Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Seven Ways to Make the Most of a Moment - Week 10

Life is made up of many moments.  

Getting the very most out of your life starts with how you use each one. 

Here are this week’s suggestions:

1. If deer are abundant where you live, you might try planting some iris. The deer and I have a love/hate relationship. I enjoy seeing them, and I understand that this land was their home before it was mine. It frustrates me, though, that they think everything I plant is a salad bar, put out for them to consume. I wish they would just eat the weeds!  I have learned, however, that while they will try anything, deer do not seem to like iris.

Blooming Iris

Some of the merits of iris:
  • fairly drought-tolerant 
  • hardy (they are a perennial that can survive a Montana winter!)
  • fairly low maintenance
  • their early summer flowers can be a variety of colors (The ones I've grown are blue, purple, white and yellow.) 
  • they make beautiful cut flower arrangements  
Every few years I have divided and replanted mine, so there is an abundance on our property.  (Ok - to be truthful, they should be divided every few years - I've probably only done it about every five.)  They would truly be the perfect flower, if only they bloomed all summer!

This year I'm going to follow some of the tips in this comprehensive guide on how to grow the Siberian Iris, and I suspect I'll have more blooms than ever.

2.  No more excuses of not knowing something because of age! In the past few weeks: 
  • my father-in-law bought an i-phone and learned to text his grandkids.  
  • my mother just started following this blog on bloglovin’!  
Technology has exploded since they were young, but many older adults have kept up!

3.  Freeze leftover tomato paste for later use.  Do you have any recipes that call for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste?  (My favorite spaghetti sauce does).  Even a small can (6 oz.) holds about eight tablespoons, so the whole amount is rarely needed. 
Years ago, I learned this solution from a friend: 
  • drop tablespoons of the remaining paste onto waxed paper 
  • freeze it until the blobs are hard
  • store these individual portions in a container in the freezer.  
This way, none goes to waste and you have pre-measured amounts, ready for when you need it next. The frozen paste can usually be added directly into the recipe you are cooking, without being thawed.

Blobs of tomato paste on a tray, ready to be frozen
Tomato paste: pre-measured blobs ready to be frozen for later use.

4.  Does your dog or cat leave nose prints on your windows?  No problem. I have found an easy way to remove the smears, without having to wash the entire window each time.  Using a damp microfiber cloth, you can just wipe the area that is smudged. I have found that Mystic Maid or Norwex brands work really well. These cloths do not leave streaks, so it will not be noticeable that only part of the window has been cleaned.  (They are wonderful for cleaning the whole window when it needs to be done, as well!)

Cute dog staring out a window
See the smears on the window?
Okay - confession time again.  My windows were unusually smudge-free this morning.  I employed the dog so I could take this photo - by smearing a dab of peanut butter on the window!  If that's not a testament to how well a microfiber cloth works, I don't know what is.  Now I have a clean window again - and a very confused dog!

Cute dog licking her nose
“What? - You want me to lick the windows??”

5.  I had a different recipe in mind to include here, until I read my bloglovin’ feed today.  My original idea will have to wait for another week, as I am too excited about this ice cream recipe I came across!

I just have to share this link for Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream from Amanda's blog, A Cookie Named Desire.  I haven't made it yet - but I will be - and I already can tell I won't be disappointed! It sounds so yummy. 

My rhubarb plants (which I still need to move to an area with more hours of sunlight!) might even have produced enough rhubarb stalks to make this recipe! While you are waiting for the ice cream to churn, take a peek at Amanda's other recipes.  Her blog make you hungry!

rhubarb plants in a rock garden
My pathetic rhubarb plants - in an area that gets too much shade. 

6.  I was thinking about a movie I saw a few months ago, as I came in from doing yard work yesterday. Not because of the plot, but because of my appearance! 

If you have seen the movie Mud, you will have a pretty good idea of how I looked last evening, after a whole day of non-stop hours of digging in the dirt.  Just think how the main character, Mud (Matthew McConaughey) first appeared to the boys in the movie, and you will get the idea!  Filthy.  Really, really grubby.  (Actually, I think maybe he didn't look as bad as I did, but his name could have been mine!)  

Appearances aren't everything though. (My landscaping is now as neat as I was dirty - at least the part of it that we got done!) Performances by McConaughey and his co-stars in the film were outstanding.  This coming-of-age drama is rated PG-13 and I found it highly entertaining.  Apparently I'm not the only one.  It got a 98% rating by Rotten Tomatoes. 

7.  Have you read the bookThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” co-authored by Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows? It is on my all-time favorites list.  Written as a series of letters, it took about 20 or 30 pages for this book to completely engage me, but once I caught the rhythm of the characters and their exchanges, I was hooked.  
  • The setting is the island of Guernsey, one of the channel islands - owned by Britain, but closer to France than England. 
  • The time period is during the German Occupation.  
  • The title of the book will make sense, once you have read the book!  
I think the quote on the inside cover alone, is worth the price of the book:  
  • “I wonder how the book got to Guernsey?  Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”  
Such an enticing thought - books seeking out their perfect readers!  Sadly, Mary Ann Shaffer died before the novel was published, but I think she would be very pleased by how many readers it has touched.

Post updated 1/30/21


  1. Thank you for all these great suggestions! I had no idea you could freeze tomato paste - I always waste the can! Abby will be very happy to know I can wipe her nose prints off so efficiently now :) Thanks for the ice cream, movie and book suggestions - I'm putting them on my list.

    1. I have found that the tomato paste keep quite a while in the freezer. It is handy to have when you realize you used the last can and forgot to buy more!

  2. That tip about freezing tomato paste is BRILLIANT!

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful! Thanks Sinea - and thanks for liking my Facebook page tonight too!.

  3. Will definitely be using that tomato paste tip. And the window wiper. I always have doggie nose prints. Sigh.

    1. Good thing the doggie noses that make the prints are so cute, right Diane?!

  4. Hi Susan. I kind of do your method for tomato paste with pizza sauce. I always have extra sauce and I put it into serving size small containers. It thaws out quickly and I don't throw any away. I like the blobs of tomato paste idea, too. As to the deer -- I just say I'm planting deer food. They say they don't like marigolds but they manage to pull them out of the ground or bite off the flowers and spit them out! I gave up on a vegetable garden years ago. However...I am like you. I love seeing them and would never fence them out of our property!

    1. Good idea for Pizza Sauce! And yes - we do plant a lot of deer food. If I had it to do over, I would have skipped planting so many bushes though. Somehow, they just don't seem worth it, when they all must wear a protective little fence!

  5. “What? - You want me to lick the windows??” Haha
    Great tips!



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