Friday, December 20, 2013

photo gift tags.

Make your Christmas gift tags with photos of your loved ones!  Simple as that.  Just cut or punch a photo of the recipient and attach to the gift.  An added bonus is that little children who cannot yet read can proudly distribute the presents.

This year I grabbed photos from 2006 and 2007 because that seems to be the last time that I printed my photos.*  I just went to the "extras" pile and had some fun.  I have already heard complaints of "why did you use that photo of me?" which only adds to the fun! Ho Ho Ho.

*Not printing real photographs is about to change for me! More about that later.  #revisedmemorykeeping for 2014!

holiday greetings!

You know that Mother Rabbit loves the tradition of sending holiday greetings!  My mother started this grand tradition back in 1962.  Now it is in my blood.

Like this classic from 1967.

Here is a simple idea for displaying holiday cards that arrive in your mailbox.  String a festive ribbon or garland across a large mirror, and attach the cards with miniature clothespins.  The mirror background works well because so many of the photo cards today have images on the front & back.  My photo card garland happens to be in the bathroom, so guests can be entertained when they wash their hands.

Of course you could string your cards across a cupboard, mantle or staircase as well. 

And remember, there is nothing wrong with sending your holiday greeting late... Mother Rabbit is amused by how many people thank her for sending her cards later when they have time to read & appreciate them.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

sawdust pie for thanksgiving.


If I composed a list of Mother Rabbit's favorite tried & true recipes, Sawdust Pie would make the Top Ten List.  It is an exciting cousin of Pecan Pie, but more intriguing.  Simple to make and more fool-proof than traditional pecan pie, Sawdust Pie is more fun to invite to the party.  You can make a game out of guessing what the interesting ingredients are.  Most guests probably won't guess the graham cracker crumbs or the coconut, but chances are all your guests will love it.

The first time I had this unique pie was at Patti's Restaurant in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.  You can serve it warm or chilled, but they topped it with real whipped cream and sliced bananas which continues to be the way I love to serve it.

If you are looking for something a bit different for your Thanksgiving table, give Sawdust Pie a try.

Mother Rabbit's Sawdust Pie

7 egg whites, unbeaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups coconut
9 inch pie shell

Mix all ingredients together and stir by hand.  I use the Cuisinart on the graham crackers, pecans and coconut to insure Small "sawdust-like" pieces.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake in preheated 325 degree oven until glossy and set (about 45 minutes).  Serve warm with sliced bananas and fresh whipped cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

the 8.5 hour beauty tip.

Mother Rabbit's very first post on May 12, 2010 was about the importance of getting your sleep.  And guess what?  You are going to hear it again.

Back in 2010,  my initial post included these words:

I am convinced that the reason that many people are grouchy, unhappy, cranky, dull, bitter, discontent, and have bad attitudes or the blahs is from not getting enough sleep. I think most of the world lives sleep deprived.

I want you to remember to always get your sleep.

Next time you can't think of ten things to be thankful for in two minutes, ask yourself "How much sleep did I get last night?"

Very recently while perusing a fashion magazine, I honed in on an article about the new book Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance by Tish Jett.  Guess what one of the secrets is?  GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP. 

While Americans tend to pride themselves on functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep, French women understand that sleep repairs the body and minimizes the aging effects of stress.  (Remember how Mike's oncologist Dr. Bruce Haughey told us that the body heals while it is sleeping?  Our healing hormones are released only when we sleep - confirmed by world-renowned cancer surgeon and by a fashion magazine. Smile.)

Ponder this fun fact: The French sleep about 8.5 hours a night, according to a 2011 study by Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, while a 2013 study by the National Sleep Foundation shows that Americans average closer to 6.5 hours.

Mother Rabbit is going to say it again - Make getting a full and restful night's sleep a priority.  The benefits are far reaching, but include a thankful heart, happier outlook and prettier skin!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

icing on the cake.

I make it a point to not post the same things on my different blogs.     I am making an exception.

 INSPIRED HOME OMAHA magazine wrote about our home in the November-December 2013 issue that will be delivered to subscribers this week, and went online at the Inspired Home Omaha web site this weekend. We are humbled and giddy all at the same time.  This truly felt like icing on the cake for our house project.

Editor Chris Christen was gracious to feature us in her opening editorial on Page 6, and our article entitled "A Big House on the Prairie Gets a Loving Restoration" is on Pages 50-57. Use the link below to take a peek!

Chris and I went to grade school and high school together. We rekindled our friendship over this process which has made this whole wonderful ordeal even more magical.

 Chris & Karen in Third Grade - Oakland Elementary School
Chris & Karen in 2013

It was great fun to see that Chris included 22 add'l photos on the Inspired Home Omaha web site. You can view them by clicking on the Amazing Spaces / More Photos (22) link.

We really feel honored by the magazine article. Mike said "It feels like a fitting capstone to this project, and I feel that we experienced God's Grace by even getting the house done."  I started the Our Big House On The Prairie blog back in 2010 as a place to encourage Mike with the progress he was making on the house. Back when there was so much yet to do that you could easily forget that you had done anything!  Magic happened when readers followed us, and cheered us along the way with their loving comments & encouragement. 

While you are on the Inspired Home web site, I recommend you click on the SUBSCRIBE tab. For just $9.99 per year you can have this fabulous magazine delivered to your doorstep - 6 beautiful issues. As you can see, it is a gorgeous magazine chock-full of ideas & inspiration, published right here in the heartland.

Guess what else?  Mother Rabbit has been asked to contribute ideas & articles for the magazine.  If you look closely, you will see a couple things that I comtributed in this issue.  Chris is a real dear to allow me to be a small part of her amazing creative team.

Friday, November 1, 2013

the bathroom basket.

Mother Rabbit believes that every bathroom should come equipped with two things (besides toilet paper.)  Flushable wipes and a sturdy box of matches.

The flushable wipes need no explanation.  Matches are the best natural odor-eater you can find.  Light a match after you have finished your business, and no one will know what you have been up to.  It is easy, clean, and works like magic.

How?  It is the sulphur dioxide that is produced when you burn a match.  It turns out that our scent receptors are very sensitive to sulphur dioxide, and it saturates the smell receptors which inhibit our ability to smell 'other things'.   If you asked me, it seems to just absorb the odors right out of the air.
You will never find Mother Rabbit wanting to spray a chemical mist into a room that seems more toxic than what you are trying to hide.  You know what I mean.  If you are in a situation with no matches to be found and a cover-up is necessary, you have to stop inhaling - spray - and run from the room before the other nasty smell gets you.  So far, I have never fainted before exiting the room and deep breaths could revive me.

Gift yourself - and your bathrooms - with these handy items.  You (and your family) will thank me!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

katie amend jewelry.

I couldn't be more tickled to announce the launch of Katie Amend Jewelry... just in time for holiday gift giving. 

Mother Rabbit lovingly calls Katie her adopted daughter.  She was the little girl from across the street when we moved to Dallas, and within hours of moving into our Stanford Avenue house,  Katie became Abby's best friend and one of my bunnies.

Please check out where you will find "stuff you can throw on with a white T-shirt or wear to a cocktail party".

A new mommy, Katie launched this new business because "nap time is craft time".  She has found a perfect creative outlet while her darling son Crawford snoozes.  Katie lives in Houston, Texas with her darling husband Cullen.  As well as being the leading car on the fashion train, Katie is also my go-to-girl for everything related to technology.  This girl's skill set is expansive!  And I couldn't be more proud of her.

A little jewelry story from Mother Rabbit:
Anyone who knows Katie has been admiring her jewelry choices for years.  She has a way of picking things out -  layering jewelry pieces - and putting things together that we all want to emulate!  Several years ago, my daughter Abby and Katie, along with another darling friend Ashlea headed to the isle of Capri.  These girls certainly had the adventures!  But my favorite giggles come from the stories of the almost 10 pounds of jewelry that Katie brought with her - and of course, couldn't live without on the trip.  The goods in "The Jewelry Bag" were shared by all the girls.  Their photos are evidence.  But the funny stories happened because Katie couldn't even carry her own bags up and down the ancient winding stairways around the city "because she packed so much jewelry".  Unfortunately, but fortunately for Katie, my Abby's bag got lost - and she became Katie's personal Sherpa. 

Every time I see Katie, she has a layered bracelet collection on her wrist that is so thoughtful & clever I want to steal it.  Part of the magic of her jewelry collection is the ability to wear the pieces in fanciful combinations.

Katie is a gem of a girl, and I hope you enjoy viewing her newest adventure.

knee bender.

In the spirit of Reformation Day, October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther made a courageous stand for the gospel - I am posting this story about another brave man who made history, and quietly stood alone doing it.

What were the first liquid and food consumed on the moon?

Article by Eric Metaxas:
 Forty-three years ago two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. "I'm talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine.
And a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting him myself. I asked him about it and he confirmed the story to me, and I wrote about in my book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask).

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his minister to help him. And so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth's orbit and on to the surface of the moon. He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:
"This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. Here is his own account of what happened: "In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me.  In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup.  Then I read the scripture, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit ..Apart from me you can do nothing."
"I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly.
"I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility.  It was interesting for me to think the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.
And of course, it 's interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon - and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the "Love that moves the Sun and other stars."
A true knee bender.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

dressing your house for the season.

Since we all like to spruce up our wardrobe with the change of seasons, don't we owe our house the same courtesy?  Mother Rabbit recommends that you carve yourself a little "outfit change" budget for your home several times per year - maybe spring, fall and Christmas.  I am not talking about a total-makeover-sort-of-thing.  I am talking about adding a few seasonal accessories for interest - and for fun.

For inspiration, you might want to peruse some magazines or explore Pinterest.  I personally make a visit to my local Pottery Barn store to see what they doing with the current season.  I never cease to be inspired about something, and I like when it mixes and matches with what I already have around.  I have decided that I am "giving myself permission" to spend x-amount of $ dollars every season, and it is not as much as you might think.  The point is, whatever your budget, slowly build a great collection with your seasonal purchases.

Just for fun, I will show you what I did for Spring and Fall this year...  For starters, I stand back and view my living spaces.  What am I tired of? What looks tired? What would make this room feel like Spring (or Fall) was approaching?  What inspiring thing did I just see that I would like to try?  These are all questions you might ask.  Then, I just start moving stuff around and playing.  I actually "pretend" that I am a decorator and know what I am doing!  I ask myself 'what would Shelli Holechek try?'  And sometimes it works.  I just move and play and try things until it feels right.

Here is the "change of clothes" that happened at my house this SPRING...

 For the most part I just moved things around for a fresh look, and pulled out all the glassware I could find because the clean & sparkle said "fresh season ahead"...

 My favorite seasonal purchase was pears.  A dozen fresh looking pears.  They are from Pottery Barn and look so real that I am still tempted to check. 

 The fun about Spring is that you can have fresh flowers straight out of your yard for a blast of color.

I also purchased new pillow covers for the sofa.  Washable ones.  Because in the spring & summer, sometimes sweaty kids plop down on the sofa.  This pattern from Pottery Barn was in the bed linen section, but I couldn't resist the yummy print.  The pears and this bold & cheery print made the house seem ready to welcome the new season.

And this FALL...

It was as easy as adding pumpkins for some fabulous fall color.  I like to use real pumpkins.  They make fabulous 'fake' pumpkins now, but I think it is hard to store them without getting them beat up.  There is something about having the real fruit of the vine that shouts "Happy Fall to All!"

Out with the summery pears, in with the cool heirloom pumpkin!

My seasonal 'plurge' this fall was the pumpkin pillows for the sofa.  I love them, and the warm fall-feel they brought to the room.  I went into the PB store with my $25 off your $50 purchase coupon, and walked out with the pumpkin pillow covers.

No one can properly decorate for fall without a fall scented candle.  This one is my new favorite:  Yankee Candle Salted Caramel.

Again, I moved stuff around and did this in the dining room.  I dug through some old fall decor and found the 'vintage vine' that I wrapped around the candle inside the hurricane.  Then I spotted the fall leaf boughs (in corner in mercury glass) that I found on super-sale two summers ago in Dallas at PB.  The very large leafy stems were originally priced at $49.50 each, now priced for clearance in the middle of the summer at $1.99 each.  I blew for three.  Just tickled I remembered I had them!

In the kitchen, I started with an antique wooden bowl where I placed gourds that I grew in my own garden.  Then a added a squash from Hannah's garden, and some finds from walks with the grand kids.  My fall decorations make me smile.

It is not too late to give a room a 'change of clothes' for fall!  Pick one corner of your house and help it shout "Fall is here and it feels so good."  You might surprise yourself with the festive flair you can add with a pumpkin and a candle, even on a shoestring budget. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

store them clean.

Since I like to sleep with the bedroom windows flung wide open, I woke up this morning with the down comforter fluffed all the way up around my face.  The 48 degree temperatures might feel toasty come March, but they feel chilly in October!  I woke up with a need to find my sweaters.

Today would be the day that I make the grand switch.  The one where the summer clothes go into storage, and the winter clothes return to the closet.  You get to rediscover how much you love your fall & winter clothes after their storage sabbatical!

Mother Rabbit's message today:
Make sure to store CLEAN clothing.

One of the things that has stuck with me from my Textiles, Clothing & Design degree are two things that can damage fabrics and fibers: 1.) Soap residue  and 2.) Storing clothes with dirt and stains.  Thus, clothing care can be reduced to a rather simple formula.  1.) Make sure to rinse all the soap out of your fabrics and fibers when laundering and 2.) Keep your clothes clean and never, never store them dirty.


A few seasons ago, I purchased four clear zip-up hanging clothing storage bags from Target.  Small thing, but it makes me feel very organized when I move the out-of-season clothing to the small cedar closet in the storeroom when all the bags match.  It creates a real sense of order, and it makes me feel like I am taking good care of the clothes I love and enjoy.  (And because I know it is important to STORE CLEAN, the clothing bags smell clean & fresh too.)  For those items that needed to be dry cleaned at the end of the season, I pop the individual plastic covered items right into my "matching bags".

Back to my closet.  I love the change of textures on my closet shelf after the grand shift.  Bring on the cooler temperatures.  I am ready.

Friday, September 6, 2013

our friend the hedge apple.

If you are fortunate enough to be in supermarket or farmers' market that is selling hedge apples, buy one and discover why it might be your new best friend.  Commonly called hedge apple, the Osage Orange or Maclura Pomifera, is technically a fruit but in the mulberry family, and it is not related to the orange family.  But the reason you want to buy them is for their ability to repel insects and rodents.

While shopping over the weekend in Minnesota, we spotted a basket of the rock-hard balls with the irritating pattern but glorious color.  Next to the basket was a sign that tauted the insect repelling properties.  Then the lady next to Mike happened to mention that they also work on fruit flies.  Sold.  The colorful fruits flew into my grocery cart.

When I did a little research I found that folklore provides numerous claims that hedge apples repel insects and spiders.  As I age, I realize more and more that 'old wives' tales' are more fact than fiction.  Supposedly people used to keep a hedge apple under their beds to keep spiders away.  I am currently doing my own little bit of research, and so far so good!  No fruit flies in my kitchen even with the garden tomatoes. 

A Wikipedia article stated that some research showed that extracts of osage orange repelled some insect species better then DEET. Anything that helps keep fruit flies out of my kitchen - and keeps me away from DEET - is a friend of mine.

These interesting "fruits" have a shelf life for 2-3 months!  They only need to be discarded when most of the green has disappeared.  They are not poisonous, but have a reputation for suffocating livestock by getting lodged in their esophagus, and have also been called horse apples.  The Osage Orange is native to limited areas of southeastern Oklahoma and east Texas. 

I am thankful I spotted these new friends in Minnesota, and I am on the lookout for more.   I want to set one under every bed in the house in this spider-prone season.  I might just plant my own hedge apple tree this fall...

worth repeating.

I enjoy the shock value of stating "Did you know that I have not worn deodorant for over 20 years?"
Since I heard the words exit my mouth this week, I thought I would bring it up on the blog again.

It was about 1993 when I first heard someone talking about using a SALT CRYSTAL instead of deodorant or antiperspirant.  They stated that your body needs to sweat, but the odor is caused when bacteria is present.  The salt kills the bacteria.  Bingo.  I was sold and never looked back.

Twenty years ago a salt crystal 'deordoent' could only be found in specialty stores and looked like ball of salt that fit in the palm of your hand.  Now they are readily available at places like Walgreens or CVS and the packaging makes them look like conventional deodorant.   Whether using the crude ball of salt or the sleek stick, you simply moisten the salt and apply liberally to your moistened underarms after your shower or bath. 

Besides protecting my body from the nasty chemicals, I enjoy knowing that I am protecting my clothes.  I used to be annoyed that the film from my deodorant would leave a film on my clothes.  And rings. 

Our bodies are assaulted with enough toxins everyday without massaging more on to our skin every morning. 

By the way, it is a money saver too.  One Crystal Stick (above) costs about $6.99 and lasts for months.  Unless you drop it on your slate floor. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cleaning day.

Mother Rabbit believes you give yourself a gift when you set one day apart for cleaning.  Does that sound crazy?  Think about this...

The first stage of any decorating process is clearing the clutter.  Having a day earmarked for that sort of thing will make everyone happier.  Even your house.  Keeping your house (or car or clothes) clean is part of protecting your investment.  So now that we have established why cleaning your house is important, let's get back to discussing why it is genius to set one day a week to do it.

Having a day established as CLEANING DAY is helpful because you can plan for it.  You know to wear old clothes that can manage the sweat and Softscrub bleach.  You can mentally prepare to "workout" for about two hours... and you can mentally anticipate how good it will feel when you are done!  I recommend setting a timer so that 1.) you are not tempted to be distracted from the tasks and 2.) you know that it is not going to last all day.

The best part about having your own set Cleaning Day, is that the need to clean does not tempt you all week.  When you see the watermarks on the bathroom sink, you can say "I will take care of that on Monday during my designated cleaning hours".   It is truly freeing!  It frees you from thinking you should be hard-core cleaning every day.   Note: It is still necessary to do the dishes and laundry on a daily basis - and make your bed every morning.  What I am suggesting is having a couple hours set aside every week where you go deeper.

My cleaning day is MONDAY.  I like Monday because I can enjoy the clean for a whole week before a weekend happens again.  I learned long ago to 'clean for me' and not for company.  And every Monday, my goal is to clean all the floors in the house and clean all the bathrooms.  I will usually pick one other 'extra' to tackle.

We will talk about more
cleaning specifics later.  But for now, what is your day?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

summer movie picks.

Need some entertainment for a lazy summer night?  May I recommend a couple favorites?

No one told me what a beautiful movie "Iron Lady" was.  It is a captivating depiction of Margaret Thatcher's life, told through memories of an aging Mrs. Thatcher.  Meryl Streep plays the Iron Lady and I had to keep reminding myself that I was not watching the former Prime Minister herself.   I realized that I loved Margaret Thatcher's politics, and admired her strength of character more than I realized.  This movie is also a touching love story.

"The Intouchables" is one of the best movies I have seen in years.  It is a French film (with subtitles) based on a true story about an eccentric French aristocrat who is also a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic.  He hires an ex-con from the projects to be his personal aide, and the adventures begin.  The story of their friendship is exciting, funny and touching.  It will leave you feeling good.

fruit fly trap.

Few things are more annoying than fruit flies buzzing around a kitchen.  They are too small to swat and their presence makes a kitchen feel "dirty". 

Some Not-So-Fun Facts:
Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, supermarkets and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment. Adults are about 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The front portion of the body is tan and the rear portion is black. Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. This surface-feeding characteristic of the larvae is significant in that damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week.

Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. But they also will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags. All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home.
From article by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

I feel a little sick after reading that.  Rid your home & kitchen of these annoying pests by LOCATING AND ELIMINATING ALL POTENTIAL BREEDING AREAS.  This means that any produce that is over-ripe, cracked or damaged needs to be sealed in a Ziplock bag or thrown away.  We must prevent the fruit flies from laying more eggs on the fermenting food - and starting the whole cycle over.  (My apologies that this post is creepy to read.)

Once you have done a LOCK DOWN on all sketchy fruits and veggies in your kitchen, you can make a little "fruit fly trap" with some common ingredients.

Set out a dish containing wine + vinegar + Dawn dish soap.  And say good riddance to the little pests.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

a favorite book.

One of my favorite reads of all time is French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. The by-line says "The secret of eating for pleasure".  Mother Rabbit would say "The only weight loss book I would ever recommend" because it is so much more than that.  It is a commonsense approach to food and eating... and life.

Two of my special friends are reading it this summer, which reminded me to tell you about it again.

call the midwife.

Want to add a real treat to your summer?  Buy or rent Season One and Season Two of CALL THE MIDWIFE.  It is a new favorite at our house.  The DVD jacket says:
"The inspiring British drama Call the Midwife that rivaled Downton Abbey's ratings in the UK is back fro another season full of births, babies, and blossoming romance.  Based on the bestselling memoirs by Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife follows Jenny Lee as she tries to provide the poorest women in London's East End slums with the best possible care."
The stories are beautiful.  And intense.  And wonderful.

brown bag helper.

We have a lot of kids. We break a lot of glasses.  Here is a little tip:

Next time something glass takes a tumble in your house, grab a brown paper grocery sack and carefully toss the broken pieces inside. Gently fold the paper bag around the glass shards a couple times, then toss in the garbage.  What we are avoiding is tossing the glass straight into the plastic lined garbage can because the sharp edges will cut right through the thin plastic.  This can be dangerous for the person carrying the garbage bag outside.  Also dangerous for the people responsible for cleaning the floors if the bag rips and the garbage tumbles.

Brown paper sacks are also Mother Rabbits favorite place to cool cookies.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

salted caramel butter bars.

This is a promotional post for both a great bar and a great blog.  I would highly recommend that you try these amazing Salted Caramel Butter Bars.  You can find the recipe on my daughter Hannah's blog The Knead To Know. You can easily access it my clicking on the link on the right.

Mother Rabbit proudly recommends that you frequent this blog.  Hannah posts on a very regular basis.  It is attractive, whimsical and chock full of great recipes.  As a Nutrition major, she also spills in informative food facts and dietary insights.  Another bonus, sometimes she includes photos of one of the world's cutest babies.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

the classic black dress.

Every woman needs two black dresses in her closet.  We all know about the "the little black dress" with the cocktail dress subtitle.  It might have a scoop back or scoop front, and it might be a teensy-bit short. This is an important addition to every closet because it can see you through any formal occasion, wedding or party.  You can accessorize with jewels and heels and head to the city with confidence.

But don't forget about "the classic black dress".  This is a more serious dress that is not as fun to wear.  In fact, part of the importance of this classic sister to the party version is that you don't want to stand out at all when wearing it.  It is not fun to talk about, but every woman needs a classic black dress in her closet for funerals.  And believe me, when a need for one arises, the time & energy to purchase one will not be there.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you have both versions ready and waiting to serve you. 

mother rabbit's summer sangria.

Mother Rabbit's Summer Sangria
Pink Moscato
Perrier Sparkling Water
Fresh Juice
(I used Raspberry Juice from Fontenelle Orchards)
Fresh Fruit of your Choice
I used:
Granny Smith Apples
Bing Cherries
Cut and distribute fruit into mason jars, wine glasses or fun glassware of your choice.  Cover with Pink Moscato and chill until the party starts. (The glass should be about half full at this point.)  Just before serving, add ice, a splash of fresh juice and a splash of sparkling water.  Add a festive straw for party points.  I had spoons and forks available so that the lucky guests could enjoy the wine-infused fruit after the sangria had disappeared.
This was a big hit and it will be my go-to drink this summer.  The alcohol content was mild, it was super refreshing, and it provided a healthy dose of the fruit section of the food triangle. 

don't clean for your guests.

I appreciated one of my favorite mantras this week.  For years I have said to my bunnies "Don't clean for your guests, or you might hate them when they walk through the door.  Clean for yourself."  I taught my girlies to set apart one day a week for CLEANING.  Have a routine to cover the basics.  This way your house is relatively clean on a regular basis.  This prevents what you want to avoid at all costs: Knocking yourself out when guests are coming. 

It is worthy considering that it might make more sense to clean AFTER your guests leave.  Especially if the guests include young children.  Or messy adults.

Today's post is a few tricks to give your house that just-cleaned feel even when it might not be perfectly scoured & scrubbed...  a few suggestions that give guests the "illusion" that you slaved all day in preparation for their arrival.  Sometimes 'life happens' and you just don't have the time to spend the day power cleaning your house.  Here are a few things that you can do in a single power-hour before the guests walk in the door:

1.  Softscrub bleach all the sinks.  They will sparkle & shine.  And the fresh smell permeates the bathrooms and kitchen.

2.  Dust at least one piece of furniture in each room.  Again, smell is paramount.

3.  Pick up the clutter.  There is no easy way around this one.  You just have to pick up all the stuff.  Of course it is best to put things away as you go.  If time is really limited, you can always take loads of stuff to your car until you do have time.

The reason I selected this photo is that minutes before I snapped this photo, the area was scattered with dozens of movies which our family had viewed - or thought about viewing - in the past week.  The scene is now serene because someone took the time to tuck them back in.

4.  Put out a beautiful, freshly ironed linen towel.  This gives a wonderful impression that you are so organized that you had extra time on our hands.  ha.  For some reason, placing this lace-trimmed towel on the handle of my dishwasher right before my guests arrived on Monday night made me forget all the things that did not get deep-cleaned.  It instilled a sense of peace and pleasure.   (And no, I did not have a glass of wine before I hung it up.)

5.  With scissors in hand, check your yard for something of beauty that you can put in a vase.  Even plain hosta leaves can add a touch of freshness to a room.

Then, open the door and welcome your guests!  Enjoy them.  They came to see you and will never notice there is dirt on the floor.  Maybe hand them a refreshing beverage. Recipe to follow.

Mother Rabbit wishes to apologize for the long delay in posting.  I will return to my travel tips but for now I just had to get back-in-the-blogging-saddle.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

we are here!

Sitting at a ramshackle breakfast joint in the tiny town of Hana, Hawaii, we are still processing that we are actually in Hawaii.  We arrived safely at our very charming jungle treehouse just before dusk last night, settled in, took photographs, and ran into town for some dinner.  We slept very comfortably in surreal surroundings. I am dying to share photos... and stories...  but the erratic cell read in this remote part of Hawaii is not allowing it.

I will share more as soon as I can.  We are off to hike the Seven Sacred Pools enroute to Waimoku Falls.  Aloha.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

hawaii bound.

You might have guessed that Mother Rabbit is going to devote this blog to Hawaii stories for about two weeks.  I thought I would write the posts as a series of TRAVEL TIPS.  You can learn from our well-laid plans and our mistakes, our wisdom or lack of it. 

Today's travel lesson:

Be Prepared.
Our suitcases are sprawled across the floor of our bedroom.  The packing process has begun.  Above is a photo of stuff for the resort-side of the trip.  What do you really need for Hawaii?  A couple cute bathing suits, a creative collection of cover ups and some clothes to wear out at night.  A wise friend shared this Hawaii packing advice: Take half the clothes you think you'll need - and twice the money.  The biggest decision was what book to read on the beach!  Fortunately for me, Michael Pollen's newest book Cooked was released just in time to get zipped in the suitcase.  I also selected The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher because someone special to me recommended it.  Done.

Now this is a photo of some of the goods we are packing for the Maui adventure-side of the trip.  After reading the eye-opening reviews (see previous post) about the mosquito population, the mongooses that suck the egg right out of the shell, the ants that look like the movie 300 if food is left out, and the less than pristine conditions --- we secured a few more supplies. 
The reviews shared that sleeping in the jungle in the nightly monsoon rain is an epic experience.  We are truly excited for our jungle experience --- but don't want jungle fever.  The three story TREEHOUSE was built 10 years ago by a guy named David, whose hobby seems to be building these tree house structures in exotic places around the world.  This one is couple miles off the Road to Hana and then a quarter mile hike into the house in the tree.  Animal Planet filmed something on the property a few weeks ago.  To help us enjoy the "grandeur" of the experience without being distracted by the critters and insects, we are packing the following extras:
Mosquito netting bed tent, mosquito insect helmets, Deet, mosquito coils, toilet paper, matches, a deluxe array of flashlight & head lamps, and a fancy survival hatchet.  My Marine husband had a blast last night at Cabala's collecting our final necessities.  Honestly, I am sure he had as much fun getting this stuff as I did selecting my new bathing suits. 
There are a few "extras" that I packed too.  When I read about the 'dirty sheets' in the review, I decided that I would bring a set of sheets with me - and leave them there after our two night stay.  I headed to our favorite consignment shop, Nifty Thrifty, and found a brand-new, unopened set of full-size sheets for $6.99.  Score.  They are washed and in the suitcase.  I also secured a hiking camera bag, some hiking-friendly Keens, and carefully packed my Frommers Guides in the suitcase. 
One of the things I was most excited to pack is... my "Don't Bug Me" oil.  I happen to have an I-Don't-Wear-Deet policy.  Sara Jane at the TREEHOUSE said that I might want to by-pass that policy for the 48 hours we are living in our jungle paradise.  I am agreeing to this, BUT I asked The Little House Day Spa's excellent massage therapist to make me a natural, organic bug repellent to bring as well.  I am excited about this... something that I won't be afraid to lather on my body at night and during our hikes.  Tara made it with citronella, thyme, cedar, spearmint, lavender, lemon grass and vitamin E.  I will give a full report on the effectiveness of Tara's "Don't Bug Me" oil.  If it works, we will market it with the tag line: Tested in the jungle. ha.
I am not sure how extensively I can post with just my iPhone on our trip, but I am going to try --- so stay tuned. Aloha.