Monday, June 27, 2011


A few years ago, a friend and I built an Adirondack chair for my patio. I scoured the internet for free patterns, printed a couple, chose one, bought the materials, and on one very, very hot and windy Saturday trekked to her house to build it. When I got there, she inspected the plans and concluded that I would be happier with a style other than the one for which I had specifically purchased the lumber. Sure. Why not? We charged ahead.

The temps were well over 100 degrees that day and the wind was so strong that we had to close the garage door to keep the saw dust from blowing around and blinding us. It was like a sauna, but we were not daunted as we sweat over each board, and cut, and screw, and nail. The basic construction was simple and with the help of my husband's collection of DeWalt tools, the chair took shape pretty quickly...until we hit a snag.

Remember that I had purchased the lumber for one chair, but we had decided to make another? Well, when it came time to cut the boards for the back of the chair, we didn't have enough of the right size of lumber. This didn't stop my friend. We marched into her house, passed her husband sleeping in the recliner, and into her bedroom. There, I watched with my mouth open as she pushed her bed away from the wall, grabbed a section of baseboard, and ripped it from the wall. Seriously. I could barely suppress my giggles as we tiptoed back to the garage carrying this "reclaimed" piece of lumber. Her husband woke up briefly and asked what we were doing. Her reply: "We just grabbed this from the bedroom." Seriously.

The rest of the construction was pretty uneventful, and that evening, when my husband joined us, we grilled dinner and took turns trying out the new chair. I loved it. I couldn't wait to build more. But, things and stuff and life got in the way and we didn't find time to expand our furniture building. I purchased additional Adirondack chairs from L.L. Bean and World Market to fill my patio. Our lone custom chair creation was sanded and painted a couple of times in a couple of different shades. A few winters, it stayed on the patio when other furniture went to that I would have somewhere other than just the steps to sit during random nice days. It was loved, but neglected. And, now this classic beauty is showing it's age. One side is starting to rot.

I am faced with the dilemma of what to do with my beloved, classic, hand-built-from-reclaimed-lumber Adirondack chair. Do I attempt to take it apart and replace the damaged wood? Do I give it another coat of paint and hope for the best? Do I convert it to some kind of planter for my flowers? Do I just give in and burn it in the firepit? What would you do with a classic?

I faced that question last weekend, too. Hubs sent a text and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner with friends. On the high of a freshly mowed lawn and flowers blossoming on the patio, I suggested that they come over to our house for a simple cookout. Awesome. Plans made. Then I panicked. People coming over in just a few hours? Yikes. What to make?

I settled on grilling burgers and hotdogs, slices of watermelon, a "pizza" salad with pasta, veggies, pepperoni, mozzarella, and Italian dressing, baked beans, and Frog Eye Salad. Two little girls would be in the mix, and I had hoped they would like the sweet pasta salad made with Acini di Pepe. (I was wrong, but oh well. haha) As I trolled the internet for an exact recipe, the first ones that came up were the classic versions with homemade vanilla pudding requiring eggs and all. Even though I had made this several times before, I was feeling a bit frazzled for time and decided to go with a short-cut instead of the classic. A recipe using instant vanilla pudding grabbed my attention. I messed with the classic Frog Eye Salad and came away with something that was still every bit as least if you want to take the opinion of my Hubs. He had 2 large if that is anything but classic for him. :-)

(adapted from

1 1/3 cups acini di pepe pasta (uncooked)
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained (reserving 1/4 cup juice)
1 3/4 cups milk

1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 (12 ounce) cans mandarin orange sections, drained
3 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup flake coconut (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Add the pasta and cook 8-11 minutes (or according to package directions).
Rinse with cold water to cool pasta.
Drain well.
In large bowl, beat reserved pineapple juice, milk, and pudding mix for 2 minutes.
Gently stir in pasta and remaining ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but preferably over night. (Serves 12)


  1. Oh, my aunt always used to make that salad for family parties in the summer. Takes me back.

  2. Oh, I don't think you should give up the chair that you and your friend so lovingly built. Get some new wood and repair the damage.....or, better yet, go back to your friends house and get some wood from her bedroom....LOL LOL LOL. If you scrap this chair, you will just have to leave one of your other ones outside in the winter for the nice days,....... and, think of the memories you and your chair have created. It would be like throwing out an old friend. You will think of this situation next winter and wish you had your "old friend" back if you burn it. But, if you do burn it, you should scatter the ashes in your garden so you can be close to the old chair. What a delema........and, yes.........I know.....I talk too much... ;o) Sandy in Winner


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