Saturday, April 22, 2017

DIY wall storage for fruits and veggies

We have a narrow section of wall that faces into our kitchen seating area, but is completely open to our living space.  I have looked at for over two years wondering what in the world I could put there.  It didn't seem right for photos, I didn't want to just go buy any ol' wall art to fill it up, and I really, really wanted to find something with some depth and texture while keeping the rustic natural feel of our furniture and color scheme.  Meanwhile, I had potatoes, onions, and an assortment of other produce that I kept moving from inside a cabinet, to the steps of the garage, to the counter, never really finding a place for those to land.  And then one day I had an idea.  Why not combine the two problems and find one solution?!?  I explained my idea to John, he looked at me like I had three heads, I gave him my, "Just think about it" spiel, as I held up this and that to mimic the picture in my mind, and then he was sold.

I have really enjoyed what we've done with an old ladder that belonged to John's dad, three baskets from the bathroom section at Walmart, and twine.  After taking apart the ladder, John attached wall hangers like these to the back of it on the sides of the highest rung.  I used a HUGE needle with a large eye to thread my twine and "sewed" through the back of both sides of the baskets and around each rung for what felt like a hundred times to ensure it could hold the weight of the produce.  John put a couple of anchors in the wall with heavy duty screws, and the "wall art" was finished.  I had space for storage, as well as the depth and texture I was hoping for, and it has been a great conversation piece.

Some still may look at the finished product - then me - like I have three heads, but we love all things distressed, food-related, and farmers-market-like.  It's right up our alley and thanks to the great prices at Walmart, it cost less than $30 to make.  I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

love your neighbor oatmeal cookies

One of the things I have enjoyed about living in the style of neighborhood we've now been in for three years, is we actually see - and have to talk to - our neighbors.  We're so close in proximity, especially on this cul de sac, that it would be utterly rude to not speak or even make eye contact. I always hear people say they're looking to get further out of town, further away, find more land... I get it. We've said those very words in years past and will probably look to do the very same in years to come.  But in this moment in our lives, as I believe fully that God plopped us right down here in the middle of this village for a reason, I'm thankful for the closeness.  I wonder so many times about His plans for us in the lives of those who are living just feet away.  Are there words or actions we're supposed to share that might impact them?  I wish I were more prayerful and dedicated to that question.  Hm.  Maybe that's a prayer goal I should set.

Living so closely to one another we can hear their conversations, it it not hard to notice when new folks are moving in.  Just a short time ago when that very thing happened, I decided to try a stack of these cookies to take along with us as our family of four went to meet theirs.  It wasn't hard.  It didn't take a lot of time. But as all food prepared by one and given to another does, it sent a message that we love them.  And what I really like about that idea more than anything, is that it showed we did before we even met them.  We decided to love, just because.  Because they were our neighbor, because they were joining our community, just because.  

At the end of the day, God asks us to love.  It's not asked of us only when it's easy.  It's not asked of us in response to what they've done first.  He just says love.  I encourage you to look for a neighbor to love and take a pile of these.  You'll love them, and even better, so will they. 

Oatmeal Cookies

makes about two dozen

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cider or white vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, quick cooking or old-fashioned
  • 1 cup raisins, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or use parchment paper) two baking sheets, light-color preferred.

2. Beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vinegar until fairly smooth; a few bits of butter may still show.

3. Beat in egg, again beating until smooth.

4. Add the baking soda and flour, beating until well incorporated.

5. Add the oats (and raisins, if using), stirring to combine.

6. Drop the dough in 1 1/4 inch balls onto baking sheets.  I used a cookie scoop.  Place 2 inches apart, as they'll spread.

7. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, reversing pans halfway through (top to bottom, bottom to top).

8. Remove from oven and let them cool.

**I'm a HUGE fan of King Arthur Flour's products and site.  This recipe comes from them, and you can find all kinds of tips when visiting this link!