No Phone!

Day One
:  It’s about noon on my birthday, and my phone just stopped working.  I tried to push buttons, charge it, and troubleshoot it from my computer.  Nothing is working, and I’m in a bit of a panic.  When cell phones arrived on the scene, I NEVER imagined being dependent on one.  I thought a cell phone was bad for our daughter, especially in high school.  My mantra was, “How can you concentrate on your homework, if you stop to look at your phone every few seconds?”  Things have sure changed in just a few years. It turns out that she was able to concentrate just fine, and now I’m lost without my phone.

I’m in kind of a foggy place without it.  I didn’t count calories today because my app is on my phone.  I didn’t walk today because my pedometer is on my phone.  Even though I barely know how to use Instagram, I am experiencing FOMO!  What is Roscoe the bulldog doing?  What is the temperature?  I need my weather app.  I didn’t crochet without my stitch-counting app.

Day Two:  I woke this morning realizing how ridiculous I had been yesterday. I drank my coffee in front of The Weather Channel (TWC) and felt prepared for the day.  I ate my breakfast, and opened my calorie-counting application on my laptop.  It worked fine.  Instead of walking, I rode the stationery bike because it told me how far I had ridden, and how many calories I burned.  Emma also follows Roscoe.   If he does anything spectacular, she’ll let me know. 

I made some necessary adjustments, and it’s a darn good thing I did.  Because when I described the problem to the gentleman at the phone store, he said that there was probably no hope for my broken phone.  I knew I might need a new one, so I ordered a new model just in case.  Sean took my poor perpetually black-screened phone to the store where they confirmed its demise. The new one will take two days to get here.  Arrrrrgh.

Day Three:  Today, I woke up not missing my phone.  Seriously.  Again I got my forecast from TWC, and liked having the overview of the whole country’s weather including an update on the wildfires out West and snow in the upper Midwest.  I logged my food on my laptop again.  I like doing it on a computer rather than a phone.  It’s more user-friendly, and easier to read.  I walked without my pedometer or clock.  I had to tune into my body and my bad knee to guess how long and far I’d been walking.  Rather than playing games or reading my “news” feed, I started a new crochet project using the huge stash of vintage crochet thread I have.  Emma updated me on Roscoe the bulldog’s posts. 

I am surprised at how well I’m doing without my phone.  It feels pretty good to feel some independence from it.

Day Four:  I have my new phone.  It actually feels like a nuisance…setting it all up again, especially realizing that there was no backup data from my birthday until today.  If anyone texted me with wishes, I missed them.  While I’m glad to have a phone again, I’ve made some decisions about how I’ll use it going forward.  For me, being sans phone was eye-opening.  Here’s some of what I learned about myself:

What I missed most:

Texting is by far the most valuable and used feature of my phone.  Being able to be in touch with family and friends instantaneously is precious to me.

My camera has also gotten to be a priority for me.  I’ve gotten into the habit of taking pictures often and, my phone does a good job with photos. 

I’m learning to use and like Instagram.  I can do without it, but found that I can keep up with topics I choose.  I follow crafters, organizations and people that add value to my day.  Plus, I do indulge in cuteness, like “Roscoelovescoco,” Lewis Hamilton’s bulldog!

What I can now do without or use elsewhere:

Calorie counting.  At first, I thought it was great to be able to keep track of my meals on my phone.  But when I had a phone, I started recording my meal while I was still eating with my family!  When I began using my laptop for the recording, I realized it was easier, and I didn’t feel the need to record my meals immediately, making for a better family meal experience.

I like having a pedometer,but I can survive my walks without it.  Plus, keeping track of steps doesn’t seem valuable for me.  It’s not something I want to add to my list of things I need to accomplish daily.  Recording a daily walk or workout is more important to me than the number of steps I’ve taken.  So I did put a very simple pedometer on my phone to track workouts.

My phone is a Google Pixel, so it has a built-in news feed feature.  It’s always there with just a swipe.  Previously during spare moments throughout the day, I checked the news feed.  I spent way too much time looking through titles that just didn’t interest me.  From twenty headlines, I probably chose two articles to read daily.  In the paragraph above I put news in quotes because it’s not really all news.  Google says you can customize what you receive, but it still sends you useless articles.  I kept receiving Salisbury Steak stories, even after I told the phone that I wasn’t interested in Salisbury Steak!

Without my phone, I found better things to do with my spare time.  I whipped up a crochet bookmark made from granny squares.  These squares are generally crocheted with yarn and sewn together to make afghans or blankets.  I used crochet cotton thread and enjoyed it immensely.  The result is a cute little square.  The yellow and white one is only about an inch and a half!  I’m going to have to come up with a project using mini granny squares.  By the way, I don’t have the Stitch Counter on my phone anymore. 

Weather is fine on my phone for a quick temperature check, but I will still tune it to the broader picture on The Weather Channel

I haven’t opened a gameon my phone for more than a week.  I’ve found much better things to do.

I’m not sure how I ended up with so many games and apps on my phone.  I think the novelty of it lured me in.  We think we’ve opened ourselves up to the world because we can access anything with our phones.  The truth is that I turned inward with my phone.  Most of my apps kept my nose down in the phone, rather than being present in the world around me.  Other applications actually made tasks more complicated for me and added a level of unwanted stress.  I’m not thrilled that I had to buy a new phone, but I am thankful for the opportunity to rethink my phone use, and make some welcome changes!


This is the story of Snakey, The Catnip Snake.  If you’ve read other posts, you know I crochet (and knit) and I garden.  My cats love catnip, so I grow it to make catnip toys for them.  Anyone who does crafts, bakes or makes things, will be able to relate to the journey I had to take to finally come up with Snakey. 

First, I tried an ornament for Christmas. I obviously didn’t have the right color yarn, but it was a flop regardless of the color.  Next I tried a bird.  My daughter says it’s a seal because it obviously doesn’t look like a bird.  While it’s filled with catnip, Ginny and Oliver almost never play with it. 

Then came the mice.  Felting yarn was all of the rage when I knitted these two mice.  They looked too bulky, and they were too complicated to make. 

Making prototypes always helps me focus in on a project.  The toy needed to be a simple crochet pattern in a shape the cats would like.  There was a stuffed snake in their overly-filled toy basket.  That seemed like the perfect shape for the cats.

I found a snake pattern by Jackie at Amidorable Crochet.  Check out her blog for really cute crochet patterns.  There were some modifications to Jackie’s pattern.  I used sock yarn, made the snake smaller, embroidered the eyes and stuffed it with lots of homegrown catnip.  The first “Snakey” (because we use baby talk and add “Ys” when conversing with our pets) was a huge hit with the cats.

After about four years, the original Snakey is still in the toy basket.  As you can see, the head is separated from the body, and there is no catnip left.  Oliver killed the poor thing.  It was the Snakey I made with an acrylic yarn.  The wool blend sock yarn I use now holds up much better.

Our cats have another beloved Snakey, and I’ve made several as gifts.  I’m writing about Snakey in celebration of his return to Etsy.  I stopped selling on Etsy about three years ago when I took a full-time retail job.  Check out his listing at CiasGarden.

Please Take a Seat…

There are 13 chairs in my garage. The space accommodates our two cars, but doubles as a rescue shelter for chairs. I take in unwanted, discarded chairs. I also buy chairs at garage sales.

It started several years ago when I brought a chair home from Ohio State. The building I worked in was being demolished, and when the area was cleared, a chair was left. It was a really cool fifties-looking wooden lab chair. I refinished it with some swimming-pool blue paint and sold it at a garage sale. I realized quickly that I can acquire chairs cheaply or for free, they provide an interesting moment in design time, and they aren’t a huge project to refinish. So, I have thirteen chairs in my garage waiting for attention. My husband supports my habit, but isn’t really thrilled when the stock builds up like this.

Covid 19 has changed almost everything. I used to work full time, now I don’t. Our family loved to eat out, now I cook a whole lot or we get take-out. We used to travel quite a bit, but now we stay home. My story is no different than so many people adjusting to different lives. However, for some, the adjustments come with hardship. I’m thinking about the restaurant industry workers. We used to eat out about twice a week, and when I hear how food service employees are without their normal income, it breaks my heart.

Recently I subscribed to Columbus Navigator. One of the first stories I read was how the Ohio Restaurant Association has created a fund to help workers. The Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was established by the Ohio Restaurant Association Education Foundation to help food service employees impacted by Covid 19. The goal is to reach $30,000 in donations by the end of September.

As I was reading the article, I was thinking about idle, empty chairs at restaurants and bars, and the light bulb went on!

I have a garage filled with empty, idle chairs.

What if I make them useful again?

And what if I could use the chairs to make some money to donate to the restaurant relief fund? It seems like a winning proposition all of the way around. I\’m not working, so I need a project to feel useful. I can make a few dollars to help people I care about. Hopefully, I can make other people aware of the fund so they can donate. And last, but certainly, not least, I\’ll see a smile on my husband\’s face each time a chair leaves the garage!

So, Please Take a Seat…As I refinish chairs, I will be listing them on Etsy. If a chair sells, I will donate half of the purchase price to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The light blue chair pictured is listed now. Shop CiasGarden at Etsy:

If you would like to donate to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, go to:

The Great Pepper Taste Test…

Top Chef, Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, Spring Baking Championship, Sugar Rush, The Great British Bake-Off
…if it’s a food competition program, I’ve probably watched it.  And, chances are good that I’ve convinced my daughter or husband (or both) to watch with me.  I don’t have to twist Emma’s arm, she likes most of the cooking shows.  Sean, however, is much more discerning, and will only watch certain ones.

The program we all watch faithfully is Top Chef.  Thanks to quarantine and Hulu, we’ve seen all episodes of all seasons.  One our favorite challenges on Top Chef is when the contestants have to identify ingredients while blindfolded. Our Great Pepper Taste Test (GPTT) was loosely based on a Top Chef challenge. 

I believe it all started with a family conversation about bell peppers.  After that, Emma posted an Instagram poll to see what color bell pepper people prefer. Her unscientific results showed red as the clear winner, and green as the clear loser.  That poll and its results sparked yet another family conversation about bell peppers.  We wondered if you can really taste much difference among all colors of peppers.  The GPTT was born!

To satisfy our curiosity, we did a blindfolded taste test of four colors of bell peppers.  What we found was probably not news to any of us, but interesting.  We all identified green correctly.  We found the flavor was intense, and two of us described it as “grassy.”  The red, orange and yellow peppers proved to be more difficult for some of us to distinguish.  Of course, Emma’s young, but developed palate helped her identify all colors correctly. We found that the red, orange and yellow all tasted very similar, but had varying levels of flavor intensity. The yellow and orange tasted \”fruitier\” than the red pepper.  I could see using the orange and yellow interchangeably in dishes because to me the difference was negligible.  I think the real reason to use the yellow and orange peppers in recipes is their fantastic color.  They look great in salsas, stir fries and salads.  

Speaking of salsa, here is a delicious recipe from Weight Watchers.  Make it now while nectarines are still in season!

Nectarine – Bell Pepper Salsa

From: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, 2011

Serves 6

3 small nectarines, pitted and diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Combine all ingredients in small bowl.

Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Use within one day.

The Great part about the GPTT was the fun.  We really enjoyed it, and will certainly do more family taste tests in the future.  The tastiest part of the GPTT was the dinner–fajitas we made with all four colors of bell peppers. 


I planned on a 45 minute walk today, but when the British guy on my phone said “Foity fiiive minutes thuty seconds,” I wanted to keep going.  I wanted to continue to enjoy the 65-degree air.  I wanted to keep experiencing the feeling I had deep within me.  Hope. 

The overnight temperature started it all. With windows open, the din of the air conditioning unit was replaced with a chorus of crickets.   A sunny, brisk morning followed.  As soon as I stepped out of the door for my daily walk, I felt like I could breathe again, taking in a fresh, cool breeze, rather than being struck by a wall of heavy, hot air.     

Balloons to welcome pre-schoolers.

The first thing I noticed today was the new drop-off for the church pre-school across the street.  Balloons marked the entrance to welcome children back to something that represents school for now.  Today is also the first day of virtual learning in our school district.  I loved the first days of the school year.  New Weejuns loafers, new uniforms, new books, new teachers, new fall TV shows like, The Monkees, and of course a new start. The first days of school brought hope.  Even though it’s not what we all want today, the semblance of school and the dedication of the teachers brings hope to me.  I wish that for the students too

There was a good showing of strollers this morning around the neighborhood.  Babies and little ones are the epitome of hope.  They are too young to have specific memories of this trying time, but their parents will tell them. They will pass on what they learned about love, dedication, and resiliency. 


My neighbors have a gigantic Biden sign on their fence.  When I look at it from my driveway, I see the sign, their fence, then gigantic sunflowers peeking over from their neighbor’s yard.  The blooms are enormous-the size of dinner plates.  Somehow seeing the political sign with the glorious flowers behind it made me think of better times ahead.   Republican John Kasich spoke at the Democratic National Convention.  Just that gave me hope that both sides will see the importance of working together to solve some of the most daunting issues of our lifetimes.  I know I’m a dreamer, but I’m allowed to hope.

At noon today, I will cheer on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Yes, watching hockey has given me hope.  Sounds silly.  I’m not even a huge hockey fan.  But seeing successful Bubble Basketball, Bubble Hockey, and F1 Racing, allows me to look forward.  Seeing sports has added back a welcome touch of normalcy in our household. It’s also added hope.  It’s not just that I’m finally sitting in my living room watching the Blue Jackets rather than competition shows on Netflix, but that these organizations pulled something off that most people doubted could happen.  I think there must be lessons learned here.  Can we replicate any of these strategies in safely returning us to normal?

I hope I can attend a Jackets game next year.  I hope I can feel comfortable having coffee or dinner with friends.  I hope I can soon safely travel to see my family.  Those things still feel impossible for me right now, and it gets me down.  But on days like today when I feel full of hope, I’m thankful.

I wrote this about a week ago, but was reluctant to post it.  Somehow it felt too personal, maybe even too positive.  While I find hope in the first day of school, I’m aware of the hardships many Americans are facing.  I understand how difficult the new school year must be for countless students, families, and teachers.  I shared and posted my feelings so it might encourage someone else to look for hope.

In just a short week, much has changed for me. A family medical emergency (14 hours away by car) made me worry about when I’ll be able to safely travel.  The Jackets lost. It’s miserably hot again.  So while things aren’t so rosy, and my walk today was just awful, I know there will be another day just like last Wednesday soon!


Throwback crochet…

While I\’ve crocheted for years, I just recently decided to try doilies.  I don\’t think they\’re one of the hottest decorating must-haves, but I have found vintage patterns that can work in my retro ranch.  I used to think doilies were too intricate and complicated to crochet.  Many patterns are beyond my skill level, but there are plenty of easy ones too. Crocheting a doily can be a long-term project with lots of repetition, which appeals to me.  I find them very satisfying to complete.

My love of crocheting began when I watched my mother crochet tiny clothes for my short-haired brunette Barbie Doll. It was like magic.  She sat down with some thread, and hours later, I had a new dress for my doll.  My favorite outfit was a slinky variegated green evening gown.

When I had my daughter, Emma, I bought her a Barbie.  I also bought a wonderful book, Crochet for Barbie Doll by Nicky Epstein. The book had 75 cool outfits to crochet for my daughter’s new doll.  As a youngster, I was obsessed with my Barbies.  I spent days and days with Virginia Novak setting up elaborate houses and surrounds for our dolls.  Then we played with them for what seemed like weeks at a time. Those fond memories made me eager to get started on the new clothes for Emma\’s doll.

As children will throw surprises at you occasionally, my daughter delivered a big one. Emma had no interest in dolls. Stuffed animals like, Fat Cat, Tutter, and Miss Kitty ruled in our household.  She enjoyed looking at the Barbie pattern book, but that’s as far as it went.  I never made clothes for her Barbie.

All was fine, though.  Better than fine, actually. At an early age, Emma thought I could make ANYTHING. I was enlisted to fashion interesting, sometimes unconventional Halloween costumes for her, make clothes and furniture for her stuffed animals, and help with any of her elaborate projects du jour.  I so loved our collaborations.  I continued to crochet…just not Barbie clothes.

My most recent crochet project was a doily for my friend Vicky.  I found a huge box of vintage crochet thread at a garage sale.  The colors were beautiful. The photo shows only about half of my haul. 

For Vicky\’s doily, I chose a throwback pattern with flowers that reminded me of sunflowers.  The yellow crochet cotton I used looked warm and went well with the pattern. 

Pattern info: Filet Runner by Darma Bregoli in Magic Crochet Magazine, April, 1985.

There are great websites these days to find vintage and throwback patterns for doilies, potholders, doll clothes and more.  My favorite is 

While I was mostly self-taught with some help from my Mom and a little old Italian lady, the resources on the web today are amazing.  I find oodles of inspiration and sites to teach me new stitches and techniques.  If you have never tried crochet, now is a great time to start.


Green onions…

Today is one of those days.  I’m not very motivated.  I’ve tried to paint, but haven’t liked anything I’ve done.  Being at home so much is difficult.  For me it manifests in milling about aimlessly and bored even though there are literally 100 things I could be doing.

I usually brighten though when I go outside to check on my plants. When I was a twenty-something, I was amused by my neighbors who methodically looked over their yard each morning. One or both of them came outside toting a cup of coffee. They stopped to admire each bed. I didn\’t understand their behavior because I hadn\’t yet discovered my love of gardening. Now, I too survey my yard daily. I take my coffee sometimes. And younger neighbors probably think I\’m strange. I love being outside and find peace and satisfaction in yard work.

I’ve failed at a vegetable garden in the past, so I stick to container edibles and flowers throughout the yard.  Some would think that examining my plants each day is like watching paint dry, but there are exciting changes daily! 

A few weeks ago, I looked at my dill plants.  They had tiny caterpillars all over them.  The next day, the caterpillars had chomped so much of my dill, they had practically doubled in size!  Sadly, a few days after that the “Catch of the Day” for the neighborhood Cardinals was plump caterpillar.

Today, I checked on my green onions.  I am so happy with my green onions.  I grew them from scraps!  The satisfaction of eating a fresh green onion knowing that I grew it myself for free,  just makes my day.

I have no idea why it has taken so long for me to learn that you can grow all kinds of veggies from kitchen scraps. Thank goodness for the internet.  The simple idea popped up on one of my searches. I had to try it.  Here\’s how:

You save about a quarter of an inch of the bottom of the onion.  You plant it in some good potting soil, and keep it watered.  Magically, in a few days, you’ll see a new onion sprouting out of the middle of the tiny bit you planted!  You need to plant the roots, and leave a little of the white part above the dirt.  This is one of the paintings I didn’t like today, but it shows about how much onion you need. 

This has been rewarding for me.  The leek scrap I planted recently has new growth on it! You can also plant in water.  If you want to give it a go, here are a few sites with details:

Oddest inspiration for a recipe…

Among the 152 meals I’ve made since the pandemic began are several new and throwback desserts.  The family favorite dessert came about in an unusual and roundabout way…

Back in 2019, I wasn’t really a Columbus Blue Jackets fan. My husband was mildly interested because of a close friend who is a dedicated supporter.  I’m not sure why I didn’t get on the bandwagon because I LOVED to ice skate and regularly skated while attending graduate school at Ohio State.  The Chill had their practice time right after my skating classes.  My husband and I even set up a rink in our yard when our daughter was little.  She was an OSU Women’s Hockey fan and regularly attended games with her dad.  With working full time and spending countless hours in pools supporting our own high school, then college athlete, I just didn\’t think about adding another pastime.

At some point last year, I was in the living room with my husband who was watching a Jackets game.  Afterward he watched a show, Blue Jackets Conversations, with two players being interviewed at Cap City Diner in Grandview.  I was only half listening to them. I was probably knitting. One of them was Canadian, and mentioned some kind of pie.  While I didn’t absorb everything he said, I did get that there is a Canadian pie that he really likes.  I admit that I was curious about it, but didn’t listen closely enough to get any details. Again, knitting. My husband assured me that they re-air those Conversations shows regularly, and that I\’d see that episode again to listen more intently about the pie. 

I began watching the games with my hubby, and found I really enjoyed them.  (The last time I watched the NHL was in high school in Reading, Pennyslvania.  A boy I liked was a rabid Flyers fan, so I watched with him. Ewww.)  I watched the end of that Jackets season, and the playoffs. I faithfully tuned into the Blue Jacket Conversations waiting to see the episode with the Canadian player (who I now know is Pierre-Luc Dubois) talking about the pie.  Not once did they show that episode! 

At the beginning of the new season (2019/2020), I was officially a fan and continued to watch for the Conversations episode with PLD.  My daughter graduated from college and moved home and joined us in watching the games.  It became a long-standing family joke that every time we saw the Conversations show, it was with Boone Jenner or Nick Foligno.  Mostly Boone Jenner.  No sign of Pierre-Luc. Honestly we still laugh about it now. 

My daughter works at Whole Foods to squirrel away money for graduate school.  She freaked out about working with the virus out there.  One day in May she went to work worried, as usual.  I wanted to have a surprise treat ready for her when she arrived home.  I had a pie crust in the fridge left over from a chicken pot pie recipe and decided to use it.  I searched the internet for Canadian pies, and found one that sounded good and seemed to match the limited information I had about \”the pie.\”

I made it. Quebec Sugar Pie. We were all absolutely in awe of how delicious it was.  It might now be our favorite dessert.  The recipe is rather simple, especially if you use a pre-made pie crust.  It’s basically brown sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream. The filling has a creamy light caramel flavor and a velvety texture.  We were surprised that a few uncomplicated ingredients could produce something so flavorful.  I chose to leave the top crust off, and was happy with more filling flavor than crust flavor.

I’m not sure if this is the pie Pierre-Luc was talking about, but thanks to him we have a new family fav.  You really should make this pie. Seriously. 

Here’s the recipe:

Go Jackets!


As we enjoyed a meal at one of our much-loved restaurants, Harvest Pizza, Clintonville, on Wednesday, March 11, we had no idea that we should have been savoring every moment of the experience.  Life was about to change.
With Covid 19, came dramatic changes for everyone.  In our household, it meant that I would stay home from work because I’m in a high-risk category, my husband would work from home, and our daughter would be here with us, working and deciding on graduate school. 

Before virus (BV), we ate out…often.  Going to restaurants was our favorite form of family entertainment.  After virus (AV), we eat at home. That means, my contribution to the well-being of the family is cooking. 

BV – I cooked several times a week.  That consisted of dinners and at least one big breakfast on the weekend.
AV – I cook on average 7.6 times per week.  That includes some dinners, some lunches and breakfasts.  In the 140 days since the hammer dropped, I’ve cooked at least 152 meals.
BV – We ate out or had takeout two to three times a week. Many more if you include Starbucks runs.
AV – As a family we’ve chosen to be pretty careful, and have only gotten takeout food about 10 times. (Yes, Harvest has been at least  three of them!)
To cook that many meals for my family, and more importantly, to keep the menu interesting, I’ve had to find plenty of inspiration.  Some of my sources for inspiration are surprising, but according to my family, I’ve found a way to keep it interesting.
With no job, I’m able to devote lots of time to menu planning and organizing.  My husband shops for the weekly grocery order because I’m limiting my time in public.  I organize the list according to the aisles in the store to make it easier for him. It\’s all time-consuming, but worth it for us.  There are no, \”what should we cook for dinner,\” or \”what takeout should we order,\” circular conversations.  It\’s all planned and simple throughout the week.  I do ask for input from the fam when I make the menu.  But they largely leave the decisions to me.  This system isn\’t for everyone, but it works for my family.

While we have some regular favorite meals, I try to make new recipes regularly.  I’ve also tried not to repeat recipes too often. There are 22 meals that have been good enough to repeat.  Three of those meals were so well-liked, I\’ve cooked them four times during the past four months.
BV, I thought I was a pretty good meal planner and a decent cook.  AV, I am a much better cook, and I am so much more organized!  Because this is the one thing I can do for the family, I’ve tried to do it well.  Our fruit and veg consumption has doubled, and I’ve incorporated meatless meals.  I have to shout out to Cooking Light. I subscribed to the magazine years ago, and still receive a quarterly publication.  Between those recipes and the Cooking Light website, I’ve found most of my meal ideas.
Here are three meals that we’ve repeated four times!
Green Curry Fritters with Cabbage Slaw – This is a light, flavorful meal that we love.  The fritters are made of ground chicken breast and the slaw is great with them. I generally don’t serve a starch with this combo, but rice or slider buns for the fritters might be good. It\’s a Cooking Light Recipe at:
Garlic-Miso Pork Noodle Bowl – This is another Cooking Light recipe that’s become a favorite in our home.  Find it at:
Miso-Butter Chicken is a Blue Apron recipe.  If you’ve never tried this meal delivery service, it might be worth a trial.  We used it for a while when it was fairly new.  While we LOVED the food, they still hadn’t worked out some of the delivery issues at the time.  For our lifestyle (both working, some odd hours), it worked beautifully.  It was convenient and the quality of the ingredients was amazing.  You can find this recipe on the Blue Apron website:

I have several posts in the works covering a variety of topics like sweets during the pandemic, gardening, throwback recipes and crafts.

Welcome to Cia\'s Garden Shed!

Starting a blog was not something I ever thought I would do, but lately, I’ve felt the urge to write. There have been so many changes in our lives, and some days I don\’t feel like I\’m adjusting well.  Other days, I\’m very excited about a project or meal.  In either case, I find comfort in writing about it. 
My name is Cecilia, but I named myself Cia for my blog and Etsy store.  I always wanted a cute nickname.  I grew up known as \”Ceily,\” which sounds like Sealy of the posturepedic mattress variety.  I never liked it.  In my twenties, I met another gal named Cecilia, and everyone called her, “Cia!”  What a lovely nickname. It didn\’t remind people of a mattress. I was envious.  So, as a twenty-something, I dumped Ceily for Cecilia, and today adopted Cia.
The blog is named after the old white shed in the shade of our back yard.  I like to think of this e-space as a collection of thoughts, ideas, projects, and recipes…kind of like the old shed with its collections. 
I had been working retail for the last several years.  It was sort of a new thing after working in education.  The virus came along and changed my way of life.  I’ve decided not to return to work because I’m in a higher risk category, so I\’m staying home for a while.

Being at home full time is an adjustment.  I stayed at home with my daughter until she was in fourth grade.  But it\’s a different situation today.  My daughter is 22 and at home, my husband works from the dining room table eight hours daily.   While I try to stay busy with cleaning, painting, cooking, gardening, and crafts, I still struggle with being at home for the foreseeable future.  
My goal for this blog is to find some normalcy for myself in the routine of writing regularly.  The bonus of this blog would be if it inspires, moves, comforts or makes a reader laugh.

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