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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Self-watering planters with ramen cups

 This is not a sponsored post. I'm just really happy this worked just right. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters

My son loves ramen and loves trying new flavors. One of his new favorite brands is Kusari Noodles. You can find them at Walmart or Amazon. This technique will work for other plastic cups too. These were what I had. 

They are really savory and flavorful when mixed right. Follow the instructions on the package exactly and make sure it's stirred well- the good stuff is at the bottom. 

The packaging is also designed to be recycle friendly, but given a choice between recycling and reusing, I reuse stuff until I've decided it's ready to recycle, and the shape of these cups struck me as being perfect for self-watering planters to grow herbs, so he's been saving the cups for me. The plastic is fairly firm and the labels have a perforated tab so you can pull it right off very easily leaving a plain white cup. 

Our weather has been really weird, but I found some of my Italian parsley still alive in my garden a couple days ago and cut a few stems to root and grow inside. I've used auto-watering planters to grow from seed too. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- supplies

You will need: 

  • Cups
  • an awl or sharp pair of scissors to make a hole
  • cotton fabric to make a wick
  • soil
  • water
  • Something to pull the strips through the cups
The cups need to be able to fit together in a way that provides space between the bottoms of the cups. For these, that flange at the bottom of the cups works. For cotton fabric, I've used old towels, the sleeves off t-shirts I've cut up for other projects, fabric selvages and cotton scraps from other sewing projects. You will want to use something that's been washed without fabric softener in the wash or dry cycle to remove sizing. 

You need twice as many cups as you want planters too. 

Cut the fabric into 1 inch strips if you're using a woven cotton or jersey, and 1/2 inch strips for thicker fabric- at least 6 inches long. 

Poke holes in the bottom of half of the cups. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- hole poking
Now tie knots about 1-2 inches down the strips of fabric. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- wicks

You'll need to pull the strips through the cups so the knot is on the inside of the cup. I've used a few methods for this in the past. One of them is to use a bobby pin or hair pin as a needle, for these, I used a loop turner. Pull them through. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- wicks in cups

In the whole cups, pour water to the line, and then nestle the wicked cups in them. 

Now the wick and water cup are ready to go, and you can fill the cups with soil and your plants. 

If you're using cuttings like I am, water the soil after planting the cuttings, after this, the wick will pull up enough water to keep it damp. Check the water the levels every few days until you get a feeling for how often they will need to be re-filled. 

To start seeds, you don't need to wet the soil, just plant them and cover with a plastic bag to create a mini-greenhouse. The wick will pull up the water slowly and water the seeds. The bag will mean it doesn't need to be refilled as often, but do check it every few days to see if it needs more water. Remove the bag after your seedlings get a couple inches tall. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Banned Books!! printable mini poster

 It's banned books week again!! 

Here's a simple mini poster you can print, and if you're really patient, color. I hope you enjoy it.

Click on the images for larger versions.

Small jpg version:

I read banned books mini poster

Large (better quality) png version: 

I read banned books mini-poster png version

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Beaded Flowers Coloring Page


Beaded Coloring Page
Today's coloring page is a bit different. 

I've been entering Spoonflower contests because it's a good challenge, and after I finished the one for this Spoonflower Design Challenge, I decided it would be a good coloring page. I hope you enjoy it!

Download the pages, print and color them! 

Small jpg version Beaded Flowers:

Beaded Flowers Mosaic Coloring Page

Large tranparent PNG version Beaded Flowers
Beaded Flowers Mosaic Coloring Page

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Air fried puffball recipe


air fried puffball mushrooms

My family does a lot of foraging in spring/summer/fall and one of our favorites has always been puffball mushrooms.

Usually puffballs in Alaska don't get much larger than a golf ball, compared to the soccer ball sized ones down south. But the last few weeks have been very rainy and we've found a lot of bigger ones, closer to tennis ball sized. 

My kids and I liked them cooked differently. My favorite was cooked with scrambled eggs, my daughter liked them sauteed in butter with a light sprinkle of salt and garlic. 

Then my son came up with a recipe for air fried puffballs that has rapidly become everyone's favorite way to eat them. (more on identifying and preparing puffballs after the recipe) 

Air fried puffballs: 

You will need:

Puffball mushrooms

1 cup panko crumbs

1 cup dry grated Parmesan cheese (yes, the stuff in the green can, not fresh) 

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

flour (on a plate, small amount for dredging)

one lightly beaten egg (in a bowl) 

olive oil spray

Mix panko, cheese, garlic and salt together. 

Clean and cut the puffball into nugget sized pieces.  Dredge them in the flour then coat in the egg, then roll in crumb mixture.

Lightly spray with olive oil. 

Put in the air fryer at 425F for 7 minutes then turn and cook another 5 minutes. 

Leftover crumb mixture can be used on onions or dandelion blossoms. (we have!!) 

These are fantastic. The inside is soft, gooey and good, the outside is crunchy and delicious. The egg provides a bit more crunch than using milk. They have become so much my daughter's favorite that she has eaten them 3 times this week. 

So finding puffballs- 

Puffballs are one of the safest and easiest to identify wild mushrooms around. There are some look-alikes which are poisonous, but slicing the mushroom in half will show you if it's safe to eat edible puffball. 

Puffballs are round, potato shaped or pear shaped. Not "mushroom shaped". 

When you slice open a puffball, what you are looking for is a solid white marshmallow like interior. 

There shouldn't be a trace of anything that looks like gills, or an immature mushroom. Gills or a standard mushroom shape on the inside indicate it's an immature amanita and could be poisonous. 

A solid interior that is yellowing, greening or browning show that it's too mature for eating. 

What you're looking for is that solid white marshmallow interior. 

We clean our mushrooms with a damp coffee filter or a soft brush and we don't peel them because they are so small here. Larger ones can be peeled. The exterior of a puffball can be slightly bitter.