Squash

It is that time of year when the fruits of our labors begin filling up not only our dinner plates but also become an integral part of beautifying the spaces around us. You guessed it, we are talking about SQUASH.

If you are anything like some of these green thumb agents, you have spent the past several months pouring your heart and soul into your garden prepping to produce these beautiful and tasty gems. But it is quite possible that you now have so many you do not know what to do with them. If that is the case keep reading for places you can donate your extras…. like my office.

Perhaps you are more like those of us that take advantage of the local Farm to Table programs our local farm community has to offer. You may have begun to receive these tasty treats in your special boxes. Keep reading to discover one of my favorite recipes.

BUT….maybe your most like me and you are… “Growing them…well… in the grocery store”. Let’s be honest autumn is my favorite time of year, but I wasn’t blessed with a green thumb. I am more like a big kid eagerly waiting for Shermans Farm to open so I can enjoy the full experience of finding the perfect squash for tonight’s dinner. I like sipping my warm cup of cider while riding on the tractor taking in the beautiful Whidbey farm views and snapping pictures of my kids next to the biggest pumpkins they can find.

Regardless of who you are, there is one thing we all have in common this season. We will all come into contact with SQUASH!

The majority of people will likely only use them as decorations, and that is ok. There is no denying these power-packed veggies are beautiful and studies show that sprucing up the space around you will make you feel happier. So, first things first…

Let’s Get Crafty:

CENTERPIECE

It can take as little or as much creativity as you desire. Place a variety of squash together with some leaves, flowers, candles, or acorns to spruce up your gathering space. For more inspiration follow one of our favorites local to our area: Erin Benzakein, founder of Floret. Floret is a Skagit Valley family-owned farm and seed company and New York Times Best Selling Author of A Year in Flowers for tutorials on arrangements.

OVERSIZED ACORN WITH ACORN SQUASH

Acorn Squash,

Supplies you will need:

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue
  • Twine
  • Acorn Squash

Begin by placing a dab of glue at the top of your squash. Make a loop in the twine and attach the top of your squash. Place glue around the top ¼ of the squash and being laying your twine in a circular motion starting at the stem and continuing down to a ¼ of the squash, carefully laying each layer of twine up against the last.

 


For the Tummy:

Most importantly, squash provides a plethora of nutrients for our bodies. It is quite literally called a power-pack veggie. They are high in Vitamin A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium.

The best thing about squash is that there are so many ways to eat it. I love it SO MUCH I am attaching one of my simple favorites.

Acorn Squash

BAKED ACORN SQUASH WITH BUTTER & BROWN SUGAR

Serves: 2-4     |      Preparation: 10min     |     Cooking: 1 HR 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 Acorn squash
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • Dash of Salt

DOWNLOAD THE FULL RECIPE CARD HERE!

 


Uplift the Community with Your Extras:

With all joking aside, if you have been blessed with having too much squash this year, the North Whidbey Help House in Oak Harbor, and Good Cheer Food Bank in Langley would love to have your donations.

 

Stay blessed. Have a favorite squash recipe or idea you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on September 7, 2020 at 3:22 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Now What? What to do after Christmas

Now What?

The gifts are all open, friends and family have returned to their respective homes, the ball has fallen, and the kids are back in school. The holiday season has officially come to a close, leaving us with the annual question of “Now what?”

 

Although this question can be an ominous one correlating to all that life may hold for us in the coming 12 months, for many it also applies to right here and right now. The sudden calm after Christmas can leave people dazed or even in a state of shock when they realize they have a bit of post-holiday cleanup to complete. It can be hard to know where to start or what to do when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal. We are here to help with 5 After Christmas Activities.

 

  1. Donate Old Toys

If you’re like most families, the quantity of toys in your home this time of year probably spikes quite a bit. When new and exciting Christmas gifts join those that came before it can feel like you’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Sneaking unplayed-with toys out of their room in the dead of night may be the easiest option but encouraging your children to choose which toys they would like to donate can help teach generosity, the importance of cleaning up, and critical decision making skills. Once you and your kids have decided which toys they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used toys.

donate, toys, reuse, more life

 

 

  1. Recycle Your Tree

Now for that (maybe less than lush) tree currently gracing your living room with its presence. It’s always a little sad when the time comes around to take down the Christmas tree, but the end of its needle droppings is usually welcomed. What’s not welcomed is the question of what to do with it. If you live in a house with a wood burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they don’t burn slowly like wood, but instead spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly:

Recycle your Christmas Tree

  1. What You Can and Can’t Recycle

“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?” (King5) It’s little wonder why this increased waste occurs. However, it doesn’t make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, in order to be an effective recycler you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

Recycle wrapping paper

CAN Recycle

●       Cardboard boxes

●       Plain paper boxes and bags

●       Plain wrapping paper

●       Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)

●       Tissue paper

CAN’T Recycle

●       Bubble wrap

●       Cellophane

●       Tinsel

●       Plastic Bags

●       Holiday Lights

●       Ribbons

●       Bows

●       Foam Packaging

 

 

  1. Give to the Food Bank

During the holidays it’s very easy to get caught up in the good cheer and generosity of the season. But the time immediately after the holidays can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience directly after the holidays can cause an all out stop to donations for a while; but unfortunately, needs don’t cease just because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.

donate unused foods

 

  1. Throw a Regifting Party!

We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply didn’t want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat?? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it doesn’t have to be this way! We know you aren’t a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it? Unwanted gifts don’t need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to find someone who might actually find use or enjoyment in it.

Regifting Party

Throw a Regifting Party!

 

Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephant almost exactly. So makes some warm drinks, grab a few good friends, and have a great time discovering new treasures!

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Posted on January 14, 2020 at 12:18 am
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Events, Things to do on Whidbey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where to Donate in Oak Harbor

Windermere Best thrift Oak HarborWhere to donate in Oak HarborWindermere - Best Thrift Oak harbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Donate in Oak Harbor

 

Does anyone else breathe a huge sigh of relief when you’ve purged your home off all the extra stuff that has been cluttering up your house? It’s that time of the year again, Spring cleaning season is here! It can be a bit daunting to think of all the things you need to need to get rid of and where to take them… SO we’ve made that part easy for you! Here are a few of the great places where you can donate your old items for a new lease on life.

 

  1. Garage of Blessings

The “Free” store of Oak Harbor, the Garage of Blessings is an excellent place to donate your gently used items. In 2012, Kristina Miller opened her garage doors at her home and invited people to come and take what they needed free of charge. Now, with help from  Mike Rowe (Dirty jobs, deadliest catch… yeah that Mike Rowe!) and his team, the store has grown from its original location in Miller’s garage to its current 6,000 square feet location on Goldie Rd. Check out the video of his visit here… http://www.americastube.com/video/46qi7229tnp7?the-garage-of-blessings—returning-the-favor-with-mike-rowe . Anytime the Garage’s doors are open you can bring in your donations of gently used housewares, clothing, electronics, books, baby items, hardware, emergency food, crafts, and more.

 

  1. Island Thrift

Island Thrift is open for donations Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm. They accept a variety of gently used items such as clothing, toys, books, baby items, housewares, furniture, and more! (For a list of items not accepted visit their website here: https://www.islandthriftoakharbor.org/donations/ ) Island Thrift is also a non-profit organization  with a purpose “to enhance the quality of life in Island County.” Island Thrift’s sales fund programs such as the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Island County, Boys and Girls Club of Oak Harbor and Coupeville, Oak Harbor Music Festival, Oak Harbor Senior Activity Center, Compass Health, Wildcats Robotics Team, and so much more!

 

  1. WAIF Thrift Store

The Whidbey Animal’s Improvement Foundation was founded in 1990 as a “place to care for pets and their people.” You are probably familiar with their adoption center in Coupeville and Cat adoption center in Oak Harbor, but did you know that they support and offer a wide variety of other community outreach programs? (For a full list check out their website here: https://waifanimals.org/programs/ ) You can donate your gently used items at the WAIF thrift store and help keep the WAIF adoption centers up and running, as well as support their other community programs. WAIF accepts household items, clothing, linens, jewelry, collectibles, furniture, and more!

 

  1. Upscale Resale

The Soroptimist International is a “global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.” Upscale Resale is a thrift shop that helps support the mission of the Soroptimist International program, as well as supports their scholarship and grant programs. They are open for donations of clothing, shoes, jewelry, glassware, books, tools, luggage, lamps, and more from 11am to 5pm, Wednesday through Saturday. To see a full list of items they accept visit their website here: https://www.sioakharbor.org/upscale-resale/ )

 

  1. Habitat for Humanity Used Furniture Store

If you’re not sure where to take your large furniture items or appliances, Habitat for Humanity is happy to take them off your hands. You can drop off your useable items directly at the store or schedule a pick up at your home. (Call them at 360-675-8733 to schedule your pick up!) Habitat for Humanity is a “community of members who recognize the need for affordable housing” and by donating your items to the Habitat store, you are helping this organization continue to provide affordable housing and help “families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.”

 

So while you’re busy cleaning out all that extra clutter, why not make a difference in the lives of others at the same time by donating those items to one of these great organizations?

Windermere Best thrift Oak Harbor

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Posted on May 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,