Garage Sales Today

Meh. They were kind of poopy. Which makes no sense, because it’s a gorgeous day. The only good one was the Sisters Sale that the Farm Chicks blogged about this week. I got a little vintage wooden ironing board for Bean and Abby to fight over, and an old food mill made in Wisconsin that’s sure to bead the pants off icky made-in-China mills available in the stores now. Tomato sauce, here I come. Speaking of which, I guess I’ll pop some Benedryl and go do some yardwork.

Edited: I took my Benedryl, sat down to change my shoes, and promptly fell asleep, then woke an hour later to panic and confusion about what time it was and what the kids were doing… I ran downstairs and they were all happily engaged in playing The Little Mermaid on V-Smile. Tender mercy. Then I saw the rest of the house. Abby had gotten 4 (as near as I could tell) jigsaw puzzles out, Bean had torn the couch apart and made a cushion fort, and Jeffrey found a box of Cheez-Its. Abby had gotten into some bubbles and there was a clear cartoon-worthy slick on my dining room floor. *sigh*

I don’t know what the questions was, but it would appear that Benedryl is not the answer. Either I have safe children and a somewhat clean house, or I have a nice yard… Decisions decisions…

Edited Yet Again: There is now a giant pot of chai simmering on my stove, and all is again right with the world. The house is cleaned up, the boys are off playing Lego, and Abby is sitting on my desk holding paper in front of me saying “You make a paper aaaaaairplaaaaaaane for meeeeeeee?” over and over. If you haven’t tried the chai, do so immediately. It clears a host of wrongs in it’s awesome delishishness. I forgot how very good it is. </end> tooting my own horn/>

Randomness: Leaky Brain Edition

This is the second week in a row that I’ve forgotten my piano lessons. Frickety Crap! That makes me really mad. I love my piano lessons, and I don’t want my awesome teacher to dump me. Last week I didn’t even remember until Friday. Tonight I was putting the kids to bed when I remembered. My life is just too chaotic. I hate this.

Cleaned out the pantry and the fridge tonight. Eeeew. But it sure looks nice all clean.

Potting training report… Abby: 1 Potty: 0

I’m thinking of painting my Adirondack chairs lime green. I think they would be pretty on my porch with flowers around them. Or maybe not. I’m sure my snobby across-the-street neighbor will hate them. That’s another story for another day.

Does anyone else think that Open Hearts necklace Jane Seymour is pimping for Kay Jewlers looks like a pair of butts?

David got a stake calling tonight.

30 more resumes sent out last week alone.

I have so much to do- I’m afraid to even start a list.

People are so good to us.

I wish we could be good back soon.

I’m sad. And afraid. Please let the unemployment end soon.

Recipe Request: Chai Tea

md_6_news-item-pictureLong ago, in another life, I lived in Santa Cruz, and rode my bike to work at a little local organic market called Staff of Life. It was a crunchy place, in a town full of crunchy places. I loved it. It was there I learned a lot about healthy cooking, organic foods, whole foods, cooking with bulk items, and dealing with the smell of patchouli. I was young. It was fun. I used cotton bags before it was vogue. I made some good friends. 

One of the things Staff of Life was known for was making THE most awesome Chai tea. And this was waaaaaay before most people even knew what Chai was- think about 199o. I adored the stuff, and was never without my mug while at work. Of course we all used ceramic mugs, because nevermind Styrofoam, even paper is evil in Santa Cruz. Anyhooo…

While there amid this organic bliss, I worked out the recipe for this amazing chai. It wasn’t really necessary to make it myself until I moved to Seattle for college-  the pot simmering away in my small Capitol Hill apartment brought the warmth and goodness of home to a dreary Seattle morning. 

Two things to know before you make it: Follow the directions. Really. The only thing you can leave out, if you’re a Mo, is the black tea. It will be thick and very strong. That’s good. Most of the commercial- or even restaurant- chai is insipid and too weak. It’s strong because you are going to cut it with milk or soy. It needs to be strong. You will thank me.


I wish I could show you the written recipe- in order not to lose it, I wrote it in big black Sharpie on the inside back cover of my Moosewood Cookbook, then I laminated it. Over the years it’s sunk deep into the paper, like an old tattoo, and you can even see it from the outside now. Not having a camera sucks…

Here’s the cast of characters…

  • A stock pot that will hold a gallon + of water 
  • 1/4 cup green cardamom seed pods, lightly crushed to break open
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger root, chopped, with skin
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon bark, broken into chips
  • 2 Tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 3 star anise 
  • 2 Tbsp loose black tea leaves
  • 1/2 cup honey

Fill your stock pot with one gallon of fresh water. Add everything except the honey and the black tea. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. It needs the time for the spices to release their amazing-ness- but be super careful not to scorch or burn it- a watched pot never boils, and that’s good, you don’t want this to boil. Watch it.

The house will smell amazing. Children and random strangers will follow their noses to your kitchen.

Once you are satisfied that the spices have given up their all, add the honey and loose black tea (or not). Cook for another 15 mintues. If it’s too strong for you, and it will be strong, you can add some water and bring back up to a simmer. Strain entire pot over a sieve or cheesecloth, and discard spent spices.

Serve with frothy milk or soymilk (this one instance where I love soymilk). It will keep in the refrigerator for a while- but it never lasts more than a day in our house.

Estate Sale Haul

Beanie and I hopped in the car this morning to see if we could find anything, but the pickins’ were thin, so we headed home. One last sign pointed towards an estate sale, and I cannot pass up an estate sale. Ever. This one wasn’t bad, in that the house had been greatly cleaned out already, and they just had boxes and boxes of stuff to rummage through. I knew my time was ticking, though, since Beanie doesn’t last long at sales…

At the door, a woman handed me a paper bag and said I could fill it up for $5.00. OK, sometimes that’s a good deal, sometimes not- but I thanked her and took the bag. That bag is now sitting on my desk next to me, and here is what is contains:

  • 2 vintage linen table cloths, imprinted with embroidery but never embroidered. One is specifically a “Happy Birthday” cloth, the other is fall flowers.
  • 2 vintage linen pillow cases, hemstiched.
  • Four unopened transfer-packs of linen embroidery designs from the 1940’s.
  • A book of linen embroidery ideas and patterns.
  • Two boxes of vintage cotton stationary, cream and red with small blue flowers
  • Hy-Tone linen correspondence calling cards, with tiny envelopes to match
  • Two packages of vintage manilla metal clasp envelopes
  • A ream of children’s writing paper from the 1950’s
  • Unopened game of Rack-O
  • Unopened vintage paint-by-number set of a Robin on a twig.
  • Cartercraft mini Loomette in the box still.
  • Vintage box of Travel Safety Bingo cards
  • A folded-up envelope of seed pearls.
  • A pack of Crane’s mini envelopes in rose pink.
  • 24 zippers, new in packaging
  • A whole bag of vintage sew-on rhinestones.
  • A whole bag of buttons, fasteners, hooks and eyes.
  • two sets of circular knitting needles and one set straight needles
  • two boxes of school vintage school chalk, 1952
  • 2 entire spools Lilly Mills cotton twine
  • 4 spools cotton elastic
  • 2 Iron-on transfer pencils, in package still
  • A bag of assorted sequins and doo-dads.
  • 1 Craftsman fly-tying magnifier.
  • 1 finely crafted white cotton blouse, with pintucks and hemstitched collar.

Grand total: $5.00. I felt guilty. But I will also give it all a good home.

The woman who had died was obviously a seamstress, and I grabbed the beautiful blouse, which is much too small for me, because I wanted to remember the fineness of her stitches. If I am going to benefit from the things she left behind, the very least I can do is remember her. It also makes me think about the estate sale that my kids will have to hold if none of them likes to make stuff! I better get busy…


I found the Loomette on eBay- it’s from 1936!

And here’s the oil painting set!

And this is as close as I can find to my FOUR books of hot iron transfers…

Really wishing I had a camera about now! I want to share my super finds!