IKEA Modification for Compost and Chicken Scraps

In the old kitchen, we always had two ugly tubs sitting on the counter, one for chicken scraps and one for compost.  You can see one of them here with the yellow lid.  They looked bad, and the lids required two hands to open, which meant one had to set down whatever one was hoping to toss in, open the lid, pick up the scrap, and so on.  Not elegant.

Not so in the new kitchen!


See the plastic tubs mounted under the island top?  They pull out!  I mounted IKEA's Samla tubs onto IKEA's Trofast rails and achieved compost and chicken scrap happiness.

They slide out far enough that one could just scrape chopping debris into the tub, or one could pull the whole thing out and set it next to the chopping station.   

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IKEA undersink modification

We have a working kitchen sink.  It's so handy!  I had forgotten how marvelous it is to have running water in the same room in which one is cooking.  And it's pretty!

In the old kitchen, the undersink area was one big clutter shelf with two doors.  To get anything out, one had to open the door all the way and stand on one's head.  We have an island across from the sink now, so I didn't want cupboard doors that had to swing open.  And I didn't really want to stand on my head to get a sponge.

So, we installed an IKEA provided partition and mounted drawer rails to it.  So those big doors under the sink are actually drawer fronts. I mounted little holders to the inside of each drawer front to hold sponges, etc.  The other one holds the dishsoap and detergent tabs.  We can access these oft' used items without having to pull anything all the way out.  And no head stands!

In the back, I put a shelf to hold less frequently used items.  The items in the back of the drawers have to be low enough to tuck under the shelf when the drawer is closed, but that is fine. The dishtub fits on the left, and the other one holds the drainer.

Everything fits.  Everything is tidy.  And the things we use all the time are handy.

And just for fun, here is the Before picture:

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How to view your Scriviner WIP on your iPhone or iPad

From the File menu, choose "Compile".
Put checkmarks next to what you want to send.  I send chapters, not character notes etc.
Select "Compile for ePub."
Click on "Compile"

In the Export screen that pops-up, make sure the Folder is set to the Dropbox folder that your phone is linked to.
Click on Export.

On your phone, open your Dropbox app.
Click on the file in the dropbox.
When you get the "Couldn't Load File" message, click on the "Send to" icon in the lower left corner.
In the pop-up, choose "Open In . . ."
In the next screen, choose "Open in iBooks"

:: read the rest of How to view your Scriviner WIP on your iPhone or iPad


Writing Toys and Tools for the iOS environment

When I can't get my story to move forward (usually because I am writing a chapter from the wrong POV -- point of view -- and I haven't yet noticed that or because there are other people in the house making noise), I work on setting up my technology for the most efficient use of the wee writing windows I do have.

I do all the actual writing in Scrivener on my big home computer.  My arthritic fingers insist on its ergonomically correct keyboard and there is no way around this.  But I can't and really don't want to run to my desk whenever I get a thought.

No problem!

I just use the voice memo function on my phone to capture stray brilliant inspirations (rare) and/or crippling plot errors I just now realized (more common than I wish).  Then when I do get to the computer I listen to the memos and add to my running Manuscript ToDo list.

Another big happy discovery was Scriviner's ability to publish to iBooks.  I really dislike printing to paper as it is wasteful and cumbersome, but there are times that I really just want to read the story, or just that delicious chapter that fell from my fingertips last night, and I want to read somewhere other than my desk.

No problem!

I figured out how to send my work-in-progress to iBooks which lets it look just like a real book that I can read on my phone or my iPad.   As I read, if I find places to edit, I can make a note right in the book and then at the end of my session, I can email my notes, sorted in order of chapter, back to myself.  This gives me an ordered list of edits to make when I am next at my big computer.

Happy happy.

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Mac Apps for Writers

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Education Licence)
Scrivener: My #1 just can't live without writing app is Scrivener.  It is amazing. I can't even begin to to it justice  -- in part because my head is in my story and in part because why bother? The Scrivener website well tell you all you need to know.

I apologize that the link here takes you straight to check out. Just click on products and start toodling about. Or just take my word for it. Scrivener is the bomb.

Next up on the cool things list is Aeon Timeline - Scribble Code . This timeline generator helps me keep my storylines straight and keeps me from muddling my generations.  Best of all, it syncs with Scrivener!  You can get a trial copy at Scribble and here are a few discount codes just for fun: CAMPWRITER or SUMMERFEST

The last on my hit parade tonight (because I really should be writing: 700 words to go) is Snowflake Pro and if you leave a comment, I'll tell you how to get it for half-off.

It's a complete plot and plan application and I really should have started with this one 15 years ago when I started my story.  I'll be using it tonight to try to crumple up some of my flatter characaters.

:: read the rest of Mac Apps for Writers


Five Day Writing Challenge

2,000 words a day for five days.  Can I do it?

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Internet Monitoring aka spying on your kids

So, without going into the details, it has become obvious that we need more than the usual Computer In A Public Room and Mom Has All the Passwords for the computers our kids use. We have tried a lot. The Macs come with Parental Controls settings, with two problematic areas:

  1. the application restriction options works backwards. I want to be able to say "Let them use everything but these three." Instead, it is set up so that I have to say "Only let them use the ones I check." So any background app that is essential to the function of something we want triggers a "You don't have access. Allow access?" screen. This would be great if the option to Always Allow Access actually did anything, but it does not. So the process of getting called over to enter the Parental Control password is repeated ad nauseam
  2. The web-filtering was squiffy at best.
So, the next thing we tried was Net Nanny. She looked so good on the surface, but once installed we learned that she didn't always show up to work! Sometimes she would launch and filter, sometimes not. We fired her and moved on. Even if she had worked well, she wouldn't be enough.

We need more than website-filtering, we need to be able to track all the computer activity. Why, you may wonder. Well imagine that your child's homeschool work includes some software that will allow the user to check the answers after each attempt. And the software will allow for adding and deleting users at will. Yup. Your child could create a bogus account. Check all the answers. Get a screenshot of the answers. Delete the account. Copy answers from screenshot to the work on his or her own account. Grrrr.

Enter SniperSpy. Oh SniperSpy looked powerful and mighty and effective. Live Chat support 24/7! All sorts of wonderful monitoring tools -- live screen viewing. Periodic screenshots. Just what we needed. I could buy one license and install it for each user, or so I was told. The installation was glitchy, but no matter, live 24/7 chat suppport to the rescue. Not!

The automatia is good, I'll hand them that, even including typos and spellings errors for that authentic look. But really? Three different chat support people happen to type the same identical line with the same capitalization error and slightly unusual vocabulary word? "Please wait while i go fetch some data." And as soon my questions got complicated the responses got more and more bizarre. Plus the lag between questionand answer was 5-10 minutes each time. Really not useful at all. I have filed a request for a refund with PayPal (ALWAYS buy software downloads with PayPal so you have some hope of a refund if things go bad).

Currently I am working with SpyTech Realtime Spy. The installation was nearly trouble-free. At one point I got stuck and opened a trouble ticket. I got an email back right away from the CEO! Seriously. I looked him up and it was really him. The owner and CEO is working the tech support desk. I love that! And it didn't hurt that his response cleared up my problem.

Check out the Demo! It will
  • show live screens.  What the child is doing in one room, the mother can see in another room.
  • show the applications used and the time they were used.
  • capture screenshots at intervals I set.
  • show websites visited.
  • show windows opened. Helpful if one has a child with a quick mouse-finger.  History homework window was open at the same time as YouTube window was opened.  Interesting.
And if you end up buying, be a sweetie and click through here first.  I get a wee commission if you do.  But that is not why I am telling you about it.  NetNanny and SniperSpy have affiliate programs as well, but I'm not providing links to their products because I was disappointed in them.  So far, RealTime Spy is doing what I want it to do and I want to share it with you.

internet monitoring, spy on computer, net nanny, computer watch, 

:: read the rest of Internet Monitoring aka spying on your kids


Easter Week

Easter Week
by Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875)

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices;
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the wild birds build and sing.
You, to whom your Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring-
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.

:: read the rest of Easter Week


Easter Morning

Easter Morning
Edmund Spenser 1552?-1599

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And, having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win;
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom thou didst die,
Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live forever in felicity:
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again:
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

:: read the rest of Easter Morning


Good Friday

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hope for America


DIY Chicken Coop!

me! me! me!

Here I chatter about books, parenting, election 2008, recipes, teaching college writing, and the adventures of getting settled in with our two freshly (Fall 06) adopted school-age children from Russia. This blog is chapter two; chapter one is posted at Jamie & Suzanne go to Russia. I live in the City of Subdued Excitement, Cascadia, Land of the Free.

I am the wife of a man I call My Gift from a Generous God. I am mama to two lovely children, Dandy and Chickadee that became ours in September 2006 in a court-room in Siberia. I am the daughter of two people whom I love and admire. One of them, my dad, is a new (Dec 06) paraplegic.

In my previous life (B.C. - before children), I was a college English teacher, specializing in composition and ESL composition.

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older child adoption


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This blog started life as hackosphere's neo and has been heavily tweaked and widgetized by Suzanne :: I got all the coding for the peek-a-boo posts over at hackosphere :: All my pretty little icons came from famfamfam :: The coding for the rotating banners came from Vince Liu :: The very cool tabbed sidebar widgets are thanks to the very cool hoctro :: The fun "Feeling Lucky?" toy -- which is currently disabled -- came from phydeaux3 (fido 3?) :: The pretty label cloud also came from phydeaux3 :: The elegant and easy to install related posts widget came from Jackbook :: I got all the social bookmarking icons nicely packaged for me at the aptly named Social Bookmarking Script Generator :: The 3 column footer came from Technodia :: The pretty sliding photo galleries are from CSSplay :: The recent comments widget is from Hackosphere::