Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pink Pyrex

We were completely out of school (and house) snacks yesterday so I decided to make some cookies.  This house loves gingersnaps and so I began the process.  1/2 way through I remembered that I could have used my mix master, but I needed to work on my arm muscles anyway :)

What made the whole process more enjoyable was this:

My "new" Pink Pyrex mixing bowl at least brought a smile to my face as I baked.  I have the set in turquoise, but was excited when I found this pink one right before Christmas.  I had to buy it and told the kids it was their gift to me :)

I can feel this Pyrex bug catching on.  The colors are just so pretty compared to what I can find now at kitchen stores.

Oh, and the cookies are all gone already :(  How in the world did 50's housewives cope with baking cookies/snacks EVERY day! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A TRUE 50's Housewife

When my husband and I bought this farm, we were the first family to live on this property who weren't related to the original owner.  This farm was at least a 5 generation farm, meaning it was passed on from son to son until it was sold to us.  The good news is that my husband knew this family very well and when we bought the farm they were all happy it was us taking over the homestead.

The house itself is a beautiful brick house with a lot of character, but it needed a lot of upgrading and cosmetic work to make it somewhere I would live (it was ugly inside..just plain 70-80's ugly and I was still longing for city life).  We put all of our savings into making it our home and everyone was amazed at what was done (there was literally no kitchen, just a cubby). for a 100+ year old house, it looks pretty good :)

The owners before us came to see it when we were in the final stages and were very impressed (and jealous at the kitchen lol) but his mom, who was here during the 50's, was living in a nursing home and not very mobile.  I saw her at her son's funeral and she said how she would very much like to see the house again, see what we did and just see the house she raised her children in.  I whole heartily agreed and we said we would work out a time to get her here (she was in her 90's).

Well, it was said, but never done, and she passed away on Friday.  As soon as I heard I instantly thought "I never brought her back here".  Honestly I was afraid of cleaning up the pile of toys and making sure the house looked as good as it should for her.  She was a true 50's housewife who I am sure kept this house spotless, her boys were fed home made meals (and dessert) and this house was run as efficiently as possible.

At the funeral there were pictures of our house from back in the day, and to see what it looked like in the black and white photo's was amazing.  Gone were the bad sponge painted walls and instead was true 40's/50's wallpaper.  The kitchen (although small) had this beautiful tile and 50's charm.  There was a photo of her feeding a baby in what is now our dining room and I just though "wow, there were two generations after that and now I'm feeding my baby in that same room".  It just gave such a sense of history.  Even if it isn't our family's history, it is a part of it.  Who knew this rural life would catch up with me :)

So here's to you Mrs. H. a true 50's Housewife.

 I hope if you are smiling from above you will excuse the pile of toys :) 

Monday, January 3, 2011

EASY Rice Pudding

Rice pudding has always been something I don't understand.  Who exactly was the first person to look at short grain rice and think "hmm..I should turn this into a pudding type dish that diners and housewives can make easily and affordibly"?  I'm sure it actually originates in Italy or some more glamourous place than here, but regardless it is something my husband really enjoys.

Growing up there was an amazing restaurant that we would frequent.  It had amazing Greek food and every day fare, but if you ordered the daily special, you know you were getting rice pudding as dessert.  I never took them up on that offer because it seemed like a horrible combination of food ingredients and I was picky.  When my husband first came with me to the restaurant on a trip home, he was delighted to enjoy both rice puddings!  So I silently vowed that someday (this was over 7 years ago) I would make it for him.

Well Sunday was that day.  I found a simple recipe and decided to follow it.  I'm glad to say it actually turned out!!  Someday I hope to bake it in this lovely 8x8 pyrex dish if I'm so lucky to find it locally ...but for now I'll admire it at this etsy store.

Classic Rice Pudding

Prep time 5min  Total 1 hour 20 min

1/2 vanilla bean, or 2tsp vanilla
1 cup uncooked short-grain rice (arborio)
3 cups homogonized milk
1 cup 35% cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup golden raisens (optional)
zest of 1 lemon

PREHEAT oven to 325F.  Split vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds.  Stir rice with milk, cream, vanilla seeds or vanilla, sugar and raisins in an 8x8"baking or casserole dish.

BAKE in centre of oven, stirring halfway through, until rice is tender, about 65 min.  Remove pudding to a rack and stir in lemon zest.  Let stand for 10 min.  Mixture will look runny, but it will thicken as it stands.

I only had homogonized milk so I didn't add the cream, used reg vanilla, and was out of lemons so I just used lemon juice.  Still turned out great!

See...I'm slowly domesticating myself...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Retro Christmas Review!

Happy New Year Everyone!

OK, I know I should be posting a New Year type post but I wanted to share my Retro Christmas with everyone before I start packing up and putting it away for the year.  Today is our clean up day so I wanted to admire things one more time.

The Merry Christmas sign I found at an antique store in a nearby small town.  It was ridiculously priced at $8 but I put it in our wreath on the front door and it made me smile every time I entered.

This Nativity Scene was actually my husbands grandmothers.  When they were moving her into the new retirement home it was in the "toss"pile.  I fell in love with it and had to salvage it.  I also got one of her Christmas tablecloths and it really started this whole "retro"theme.  Sorry for the lousy photo.  I'll learn.

This was the "kids tree".  I had it decorated in matching blue and pink balls for a while, but we always have a tree for the kids to hang their decorations on every year.  They LOVED the fact that it was shiny and different this year.  We found it at an antique store in town about an hour away.  At $60 it was the most we paid for anything this year, but we HAD to have it :)  I'm going to keep an eye out for a color wheel this year in my journeys!

Bubble lights!! I was so excited when I found these.  Retro fans know all about these but I had not heard of them until this year.  I realize mine are not "true"40's or 50's..I'm guessing more late 60's but its what I found and what I could afford.  We only had one strand but loved to turn them on (they were one a separate circuit because they got very hot, very quickly) We also had vintage glass balls and that garland was given to me from a local junk store (in original packaging) for free! We also had glow in the dark icicles on there that we found for 10 cents!  Best deal of the year!

This was our only disappointment :(  Actually it started out as a great find.  We had a whole bag of those crystal bulbs that we got for only 30 cents!  But when I went to find a cord to put them in it didn't turn out for us.  I DID find an original box with cord and was soooo happy! But the cord has a short in it somewhere and it didn't work :(  My dad is an electrician and tested all the bulbs and cord for me and told me there was no hope :(  So in spite of our best efforts they didn't light up this Christmas... maybe next year.

Well I will start the take down process soon.  It makes me a little sad since we had so much fun with it this year.  I did manage to find some vintage treasures that will become a part of our everyday life.  But I'll share those another day :)

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New Resolutions

Well I have managed to completely neglect this poor blog.  I have thought about it many times but then think "there is no one who cares to read what nonsense I am thinking about at this very moment".  Which is why I completely stay away from Twitter :)

With the New Year quickly approaching I should be reflecting on the year past and making plans and resolutions for the year to come... but I'm not.  I'm tired. I will probably be asleep when 2011 shows up.  My youngest refuses to sleep (an ailment that her elder siblings possessed when they were younger too) and I just try to get through the day until I can get what little rest I can :)

So in the spirit of the day I will try my best at this moment to fulfill my New Years duties and do what 93% of the country is doing right now (besides drinking, and this is a stat I made up in my very tired head) and come up with some resolutions.

1.  Start eating healthier and squeezing in some "me"(aka exercise) time.  Now that my youngest is 1, I can't blame it on baby weight anymore :) 

2.  Be a nicer mom :)  Since I just scolded my middle child for nonsense that really truly is just who she is.  She thinks with the side of the brain that I must have let die in Business School.  My husband calls her my payback since I doubt we will ever truly understand each other, but get along just the same.

3. Live a simpler life.  Money will be tight this year.  It is a fact I am aware of and need to make the best of it.  I was not raised with any culinary or life skills.  I have had to muddle my way through this adulthood thing the best I can.  Living in this area has made it worse since I am convinced all girls are taken aside and told how to cook, clean and act like a housewife when they are 10.  Now its my turn. 

4.  Save the planet.  Well, I'll do my part :)  Actually we are pretty "green"around here already, but everyone can do a little more I guess :)

5.  Start Blogging!  Who cares if no one wants to read it... I'll type anyway!  Actually I think this blog will start a new direction (or an actual direction since it doesn't have one) and chronicle my simple life in this rural hell area. 

6.  Accept the fact that they won.  Yes "they"... everyone out here who knew I'd crack and conform to their ways :)  I draw the line at canning my own garden..but I know this year I will be chronicling things that I swore I'd never do.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!  Actually I hope every day is wonderful!  We deserve it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Season

Wow, what a neglectful blogger I am :(  Life has been busy with various activities and family trips that have been a great time had by all!

During all of this chaos Christmas has been slowly creeping up on us though!  Every year we have a theme in our house.  I have found that this is the best way to get everyone excited for Christmas without completely focusing on toys and presents.  Its a great family activity that gets everyone involved.

This year we are doing a "Retro 50's Christmas"! Which sounds semi-simple enough.  I would think that there are a lot of old Christmas decorations to be found in thrift stores or flea markets that would be easy to find.  Not so much.  We have lucked out with many cool things (like our 60s aluminum tree!!) but others have been hard to come by.  Basically we are buying nothing "new"though.  Everything has to be vintage or used or just old :)  Nothing from Wal-mart etc.  So far the kids have really gotten into it.

I will post some pictures soon!  We will hopefully start our decorating journey soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Window Cleaning

Ok, so most blogs have adorable theme postings based on a certain day of the week.  I'm hoping I didn't "take"the Wednesday Wisdom title, I came up with it at 2am when I was awake with my youngest who has a horrible cold right now.  If I did, I truely apologize and meant no harm.  Imitation is the best form of flattery is it not? (even if it is unintentional :)

For today's post I thought I would let everyone (if anyone is actually out there lol) know that you CAN actually clean your mirrors and windows with newspaper! 

Yes, I know that "tip"has been around forever, but I was leary of it and didn't believe it myself.  But I found myself without paper towels (we never use them in this house, have switched to napkins, cloths etc instead) and needed to clean my windows.  I have been using this window cleaning device I bought at the local dollar store that looks like a squeege but actually has a washable microfibre cloth on it.  It didn't work well.

So, with a housefull of people coming for a batism and birthday party I thought I'd try this newspaper tip I had heard about.  I used the plain insert that seperates the flyers from the actual news in the weekend paper and WOW!  I couldn't believe it!  No streaks, no spots, no dirt!  It worked great!  We can see through our picture window without any cloudy obstruction :)

SO...if you need to clean your windows or mirrors, finish reading your morning paper with your coffee or tea and then pick up your cleaner and get to it!  You will be surprised at the results!