Thursday, February 28, 2013

One Simple Thing-Think Outside the Box!

One of the great things about getting organized
is the feeling of satisfaction,
knowing that the space being created
will save time, effort and sometimes money.
An added challenge is to use what you already have.
We try to repurpose around here as much as we can.
Keeping an open mind 
and thinking about new possibilities
for existing storage items can be its own reward.
You've heard the expression,
"think outside the box"?
Honey, I LIVE outside the box,
so for me it's not as much of a stretch.

Take this cigar box.
I've had it for years and used it for storing 
some treasured letters
(people used to hand write letters to one another before the internet!).
The box came from my dad's store moons ago.
He had a magazine stand 
that carried a variety of items,
including smoking materials.
Although I've never been a fan of smoking,
these boxes come in handy 
if a sturdy container is needed.

We had been keeping all of our family videos 
in this open shelving.
It worked well, as it was easy to read the titles
and was readily accessible.
The problem with open storage like this
is that dust finds its way into every crevice.
With Lil' Guy's allergies, we try to keep our home
as dust-free as possible.

The cigar box is the perfect solution
since it closes to keep out the dust.
There was more than enough space for our videos.

The tapes are kept in chronological order
to make it easier to locate just what is needed.
Eventually, we'll get around to
modernizing our video storage, 
but for now, this works for us.

Nice to know that inside that sturdy wooden case
is a lifetime of treasured memories.
It makes me smile whenever I walk by it.

One Simple Thing

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Tidings-The Barn

My neighbor (and friend) 
was kind enough to escort me to a place 
I've been hearing about for years.
Mostly by her.
Mrs. J and I are so much alike
in the way we think and run our households.
She grew up on a farm
and I'm a farmer wannabe. 
We sometimes question 
if we are related in some way.

 The Barn is an antique shop 
out in the middle of nowhere.
I was grateful for the opportunity 
to spend some time with this sweet lady
and enjoy treasures of old.

It's well worth the 30 minutes trip to Lake Alfred.

Inside the first barn were rooms of English furniture
and accessories brought over by the owners.
We were told that they travel every six weeks
to restock their inventory.

There were quite a variety of furnishings available
as well as more whimsical pieces.

One back room housed an array
 of stained glass windows.

These are taken out of buildings to be repurposed 
here in some lucky buyer's home.

Here's an old wringer.
Love stuff like this...

The tag on this enamel pot
indicated that it was once used for storing bread.
If I had been there to buy,
this would have come home with me.

This display of vintage amber bottles caught my eye.

Outside, garden furnishings could be found.

So many possibilities...

The garden section had a great selection of plants,

garden art,

even hardware to hang your greenery.

It was a beautiful day
and I'm so glad that I got to spend it 
with such a special friend.
She's a keeper.

So's this place...

The Chicken Chick

Monday, February 25, 2013

So Florida-Manatee Viewing Center

We took a trip to Apollo Beach on the west coast
sponsored by our local power company.

The trip took a bit longer than an hour.
It was a beautiful day for a drive.

The first thing we noticed 
when pulling up to the parking area
was the array of solar panels displayed.

Another cool feature was the electric car charging station.
We'd never seen one in person before.
It's the wave of the future!

They have a very special parking space in the lot.

The center consists of an educational area, a gift shop,
picnic area and a boardwalk on which to view the manatees.

On this Sunday morning, 
there weren't too many folks visiting.
Great for us, as we don't do well with crowds.

We spotted two right away.
They wander to this area in the winter 
because of the warm waters
surrounding the power company.

They enjoy floating in shallow waters
and surfacing only to get a breath.
These critters are protected by law.

The diagonal marks on this one's back
indicate that it's been the victim of
more than one boat propeller.

These crabs covered the sand below the docks.
They would scurry back and forth, 
in constant motion.

Inside the educational center,
informative displays could be found.

Next to the informal picnic area,
a Florida-friendly garden greets visitors.

We saw scads of butterflies
 enjoying some of their favorites.

All of the plant species were butterfly attractors.

This was a most unusual looking specimen.

The name is fitting, don't you think?

These gallardia line the parking area
and add softness, color and life to the concrete surroundings.

Unusual planters were among the discoveries made.

Water conservation was highlighted
with these vibrant rain barrels.

What a delightful place to visit.
For the manatees, 
and nature-lovers alike!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dairy-Free (and gf) Ranch Dressing

 I've been wanting to find a dairy-free ranch dressing  
for a while now.
It helps that it's also gluten-free.
It can be made with rice, soy or cow's milk. 
This dressing works great on fish, salads, baked potatoes, 
steamed veggies or even oven-baked steak fries.
  You can find the original recipe here.


Recipes with fewer ingredients are always welcome here.
Why complicate things?

A homemade spice mix makes this 
just the way you like it!

The dressing can be as thick or thin as you want it to be,
just adjust the amount of milk you use.
It does firm up a bit after refrigeration.

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

1 C mayo
1 1/2 t lemon juice
7 1/2 T plain rice milk
1 t spice mix (recipe follows)

Mix lemon juice and milk
(Pour 1 1/2 t lemon juice into measuring cup,
then fill with milk to 1/2 C.)
Let sit 10 minutes.
Whisk mayo, milk mixture and spice mix.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

Spice Mix
6 t chili powder
5 t paprika
4 1/2 t cumin
2 1/2 t garlic powder
3 t onion powder
1/4 t cayenne powder (optional)
Place all ingredients right into 
a recycled glass spice jar and shake.


Gluten Free Fridays Sharing glutenfree recipes for all