DIY GIFT IDEAS FOR MEN


It's hard to find good DIY gifts for guys that aren't froufy or feminine.  Aside from the occasional manly DIY I find, they are usually something that my man would feel really silly using or wearing. Here, I've rounded up some of my favorite DIY projects that I think the manly man in your life will appreciate.

1. infused vodkas + free labels
2. the greatest fire starters
3. cork or wood sunglasses
4. ranch dressing seasoning mix
5. manly leather wallet + easy pattern instructions
6. diy whiskey making kit
7. tiny desk desert
8. sweet & spicy pickled onions
9. garlic soy pickled green beans

If you're looking for more ideas, you should check out The Art of Manliness blog.  It's one of my favorites and is always full of manly man ideas for the modern gentleman.

GROWING GARLIC IN IOWA & FREE PRINTABLE


sketch line drawing free printable craft images graphics
click on the image to download without the large logo
If I could have only one condiment/spice/flavoring for the rest of my life it would be garlic.  I put it in everything and have more than once been told to tone it down a bit (my brother was once eating some shrimp scampi that I'd made and had to put his foot down about my allium love when he brought a scoop of scampi to his mouth that was 90% minced garlic).

The problem is, I just can't seem to get it to grow.  Well, that's not totally true- one year I planted it too early and it sprouted, but then it died after the first frost.  Another year I planted it too late and we also had a harsh winter and none of those sprouted.  This is my last-ditch effort to grow garlic this year and I'm determined to get it right.

No sources that I could find could give me anything more specific for Iowa garlic planting than "___ weeks before first frost".  I don't know if those people have ever been to Iowa, but "first frost" could happen any time from late September to November and even then it could get warm again or freeze earlier than that or later- who knows.  In fact, just last week I was outside working in a t-shirt on Sunday and it was 20'F and snowing on Monday; we haven't even gotten to the craziest weather of the season.

VETERAN'S DAY FREE PRINTABLE CARD

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9lX15rLaMHpMTN1M0JSY2xRQ00&usp=sharing

Thank you to all the veterans out there who have served our country in both peace and war time. 

I've made a simple little Kilroy Veteran's Day Card for you, in case you couldn't find a card at the store or you'd rather just print one yourself.  Click on the photo above to download the PDF file.  You can either print it or send it as an email attachment if you aren't able to mail it.

Enjoy!

THRIFT STORE SCORE - BEAUTIFUL BOOKS


Vintage books
Cost: $0.75 cents each

Oh, what a glorious find these were.  Usually the old books get pretty picked over at thrift stores, but these were just sitting on a shelf in a happy little gilded group waiting to come home with me.  I couldn't split them up, of course, so I bought them all.  A 1926 copy of Pilgrim's Progress is my favorite, but the others added up to quite a good classic books catch: Othello, War and Peace, Oliver Twist, Robinson Crusoe, and Stevenson's children's poems.  And also a 1910 classroom book on hygeine- I love to learn about how people lived at the turn of the century.  I have a book on health and fitness from the 1890's that says that it's acceptable to call a rotund individual "fat man" instead of their name- oh how far we've come, huh?

GOOD GRAVY! - MOM'S HOMEMADE GRAVY


With the holidays rolling around the corner and with food being a huge part of those holidays, now is the time to gather good recipes.  This is a cornerstone recipe for me- one that I use often and it always gets compliments.  If you've never made gravy from scratch before, don't be scared.  It's easy, simple and oh-so rewarding.

This is the same way that my mom would make it every time we had a roast or miniature meatloaf.  I have such happy memories of Mom standing in the heady scented kitchen, swirling a pan of juice with a weathered wooden spoon and watching as it slowly transformed into a velvety umami condiment fit for a king.  Take a little extra time to make your own gravy this holiday season and you'll be making more than just food.  You'll be making memories for your kids to cherish for years to come.

If you season the meat well before you cook it, you shouldn't have to doll up the gravy much at all. You can use my Easy Freezer to Crock Pot Roast recipe if you want some ideas.

EASY FREEZER TO CROCK POT ROAST


Nothing beats coming home to the smell of Sunday dinner filling your house and the comforting happiness of knowing that supper is ready.  Oh, crock pot of mine, I love you.  Especially in the chilly Fall and Winter months when my time is better spent curled up by a fire with the Man than cooking in my cold kitchen (whoever decided to put tile down in there had certainly never had to stand on it for any length of time in the winter).

So, without further ado, I bring you the pinnacle of procrastination, the epoch of easy, the tidal wave of tastiness, the king of all the crockery: the Pot Roast.  I throw mine in frozen with a bit of seasoning and a lot of veggies, so the only prep work and forethought required is peeling some carrots.

You should absolutely use this recipe for gravy if you're feeling up to taking this dish to the next level of greatness.