Get your Dawn Scarab T-shirt today!

Daniel recently started using a small digital picture frame as an alarm clock, to help him slay the snooze-button sloth by awakening him with a glowing image as well as music.  (Yes, this picture frame plays an MP3.  As a picture frame, it’s absurdly fancy.  As an alarm clock, it’s pretty cool.)  It’s working!!!  He gets up by 6:20 and makes the coffee every weekday now!!!

Of course, if you are being awakened by a glowing image, it’s important to have the right image to set your mood.  Daniel made his own.  It is an Egyptian scarab beetle with rainbow wings, holding up a globe of light.  He has now made this beautiful art available on T-shirts, tote bags, and mugs.  Anybody who likes Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover will love it!  Also scarab lovers, rainbow lovers who don’t mind beetles, and people whose favorite shirts were purchased at science-fiction conventions.  (I’m not being silly; I like the T-shirt selection at cons and wish I had more use for T-shirts in my wardrobe!)

If you don’t like the Dawn Scarab, how about the mysterious Double Cat?  This one is, of course, also available on a mouse pad.

FREE Earth-friendly Snack Plates!

Simply wash and reuse those plastic trays from frozen meals.

If you are so environmentally aware and/or thrifty that you never buy frozen meals, I bet you know somebody who does and could ask that person to save some of the plates for you.

Personally, although I try to plan home-cooked meals that we can make in large quantities so we’ll have plenty of leftovers that I can take for my lunch at work–in durable, washable containers, in a cloth lunch bag, with a real fork and a cloth napkin–sometimes I’m not prepared for every single day. Read more…

Tips for a Tiny Kitchen

I saw this article on how to make the most of a small kitchen–with over 200 helpful comments!–and realized I have learned some things about this in my years of making do with smallish kitchens.  The 3 places we’ve lived in the past 15 years all had kitchens under 100 square feet, but we were able to prepare full meals from scratch (and even the occasional elaborate baking project!) in all of them, and we’ve always figured out ways to store the food we stockpile when it’s on sale. Read more…

Spaghetti Sauce, May 7 Version

Well . . . I decided last summer that I was going to write down what I put into every batch of spaghetti sauce, to give better inspiration to readers learning the sauce-making skill set . . . and then for various reasons I didn’t do it with the next 3 batches.  But here’s another one!

This is a very basic one, meaning it tastes like good marinara sauce with nothing unusual about it.  Although it makes use of in-season vegetables, I actually had frozen them before I was ready to make sauce, so this is a variant that could be reproduced any time of year. Read more…

Simple Solution to Six-year-old’s Sleep Situation (coming into parents’ bed)

(I had to add some words that don’t start with S to help search engines find this article!)

Our son is six years old and still kind of wishes Mama would stay with him all the time he’s sleeping.  He understands that grownups don’t need as much sleep as children and have other things to do in the evening, so he long ago accepted that although one of us will lie next to him in his bed until he’s asleep, we then get up and leave him alone until morning.  We’ll come to help him if he has a nightmare, nosebleed, vomiting, etc., but in general he’s been sleeping alone all night since he was about three years old.

That changed about six weeks ago. Read more…

Spring Sale Vegetables for Supper…and Breakfast!

The sale items in the produce departments of our local supermarkets for the last few weeks have included kale, Vidalia onions (at half the typical onion price–must be a bumper crop!), mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.  We have favorite recipes using all of these ingredients, but I came up with a new one on the spur of the moment that was so good that when I saw the leftovers in the refrigerator the next morning, I just could not convince myself to eat anything other than that! Read more…

A family trip to Wheeling, West Virginia

Today is the backwards edition of Works-for-Me Wednesday, when writers get to ask for help, so I’ll start with a question: We are planning to visit New York City this summer.  Our son is six years old.  What are some things we should be sure to see, do, eat, etc.?  I visited my grandparents in New York every summer when I was a kid, so I know what was fun then and know that some of those places still exist, but I know some things have changed since I last visited New York in 1990!  [UPDATES: We did the whole trip by public transit, and indeed, some things have changed.]

Now, on to the topic of my headline, our spring-break visit to Wheeling.  We live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, about an hour and 15 minutes’ drive from Wheeling, but we’d never visited there. Read more…