I'm writing this on the day before Easter, the last day of Lent. This should be the last day of fasting and self-discipline, the day I'm preparing to resurrect the Maundy Thursday leftovers in a festive reception to follow the overwhelmingly inspiring Easter Vigil service, the middle of a weekend of seeing friends and family … Continue reading The Longest Lent
Old televisions and old computer monitors are things we've all had to deal with recently, as we Earthlings make the transition from cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays to high-tech flat screens. By local standards, my family was very late to replace our television, but I bet that some parts of the world still have a lot … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Television Recycling Edition
Years ago, Daniel and I made friends with this guy named Vinnie who lived in one of the apartments over the garages behind the cluster of rowhouses where we were living at the time. His apartment was small and shabby, but he'd chosen it because it had a large yard, and he loved gardening. In … Continue reading That Time I Bought Ladybugs by Mail
Don't give up on using the kitchen tool that is really appropriate for the job because the baby is sleeping in the dining room. Don't make the series of mistakes that made our dinner an hour late!
This is a guest post by Ben Stallings, my brother, who is a permaculture gardener, home energy efficiency auditor, and owner of a curbside recycling business in Kansas. I spent most of my spare time in 2011 rewiring our 1920 house, replacing the old knob & tube wiring with modern nonmetallic cable that meets code. … Continue reading 10 Lessons Learned from Rewiring an Old House
This past Sunday, we brought the food for church coffee hour. In addition to carrots, spinach dip, hummus, cheese, and crackers, my son wanted to bring brownies. Things Not To Do When Baking Brownies: Don't agree to do it in between two hours-long shopping expeditions, on a day when you are still recovering from a … Continue reading How to Salvage Over-baked Brownies
THIS IS A THOUGHT YOU MUST NEVER THINK: Hey, it's really great how I am focusing on my work, not like last Friday when I got "Total Eclipse of the Heart" stuck in my head and couldn't get rid of it and it was driving me nuts. Forever's gonna start tonight! has taken on a … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Song in Your Head Edition
By "temporary shoplifting" I mean "walking out of a store with merchandise you have not paid for, then realizing and voluntarily returning to the store to pay for it." Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but here are some Things Not To Do if you want to avoid the risk that this almost-crime will get the … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Temporary Shoplifting Edition
First, here is a good thing to do if you use credit cards: Arrange for an automatic payment, equal to the minimum amount you charge to that card in a typical month, to be electronically transferred from your bank account on a day before the payment is due. That way, if the e-mail reminding you … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Electronic Fund Transfer Edition
Here are the previous 7. These are things I really like. I am not affiliated with any of the companies, and I was not asked to write these reviews or compensated in any way. 1. Pentel Clic Eraser. This handy desk accessory, which I use every day both at home and at work, solves the … Continue reading 7 More Product Recommendations
Attention, readers: The tone of this article is exaggerated for humor value. Although it does describe a potentially serious side-effect of watching a program that I personally find unbearably irritating, not every detail is intended literally. If you feel angry after reading it, please take a deep breath and step away from the screen. Comments … Continue reading Why my child is not allowed to watch Teletubbies
That's strange; I thought Works-for-Me Wednesday this week was supposed to be a "What's not working for you?" edition, but the hostess has explained how to make a burlap wreath that apparently works for her, and now that I think about it, last week she explained why online calendars don't work for her. I must … Continue reading The Magic Bullet does NOT work for me!
Don't cook cantaloupe. Most other kinds of fruit can be cooked and will still taste good, maybe even better. Cooking is an ideal way to use scraps or fruit that's too old to eat fresh. But not if it's cantaloupe. Cooking makes cantaloupe fragrant in a bad way. It doesn't smell like food anymore. It's … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Cooked Fruit Edition
There is a piece of advice missing from my article on credit card sanity. That's because, at the time I wrote it, I had never allowed myself to be talked into applying for a store's credit card at the cash register. I have now had this experience and learned why it is a Thing Not … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Credit Card Edition
Don't start a To Be Filed pile. I mean, you can make such a pile temporarily, when you're opening the mail and paying bills and such, and then get up and file everything in that pile as soon as you're done--that's a fine strategy. What you must avoid is making a pile of things you … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Home Organizing Edition
from storyteller Fran Stallings (Becca's mom), a story horrifyingly similar to the tale of the Fruity Whip While our kitchen is being renovated, we've set up camp in the main bathroom, which we have equipped with electric skillet, small microwave, and toaster oven. Electric kettle and toaster are on the dinette table, which is camping … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Dessert Edition, Volume II
A while back, I got into an online discussion on the topic, "What's the grossest thing you've done to help the environment?" started by someone who thought it was really, really gross that she had swished her smelly dish towels in a mixture of hot water, vinegar, and tea tree oil with her bare hands, … Continue reading What’s the grossest thing you’ve done to help the environment?
If you need to use a lot of Liquid Paper (or other brand of white-out or correction fluid) in a short time, particularly if it is the variety that says FAST DRY on the label, you will soon find that it is all gummy and impossible to spread and it seems like there isn't any … Continue reading Important tip for Liquid Paper users
If you are going to be leaning into the oven to check whether the Honey Baked Lentils and Raisin Bran Bread are done yet, don't wear a metal necklace. If you already did it once and experienced a disturbing burning sensation everywhere the front portion of the necklace was touching your skin, don't try it … Continue reading Things Not To Do, Oven Safety Edition
Do not wash your hair with coffee grounds. I don't care if you read on the Internet that doing this will give your brunette hair beautiful softness and luster, in addition to making use of something that otherwise would be garbage. This is not a good idea. Here's why: The process of applying coffee grounds … Continue reading Things Not To Do, Hair Care Edition