Thursday, February 27, 2014


Carnitas is a Mexican delight that we love to indulge in. Cooking it the traditional way at home can be a hassle as it is typically fried in large vats of lard. A simple no nonsense but surprisingly tasty way to cook it is to simply put a pork butt in a Crock Pot! Place a quartered onion on top and cook on low for 10 hours. Remove the fat from the top, shred and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Tips - Peeling Potatoes

Peeling baker potatoes can be tiresome unless you do this super cool method! First, bake or boil the potato. Plunge into ice water for 10 seconds.

This quick cool down will allow you to handle the potato.

Put a hand on each end of the potato and pull gently.

The skins should peel away into your hands. Be sure to do this quickly as the potatoes are still piping hot! You can see the steam in the above potato!

If you pull with a little too much muscle you might come away with an unpeeled broken potato. Beware.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MAKit Plates 2014

We had several plate making days with cousins and friends this year. It's such a fun way to chronicle each persons interests and artistic capabilities. Above, Nate was a portraitist and drew himself and dad skiing.

Gabby experimented with swirly circles that would shoot off in different directions. She's definitely an abstract artist.

Sophia was a cartoonist.

Abby delved into colors and textures.

Phil dabbled in modernism.

Christina did a still life.
I did stick figures.
It was a fun and art filled project. Can't wait to see what next year brings!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Flower Power

Rose Shade
I saw this super cute lamp at Potter Barn. The Gabster's middle name is Rose and thought it would be cute addition to her room. Though the price at almost $100 was a bit high for me so I decided to make one.

First, I bought this simple lamp at Target for $8.

Then I bought 14 bunches of flowers from the Dollar Store. I pulled the heads of the flowers off.

Snipped off the bit of stem remaining.

Added a squirt of hot glue.

And stuck the flower right onto the lamp shade. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
In the end, the light is a bit more modern than the more classical one I found in the store but for only $22 it is one of my favorite projects so far!
Here Gabs is checking out her new light. Each night since I've finished it she turns it on and says "Gabby's light". Seriously, best project so far.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Tips - Rising Dough

My sister-in-law Roberta is one of those people that knows everything. I don't mean that sarcastically but truthfully. You ask her a questions and she will undoubtedly have the answer. It's frustrating at times because it makes me feel not very swift.

I casually mentioned to Roberta how dough never rises properly in my house probably because we keep the thermostat low. I've tried heating an oven, turning it off and leaving the door open as many recipes advise you to do but it never works. She also keeps the thermostat low in her house and suggested using a heating pad. Turn the pad onto low and plop your bowl of dough on top. I tried this on Friday with pizza dough and it rose just like it is supposed to! Love it!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snowmaggedon - Part 3

Last Sunday it finally stopped snowing. Yahoo! It meant no more hitting snow off greenhouses. It also meant that we could get out like a regular family and play in the snow.

Gabs got her first taste of sledding down our driveway. She loved it.

Nate got to be a big brother and show Gabs the ropes.
The whole snow adventure was capped off with a snowy walk. Jim pulled the kiddos on the sled.

Then Nate pulled Gabs.

Finally Gabs pulled Nate.
When we got back to the house we warmed up with hot chocolate. It was the perfect way to cap off the horrible snowmaggedon weekend. Amazingly the snow melted and nearly disappeared by the next day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snowmaggedon - Part 2

I used to love snow days. You get to play outside building snowmen, make snow angels and then warm up with cocoa. You then get to relax inside and do nothing but play board games. I feel like those are the thoughts of my young self. I'm not so sure I like snow days anymore.

Last Thursday it started to snow. It was light and dry and beautiful to watch coming down. I was filled with excitement for the snow. By Friday we had several inches. I was planning a fun day out in the snow with the kiddos when the hubby informed me we had to go knock snow off of the greenhouses.
Sounds easy right? A little pat pat here and the snow comes down. Wrong! The problem is that snow is heavy. When you have several inches piled up it is super heavy. That super heavy snow can cause the hoops (metal poles) of the greenhouse to bend under the weight and then collapse. This happened 5 years ago when we lost 17 greenhouses in a snowstorm. I happened to be pregnant and out of town during this snowstorm so didn't get to experience the real world snow day.

If you ever have to clean snow off of a greenhouse here is our method that seemed to work the best:
  1. Find an intrepid fellow (Jim and his brother Jerry) with a leaf blower and throw him on top of the greenhouse. Have him blow the snow.
  2. Said intrepid fellow should bounce up and down on top of the slippery greenhouse to try and loosen the snow. Be sure not to lose your balance so you won't slide down the greenhouse with the snow.
  3. Have someone on the inside of the greenhouse (this was one of my jobs) with a long stick or pipe and bang the snow to loosen it even more. It's best to work simultaneously with the blower up top for best results.
The above picture shows my pal Fedey using a pipe like a battering ram to knock the snow from inside the greenhouse. You can see the outline of my brother-in-law Jerry standing up on top of the greenhouse. By the way the greenhouse is covered in plastic. Plastic when wet is super slippery. We were so lucky that neither Jim or Jerry fell off of the greenhouses!
When it was all over. I hurt so much. My shoulders, my back, even the palms of my hands ached. That night it snowed another 4 inches so we got to start all over again the next morning. Ack!
I realized several things over this two day snow clearing:
  1. When you are not used to doing manual labor you realize how much of a wimp you are and that you really need to start lifting weights.
  2. It's amazing the sense of accomplishment to see your efforts making a difference. To literally see and hear the snow sloshing off of the greenhouses was very satisfying.
  3. Family is awesome. All of Jim's nieces, a couple of nephew-in-laws and various other family members all came out to help. They have no connection to the nursery but came together as families should but rarely seem to do.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A SUPER Valentine's Day!

When we saw the above ad in a catalog we knew that it would be Nate's Valentine's treat for his classmates this year. Of course we would make them ourselves as I'm a cheapskate and wouldn't buy them.

We started by cutting the masks out of black construction paper and gluing on googly eyes.

We then cut out capes from red construction paper. Nate drew V's on each for "Valentine".

On the opposite side we wrote our Valentine's message and Nate signed them.

Here they are all put together.

The back sides. (Side note, did you know they now have Pomegranate flavored Tootsie Pops? I can't wait to try it!)
It was a quick fun craft and made for memorable Valentine gifts.
Wishing you a Super Valentine's Day!
Rice Pot Mama

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowmaggedon - Part 1

Last Tuesday it started to snow. It was the last day of my sister's visit and we had hopes it would cancel her flight so we could keep her with us longer. No such luck.

We played in the snow and tried to catch snowflakes on our tongues.

Gabby tried to eat the snow off of the grass. We frolicked. We goofed around. And we wished it would snow more.

We got our wish several days later. Stay tuned for Snowmaggedon Part 2.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Tips - Peeling Hard Boiled Eggs

Let me first say, I really don't like hard boiled eggs. There. It's out. Scrambled eggs I enjoy. I can even eat poached eggs or fried eggs if I have to. But boiled eggs? Ick.

Jim on the other hand, loves them. When we saw the video above we knew we would have to give it a try!

Start by putting the eggs in a pot. Cover with water. The water line should be two inches above the eggs. Add in 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in cool water.

Once cooled, take the egg and gently tap one end. Remove a bit of the shell.

Repeat with the other end.

Bring the egg up to your mouth. Cup your hand around the egg and get your other hand ready to catch.

Blow hard and the egg will pop out with no shell!

A perfectly peeled egg!

Check out the shell!