Mouse In Our House

You know we try and keep it all romantic around here at Mike and Molly’s House but sometimes we just gotta peel away a few layers…

You may have read how the mice moved into the yurt but that’s only one of the places they like to move  in to.  Each fall they move into our house.  Moving in is not even an accurate description; they are brought in…alive!

We have two cats.  The older one is our beloved black cat, Buji, who is a beautiful sleek panther like cat.  He loves adventure and spends most of his time outside running up and down trees catching and eating mice and gophers.  I’ve attached a melange of bells on his neck to keep him from eating all the birds in our yard.  Our younger cat, Kitten-AKA; Splat-AKA; Little SH*T, Mike found in a drainpipe while taking classes at the community college a few years back.  Strange thing is Mike is not the kind of guy that picks up strays…stray materials-yes, but not stray animals.  He did this particular time and now we have this chubby cat who swats at you when you pass by her.  Try and give her a scratch on her belly and she will rip you to shreds.  She mostly hangs out with the dogs…in the house…on the couch…sleeping.  If Archie is on my lap she will hop up and sit on his head.  Archie just sits there not moving.  She has one special talent…catching live mice, bringing them into the house and dropping them on the floor.  Once dropped they scurry off under something.  She takes  a few sniffs at whatever they are under, shrugs and heads out to get another one.

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How to Make the Ugliest Best Tasting Vanilla Cupcake

I know, I KNOW!!! I’m on a cupcake kick right now!  Just enjoy it, it will pass.  I just had to share one of my all time favorite white cake recipes.  I love the taste of this cake and I triple-dipple love the texture.  I’ve made it maybe a dozen times and every time there is one teensey-weensy little issue.  While it’s baking in the oven the batter always lifts up to the sky, bubbles over the sides and falls leaving a crater in the center.  I’ve tried a few tricks like lightly slamming the batter filled cupcake pan on the counter top several times before placing it in the oven.  This is supposed to get any bubbles out but it doesn’t work. I’ve also messed with the amount of baking powder but to no avail.

Why oh why would I want to share my tragic cupcakes that turn out looking like this with you?

Inside this ugly duckling of a cupcake lays the best tasting vanilla cake

Inside this ugly duckling of a cupcake lies the best tasting vanilla cake eV-er!

Because, my dear readers, it is still a luscious tasting experience.  AND the last time I made them I added something that made them even better!  Remember the chocolate cupcakes that had the rich drop of ganache in the center?  Well now I’m doing something similar with these! » » »

How to Make Liquid Castille Soap

I love liquid soap and I can’t stand bar soap (It’s icky sticky and yuck!).  The problem is that you can get great quality bar soap for a fraction of its liquid counterpart.  I’ve experimented before with making liquid soap with little success.  I finally found a recipe that is equal or better to any liquid soap out there.  Silver Fir Farms is a soap maker and over a year ago she was sweet enough to not only share her recipe for liquid castile soap but couple it with an instructional video. Get her recipe here and watch her video below: » » »

Yarn Bombing

I love graffiti.  (I’m not a fan of tagging though.)  I like the idea that you wake up one morning and chaos has ensued on a wall. Pretty, interesting, chaos.  Gone is the plain block wall replaced by art that says something left by someone you probably don’t know.  I  wish one day it would happen to the outside wall of my studio.

In the universe of graffiti there is something out there called ‘yarn bombing’.  It’s a form mostly lead by women.  The bomber knits or crochets over public objects typically in the dead of night.   I love the fact that women have found a unique voice in the graffiti world.  It tends to be colorful and soft but explodes out of the landscape.  You can’t can’t notice it!

I knew yarn bombing had hit the big time when I came across this ad in last months ‘People’ magazine…

Tampax ad starring Ishknits

Tampax ad starring Ishknits

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2nd Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour

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Does your town have a chicken coop tour?  I love that they are becoming all the rage.  People are embracing the idea of backyard chickendry as the norm rather than something their eccentric neighbor does.  My friend Doug  just emailed us this article on how the crazy nutty folks in Davis, CA do their coop tour.

This Sunday, July 29th from 9am-2pm Homegrown New Mexico and Edible Santa Fe are presenting this year’s event showcasing seven gardens and coops.  It’s not too late to check out these exceptional properties and get some inspiration.  You can just show up and buy tickets on the spot.  All proceeds go to keeping Homegrown New Mexico’s classes free!   Last year we were out of town and missed it, darn it (stamping feet) but this year we will be there.

What?  What’s that you asked?  Why aren’t we on the tour? Well, we live outside of Santa Fe city limits.  We’d be the firefly ship on the outerboundries.  We are helping out as the camera crew though so we hope to see your smiling faces along the tour!

Does your town have a coop tour?  I’d love to hear about it!!  If you do have one link it in the comments or email us.

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Crispy Kale

Crispy kale chips seem to be spreading like a house-o-fire over the last year as a healthy tasty snack alternative.  At the grocery store a small bag goes for about $3!  As some of you have discovered it’s pretty durn easy to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it at the store.

No matter the year we seem to have an over abundance of dark greens.  Mike can’t just plant one he plants many.  We end up eating mountains of the stuff, blanching more, and taking the extras to the food bank so it turns out to be a win-win.  This year is no different….

I head out to pick some kale.  Now this year I have two big change-up’s  for my crispy kale chips.  The first is to use ‘Dinosaur Kale’.

Dinosaur Kale from last years garden

Dinosaur kale from last year’s garden

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Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Vacations and Cabins

In New Mexico the kids get out of school really early- the week before Memorial day weekend.  Most years there is still a nip in the morning air.  Mike and I spent the last few days tightening down our family vacation plans along with the girls’ semi-complex schedules with their other parents.  Sharing the girls with two other sets of parents plus all the grandparents/step-grandparents can get complicated over the summer!  Our next thoughts led us to gardening projects, which we worked on all weekend.

The physical work seems to get us going.  The next thing I knew Mike was building a tool shed in the back and we were both dreaming of building a guest rental cabin on our property.  Inspiration is only ever a few clicks away on the computer. Coincidentally Mike came across this post on The Improvised Life last week that got our brain cells broiling…

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Homemade Skin Care Cleanser

There are a few reasons that I am a convert to making my own skin care cleansers and products:

  • I know what every ingredient is and can pronounce it.  (not that there is anything wrong with a chemical too complicated for me to pronounce, I’m just kind of controlling)
  • No animal testing was done. (Well…I might have slathered a few of my homemade recipes over the dogs but nothing on chicken, I swear!…oh actually…)
  • There’s no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  • The packaging is reusable
  • They are inexpensive

Along with all the accurate information on skin care out there in magazines and the internet there are also a lot of myths.  Wading through the information is a formidable task.   When looking for a good skin cleanser I look at the big picture- how can I clean my pores from smoke, dust, toxins, sunscreen and the occasional dab of make up I may stick on my face.   But wait!  I also don’t want to over clean and create a war on my skin.

Here’s the guide I use:

“Ideally, an effective facial cleanse washes the daily amount of dirt, oxidized sebum, and dead skin cells off your face while leaving behind enough of the skin’s own oil (sebum) to naturally moisturize your skin.  If a cleanser, used alone or in a double-cleansing ritual, leaves your skin feeling dry, it is removing too much of this natural moisturizer.  If it leaves your skin feeling greasy and sticky, either it isn’removing enough oil or it contains heavy emollient and film-forming ingredients that clog pores.”

The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

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‘The’ Chocolate Cupcake of Chocolate Cupcakes

I think one thing I make clear around here is that I am a lover of  baked goods.  My second love is chocolate.  That said, I don’t eat cake all that much. It’s a little to heavy for me so I hold eating cake to special occassions.  I’m a cake snob; I will pass over a cheap grocery store sheet cake at a graduation event.  I do this with ice cream too.

Mike: Not me, I can’t help it.  Even when I know it will be bad I’m still lining up for a piece of crappy cake.  It’s been happening a lot lately as we reach the end of the school year.

I love making cupcakes.  They are just a small piece of cake.  I can make a batch and toss them in the freezer (yes, icing and all) and have one when I get a hankering.  My all time favorite cupcake is this recipe I came across in America’s Test Kitchen years ago and have been tinkering with ever since.  The cake is moist and doesn’t crumble.  When you take a bite the frosting is light and fluffy then suddenly you discover a dense chocolaty surprise of a spot of ganache in the middle.  You don’t eat this cupcake, you experience it!

A chocola-tie experience!

A chocola-tie experience!

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Lame Marriage Proposals (yes plural)

This story was inspired after reading Lori Dyans post on getting engaged to her husband.  If you don’t read her already go check her out.  She is a LAUGH-A-RIOT!

I’ve been around the block once or twice or probably maybe a third or fourth time-but who’s really counting, and yes,  Mom and Dad you did not hear that from me.  I just finished up the 50 Shades of Grey series (stop laughing!!! I love good soft mommy-porn!) and ever since I started the first book I can’t stop thinking about my romantic life from the age of 19- 25 yrs old….When I think of it in one entire lump I realize what a mess it (I) was.  I was not the prettiest girl but I excelled at personality and I could (Mike: can) flirt like nobodies business.  It’s like a gift from the ‘not the prettiest’ goddess from above.  The end result was I had options…I went out with a string of men guys boys. » » »