I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Little Bits

I've been trying to penny pinch, like most everyone during these tough economic times and I have decided to try and use the old baking soda, vinegar and water cleaning method for some areas of my house. I've read a good bit about how effective baking soda and vinegar are as cleaners but I've always been on the consumer track of believing that you need a different product for every single household job. True, some areas (bathrooms!) need disinfecting but I don't need to be wasting via packaging and chemicals and use-only-once products like Swiffers cloths and Clorox wipes. A man came out early last week to give me an estimate on having our hardwood floors buffed and shined. He asked what I've been using on them and he tsked when he saw that I was using Method's non-toxic wood floor cleaner (I have a crawling infant and don't want harsh chemicals). He said that vinegar and water did a beautiful job keeping floors clean. Bob gave it a whirl today and the floors look better than they have since we bought the house! 1 cup of inexpensive white vinegar to a gallon of water, and voila - clean floors.


My little gardener, eager for spring planting:

Even though we are going to be moving in a couple months I've decided to go ahead and plant some lettuce and radishes in my garden. I just can't stand not planting anything and both of these will be quickly productive and the lettuce will taper out right about the time we are leaving. It just killed me today to plunk down $2.99 per package of fresh herbs at the grocery store. In the summer I have more dill, parsley, cilantro and basil than I can manage and now I am shelling out big bucks for a few ounces of each. I hope with the Obama's brand new kitchen garden and bee hive on the south lawn of the White House that more Americans are inspired to give gardening a whirl. I used to believe you had to have amazing skills to have a productive garden and while its true that some things are finicky for the most part plants want to live and will try their best to do just that. Not only does the produce taste so much better fresh it is also virtually free - you can't beat that! There are so many great free resources online for novice gardeners, check this out and the sidebar links if you are interested.


I love anthropology and browsing this section at used book stores always turns up the most interesting books. Today I found:

This Common Ground by Scott Chaskey

Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken

When The Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce


On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm by Michael Abelman


I am a history nut, especially early to mid 20th century American history. What a century the 20th was for the world! The invention of the modern automobile, dishwasher, microwave, computer. The wars that were fought and won and reshaped the world. The advent of the internet and its dramatic impact on the global community. I love vintage inspired clothes (especially late 50s/early 60s), mid-century hairstyles, fashion and decorating. And World War II and its affect on the typical American household - for instance almost everyone had a Victory Garden during that period. Knowing that my grandparents all lived during this era, that this was their world when they were my age with young children, and considering all the ways that my life is so much easier than theirs was - the convenience of the modern world is really breathtaking when you think about it.

One of my favorite ways to get a glimpse into the past is by reading vintage magazines. McCalls, American Home, The Farmer's Wife to name a few. The ads are especially telling. There is a distinctive marketing shift in the 50s, which was the decade that hosted the dawn of advertising driven consumerism. The recipes and the advice for housewives in all areas of cleaning, decorating, fashion and health are like little time capsules. I was browsing an American Home magazine from November of 1957 today and I had to chuckle at the article dismissing the health benefits of a low-fat, lower calorie diet calling it a fad not backed by any scientific research. And the section that encouraged a busy housewife who had young children to plasticize her house - furniture cushions, tablecloths, flooring and dishes were all plastic and usually in the shades of aqua or pink! That same melamine that just caused a huge crisis in China contaminating infant formula was (and still is) used to make indestructible dishes. In the end though everything is really the same no matter which era or decade we live in - we all want to live in comfortable and pretty homes, look attractive to the opposite sex, live a long time and eat food that tastes good.




kathunter said...

I'm hoping that the garden the Obama's are growing will inspire my homeowners association to not think that a garden in our backyard is a bad thing. *sigh*

allie said...

I love this post! I've been thinking about making my own household cleaner when mine runs out. At my last condo, we had pergo floors and I used vinegar and water to mop them because it was the only thing that I knew wouldn't ruin them!

Good for you for planting your seeds! I bought lettuce and radish seeds also and am debating on whether or not to plant them now or wait until I'm back in town in April. Not sure I can trust the roomie to water them!

And you are right! If I can have a thriving herb garden, anyone can! I'm excited to get my containers going.

This post reminded me why we're friends (not that I'd forgotten). Firstly, once I get my credits and start teaching, I want to get my Masters in Anthropology over the summers. Also, I have the very same Victory Garden picture saved as my desktop wallpaper at work. Lets go to the American History Museum since it reopened when you get back!!

Keep me posted on the househunting. Can't wait to garden with you!

allie said...

PS- I'm pretty sure "firstly" is one of those words that isn't a word but is accepted as a word. Anyway, I usually don't use it so if it's incorrect, ignore! :)

donna said...


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