Gingerly Made: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First Guest Post

Last month, Amber from Life, Love, Green asked me to write a guest post for her blog. I feel so honored! She normally writes a Thoughts on Thursday post regarding marriage and is now looking to write a Tot's post on marriage with children.

While I feel like no expert on either marriage or children, I wrote on what I know, time and where & when we find it. So, jump on over and check it out. I know you'll enjoy reading Amber's other posts too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Swing Set

Caitlin enjoyed being outside so much last year; especially the park where there were several slides. Eric and I decided then that we wanted to get her a swing set with slide for her birthday. So we began to look around and save up some money for a nice playground set that would last many years. A couple of weeks ago we finally got one and enlisted my dad to help put it together. Caitlin's birthday is tomorrow and she is already loving her new swings and slide.

She even had fun 'helping' us put it together. She banged on the wood with random tools pretending to hammer. And then she did figure out screws and screwdrivers. Here she is hard at work.

And I just realized that I don't have a picture of the full swing set after it was finished. Oh well. Here's Daddy and his girl swinging. She has on her owl hat, backwards of course.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Forget the Salad Spinner

Have you ever had a moment of pure genius? I did a few weeks ago. Or at least it certainly felt like it.

I have been regretting not owning a salad spinner because as everyone knows, a drier salad lasts longer. We eat a big salad with some meat topped on for dinner about once a week and invariably have some left over. I put the salad in an air-tight container and put it in the fridge where it just goes bad. And I have felt that a salad spinner would be the answer to all my problems, except for the fact that I just didn't want to have to buy one and store in my cabinets. I have enough one use kind of things in my kitchen and don't want or need more.

So, a couple of weeks ago, as I was making salad and yet again mulling over the two sides of my salad covered coin, an idea struck. I quickly ran over to my cabinet where my napkins are stored and stuffed on into the salad bowl, snapped the lid tight, and shook, shook, shook.

That little napkin absorbed all the excess moisture! I also kept the cut tomatoes separate from the rest of the salad. Between my fun little napkin trick and keeping the tomatoes in another container, my salad lasts all week now. Whoo hoo! While I'm sure someone else has previously thought of this, it felt like such a victory for me. I don't have to buy another kitchen gadget, plus we now have less waste and also salad more often through the week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Week

This week is a big one in our family every year now because it is both my husband's birthday and my daughter's. Eric had his big 3-0 over the weekend. And like turning thirty, it had its good points and bad. We had planned for a guy's only paintball party on Saturday and it went well. The guys played, we had some pizza and it was a beautiful day. And even though I was only there to deliver the pizza, the guys wanted a break and Eric said he'd watch Caitlin while I ran in for a game. So, I did. The not so great part was that Thursday I got hit with a stomach bug and Eric got it on Friday. So while paintball was fun, we didn't eat much all weekend (destroying the family dinner part of the birthday), and laid around as much as possible.

Caitlin's birthday is coming up on Thursday. I can't believe that she will be 2!! It's just too fast. And just in time, my sister is in the Carolinas during her girls' spring break. So, we get to celebrate Caitlin's birthday with all of her cousins on my side of the family.

Thinking about both of these birthdays this week really makes me focus on my family and appreciate everything about them. I am so proud of both my hubby and my big little girl and so blessed to have them in my life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baby Bonnet and Booties

I know several ladies who have recently had babies or are expecting. So, one one of my trips to the craft store, I found a cute book on crocheted baby things. I think there's only one or two patterns in the whole thing that I don't just love. One of the new patterns in my crochet baby pattern book, is for a delicate little baby bonnet and booties. It was so precious, I had to make it first. I plan to give this one away as a gift, but I also want to make more. It only took me a couple of afternoons while Caitlin was sleeping.

I didn't have a little bity cutie pie to try in on and take photos of, so here's the bonnet resting in my hand.

And the booties,

Monday, March 14, 2011

CleanFlame Product Review

A while back, CleanFlame contacted me and asked if I would like to review their eco-friendly firestarters and firelogs. Well, of course I said yes. We love to have a nice fire in the fireplace around here and the eco-friendly aspect of their products totally won me over. They are made from 100% recycled wax cardboard boxes that traditionally can't be recycled. Everyday 1.5 million of these boxes go into our overflowing landfills.

But, more than being eco-friendly, they are really safe for use in your home. Their website says:
CleanFlame™Firelogs and Firestarters are ultra-clean burning, generating 86% less creosote, 80% less carbon monoxide, and 30% less particulate matter than natural wood. In fact, our products are so clean-burning you can cook over them. You’ll feel good knowing that better air quality is better for the environment. And it’s healthier for your family too—especially for children and for the increasing number of allergy and asthma sufferers.

CleanFlame™products burn more safely in many different configurations. They do not spark, melt or drip. When you want a bigger fire you can safely stack them with other CleanFlame™Firelogs or with natural wood. Our products are safe to burn in woodstoves, too.

Safer for your Family CleanFlame™ Natural Wood Other Firelog Brands
Better air quality than natural wood Yes No Yes
Burns cleanly enough to cook over Yes Yes No
No sparking, melting or dripping Yes No No
Burns safely in wood stoves Yes Yes No
Burns safely in combination with natural wood Yes Yes No
Burns safely in stacks Yes Yes No
Safe to stir or poke Yes Yes No
Perfect for camping Yes Yes Yes

Ok, so on to the review. I tried out the firelogs and starter packets. (I appologize for the stock photos. My memory card got messed up and I lost all my photos after I had already used the firelogs. And I had such pretty pictures of a nice roaring fire.) Anyway, they are both really simple and easy to use. You don't have to undo any packaging, just light the paper around the product and in a minute or two, you have a lovely and cozy fire.

The packaging on the firelogs says that it will burn for approximately 3 hours and that's right on. It burns pretty heavily for about 2.5 hours and then the last 30 minutes (by my usage) was glowing embers.

I didn't use the starter packets to start my firelogs because there was no need. The logs are easy enough to start on their own, but the starters will be perfect for camping, grilling out, or starting a natural wood fire. I can't say enough how easy they were to use and I feel so much better knowing that they produce less toxins than any other firelogs or starters out there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diamond Ridges Crochet Hat

Now that it's getting warmer, I have finally finished a crocheted winter cap. I found this really cool crochet pattern at It's the most difficult pattern I've ever done. I had to learn some new stitches, undo, and redo some stitches along the way, but it's finally done. I probably should have made it one row longer, but that's ok. It's still a really cool hat.

This picture isn't the best thing ever. We were having light issues. But, it shows the diamond ridge pattern in the hat.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Busy, Busy, And Lovin' It

I feel like I've been a bit absent from blog-land for a while. It certainly hasn't been my focus lately. Our household has been really busy. We have had every weekend filled up for three or four weeks preparing for a Youth Sunday at our church. The middle and high schoolers took over the entire service for one day. I was helping them put music and skits together. Sunday we finally had our Youth Sunday and I could not have been more proud of everyone who had something to do with the service. The skits, music, and sermon were great!

On top of that, Eric and I have agreed to create a couple of web pages. He is a software engineer and in my old work life, I dabbled in graphic design and web design. We are still working on the sites for a local landscape supply company and then a site for our church too.

Then personally, I have been crocheting a lot. I was making a hat for myself and some baby things as well. I found a really great pattern book for baby things and I absolutely love every pattern in the book. So I'm making some of these patterns for presents and also, hopefully, for my future etsy shop. I'll be posting about these later this week.

All these projects have been keeping me very busy and my poor house is showing it severely, but I am really enjoying the many projects. What projects are keeping you busy right now?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Frugal Splurging

I know you've got to be wondering how you can splurge frugally. It's not easy, but craigslist helps. Eric and I have been doing such a good job of restricting our spending for so long that we felt it would be ok for each of us to take a little of our tax return money and treat ourselves. Yep, we already did our taxes and got our return. We are so on top of things!

I decided that I really wanted a piano. It's something that I have wanted for years, but we never saved up for. My budget being pretty low for a piano, I was planning on getting a digital piano, but then I looked on craigslist and there it was. It isn't in perfect condition; some of the keys are chipped and needs a few other repairs. But overall in good condition for being an older piano and still has a very pretty sound. The guy I bought it from gave me a great deal with free delivery and 50% off the price of tuning. All in all, I got it for significantly under budget!

I am so excited about have a piano!! And I'm kind-a psyched that it's an older piano. The Blue Book of Pianos says it was built sometime around 1946-1947. I know people like having new things, but there's just something about this old piano that really appeals to me. I'd like to have it restored over time. I know I could get a newer piano for the cost of restoring this one, but where's the fun in that. I can't wait to practice on it and get better at playing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Garden Surprise

It was so lovely outside yesterday. Highs in the low 80s and breezy. While out playing with Caitlin I decided to roll up the sides on our pop-up greenhouse. The poor bed it was sitting on hadn't seen daylight or gotten any direct rain all winter. The plants we had in there during the fall didn't do well, so I was expecting some decaying plant matter and dry soil. And that's what I found, but not all.

How this cabbage managed to grow so well, I have no idea. The poor thing had been sorely neglected. The head seemed pretty solid, so I picked it planning to make some steamed cabbage with dinner. As I began cutting it up, I saw that it wasn't as ready for picking as I thought. Still good, just not as much cabbage in the head as I thought. Maybe we could have let it grow longer? I'm not sure. But it was fun to find such a yummy surprise in my backyard. And now I'm relishing gardening season even more than before.
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