Here's a pet peeve for you: when a weekend project stretches into a Monday project.

Consider this a PSA to all you DIYers out there. Having run out of my go-to aerosol paint stripper, my enthusiastically green local hardware store guilted me into trying Ready Strip. The label states that the product takes at least 30 minutes to be effective, but I figured I was better off killing time than braincells. Ha! Let's see if I can reenact the process for you.

30 minutes after application: Is it ready to strip? Hmm. No.
1 hour: Ready? No.
4 hours: No.
8... 12... 24: No, no, NO!

Hour after hour, this useless goop just sat on top of the paint. When I finally got frustrated with all of the pointless scraping and reapplication, I gave up- only to find that cleaning up this disgustingly sticky mess would take another hour of scrubbing. Now I've got a patchy chair and a whole lot of aggression (though I guess that might help with the sanding process).

What a disaster! Anyone else have a DIY-Gone-Wrong to share?


Elizabeth's Sunnier Outlook Pie

Adam's Mom recently gifted us with several stalks of home-grown rhubarb. I was skeptical. My earlier impressions of rhubarb were, well... sour. And just look at the stuff! You know that rude phrase "beaten with the ugly stick?" Rhubarb could very well BE that stick. It's rough, tough, offensively red, and basically looks like celery gone to the dark side. Pretty much the last thing I'd grab to throw in a pie.

But, I did, and here's how I did it.

The filling is about as simple as can be: strawberries and rhubarb (at a 1:1 ratio and roughly chopped so they won't just liquify), 1/2 a cup of sugar, a few tablespoons of flour, a pinch of salt, and the juice of a particularly rotund lemon.

The topping is like a spicy oatmeal cookie: a stick of melted butter, a cup of flour, 1/2 cup of Stone Buhr 4 Grain Cereal Mates (as an aside: I did NOT buy this cereal. I don't even know how it got in my cupboard. I only eat cereal that gives me sugar-related heart palpitations.), 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a drizzle of molasses, a generous pinch each of nutmeg and ground ginger, an obscene amount of cinnamon, a sprinkling of diced crystalized ginger, and the zest of the above-mentioned lemon.

Baked for 45 minutes at 375ยบ, until the pie dish could barely contain all the goodness within.
Garnished with lemon slices and festive lemon zest confetti.
Served on vibrant red glass plates.

My not-so-humble opinion? It's brilliant. I've never eaten a pie so delicious. It has none of the nasty bite that I'd associated with rhubarb. It's tart, to be sure, but the addition of the lemon creates a multi-tonal sour flavor that seems to sparkle across the palate. It tastes uncannily like strawberry lemonade! As for the crumble topping... it's light but satisfyingly crunchy (thanks to that weird healthy cereal), and the array of spices play well with the sweet-tart fruits.

A wholesome, happy pie.

Adam gives the pie 8 stars, and I (very modestly) say 9- because this pie will change your mind about rhubarb.


Dare to Dream: 13 Crystal Heads

There've been a lot of posts about kitties and bunnies around here lately. I don't want you to think I'm losing my edge. I'm badass! I like skulls and hard liquor!!

Therefore, I give you Crystal Head Vodka. Definitely an age-appropriate gift for StB *hint hint*.

So, here's the thing. I first appraised Crystal Head Vodka on its looks alone. I thought, "here's a bottle that could make my liquor cabinet into a cabinet of curiosities." I had no idea I'd stumbled onto a "spiritual awakening." Thanks to Dan Aykroyd, my eyes are open to the world of the magical unknown.

For your enlightenment (and a much-needed Tuesday laugh):


Birthday Wishing and Hopping

I've got an August birthday coming up, and thanks to Oh Joy!, I've started my wish list. 

I understand that 25 is a little old to be asking for stuffed animals. That's why I'm asking for the Picnica "Bunny" Tote Bag instead! This little cutie unzips into a practical shoulder bag, just right for picking up produce at the farmer's market (perhaps a bunch of carrots?). 

What's not to love about a useful tote in a grown-up neutral palette that just happens to have kicky little feet and a pair of floppy ears?