Have you taken stock of your wooden spoons lately? I mean, other than their legendary status as a spanking spoon—or just the threat of a bopping—they’re considered symbols of hospitality, and have remained kitchen staples since Ancient Egypt wasn’t exactly ancient yet.
Unlike metal spoons, the wooden utensil won’t scratch pans or bowls, won’t conduct heat and burn your hand or alter your cooking temps, are non-reactive with acidic foods, and won’t crack glass if you’re stirring a bit aggressively. On the flip side, wooden spoons can retain flavors—so that garlic pasta sauce you stirred last night might not go well with the cookie dough you’re mixing today.
Now, if you’re being hospitable and using your wooden utensils properly and regularly, are you cleaning them appropriately? Let’s find out by exploring how your spoons want to survive your kitchen.
Wooden utensils are more than just kitchen essentials—they’re pretty, versatile, and are often passed down through generations of home chefs. Treat them well, and they’ll reward you with their can-do spirit.
Congratulations! Thanksgiving was an enormous success, and all you have to do the next few days is… Find something to do with alllllllll those leftovers. Sure, sure, you can whip up the traditional turkey sandwich and chili, but consider some new options, like:
When was the last time you shaved, put on makeup or generally got ready for a day/night out in your guest bathroom? Did you have everything you needed? Was the lighting good? Did the shower drain? Or…was the toilet paper missing, lightbulbs burned out, and water standing in the tub? These are basic issues you need to check and resolve before any guest steps through your front door.
But if you want to be a SUPER host, you have a little more guest work to do to attain that title. Have your guest bathroom stocked with these items:
With just a little bit of pre-planning and stocking, you can help any guest prepare for a fun evening or weekend—your treat! And then you’ll wear that Super-Host hat proudly…right after you re-stock the toilet paper.
All day, you’ve been looking forward to those pasta leftovers from last night’s glorious meal. But when you open the storage lid…hmm…that delectable dinner looks dry and unappetizing. How can you reheat it and get back to that dreamy feast? Try this:
When you’re invited to a home-cooked meal, would you rather sip that icy water from a glass or plastic cup? You said “glass,” right? Of course you did. Because no one sits down to dinner, takes a sip, and says, “Man…I wish I had a plastic cup.”
Glassware is the easiest, most economical way to dress up any table for any occasion. You can spend very little on a collection from discount stores, estate sales and antique malls. Or…you can go wild with pricey options in crystal. Best time to do that? Your wedding.
Here are some guidelines for building, storing and maintaining your glassware collection:
If you’re young and putting your first real kitchen together, opt for affordable glass. Accidents happen during pizza night. If you’re ready to up your entertainment game, consider crystal. It shines beautifully in candlelight. But whatever you choose, start now. Your guests will silently thank you as they sip.
As summer winds down, gardeners start itching to do something other than water, water, water. And, maybe, water. There’s a need to tidy up, move things around, plant something new. But hold on, anxious gardeners. You might just be on the verge of making a big garden mistake. For instance:
It could be way too early to…
So just gather some important details before you attack that fall garden to-do list. Your plants will reward you for it next spring and summer.
When you pop into a thrift store, you probably have a goal in mind—clothing, glassware, kitchen tools. You hit those sections, and you’re out. But discount stores often have sections within sections you’re overlooking on your targeted visits.
Knowing that, here are some sections you might want to explore:
So on your next pop-in, add a few extra minutes to hit sections you normally avoid. You may be surprised what bargains those aisles hold just for you.
We’re officially in that time of the growing season when perennial shrubs are looking a little…tired. And roses probably look the worst. Time to prune!
But it’s hot, you say. And it’s humid. And I don’t want to make things worse. Fear not! Late-August to mid-September are excellent times to get in a healthy prune. With the right tools and techniques, you can convince those beauties to flush new growth and finish the gardening season strong.
Just follow these steps:
Your roses may look a little “stark” after a good pruning. You might think, Oh no…what have I done?? Just know that roses will leaf out within days, looking fresh and happy, and not at all irritated with their late-summer cut. And within weeks, you’ll be rewarded with flowering beauty.
It’s that time of the gardening season where our hard work potting up beautiful plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs come to the rapt attention of…critters. Yes. Those naughty, curious, destructive, insistent chipmunks, squirrels, voles, mice, bunnies, raccoons, armadillos—you name it—just cannot leave our pots alone!
What can we do about the destruction, short of posting “No Critters Allowed” signage everywhere these persistent non-readers gather? Here’s what I find works:
As usual, the chemical deterrents work best. But if you’re chemical-adverse, give the DIY options a shot. Hit or miss, your wildlife will appreciate the challenge.
If you live in or near the woods, like I do, a constant Battle for the Plants rages between humans and wildlife. And the most notorious contestants? Deer.
Hostas, impatiens, daylilies, lavender, yarrow, catmint, lamb’s ear, hydrangeas, ageratum—even thorned roses—are all delectable treats for nibbling deer lips. And sometimes even your more genius deterrent efforts fail. Your best long-term solution is redirecting their paths with fencing, lighting, lawn sprinklers, and wind chimes. But for short-term solutions, consider these:
By Fall, you may just be tired of the deer battle and resort to deer-resistant plants. But if you really, really, really want those hostas in your shade gardens, a smattering of creative solutions may do the trick!
A Michigan farm girl transplanted to the South offering hospitality hacks.