Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What to do Wednesday? Make Your Garden Bloom Indoors

Need an idea for what to do today? Make your garden bloom indoors. It livens up your home, gives it a lovely scent and no lie, will automatically make you smile :)

This article I borrowed from Woman's Day Magazine, Issue April 17, 2010.

Make You Garden Bloom Indoors
Sonia Day's 5 Easy Steps to Forcing Branches

1. Cut-Look for branches in your yard that have fat flower buds. Use sharp pruning shears to make a cut flush with an adjacent branch.

2. Smash-Once indoors, make a 1"-2" slit in each stem bottom with a sharp knife, then smash the slits with a hammer. This prevents resin from sealing the cut end, and lets water penetrate each branch.

3. Dunk-Remove any lower buds and set the branches in a deep tub of lukewarm water (keeping any remaining buds above the water line) for several hours. This will wash off any extra bits of bark and allow the branches to acclimate to warm, dry indoor air. Transfer them into a vase with at least 6" of lukewarm water.

4. Store-Keep your branches in a cool room (around 60F) and away from bright light so they don't wither. Change the water daily until the buds begin to show color.

5. Enjoy-Bring them out into brighter light, but not direct sun, with fresh water in the vase (change the water every other day). Some branches, like pussy willow, will open up in a few days. Others, like forsythia, witch hazel, lilacs, plums, Siberian dogwood, chokecherries, honeysuckle, flowering almond, apples or crab apples, could take a couple of weeks. The blooms will last about 2 weeks-the cooler the room, the longer they'll keep.

Sonia Day's new book, Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City (Firefly Books, $14.95) is out now.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday! Summer Head-Scratchers

This top ten list was borrowed from Parenting Magazine-Aug 2009 issue:

Top Ten Summer Head-Scratchers

1. You can dip your child in a vat of SPF 70 several times a day, yet she winds up with a Day-Glo pink triangle on her back.

2. They spend 8 hours in the water, but your suggestion of a bath at night is an abomination.

3. There exists a flavor of Popsicle known only as "blue."

4. How one kid in a double bed can wake up covered in mosquito bites and the other is entirely unscathed.

5. No matter how wholesome the sleep-away camp looks in the brochure, your son is returned to you singing dirty lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

6. How your husband gets to be buried in the sand (translation: lie down for an hour), while you have to be the water carrier for the large-scale sand-castle architectural extravaganza.

7. Somehow the best berries for picking are always in the crazy neighbor lady's yard.

8. Why soggy fries and nasty hot dogs taste like the nectar of the gods after a day in the salt air.

9. And then your car smells like puke for the entire first month of school, even after you've cleaned and deodorized it three times.

10. How the summer manages to feel both way too long and waaaay too short at the same time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Money Saving Monday! Save Money Eating Out...

I found an article in allyou Magazine with great ideas on how to save money when you are eating out.

Enjoy your fav restaurant without putting a dent in your wallet...

Many restaurants roll out discounts on food and drinks during happy hour and sometimes they even serve free snacks. If you miss the happy-hour window, share an entree with a friend so you can split the cost.

Don't order wine at restaurants. Enjoy a glass at home with friends before you go out to dinner.

A family of 4 can save money by purchasing 2 meals and splitting them. Between the entrees, bread and an appetizer, you will be quite satisfied.

Frequent sites sach as, the and, which sell restaurant gift certificates at a lower price than the retail value. You can also get great bargains from deal-a-day sites, like

*All You Exclusive!! 25% off gift certificates at Valid June 18-July 31. Use code ALLYOU

Keep a box of restaurant coupons. Inside, put all the deals you get from the internet, newspaper or mail. When it is your turn to pick where to go, flip through the coupons for the best one :)

You will find that sometimes it isn't really worth it to order kids meals if your child doesn't eat much. Give them something from your plate, it is usually just enough. Also stick to water most of the's better for you than soda and, of course, it's free!

Save even more by...

Skipping Dessert: Restaurants mark up sweet treat, which aren't always homemade. The eatery might buy a cake for $11 and charge its customers $6 to $8 per slide. Bake brownies or a pie beforehand, then enjoy dessert at home after dinner.

Staying in on Holidays: Cook at home instead of eating out on Mother's Day, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. Many restaurants raise prices by as much as 20% on those days (and the portions are often smaller, too).

Signing up on a daily deal site: Websites such as and email members about a local discount, and if a certain number of people sign up, they all get the deal. You can find dining coupons for up to 70% off!

Doing online research: Check the websites of your favorite restaurants (both national chains and local places) to learn which days they offer specials such as 25-cent chicken wings on Tuesdays or half-off margaritas on Thursdays.