Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear hubby: I'm done! The pots and pans are all yours

What does it mean when, in the course of two weeks, someone (ah, me) accidentally breaks the following things in the kitchen: the french press carafe (dropped), the bread machine (falls off counter), a glass casserole dish with bean soup in it (dropped), and cuts herself—twice—on the same thumb in the very same day (on broken glass and a food processor blade)?
I took it as a sign I should get the heck out of the kitchen. Or is that just wishful thinking?

A confession: I don’t love to cook. I never have, and I guess I take after my mother in this regard. She never loved to cook either. And here I am, with four kids with hollow legs and a very well used kitchen.

Sure, I can (and do) like making certain things, and I feel passionate about eating foods that remember where they came from, and I can’t stomach the thought of feeding junk to my family, and this I suppose is what keeps us from resorting to McDonald’s every, or any, night.

At a party last weekend, this subject of cooking came up. My friend Deb said that she has friends who, after decades of cooking and raising a family, decided they were done. Done. They weren’t going to cook anymore! They’d just eat what was leftover out of the fridge, and their husbands could cook and they’d happily eat what he made.

Oooh. My eyes lit up. I can imagine a world where I don’t cook! I happily show up to parties and eat food already prepared. I happily go to restaurants (but not McDonald’s) and eat food brought to me. I will happily let my husband cook! He doesn’t know this, but I guess he’ll find out. Good thing he likes to cook.

From arts & crafts to hula hoops and mums, Potter's Bridge Fall Festival has it 'covered'

One of the things vendor Mindi Brown is looking forward to about the annual Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival is spending time with her daughter, Raine, and sister in law Nancy Miller as the three share a craft booth and sell their creations at the event.
Mindi, who has been sewing and repurposing clothing since high school and whose style is ‘funky and quirky,’ will be offering hip, one of a kind little girl’s clothing.

Nancy Miller is offering her ‘Sew Schmancy’ aprons, both for adults and kids. Some are vintage style, some are more modern. Raine, who is raising money for her school trip to Washington D.C. in the spring, will be selling skirts with funky prints as well as upcycled wool and cashmere toboggan hats.

The festival, sponsored by the Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department, is in its 11th year. Marketing and Event Specialist Michele Arndt, who has overseen the event since 2002, has watched it grow from just six vendors to around fifty this year. “I love the Arts & Crafts booths and look forward to going there and shopping,” she shares.

Vendors this year are offering everything from birdhouses, fine arts, baby quilts, homemade purses, jewelry, handknits, kids clothing, and aprons, to holiday decorations and hula hoops.

Food offerings will include: elephant ears, hot dogs, hamburgers, sno-cones, and popcorn. On the non-food front, Faith Community Church is holding a silent auction, A Corner Cottage is selling mums; and there will be face painting, balloon art, a climbing wall, and a bounce house to entertain the kids. Live music will take place from 12-2pm by Carmel cover band The Bishops.

If you go: admission is free. Potter’s Bridge is located at 19401 North Allisonville Road, Noblesville. The festival is from 11am-3pm. Call the Parks & Recreation Dept. with questions at 770-4400.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Historic Homes of Noblesville

Location: 1471 Cherry Street
Owner: Bryan Glover, since March of 2010

Style: Victorian Cottage, circa 1902. The footprint of this t-plan home, which sits on a brick foundation, has changed very little since its construction 108 years ago. The home’s existing front porch is new construction and slightly larger than the original porch which wrapped around only 2 sides of the home. Although new, the turned porch posts and spindle railing reflect the home’s Victorian construction, as does the multi-color paint scheme.

What work have you done on your house? “I had an upstairs master suite added in a remodel. Investor Clay Hildreth added several feet to the back of the house which allowed him to open up the attic and make it livable space. The French doors, bedroom doors and built-in china cabinet which were in the house before the restoration were stripped, refinished and re-hung. Next spring will be landscaping. That includes flowers and plants outdoors, and a pergola/patio for the back. ”

What are your homes favorite features? “ The doors are about 8' tall! The glass panes in the French doors are mostly the original glass. Another favorite is the upstairs master suite, especially the "rain" shower.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “The proximity to downtown and being able to easily access the things I like to do. I live close to my business and Noble Coffee where I spend a lot of time. I’ve met so many people here.”

Celebrate the equinox this time by the light of the moon

I’m looking forward to celebrating the autumn equinox this week. I’m very into celebrating the equinoxes, solstices, and following the cycles of the moon, so I look forward to doing something special when any of these roll around. The equinox (meaning ‘equal night’) falls on Thursday the 23rd, which also happens to align with the harvest moon this year, also falling on the 23rd.

I feel really passionate about this celebration of transition—and I feel like it’s something we have lost along the way. This need to mark the seasons and cycles of the moon is ingrained in us because this is how our ancient ancestors marked time and seasons. I feel like it’s an imperative and recharging way to feel more connected with the earth and others, when almost all of the rest of the time we’re caught in artificial time, 24/7 shopping and working, and activity overload.

Do you notice the changing of the light in the fall? It just feels and looks different, it seems more golden somehow. And the leaves have already started changing. All too soon, fall will be over and winter will be here. This is why we do this—to take time to slow down and savor the moment.

Marking the rhythms of the earth this way is significant and something we as a family and our friends look forward to. It will be a simple celebration—just food, music, friends. We’re getting together to share a meal and linger outside as long as we can. We’ll definitely hoop. Maybe do a rain dance. Or maybe a rain hoopdance? We also wanted to have a bonfire, but I doubt that’s going to happen thanks to this drought and the subsequent burning ban. Darn!

But hallelujah, we’ll have the light of the moon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six private residences open their doors for Tour of Historic Homes

The circa 1875 Italianate -style home of Mark and Suzanne Augustson at 1352 Cherry St., is one of six private homes on the tour.
The ornate woodwork on the stairway is one of the favorite features of the home owned by Pete and Barb Lapitsky at 1139 Cherry St.

Pete and Barb Lapitsky attend the Noblesville Preservation Alliance Tour of Historic homes every year, checking out what their fellow residents have done with the homes they own.

“I like to get ideas and see features that my house doesn’t have,” Pete says. “I especially love the wood features in the homes. I love the charm and small town, neighborhood feel.”

Now, it's the Lapitsky's turn to show what they have done with their own creation. Their home is one of six private residences on the tour annual tour Sept. 18 downtown in addition to other historic points of interest in the city.

One of the oldest of its kind in Central Indiana, the tour will also include Fire Engine 521, in service for 40 years in Noblesville, the Henry Flagler train car, the Victorian House, the Sheriff’s Residence, the Judge Stone House, and the First Presbyterian Church.
Geoff Davis of the Blue Stone Folk School will be conducting workshops throughout the day in the Judge Stone House. NEED ADDRESS History buffs will enjoy several talks by Hamilton County historian David Heighway at 11 a.m. And 1 p.m., also in the Judge Stone House.

There will be music performances throughout the day at various locations, and a hog roast fundraiser at the First Presbyterian Church, 1207 Conner St.

The homeowners have been busy preparing for the tour. The residences include:
1179 Conner St.—Althouse family
1393 Conner St.—Walters family
1471 Cherry St.—Glover family
1352 Cherry St.—Augustson family
1139 Cherry St.—Lapitsky family
1082 Maple Ave.—Dawson family

Advance tickets may be purchased for $10 at the Sheriff’s Residence, 810 Conner, A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St., Noble Coffee and Tea, 933 Logan, Mr. G’s, 2209 Conner, and online at www.noblesvillepreservation.com.

On the day of the tour, tickets will be $12 and available at the Sheriff’s Residence and the First Presbyterian Church.
Proceeds from the tour will fund NPA projects, such as the new homeowner fa├žade grant program which will award a total of $3,000 a year to historic home owners in the city limits for exterior improvements.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plastic Bags can stuff it, but not with my stuff

And the winner (drawn by Lily) is.....Arthouse!  Congrats!  Thanks all, for entering, and I loved reading your comments.  Here's to fewer plastic bags in our lives.  If you have trouble remembering, making this pact to NOT use plastic will help, because carrying groceries one by one isn't fun. ;)  Also, these little bags that roll up into pouches do make it easy to always have one with you.  It becomes a habit and second nature after awhile, too.

It's time for another eco-conscious rant, and this topic that gets me riled up as much as anything: those annoying, ubiquitous plastic shopping bags.

Can’t stand them and go to great lengths to avoid them. I won’t use plastic bags when shopping, which leads me to either plan ahead and bring my own bags, or not get everything I went to the store for--buying only what I can carry.
I’ve always tried to minimize my plastic bag usage, and so even before I started using reusable bags I was disgusted at how many plastic bags I accumulated even though I was such a minimalist. The recycling bins inside several stores helped, but, still, what a pain to bag up and recycle all those plastic bags that I didn’t want to possess in the first place!

Then I got this big, huge beach bag. Since I don’t go to the beach too often, I realized it would be perfectly suited to hauling groceries, and it held so much. That was quite awhile ago, and I have an assortment of reusable bags now, from cotton totes to my little nylon bags that fold up into little pouches, perfect for stashing in a purse or pocket.

Hopefully cashiers are getting more used to customers bringing their own bags.  They are often surprised how much mine hold, especially considering that cashiers sometimes only put one or two items in each bag when using plastic.  Unless you bring your own, you could easily walk out of a shopping trip with dozens of those things.  Yikes!

Here's a challenge:  count how many plastic bags come into your house in the course of a week.   Leave a comment on my blog about how you’re reducing your plastic bag consumption.  I’m giving away a cool green flip & tumble bag that will fit in the palm of your hand.  I'll pick a winner Sept. 21.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In the Hoop

Here's my second cover story!  My hooping passion.  I'm so thrilled my new friend Lynn has moved to Noblesville.  Our kids even attend the same elementary--she literally lives less than a mile from me.

The link is here.    Story is on p. 9.

Stirring story demonstrates how U.S., Malian cultures worlds apart

This summer I read Monique and the Mango Rains, by Kris Holloway. Kris recounts her service in the Peace Corps, where she was partnered with the village midwife, Monique, in a village in Mali, Africa. Their partnership evolved into a deep and lasting friendship and forever changed Kris’s life.

I know (on a mostly superficial level having never experienced extreme poverty firsthand) that I’ve got it good here in the US. To read an account of the vast disparities between here and there, it doesn’t seem at all possible that we exist on the same planet. The average Malian earns, in an entire year, around $230.

Life is very hard, especially on the women. It boggles my mind that women make the meals, serve the men first, and then serve themselves and the children what’s left, if any. Over 96 percent of girls undergo circumcision in varying degrees of severity, often leading to lifelong problems and even death.

Monique worked with no electricity, no running water, and no emergency help. In her work with her, Kris realized that Monique’s ‘simple tools, clean hands, and sharp mind’ contrasted so sharply with US hospitals, where technology and not touch was the status quo, that when Kris came back to the US and had her own babies, she chose homebirths with a midwife.

This book made me laugh and cry. There are several stories that stand out, but the one where Kris relates her conversation about inviting Monique to fly to the US to visit had me laughing so hard I cried, and I was completely sucker punched when I came to the end and read the sad reason for Kris and her husband’s return to Mali.

This book (the library has it) will stay with me for a long time.

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1352 Cherry St.

Location: 1352 Cherry Street

Owners: Mark and Suzanne Augustson and son Asher (born in February), since 2008

Style: Based on the home’s original construction, c. 1875, the home was built in the Italianate style, which the hipped roofline and wide eaves suggest. The home appears to have been added on to multiple times. Both of the two front porches are original in their location, but with new materials.

What work have you done on your house? We did just about everything in this renovation, which has taken two years and we’re still going. This house was a teardown when we first bought it. We still have a lot of little things to do to the inside and the exterior is still in need of major renovation - taking off siding, landscaping, painting, etc. Next summer we'll start on that! We plan on just enjoying the house as is for awhile. Having a 6 month old makes it challenging to do projects!

What are your homes favorite features?

We love the large moldings and the hardwood floors. There is a different pattern in every room. We also loved the potential it had to be a beautiful home.

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? We love that the homes around us are well taken care of and that we are within walking distance of the downtown square. There is a lot of charm in town, we love living amongst it!