Reusing Jar Candle Tops

I’ve had 4 Yankee Candle jar toppers sitting in my kitchen drawer for about 6 months. Every time I open the drawer I think I need to throw them away, but you know me; I just couldn’t do it.

I finally found a use for them! Call me crazy, but it worked well :-)

This was great for The Older! Since one of the aspects of his PDD includes the inability to eat foods that have touched each other, I was able to serve him grapes that were in their own little container. He loved how “different” this was, and he actually ate every single grape. I’m going to try this with all different fruits and see if I can get him to try other varieties than just apples and grapes ;-)

Reusing Yogurt Containers

I’m always saving things. It drives The Daddy crazy, but at least now I have a closet that houses everything and keeps it out of the way!

One of the things I just can’t bear to throw away are those big yogurt containers. They seem just perfect for holding “stuff,” especially since they come with a lid! I have 8 of them that house beads, paint brushes, etc., but I also have about 6 of them stored and waiting to be used. Just the other day came up with a good use for one of them, and I wanted to share.

Cleaning the gravel of our fish tank! The usual stainer I have used to let some gravel slip through and get in the sink, and I’d have to try to dig it out of the drain. Buy using the yogurt container, I was able to make the holes on the bottom any size I wanted, and I didn’t have any loose gravel at all.

All it took was a pair of scissors, and I was in business. Five crisscross cuts later, the gravel went in, got rinsed, and then it got dumped back into the tank. Best of all, I don’t have to take up space storing a strainer just for the fish tank, and I no longer have to worry that someone will use the wrong strainer for our food.

I’ve also used this same idea for straining the liquid from canned black beans and other things like syrupy fruit for baking. It tends to help keep the water pressure from bruising or breaking the food as it presses against the mesh and makes rinsing much easier/gentler :-)

Kumquat Festival

This weekend we attended one of my favorite events in Florida, the Kumquat Festival in Dade City.  It’s the last weekend in January every year, and we’ve been there ever year we’ve been married, except one year when it was raining and cold. You never know how the weather is going to be, so it’s always an adventure!  This weekend we lucked out, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

There were tons of people there, and the kids had a great time. They got free balloons from the Kumquat growers, and both of them got new outfits (out of necessity due to poor planning).  I think their favorite ‘booth’ was the greyhound rescue booth where they were able to hug and pet all the dogs.

If you’re ever in the area during the end of January, I highly recommend this event. You can browse and/or shop, eat, and there’s even kumquat wine to sample.

If you’re looking for reasons to buy local, there are so many!  I am a big advocate of local/organic purchasing, but sometimes it’s hard because I want to lower my carbon foot print yet don’t want to forgo organic and quality… It can be confusing.  I do shop at the grocery store like most people, and I find myself picking up produce there just for the convenience factor.  I then leave the store wanting to kick myself because I truly dislike the quality and the price of most produce at the ‘big stores,’ not to mention the fact that I hate the pesticides and fossil fuel it takes to package/ship the products.

I do take the family to Bearss Groves , which is a local fresh produce market near me.  I love it because they have friendly people who work there, it’s clean, and the produce is fresh.  Every time I go there I’m happy because I know I’ve “done good” for the environment, but today I was also reminded how much I love it there because of the price!  I got 3 different kinds of grapes (one was a huge bin of organic!), 2 kinds of plums, zucchini, bananas, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 kinds of apples, green beans, sugar snap peas, apricots, brussel sprouts, and eggs.  In my head I thought out what it would be at the grocery store, and I’m sure it would have been over $55… I got it all for $31!  That’s amazing!

I know everyone is looking to save money any way they can, and I wholeheartedly believe that shopping local can help.  No only will it save you money, but it’s also something you can feel good about too.  How many things can you say that about nowadays?

Yesterday was overcast and dreary here, and we were (are) expecting a tropical depression to move over the state today. I decided to work on my garden a bit because I want it to be more of a garden for kids to enjoy rather than one they aren’t allowed in, and I thought it would be a good activity for The Younger to be involved in while The Older was at school.

As you can see, the garden sort of got away from me. Admittedly, it needed work when we moved in, but obviously I never did said work, and it turned into The Mighty Jungle.

I knew I basically had to take everything out that was dead or unidentifiable and trim back the rest. Since the pepper plants did have some peppers on them, I gave The Younger a bag, and she became the keeper of the vegetables.

This did not last long. As usual, she got her own idea and ran around the yard finding ‘clues’ (i.e. broken twigs, leaves, a Brillo pad (?), some rocks) and putting them safely in the bag. It worked out, actually, because I got to rip out a lot of ‘stuff’ that she would have yelled at me for tossing if she had been right there with me.

When she came back from her adventure, mystery apparently solved, she was thrilled with the one plant left standing in the back of the plot. She spent a good 15 minutes patting the soil around it, smelling the leaves, and pronouncing it “her” plant.

I am anticipating a lot of time in the garden, and I’m thrilled. I hope to turn it into a whole-family project so we can all learn about this style of gardening. I know The Older loves it; at the old house I had a hydroponic system that he loved helping me with.

This will be new to us, planting in the dirt, and I think it will be fun to see where it takes us!