Ode to the Ice Cube

May 13, 2011

Dear readers:  Please forgive my absence. I am undecided about how to continue my blog and instead of posting my doubt, I abandoned ship!  I would like to combine my love with entertaining and all things “home” with my love for organizing, and I don’t know if that means a new blog, or somehow adding that as a category to this one.   I have been working on several projects redecorating and organizing and I just don’t know if this is the right platform to share that.  If you have thoughts, I would love to hear them!

In the meantime, while I figure this out…here are my thoughts on ice cubes. What I have learned in years of travel to France and Spain is that ice cubes are DEFINITELY cultural.  In the US, the more the ice cubes the better.  In France, ice cubes are not very popular.  And in Spain, one or two cubes is ok, but when I ask for EXTRA ice, I get three cubes.

I understand that ice waters down a drink.  In some places, cold drinks are even thought to be unhealthy.  But here in the good ol’ US of A we like ice.  Lots of it. We like to crunch it, munch it and suck on it until our teeth hurt.

When I lived in Madrid there came a time when I had to replace my refrigerator. Being naive, I asked, “Does this model come with an ice maker?”  “Sí, Señora!  It comes with two!” Naturally, the nice young man thought that by “ice maker” I meant “ice tray”! Ah well.

So with the weather warming up and ice cubes on my mind, I made some with a little twist!  First, these are the standard cubes from the ice maker:

Then, I made ice cubes in a fun shape, perfect in a shot glass with tequila.  And more cubes with lemon wedges, which are great in Perrier.

ice cubes with lemon peel

And finally, I made some big, fat cubes with cucumber slices.  Our local wine bar serves water with cucumber and it’s SO refreshing.

tray with ice cubes

So as summer approaches, make some unique ice cubes.  You could make some with peppers for bloody marys, put cubes with orange slices in iced tea, freeze olives in ice trays for martinis, put limes in ice cubes for lemonade, peach ice cubes in sangria…the possibilities are endless!

Cheers!

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This is not a new trick, more like an old classic.  But like most old classics, it’s a gem!

Our house has a series of old bookcases.  And those bookcases have drawers. And over the years, the bookcases have moved from house to house and the drawers don’t always end up in their original place. The problem now is that the drawers stick, they are tough to open and close, and it’s driving me crazy!

Consequently…I hardly ever use them and most are empty.

I read a great book once, Coach Yourself to Success, that had tips for making life a little easier.  It recommended getting rid of those really small, highly annoying things around the house.  The missing button, the squeeky door and in my case, the drawers that stick.

So having decided to eliminate the problem, the question was “how”?  I went to the hardware store and asked the nice man if they carried silicone in a stick, like a giant chapstick.  “No ma’am, we don’t.”  I scoured the internet looking for something and considered beeswax.  But I was too impatient to order it.

Then I remembered a trick I’d heard about once. The solution? The humble candle!

I grabbed an old candle and rubbed it on the bottom of all the drawers.  The soft wax against the wood was just what was needed to make those drawers glide.

Drawers that stick.

Use a candle to rub against a sticky drawer

A little candle rubbed on the edges…and…

Bookcases with drawers that work

Happy drawers and one less pesky problem to deal with!

Do you have these little annoying things in your home?  Have you found any solutions?

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How to Make Free (Almost) French Napkin Rings

March 7, 2011

Clever, unique decorating touches are a great way to make your guests feel special and your table look inviting.  I have written about old, hand-made napkin holders before.  And I have also written about making place settings out of free stuff from the hardware store. Here, I would like to share an idea I recently […]

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The Perfect Recipe for You

February 27, 2011

We’ve all been there. It’s time for dinner and you don’t know what to make.  You rummage around in the fridge and find some lettuce in the back, next to the mayonnaise.  In the pantry, there’s a can of tuna, but helas, not much else to inspire. What do you do when you don’t know […]

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What to Serve While Working on a Hobby

February 23, 2011

What do you serve if you are part of a writing group, or a book club, or if you like to scrapbook with friends? If you have a hobby or similar passion, you know that these work sessions can take hours and hours.  And while playing with stickers, or writing first drafts, or discussing a […]

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Why (and How) to Warm Plates

February 17, 2011

At a dinner party in France a few months ago, our French hostess, Madame H. served a tasty lunch…on heated plates.  Ohlala!  I had eaten meals on warmed plates in restaurants, but it never occurred to me to warm plates at home. She showed me the plate warmer she had, and I set off to […]

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What to Drink on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2011

Love is the great refreshment in life. –Pablo Picasso Are you wondering what to serve on Valentine’s Day? The one drink synonymous with romance is champagne.  And a French champagne cocktail is the epitome of romantique. The before-dinner drink known as the apéritif has always been a favorite in France.  It is an alcoholic drink meant to […]

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A Spanish Cure for Bills and Indigestion

February 7, 2011

“El beber es el placer, y el pagar es el pesar.” (Drinking is the pleasure, and paying is the sorrow.) There is a magical time after dinner, when the lobster ravioli is finished, you chat with friends, share a crême brulée and sip a decaf espresso.  But eventually, the sugar buzz wears off, and it’s time to […]

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You’re Really, Really Welcome!

February 4, 2011

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” If the above quote is true, some folks are really missing the boat. The door of a restaurant in my neighborhood says, “No shirts, no shoes…no service!” (Ok, I understand that.)  As you enter, you walk by a counter with a sign that barks, […]

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Nutella: A (Dangerous) Love Story

January 31, 2011

I love Nutella.  I mean, I really love Nutella.  But my relationship with Nutella is a slippery slope.  A dangerous, heart-breaking, hip-expanding, slippery slope. I was a kid in Spain when I first met Nutella…an irresistible hazelnut and chocolate spread that has been around since 1963.  The attraction was instantaneous.   It is creamy, rich, sweet and smooth.  […]

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