pushin’ along

We raised an impressive $500 through the Petal Pushers fundraiser last week for our Bike MS: City to Shore team!  Just a gaggle of ladies happily arranging flowers while making a difference…

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4278

I am so grateful for this community, family and friends for all of their support!  We couldn’t have done it without our fearless leader and professional floral designer, Renee Tucci, the mastermind behind Petal Pushers.

We have about 6 weeks to go until the actual Bike MS: City to Shore ride and most of our riders have met or exceeded their minimum fundraising goal.  You can check out our team’s progress here.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4291

Multiple Sclerosis is a real part of our everyday life and business journey.  Those things are closely intertwined therefore I choose to share personal updates such as these here.  I hope to educate or empower someone by letting you in on our lifestyle.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4289

Ryan’s MS diagnosis has shown us that life truly is a gift.  MS has taught us to live for today and not put things off for ‘someday’.  We’ve become more adventurous and courageous.  Within reason, of course.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4282

It has been a year since we moved to Cape May and slowed down our pace of life while eliminating some stress and ‘stuff’ along the way.  A year!  Already.  And two years since Ryan’s diagnosis.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4288

I’m not sure that I ever made it explicit but Ryan has officially come on board with Circa Dee.  He is doing very well in this new lifestyle that we chose.  It seems to agree with him.  And me too.  Although change can be terrifying at first, it is certainly good and not to be feared.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4281

try something new

Oh, August!

This month has snuck up on me and it is moving way too fast.  I feel both a sense of panic and a sense of relief at this point in August.  Mostly just panic though.  The summer days are dwindling and there are far too many things I’d like to accomplish in the next two weeks.  It has been a busy summer nonetheless but there is still time to squeeze more in and try new things.  Cook new things.  Explore new places.  Take more pictures.

Please summer, don’t go!  We’re just getting acquainted…

Exploration

One of my friends dove into milk painting this week.  She is an experienced furniture painter but wasn’t into the notion of mixing her paint – a common objection with milk paint that can easily be overcome.  Well she decided to try new things and it has really paid off for her!

Check out this beautiful washstand done in Apron Strings.

Apron Strings Washstand

Apron Strings

This coffee table went from mid-century to farmhouse with Mustard Seed Yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Coffee Table

Musard Seed Yellow milk paint

This evening is the Petal Pushers floral design workshop at The Rhoads Garden in North Wales, PA.  We still have a few spots open and would love to have you if you’re local.  Come early so we’re sure to have a space set for you or send an email today letting us know you’ll be attending.  Try something new!

Petal Pushers Bike MS Fundraiser

 

petal pushers

Have you ever thought about taking a floral design course before? Have you cut flowers from your garden and wished that you could do more than just haphazardly plop them in a vase? Do you have any idea how you can make the cellophane wrapped supermarket bouquet look like a million bucks?

Now is your chance to learn how from an award-winning, professional floral designer!  And for the mere cost of a floral arrangement which, in turn, will be donated to our Bike MS: City to Shore team.  The funds, not the arrangement.  You get to take your floral arrangement home!  Fresh flowers and a good cause.  Does it get any better than that?

If you’re local to North Wales, PA, I hope you will consider Petal Pushers and join us for this awesome fundraiser on August 14th.  Please register in advance as space is limited.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Petal Pushers Bike MS Fundraiser

 

P.S. Pennsylvania friends, I will be conducting a milk paint demo on Sunday, July 20th at 1 pm at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

DIY laundry detergent

We’ve taken DIY to a new level over here. It was only a matter of time really. DIY rooms, paint jobs and furniture were our gateway. Then there was lighting. And we dabbled in sewing – not necessarily a strong suit, for those keeping track.

Then it happened in the kitchen. I began making things from scratch such as soups, juice and bread. Which got us thinking about all of the processed food and drinks we used to eat and how that directly correlates to our health and just generally feeling good. We’ve cut out as much processed food as possible.

That mindset begged us to ask what was in our detergents and certain cleaning supplies that we come in close contact with.  As a result, our DIY laundry detergent was born…

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

After much research we settled on 3 simple ingredients…

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar fels naptha soap

DIY Laundry Detergent-3992

The fels naptha must be grated.  Don’t let that deter you if you are interested in making your own laundry detergent.  It really only takes about 3 minutes to grate a bar of soap.  If you’ve grated cheese before, you can do this!

DIY Laundry Detergent-3986

After that, all that is left is measuring 1 cup of the other 2 ingredients.

DIY Laundry Detergent-3988

Combine it all in a jar or canister.  You’ll just need a tablespoon of the detergent for each load of laundry; 2 tablespoons for extra dirty loads.    This detergent smells so truly fresh and clean too – not a manufactured scent.  It also doesn’t suds up making it a good candidate for high-efficiency washers that call for low suds detergents.

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

Did I mention that this detergent is dirt cheap to make?  Get it?  Dirt cheap!  I couldn’t resist.  But it really is inexpensive.  Do you make any of your own cleaning supplies?

 

more fundraising

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for the Fab Four Flea in Cape May a few weeks ago.  We cleared out a ton of stuff and sent many treasures to new homes to be adored, as they should be.  Naturally we had a blast doing it regardless of the 5 am wake up call.

Fab 4 Flea

So much fun that I’m hosting another yard sale this Saturday.  This time in PA.  Montgomery county.  That’s right, another multi-family yard sale (with other families) where we pawn more of our long forgotten about treasures off on you for next to nothing.  We’re practically giving it away all in the name of charity once again.

vintage treasures

All of the funds from Saturday’s sale will benefit our Bike MS: City to Shore fundraiser.  (Ryan’s offline donations need to be updated, if you’re keeping tabs, but they are growing!)

bikelogoThe great purge of 2014 continues…expect more vintage, some furniture, lots of kitchen items, sporting good equipment and just general household items – some old, some new.  You can view our ad here and find out where to go on Saturday morning.  As always, early birds welcome.

save the world buy vintage

We have another Team Recanize fundraiser event planned for later this summer.  I will be sure to share details ASAP.  I think you’re going to like it.  It does not involve buying any of my old junk.  I mean junque.  Stay tuned…

While I am shamelessly self-promoting our events, please note that I will be hosting another free Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration on Sunday at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.  Let’s talk paint.

free MMS milk paint demo

 

a yard sale fundraiser

So this is happening.

f4f

It’s that time of year again.  Time for our multi-family yard sale, also known as the Fab 4 Flea, where a group of my friends purge only their best stuff.  The stuff you’ve been looking for.  There will be furniture, dishes, games, mirrors, art, designer clothing, china, books and yes, loads of vintage that I need to unload.  Everything is priced to move.  And early birds are welcome!

There is a twist this year…  Ryan and I will be fundraising via the sale.  The proceeds from all of the merchandise we sell will go to our Bike MS: City to Shore fundraiser.  You know this is a cause near and dear to us.

bikelogoOur team is working to meet our fundraising goals so we can bike together this September like we did last year.  Side note, if you want to join Team Recanize and ride with us in September, we’d love to have you.  Sign up here.  If I can do it, you can…

Bike MS finishline

We hope you’ll come out and find a new treasure while supporting our cause.  It is a win-win!  If you are going to be in Cape May on Saturday morning and want to visit our sale, send me a message for the address or look for our ad in the Shoppe. You’ll know it when you see it!

f4f

 

trail mix cookies

spring. Spring. SPRING!  I think it is really here.  The sun is pouring through the windows.  The trees are starting to bud.  It’s amazing!

Over the weekend, I made trail mix cookies.  This is the third or fourth time I’ve made these and they never last long.  I thought I’d share the recipe with you all because they’re pretty tasty, vegan and the trail mix ingredients pack a lot of energy. There’s not a ton of sugar either so they’re not overly sweet.  The cookies have a crunchy exterior and are soft inside almost like a granola bar.  Yum!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

I’ve dubbed them Trail Mix Cookies because there is 3/4 cup of trail mix ingredients that you can choose – seeds, nuts, dried fruit.  I haven’t made these the same way twice.  Stay tuned and I’ll explain…

Trail Mix Cookies – makes about 2 dozen

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 apple sauced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup seeds (1/8 c sunflower kernel + 1/8 c flaxseed)

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - 1 cup of granola

Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees and grease 2 cookie sheets.

I like to sauce a fresh apple.  Core and peel an apple.  While measuring the other ingredients, allow the apple to boil.  Using an immersion blender, blend the apple into sauce.  (A work around for this step is to just add 1/2 cup of jarred apple sauce.)

Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, apple and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.  This will make a nice adhesive for your trail mix.

Combine flours and baking soda and add to your mix.

Now for the fun part…and in the “trail mix” of your choice – 1 cup of granola + 1/2 cup of dried fruit (like cranberries, peaches or raisins) + 1/4 cup total of seeds and/or nuts.  I usually use 1/8 cup of sunflower kernels and 1/8 cup of flaxseed.  I have also used cashews.  The possibilities are endless.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

Spoon cookies about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe (5 of 10)

Enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

For the brown sugar, we have been using Turbinado sugar which is essentially raw “brown sugar”.  We have been avoiding processed white sugar where we can.  Most brown sugars are just processed white sugar with the addition of molasses.  Turbinado is raw sugar with molasses.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - Turbindao sugar

There are other modifications you can make to this recipe for it to work for your pantry choices.  For example, you can substitute the coconut oil for canola oil.

And while we’re in the kitchen, I don’t believe I shared you with you my two cents about oiling cast iron.  I posted last week over on Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint blog about the wonders of hemp oil and cast iron.  Check it out here.

Hemp Oil + Cast Iron

In fact, I’ve been all over the web lately.  I’m excited to share that our bathroom renovation was featured on Apartment Therapy and Hometalk over the weekend.  So if you’re new here, welcome!  Please enjoy our Trail Mix Cookies!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

 

the quesadilla i can’t quit

Winter.  Blah.  Let’s not even talk about it.

Let’s talk about beautiful, tropical colors instead.  How about some superfoods?

mangos

Yes, I went there.  Superfoods.  Such a trendy term applied to foods that have health benefits and in some cases may even help medical conditions as well.  Avocado, mango, beans to name a few of my current faves.

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe - avocado mango black beans

They’re so tasty when pressed together between a tortilla with shredded cheese, a dash of onion and spinach.  I simply can’t quit this tropical combination.

To make a quick quesadilla for one, I fold a round tortilla in half on a Foreman grill, line it with ingredients, pull the other half of the tortilla over and close the lid.  I don’t like greasy, soggy quesadillas.  The Foreman method has worked for me for ages vs. pressing it in a pan.

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe

Don’t forget a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Possibly my favorite part…  Trick yourself into thinking you’re eating sour cream.  Go ahead.  Try it!

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe - avocado mango black beans

What are you snacking on this winter?

living on less

We’ve made some major changes in our lives over the past few months.  For starters, we got hitched in May.  You already knew that unless you’re just tuning in for the first time.  And if you are, welcome!

wedding

What happened next surprised us though.  A good surprise in retrospect but the type of surprise we weren’t totally prepared for.  It knocked the wind out of us at first actually.  We picked up suddenly and moved to Cape May, NJ.  Permanently. We quickly consolidated two houses into one small beach bungalow.  You could call it the great downsize of 2013.  We sold tons of furniture, donated pounds of clothes and narrowed down our favorite housewares.

milk paint table makeover & ship captain lamp

We made the decision to move in June after being faced with some tough issues primarily related to Ryan’s MS which he was diagnosed with last year.  I’ll save all of the gritty details for my future best-selling memoir.  Ultimately we decided what is most important to us is living a simple healthy life together in a place we love.  We made the quick decision to eliminate unnecessary noise and chaos and to leave the grind behind.  Why wait the previously planned 15-20 years to move to our beloved Cape May?  We packed up truckload after truckload and settled into our beach bungalow turned forever home in August.  Now we live somewhere between the woods of Cape May and the sandy shore of the Delaware Bay.  It is quiet, restful and simple.

beach

We’ve taken on a motto of living on less which is a bit of a change from my previous fill-every-closet-in-the-house lifestyle.  Who am I kidding?  Once a hoarder, always a hoarder but I have been making smarter decisions about what I actually need and what collected anecdotes make me happy.  We only have two closets in the entire house and one dresser each so excess clothing was the first to go.  It is kind of refreshing to have such limitations in a way.

vintage ship captain collection

But living on less doesn’t mean bare rooms and no fun. Trust me.  There will be lots of room makeovers now that we’re settled into our new permanent address.  Well, four room makeovers if I have my way.  Several are already in progress.  We have just four rooms in our 1000 square foot home and two bathrooms plus loads of outdoor space.  Doesn’t it sound freeing to only have to maintain four rooms?  All two and a half of us really do not need more space than that.

kitchen

Don’t get me wrong, we are not living in total seclusion here.  I still love the action that the city has to offer.  We make frequent trips “up north” but are thrilled to come home to our peaceful, collected abode by the sea.

bedroom

And being that I built a business based on beautiful things, the hunting and gathering will continue.  Joyfully!  I’ll continue to sell vintage and repurposed wares at The West End Garage in Cape May.  Let’s call that our flagship store, shall we?  Plus on our frequent trips to Philly, we’ll pop up at our favorite Clover Market.  And of course, I’ll continue to be a driving force with milk paint at Serendipity Shops in Doylestown plus it is available for sale online.  In fact, I have another demo coming up on November 17th at 1pm.

That’s our big news!  Coming to you from Cape May, NJ.  When the world gives you lemons, take them to the beach…