Kids Easter Crafts – Dying Eggs with Rubber Bands

Kids Easter Crafts - Dying Eggs with Rubber Bands

Kids Easter Crafts - Dying Eggs with Rubber BandsWhen I saw these cute dyed Easter Eggs my friend Jenn made, I knew I had to make some.  After you fit on the rubberbands, little hands still get to do all of the dipping and dying.  The result is ridiculously cute eggs with minimal effort–AND kids who got to be involved the whole time.

Kids Easter Crafts - Dying Eggs with Rubber BandsYou’ll Need:

Hard-boiled eggs
Egg dying tablets
Cups
Rubberbands

Kids Easter Crafts - Dying Eggs with Rubber BandsDirections:

Start by wrapping the rubberbands around the eggs.  You can do it in any pattern that suits your fancy.  Dip the egg in your chosen color of dye until it is as dark as you want it.  Lay it on a paper towel to dry.  When the egg is dry, you can dip it in a new color if you want to dye the stripes that the rubberband left, or you can add more rubberbands and continue to layer color until your eggs is exactly the way you want it.

Kids Easter Crafts - Dying Eggs with Rubber Bands

When you are finished, lay all of the eggs out to dry and sit back and wait for your mother-in-law to awe at how clever and crafty you are with your kids.  Ha!

Happy Easter,

Mavis

 

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Ask Mavis Your Gardening Questions – How to Grow Potatoes

the complete book of potatoes

potatoes in wheelbarrowThe gardening questions have been pouring in lately, so I thought I would try out a question/answer series for some of the questions.   So, if you have any questions about gardening mishaps or how-to’s, send them my way.  I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

Recently a reader asked:

I went to the store and got several types of potatoes to plant, but then I look at the sites and they are being harvested in September, so why do the country farm stores sell them so early in the spring? when should they be planted, I live in Anacortes, WA, , my potatoes are Yukon gold, Russian red fingerlings, russet, white fingerlings and some I didn’t find in the ground until two weeks ago, they all have different sized eyes or sprouts, I don’t know how long to grow the eyes before planting them.

I am still an experimental gardener but love it. last year I experimented with squash, none got big but they were fun to grow. I had a weird success with corn, the husks turned a beautiful dark red, then pink, the corn was small but each stalk got one ear.

blue seed potatoes

First, the stores are selling the seed potatoes because it is actually time here in Washington to start thinking about planting them. Ideally, you would put them in the ground 2-3 weeks before the last frost {but if for some reason it did frost after they had sprouted, they would most likely just die back and re-sprout}.

seed-potato-chitting

Having different sized eyes on different potatoes doesn’t really matter too much.  As long as they have “eyes” they are ready to plant.  If you decide to cut your larger seed potatoes into smaller bits, cut with a clean knife, making sure each bit has at least two eyes.

Then, allow them to sit in a cool dark place for 24 hours so that they can callous {which helps prevent them from being susceptible to disease once you put them in the ground}.  Also, if you aren’t ready to plant quite yet, just store your seed potatoes in the fridge until you are.

blue potato leaves

Most likely the September harvest date you are seeing on varying websites is confusing you because it isn’t actually when you put the potatoes in the ground that you start the countdown to harvest, it’s when you see the plants emerge from the soil.  Harvest dates vary, but I think around these parts, September is pretty accurate.  You will know it’s time to harvest when the plants die back and start to yellow.

potatoes

Hopefully, that answers your question.  If you have any more questions about how to grow potatoes, check out my detailed Potato Grow Guide.

~Mavis

the complete book of potatoes

Want to get the full low-down on growing potatoes?  Check out The Complete Book of Potatoes:  What Every Grower and Gardener Needs to Know

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Free Kindle Books, Seven7 Jeans, Amish Cooking, Philosophy Gels, Wine Gadgets, 4 Boxes of Check for $12

seven7 jeans

mornings with mavis

Happy Friday everyone, do you have anything special planned for this weekend? I think I might try out a few new recipes and then have a movie marathon with The Girl. We’ll see. 😉

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

Mavis

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Amazon has Simply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida. I’m a sucker for cookbooks and the reviews on this were awesome so I ordered a copy last fall and I love it. :)

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Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Wine Enthusiast Magazine for only $5.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 4/4/14 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

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Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti Casserole

Sometimes a good ol’ standby recipe just needs a facelift to make it amazing again. That’s what this recipe does to spaghetti. Years ago, spaghetti was a weekly occurrence at our dinner table. It was easy, cheap and pretty much everybody liked it- until I served it so much everyone got sick of it. And then our kids started sports and the spaghetti feeds began.

They begged me to stop making spaghetti. That’s where this sneaky recipes comes into play. It’s spaghetti, but it isn’t. They love it. I love it. Everyone wins!

Ingredients

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 lb ground beef, cooked, crumbled and drained
22 oz spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti Casserole

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Immediately after you have drained your spaghetti, return it to the pot and add the cream cheese. Stir until melted and then add the sour cream, garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir again until incorporated. Pour the spaghetti mixture into a greased pan 9×9 baking dish.

Spread layers of the following over the spaghetti in this order: mozzarella, ground beef, mozzarella, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

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What’s In My Food? – Commercially Made Ice Cream

what is in my food

what is in my food

Update: I found this quote on the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream site: “Castoreum is not an ingredient that we use in our ice cream, we use solely pure vanilla extract, but we appreciate you contacting us regarding this issue.” Sweet diggety! I can continue to eat Chunky Monkey. :)

Holy Canolies, guess what else might be in our ice cream?  {A big thanks to my friend Jen who passed this AWESOME info along.} Apparently seaweed wasn’t enough, ice cream can also contain an ingredient called Castoreum.  Doesn’t sound too terribly gross or offensive, right?  Think again.  Because there is no delicate way to put this, I am just going to let Wikipedia do the talking:

Castoreum /kæsˈtɔriəm/ is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) and the European Beaver (Castor fiber). Within the zoological realm, castoreum is the yellowish secretion of the castor sac which is, in combination with the beaver’s urine, used during scent marking of territory.[1][2] Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail.[3] The castor sacs are not true glands (endocrine or exocrine) on a cellular level, hence references to these structures as preputial glands or castor glands are misnomers.[4] Castor sacs are a type of scent gland.  Today, it is used as a tincture in some perfumes[5] and as a food additive.

chunky monkeyHere’s the tricky part, it’s commonly used to get a vanilla flavor in food–and is listed as “natural flavoring” in the ingredients.  Which, makes it read a lot better than beaver extract, but also makes it difficult to know which brands use it and which don’t.  {According to Wikipedia, though, it’s less commonly used than vanillin, a synthetic form of vanilla.}  I don’t think I’ll look at another pint of Chunky Monkey quite the same again.

Good find Jen!  Way to go!  Does this make you want to start making your own ice cream or what?

~Mavis

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How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

Now that all of the cold weather is behind us, I decided to clean the glass on the fireplace.  I used an ash method, but there are a couple of different ways to do it.  You can use ammonia and water.  Fill a spray bottle with slightly diluted ammonia.  Spray it on a cooled glass only.  Wipe with paper towels.  Repeat until clean.  Resist the urge to use any sort of scouring pad or scrub pad.  It will scratch the grass.  You can also get commercial sprays to do the job, but since I don’t really know what’s in them, I wasn’t super excited about that method.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

To clean the glass with ash {I liked this idea, because I already had the ash from having a fire in the fireplace}, lay down a good amount of paper on the hearth.  It will prevent everything from getting coated in a any loose ash.  Dunk some newspaper in a little water and then coat it in ash.  Scrub the glass until it’s sparkly clean.
fireplace

I will admit, it took a bit of elbow grease, but it did the job, and I didn’t really need any supplies I didn’t already have.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

So pretty.  Isn’t it satisfying when you complete a job that you know you won’t have to do again for an entire year?

~Mavis

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Pallet Gardening – Growing Lettuce and Strawberries Together in Pallets

strawberry pallet garden

strawberry pallet gardenWhile I was working in the garden yesterday I snapped a few photos of our pallet gardens.

strawberry pallet garden

The strawberries we transplanted last fall have begun to come back to life and are leafing out really well now. So much so that I may need to divide them again here pretty soon. pallet garden lettuce

The buttercrunch lettuce we transplanted a few weeks ago are beginning to take off as well. pallet gardening lettuce

I know it’s hard to believe, but in about 60 days this pallet will be filled with 16 heads of lettuce. And that my friends is the best part about gardening if you ask me. Watching things grow. It always amazes me how something so small can turn into a full sized plant in just a short period of time. I LOVE it!!lucy the puggle dog

And so does inspector Lucy. 😉

Okay, so maybe she just loves being outside. pallet gardens

This year I think I’m going to stick to growing lettuce and strawberries in our 6 pallet gardens. Last year I grew chard, celery, beans and a few other odds and ends but the strawberries and the lettuce did the best overall… so that’s what I’ll be growing in our pallet garden this year.

Keepin’ it simple. That’s my motto for this summer.

~Mavis

heat treated wood pallet

Want to learn more about wood pallet gardening and how I put mine together? Click on the pallets above and it will take you to my first pallet garden post of the year. You’ll also learn what to look for when choosing a pallet.

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Free Kindle Books, Fun iPhone Cases, Henley Tees, Aromatherapy Gift Set, Tide Coupons, DIY Tutorials

lucy the puggle dog

lucy the puggle dog

Well hello there!

Lucy the snuggle puggle decided to camp out on my lap this morning and help me with the daily deals post. Ha! She is such a little love bug. :)

Well I don’t know what happened, but I actually got 8 hours of sleep last night so I am ready to tackle a few projects today, not sure what yet but I’m sure I’ll find something exciting to do.Any suggestions?

Have a great day everyone,

Mavismangroomer

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