Sunday, August 30, 2015

Powdery mildew getting your gourd? Spray this!

 Our pumpkins were growing beautifully. Then, Ever so slowly, these little snow flake freckles started to take over. 
powdery mildew! 
This mildew covers the leaf, disabling the leaf's ability to photosynthesize. 

First step? 

I donned gloves, a gown and goggles and sprayed her down with toxic chemicals, allowing the excess to run down past the slip and slide, down the drain, and into the mighty Mississippi and then showered and neti potted to rid my body of any hitch hiking horribles. 
Or not. 
Rather, I removed the affected leaves.  See here  that I had let this go way too far. To the right is the start of the plant and some beautiful yellow blossoms.  To the left is the finger tip of the vine. In between is the long area of leaves I had to remove. I am aware this in itself may kill the plant, but the mildew was doing a pretty good job of that already, so I figured I might as well give it my best attempt. 
Next I filled a spray bottle: 40% good ole cow milk, 60% water
And I sprayed! 
According to my research the application lasts ten days. I had only about a cup of the solution but still used only half. I decided that I would put the rest in the refrigerator.  (It doesn't matter if the milk sours a bit). But, Moo came over asking to use up the rest so these leaves were given quite the drenching! 

I will let you know how the plant fares. 

Now for you, what was your natural solution to a household plant/gardening kerfluffle?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There is more than one way to be HOT!

With gardens exploding this time of year and so many fresh vegetables at the farmer's markets and supermarkets, my family finds ourselves making lots of stir fries. 

We like our stir fries with a little bit of a kick. The Ogre and I prefer more of a kick than the kids, so I keep a bottle of hot sauce in the fridge in order to kick it up a notch post serve. 

As a coupon queen, I have procured a number of bottles of Tabasco Sauce for a good price, but find they don't add much depth to the flavor. I was pleased to be given a bottle of  Chef Cristiane's Brazialian Gourmet Hot Sauce. Here was the depth I have craved. Let's compare the ingredient list of Tabasco's Original Red Sauce: 
Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper, Salt, 
Chef Cristiane's:
Apple cider vinegar
tomato paste
extra virgin olive oil
malagueta peppers
cane sugar
and spices.

For the sophisticated palate, the choice is simple to make between the two.

And for the frugal folk, remember, hot sauce like Chef Cristiane;s Gourmet "I'm Hot" Sauce is a great substitute for chili powder, red pepper flakes and regular pepper in recipes.

Tonight I made a high rated simple stir fry from All Recipe's. It called for red pepper flakes which I could substitute with the hot sauce. Of course I also flexed in snap peas for the carrots since my crisper drawers were overflowing.

What do you look for in your hot sauce???

***I received this bangin' hot product for free in exchange for my unbiased review***

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Little Makers

My kids love to build. Especially the 5 year old. Legos, Legos, Legos.
Which is good, of course, but sometimes I think it stretches his mind to try something a little different. 
This is why I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to try out a super cool winch set from ThinkFun's Maker Studio line. We knew it would be a blast because ThinkFun never disappoints. In fact, Boo's favorite game, Zingo 1,2,3, is manufactured by ThinkFun, as was one of my favorite childhood games, Rush Hour.
The Maker Studio line focuses on a different engineering theme in each pack. This pack was winches but there is also a gear set and a propeller set.

The package contains several pieces you can combine with items already found around the house, like boxes and cartons. 
We unpacked the box (careful not to throw away the random string contained, that is actually the "tow rope."
Still if, like me, you do throw it, it is easy to find a replacement around your house too.)
The toy says seven plus and I would go with that or higher. Boo is five so I definitely led the project, but Hun (at 8 years) would need some hand holding as well.
Even I labored a bit over the directions. This only added to the experience and I felt genuinely pleased with the end product, a feeling I don't get from the simple snap click of Legos. This was definitely a step up.

I love these special mom and son times! Boo lined up all the pieces and handed them to me as the directions called for them. He was so pleased with the progress every step of the way.

Finished project, getting ready to tow

**I received this product for free in exchange for my unbiased review**