Condo Blues

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to Make a No Slip Microwave Heating Pad

They go by many names: microwaveable heating pad, hot rice pack, bed buddy, aromatherapy heating pad, hot wheat bag, flax seed heating pad, cherry pit pack, hot therapy pillow, herbal heating pad, and buckwheat heating pads to name a few. Basically they are all some sort of heating pad that you heat in the microwave and use to soothe those achy muscles – ahhh!

Husband tried one at a friend’s house while recovering from a torn side muscle. He said that the bag’s size and shape did the job much better than his electric heating pad (which we sadly left at home.)

I decided to make him one but improve the design a little bit by making chambers so the heated contents wouldn’t slip away from the part of his body that needed the heat. By using a kitchen towel for my project he can also use it as a homemade moist heating pad if he likes.

Toasty warm!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

National Brownie Day is a Real Holiday?

I like to eat brownies. I also like to support local businesses and when those local businesses make brownies, I get an extra happy in my tummy.

Cheryl & Co. is a based in Columbus and they make brownies. Their cookies are the stuff of legend. They invited me their Headquarters December 8th to celebrate National Brownie Day and also to learn about their other companies, The Popcorn Factory and 1-800 Flowers. Which are companies I patronize already and had no idea were part of Cheryl & Co. I accepted their invite much to Husband’s delight.

Tip: I keep and reuse Cheryl & Co. and The Popcorn Factory’s sturdy and brightly printed cookie boxes, popcorn and cookie tins for wrapping small gifts. Experience gifts like tickets or membership paperwork look more significant when they come in a decorated tin. All you need to do is slap on a bow or ribbon and you’re done! Quick, pretty, reusable gift wrap. I like.
I saw how Cheryl & Co. make their famous cookies and brownies. The process is kind of like how you’d do it at home with real butter, eggs, and sugar but on a much bigger scale. I was impressed that Cheryl & Co. doesn’t add extra preservatives to their cookies and that they can still be frozen for up to six months.

Cookies cooling and waiting for butter cream frosting

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sparkly Glam Recycled Outdoor Christmas Décor

I wanted to do something a little different to shake up my outdoor Christmas decorations this year. I’m leaning towards glitzy glam, because I’m still pining for those shiny silver and red trees I didn’t buy at the Restore. I want to keep it environmentally friendly too. Difficult because sparkly wow! isn’t generally associated with environmentally friendly. Environmentally friendly usually means country burlap. Not what’ I’m looking for this year.

After a little rooting around in the outdoor Christmas décor box, found these sparkly dood-dads. They came as part of a Christmas decoration that a cousin made and gave me that didn’t quite make it to my house in one piece during shipping so I never used it. They will do just nicely on the swoopy parts of the garland on my porch.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Helper: Making Quick Meals From Scratch

I'm so excited that my friend Lisa from RetroHousewife Goes Green offered to do a Guest Post on Condo Blues. Take it away Lisa!

Thanks to Lisa for letting me do a guest post for her! Her blog is one of the first blogs I started reading and I have gotten to know her from the Green Moms Carnival. Be sure to check out my blog Retro Housewife Goes Green as well.

We all know there are days you just don't want to cook. While most of America would just go get some fast food or call for take out, that is often not so green and not very healthy.

A great way to still have quick meals but stay healthy and green is to make some meals you can freeze and heat later. It's like making your own frozen dinners.

I like to take a day that I have very little else going on and make a lot of meals at once. The favorite in our house is pizza. It's super easy! All you need to do to make your own frozen pizzas is take your favorite dough recipe and make enough for however many you want to freeze.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Low Key Christmas Party – a Green Holiday Favorite!

Last year I read an article in the New York Times Style section where the writer boo hoo’ed that because the economy was tanking they had to skip throwing a swanky expensive Christmas party and ended up doing something at home. They were surprised that their downsized party was more fun than the lavish ones of their past, predicted it a huge trend (because of course they just created such a thing), and oh by-the-way it’s a little greener way to go.

Well I suppose that makes my very Midwestern friends Alex and Anne trendsetters! They are way ahead of their time because they’ve been throwing this kind of Christmas party for years. It’s one of the best parties I attend and I’ve been to some swank holiday parties let me tell you.

Funny thing is, if you met Alex and Anne, you wouldn’t say that they were trendsetters at all. They don’t wear trendy clothes or drive sports cars or even a Prius. Their traditional Christmas party also flies in the face of any green cynic who says that Christmas, and parties, and gifting are a wasteful, unthoughtful, consumer-ridden humbug that we should just remove from our yurts completely. Because they are the type of people who, like most of my friends, emphasize people and fun. Although our idea of fun is usually a little kookier than most.

The Party, the Details, the Fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mom’s Homemade Soy Candles

My Mom has an addictive new hobby – making scented soy candles. Since I love burning candles and Mom usually gives her creations as gifts to people like say, me, this is one addiction that I wholeheartedly encourage

Might be a Danish thing (Danes burn so many candles that as a nation Denmark consumes more candles per capita than any other country on earth – no lie) might be an inner pyromaniac thing. Either way I find that burning a scented soy candle is a festive way to get rid of cooking smells after dinner without resorting to icky fake flower scented sprays that are full of questionable chemicals. Feh.

Mom’s dealer, source of inspiration came from her favorite candle store The Swan Creek Candle Company. It’s a little candle shop that sells the most fragrant soy candles with lead free wicks. She promises to take me there when I visit her but we end up not going for one reason or another. I forgive her because she gives me candles. Yes, I let her to buy my love because I"m nice like that.