Archive for June 2012


4th of July Table Decor

4th of July Table Decor

I’ve just uploaded a few posts I had written elsewhere with some table decorations I’ve done for the last few holidays. I’ve got a large glass jar that I found at Walmart back in January that I like to change out with different things to reflect whichever holiday is coming up next.

In February, I used pink and white candy corns for Valentine’s Day. For March I used split peas for St. Patrick’s Day, and in April I used a few bags of jelly beans for Easter.

4th of July Table Decor

For the last few holiday-less months I’ve just filled up the jar with two bags of dried northern beans and one bag of dried red kidney beans and plopped it on the table for something to look at.

But while eating dinner the other night the thought struck me that it would be really easy to transform it into a quick 4th of July jar, and when Mike went to a home improvement store this morning I asked him to pick me up a few paint sample cards in dark blue (he got me red, too, but I didn’t need it). Don’t go too crazy — you only need a few. If you don’t feel comfortable using paint cards, construction paper will work too.

4th of July Table Decor

I free-handed a few stars out of the paint chips and slid them down into the jar in front of the beans. Voila! A craft easy enough for even me to do.


Crockpot Greek Yogurt, Redux

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

Several months ago I wrote about making my own Greek yogurt in the crockpot. Since then, I’ve made a batch weekly, and have adapted things a bit to work better for me.

I’m reposting with my streamlined method both as a reference for myself (so I can get rid of my ratty notes) and because Mike’s coworkers have demanded to know where he’s getting the yogurt he eats every morning, and he wants to send them here (hi guys!).

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Tomato Update

Why does it seem like such a chore to write during the summer? I don’t mean to let an entire week go between updates but that seems harder to avoid during summer break. I think I did the same thing last year, too.

Anyway, I thought I’d do an update on the tomatoes, which still seem to be going strong.

Despite the main stem of the Sweet 100s — the part closest to the planter — turning a sickly yellow, the far-flung branches are still a pretty green and are still producing fruit and blossoms. We had a caterpillar issue last month but we’ve sprayed it and haven’t seen anything since, though it may still be affecting it. I suspected blight but it doesn’t look like those pictures. Either way, our temps are firmly in the 100s now so I think overall it’s still doing really well.

Sadly, we’ve all but given up on the beefsteaks. We’ve had several that have made it to a beautiful deep red with a decent size, but you flip it over and they’ve all got blossom end rot or the tops around the vine end are splitting. Mike has a coworker that also grows tomatoes and he says he’s never been able to grow any of the big varieties here.

So, we’ve considered taking out the beefsteak and giving the Sweet 100s some more room, but at the same time I think the beefsteak is providing some support, so we’re just going to wait and see. Next year we’re going to do a bigger cherry tomato variety (the Sweet 100s are great, but they’re tiny) and try some Roma tomatoes.