Zucchini Frittata, and Rose Petal, Cashew and Olive Oil Granola.

http://highgatehillkitchen.com/

LOVELY FOOD: Pumpkin Truffles

My allergy to spices makes me unable to enjoy these pumpkin truffles (sad face!) but they're so cute and.. judging by how delicious the other Moonstruck truffles I've eaten are, I imagine they are insanely delicious. I'll definitely be tucking little boxes of these into autumn birthday gifts and hostess gifts this year!

Pumpkin Truffles at Moonstruck Chocolate

LOVELY SHOPS: Sugar Shoppe LA

I love to include cute little shaped sugar cubes when I'm throwing parties. Even if it's not a tea party! You might want to put a cube or two in your after-dinner coffee, or toss a cube into the top of your champagne at one of my cocktail parties.

The shaped sugars here are intended for bridal or baby showers, but there are also some Halloween, autumn, and winter holiday themed cubes.

My favorite item here at the moment is their pumpkin sugar cubes.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SugarShoppeLA

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Apple and Bourbon Cherry Galette (The Scout Guide)

Artichoke Muffaleta Po Boys (Robin Robertson)

Bacon Goat Cheese Heirloom Tomato Galette (Sumptuous Spoonfuls)

Barbecue Bites: Crawfish Fritters (Bite and Booze)

Basic Avocado Toast (So Berry Simple)

Five Things We Can Learn From This Black and White Kitchen (The Kitchn)

Fresh Garden Salsa - That You Can Enjoy in February (Cupcake Rehab)

Heirloom Tomato Pie (1840 Farm)

The Kitchn Cure Day 5 - Cleaning the Freezer - A Wholehearted Endeavor (The Kitchn)

Oven Baked Coconut Curry Risotto (Food Done Light)

Oven Baked Heirloom Tomato Chips (Oh Bite It)

Pea, Avocado and Basil Risotto (Whole Yum)

Playful Fashion Sketches Using Various Foods as Clothes (Design Swan)

Roasted Eggplant with Black Tea and Parsley Aioli (Back 2 Spain)

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Caramel Tofu and Carrots (One Green Planet)

16 End-of-Summer Tomato Recipes

Ten New Cookbooks Everyone is Going to Be Talking About This Fall (The Kitchn)

Welcome, September - Fig Bourbon Old Fashioned (Katie at the Kitchen Door)

Whipped Feta Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Salad (La Couronne)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Gentle Transition from Summer to Autumn

I'm replacing my dying summer flowers (mostly yellow and white ones) with fresh new potted plants from my local Home Depot. I love this burgundy color for autumn! It's important to me to have beautiful flowers by my front door as much of the year as weather permits.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

The lantern I've hung by my front door. I'll light votive candles in it from time to time in the evenings, but only if I'm working in my upstairs living room nearby the window to keep an eye on it.

  • Make tomorrow morning easier - set out clothing for tomorrow's work and school days; plan lunches and get out supplies; set out coffee or tea fixings before you go to bed.
  • Maximize your summertime - don't forget to go for walks in the evenings, eat outdoors whenever possible, tend your garden, and read a magazine on your deck or patio.
  • If you rushed around enjoying lots of events on Labor Day weekend, good for you - but now I suggest booking a couple evenings (or more) of downtime with your family, pets, a good book or magazine, and some television or video gaming. Plus a nice cup of hot herbal tea or two each evening!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Curb Appeal

Today I'm working on slowly transitioning my front yard from Summer to Autumn. The neighbor kid came over to mow, and I did lots of gardening. I've replaced my summer welcome mat to my autumn-themed one; swept the driveway and porch; and I threw out lots of dead plants. Plants that are still alive but not likely to bloom have been moved back out of view, and I cleared a flower bed to plant some colorful fall pansies this week.

I still might do a bit of garden shopping (mainly at Home Depot) for a couple more burgundy, orange or darker colored baskets and pots of mums and other fall flowers.

I finished by hanging up a decorative lantern and setting a matching, larger one, by the front door. I lit candles in both, then realized my porch light that's on every evening sort of over-brightened the lantern and made it impossible to see the candle burning inside. Oops! Oh well.

What things might you do to increase the curb appeal of your home? Even if you live in an apartment, there's things you can do to decorate your front door, front steps, patio or deck if you have one!

LOVELY BLOGS: Crazy for Crust

"Baking... with a slice of life." I never can resist a good dessert blog. Dorothy shares recipes from her home in Sacramento. Recently she's writing about Pumpkin Apple No-Bake dessert; a Caramel Apple Smoothie I'm going to have to try right away; Brown Butter Brownies; and Apple Pie Pancake Rolls. Be sure to drop her a comment if you try and enjoy any of her recipes!

http://www.crazyforcrust.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: One Hundred One Layer Cakes

Here's the charming vintage cookbook I'm enjoying browsing through today. The cake recipes were compiled by May E. Southworth back in 1907. Unfortunately there aren't any interesting illustrations of the cakes - just a lovely Art Nouveau decoration at the top of every page. However, I'm finding the cakes so intriguing - there are so many things here I've never heard of. Apple Snow cake, an Archangel cake, something called Cabinet Caramel, a Darktown cake, a Gibson Girl, and a Silver and Gold cake. I suspect I'll be printing out a couple of the pages and experimenting with these old-fashioned cakes on my next Baking Day!

101 Layer Cakes, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY GIFTS: Gem-Shaped Speaker

Today I was looking around for some sort of alternative to my ugly black speakers for an upcoming Enchanted Forest dinner party I'm having. This gem speaker isn't quite right for the party, so I'll pass on it. But I love the idea. Great for a princess-themed bedroom or a birthday present for that glam fabulous girl friend of yours or mine.

Ban.Do Giant Gem Speaker, on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Elegant Holidays Wreaths

I've been looking for an autumn wreath for my front door (a faux one so it doesn't die and rot!) I have one for Spring, one for Christmas, and one for Halloween, but nothing for this lovely orange and leafy time of year. Sure, I could just run down to Michael's or JoAnn's, but I'd prefer to buy from an artisan and get a higher quality product that will last longer - even if it costs a bit more and I have to pay for shipping.

Everything here at the Elegant Holidays wreath store on Etsy is so lovely, I'm having trouble picking one! They're made in Pennsylvania. Also check out their section of beautiful Christmas wreaths.

I'm leaning towards this wreath with graduated colors of oranges and yellows.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElegantWreath

LOVELY STATIONERY: Tutti Frutti Pencils

I am laughing at how many times I've bought these lovely pencils over the past couple months, since I discovered them at Barnes & Noble. They are so lovely, and the packaging so alluring, I've ended up giving them away as gifts several times. I'm sure I can find something else in my own house to use when I'm enjoying coloring in a grownups' coloring book on a rainy day. I've been pairing these with the current trendiest coloring books for adults when I gift them.

Tutti Frutti Pencils on Amazon

Tutti Frutti Pencils on Barnes & Noble

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Coconut Blueberry Breakfast Muffins (The Cinnamon Fiend)

Fried Green Tomatoes (Spicie Foodie)

Hello, September (Lulu Linden)

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe (The Frugal Girls)

Homemade Whole Wheat Flatbread (A Beautiful Mess)

Minion Cupcakes (Big Bear's Wife)

My Favorite Homemade Marshmallows (The Kitchen Is My Playground)

Over 20 Ideas for Empty Candle Jars (Elle Sees)

Quick and Easy Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (The Domestic Rebel)

Semi-Homemade Baked Beans for Sunday Supper (Cupcakes and Kale Chips)

Why Summer Vacations Should Be Shorter (The Atlantic)

Zucchini Noodles With Sausage (Shutterbean)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Gardening and Other Chores I Dread Which Make My Home Lovelier

My front flowerbed, full of fairly healthy dahlias, is one of the few gardening successes I have! I really don't enjoy gardening, but want my home to look nice and have "curb appeal." This weekend I'm planning to force myself to do a whole bunch of weeding, fertilizing, watering, deadheading, and other plant care tasks in my front and back yards.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Are your social plans for Labor Day Weekend set?
  • Did you build in some time for "downtime" this holiday weekend?
  • What are some fun end-of-summer things you'd like to do this weekend? Make ice cream, barbecue, go to the beach or mountains, go for a hike or bike ride?
  • Prepare your home for the long holiday weekend. Empty trash cans; swap in clean hand towels, bath towels and bath mats; empty or fill dishwasher; wipe kitchen and bathroom counters; remove any clutter from dining table, breakfast table or coffee table; vacuum as needed.
  • Do you need to fill your car with gas, stop by an ATM or run to the grocery store ahead of your long holiday weekend?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Garden Chores

I've been using Miracle Gro on my dahlias, with good results!

I really don't enjoy gardening, so I'm going to get it out of the way tonight, Friday night. I have a lot of weeding to do, and I know I will dread it all weekend if I don't make myself do it now.

When it gets too dark to garden any more, I will enjoy a quiet night at home with wine, TV, the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle, and my dogs and cat. And tomorrow when I drive away to go enjoy some holiday weekend entertainments, I will hopefully have a nice view of a more beautiful garden in my rear view mirror!

LOVELY ACCESSORIES: Teapot Purse

I think this teapot handbag is cute and rather clever. I'm getting a kick out of it. I like it in silver, but think the bronze version of it looks a little weird texturally. The company that makes these is called Darling's. They make very unusual, whimsical handbags!

Teapot Purse, on Amazon

LOVELY BLOGS: The Food Librarian

Mary is a public librarian by day, and a baker (and blogger!) by night. She's learning to bake from scratch, and she really, really likes Bundt cakes. Recent posts include Fresh Peach Crisp for Two, Peach Buttermilk Cake, and Raspberry Ricotta Cake.

http://www.foodlibrarian.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: BabyLit's Emma

I'm a huge fan of BabyLit's colorful, simple board books, especially their Jane Austen ones. So you can imagine how quickly I jumped online to purchase their "Emotions primer" edition of "Emma" when it came out on August 1st! It's so cute! This would make a nice baby shower gift add-on for an expectant friend of yours who enjoys Jane Austen.

Babylit's Emma, on Amazon

LOVELY MOVIES: The Dressmaker

I'm so excited for this movie and its over-the-top costuming! Plus, it's about subtly delivered revenge. That should be quite interesting! It stars Nicole Kidman and comes out October 29. I'm definitely up for grabbing a bunch of girl friends, indulging in some wine and cocktails, and seeing this.

The Dressmaker Trailer on YouTube

The Dressmaker, on IMDB

The Dressmaker (Official)

The Dressmaker Official Facebook Page

The Dressmaker Official Twitter

LOVELY SHOPS: A Pocket of Posies

This Canadian shop sells lovely vintage style, nature-inspired, romantic styled jewelry. Many of the pieces here feature pretty flowers, delicate filigree, hearts or leaves. Besides the necklaces, earrings and bracelets, there are hair combs, bookmarks, and floral bobby pins.

My favorite piece here is this set of Lucite bellflower earrings.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/apocketofposies

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe (Pretty Prudent)

Disney Fantasia Ice Cream (Mr. Tiny's Wacky Tacky)

Double Baked Cauliflower Souffles (Fabulously French)

How to Make The Best Macaroni and Cheese on the Stovetop (The Kitchn)

Pumpkin Brownies (Love From the Oven)

Server-Less Restaurants Might Be the Future of Dining (The Atlantic)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

www.lovely-living.com

Lovely Living on Facebook

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Welcoming September

Glad I ate dinner alfresco a couple days before the rains came. I'll enjoy as many outdoor breakfasts, lunches and dinners as I can before it gets too cold and rainy this autumn!

I always love the beginning of a new month. I take time to look back on what I did well and poorly the month before (I don't browbeat myself, I just reflect and think about changes I could make). Then I look ahead, make plans, and anticipate enjoyable activities in the month to come.

Today I'm paying bills and doing other beginning of the month drudgery, but I'm also scheduling parties, movie meetups, book club meetings, and signing up for cooking classes I'll enjoy in September and October!

What things are you looking forward to in September?

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Look over your month ahead. Do you have any upcoming appointments? Or do you need to make any? Dentist, doctor, hair cut, vet, pediatrician, car maintenance, etc?
  • What birthdays are coming up in the next week and throughout September? Do you need to plan a party, send flowers, purchase and mail gifts or cards?
  • How are your pet food supplies holding up for the month ahead? I'm low on dog and cat food - I like to have a month's supply and an emergency supply for times I'm sick or can't get to the store. I'm not sick and I can get to the store so not sure why I let myself break into their emergency supply!
  • Plan some "downtime" as well as fun activities for yourself in September. Even if it's just sitting quietly, alone, for 15 minutes with tea and a good magazine.
  • Take advantage of your remaining summer. Eat meals outside, go for walks, pick berries, watch the stars (even if you need a blanket for warmth), eat or drink at an outdoor cafe while you still can!

TODAY'S PROJECT:Desk Drawer Sorting

Pumpkin Shaped Note Pad, on Amazon

I got frustrated today when I was trying to pay my bills. I couldn't find my checkbook, couldn't find my stamps, and had to wade through a mess of papers in my desk drawer looking for a pen to write with. Time to sort and organize my desk drawers!

I have four drawers, and estimate I can sort and organize each one during a 15 minute TV show. I think I'll ignore the "skip commercials" function of my DVR and use the commercial breaks to carry a cleaned drawer back up and install it into my desk. I'll carry the next one down and sort it while I watch the second half of my show!

Tomorrow when I'm doing my eBay shipping or writing letters, I'll be easily able to find my supplies in my newly organized desk drawers. I shouldn't have let them get this bad to begin with!

LOVELY BLOGS: Snixy Kitchen

Sarah blogs from the Bay Area about using local ingredients to create delicious recipes. She's currently posting about Sparkling Asian Pear and Mint Iced Tea, gluten-free coconut chocolate chunk banana nut muffins, a chestnut and nectarines Dutch baby, and gluten-free Rosemary Peach hand pies. I love hand pies! I also love gluten, so I'd have to modify the recipe I guess (grin).

http://www.snixykitchen.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: Autumn Scene Stencils

I can think of so many uses for this recently published book of autumn stencils! Crafters and teachers, moms, scrapbookers and letter writers might enjoy checking this out. There are 20 different stencils you can work with, including leaves, pumpkins, owls, and apples - all things I wouldn't personally be able to draw freeform! Looking at this book makes me itch to get out my rubber stamp inks!

Autumn Scene Stencils, on Amazon

LOVELY BOOKS: Queen of the Home

This entrancing book, awkwardly entitled Queen of home, Her Reign From Infancy to Age, From Attic to Cellar, Twelve Departments, Treating of Home Occupations was published back in 1889 by Emma Hewitt. I'm enjoying looking through its chapters on Dress, Home Amusements, Entertainments, The Library, The Nursery, Home Occupations, and Home Decorations. I don't want to call this "charming" as it sounds condescending. It's just a nice peek into a woman's ideal life as a homemaker over 100 years ago. I also enjoyed the many illustrations scattered throughout.

Queen of the Home, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY KITCHEN: Teapot Shaped K-Cup Holder

Most people I know with Keurig coffee machines keep their K-cups slopped in a boring white bowl on the counter. So I find this teapot-shaped holder clever and a bit ironic. I have no use for it as I'm not a coffee drinker and I'm happy with simply microwaving a mug of hot water and slapping a teabag of Earl Grey into it. I wanted to share this link though as I love teapot-shaped home and kitchen items!

Teapot K-Cup Holder, on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Confiture de Poeme

Here's an Etsy shop, based in Lyon France, selling cute and unusual soft art dolls. They're too expensive (especially after international shipping) to give to children, but people with whimsical doll collections might enjoy browsing around this shop.

My favorite doll here is Alice. I especially love her little shoes!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ConfitureDePoeme

LOVELY TV: Another Period

I was pretty excited about this Comedy Central series, set in the turn of the century in Rhode Island. However, I don't have the best sense of humor and I don't always "get" comedy. I didn't really like this as much as I'd anticipated. I found it too weird and too silly. The acting was good though. Still, I'm passing the link along in case those of you with good senses of humor would be intrigued by it! Season 1 has already aired, but it's fairly easy to find repeats and use On Demand to see some of the episodes.

Another Period, on IMDB

http://www.cc.com/shows/another-period

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Apple and Nectarine Crisp (Eat This. It's Good)

Blueberry Nectarine Ginger Jam (Country Cleaver)

Butter Braised Nectarine and Aged Cheddar Salad (Dessert for Two)

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Mix and Match Mama)

Cheddar and Thyme BLT Biscuit Sandwiches (Pink Patisserie)

Cheesy Summer Squash Galette in a Dutch Oven (The RV Chronicles)

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart (Huffington Post)

Honey Sweetened Roasted Nectarine Compote (Food in Jars)

Jalapeno Bacon Cornbread (Gonna Want Seconds)

The King of Couture: How Louis XIV Invented Fashion as We Know It (The Atlantic)

Nectarine Salsa (Deco Tartelette)

Summer Rustic Peach Galette (Traveling Food Lady)

Tater Tot Casserole (Dinner for Two)


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