25 Oct

My new logo! Head over to to see the whole redesign!

BIG NEWS! I’m now on!

This week marks the one-year anniversary of DIYorBuy! And to celebrate, I have a totally NEW SITE! Head on over to (oh, yes – my very own URL!!) and check it out. A fresh look, a fresh logo and a bright new home on the Interwebs. I could not be more excited.

Also exciting is this weeks analysis: Halloween wings! Go check it out on And tell your friends!

PS: You may also want to update your bookmarks to reflect the new site.

PPS: That logo is going to be on stickers soon! Check back at frequently to find out when I’ll be giving away FREE STICKERS! Because, really, who doesn’t love free stickers?



Boiled Cider

18 Oct
boiled cider, drizzled on cheesecake

Boiled cider is a FANTASTIC cheesecake topping. FYI.

Confession: I love me some autumn. This is my favorite season… ever. It’s got cool sunshine and low humidity; sweaters, cute jackets and jeans; and oh, the food! Apples and pears, pot roast and soup, tomatoes and squash and pumpkin and cranberries. It’s pretty much the perfect season.

And, to celebrate the greatness of autumn, I just discovered a thing called Boiled Cider. This is actually a very old-fashioned syrup-type product that’s made from apple cider. It used to be super-popular, especially along the east coast, but has really fallen by the wayside. UNTIL NOW.

I’m telling you, I’d like to start a boiled cider renaissance. This stuff is like autumn, in edible form. Now that I know it exists, my life is forever changed, for the better.

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Oven Cleaner

4 Oct
Pizza inside an oven

All ovens should be this sparkling - photo courtesy of Whirlpool

Hello World! I’m alive and (finally) back at it! So I know I’ve hinted a time or two that Rob and I were moving. Well, we moved! And the new house is FANTASTIC. It’s window-filled and bright and spacious and graced with lots of fruit trees. Sigh.

But that isn’t to say that it’s perfect.  In fact, parts of it were quite a mess when we got here. Now, I’ve never moved into an empty house before (our last home was Rob’s before I came along), so I have absolutely ZERO frame of reference on this. I just know that whenever I moved into an apartment, it was clean-ish. This house, not so much. I mean, most of the stuff was gone, but there were some glaring messes. Like inside the oven. I don’t know how long it had been since that oven was cleaned, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say A VERY LONG TIME. Like, years. We turned on the oven, and everything smelled like burning. We turned off the oven, and it smelled like grease. Eeeeee-ew.

Anyway, I really shouldn’t complain, because PERFECT CHALLENGE OPPORTUNITY!  Exactly what is the best way to get an oven clean? I know ovens have those self-cleaning mechanisms, but I’ve never used one and they frankly scare me a bit. (800 degrees is really, really hot, and I don’t entirely trust smoke detectors). So, removing that as a cleaning option, which would be the better choice: a can of spray stuff, or washing soda with some steel wool and a little elbow grease?

Challenge: Oven Cleaner

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5 Pear Facts (or, Growing Alien Tree Fruit)

16 Sep

My very own pears, in my very own tree!

Okay, so we’re working through the slow, slow process of getting settled into the new house. Which is taking FOREVER and keeping me from doing the things I want to be doing (cough cough BLOGGING cough). But no matter – it’s all worth it and we’re almost all settled and cozy in our new digs. And I don’t know if I properly shared my complete excitement about the flora the previous owners left for us – namely several mature Concord grapevines, and a pear tree! The grape time has passed, but the tree is  FULL of pears! (Well, okay WAS full of pears. I may have attacked it last night.) I kept waiting and waiting for them to ripen, which they stubbornly refused to do, so I finally gave up and did some research on how the hecks to manage a pear tree.

Turns out, pears are basically alien fruit. They behave differently from almost every other fruit out there. Which is a little frustrating (I think I let them sit too long on the tree) but also really, really fascinating. Here are five interesting and strange things to know about pears.

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Best Drill for Home Projects?

23 Aug

Drills, Drills, Drills - thanks to Mark Hunter for the photo

Okay, so Rob and I are furiously working on our existing house, so that on Friday we can move to a new one and rent this one out. Awesome. It involves a lot of building guardrails and handrails and adding smoke detectors – things that involve the use of our drill.

blistered thumb

A power tool should not be so difficult to use that you blister in the attempt.

Now, I like our drill well enough. It’s a Black and Decker 12v Battery Operated Drill, small and lightweight and efficient. HOWEVER. As demonstrated by the wicked blisters on my hands, it’s not made for people with less-than-masculine grip strength. To wit: To secure a bit in the drill, you must turn two tumblers in opposite directions until they sort of click into place, thus securing the bit. When the bit is not secure, you hit one knot in the wood, and suddenly your drill is turning but the bit is not. Often, the bit is then stuck in the wood, and you have to rescue it. I cannot, for the life of me, get the tumblers tight enough to secure certain small (9/64ths) bits; nor can I loosen the tumblers to change bits when a small bit is secure.

I have to go ask Rob to help me when ever I need to change a bit – he is able. It’s really inefficient when he’s manning the saw and I’m manning the drill. Plus, it’s frustrating and infuriating and makes me all “This is a sexist drill!” Which it probably isn’t. It was probably just not designed with a less-than-super-strong grip in mind. (I will not say “weak grip” because I don’t like thinking of myself as weak.)

Does anyone out there have a drill that’s easy to use? I would love recommendations. Or ideas/tips for how I can make our existing drill work for my (evidently) puny little hands?

Fried Peaches to End State Fair Week

19 Aug
The fried peach

A fried peach!

It’s our last day of State Fair Week (tear!). And what better way to end than with dessert?

Now, I was going to do fried Twinkies. But at the last minute, I changed my mind. Why? Because 1) That required me to buy Twinkies, 2) It also required me to freeze Twinkies overnight. And I was absolutely prepared to do that, until an Anon (Hi!) posted the fried peach idea and I realized that I HAD fresh peaches on hand and could successfully avoid another trip to the grocery store PLUS have a fried peach right away. Laziness and Impatience for the win!

And, oh, what a win.

Challenge: Fried Peaches

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Homemade Corn Dogs, On a Stick

18 Aug
Pronto Pups!

Pronto Pups! Imperfect, yes. But still beautiful.

You ever notice how, from one state to another, there can be drastic vocabulary differences?

I’m originally from the awesome state of Minnesota, where, for whatever reason, there are a few things that are just said differently. For example, growing up, I played Duck, Duck, Gray Duck (rather than Duck, Duck, Goose). It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned about the goose business. And it’s the same way with corn dogs: In Minnesota (and especially at the Minnesota State Fair), these babies are Pronto Pups. Not that you can’t find a corn dog in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but you’re more likely to encounter a pronto pup. It’s just the way it is.

But no matter what you call them, the hot-dog-wrapped-in-corn-batter-and-dipped-in-hot-oil is a quintessential fair food. It’s fried, it’s on a stick and it’s delicious. And so, of course, I had to make one for STATE FAIR WEEK. After the dual appetizers of fried pickles and mac and cheese on a stick, a pronto pup (a.k.a. corn dog) dinner is just about perfect. So, here we go!

Challenge: Homemade Corn Dogs 

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