2 Aug
2011
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
By    7 Comments

Great Clean Out – Jade Plants

A long while back, I wrote a post about an amazing jade plant I received as a gift. The thing is constantly dropping heavy branches, which I make starters from. I currently have three in little pots (that could probably stand to be transplanted soon) that I’d love to give away. Luckily I have three little guys just waiting for a new home, so the first three commenters each gets one! Best of luck!

2 Aug
2011
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
By    1 Comment

The Great Clean Out – Intro

I’ve never struggled with hoarding (with the notable exception of my fabric collection), and on a regular basis I get frustrated with the abundance of stuff in my house, load up the trunk, and make a trip to Goodwill. I’m having that itch now – big time – and have been collecting things to take. I regularly keep a pile in my office closet of things to go to Goodwill. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to use my blog (which I’ve horribly neglected) to give away some of the more desirable items that no longer need a home at the Dailey house. Here’s how it’ll go:

I’ll post items regularly through August. To claim, you must:

1. Be the first to comment on the post.

2. In the comment, tell me why you want the item.

3. If I see you on a regular basis, you can get the item from me. If not, I will happily mail it and you can pay actual shipping cost.

Who’s in?

1 Jul
2011
Posted in: Life
By    3 Comments

I Just Kept on Running

I am not the most athletic person you’ll ever meet. I’m not a total klutz, but I’m not training for the Olympics, either. I remember dreading the annual physical fitness tests in phys ed class for two reasons: the chinup and the mile run. I never had trouble with sit ups, push ups, or the sit and reach. I may have once been able to pull myself up on the bar, but in all my years of gym class, the BEST time I ever got on a mile run was 12 minutes. Keep in mind this was the time I was taking gymnastics class once a week and playing tennis 3-5 times per week.

Once I even “ran” the test mile in 17 minutes. 17 Minutes! I mean, really Kelli, you can walk it faster than that.

So I’ve never been a runner. Once when I was trying to get more healthy in preparation of a hoped (and then later, successful) first pregnancy, I joined the gym. I’ve always enjoyed walking, so I spent a reasonable amount of time on the treadmill. I decided to try to run for, like, two minutes, and made it. Then I increased to three and actually got myself down to something close to a 10-minute mile. Then I got pregnant and had to put a halt to the running because I (being the cardiovascular underachiever) could not keep my heart rate under the recommended limit past a brisk walk.

After my first baby I found myself pregnant again and the running was not top on my to-do list. But a funny thing had happened in that brief period – I actually enjoyed it.

All this to tell you I have joined the gym again, and I’ve been running for the past month. And yesterday I ran two miles. Two very, very slow miles (13 minutes each) – but it was two successive uninterrupted miles. And I loved it.

With a huge thanks to Mumford & Sons, Adele and Amos Lee, I was able to push my way through to the 2-mile marker on the treadmill. Turns out my music selections have a huge impact on my motivation, so I created a “Work It Out” playlist. I love the rhythm of it (and running along to the beat). I love looking down through the crack between the treadmill’s panel and bar and seeing my feet push one in front of the other over and over again. I like feeling the air fill my lungs fully and my legs pushing back and my back rising straight. Mostly, I like being able to do some that, for so long, I dreaded.

I am finding myself wanting to just go run. Today, because I had pushed myself so hard yesterday, I planned to just walk. But then Adele came on and I just could not help myself – I had to run for at least that song! (I fear I may be out in public and hear my Work It Out songs and through repeated conditioning take off jogging.) I’m not planning on running a 5K anytime soon (I mean, it is the middle of summer, and – let’s face it – I don’t like heat), but for now, it’s the one thing I can do where my head feels quiet, my midsection feels like it might someday shrink, and my goal is only keep going.

22 Jun
2011
Posted in: Books
By    No Comments

How Starbucks Saved My Life

I have to admit, when I first read the title of this book I rolled my eyes. I was thinking about it as a Starbucks customer, and while Inlove Starbucks as much as the next gal (perhaps slightly more than the next gal), it is far from life-changing. The story isn’t about a customer, but a customer-turned-employee.

Michael Gates Gill had a successful job in advertising, but when he found himself approaching 60 and his career in shambles, he interviews for a job at Starbucks on a whim, gets it, and spends the rest of the book learning life lessons while learning to make lattes.

The story was interesting and I enjoyed the character development. Gill’s voice, however, was stiff and forced, and the book is rife with anecdotes from his pre-barista life that have little tie-in to the story and seem to only serve the purpose of name-dropping.

The book was an easy read, and the movie rights were secured by Tom Hanks, which is fortunate because it really would make a great feel-good film. This is one book where the movie might actually be better.

15 Jun
2011
Posted in: Food
By    No Comments

Recipe Roundup

Lest you think all I’ve done in the past few months is read and fed my my family frozen dinner, here are a few things I’ve made that are delicious. Like, f’real. I am cooking, just not anything I’ve developed or modified on my own. Hopefully summer produce will change all that soon. Until then:

Strawberry Nutella Muffins
These are, quite honestly, the best muffins I’ve ever tasted.

Gooey Cherry Bars
My father in law wanted something gooey for his birthday, and the buttery shortbread bottom with a gooey topping was just the thing. Mmm.

Skillet Cornbread
The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook was worth the price for this recipe alone – except you can get it free on her site. Best. Cornbread. Ever.

Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats
My friend Mandy asked, “What’d you put in these – crack.”

Chicken Chorizo Jambalaya
Yes, I’m linking to a recipe on my own site. What can I say…it’s yummy.

2 Jun
2011

Happy Birthday Bunting

Lest you think all I’ve done the last few months is work, eat, and read (you wouldn’t be far off), I have a crafty fix for you.

Don’t you love bunting? I know it’s getting to be overdone, but it’s really just SO easy. I wanted to make some for the kids’ birthday, and I wanted it to be fabric so I could use it again each year, but I also wanted it to be single-sided so I could hang it in Sydney’s room the rest of the year without it screaming, “Happy Birthday!” Here’s how it goes.

You will need:
1 fat quarter for every 3 triangles you want to make (one triangle for each letter if you’re spelling out a name or Happy Birthday)
1 package of double-folded bias tape
1/4 yard of felt or flannel for letter applique

1. Select coordinating fabrics and bias tape.
2. Cutthe fabric into 6″ squares.
3. Place two squares of the same fabric together, wrong sides facing.
4. Cut from top corners to bottom middle to create a triangle (see photo). Repeat until you have the desired amount of triangles.
5. Using a water-soluble fabric marker, draw out the letters to spell the name or phrase on the felt/flannel. (If you want the letters to be on each side, cut out two of each).
6. Cut out the letters carefully.
7. Arrange the triangles in the order in which you want them to appear in the bunting (as a repeating pattern if you’re using a variety of fabrics). (Note: If you are putting letters on both sides, be sure to arrange the back side in reverse order to the front side, so that each reads correctly.)
7. Using either a straight stitch (I used white thread on red flannel for a more vintage look) or a very tight zigzag stitch, applique the letters onto one of each set of triangles, right sides up.
8. Place triangles right sides facing, and sew sides of triangles with a straight stitch (leave the top open).  Cut the tip of the triangle off, then turn and press.
9. Tuck triangles into the fold of the bias tape in order, and pin. Be sure to leave extra room at each end for tying/hanging.
10. Using a straight stitch, sew the triangles into the bias tape.
11. Hang, and enjoy.

Total time, 1.5 – 2 hours.

 

24 May
2011
Posted in: Books
By    5 Comments

A Red Herring Without Mustard

The third in the Flavia de Luce series, Alan Bradley knocks it out of the park…again, with his wildly entertaining tales of 11-year-old Flavia the sleuth. These books (including the latest) had me laughing out loud regularly, and wishing I could invite Flavia over for tea. Not that I have tea, as it were.

This story includes a near-murder of an old gypsy woman Flavia gives refuge on the family’s enormous estate, the hanging of a town ne’er do good on one of the estate’s statues, and includes a cast of almost too good to be true characters. Like the first and second book of the series, I couldn’t wait to get back to the story each evening to find out what happens next, and the story included some plot twists and details you just can’t see coming. Bradly is a masterfully storyteller, but Flavia steals the show.

If you haven’t already read the first (or second) book, please do. The more you know Flavia, the more you’ll love her. If you have, this book is worth your time.

4 May
2011
Posted in: Books
By    No Comments

At Home

As soon as I heard of Bill Bryson’s At Home, I knew it would be right up my alley. Subtitled, “A Short History of Private Life,” the book covers nearly everything imaginable as it relates to home and the life we experience therein. From the time of prehistoric cavemen through the 20th Century, there isn’t much Bryson doesn’t cover. Unsurprisingly, the book is a whopping 450 pages, and large pages at that, which explains why it took me so long to read it. But the longevity is no reflection of… enjoyability (is that a word?).

Cleverly arranged in chapters by rooms (Kitchen features food, Bathroom public and personal hygiene, for instance), the book is full of Bryson’s classic wit and occasional laugh-out-loud humor, but is not without a number of meandering rabbit trails. The chapter on the dining room leads to an anecdote about the centerpiece, which leads to a sidebar about how salt and pepper became the two seasonings on the table, but before he even gets to those two specifically he writes a six page essay on the role of various other vitamins and minerals in our diet. All if this is composed in such a way that you’re totally drawn into the story, but by the time you walk back up from nutrition to salt and pepper to centerpieces you have to check the header to see, “What chapter is this again?”

If you have any interest in topics such as architecture, agriculture, art, food, or gardening, you will find this book immensely enjoyable. Just be sure to block out a decent chunk of time for it – this book won’t read itself in one sitting.

25 Apr
2011
Posted in: Food, Main Dishes
By    No Comments

Spinach & Bacon Bread Pudding

A new bakery opened up in town, and I headed in to purchase some delicious Parmesean Basil Sundried Tomato bread. Trouble was, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and come weekend I had a loaf and a half of stale bread reminding me of my bad decision. So I showed it who was boss.

Somehow I made it to the ripe age of 23 before ever having touched bread pudding. It was love at first bite. Yet I’ve never made it myself. And while I enjoy the dessert variety thoroughly, I knew a fancy-pants Parmesan Basil Sundried Tomato did not a sweet dish make. That’s above my skill level. So I devised another plan, took a quick photo for the blog and lost it. But it was a hit with all our guests, and I think you’ll enjoy it, as well.

Spinach & Bacon Bread Pudding
8 slices of bacon
1 large loaf of day-old crusty bread, cubed
5 eggs
1/2 C. heavy cream
1 C. milk (or more)
2 cups baby spinach
1 medium yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
3/4 C. shredded cheese of your choice (I used parmesan)
Salt & Pepper

Pan fry the bacon until just crispy, set aside to cool. Roughly chop onion and peppers. In a large bowl, crack eggs and mix with a fork. Crumble the bacon and add it to the bowl. Next mix in bread, cream, 2/3 C. of the milk, spinach, onion, peppers, cheese, salt and pepper until well combined. The mixture should be quite wet, so depending on your bread, you may need to add more milk at this step.

Pour in a greased 13×9 baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes. The dish should be brown and crispy on top, and set on the bottom.

Enjoy!

10 Apr
2011
Posted in: Abode
By    1 Comment

Far Place

A few years ago, Evan ran across a ventless gas fireplace at Lowe’s. Regularly priced around $500, we got it on clearance for about $175. We had known for a while we’d like to install a fireplace – not only for looks but also for assistance with heat when 1) it’s really cold, and 2) our power goes out, which happens more often one would think. Because we built our house planning to turn it into a garage, but decided we liked it and have instead just kept adding on (and on, and on – really another post), there are plenty of things we’d have done differently, or would like to add to our house as time permits. Such as this fireplace, which sat in our garage. For four years.

I really can’t blame Evan. We had a large CRT TV housed in a large entertainment center Evan had built in college that he was unusually sentimentally attached to, and didn’t want to give it to just anyone. So when we got a flat-screen TV as a Christmas gift (thanks mom and Dave!) and his sister was able to take the entertainment center off our hands, project fireplace was a-go.

I am totally thrilled how this came together, although I had no doubts. Is there anything my husband can’t build? I’m starting to think not. It looks like it’s been there the whole time. I especially love the mahogany mantle he made with wood we picked up wholesale while on vacation. Thanks, dear husband.

What do you think? What projects are you tackling this spring?