Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Product Review: Lunchbots

First and foremost, let me say that no one is paying me or giving me anything for this review.

About six months ago, I started looking for ways to make our home a more healthful place. In that spirit, I decided to stop buying cheap plastic leftover containers that were semi-disposable. I found that when I used those, I would throw them away quite frequently. Also, the lingering tomato sauce stains on several of the plastic containers made me concerned about how clean they were actually getting in my dishwasher.

I ran across Lunchbots, a company that makes food-grade stainless steel lunch containers. They are dishwasher safe, earth-friendly, and quite cute. Hot husband was a little leery of the price, but I explained to him that they will last forever, and that I would stop spending a fortune on plastic clutter. We purchased two green "Eco's" and two blue "Uno's" to start, and I am very happy with them.

They are sturdier than I thought they would be, and although not water-tight, the lids fit well. I throw them sideways in my husband's lunchbox, and even after much jostling, the lids stay firmly on. I love how clean they are when they come out of the dishwasher, and that I can put the blue ones inside of the green ones to save space. After six months of regular use, they look as new as the day they arrived. As I continue to throw away my ugly plastic containers, I will replace them with Lunchbots. It is a purchase I feel really good about.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gardening Plans for Spring

Yesterday morning, I woke up and realized that it is much lighter much earlier in the day. Which means: Spring is coming! My bulbs are pushing their hopeful tips through the earth. My dogs spend as much time as possible sunning themselves. And I have started looking around, thinking of what I would like to do in the yard this coming season.

I have two goals this season. The first is to get our watering system hooked up and running. We pay a few hundred dollars a year to have access to unlimited gardening water in the spring and summer. We just need to hook it up.

My second priority is to add privacy to our home. I would like to plant a row of trees along one side of our home, to block our view into the neighbor's yard. I would also like to tear out the shrubbery in front of the house and put in a fence, so the dogs can have access to the front of the house.

I want to plant some lilacs in the front of our driveway, to act as a privacy screen. Trees would fill in more quickly, but that section of the line runs under power lines. Lilacs it is. The other issue with that spot is that the previous owners planted Vinca. Vinca is extremely invasive, and almost impossible to kill. In fact, the only way to completely kill it is to lay down several layers of cardboard, cover it with dirt, and wait until the Vinca is smothered. This can take a season or more. Then, you can remove the cardboard, till the dirt and plant.

I don't want to wait. So, my idea is to make a raised bed over the Vinca, using old railroad ties. A bed two ties high should be sufficient for planting. I will fill it with dirt, plant my lilac trees, and by the time their root systems reach down enough to compete with the Vinca, the Vinca should be gone. The raised bed will be inexpensive and will add a little height to the lilacs, giving more privacy. Railroad ties are going for about six dollars each on my local Craigslist, so it should be a reasonable project.

My goal for these projects is simple. I want to be able to open all of our curtains and not see anything but our yard and our property.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One For the Girls...

I love Valentine's Day. When I was growing up, my Mom would set out special gifts in the morning for us. We would wake up, eat breakfast, and open presents. Even when I was a single girl in college, my friends and I would make a point to go out to dinner in celebration. And we would dream of the day when we would have significant others who would make the day special for us.

This year, I am hosting a Valentine's Tea for some of the special ladies in my life. Even though I am married, something about all the pink and red makes me want to get together with the girls. Let's face it: Valentine's Day is a very girly holiday.

If you are planning on being bored this weekend because of a lack of a special someone, don't neglect all the other special someones in your life. Throw an impromptu party or go out to dinner. Valentine's Day is worth celebrating!
(Photo from Martha Stewart)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Misunderstanding of the Day

Me: "Man, it's really cold in here."
(Boss gets up to change the thermostat.)
Me: "Oh, you didn't have to do that."
Boss: "No, it is kind of chilly. Even my Peter's cold."
Me: ::blank stare, looks down::

About ten seconds later, I realized that he had really said, "Even my feet are cold."


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Final Answer...Dining Chairs

After much, much, much deliberation, I have settled on the Henriksdal chairs from IKEA for our dining room. I love the way they look, and at eighty bucks a pop, you can't beat the price. The white covers are removable and machine-washable, too. Still, I must admit that white + food makes me a tad nervous. I'm going to look into Scotch-guard techniques for these suckers.

What I Wanted and What I Got

This is what I wanted, from Circa lighting, about $700. This is what I ended up getting, from Overstock, about $140. I don't know about you, but I don't see a 550 dollar difference. Don't tell Hot Husband, but I'm thinking about spray-painting it a fabulous grey color. Or maybe I'll leave it. I haven't decided yet, and I always reserve the right to change my mind.

Things That Make Me Go Oooh...

My mother had a rose garden when I was growing up. She loved the classic tea roses, and during spring and summer, she would cut flowers and bring them to friends, family and the old folks' home. The response was always the same: "These came from your garden?"

As usually happens when you are used to something: it becomes the norm, and it isn't special anymore. I never understood why people were so impressed with roses. They didn't capture my interest. Until I met David Austin's roses, that is.

His roses combine old-rose beauty and fragrance with modern roses' hardiness and repeat-flowering. Some of my favorites are, from top: Queen of Sweden, Glamis Castle, Claire Austin, and Anne Boleyn. The Anne Boleyn variety can be grown in pots, which is fabulous. I have an area on my driveway that could use some sprucing, but there is no way to dig a flower bed there. I'm thinking three Anne Boleyn's in half wine barrels would do the trick.

Hot husband: that would make an excellent Valentine's Day present.


My apologies. Hot Husband had shoulder surgery this past week, and I have been practicing my nursing skills by bringing him food and pills, changing DVD's, and covering him with blankets. This hasn't left a lot of time for chatting at the internet on my blog. I was really doing well, until I gave his shoulder an affectionate squeeze on my way out the door this morning... the WRONG shoulder. This was promptly met with, "AAAAAAH!!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!" Which upset the dogs, because any yelling in our home is directed at them. I think they were confused.


Anyhoo, that is what I have been up to. McFatty Monday and my diet have been thrown by the wayside. I am gearing up to start again. The application periods for several local nursing programs open up soon, and I will be working on essays and trying to bamboozle people into writing recommendation letters for me. Oh, and the house. I have lots of plans for the house and yard for the coming months. Basically, life got in the way of my blogging. But I have lots stored up to share!