My new obsession

I learned at an early age that cones were not for me.  I enjoyed the look of the cone, with the scoops piled high, and the sweet taste of the sugar cone, down to that last perfect dollhouse sized mini-cone bite  when the ice cream is pushed  into the very bottom of the teeny, tiny cone tip.  But, too often I’d take one lick and knock all the scoops over and onto the ground to the delight of the dogs down below.  So, I settled for cups.  Even today I forget that I do indeed possess the agility and control to handle the cone and get excited when I throw caution to the wind and order my ice cream that way.  Mint Chip was never my flavor.  I always favored Black Cherry.  And, to be perfectly honest, I’ll choose a salted soft pretzel over sweets any day.  Weird, I know.  But, recently my eye was drawn to a sale sign in my overpriced neighborhood market and my instinct was screaming out for mint chip.  I’ll admit, I may have been taken in initially by the minimalist, clear packaging, but Talenti Mediterranean Mint gelato is irresistible.  It has super yummy, fresh mint taste and just the right amount of good, dark chocolate chips.  It’s not organic.  Nor is it eco-friendly.  But, it’s smooth and cool and absolutely delicious.  I’ve seen it turn some other mint chip reluctants into believers at first taste.

The trouble with guests…

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” -Benjamin Franklin

My family recently visited some loved ones and had a fantastic time.  It was a seaside adventure and thus travel packing involved various sunscreens, UPF hats, bug repellent sticks, water sandals, sunglasses…you get the point.  This was indoor/outdoor living with a heavy emphasis on the “outdoor” and it seemed that we needed most of these outdoor sundries on a regular basis, as in many times a day.

Being that we live in a major city and host many guests throughout the year, I am sensitive about an unwanted trail of belongings strewn throughout someone else’s home.  Nevertheless, despite our efforts to keep our clutter at bay, after our third day on the island it seems we were beginning to “smell” (although, I still blame the diaper pail).  Thus, our three hot weather items were anonymously removed from the main level of the home and placed in a small ball in “our” bedroom.

All right, all right, I get it.  After all, who likes to see their turn of the century sideboard littered with cafe receipts, eyeglasses, keys, phones, nail files and that bag of snack mix the airline so generously gifted.  That said, should guests need to transport every important personal item up or down to the room in which they are bunking several times a day?   We’ve all been there, either on the receiving or giving end, or maybe both?  So it got me thinking…is there a reasonable solution to this age-old problem?

Brainstorm!!  I present to you the “Guest Box.”  This is not a comment box. No.  Who wants one of those?  Let’s be honest.  Rather, it is an attractive box in your favorite hue that can house a guest’s small, portable and necessary “on the go” personal items throughout the duration of their stay.  A set of these boxes can be stacked  neatly by the door, in cubbies in the mudroom (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those), under a table in the entry way, or anywhere you see fit.  It allows everyone visiting to have a bit of personal space near the hub of the home without them taking that Hansel and Gretel bread crumb approach.  Win, win 🙂

It’s summer! Do you know what’s in your garden hose??

My tomatoes are turning red and delicious on their vines.  For this novice gardener, it is a very proud moment.  I took great care in choosing the right location for my seedlings, planted them with organic soil and food, gently tied their growing vines to their stakes for support and watered them daily.  They are healthy, organic, and we grew them all ourselves.  So, naturally I was dismayed when I read an article reporting lead in very likely the garden hose I have been using to water our food source!  Lead.  Wonderful.  In fact, the study in the article reported  that 70% of the 179 garden products it tested contained chemicals of “high concern,”  30% contained lead and 100% contained phthalates (a chemical linked to birth defects and breast cancer).

And, not only have we watered our garden with our lead-laden hose, we also fill the kiddie pool for our toddler – water that he inadvertently, or probably advertently, drinks.  Perfect.  The good news?  10 seconds of internet search uncovered many lead-free and phthalate safe hoses.  I took a chance and visited my local chain retailer and found a good option there and we are back in business!

***Tip: Look for “drinking water safe” and/or “lead free”on the packaging.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/study-finds-garden-hose-water-dangerous_n_1615774.html