Another surprise..

A few weeks ago, I surprised my daughter with Oreo, our sweet Netherland dwarf bunny.  Oreo was a little over a year old when we adopted her from the Humane Society of Harford County and she has adjusted to her forever home quite nicely.

This weekend I have a few more surprises planned for my daughter, but since my daughter occasionally reads my blog, I won’t be writing anything here, but I’ll be sure to post photos this weekend!


Cooking Adventures: Mortar and Pestle

Part of the enjoyment I receive from preparing meals is the tools I use. Some are a bit elaborate like my Vitamix blender or my Green Star juicer. I’m guessing some might think my recent purchase of my Presto Pressure Cooker, is an elaborate kitchen appliance also.

But… I do enjoy simple appliances too! One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my manual stainless steel garlic press. It’s sturdy and has been in my possession for over fifteen years. That gets used daily! I love garlic and consume it (nightly) raw since it’s so good for your body. Another simple appliance is my stainless steel hand hammered wok. I’ve had that since I was in college. That was over twenty years ago.

For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to invest in a really nice mortar and pestle, but I kept holding off since I couldn’t find one that I really liked. When choosing a kitchen appliance here are a few things that I find appealing.

  • Durability
  • Ease of use
  • Appearance


Mortar and Pestle - 3 cup
Mortar and Pestle – 3 cup

Simple enough, but at times it can be challenging to find what I want. However with the mortar and pestle my search is finally over… yesterday I found the perfect one for me.

Regarding the mortar and pestle…

I chose granite, since it’s extremely sturdy and is fairly resistant to stain. I also picked a large three cup mortar and pestle. The one I’ll be receiving weighs fifteen pounds. That’s a sturdy bowl! I really won’t have to worry about that breaking from any aggressive grinding I might do, but I will make sure that I don’t drop it on my feet!

Since the mortar is much larger than many of the tabletop varieties that I’ve seen, it broadens my options since it means I can grind a small or much larger amount of ingredients.

Herbs and spices

I have a variety of herbs, spices, sea salt, peppercorn, etc., that are simply waiting to be tested in the mortar and pestle. Even though the simple mortar and pestle will take much longer than my electric grinder, I must say there’s something therapeutic about grinding my food items manually. Even with all my electrical gadgets, I much prefer doing certain kitchen activities at a slower pace. Grinding, would definitely fall under that category.

I’ll be sure to post a few of the things I create…

First on the list is my spice rubs, herbal tea blends, freshly made salad dressings, guacamole and perhaps my homemade mayonnaise. Of course, I’ll review the actual product (eventually) but judging by the countless positive reviews, I highly doubt I’ll be disappointed.

Adventures in Beekeeping: Piling on the honey

Two weekends ago, I actually went inside the Warre hive. The hive is healthy, vibrant and really didn’t pay too much attention to me. This time around, I did something I normally don’t do.

I actually pulled off the first box (filled with comb I might add) and got a closer look at the second box. All I can say is those honeybees are hard workers. Many of the bars were filled with honeycomb! I marveled at how industrious the honeybees were. That excitement brought on some unexpected clumsiness. Can I just say that, I’m hardly ever clumsy, even under pressure. I bumped a bar as I was putting it back inside the Warre hive box. The honeybees immediately let me know they weren’t thrilled about that and rose up in a tiny cloud, only to drop back down inside after realizing I wasn’t a threat… I guess?

So I went to close up the hive and made another mistake. Instead of sliding the box along the length of  the box below I placed it down even with the box below.  Here’s the problem, when you do that the honeybees don’t have a chance to move out of the way and will get crushed if they happen to be along the edge. I thought I had made sure all the honeybees were out of the way, but there were a few stragglers. I crushed about six honeybees. 🙁

When you slide the box along the length of the box below, you give the honeybees a chance to get out of the way.  That’s how I’ve been doing it when checking on them in the past. I could kick myself for doing it the wrong way. I felt awful, in fact I still do. I learned an important lesson, stay alert when interacting with the honeybees.

Knitting Adventures: Wisps of Smoke Ring; lace

This weekend Qianer, co-owner of Hiya Hiya needles, shared a lovely cowl on her Facebook page.

Just to clarify, it’s not one of her designs… besides making those awesome Hiya Hiya needles she’s also an amazing knitting designer! But, her “FaceBook Share” clued me into another amazing fiber artist. That share, came at the right time, since I’d been looking for knitted cowl pattern.

Knitting Wisps of Smoke Ring by Jackie Schweitzer
Wisps of Smoke Ring by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer

Although I came across numerous designs, thanks to the amazing Ravelry site, I didn’t find any that I wanted to make, until I saw the Wisps of Smoke Ring by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer. The pattern costs $6.50. I ran into an issue trying to download it via Ravelry, but I left a message on Jackie’s page, and she quickly fixed that issue. With customer service like she offered, I’ll be sure to purchase more of her designs in the future.

Oh by the way, Jackie has a few websites; Heartstrings Fiber Arts is where her knitted designs are featured. You can also find her writing at Knit Heart Strings where it appears she occasionally has giveaways. Taking Time to Smell the Roses is her personal website, although she doesn’t write as much there, I’ve found some great entries such as this fascinating post on grinding your own corn.

Last evening, I finally got around to printing out the pattern casting on with my size 7″ Hiya Hiya Steel Steel Sharp circular knitting needles. The good news, is the pattern is easy to read. If you know how to knit (k), pearl (p), pearl two together (p2tog) , and yarn over (yo), you too can make this pattern! Since I only had a little bit of time, so I only managed to complete three rows, but I’m looking forward to knitting this lovely cowl. The good news is, that I already know who’ll be receiving this item. I’ll try to post pictures sometime soon.

I’m pleased to say that the majority of my handcrafted items for upcoming holidays; birthdays and Christmas, are completed for the year. I definitely don’t make items for everyone, but there are a few special people in my life that truly appreciate the quality of hand-crafted items.


Photo Source: Ravelry; Wisps of Smoke Ring

Furbaby Adventures: She feels fine…

I’m happy to say that Oreo seems on her way to making a complete recovery from her spay surgery. I’ve taken pictures of how she looked on the day that I picked her up, and have taken pictures of the actual scar.

I’ll be sure to post a post spay care guide (along with pictures) someday soon. My daughter and I just got finished playing with her and Angel the guinea pig. Mr. Bentley, our Shih Tzu, wasn’t included since he was doing much more important things (sleeping.)