Monday, October 31, 2011

Keep It Simple

Lately, I've been trying to make some progress on simplifying and organizing. Too often I have what's used a lot, clear back behind stuff, and stuff I don't even want to see, out within reach. So I'm trying to switch that around! Related to that, I got tired of digging out the jars from the cupboard all the time to make instant coffe or instant tea.

I do enjoy making brewed coffee and brewed tea as well, but I grew up with instant tea most of the time, and don't mind it at all.

Here awhile back, I got some plastic storage lids that are made for canning jars. Let me just say, I'm going to get some more! I LOVE them. So I got an idea, to keep instant coffee and tea, and sugar, within easy reach. I just filled half-pint jars with each one, put on the easy plastic lid, added a label, and they sit on my kitchen table, ready to grab at a moment's notice for an easy coffee or tea break.

Here's a cup of hot tea ready to enjoy, in one of Mom's Fiesta Ware cups. :) And the water was heated on the stove in the tea kettle that was hers. I loved my mom dearly, and still do in memory. I can't hardly do any kind of household or kitchen stuff, that I don't think of her and enjoy wonderful memories. And thankful for her example!

Friday, October 28, 2011


With fall moving right along and days getting shorter, and with winter not that far ahead, I got in gear today to clean and ready our oil lamps, JUST IN CASE. You never know when the power might be out.

Before we moved here, there was a bad ice storm that left many without electricity for weeks. We've only endured an overnight lack of electricity so far in the several years we've lived here.

We had oil lamps on hand when I was a kid at home, but the only time I remember using them was in the summer, when a thunderstorm would knock out the power. I like them because they're old-fashioned, and a nice backup for a light source.

Here's most of what we have for non-electric light sources around our house. Three oil lamps, a good flashlight (we have a few more around), an oil lantern, various scented candles (these are only a few!) and an LED mini-lantern.

I washed the dust and residue off the lamps, so they're nice and shiny, then made sure they were full of fuel.

These will add a little light, plus a good scent.

This is an antique lamp from home. I kick myself about the other one or two, not sure where they went. I think one might've broke at some point. But I still have this one, and it's nice and big and will burn quite awhile.

These are two newer ones, one from the thrift store (the one with the cool handle) and one from wallyworld.

Now if I can find my mini copper oil lamp, with a swivel base so you can either hang it on a wall or set it on a table. I know it's somewhere in a bin in this house --- probably upstairs in the "storage" room! If I get brave enough to enter that room, I'll have to try to look for it. But meanwhile I think we've got enough light sources to last us awhile!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vintage Kitchen Utensil Fun

Don't know exactly what spurs this, but I have this obsession with vintage kitchen utensils and things. I like old aprons, table cloths, kitchen towels. I like the pyrex casseroles and bowls. And ... I like old kitchen utensils.

Perhaps part of the obsession is that it reminds me of home and all the kitchen doin's with Mom through the years. Perhaps it eases my homesickness for that "home" that I miss. Perhaps it's just fun and interesting. Probably all three!

I KICK MYSELF HARD that I didn't keep: Mom's potato masher, Mom's 2-cup aluminum measuring cup, Mom's biscuit cutter, and Mom's mixer. I blame my addled state of mind and pressure and desperation that I only kept what I did. Distance, no room, hurriedness and addled brains just kept me from hauling that whole kitchen full of stuff into my own home. Actually, I'd have kept the whole house full of stuff if I could've. But I couldn't. But the few kitchen things I do have, I'm thankful I kept and I do enjoy using.

Here are some measuring spoons, a mixing spoon and a spatula. Mom had a little rack inside one cabinet door that held some copper measuring spoons similar to these, there were six of them. These are some I found in the thrift store lately, and I grabbed them so fast I'm surprised my hands didn't blister. No, I didn't keep the originals of those, either. But these green-handled ones sure remind me of them, and they're handy to augment the measuring spoons I already have when I'm doing a lot of baking. Now the metal spoon in the middle, is a big, silver serving spoon from somewhere, and Mom used it from who-knows-when! It had been used so much the end of the spoon was worn off and slanted. COUNTLESS things made in Mom's kitchen with that spoon, both in her hands and mine! The spatula is one of two from home (just grabbed the one), a nice wooden-handled one. The red paint is mostly worn off the handle!

These are a few utensils from the thrift store recently - a heavy-duty fork, a "rounded" fork with a flowery handle (a "spork?" ha ha), and a heavy ice cream spade.

I have a few wooden utensils I like. I think the small spoon and the long spoon came from home. That long, sturdy spoon is AWESOME for mixing bread dough! The spatula/scraper on the far right came from the thrift store.

These all three came from the thrift store - a slotted multi-use utensil, another thin metal spatula, and a pie server. I need a good pie server! I have a plastic one that's a little flimsy. I might add in here, that most of the utensils at the thrift store sell for around 20 to 30 to 50 cents apiece. Cheap fun!

These all came from the thrift store as well. A very small aluminum pan (imagining melting a boatload of butter in it sometime for something), a metal funnel, a cheese slicer (I sure missed having one of those!) and an old-fashioned, wooden-handled mallet.

I kind of went loopy on old-fashioned graters, two box ones, and four flat ones. The flat one with the red handle, I use to grate a certain bar soap for homemade laundry soap.

These next three have come from Lehman's Hardware, a store in Kidron, Ohio.

I have never been disappointed in anything I have ordered from Lehman's! Always excellent quality. This shows a slotted multi-use utensil, an ice cream spade, and a slanted-edge spoon. Nice, sturdy stainless steel.

When I saw the slanted spoon in Lehman's catalog back when I ordered it, I immediately thought of Mom's mixing spoon! It does stir things really well on the bottom of the pan, and gets into the edges of the bottom.

I'm really mad that I don't have the biscuit cutter from home. An old-fashioned red-handled one that was just the right size. Quite awhile back, I got the set on the left, which is good, but I need a size between the medium and small. Of course, I can always use an old can or a glass, too. I found the cutter on the right at the thrift store, and it sure reminded me of the one from home ... except ...

... as you can see, it's a DOUGHNUT cutter! I think. I use it to make "egg in a hole" - only the middle toast part ends up in two pieces, but just as good.

I'm sure I'll have fun adding to this little collection as I go on. Of course I have a lot of other utensils in our kitchen, potato masher, whisk, pastry cutter, ladles, etc., etc. But I just wanted to share the vintage-y, fun ones for now. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Baking

Got in the mood this evening to do a little "fall" baking. It's been in the 30's and 40's overnight lately, so it just puts me in the mood to have some good baked things on hand to enjoy with some hot coffee or hot tea.

Pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.

Apple cream pie.

A piece of the pie ready to try, still warm. You can serve it warm or chilled. That's probably why it fell apart trying to take it out of the pan - still warm! So after it's chilled, it may slice and serve better, but I'm sure it will be JUST AS DELICIOUS. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Taking a blogging break ... be back soon. :)