Monthly Archives: March 2015

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Allspice Demystified

Allspice … we know it helps give our pumpkin pies that delicious, unmistakable taste. I even used it in my Pumpkin Refrigerator Pickles. But what the heck is allspice, anyway?

Photo by jeffreyw via Wikimedia Commons

 

Take a poll of people in most any setting, and I’ll venture to guess that the most common opinion would be that allspice is a mixture of spices—perhaps cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. But when you look for allspice on the spices shelf at your local grocery, you might notice that one option is to buy allspice berries. So there goes the mixture theory …

Allspice—also known as Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, pimento, English pepper, and newspice—actually got its name as early as the 1600s because it tasted like a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. But those berries you saw on the shelf were actually the dried fruit of the P. dioica plant. And in addition to its use in baked goods, sausages, and curries, allspice has also had an interesting history of non-culinary uses—including one in Napolean’s army. Check out this video from the American Chemical Society to find out more. (Spoiler alert: you’re either going to find the narrator endearingly adorable … or annoying. 🙂 )

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Need a Bathroom?

In our busy world of travel and errands, there’s a universal question that we all must eventually face, especially if we’re the parent of little ones: Where’s the bathroom? Pulling over for a little “hike” in the woods is fine for many of us, but what if there are no woods nearby or your stop requires a little more, ahem, pampering?

Well, if your smartphone accompanies you on your jaunts, there’s an app for that! Airpnp uses your geographic location to give you a list of places to potty, from freebies at coffee shops and stores to private homes that rent out their bathrooms. Private homes that rent out their bathrooms?!

graphic, Airpnp

Yes, that’s right, people actually rent out their bathrooms. Listings on the site include photos, hours of service, and fees, and many boast family-friendly atmospheres or luxurious soaps. The founders, natives of New Orleans, created the app when they realized they could help frustrated revelers find a bathroom during the city’s annual Mardi Gras festivities. Co-founder and “PEO” Max Gaudin says, “You can use Airpnp on your phone via the browser, on your computer, or download our iOS app.” Their playful tagline reads “Urine good hands.” For those of us who sometimes have to really, really GO, this app could turn out to be ….? What would you end the sentence with? Dashing?

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Farmgirl Jubilee Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,269 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,908 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Each Other/Farmgirl Jubilee Beginning Level Merit Badge, I brewed myself a cuppa, baked a few current scones (with clotted cream, guv’nr), kept me eyes peeled for a sighting of the Tardis (my childhood dream of being Doctor Who’s new companion has never died), and read all about HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee of 2012.

What a bash. It was positively smashing and brilliant. (Crikey, I love British idioms. Wait. Crikey is more Down Under, isn’t it? Well, that’s a bit barmy of me, but no matter.) The British know how to do a jubilee, I tell you what. The peasants (do we still call them that?) camped out in the rain to be a part of this celebration, so you know it was a party worth going to. Like Woodstock, only way more posh. A party 60 years in the making, in fact. Cheeky!

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Photo by Richard Symonds via Wikimedia Commons

Lest you think this all a bunch of codswallop or that I’m off my trolley, check it out here.

Just reading about it has me knackered, but I was determined to earn this badge. It turns out that a jubilee is a basically an anniversary celebration of … well, just about anything. Want to commemorate the first anniversary of your first Badge? Have a jubilee! Feel like marking the fifth birthday of hosting your very own grownup dinner party? It’s jubilee time!

Photo, Tsuchiura Fireworks Display by peaceful-jp-scenery via Flickr

For me, the hard part wasn’t planning a party. I mean, come on, luv, I’m the princess of parties. I have the cocktail dress to prove it (a becoming little black chiffon with a flounce to die for). The hard part was deciding what to celebrate. There’s just so much good in this farmgirl’s life …

Then I had it. I could host another Organic Dinner Party for my friends and family, and incorporate some of the other farmgirl elements: a reusable bag swap perhaps, or an evening of candlemaking (right after our course of bangers and mash … or maybe bubbles and squeak … hold the blood pudding)?

Of course, my jubilee didn’t need to be British … but I was kind of hooked. Line and sinker. Which reminds me of fish and chips. Luvvly jubbly, gals.

I got to work planning my jubilee and even included an invite for the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Just wish I knew where to mail it.

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Awesome Kids

Today, I have a treat for you … three awesome kids with big accomplishments.

First, I’ll introduce you to Lennon and Maisy.

Photo, www.lennonandmaisy.com

Lennon and Maisy are sisters, just 15 and 11 years old, who are phenomenal singers. They’ve been appearing on the TV drama “Nashville” since 2012. The girls come by their talent naturally—their parents are the country music duo The Stellas, who finished fourth place on the CMT singing competition “Can You Duet” and have since gone on to make albums and tour with the Zac Brown Band. And their grandfather was once a member of the 1950s mega-group, The Platters. I’m not the only one bedazzled by Lennon and Maisy’s talents—their You Tube channel has over 60 million views! Here’s my favorite:

Since I’m not much of a TV watcher, I hadn’t seen Lennon and Maisy on “Nashville.” Instead, I was introduced to them by another amazing kid, a little guy with a big name: Kid President.

Kid President, 10-year-old Robby Novak, is a YouTube sensation, with scores of videos produced by his brother-in-law, Brad Montague, that have gathered over 75 million views. Robby has osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bones disease” (Robby says, “That means I break easy.”), resulting in over 70 fractures in his short life. Brad was so inspired by Robby’s positive attitude throughout his trials that he knew they could inspire others with their videos. In the words of Kid President, “Life is too short to not be awesome.” He’s even written a book called Kid President’s Guide To Being Awesome. Robby and Brad have inspired millions to “dance, celebrate life, and throw more parades.” I’ll bet that after you watch Robby’s take on “20 Things We Should Say More Often,” you’ll be watching more Kid President videos.

The icing on the cake? These three amazing kids, together in one video! Enjoy “A Love Song from Kid President and Lennon & Maisy.”

 

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Jill Schrader!!!

Jill Schrader (OneCountryChick, #6177) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Intermediate & Expert Level Entrepreneurial Spirit Merit Badge!

“Well, I was finally on my way. I had mapped out a business plan, researched suppliers, pricing, and a business name. I was now Country Kitchen Linens! Now I had to become that business. So I applied for a business name through the state, got a Seller’s Permit, and got all the legal ins and out taken care of. Next, I set up an online account to sell my kitchen linens through Etsy. Then, finally, came the fun part. Shopping for supplies and fabrics and making a few products so I could take photos for my listings. Once I had a few sets created, I put them on my shop site. Now, the excitement and butterflies really began. I was officially open for business!

IMG_2757My goal was to open the first part of November to take advantage of Christmas sales. I opened November 1. I continued making new items and selecting prints I thought other farm sisters would enjoy and could relate to. The orders started trickling in. I contacted MJF and was selected to be part of Project F.A.R.M. giveaway for January! That gave me some more exposure and fun items for other sisters to purchase for others on their Christmas list. Thank you, MJF, for that opportunity!

For my Expert badge, My Country Kitchen Linens shop is now officially open for business! My web page was built, business cards/labels were created, and orders started to come in. It was a busy time, as the Christmas season was just starting as well. Baking and shopping were in full swing, and as a seamstress, I love making clothes for the little grandkids as well as creating new listings for the shop that needed to be expanded. The more trips to the fabric store, the more prints I saw that I just had to add to my shop. Oh, the fun I was having!!

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Getting my name out there was the hardest thing. Without an actual “brick and mortar” building that people can see, an online store is a bit trickier, but at the same time, you can set up shop all over the world on one site. I continue to expand my listings, grow my business and get the word out. I am so grateful to MJF for promoting my shop and welcoming me into the “sisterhood”! I love seeing what others are making and hope to purchase some of their wares in the near future as we support each other and our country way of life.”