My husband recently bought a huge amount of organic broccoli at one of our local markets because they were only $1 a bunch that included at least three stalks. So we’ve been eating a lot of broccoli. And usually I cut off the florets and toss the stems, always feeling bad about wasting them. I even made broccoli soup, thinking I could have made either another batch with just the stalks and compared the taste, or mixed both the florets and stalks in two batches. If you have any great uses, let us know in the comments. (Prior to puréeing:)
So I decided to read about Broccoli Stem Recipes and came up with my favorites that you may want to try. No matter what you do, you’ll want to cut off the bottom trunks and you may want to peel of the outer layer as it is usually tough to chew:
- Purée them with cheese to make a spread for garlic toast, sourdough toast, bruschetta or sandwiches
- Boil them with other vegetables to make a stalk you can freeze and use for future soups.
- Peel and julienne or shred to use in salads or for cole slaw.
- Use solely instead of or in conjunction with florets for broccoli soup.
- Slice thinly lengthwise or in chips and douse in egg and either bread or panko crumbs and bake or fry for a snack.
Some people even give them to their dogs to chew on! If you have any great uses, let us know in the comments.
I am always coming across Pez Dispensers at garage sales and thrift stores and always wondered how I could easily tell if they were vintage and valuable. After pulling out all of the ones I had collected over the years, I started researching how to find their worth. A few websites were extremely helpful to the point that when I recently encountered a basket of them at a thrift store, I was finally knowledgable enough to first look to see if they did or did not have feet (no feet is better/older) and then look near the feet to see where they were made and what their patent number was. I knew I may as well ignore those made in China because they are likely recent examples. But I snatched up a few that were from Austria and Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic, all having ended production in the early to mid-1990′s. Basically, if you avoid those made in China, Hungary and Slovenia, you likely have a vintage piece. (Though you could also collect those from those countries as a future investment. And when the country doesn’t tell you what you need to know, you can refer to the patent number which is also shown on the bottom of the piece. Anything up to 3,942,683 was made until 1990. Here is a handy chart to help from http://www.gatreasures.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=6:
And patent number help from: http://www.pezcollectors.com/?main_page=page&id=69&chapter=2
Since Uxa’s original design, multiple patents have been issued for Pez Dispensers. The patent number appears on the side of the dispenser, at the bottom, most often under the words “Made in XXX” where XXX is the country where the dispenser is manufactured. In general, patent numbers can give an indication but not a definitive date as to when a dispenser was produced. Left over stems can be used for years, being added to newer heads and likewise, older, left over heads can sometimes be placed on newer stems. Typically, collectors do not use all 7 digits of the patent number, only the first two numbers are referred to, so the original 2,620,061 is simply referred to as a 2.6 patent.
U.S. Patent 2,620,061 issued in 1952 described as a Pocket article dispensing container
U.S. Patent 3,410,455 issued in 1968 described as a Dispensing Device for tablets
U.S. Patent 3,845,882 issued in 1974 described as a Spring cage for use in a tablet dispensing receptacle
U.S. Patent 3,942,683 issued in 1976 described as a Tablet dispensing receptacle
U.S. Patent 4,966,305 issued in 1990 describe as a Tablet dispenser
U.S. Patent 5,984,285 issued in 1999 Plastic spring
It should be noted that the 5.9 patent did not actually begin to appear in the market place until 2004 and many dispensers currently being shipped directly from Pez Candy, Inc. still have the 4.9 patent.
Additional patent numbers include the DBP 818.829 which is a German Deutsches Bundes Patent and dispensers made in Mexico which bear the patent number 141.242. The Space Ray gun made in Austria has a patent number of 3.370.746
Click on the images for more information and ordering:
I’m sorry now that I didn’t take a picture of this place because I’m not sure words can describe it. I had heard that you can buy clothes at the Goodwill Outlet Center by the pound and had read that some people had found some good things in what otherwise sounded like a somewhat scary situation. So I drove on up and cautiously entered the parking lot. It was raining and I walked quickly to the door, trying not to be too alarmed by the interesting people loitering around the building. I entered to see a large room separated horizontally by a middle aisle. The back of the room was covered with large wide bins on metal legs with wheels. They were lined up about five deep in several rows. In the front of the room were the same bins, lined up the same way, but they held everything you can think of other than clothing. And there was no order to anything. People, more of the interesting type, were milling about, “digging” around in the bins. There was also a parking lot of shopping carts on one side of the room, as you’re not allowed to push your cart along as you go.
I had only been there about ten minutes when a lady in an orange construction vest wheeled a bin through the center aisle yelling, “Everyone to the back please.” And everyone neatly moved to the clothing side and lined up along the line painted on the floor. Within another ten minutes, the front bins had been rolled out and new ones wheeled in their place. Then another lady yelled at everyone to “Form a line!” and “Walk, don’t run!” when she said “Go!” And when she did, the entire bee swarm moved to the front of the store and began tossing boxes and bags and toys and books and all kinds of everything up in the air and from bin to bin. I huddled in the back with the clothing and watched it all happen as I picked up a few items here and there that must have been cast off a second time after their run in a nearby regular Goodwill store. Finally, I figured there must be some good stuff in the front bins since there was only one person in the back with me talking on her cell phone. So I proceeded forward.
From what I could tell, if there was anything good in there, it had been swiped within the first few seconds of the “dig.” I did find pieces of a Playmobil castle that I filtered through and placed in a garbage bag I found. Intermittantly, I would look over and see people checking out at the cashier. I kept digging around, finding a few more things that I placed in my bag, when I noticed that most people were now moving back to the center aisle and lining up again, though there hadn’t been another announcement. Feeling a little strange, I thought it was about time I left, but there was no cashier to be found. I lingered by the “Line Up Here” sign, and still, no employee appeared. There were, however, a lot of eyes that seemed to be looking at me as this newbie who didn’t know what was going on. In the end, anticipating another announcement and fearing that I would be stuck in the back of the store and wouldn’t be able to cross the line and get out of the madness another time, I just dropped my bag in a bin and left.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I watched as one female employee used a metal rake to move remnants from a dumpster turned on it’s side and pushed it toward a massive Goodwil garbage truck. I was quite sure I wouldn’t be back but a bit sad that I didn’t fully understand the whole process and never even found out their pricing. I’m unsure if Goodwill offers these Outlet Centers in other cities, but if you’re brave and can find one, perhaps you might have a better experience than I or stay away from what might otherwise be a waste of your time.
Find My Finds: Amazon ~ Etsy ~ Bonanza
I had low expectations that morning and really wanted to reign in spending more than usual for things that I wasn’t sure of. Gosh darnit, I still found some great stuff at five thrift shops on my northward route. I started at my favorite stop and found a basket full. Look at that wonderful Strawberry Shortcake window by Lulu – some of the graphics are on the glass and some behind in a print, for $4.50. Plus the little Unicorn print by Jody Bergsma for 10¢, the vintage Pac-Man game for $2, the vintage Palizzio purse for $2.50, the vintage Lou Taylor purse for $2.50, the Hawaiian Quilted purse for $5, the vintage Grover, Santa and Bunny Pez Dispensers at 25¢ each, the Bratz Doll working remote control snow mobile for $2, two bags of dolls at $2 each, a little cat puzzle at 25¢, a small Pokemon figure from Japan for $1 and the Hot Air Balloon fabric for a buck. I also found the awesome yellow kitchen scale with an apple on it that I need because I broke my other shipping scale and this one will weigh heavier packages for me – I paid up at $9.50 because I was going to pay that or more for a new one at retail price.
Then I walked down the block to my next two stops where at the first I found the Papo Dragon, the Disney Matterhorn Abominable Snowman, each for $1 and the amazing vintage screen print from 1951 by Gerald Nailor for $5. At the second I found the teddy bear print, the framed girl “Charlotte,” and the pretty little floral box, each for $1
I wanted to find another thrift store I had read about, but ran into a completely different one where I picked up the 1950′s doll for $5, the vintage baby shoes and bonnet each a $1, and all of the Lucy & Me teddy bear figures for 50¢ each.
Heading to the local Goodwill, I found the Iron Man Clock in the box, the Ty Juggles bear for 99¢, the Mikasa covered ceramic box for $2, the large Christmas Memories craft fabric for $2, the small Italian mold for $1 and the Avatar game for $1.
So, after five stops, I had spent about $50 and look to make about $500. Another good day in the North.
Find My Finds: Amazon ~ Etsy ~ Bonanza
Fairfax Brewfest: Saturday, March 15th, 2013: 1-5 p.m. The Pavilion.
February 28 – March 2 & March 7-9, 2014: 36th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting
Join us as we celebrate our 36th Annual Barrel Tasting, Wine Road -
Northern Sonoma County, 100+ Wineries! 11:00 am – 4:00 pm each day
Members of the Wine Road would like to welcome you to our wineries and lodgings for an exciting weekend of wine tasting. This is your chance to sample wines from the barrel, talk to winemakers and explore the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. Barrel Tasting is not a food or themed event. It’s all about the WINE…many wineries offer “futures” on their barrel samples. This is a chance to purchase wine now, often at a discount, then come back to the winery when the wine is bottled, typically 12-18 months from now. Many wines are so limited, buying futures is your only chance to purchase them. Attendees are encouraged to pack a picnic as most wineries will not have food for this event. The ticket price includes the opportunity to sample wine from the barrel and in most cases also trying a limited number of current release wines.
March 15-16, 2014: Savor Sonoma Valley
Join 26 Wineries throughout Sonoma Valley this March for a Food & Wine Experience! Wineries will be showcasing 2012 vintage wines straight from the barrels, sampling new releases, and offering award-winning wines paired perfectly with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants. Meet winemakers, mingle with wine lovers behind-the-scenes, peruse art from local artists and listen to live music. Experience the best that Sonoma Valley has to offer!
Ticket Options & Prices:
*WEEKEND PASS: $65
*DESIGNATED DRIVER WEEKEND PASS: $20
*SUNDAY-ONLY PASS: $50 per person
*DESIGNATED DRIVER SUNDAY-ONLY PASS: $10 per person
Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. both days Phone Number: (866) 794.9463
Sunday, March 30, 2014: Jacuzzi Winery: Pizza in the Piazza
Last Sunday of every month, 12:00am-3:00pm
Wine paired with pizza made fresh in the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards kitchen with sustainably grown ingredients from Green String Farm. MAXIMUM OF 6 PERSON GROUPS ONLY.
$10 for a slice & glass of paired wine. $30 for an 8″ pizza & bottle of paired wine (pizza serves 4 guests)
Find My Finds: Amazon ~ Etsy ~ Bonanza
I know it looks like I had a bad day at the thrift store, but I’m not including the pile of clothing and shoes I also purchased for my next consignment store trip. I’ve recently begun consigning with a local women’s shop and it’s going quite well, so I’ve dedicated a good bit of my energy, money and time to supplying most of the inventory in the store. But I do have to say, I didn’t really find much in the way of my own personal online listing inventory, probably because my focus was elsewhere. I did spend about $20 on this part of the lot, mostly from the Christmas and toy sections, and I hope to make ten times my money at $200.
Find My Finds: Amazon ~ Etsy ~ Bonanza
And I’m not necessarily talking about going back to your old hometown, either. I’m talking about going back to where you first dug in your heels and became an independent person. Where you were free to make decisions for yourself without the influence of parents, family, friends or significant others. Where you began to mold who you were going to be, living how you wanted to live, aiming for your best life.
For most of us, that happened in college. Returning to your college town can reawaken the young person you were back then. You will suddenly remember what was important before life became bogged down in work, bills, kids, chores, home improvement, bad weather and anything else that has put you in your personal rut. Back then you probably exercised more than you do now, whether riding your bike to class, running along a beach or playing basketball or volleyball with friends or roommates. Back then you ate better because you were in charge of your health and yours alone. You didn’t have to make dinners for a whole family or hurry and grab something in between getting things done. You probably also lived in a town you wanted to live in which is most likely why you chose that college, so the weather and surroundings may have suited you more than the town in which you live now because of work or family obligations.
I know I’ve been living my life with my face stuck in a computer for too long. I use writing and selling as an excuse to ignore what I should be doing which is living life. Getting out there, talking to people, enjoying the weather and the great outdoors, like I did back when I was in college. And when writing and selling don’t keep me busy, I can blame the kids, the dogs, the house, the yard, the bills, the laundry, the car, the grocery shopping, the errands and everything else in between. There was never any time to stop a minute and realize what I’d been missing, what I’d forgotten.
So one weekend, my husband and I packed up the kids and the dogs and the car and headed off to see if we could actually “get away” from our lives. What we didn’t realize is that we were driving “back to” what our lives once were. A time when we were so much happier with so much less stress. Sure, we didn’t have kids then and we weren’t chained to all of the trappings that make up our current “rut.” But the weather and surroundings and feelings and friends we had left behind were still there waiting for us. And we were awakened.
If we can’t immediately pick up and move back to that life, because with present day complications it won’t be as perfect as a vacation weekend, we can take from that time the surprise that all that we once were is not lost. We have the ability to remember what it was like to be healthy and happy and we can try to recreate that again, wherever we may be. And we can try not to let our current life pressure us to the point of ignorance, blame, procrastination, irritation, frustration and every other emotion life has heaped upon our shoulders over the past several years.
I encourage you, if you’ve felt the weight of your world on your shoulders lately, to return, if only for a short while, to where you felt most independent and most like “you,” so that you can gain some perspective on who you really are and who you wanted yourself to become. And maybe we can all get back on track to what was once our chosen reality.
My son was Skylander crazy back when they first came out. And so he received them for his birthday, Christmas and for any potential bribery situation. Which means he had a whole box of them, just sitting there, that he no longer used. He’s more attached to his iPad these days and is interested in getting a new phone. Well, his parents told him to think of ways to make the money for the new phone. And somehow the idea of selling Skylanders came to mind. Then he went through each one, writing down their name and researched value, grouping them by similar price, and presented me with lot. And so I listed them on Amazon. Within one week, we had sold seven lots consisting of 16 Skylanders for a total of approximatley $215.00. And we still have eleven lots available that could make us another $200+. So if your kids have a box of first generation Spyro’s Adventure Skylanders (with the green bottoms), dig them out and start listing away. You, or your kid, could have a new cell phone when you’re done!
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Prism Break, Boomer, Voodood) $44.95
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Cynder, Lightning Rod, Zook) $20.95
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Ignitor, Warnado, Camo) $17.95
Skylanders Giants Single Character Crusher $14.95
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Pack – Darklight Crypt $74.95
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure: Zap $14.95
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure: Wham-Shell [Windows 7] $14.95
Activision Skylanders Giants Single Character Hot Head
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Wrecking Ball, Stealth Elf, Sonic Boom)
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Eruptor, Chop Chop, Bash)
Skylanders Spyro Adventure Triple Character Pack (Whirlwind, Double Trouble, Drill Sergeant)
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Triple Character Pack (Drobot, Flamslinger, Stump Smash)
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Pack: Dragon’s Peak
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure: Drill Sergeant (Clear RED Limited Edition)
Skylanders Spyros Adventure LOOSE Mini Figure DARK Spyro SILVER Wings
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Character Pack Legendary Trigger Happy
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure: Dino-Rang
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Character 3-Pack – Legendary
I have always been drawn to a broad genre of ceramics known as California Pottery. Many pieces look like they are made by the same company, though in fact are different. I seem to focus on figurines that have a white background with pastel hand-painted features and decoration. And because many are not marked, deciphering which are which can be difficult.
Great information can be found on the California Pottery Index website and on the Potteries of California website.
I have had a few pieces of Cleminson Pottery (though I didn’t know until now) ever since I was a young girl, like these plates:
They did have a stamp marking, usually green:
The California Cleminsons, George and Betty, started their business at their El Monte, California home in 1941 and were so successful that they eventually expanded to a modern plant with over 150 workers. Clemenson Pottery produced not only dinnerware and kitchen items such as cookie jars, cannisters and accessories, but also novelty wall vases, small trays, plaques, etc., as well. Cleminson Pottery wares are easy to spot once you become familiar with their distinctive glaze colors…berry red, dusty pink, and blues and greens with a touch of gray. Plus pieces are nearly always marked. Unable to compete with foreign imports, the Cleminson Pottery closed in 1963.
Pieces similar to Cleminson are DeLee Art, which may be the maker of my middle vase when you look at this similar one listed on Etsy that has the DeLee paper tag on the bottom:
More similar pieces appear to be made by Kay Finch Pottery. From Kovels:
Kay Finch Ceramics were made in Corona Del Mar, California, from 1935 to 1963. The hand-decorated pieces often depicted whimsical animals and people. Other Kay Finch pieces included Chinese maidens, Godey figurines, Santa Claus, vases, ashtrays, and luncheon sets. Pastel colors were used.
And Block Pottery is yet another of many examples of similar California Pottery that may be the maker of some of the items I found at an estate sale awhile back. Again, no marking, so it’s hard to tell.
I assume I will always gravitate toward the sweet vintage pieces whenever I find them and continue my search for who made what. If anyone has any further knowledge of specific makers and what to look for, please comment below!