How-to Guide/Introduction – A Summer Plan

In the seventeen years (wow) that I’ve blogged here at Apt. 11D, I have written about a lot of stuff. Sometimes I have written political and social commentary. Other times, I’ve put on the housewife/mom hat and written diary posts. Along the way, I’ve posted quite a few “how to” type posts with tips and tricks for cooking, home organizing, career, and parenting.

I could have had a bigger blog with a wider audience if I had one defining purpose for this blog, but being a professional blogger was never a goal. I always used this site as a platform to think and chat about whatever was on my mind that morning. It was always a hobby.

My project for the summer is to dig up those old “how to” posts and revise them. My goal is to rewrite/write two per week. I will create a menu option for those guides at the top of this blog. If I create enough, I might even cross post that content in a new blog or website.

As the virus has upended our lives, we have all gained a few new skills this spring, but we’ll need more. It’s no secret that I am a little pessimistic that life will return to normal in a few months. Even if it does, I think we’ve all gotten the taste for doing things for ourselves and will continue with many aspects of our new self-sufficient lifestyle. We have learned that we aren’t as helpless as we thought.

If you come here regularly for the political and social commentary, please stay. We’ll still talk about Biden’s VP selection and the upcoming election. This blog will continue its random ways, even as I struggle to create a little order in one corner of it.

Thanks, all, for continuing to show up here year after year. If you have suggestions for content that you would like to see, let me know.

15 thoughts on “How-to Guide/Introduction – A Summer Plan

  1. If you have suggestions for content that you would like to see, let me know.

    Make Steve talk about books more than once a year.

    And more German history! Though that may be a bit of a niche interest. Although in the last few years it has turned out to be entirely too useful.


  2. Hey, this is Laura’s blog, not Steve’s. Steve should start his own blog about German history!

    But what about Jonah? Could he be induced to produce content reflecting the next generation’s take?


    1. Jonah can’t be induced to make his bed with a flat sheet, so I can’t imagine creating content for a blog voluntarily.


    2. I would much rather write a blog post than make a bed with a flat sheet.

      There’s a phrase medicos say, “There’s always one patient that will get to you” (currently part of McSweeney’s medico writing). I’m not a medico, but when I volunteered, the patient I will always remember was a (youngish) Black woman who got out of her bed to show me how to make the bed (the other bed in the room) properly.


  3. Looking forward to the How To’s. I organized my pantry (for the very first time) after you blogged about organizing yours. And, yesterday, when we had hamburgers, I cut up tomatoes (only I eat them) to add to my burger and it was good (because of your spread from the side yard party).

    I’ve decided that what I am missing about restaurant meals (in addition to not having to do the prep + cleanup) is the little extras (tomatoes on burgers, salads with a variety of add ins, fish with sauces, . . . .).


    1. But add ins are the easiest part a meal! It’s like Roy Rogers “fixings bar” — fun and easy. Hmmm. I’ll have to take a picture of taco night here. The key is little bowls.


      1. I forgot that chain even existed. They used to have one on Pitt’s campus in the basement of the Cathedral o’ Learning.


      2. I think my teen son’s garden is going into summer hiatus soon, but I’ve really enjoyed being able to order up stuff like some chives and the last of the dill to put on boiled potatoes for dinner.

        I’ll try to remember to ask him to plant some cilantro for the fall.

        (The way gardening works in our part of TX, you get a spring season and a fall season with most things dying or going dormant over the summer.)


    2. Yes, I love that, the “fixings bars” and I think that many meals benefit from them. South Asian meals are like that — there is no star, but there are lots of different parts (think a thali). But I don’t think it’s easy (all those little bowls!). But I do like that style of meal.

      The NY Times had an article discussing the style as a way to accommodate family members:

      And the beginning of a Harvard EdX course of food and physics described a food truck owner in Cambridge (who also has a high end restaurant) who said that he was using the food truck to experiment with customized meals. In his restaurant, he served traditional western style plated meals and instead of getting frustrated with special requests (no mushrooms, gluten free, . . . .) he decided to experiment with letting people custom design meals that didn’t require them to say “no” to the pre-designed meal.


      1. When I read the NYT article, I thought it seemed like a number of your meals were built around that principle to accommodate the teenagers tastes.


  4. Laura wrote, “Even if it does, I think we’ve all gotten the taste for doing things for ourselves and will continue with many aspects of our new self-sufficient lifestyle.”

    One of my mom friends has a crafty teen daughter who (after some youtube watching) has been able to do a very presentable job on the guys in the family. In fact, with one of the younger brothers, you’d never suspect that it was a home haircut. (Her mom says that the teen is getting financially compensated for this.)

    My husband and 10th grade son have been cutting each others’ hair with clippers and I’ve been very impressed with how well they’ve done. I suspect that my husband (who is a really, really cheap guy) may never go back. He did my bangs for me (a sort of irregular trim) and it looks fine. I suspect that at some point length in the back is going to be a problem, but I’m doing pretty well right now just clipping it up. Our 2nd grader’s bangs were a less successful project, but looking on the bright side, we won’t have to do it again for a long time! Our soon-to-be college freshman has long hair and no bangs, so she can just keep going at least for the foreseeable future.

    It looks like salon haircuts with masks aren’t that dangerous (there was a case of two COVID+ Missouri hairdressers who served 140 clients over the course of over a week without infecting anybody in the salon), but our family is not feeling any need to go back to an actual salon anytime soon.


    1. It looks like salons might be dangerous for the people who work there. You can’t tell for certain, but the hairdressers must have gotten it from somewhere and customers can’t really be masked for the whole of a cut.

      The haircut my wife gave me came out pretty good. I hadn’t gotten one since just before Christmas, so it was getting stupid.


  5. I’ve been branching out with regard to purchases of Torani sugar-free syrups. I normally buy hazelnut or coconut for coffee and cereal, but since the pandemic started, I’ve been getting fruity ones for adding to ice tea. I think that the peach one tastes like summer. The raspberry is good, too. I have lavender and rose syrup, too, but not sugar-free.


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