Tuesday, August 15, 2017

You might need a rake

For years I have always had a "discard" box for items I don't want anymore.  If I see an item laying around the house that I don't want any more it goes in the box.  When the box fills up I truck it off to a thrift store and a new box starts.  Every year or so I do a whole house sweep, filling up many boxes, enough for us to have a good sized yard sale.  For the most part of the beginning of 2016 I did a whole house sweep with a yard sale happening that May.  I thought I should be on the clutter clear for some time after that.  But oh no.  I have been spending time over the last year doing some painting and decorating in my house finally after living here for 6 years....along with more "toss boxes" filling up on the way.  We are now planning another big yard sale in the coming months.  The fam and I like having yard sales but we shouldn't have so much stuff that we need to have one nearly every year.  

Our house isn't really cluttered...to the untrained eye.  I am just really good at stashing things behind closed doors, drawers, under beds, even under the couch.  I can 'tetris' items into a plastic storage bin to the millimeter and then tetris the storage containers in stacks to the ceiling in my laundry/storage room.  I think I have mentioned on here before that I have 12+ storage containers of vintage christmas stuff along with 5 christmas trees.  I have 10 storage containers of Halloween stuff. Along with all of these containers are several more with old baby stuff of PB's and stuff of mine from grade school, high school and college.  Lots of stuff.  But as I said it's all stacked neatly and out of general sight.  When I am doing my clutter clean sweep I don't do much with the laundry room.  I go room by room in the rest of the house looking for stuff to get rid of to reduce the amount in each space.  This is why I can never get the clutter under control. 

 I happened to discover a few wonderful books at the library several months ago that have opened my eyes to the error of my ways: "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Spark Joy" by Marie Kondo and "Clutter Busting" by Brooks Palmer.  Marie Kondo's books are national best sellers and she is known world wide for her KonMari Method of tidying.  I have become enthralled with her and her teachings.  She promises that if you tidy as she recommends you will never have to do it again.  (Tidying is not cleaning, FYI.  Tidying is where every item you own has a place.)  The essence of her method comes down to two factors.  When you are going through your items, keep only the items that spark joy and discard the others.  Also tidy by category (clothes, books, misc, papers, sentimental items) not by room.  All items in each category have to be brought together in one pile. Everything has to be removed from it's regular hidey hole.  Each item has to be handled and checked for joy.  All this time I have been rummaging through my closet and only seeing the things that for sure I can let go.  I never checked all the items for joy. 

 Brooks Palmer's approach considers the emotional  attachments to items and decluttering.  He doesn't do it by category but he has you do a similar joy check on each item.  He suggests that every item be truly and deeply considered if it's place in your life is still valid.  Is it an item that you would buy today or does it serve your life today?  Does it have emotional baggage connected to it (like old photos, documents, letters, gifts) ? Even if it was expensive but it's not bettering your present life it should be let go.  Another interesting thing Marie Kondo mentions in her books is that as you are going through all of your possessions you are working on honing your sensitivity to what brings you joy, and not just in the items but in your life.  Brooks Palmer speaks about how clutter isn't just items, it can even be people.  If they are not a positive force in your life then they are clutter, you should let them go too.  

Just from reading these books I have started to experience a change in how I see things.  I have noticed myself not going to thrift stores as much and when I do I don't buy items just because they happen to be vintage.  I ask myself if I really like the item and where would it go in my house (not in a storage container!).  It's a very peaceful feeling to walk away empty handed and not have to bring something home that is just mediocre.  I have "people clutter" also with the relationship being they 'take' far more than they 'give'.  After years of aggravation, the solution on how to handle that relationship floated into my mind one night as I was drifting off to sleep.   I think this happened from understanding how to hone what brings me joy and really questioning what is clutter in my life.

 I am about to embark on my own tidying marathon. It's going to be a mix of KonMari and Brooks Palmer's technique.  I'll do clothes then books.  When I get to misc. I will probably go by location but still category ( ex: In the kitchen I'll do all the glasses together, plates together...etc) Then do papers together.  Sentimental items are going to be hard to grasp.  I have sentimental items that could be clothes, books, misc, and papers.  Maybe as I am going through the earlier categories, if I realize something is more than just a dress, I could set it aside for the later Sentimental category joy check.  All the time while going through each category I will be incorporating the concepts of Brooks Palmer by asking questions of myself such as" Is this an item that resonates with me now or is keeping me living in the past? Is it holding me back from moving forward?"

So again, as I have been saying for the past year and a half, posting on here is going to be null to sporadic.  I certainly look forward to when I can start posting with regularity again because this blog does bring me joy.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Wonder Bread Cocoanut Fruit Betty

Last week as part of some summer fun PB and I made our way through an entire loaf of Wonder white bread.  We made fluffernutters (hot pressed and regular), wonder bread waffles, and my personal childhood favorite...balled up bread balls.  It's just what it sounds like, take a piece of soft white bread, ball it up tightly in your hand, then enjoy.  

I also used 6 slices of bread to bake a dessert that came from the 1934 Wonder Bread at the Chicago World's Fair recipe booklet.

This little cook booklet has got a ton of intriguing recipes that involve using white bread as a primary ingredient.  Simple plain white bread becomes pudding, tortes, cakes, croquettes, stuffings, and pies.  It covers the "witchery" of sandwiches with such great tips as use two slices of bread when making a sandwich, and spread the filling to the edges.  There are hints on making sandwiches to "please a man's taste": Garnish with onion rings and sliced pickles, no man can resist such sandwiches.   

There are a bunch of recipes I want to try out that don't involve the man approved onion rings.  For now I went with a safe and simple dish, Cocoanut Fruit Betty:

 You use 2 cups of drained "fruit".  It's your call!  However technically a tomato is a fruit, and I wouldn't suggest it.  I went with canned tidbit pineapple.  The juice drained from the can was just about 1 cup too!  It turned out pretty good and I would certainly make it again.  I generally don't have white bread in the house so I would try it next time with wheat bread.

So yes, for "summer fun" we ate white bread.  I hope when PB gets back to school this fall he isn't asked to write an essay about his summer activities having eating bread on the top of the list.

With that being said I have about a month of summer vacation left to top the joys of eating white bread with PB.  I'll certainly have my work cut out for me so I will be on blog hiatus till the school year gets rolling.  In the meantime, I suggest eating some two sliced, onion and pickles to the edge white bread sandwiches...or just a simple piece of toast works too!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

National Waffle Iron Day

I love my waffle iron!  I am not sure of it's circa, maybe 1960's or possibly 70's.  I picked it up at a thrift store several years ago for 10 bucks.  The grill plates are double sided, one being for waffling and the other is flat (for flattening!).  The lid opens all the way over to make two flat grilling surfaces, to fry eggs or bacon on.  I use my iron nearly every weekend for hot pressing sandwiches.

For today's "celebration" I used it to make these bread and butter waffles.  The iron used in the ad is an earlier version of my model.

Bread and Butter Waffles 1955

(pssst...It's just french toast waffles made with sandwich bread!)

 Here is the iron in action!

Sorry Log Cabin...I serve mine with Daddy Buck's original cane blend syrup...since 1956 (because I love the cute little girl on the label and vintage styled design!).
The recipe is pretty practical for making 'waffles' by just using bread, just skip the french toast egg coating part.

I have made a bunch of fun things in my waffle iron, most recently PB and I made grilled fluffernutter sandwiches!  Yum! I have also seen some interesting waffling action happen to cake batter and biscuit dough.  The cake batter waffles were turned into ice cream sandwiches and the biscuit waffles were slathered in gravy!

Enjoy your waffle iron today.  Take a look in your fridge or pantry, I'm sure there is something around that could be waffled!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vintage Marketing

 I love me some vintage food packaging!  Over the past few months I have been able to get my hands on several vintage cute items I thought I would share today.

The Kroger Peanut Butter jar was purchased at an antique shop.  As you can tell by the jar colors it is a 1970's deal but I loved that squirrel so much it had to come home with me.

 Remember when frozen orange juice came in a metal can and not those waxed paper tubes?  I got this can at an estate sale for one dollar.  The previous owner had a cabinet full of them and they were used to hold nails and other manly garage items.  I picked out the least beat up one.  

 Mr. Dee-lish popcorn box came from an antique mall (four bucks).  The box is a new old stock item from the 1950s.  I thought at first it was a retro design because it looked a little too good.   There is a glare in the photo because I cover my old papery items in cellophane to protect them from the "elements" of the kitchen.

I love this gallon sized pickle jar!  I use it to hold all the random vintage plastic fruits and veggies I get from thrift stores.  Haven't found any plastic pickles/cucumbers just yet.  I paid 6 bucks for adorable June Boy.

Sunny Morn Pancake Flour came from an antique mall.
I had not heard of bagged flour just for pancakes.  I am guessing it is a Jiffy mix kinda thing.  It's colors and condition are so perfect looking, I almost thought it was a reproduction prop, but it is from the 1940s.  It's stuffed with fluff to make it appear flour filled.  Like the popcorn box, I covered it in cellophane for it's protection.

Lastly is this half pound Pal Peanut Butter metal pail.  At the time I found this pail I had been contemplating buying a similar one on ebay but hadn't found one for the price I wanted to pay.  I got this pail at a thrift store for 75 cents!  That's more my price tag.

I keep all of my food packaging items on a top shelf in my kitchen.  I like to think about how it must have looked going to the grocery store during the 1950-60's and how beautiful the shelves were with such gorgeous and artistic packaging designs.  

I still have a few other packaging items in my collection that I haven't posted about, these were just the most recent.  I'll get around to putting the other ones up here one of these days.  I don't just collect vintage packing though.   I also like to collect items that are new yet their designs have remained pretty much unchanged over the decades.  These are usually small regional family owned companies that have been around a long time.  I put together a list of some past posts that highlight vintage (or unchanged) food packaging and grocery-marting from the MHICTY archives if you happen to have a few more items to check off on your shopping list:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Super Goober

From Woman's Day Magazine Sept 1952 

What an intriguing idea for a cake.... upside down peanut butter peach!
It's a wham-banger!
I like that the cake part is from a prefab mix, which is usually my regular Saturday night thing.
When I made this cake I had everything already on hand except that cake mix so I switched things up this time by making a homemade cake! Ha!  That is a definite first!  The recipe recommends using an iron skillet as the baking vessel.  However I don't have one that isn't rusted out so I made this cake in a round cake pan.

I had several problems that I am going to let you in on so you can enjoy complete success with your own Super Goober.   Some my fault and some not.   First off grease the pan. even the bottom.  I thought the butter in the bottom would be enough to help with sticking (I did grease the sides).  The recipe never mentions greasing even the alternative option of using a square pan.  So my cake top stuck to the roof of that pan like peanut butter.  What part of the cake I could get on to the serving plate wound up landing off center so I decided to give it a little tilt to budge it over... half the cake slid off the plate causing a peach peanut butter cake avalanche.  Thankfully no young impressionable minds were anywhere in the 3 mile radius because they would have been exposed to a few new words.  I scrapped up what I could and mashed it together and replaced the jostled peaches.  I then scrapped the topping out of the pan and used it as camouflage for the top.  This is why there is only one pic and the ass of the cake is away from the camera. 

click on recipe to enlarge

For the cake part I decided to use the recipe for  As You Like It Cake with Three Way Frosting.  Originally when I made that cake I used half of a prefab cake mix I had left over from another dessert.  I like this cake recipe because it has all normal ingredients found in my kitchen.  I don't keep stuff like cake flour or buttermilk around.  Those things are too unitask-ish. I have plain all purpose flour and skim milk, items that can play well with most all recipes, meals and are cost effective. I surely am not going to use buttermilk in my cereal and normal flour is way cheaper than cake flour.  

click on recipe to enlarge

So did this Super Goober Wham Banger send our taste buds singing as claimed?
Maybe not singing but definitely humming very loudly. It really does taste good and I really like the unusual concoction of ingredients. 
Highly recommended for peanut butter and peach lovin' kids of all ages! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Coloring fun!

One of my favorite past times is coloring in kid's coloring books.   It's an activity I have been into since I was a little kid (duh!) and I still have several of my coloring books from my younger years.  I also collect old coloring books too.  I scan and print the pages to color instead of wasting the original.  I thought I would share a few images from a set of books published in 1956 I got from Mr. Husband Sir for Christmas a couple of years ago.  The first one is time appropriate to start with since it's summer vacation right now!

 School's out for summer!
School's out forever!
School's been blown to pieces!
He even blew his shoes off.  Not unless those are wooden Dutch clogs.

It's time for picnics, floppy hats, and a cute Thermos!

No vacation for this clown though.  He's off for his rabies shot.  Ohhh!

Things That Move

This one doesn't have a lot of cute images, just simple line drawings of trucks and planes.
But there is this gem:

I always like coloring pages that I can elaborate upon.  This one needs me to draw a bunch of trash hanging out of the back end.  I think a few fish skeletons and a severed arm would do nicely.

Join The Parade

This one has a bunch of cute stuff but none of it has anything to do with a parade.

Busy People To Color

Images of people working hard or hardly working.

Fred Astaire at his weekend waiter job.

The smirky mailman.  He knows where all of those discretely no-return-addressed- boxes are really from that you order. 

And the "busy" janitor.

PB, Mr. Husband, and I also like to draw our own coloring pages too.  We generally come up with ideas from our little inside jokes and references.  At some point I plan on posting a few images of our coloring sheets and add a little bit of the back story with them.  

Monday, June 05, 2017

20,000 Leagues under Birthday Cake

Mr. Husband Sir just turned another year older.  His surprise birthday theme this year was based after one of his favorite movies, 20000 Leagues Under The Sea.  He also loved the now gone Disney World ride based after the 1954 Disney Pictures release.  The ride opened in 1971 and "sunk" in 1994.  Mr. Husband Sir went on many under water adventures on the Nautilus when he was a kid living just outside of Orlando.  We just recently took a trip to Disney World and he was telling us much he wished the ride was still there, then I decided it had to be his birthday theme!

I thought the decorations turned out pretty well considering all I spent was 1.07 at Dollar Tree to purchase a bag of seashells.  Everything else I had or made between either PB or myself.
The 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea record (1964) seen above is from my grandmother's collection and was passed on to me when I was younger.

I drew and painted the giant squid and the Nautilus on large pieces of cardboard I scavenged from a furniture shop for free.  The seaweed is snipped crepe paper streamers.  PB and I drew and painted the sea life on the ocean wall.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea has a very steam punk kinda feel to the film sets.  I don't really have anything like that other than an old barometer and a few sets of these ornate candle holders seen above.  The candle holders are actually vintage funeral home decor!  Mr. Husband Sir used to work at a funeral home years ago when we first met and they were given to him.  They come in quite handy during Halloween or for a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea party!

Another area of underwater ambiance.  I printed out a bunch of vintage sea life book illustrations and placed them in metal frames here and there.  I also printed images of the movie posters and old diving masks to hang or prop up.

For his cake I made it resemble the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride...with him getting to experience it again!  I used a horseshoe cake pan that I originally used for PB's first birthday and a wedding cake back in 2005. 

 I printed out and laminated an image of a Nautilus ship and a giant squid to chase him.  I used a bunch of PB's plastic sea life critters on the cake and on tables.  

One of the gifts Mr. Husband Sir got was an advertisement from 1954 when the movie was first released.  I found it in a old Collier's magazine I picked up at an estate sale.

While we were at Disney World last month we had heard tale that at the Little Mermaid ride (which was where the original 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea had been) was a hidden tribute.  Mr. Husband Sir found it!  Carved in the rocks is a large sized Nautilus "floating" just above the water pool.

Past Mr. Husband B-day Bashes:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Have a Nice (Birth)Day!!

 For PB's birthday party this year I decided to go with a Mick Foley hardcore theme!
For those of you who don't know who Mrs. Foley's baby boy is, he is the Hardcore Legend of WWE wrestling.

PB got to meet his favorite celebrity at a recent Comic Con, along with getting his autograph, a photo with him and attended his panel talk.  Look! They were matchers!

 One of Mick Foley's taglines is "Have a nice day!" but I went with "Have a nice (birth)day!"

 I decorated with PB's wrestling ring, his 'three faces of Foley' action figures and publicity photos.  We also had PB's autographed photo framed for him.

 I made a couple of buntings with Mick Foley trading card images.

 And had to put up a bunch of Cactus Jack Wanted posters.

 I made several Mr. Socko puppets, Mankind's side kick, which happens to be an old dirty sock.  I had lots of perfect dingy holey socks in my rag bag courteous of Mr. Husband to decorate with.  To make them stand I inserted several balled up plastic grocery bags in the toe area and slipped it over one of those tall glass Mexican religious candle holder deals.

 Mr. Socko's likeness was also the inspiration for the birthday cake.
I covered the cake in white fondant that I brushed cocoa powder on to make it look roughed up. I also torn a hole in the heel. 

 Birthday boy with a fondant barbed wire "13".

To have a piece of the cake you have to be Foley Hardcore though!  It is covered in some of his infamous items (some real, some not!) from his matches:  Barbwire, a ripped ear, broken teeth, blood, fire, and lots of tacks!

Need a little more wrasslin'?
Check out this past post:
Lunch Time Ring Side