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Unplanned Stops

Published on May 31, 2013, by in Life Stuff.

I recently had an awesome idea for a weekend project.  Perfectly small, perfectly fun, perfectly usable.

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I wouldn’t say that we “scrapped” the idea so much as I walked into the laundry room and saw that we had a bit of a flood.

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OK, so it wasn’t that (source) bad, but it really took preeminence.  Our laundry room is a busy space with lots of stuff, so I spent several hours moving things out, cleaning, and drying.  By the end, I took a shower, took the dog on a walk, and called it a day.  I’d still like to get it done, but it’s not as important now as it was then.  Funny how that works!

What have you been up to lately?

 

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Thinking of the Weekend: “Gardening”

I’ve got the itch to grow some herbs.  The classic question is:  Do I plant in the ground or in containers?  Being apartment-dwellers, it’s an easy answer.  We have two big, empty, beautiful pots, but we don’t have a place to put them in the sun.  Last weekend, I had a stroke of genius.  I don’t want to have a lot of plants to care for, so why not do something significantly smaller?

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This is [basically] our mailbox.  It has two funny prongs on the bottom.  We could hang small, metal pails off of the prongs and grow herbs!

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The herbs would be small, but that would be fine with me – we only use a few basil leaves each week.  I don’t know what other herb we would plant.

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So that’s all I really want to do this weekend:  plant small herbs in tiny pails that hang off of my mailbox.  I also want to give the mailbox a fresh coat of paint, but that’s not as high on my list of weekend fun.

What are you planning for your weekend?  I hear the Great Gatsby is fantastic.

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Dilemma: It’s Hot

Published on May 13, 2013, by in Life Stuff, Our home.

Winter is officially over in Salt Lake City, so we’re full steam ahead towards summer.  Today, we had a little surprise:  it got up to 93!  It will cool back down for the rest of the week, but this heat spike definitely awakened us to the fact that we just don’t have enough fans!

My man-friend bottled some beer at a friend’s house, and I asked him to get a fan we noticed at Target last weekend on his way home.  Being the awesome guy he is, he brought it home for me.  I set it up, and disappointingly declared:  it’s still hot, this fan doesn’t blow.  Fans are nice that way:  you just know that they’re not going to work out as soon as they get going; no wait-and-see for a day or two; just instant knowledge.

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It’s a Hunter from Target, and it cost about $25, which is fantastic for a not-ugly fan.  Sadly, it doesn’t move much air (regardless of where we place it), and it’s pretty loud and has some weird rattles.  What’s worse?  I found it online to link to it and discovered that it comes in amazing colors online.  Logically, I know that the color won’t make a difference in the fan’s performance, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and the heart wants color.

So now the dilemma (since I’m obviously going to return the rotten egg).

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Do I get the fan I already own and love?  (It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty great, if you know what I mean.)  Or do I spring for something more stylish that I’ll love for keeping me cool and for keeping me cool?

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Introducing our pantry

Published on May 12, 2013, by in Cooking, Our home.

Our kitchen is among the least functional rooms in our apartment, but with a little creativity and a good trip to ikea immediately after we unpacked the moving truck, we’ve “made it work.”  It’s not pretty like so many on Pinterest, but it is functional in our tiny space.

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From afar, it’s just an Ikea Besta unit with doors. I can’t say enough about my two suggestions for buying Ikea stuff: spring for the style that you want (i.e. slightly upgraded doors with some trim vs. the basic plain-Jane ones) and consider adding extras like more shelves.  Tip:  extra shelves can often be found for cheap in the as-is section.

On top of the unit sits our microwave, with some of our beloved oils and vinegars, a basket for our kitchen textiles, our toaster, and a microwave splat-guard.

Inside, it’s amazing and one of the better things I’ve ever organized.

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To accomplish this, we used the boxes from stuff we normally buy/bought: coffee K-cups and Annie’s bunny snacks from Costco. I sloppily wrote on some index cards and tapes them to the boxes.

Up top, cat food and treats (where they can’t get it!), powdered drink mixes (Gatorade, fancy nutrition shakes, and Slimfast for desperate times), and baggies/foil/plastic wrap. The baggies are neatly kept in their boxes inside of a Costco-size cereal box. The foil and plastic wrap sit on top of the cereal box.

Next, spices and cans/rice/miscellaneous kitchen stuff (like our sushi rolling mats). I’d like to add stickers to the tops of my spices so I can identify them easier when I pull the spice box, but it’s not a big deal. We don’t buy the same brand of spices, so I can usually kind of remember “basil is in a glass jar with a black lid, paprika is too but it’s a red powder, poppy seeds are in a plastic jar with a red lid, etc.” Target’s Archer Farms brand spices threaten to convert me to matching spice jars, though.

Next, bread-making supplies, so we can plop it out on the counter and get to measuring ingredients. Everything we need to make bread is in the box, and I can’t overstate how great of a system that is! One complaint, the bread flour is always in its paper bag inside a plastic bag; we should probably buy a better container to help me avoid paper cuts. We also keep pasta and noodles on that level, although that will probably get changed as we eat less and less gluten (hello zucchini noodles!).

The next level is for baking. That stuff is lower since we (theoretically) don’t get there as often. There’s sugar, flour, gluten-free baking stuff, and general baking. That also where we keep our recipe book, since we don’t get to it often. When we bake, we just grab the boxes and the recipe book and don’t have to dig into the pantry again – brilliant! The sugar and flour are in air-tight Sterilite containers (like this but bigger). Since we use the, so much less, they might change to carry almond flour, but it’s not a big deal. If you buy the Sterilite ones, be sure to check out the sizing – they made the, to perfectly fit the common sugar and flour bag volumes.

The bottom is for our pans and parchment paper and parsley (those can’t fit anywhere else). As much as I’d prefer the pans go elsewhere, they are wonderfully visible and accessible.

My final grade for myself on this organized pantry? A-

I love it and some things function great, especially the bread making box, but my man-friend leaves the toaster on the counter instead of putting it up. If that’s my biggest complaint, I’m proud of myself!

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