Friday, September 26, 2014

The Butt Apple

We've had two apple trees for years, like 7 or 8.   And they haven't given us a single apple.

Until this one.


This is the only apple of the three that grew, that didn't get invaded by some little critter, much to my children's delight....




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Read What You Own Challenge

So I made a challenge.  To stop buying books and read the ones I already own that I haven't yet.  And also to not reread a book for a good while.


I would totally love a funky library like this.

Tour a Designer's Own Luxe, Eclectic Virginia Home //  Library With Black Built-In Bookcase

Anyway, as a giant book nerd I end up buying a fair amount of books.  But then inevitably, I don't read them.  Usually I buy them from secondhand stores, but not always.  And new books can add up.

Here is the pile of books that I am telling myself I need to read before I can buy a new book.


I collect these books from Penguin.  And this is a pile of the ones that I haven't read, minus Homer's The Odyssey, which I am currently reading right now.

The books are:
1. Les Miserables
2. The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint
3. Cranford
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray
5. Bleak House
6. Lady Chatterly's Lover
7. Inferno
8. The Woman in White

Truthfully, I am a little unsure if I will read Shakespeare's The Sonnet's and A Lover's Complaint.  I am not a huge fan of poetry, even if it is by the world's best poet ever.  I am also a little nervous about Les Miserables, because it is ginormous, and while I liked the musical, I don't know how I will feel about the book.

At the very least, I have 6 fairly serious books to partake of.  Several of them have movies and while I am tempted to watch the movie and bow out using the "Cliffs notes" idea, I won't.  Although I may watch the movie afterward!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee (My Version)

Have you heard of it?  Probably, but since I am always, always late to the game, I have only known about it for a couple of weeks.

It's coffee with butter in it.  (And other stuff too)  Weird and slightly gross sounding, huh?

bulletproof coffee - my newfound obsession and how I make it.
This is totally true.

Anyway, here is a link to what the health benefits of putting butter and coconut oil in your coffee will do for you.  It's actually pretty interesting.

But I'll tell you a secret.  I don't care how good it is for you, I just care that my coffee tastes good. And I am the kind of person who drinks coffee as a vehicle for the stuff that you add to coffee.

Here is my recipe:

Jess' Totally Trashed Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

1 T.fractionated coconut oil
1/2-1 T. butter
dash of vanilla (I just fill up the cap)
2 tsp. sugar
2 T. milk
1 c. coffee (made in my french press- best invention for coffee ever)

*Mix in blender.  Drink

Here's the deal on how I totally trashed it.  I used fractionated coconut oil with no coconut taste.  I am pretty sure all the serious bulletproof coffee drinkers are dying right now.  But I tried it with my organic coconut oil I use for the kids' hair and I didn't like it.

I also use the butter that I buy from walmart, not grass fed.  And I add sugar.  Sorry, I have to add sugar it's in my blood.  (Probably literally)

Truthfully, there are probably zero health benefits when you make it my way.  But it tastes amazing.  Like literally you bought it from the best coffee house in the world.

And just like the caption up above, I am never going back.  Okay, maybe that's not totally true.  I will drink coffee with regular creamer, but this is hands-down my favorite way.

And it is so much cheaper than if I went and bought coffee anywhere else.  Amazing taste plus way cheaper, you just can't go wrong here!  (although I still think it sounds gross to admit that I add butter to my coffee!)


Friday, September 19, 2014

12 Passenger Van

Or the end of life as we know it, according to Ava.  Who told me I was ruining her life.

The left side of the car.  Of course it's white.  What other color do you ever see?

The right side actually makes it look less "creepy white van" because of the black horizontal line where the door opens.  Or at least that's what I tell myself.  I drove into my brother's uber nice neighborhood and you should have seen the look one of the women gave me as I passed by her yard.  I think she was already getting ready to call the cops on the scary van.

Confession:  I love it.  I love being up high and I love that all my kids can fit in it without sitting next to, or touching the other.  I love that I can go to IKEA and always have room for what I want to buy.

I don't love the gas mileage, or the fact that it doesn't fit into the garage.  But for all the pros I will deal with these cons.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chic Beret

I've never been a fan of hats, but this fall am obsessed with berets.  I mean how chic are these ladies?

I need a red beret...but they look better if you don't have to wear bifocals....le sigh.  Crocheted Slouchy Hat / beanie  in Black - Women - Teen - CHRISTMAS in JULY SALE - 25% off regular price. $30.00, via Etsy.

Plus I think it will work well in Ireland.  Just add hat and don't worry about the hair.  Perfect.

I was in a Bass outlet yesterday and they had a bunch of winter stuff on sale.  And I found this white one.  I may have to go back and see if they have red.  And black.



















And the best thing is, it's cold here like half the year, so I can use this baby a lot.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vanilla Extract DIY

Years ago, Chris and I took a cruise that stopped off in Mexico.  Everyone, and I mean literally everyone, had 2 or 3 bottles of something in their arms.  We couldn't figure it out.  I think one of us eventually asked and they said vanilla.

 

We were totally nonplussed about it, mostly because I wasn't that great of a cook at that point.  Move forward years later to now where I would rather be as natural and DIY as possible, and I now totally understand why they were hoarding great vanilla at amazing prices.

Enter pinterest, which has basically become my search engine.  And wouldn't you know it, there were DIY vanilla extract recipes.  They are all basically the same:

DIY Vanilla Extract

80 proof Vodka, 1 liter
Vanilla beans (6-7 per quart, so 14 for 1 liter of vodka)

Pour half of vodka into quart jar.  Slice open beans, spread apart, cut in half.  Drop into vodka.  Shake.  Shake daily for first week, a couple times a week for the next two or three, and then whenever you remember for the next 2-6 months.

Here they are sitting in my laundry room.  A place I unfortunately am in every day so I remember to shake the bottles.

Two months is the minimum amount of time to let it sit before using it.  You could keep the beans in there indefinitely if you wanted, but I will strain them out since I am giving them as Christmas presents.  This extract will essentially keep forever since it's made with vodka.

Some people just put 14 beans into the giant container of vodka rather than splitting it up, and you can certainly do this, but I saw a few people who said due to the bigger volume, it had to sit longer to get the flavor finished.  I suppose you could be extra-aggressive with your shaking to counteract that.

I buy my vanilla beans from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Love that store.  They have all sorts of herbs and good stuff.  Check it out.

And if you are going to make these for Christmas presents, get cracking!  Time is short and the water rises.  (That's my dad's saying!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Terrible But True


What else is there to say?