Sunday, April 27, 2008
I sat down at the table and stopped to inspect the 5 blisters on my one hand (good thing I was wearing gloves!), before dishing up my plate, and taking a very large drink of water. My 9 year old daughter who was sitting next to me took a bite of her food, chewed it up and swallowed before asking me, "Mom, what do you do if you work too hard?" I finished my bite of food, and took another drink of water before answering, "I may need your help climbing out of bed in the morning."
I'm so proud of my family. The kids were outside helping in the garden within 30 minutes of me. They worked, without complaint for several hours before asking to visit the neighbor kids. After giving them lunch we sent them on their way. They were gone about an hour and a half. When the returned they jumped right in and started helping in the garden again. They did take a couple rest and play breaks, but were such a big help.
Daniel was a huge help as well. We couldn't have accomplished even half of what we did without his help. My whole family "dug in", which helped turn a hard work day into a fun family event day. I was amazed when we finally all burned out, deciding to call it a day, and I looked at my watch. We started early, shortly after 10 AM. My watch now said 5:30.
Where did the day go?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
My daughter wanted something soft and fuzzy, and I knew just the yarn to fit the bill, "Homespun". We took a trip to Joaan's and she picked out the color she wanted. We were all surprised when she chose a lovely lilac color, rather than the bright pink. Turned out it was an excellent choice. In the end, it was the weight of the yarn, and Ma's lack of skills and patience that was the problem.
The pattern Lindsay chose seemed simple enough. The yarn it called for was not the yarn we had chosen though, so I went online and checked the stats for each yarn. They seemed comparable enough. I think there was only 1 stitch differnce between the two. I had already made it most of the way through Nathan's sweater and it seemed to be sizing up nicely, so I figured why bother with a swatch.
Lesson 1: Always listen to Bev, and always swatch!
I set to knitting and was having a grand time with it, until I got to the second half of the front top. The pattern instructed me to slip 6(6.6,8) stitches to the stitch holder, then work as for the other side, reversing shapings. Okay. I could do that! I proceeded to slip 6, joined the new yarn and did my decrease. I got about halfway through the row when something didn't feel right... I reread the instructions. The way the pattern had printed, the "slip 6" was on one line, while the other options (for larger sizes) was on the next line. I should've slipped 8 to the holder! Oh No!
Lesson 2: Always read ahead! It's not a novel. You won't spoil the ending.
Froggy and I went to work, and were doing fine til we reached the dreaded decrease/yarn joining. I discovered the slip/pass technique works very well for locking the joining yarn in. I think it took me a full 30 minutes to get past that last stitch! I fiinally got it figured out and was off knitting again. Was doing fine 'til I got to the last decrease, the shoulder shaping. I was so excited to be almost finished that I forgot to reverse the shaping! Uggh!!! The shoulder was shaped, halfway bound off, and sloping into the neckline! I was so disgusted with myself, I just put it down, went in and decided to fix myself a comfort meal for dinner. To heck with the salad I'd been planning. It was good ol' Macaroni and Cheese to the rescue!
Lesson 3: Always have comfort food on hand, just in case.
I finished my comfort meal, returned to the couch, set myself down and called froggy over. Fortunately, we had become well acquainted on that joining/decrease row, and I was surprised when it all went quite well. I bid froggy a fond farewell (until next time) and was happily knitting, purling, and decreasing my way through the rows. Got to the last 7 stitches and realized I couldn't bind off there. If I bound off there, what would I use to purl the next (and last) row? No way was I going to join another piece of yarn to purl 6 stitches then bind them off! Thought about it a minute and decided to just bind off at the beginning of the next row. Once I was finished, and was thinking about how the shaping of the pattern ran throughout the rest of the front, I decided I had done the right thing.
I think it took me another week to finish the sleeves, knit the collar, and sew everything together. I finished the sweater in the evening, after the kids had gone to bed. The next morning, I finished Nathan's sweater and presented both at the same time.
Nathan slipped his over his head and we were both thrilled with the almost perfect fit. Then it was Lindsay's turn. I helped her pull it over her head, and place her arms through. It was HUGE! That thing was so big on my 9 year old daughter that I decided to try it on. It fit perfectly! A little short for my tastes, but other than that...She loves it, and has worn it several times. If it lasts that long, we figure she'll be able to wear it when she's a Mom!
Lesson 4: See Lesson 1
I have since managed to knit her a new top. I started by knitting a swatch. It fits! (Her, not me. LOL)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Laugh some More!!!!
There! Maybe Mother nature will get the message.
We got the joke! It was funny!!!
The snow amazed us!
The rain and hail pouring down upon us as we gazed in awe at the sun, which beamed down at us the entire time was almost inspirational.
The wind was a bit much, but entertaining just the same.
Now, can we please get back to somewhat normal weather?
We have gardens to plant already!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We have an appointment with a member of the health care profession tomorrow. The clinic was kind enough to send the the required forms to us ahead of time so we could have it all filled out and signed, ready to hand over when we walk in the door.
I learned how to read a long time ago, and as a young adult was taught to use that skill, and never EVER sign a document, until I read everything, including, and especially the "fine print".
We believe privacy is overrated. We can share any information we glean about you or your family with anyone we please, about anything we please, at any time we please, including, but not limited to the taxi driver who dropped you off . If you disagree with this policy you may request, in writing that we not share with a given entity, but we don't have to honor that request. By signing this document you agree that the Patient-Doctor Confidentiality clause is an outdated notion.
As Americans of a certain generation, who have memories of a time when the government didn't have their collective noses stuck in the middle of most everytthing you can imagine, right down to the library books you read, when SS numbers were not considered a form of ID for anything other than employment or banking, when personal really meant personal, we were not comfortable signing this document, which amounted to little more than a permission slip for invasion of privacy.
This morning I called the clinic, and explained our unwillingness to give away our rights with the mere stroke of a pen. Evidently we are not the only ones in this county (this clinic seems to be the only provider of the services we are need of within this county), who bothered to read before signing. I was informed that, provided we were not requesting billing to an insurance company, we could request, and sign an alternate form when we arrive for our appointment.
We are keeping our appointment tomorrow, but you can bet we'll be totin' our fine toothed comb to assist in reading the alternate form.
We may be from the boondocks, but our parents taught us to use the brains God gave us!
Monday, April 14, 2008
This morning I recieved an email from my sister http://www.xanga.com/toomanyhats , who is considering trying to make her own laundry detergent. It occured to me there may be other folks out there who are looking to save money, and may be interested in some TNT ideas. So, today, I am going to postpone my previously planned entry in favor of frugality.
8 or 9 years ago, I was becoming frustrated with the high cost of commercially available laundry detergents, especially the "gentle" ones, marketed towards families with infants. Although no longer an infant, my daughter had extremely sensitive skin so I was finding it necesary to pay those high costs. I found a "recipe" for homemade laundry detergent which promised to be gentle enough for diaper laundering, yet strong enough to clean a Homesteader hubby's soil covered jeans. I gave it a try and was amazed, not only at the ease of preperation, and the financial savings, but also at it's effectiveness, and how gentle it was for my daughters skin. I was sold! The recipe is as follows:
1 Box Borax
1 Box Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda!)
1 (Bath size) Bar Soap (such as Fels Naptha or Ivory, I prefer Ivory)
Simply grate your bar soap as finely as possible, and mix together with the other ingredients. I find "sandwiching" the grated bar soap between the Borax and the Washing Soda in the container then mixing works well.
I went to the store and purchased a grater just for this purpose. I made sure it included a very fine grating option. I then grabbed a large bucket, and mixed everything together. I found, once mixed everything fit quite nicely (and handily) in two large coffee cans.
This mixture requires a mere 2 TBSP per load ( we have a large load capacity washer, and the 2 TBSP is sufficient) I use a medicine cup (such as is included in children's cough syrup, or "Nyquil") for measuring/scooping. Just pop it in the coffee can on top of the detergent. For cold loads, I "soften" the detergent a bit with a little hot water, before switching over to cold.
This detergent has no fillers, as you will find in most commercially available detergents. Therefore, you don't need to use as much per load. The other big benefit is your clothes will no longer pick up the dinginess from those fillers.
The last batch I made I was unable to find the Washing Soda, so grabbed a container of what I thought would be an okay substitute. I think I like it even better! I grabbed the generic brand of "Oxiclean". The available size buckets seemd smaller than the boxes of washing soda I had used in the past, so I used 2 buckets per recipe.
Important Note: Washing Soda is not recommended for wool or silk items! I'm not sure about the "Oxiclean", but I did forget tried felting a wool item in it with no repercussions. You might want to check the warnings on the label before trying it with wool or silk
A lot of folks find it necessary to add fabric softener to their laundry. I rarely use any additives for this purpose, but there are exceptions, such as bath robes. For these items, as well as towels I opt to simply add a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. You may also want to try mixing up 2 cups each of white vinegar and baking soda in a large container (an empy gallon size vinegar bottle works well). Once the excitement settles down, add 4 cups water. Pop the bottle in the laundry room, give it a good shake before measuring out 1/4 cup for your rinse water.
These options will reduce the static, but will not scent your laundry. Neither will it leave your towels smelling "sour" For "scent", I've found hanging my clothes outside on the line provides the best scent of all! Of course, I have found it wise to avoid this last procedure if the neighbors are burning ;-)
Friday, April 11, 2008
Last weekend we planted seeds indoors, for transplanting later on. At the time we were experiencing way more rain than sunshine, and I was beginning to wonder if the ground would ever dry out enough to work the soil for those transplants!
We have several seedlings popping up now, and are anxiously checking them at least once a day to see what progress may be visible. Todays warm, sunny weather found us venturing outside to survey the garden beds. While I was busy pondering the changes to be made in the size and shape of the garden area (we're planning a much larger garden this year), Daniel got busy working on removing an old tree stump which was in the way of the planned expansion, and the kids happily dug in to the weed patch that our former garden area had become. The cats weren't feeling quite so energetic, but they did enjoy laying near where the kids were working, just enjoying their presence, and soaking up the suns rays.
I've been concerned that since we moved back out here I haven't been getting enough exercise. I'm not seeing that as a problem now! A whole lot of digging, tilling, moving soil around,digging out pathways, and building up beds before we can begin the planting. Then, of course the weeds will do a fine job of keeping us busy throughout the season.
Funny how we're all so eagerly anticipating something that sounds suspiciously similar to hard work!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Today I found myself browsing through some blogs, and other sites. I found myself reading, and printing all kinds of yummy looking recipes. Perhaps that is why I have nothing but food and recipe related thoughts running through my brain, so I figured, what the heck, why not post a recipe of my own? I haven't done that in awhile.
Several years ago, when my son was a wide eyed toddler, and the two of us were home alone with no way to make a run to the store, I found myself craving something sweet. There was nothing fitting that description in the house to just grab and nibble, so I began looking through the cupboards, searching for something relatively quick and easy to satisfy my craving. Of course I couldn't treat myself without thinking of my little partner, so that limited my selection a bit. What I ended up creating has since become one of my childrens most requested breakfast treats, and a great way to use leftover rice! My children have dubbed this simple concoction "Cinnamon Rice"
When we have rice for dinner, especially near the weekend, my children get excited, because they know what is to come, if not the next morning, then surely the one after that. Rice for dinner means planned leftovers. If you don't happen to have leftover rice from the night before, you can always just make up a small pot of it, a yield of anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 cup should be plenty for 2 good size servings, maybe even more!
So, for ingredients, you need:
Leftover cooked rice
Raisins and/or an apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
Cinnamon and sugar
I take my leftover rice, and combine it in a heavy saucepan with enough milk to generously cover.
I stir it around to break the rice up, and heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. After a bit I notice the rice is becoming more visible, and I stir more often. As it thickens, I usually find it necessary to add more milk, and stir constantly. When it's almost the thickness I desire, I toss in some raisins, or a coarsely chopped, peeled apple, or both! I continue stirring, letting the raisins plump up for a couple minutes, then I add cinnamon and sugar to taste (approximately 1 part cinnamon to 3 parts sugar) I stir that in good, and serve up some heaping helpings to my two eager little helpers. No matter how big the servings, I've yet to see a drop left over!
Let me know if you try it, or if you perform similar magic with your leftovers!
Monday, April 7, 2008
It is early spring on the Southern Oregon Coast, where snow is a relatively rare event, even during the winter months. Currently we are enjoying the early signs of new life all around us. The fir trees are adorned with the fresh,tender, light green sprouts at the ends of their boughs. Wildflowers are springing up (I've even been gifted with my first wildflower bouquet, specially picked and arranged by my children), and the Daffodils are awake.
This morning, on the 30th day of March, a mere two days until April is officially upon us, I was awakened by my 9 year old daughter.
She had a big smile on her face, as she excitedly announced, "It snowed!"
She laughed, and insisted I get up to see for myself. Of course I complied, although I really wasn't totally convinced. Every member of my little family has been known to have a bit of the prankster in them, after all...I got up. I wandered into the living room, and glanced out the window, where I saw not only a generous dusting of snow covering the ground, but more white flakes descending from the sky.
The white stuff didn't last long. Within 2 hours of our unexpected wintery diversion, the sun was out, and the outside thermometer was reading near 80º
I guess Mother Nature has a sense of humor after all.
A couple people have requested that I elaborate a bit on how I managed to lose weight this last year.
Although my feedback is embarrassingly low, I have noted with some satisfaction that there have been several visitors to my blog(s). I can only guess as to what may interest this silent majority, and hope they don't mind a bit of a diversion.
No, this is not going to become a blog focused on dieting ;-) But I will honor the request of those who's responses I appreciate so much :o)
"How did you do it?"
The short answer is a magical little book, easily acquired, and for an amazingly reasonable price.I highly recommend, "The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan", written by Barbara Rolls, PHD, and Robert A Barnett.
This book gave me all the tools I needed to not only lose weight, but to eat more sensibly (while not suffering from those annoying hunger pangs), feel satisfied (It is possible to enjoy some of my old favorites, while discovering new ones!), become more active (it includes a brief chart on calorie burning activities) and the biggest benefit of all, to get healthy!
When I began my weight loss regime, I weighed in at over 200 lbs. I was fat, morbidly obese. I was embarrassed to be seen in public, and hated to have my picture taken. Shopping for clothes was depressing, and I never knew when a TV show, movie, or even a commercial ad might trigger my feelings of inadequacy, fear, guilt.
In desperation I plunged in with both feet, in a less than healthy manner. For the first few weeks, I limited myself to right around 350 calories a day. The first two weeks were great. I'd squeal in delight each Sunday after weighing in and discovering a loss of 8 or 9 lbs. I actually dropped a size in that first two weeks. I was thrilled, and figured all the suffering was worth it. I was sure I could continue this deprivation, and lose lbs. and sizes in record time.
The following week, however, I struggled with fatigue, lightheadedness. Taking a shower was a risky endeavor, as I was never sure I would remain concious for the whole thing. I found it necessary to lie down, not once, but several times a day. My memory, already experiencing "senior moment" lapses, was becoming worse, nearly nonexistant! I stepped on the scale on Sunday and dicovered, for all my suffering, I had only lost one pound! How could this be? I was starving myself for crying out loud! This would not do! A new kind of desperation emerged.
Thinking perhaps I could move those 350 calories around a bit, maybe 100 in the morning, and 250 in the evening, I went in search of a calorie counter. You know that little booklet that in times past seemed to be available most everywhere you went? I looked everywhere and not one was to be found! Finally, my search took me to the Health Food store, where I was most fortunate to meet an employee who was very knowledgeable about nutrition and dieting. She lectured me as kindly as possible about my errant behavior, and advised me to pick up a book, available at Fred Meyers or Walmart. Walmart was the closest so that was our next stop.
After reading this book, "..Volumetrics.." for a bit I realized I had some choices. I could give up my childish ways of edible overindulgence, or I could spend my every waking moment beating my body into submission. I decided the authors' advice to compromise, and do a bit of both was more to my liking.
I began eating again. Admittedly, not quite so much as the book suggested, but a lot more than the previous weeks 350 calories a day. I limited my "breakfast" to between 100 and 160 calories. I measured my creamer for my coffee, keeping it at a low count. I skipped lunch, but did have an "emergency", high protein low calorie snack close by, just in case my energy waned too much. Dinner ranged anywhere from 250 to 500 calories a day.Sara Lee has a smaller, lighter version of bread, called Delightful. at just 45 calories a slice, and if you get the chance try one of my favorites, my new burger of choice, "GardenBurger's" Portabella. So good! I also rediscovered dessert! We were temporarily residing in a motel in town, which Schwan's visited twice a month. Schwan's now carries a delightful frozen fudge bar that contains a mere 50 calories per full size bar! They're delicious!
I've never been one for drinking water, but it didn't take long for me to realize that all that Sprite was adding up caloriewise, and wasn't doing a thing to abate my hunger! I have acquired a taste for our well water, but we were in the city, and I just couldn't bring myself to drink what was coming out of those faucets. I tried. It just wasn't within me. It was then it occured to me that there might be some interesting options awaiting me on the grocers shelves. Honestly, I was shocked at the sugar content, and resulting calorie levels of most the flavored varieties of water I saw. I persisted, though, and finally found a few that contained little or no sugar, and much lower calorie counts. I tried a few, a bottle or two at a time, until I finally settled on my compromise of choice, between my beloved soda, and water. Propel, at a very acceptable 10 calories per serving, a surprisingly pleasant flavor, and no Aspartame, was the clear winner. It also came in a bottle which was the perfect size for popping in my jacket pocket when we went on our walks.
Alrighty then! We covered "Eat" and "Drink". Now on to the fun part, the "Merry!"
I went for a walk. As I lost weight, and sizes, I found my clothing was beginning to bag a bit. I needed "new" clothing for my changing dimensions. As with my home town, I was now residing in a town which was far from flat. Lots of hills to be seen and conquered. Over one of those hills, maybe 6 blocks from the motel, was a thrift shop. I wasn't about to go out and spend the big bucks required these days for new clothing when I was only planning to fit in said clothing for a few weeks. Summer was upon us. A perfect time to go for a walk. I walked up and over the hill to the thrift store,found some jeans that fit, in addition to one pair a size too small, then returned home with my treasures.
On days shopping was not an option, the whole family would go on walks. We walked to the park, down to the tracks, and along them on to the bay. We wandered for hours in the sand, collecting seashells, wondering at the cranes and the seals; Laughing at the antics of the sandpipers. We went clamming and crabbing, and built fun sand castles. Other times we took a little turn and headed for the dunes. We hiked over soft, dry sand, to the dune, we climbed over the side, and into the center, then climbed to the top, one step up, two slides down, two steps up.... I wonder if I've ever been so worn out! I wonder what memories my children have stored... On occasion we headed for the beach, at the jetty. We wandered the beach, we ran from the waves (which occasionally caught us, leaving us drenched!) We laughed. We collected rocks and shells.
Then there were the days when our merriment could not be found in outdoor pursuits. We weren't about to let that stop us! At times, it was just a matter of cranking the stereo and dancing about the room (much to the dismay of our 10 yr. old son), Other times, one of the kids would bring out a balloon and we would play "Balloon Bop" for hours. That was a particularly fun game, provided we could keep the balloon from bopping something fragile;-) We actually got pretty good at it! Sometimes, I merely resorted to hopping on my "stepper" and climbed as long as my legs would bear it. That was okay, even though it was a bit squeeky, and the steps never seemed to take me anywhere ;-)
There's another side of "Merry" I feel I should mention. In my heavier days, I had my share of physical ailments. My back ached to the point I couldn't even finish a load of dishes without taking a break. I couldn't get down on the floor with my children because my knees couldn't handle it, for that matter, neither could my legs. They'd cramp up in minutes. I had become lactose intolerant, and was beginning to notice signs of diabetes. I had no energy. I was tired.
Since I've lost weight my back rarely aches, I'm not popping Ibuprofen like candy, just to get through the day. My skin looks better than it has for decades. I can get down on the floor and play with my children. I have energy! I think the thing that amazes me the most though, is my lactose intolerance has disappeared! I can drink milk, and eat ice cream again! Although, I do opt for the lighter versions these days :o)
I realize this is long, and not the "fun" post I had hoped to conjure up. For that I apologize.
I hope you return , "Same Bat Time! Same Bat channel!", for future installments of "Life at my house!"
It doesn't walk. It doesn't talk.
It doesn't laugh or cry.
It doesn't frown or give a smile
It doesn't wink or scowl
It just...sits there.
I dust it, I swipe it
with a damp rag
I scrub it, I buff it
I give it a shine, and still
It stands it's ground
Somehow this object with no expression
Inanimate, lacking emotion
Evokes a feeling when I enter the room
Of warmth, of belonging, memories past
It's place deeply rooted in time
On four legs it stands silent
It's rich wooden hues
Exude a presence, somehow
It beckons me nearer as
Beaming, it stands firm
My family gathers 'round it's perimeter
We clear it of mail which has gathered
Then place upon it's surface
A setting for dining, it's intended purpose
Or, so I've been told...
Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas
It's been included in all
Games have been played there
Cards have been dealt
Family and friends from afar, there have gathered
School is convened there
Great stories are spawned
And other works of art
Upon it's surface all are created
From feast to famine
Happy times and sad
It's solidly escorted us through
I just can't imagine, my home nor my life
Without... our dining room table
We entertained a visitor, she arrives but once a year.
Her visits are always memorable, but this year, oh my dear!
She arrived ahead of schedule, which is oft the case.
We welcomed her as usual, with anticipation and grace.
She arrived in such a foul mood, I dare say she was cranky!
She scowled through tears, which flooded down, and caused us all concern.
She regained her composure and took a little nap.
We thought perhaps a good nights rest and she would wake refreshed.
Next morning dawned however, and her mood seemed even worse!
She huffed! She puffed! I'd have to say, she threw quite the fit!
Her tears rained down. Her thunderous voice could be heard for miles around.
Her icy stare was terrifying as she hurled things all about.
She churned the water, she stirred things up, she left things where they lay.
And then she picked them up again and tossed them even further!
She shut down the heater, then opened the freezer, just made herself a pest!
She shouted! She screamed! With all her strength, her fury she made known.
I've never seen her so possessed with spreading discontent.
When she was finished, with a heavy sigh, she collapsed in such a heap.
Her strength now sapped, her wails mere sighs, her tears fell softly now.
We set to picking up the mess, and prepared for next seasons guest.
I've managed to lose some weight this past year , and was in need of some clothing that didn't bag on me. Wednesday, I had become so desperate for something to wear that I started rummaging through the kids drawers. Found a t-shirt in Nathan's drawer that actually fit pretty good. I spent the day in a 10 yr. old boys Green Bay Packers t-shirt. Not quite my style, but at least it was something different. Nathan and Lindsay found it all quite entertaining. I think Daniel was a bit concerned that the kids were going to be losing their clothes to me if he didn't do something, so he suggested perhaps it was time for a trip to the thrift store.
Thursday is our weekly trip to town. First stop is usually the library, the post office, then shopping. Yesterday we mixed our schedule up a little. Daniel and Nathan went to the bank, the gas station and then to get Nathan's hair cut, after dropping Lindsay and me off at the thrift store. I don't think I've ever had so much fun at a thrift store! Didn't find the knitting book I was looking for *sigh*, but did manage to scoop up a couple knitting magazines. Then it was off to the clothing section.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a good selection of new jeans, some still with the tags on them! I grabbed a couple size 10s and a size 8, hoping the 10s wouldn't be too small and that the 8s would be my inspiration/goal jeans. I also grabbed some medium and small tops. Tried the 10s on. They were way too big! Tried the 8s on. Hmmm. Closer, but still too big! Tried the tops on. Kept 3 of the smalls. Went back out to the racks, replaced what I wasn't keeping, then found some more 8s, a pair of 7s, and some 6s. Saw some 5s but laughed at that thought. Also grabbed another size small top. Tried the 8s on. Too big. Tried the 7s on. Still too big! Tried on a pair of 6s. They fit great!
About now I'm feeling a bit like a giddy Goldilocks rummaging through the 3 bears closet. Smiling to myself, I tried on the rest of the 6s. Ended up with 2 that fit, and 3 that were too big. I'm just not believing this! How is this possible??? Less than a year ago I was struggling to squeeze into 3x!!!
I was so tickled I actually started giggling. I heard voices outside the dressing room. I stopped giggling , changed back into my old jeans (which somehow seemed baggier now than when I had first entered the store) and headed out with my basket full.
By this time Daniel and Nathan were there, had finished with their thrifty shopping and it was quite evident they were becoming rather impatient. Dang! Really would've liked to try a few pair of the 5s! Probably a good thing I had run out of time though, as our thrifty shopping day was getting a bit expensive! We rang up at just under $20. I am SO looking forward to my next trip to the thrift store!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Well, I suppose it has been awhile. Perhaps it is time for a Blog update?We spent most of last spring, summer and a large portion of last fall in a motel in town. We were quite fortunate to find a place with a 2 bedroom unit and a kitchen. It was "cozy" but comfortable, and located such that we were able to take advantage of the various outdoor activities, in addition to being within easy walking distance to the library.
Since were were in town we somehow never managed to acquire wood for our woodstove here at the house, so when we moved back in this winter we found ourselves becoming rather creative in our foraging for wood for heat. One day it occured to Daniel that he might give the BLM a call to see if they may have some wood laying around. Indeed, they did, and so we went to town, purchased our permit, then headed to Bi-Mart to purchase new gloves for the family. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the excursion we had planned for the following day.
Alas, the next day brought a storm to our area, complete with snow. The following week we listened to reports on the scanner of folks becoming snowbound in the area we were to go for our wood. Called BLM who advised very strongly that we stay home. They would issue us an extension. And so the kids enjoyed the snow while we waited. Finally the day came. We loaded the truck with all we deemed necessary for our little work party, and we were off for our grand adventure. And what an adventure it was!
Our first foray into the wilderness was really quite entertaining. We drove down 101, took our turn and headed past the lake, then on several miles through beautiful country. It was then we made a wrong turn.
There was a sign at the bottom of the road that said, "Woodcutting Allowed." Daniel was just sure that was the right road, so off we went. Up... up... up we went , enjoying each new vision a twist in the road revealed. Our journey was slowed a bit as we came upon trees fallen across the "road". First one, then around another corner another, and another....Each time Daniel and I would get out. He would fire up the chain saw and cut the trees out of the way, and I would drag them off to the side. After the third time the kids decided maybe they could help out a bit. It went a lot faster then.
After doing this for awhile, and not seeing any signs of activity we decided perhaps we were on the wrong road. Found a place to turn around and headed back to the main road. Got down to the bottom of the road we were on and I glanced over at the sign. The sign was a tad weathered and curled over a bit at the top. Upon looking more closely under the curled over section I could read, right above "Woodcutting Allowed", very clearly printed in bold letters, "NO" ...Alrighty then!
We headed on up the main road and found the correct road, went maybe 3 yards and found piles and piles of well seasoned wood, just waiting for us to cut it down to size and load it up. Daniel fired up the chainsaw once again and we all got to work.
I quickly discovered my 90 calorie breakfast of 2% cottage cheese was not adequate for such activities. Good thing I had taken an emergency 100 calorie snack pack along just in case :) I gobbled that down, had a couple swigs of my Propel and was good to go.
Maybe 2 hours later the exhausted family unit piled back into the truck for our trip home, which wasn't nearly so eventful as the trip there. It also didn't take near as long :o
Had a heck of a time trying to get all of us calmed down enough to do school this morning. Just as I was getting ready to get started Daniel told us all to look out the window. I figured there was a cool bird, or the first deer of the season, or maybe even a cat doing something particularly entertaining. I was at least as shocked as the kids though when I looked and there was a very large, very healthy looking black bear! He was just strollling down the walkway, looking around like he was curious what was up. Once he got over the initial shock of seeing this huge beast roaming around our front yard, Nathan declared, "He's Cute!" The bear took his time, looking around, sniffing the air as he sauntered over to the woodshed. He stood up on his hind legs, getting a good look at a portion of the woodshed, then headed inside where he moved the plank of wood around, dug some slugs out from under and dined on them. He then nosed around, gobbled up the rest of the cats' food and a few more slugs. He headed over and had drink from the cats' water bowl then stopped, lifted his leg and relieved himself before slowly heading up the trail, past the pine tree and back down the walk way. He really put on a nice show for us!
Once he was gone we headed out to investigate. The cats followed us into the woodshed where they spent a lot of time sniffing at his tracks. When we left the woodshed, so did the cats. They haven't been back to their favorite hangout since. The neighbor's dog waited 'til the bear was gone before he started going nuts. That dog barked for hours! Of course he had to come over to our place so he could bark at the scent. Such a brave mutt he is!
This all happened about 10 AM and the cats are still spooked! I still can't stop looking out the window, wondering what's going to appear next. Daniel went out with the tape measure and measured where the bear was kind enough to stand up next to the woodshed. He stood right about 6 feet tall. Considering our heights and weights, and the bears appearance, we figure 350-400 lbs. as a conservative estimate.
Oh! If anyone's interested, the kids got right with the program and named the bear. His name is "Bill" :o)
PLEASE sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name and zip code.
PLEASE PASS THIS ON to your friends and family. THANKS!
Mastectomy Hospital Bill in Congress
If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.
It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important...please take the time and do it really quick!
Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill - Important legislation for all women.
Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you are receiving this it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go and vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same.
There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protec! tion Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the "drive-through mastectomy" where women are forced to go home hours after surgery against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on.
And so, the price for gas has risen once again. Once again folks are enraged that it costs so much to fill their vehicles. That gas also fuels higher prices for virtually everything else, including groceries, clothing, anything and everything you purchase. And, lest we forget, it's not "just gas" it's oil, and everything that oil is transformed into, including fuel oil for heating homes and cooking, plastics, some fabrics, furniture, the list goes on.
I've seen the blame card being played against India and China for consuming more. My first thought, upon seeing that was, "as compared to us?" As we go out and purchase bigger and bigger vehicles each year? Bigger homes each year? Who needs them? I cannot understand why any family of 4 (which I believe is still the average family size) would need more than 2,000 square feet to live in, furnish, and heat. To each his own, Im not judging anyone for their chosen lifestyle, but don't complain to me about how much it costs to maintain your mansion. And don't complain to me about how much it costs to fill up and drive around in the monster vehicle you purchased! Yes, there are a few who genuinely need larger vehicles, but, really, I think those are in the minority.
We need alternate sources for energy! Drilling for more oil is not the answer. It wouldn't solve the current problem anyway, and when it finally did start making a difference it wouldn't last long. Like trees and water, oil is a finite resource, unlike the sun and the wind. Those are 2 viable options for energy. We, as individual families and homeowners could make a difference, albeit a small difference at first, I've no doubt it would start to snowball until it began making a huge difference, not only for the environment (which in turn would affect our living conditions, and overall health for the better) but for our pocketbooks as well. Unfortunately those options are not cheap, and, in many cases beyond personal financial abilities. While, even at the current high price they are an economically sound investment, the return in energy savings would more than make them worth the price, many just don't have the cash to put out for the initial investment. We need a break, an incentive, perhaps along the lines of those rebates they had going for more energy efficient hot water heaters in the past.
There's a gal on a board I visit who has come up with what I think is an excellent alternative for those who live in the city and some other communities. She has gone out and purchased an electric golf cart which she has made street legal. In her case, total cost, I believe she said was a whopping $600. Not only is she saving loads in gas costs but, hey, those things are cool! They're fun and they look kinda neat too. There are no nasty fumes emitting from them as they zip around and they're quiet! Granted, they're not going to be great for the big commutes, but for zipping around, short distances, to the store and the like...What an idea!
Bottom line, there are answers. We are hopeless victims only if we choose to be. We can be proactive and make a diference, not only for ourselves but for our communities, today and in the future, for our children and our grandchildren.
Happy Earth Day!
Lindsay's been wishing for snow for so long now. Last night at dinner she was nearly in tears as she exclaimed, "It's never going to snow!" I felt so bad for her. I wished there was something I could do to somehow will the fluffy white stuff to fall from the sky. Her knowledge that it is a rare occurance around here wasn't much of a consolation.
This morning I awoke. I crawled out of bed and peeked out the window as usual. I could scarcely believe my eyes! The ground, the branches of the trees, the bushes, the driveway was.. white! I whispered to Lindsay to wake up. She rubbed her eyes sleepily as I pointed out the window. One quick glance was all it took. She fairly bubbled,as she scrambled out of bed. She looked and sounded like she was being tickled from her heart, deep inside, and all the way out. As she began to exit the room I asked her if we should tell Nathan. "Oh Yes!" She rushed to her brothers bed and whispered in his ear. Christmas morning is the only time I remember him leaping from his bed so quickly!
It didn't take my children long to get dressed this morning. They were outside and playing in a flash. They had fun scraping the white stuff from the top of the car, piling it to the center of blocks of wood. After a bit Lindsay came in. She was less than thrilled, saying it had begun to rain. Her frown was short lived. I pointed outside at her brother who was dancing, waving his arms, looking skyward, and excitedly shouting to his sister, "Lindsay! It's not rain! It's snow! It's snowing!"
Lindsay raced back out. It didn't take long for enough to accumilate that they could start forming snow balls, actually more like slush balls, but around here it's all the same thing :) They were both giggling when they came inside and whispered to me that they each had 9 snowballs waiting outside. I chuckled, knowing full well what their intentions were.
A few minutes later they raced outside. They were rushing to make it out prior to their father who was on his way out to gather some wood for the fire. I watched and listened, laughing out loud as I saw my husband being pelted with balls of slush. He managed to get a few handfuls off in their direction as they all laughed and giggled, dodging the cold, wet ammunition. When he returned with his armful of wood he was covered in wet splotches of white.
It stopped snowing. The kids came in, and warmed their hands by the fire. It began snowing again, big wet, white flakes. My children raced out once again as Nathan gleefully exclaimed, "It's raining snow balls!" An ominous statement for their Father who needed to make yet another trip outside to replenish the fire...
My dear Husband has informed me he wants a Pink Flamingo. As if that wasn't bad enough, he says he wants said pink flamingo to have wings that twirl in the wind! I am, as a Brit friend of mine might say...Gobsmacked!!
The morning started well enough. A normal Saturday morning. The kids got up early to watch their preapproved shows. They were reasonably quiet, allowing Mom and Dad to sleep in, knowing the old fogeys need that extra bit of rest after rising early the past 5 days. I got up even later than usual for a Saturday morning. A quick glance at the clock revealed it was already 8:30. I proceeded to get my morning coffee together, turned on the computer and got the fire going in the wood stove while the computer woke itself up. A few minutes later Daniel joined us. The kids requested their cereal and we determined which weekend option they preferred (they're allowed a slightly sweeter cereal on weekends than during the week). Once this was all taken care of I was ready for my second cup of coffee.
I returned to the dining room, poured my coffee, removed the lid from the container I keep my creamer in (actually a sugar container, inherited from my Grandmother) and prepared to spoon the required amount in my cup. As I reached over to grab the spoon I felt something tickling my hand. A stray thread from my robe perhaps? I looked at my hand and screamed in horror as I spied a spider crawling up my arm! "AAAHHH!!"
It didn't seem like that loud of a scream, but I guess it was, as my husband, Daniel, standing a couple feet away jumped straight up in the air! He then, in a rather startled voice began inquiring as to my distress, "What? What? What?", as I proceeded to beat my arm into submission.
The offending 8 legged party had by this time disappeared and the children were both pearing over the back of the couch, their show forgotten for the moment. Although my heart was still racing it seemed safe enough to stop beating my arm and respond. As I carefully scanned every inch of the carpeted floor beneath me I spoke one word. A word I knew would explain it all, "Spider!"
Amid the knowing groans from the male members of my family my 7 yr. old Daughters voice was heard, "Mommy! Spiders are harmless!" I was quick with my retort, "Not when they about give me a heart attack they aren't!" I heard no sympathy in her sigh or in her 8 yr. old brothers response, "Oh, Mommy."
I suppose it's a good thing my children have not inherited their Mother's arachnaphobic tendencies. Wouldn't you think they could muster at least a wee bit of sympathy for their dear Mother though?
Okay, let's see if I've got this right. Various news sources, including FOX, report on a deal which would basically hand over control of many of our major ports to a UAE company. The vast majority of American citizens,Dems and Reps alike, including members of Congress raise their voices in unity, saying Whoa! Hold on a minute here! This is, after all a Country that, as recently as 9/11 had financial ties to Al Queda, in fact, with at least 2 of the 9/11 hijackers!
The current resident in the White House comes out saying, No Problem! We've checked this out, it's completely safe and a show of good faith to our friends, the Arab's (whom I've been warning you about all this time), that we trust them. Okay...
Bush then comes out and says if Congress tries to stop, or even slow down this deal so it can be investigated in the normal manner in which dealings with any foreign country are normally investigated he's going to veto! It's a good, safe deal! He says all the correct Government agencies have checked it out and it's safe. Okay...
The heads of these Government agencies then come out and say they didn't know anything about it! Okay....
The next day Bush speaks again. He now says he knew nothing about this deal! Okay.....
Do NOT run! Ever! Consider the housecat and the rat. What does the cat do when she see's the rat run? She chases it! The cougar will do the same thing if you run and I guarantee you , if she wants you, she will have you. YOU CANNOT OUTRUN A COUGAR! Now, imagine your cat's surprise if that same rat, rather than running were to stand up on it's hind legs, start waving his arms and shouting at the cat! Knowing my cat, I can just see her eyes get big as saucers, she'd probably stand there a minute, frozen in shock before she turned tail and ran!
Stop! Face the cougar! Stand up straight and look her straight in the eye! If you have a small child with you, pick them up. If you are wearing a jacket, leaving the sleeves on, grasp the bottom edges and it pull it up above and behind (not off) your head. If you are not wearing a jacket raise your arms up high. Wave them SLOWLY back and forth above your head. You are making yourself look bigger. If you have a stick in your hand, or there is one nearby wave it. If you have a rock in your hand, throw it at the cougar.Do NOT bend over or crouch to pick up a stick or rock!
Remain "BIG!" Now, Yell! Yell AT the cougar. Slow words, Not a lot of screaming deliriously, slow, controlled, but loud. Personally, I think my words would consist of "Help! Cougar!" repeated over and over again (I'm guessing the cougar won't be able to understand what I'm saying) :) Back away, towards safety, SLOWLY!" Continue facing the cougar, being "big" and loud as you back away.
If a cougar has been reported in your area, keep in mind the most likely time to encounter a cougar is at dusk and at dawn. They can show up any time of day (unforunately cougars, especially sick, injured, or just plain hungry cougars don't know the rules) but those are the most likely times. If there has been a sighting in your area, this is the time to make sure your children are inside as the sun begins fading.
It may also be a good idea to keep your trash inside and, of course keep in mind cougars have a fondness for small animals, such as pet dogs and cats. Bring them in at night and don't feed them outside, especially during those dusk and dawn hours. Even a large dog can be at risk.
When my 7 and 8 year old children are playing they have rules they must follow. Many of these rules are in place for safety reasons. My 8 year old son likes to throw rocks. He's enjoyed throwing rocks since he was a toddler, even before he could walk. He also likes to shoot his dart gun and his bow and arrow (rubber tipped). He knows the rules. He knows he is never to throw or shoot in the direction his sister is standing, or a cat, or any person or living thing. He also knows to never ever throw, or shoot over the cliff, where there is always the chance a vehicle may pass by unexpectedly, or where someone may be strolling by. Neither is he to throw, or shoot in any direction unless he knows, with absolute certainty there is no chance of anyone happening by. HIs sister also shares in the responsibility. She knows, if her brother is throwing, or shooting in a certain direction she is to stay a safe distance away from the "shooting range", BUT, her brother , as the shooter, as the bearer of "arms" is ultimately responsible.
Accidents happen. Children get excited, carried away in the moment. If an accident does happen both children know they do not run off to a corner, around the side of the house, or wherever, and discuss how they might conceal the incident from their parents, or how they might put off reporting the incident in order to embellish or, perhaps lesson the impact of the incident. If they do, and their parents find out, punishment will probably be compounded. No. They are usually up front. There are usually consequences. The weapon of choice is usually confiscated for a time. There may be a "quiet" time, a time of reflection, when there is not a lot of running around outside. Other potentially offending toys and weapons may be off limits for a bit. Prior to the weapon(s) being returned, both children are going to listen to a lecture, a refresher course of sorts on safety. Lessons are learned.
Adults have rules to follow as well. Adults have accidents. They have accidents on the job and at play. If an accident occurs due to rules being broken or dismissed then, normally the adult has to pay a price.He bears responsibility for his actions, even if it was an accident. If an adult, especially an adult in a position of power or a position which may be construed as awe inspiring to a child, someone a child would look up to, then that adult has an even larger responsibility. That adult should not go off, hide in a corner, around the side of the house. That adult should not put off reporting the incident. That adult, as a responsible member of society owes it to everyone, especially the children who look up to him to report the incident in a timely manner. If that adult bears responsibility for the accident then he should say so. He should come right out and say, "I messed up! I did not follow the safety rules. I am sorry." An adult in such a position then has a great opportunity. Not only can he learn a lesson from his mistake but he can teach some very valuable lessons to our nations youth. He can teach, by example, not only lessons in safety, but lessons in personal responsibility. Being accountable to ones own self. He can take this opportunity to gain respect, even gratitude from parents nationwide.
Or...he could go hide around the side of the house, try to embellish or "tweak" the story. He can teach a different lesson to our youth. He can teach them that the more powerful you become, the less responsible you have to be. He can teach them that a person in power is not bound by the rules.
Accidents happen. Lessons are learned.
Yesterday turned out to be a very strange day. Mid morning our power went crazy. Fortunately I was able to get the computer shut down and unplugged. Then we heard a big "POP!" Daniel was standing here, near the desk, trying to determine what it could've been when I noticed huge clouds of smoke billowing out from the TV! Oh! No! Daniel unplugged it and we figured it was toast. The light in the living room was gone, as was the light in the bathroom and, of course we had no power for the computer. The light in the kitchen was fading in and out. We unplugged the coffee maker to ensure it wouldn't get fried the same way the TV did.
I was ticked! Told Daniel that was the last straw! We were moving out! Went outside to calm down a bit, returned and started packing. While I was busy packing Daniel was scurrying around, desperately trying to fix the power problem. About 3 hours later he restored power to the living room. He then started in on the bathroom. Managed to rig up another light in there.
He went out to the shop and grabbed the old black and white TV. He brought that in and set it up. We found 3 stations on that. The kids were now experiencing culture shock. "I don't like that TV!" "It's too little!" Clifford will look tiny!" "It's not color!" "I want color!" Then there was the lack of a remote. No more sitting back, pushing a button to turn it on and pushing more buttons to change the channel. What a strange object! I found myself cringing as I listened to Daniel whizzing through the channels. "Stop that! You're going to strip it!" Oh my, I sounded just like my Father so many years ago! Not only that, but I now knew exactly how he felt when he uttered that phrase! LOL
Dad, I'm really really sorry! I now understand!
It was now obvious we were not going to move out. I would have to unpack everything I had packed. The kids were extremely disappointed. Daniel tried to explain to them that he was not willing to pay $50 a night just so they could watch big color TV. They were miffed!
Later, Daniel took the TV out to the shop. On a whim he decided to plug it in, just to see what might happen. It came on! No smoke! He brought it back in, unplugged the trusty B&W, plugged in the big color set the kids are so fond of and gave it a try. It worked! Actually, it seems to work better than before!
Time travel over. The kids are still disappointed we didn't get to go to a motel where they could get Disney channel and Animal Planet but, at least Clifford is big and red again :)
A couple days ago the power company paid us a visit. They'd been wanting to clear the easement for several years and, evidently it had occured to them that the former residents were no longer here so, perhaps, we might allow the needed work. Indeed! Less power problems! Go for it!
They wandered around, climbing under and over the brush, determining what needed to go away and they discussed, with Daniel and our neighbor what they might do with the resulting refuse. We could use a bit of fill in the general area so they brought their chipper and we benefitted from that :)
In the meantime, they removed a bit of the brush and placed some pretty(?) pink ribbons around some of the focus points, including a tree that, evidently the kittens are quite fond of.
Upon the placement of that particular pink ribbon all 4 kittens scrambled up the tree and huddled in it's branches. They did not leave their perch until those noisy people left!
The workers returned yesterday with reinforcements, bringing with them two trucks, a couple chain saws and one very noisy chipper. They were here most of the day. When they left a few trees were gone (but only one truly visible) and a lot of branches and brush.
I'm sure the kitty's were off, somewhere, high fiving each other over their victory. The brush and saplings surrounding their tree was gone but, surely due to their brave protest, the tree was still standing!
I gotta say, they are most certainly the cutest protesters I've ever seen!
Our evening schedule consists of us letting the kids know it's time to get their things picked up and change into their jammies, usually right around 7:30. After that they brush their teeth and head to bed.
Last night,as usual we reminded them. They immediately set to picking up but, before Nathan continued to change he informed us that he had a headache. Hmmm. Okay, he'd been reading for quite awhile, maybe his eyes were tired.
He went ahead and changed then we reminded him it was time to brush his teeth. His eyes got big, "But, I have a headache!" Okay. Not seeing the connection here. What does that have to do with brushing your teeth? He then went on to explain, He doesn't like the taste of the toothpaste. If he were to brush his teeth while he had a headache it might make him sick!
Uh huh! Nathan, go brush your teeth! Oddly, his headache somehow magically disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, shortly after he finished brushing and flossing.
Think on our next trip to town we'll see what they have along the line of good tasting, child friendly toothpaste. Perhaps then our son won't be bothered so with those occasional pesky evening headaches?
Daniel's been entertaining the kids with his antics today.
I heard them squeeling and giggling earlier. Thought it might be a good idea to go see what was going on.
I was right. There was my 55 yr. old husband, half way (well, maybe more like 1/3 of the way, but, it's a big tree!) up the fir tree cutting branches. Seems he had decided we needed a better view of the tree covered hills in the distance.
"Daniel, come down now."
"Just one more?"
"Daniel, that's enough. Come down now."
Geez! He's worse than the kids! He says it was "only 5 feet up in the air." Let's see now. I'm 5'3 and I was looking up at him. Does that sound like he was "only five feet up in the air"? *sigh* Men!
I guess, I do have to admit, it is a nice view....
A couple days ago Nathan and I had the fortune to witness romance in the wild. Nathan was happily and purposely scouting the yard, net in hand, poised for action should a flying bug cross his vision. All of a sudden he shouted out in excitement. "Two Dragonfies!" Oh boy. A bonus awaiting his capture!
I responded by raising my voice, so as to be heard over the rushing sound certain to be invading his brainwaves. "Nathan! No! Wait!" I was only mildly surprised when he obeyed my command and stopped, gazing at me with a confused expression. He didn't have to say anything. I could see it written all over his face, plain as day..."But, Mom! Why?"
I smiled and pointed in the direction I'd seen the dragonflies take, "Lets go look!"We both rushed over and saw a marvelous sight! There, on the ground before us were not two, but three dragonflies, seemingly in a wrestling match. It seemed rather unfair as there were two on top with one struggling underneath. As we watched, and listened to the wrestling, the buzzing, one of the top two suddenly just gave up, flying off in one direction. The remaining two hesitated but a second before flying off in another direction, fastened securely together, one directly above the other.
Nathan thought all this quite interesting, although he wasn't sure the interesting aspect overrode the bonus capture he had just missed. Once I explained they were making more dragonflies, he rethought that. Oh good! More dragonflies to capture!
I was thinking more along the lines of more dragonflies to grace our presence as they worked to rid us of less desireable bugs but, I guess, maybe my mind works a bit differently than that of an eight year old boy.
Perhaps a better title would be how not to can! lol Another weekend adventure at our house...
I decided since, after 3 years of trying I finally managed to grow zucchini, that it would be a good time to make an old favorite of mine, zucchini relish!
Daniel and the kids went out and picked the zucchini,. I washed said zucchini and the kids watched as I cut it into smaller portions and fed them into the processor.That was oodles of fun! It was amazing seeing how quickly I could feed the chunks through the chute and, almost instantly they would emerge out the other end, neatly stacked shreds in the bowl. 1 very large zucchini yielded exactly 10 cups of shredded! The kids were rather disappointed once that was done and we had it and the onion salted and stored in the big bowl to rest til the next day. They wanted me to play with the processor some more!
The next day we got everything ready and started measuring and chopping the remaining ingredients. Again, the kids were disappointed that I wasn't going to use the processor. It seemed rather pointless for chopping two bell peppers.
Got everything cooked up and it was time to remove the jars from the hot water and fill them. That proved to be a bit tricky. Hmmm. Maybe I should've invested in a pair of tongs? Oh well. Somehow I managed. One jar at a time, removed from hot water, nestled in a hot pad and filled via a ladle. Hot relish spilling on my hand. Not a pleasant experience! Maybe a funnel would've been a handy thing to have? Rims wiped clean, lids and rims affixed. On to the next jar and the next. More burned fingers. Laughter from my children, Daniel shaking his head in disbelief...
Somehow managed to get all the filled jars back in the canner and processed for the required 10 minutes. Now what? How do I get them out of there? Daniel to the rescue! Good thing his hands handle heat better than mine do! Think I'll add a jar lifter to the list. :o)A few minutes later and we listened as the lids all popped one by one. What a satisfying sound!
Maybe next weekend will be less eventful. But then, what would be the fun in that?
Oddly enough my previous posting originally began as a recounting of our weekend family project. I have no idea how it morphed into its current form but there you are! LOL Following is what I originally intended to post on Monday...
We made peanut butter bon bons this weekend! What a fun time it was!
I did most of the measuring and the kids took turns dumping all the ingredients in the bowl. After that the three of us attempted to mix it all up. First Nathan gave it a try. He cut the margarine in and started folding, scooping from underneath, up to the top, squishing it down. His arm wore out real fast. Lindsay gave it a try. Her arm wore out even faster! I decided to give it a try. I may have lasted as long as Nathan did.
Obviously this was not going to work! I decided maybe it was time to try out my new food processor so headed over to get it together. I finished with that, turned around and saw Daniel standing over the bowl with the wooden spoon sporting a rather self satisfied grin. He'd done a wonderful job of mixing it all up!Great! Now it was a family project!
The kids dumped the cereal in and I mixed that up before we all proceeded to turn it all into a multitude of 1" balls. Once that was finished I melted the chocolate and set the kids up with toothpicks to do the dipping. It only took a couple minutes of watching them attempt to coat the balls and pull them out, only to have them slip off the toothpick and fall apart during attempts to respear them to realize that wasn't going to work out so I took over the dipping, placing the chocolate coated confections on parchment paper.
This is when Nathan had a brilliant idea! He thought it might be fun to decorate the candies with sprinkles! So, he and Lindsay took turns giving each freshly dipped candy a liberal dose of colorful sprinkles. They looked great! Just like downtown! They taste really good too! Kinda like krispy "Reese's" peanut butter cups!
The recipe we used was a combined version of 3 different recipe's I found:
Peanut Butter Bon Bons
18 oz. peanut butter
1/2 cup softened butter (we used nucoa margarine due to dairy issues)
4 cups powdered sugar
3 cups rice krispies cereal
12 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. shortening
Blend first three ingredients well then mix in the cereal. Form into 1" balls. Melt the chocolate chips (we used semi sweet) and the shortening on low in the microwave. Stir to smooth. Using toothpicks Dip the balls in the chocolate mixture, coating completely. Allow excess to drip off, and place coated balls on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired.
Once the chocolate had set a bit we carefully stacked them between sheets of wax paper and placed in the refrigerator to finish setting. We're keeping them stored in the fridge due to the margarine content and to keep them out of sight (and somewhat out of mind).
Warning! This is a great family project but, if you're anything like us you can count on a gooey chocolatey mess! Chocolate chocolate everywhere! And somehow I seemed to be the messiest of all...
The weather is starting to change. Autumn is making her presence known. The sun still warms us during the day but it's not quite so intense as a month ago and it's ray's are appreciated now, more than before.
The daylight hours are waning. As I step outside in the morning, to breath in the cool crisp air I'm not greeted by the sights and sounds I've become accustomed to since Spring made her debut.
The leaves on the apple tree are beginning to transform into beautiful mini palette's of color and, one by one are fluttering to the ground.The bird calls I hear are different than they were a few weeks ago, and not so numerous. The hummingbirds no longer visit, moving on to their winter homes. The bright yellow Western Tanengier no longer sings his song and the Robin , like her cousin's, has moved on to warmer zones.
The squirrel's, so vocal just a month ago, aren't chattering as they scurry about so often. They're too busy gathering fodder. The wildflower's with their brilliant hues have nodded their heads and faded. The clover, sweet smelling, red and white has dried into shades of brown and with it, the deer, magnificent in their strength and beauty have ceased to grace our yard with their presence.
Things are quieter now. When I hear rustling in the bushes, I no longer wonder what wild creature it may be. There's an added crispness to the rustling leaves as a cat darts out from under it's cover.
The spiders have been busy spinning their webs. Beautiful to behold and awesome to consider how this seemingly lowly creature could construct such a complicated work of art. I've let them know their artwork is appreciated so long as the keep them out of the house and well removed from the doorways and my most oft used pathways. They don't always heed my warnings but, for the most part we manage to coexist.
The dragonfly's are becoming more prevalent. Their beauty and their skill most appreciated. What amazing creatures they are! I wonder at their longevity, the history they've witnessed, the changes they have ushered in.
Summer is gone. The frost will soon be upon us. Time to bring the garden's bounty in and busy ourselves in the kitchen, the new season's hub of family activity.
I went to the Dentist last week. It's taking a while for my mouth to recover but the actual procedure was amazingly pain free. The only stress was from my preconcieved notions.
It was thanks to my 6 yr. old daughter that I finally got up the nerve to schedule a long overdue appointment for myself. She's had several visits to the dentist these last few months. Yesterday was her last appointment with the exception of her regular 6 month appointments in the future.
She is so very fond of her dentist and, it seems the feeling is mutual.
I'm sure everyone, in one way or another. is well aware of the planning a young woman does, picking out just the right outfit, making sure the makeup is applied just so, choosing the right hairdo, changing her mind on at least one aspect of her chosen appearance at least once for a special date.....
Starting early Saturday, Lindsay informed me that she was going to wear a dress to the dentist. By Sunday morning she had decided what dress she was going to wear. By Sunday evening she had changed her mind, deciding on another dress. Monday, she couldn't decided which dress. Tuesday morning she finally decided, although it really was a tough choice. She then went through her drawer and chose just the right pair of panties! Then the socks. Of course they had to be pink socks, but was it to be the light pink or the dark pink socks? After much thought she decided it was to be the light pink socks, because they went the best with her dress. Okay. Got her all dressed, she chose a bracelet to complete her perfect look.
2 hours early and she was anxiously watching the clock. About a half hour later we discovered a problem. She had lost one of her buttons! Oh dear. We searched high and low to no avail. Finally convinced her the dentist would like the other dress just as much. Fortunately, it contained the same hue of pink so we didn't have to change her socks or her bracelet! Got her all changed and she decided she needed her hair to be fixed a special way. Okay. Got her hair all fixed just right. She was beautiful!
It was now noon. We really didn't need to leave til between 1:05 and 1:10. Lindsay was watching the clock again, "Only 1 hour!" Of course we all needed to rush to get ready. We could not, under any circumstances be late for this most important appointment! We were going to her favorite place to see her favorite person! We must not be late! Okay, okay. I'll go get changed. She was rushing everyone! We ended up leaving at 1:00 and got to the dentist's office a full 10 minutes early.
Lindsay had spent the weekend working on a special picture for her dentist. It was a picture of him (with very prominent hands!) and her (with big blue eyes) having a picnic on a sunny day. During our 10 minute wait (our dentist is very prompt) she showed her picture to everyone, the receptionist, the assistants, other patients in the waiting room...Everyone assured her it was a very nice picture. Finally! The moment had arrived! The assistant came out and called her name! Clutching her picture tightly and smiling brightly she followed the assistant to the room. A couple minutes later her beloved dentist arrived. She proudly presented her picture to him. He was most impressed and pleased!
Throughout her visit, with her mouth wide open as she was getting her fillings, she managed to have us all giggling along with her, as usual, and her dentist shaking his head in amazement, telling her what a "trooper" she is and what a great kid she is and telling me how lucky I was to have such a great kid and mentioning she must have gotten her bravery from her Dad...Hey! I tried! LOL Yeah, no doubt about it, she doesn't get her bravery from me! At one point she gazed up at him and said, "I like you!" The smile on his face was priceless! He thanked her, told her how much that meant to him and told her he liked her too!
Once he was finished with her I could tell he was most anxious to have a little chat with her. He told her how she was his most favorite patient of all and, he told her, since this would be their last visit for awhile he had something special for her. He also had a little something for her Brother so he wouldn't feel left out.
He had, during their prior visit's, inquired as to her favorite thing. Of course that was "Clifford, the Big Red Dog". He had gone out in search of Clifford items. He had filled a gift bag (pink) with 2 Clifford coloring books and a Clifford book. He wasn't able to find any more Clifford items so he rounded out the gift bag with a very cool paddle ball, pink (her favorite color) with disney princesses on it, a water "puzzle" thing (way fun!) , twistables crayons and a beautiful glittery wand (with pink, of course!) complete with a really long streamer. Nathan was given a smaller, green bag with a couple rubber dinosaurs and a water maze of his own. Both children were thrilled!
As I was buckling her into her car seat she looked at me and said, "My dentist must really like me!" ...Yeah, I kinda think he does She is currently planning her Thank You note, complete with picture of course!He did tell me that every year he tries to choose a child that has been a great patient and gift them. He said there was no doubt about it that Lindsay was that patient for this year.
My next appointment is the 6th. I am nervous but not nearly so much as I was prior to my last appointment. Lindsay is very happy for me because I get to visit with her dentist :) I am happy for her, and most grateful to her dentist that she will grow up with good memories and no fear of dentists.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Back in June, as some of you may be aware we had a tsunami warning along the West Coast. We were listening to the scanner when it was first reported. It was interesting to watch and hear everything unfold.
Approximately 10 minutes after we heard it over the scanner, being announced to the authorities they got around to mentioning it on the local TV station. This was shortly after 8. The tsunami was expected to hit a certain area at 8:44. Around 8:30 we hear, on the scanner that the community up the road a piece had thought to contact FEMA for the low down. They were reporting back that the warning had been cancelled and we only needed to expect a small rise in the water level.
Somehow, word never got around to everyone else though...At 8:47 they announced, on the local TV station, that the tsunami would be hitting this area at 8:44.(Read that sentence again ..no, I did not mix the two times up)
About 8:55 we listened on the scanner as they evacuated a campground (this would've been 10 minutes after it had supposedly hit) We listened as they advised people to head for higher ground. No other instructions were given (re evacuation routes, etc) Remember, this is a tourist area, and this was during tourist season. We do have visitors who don't have a clue, including those campers. According to 911 the majority of calls they were recieving were from folks wondering if they were in an at risk area, where should they go and what should they do? This was from folks who live here! You can only imagine the confusion tourists, unfamiliar with the area were experiencing!
Then we listened as the normally very calm in all situations dispatcher began to get nervous (remember, she still doesn't know the whole thing has been called off). Their landline was now effectively disabled, overrun by phone calls. Police, both on and off duty were asking what they could do to help.
A bit of a problem, the main way in and out of town, the evacuation route, the Bridge, was BLOCKED! All the people who had been told to evacuate, in addition to the curious had flocked to the bridge which was now a mere parking lot. Folks in the area had decided the bridge, the evacuation route, would be the perfect place to park bumper to bumper and, with their wide eyed children in tow, take a gander as the expected tsunami came in.(and yes, there are signs, clearly marking the evacuation route) Others actually gathered up their children and headed for the waterfront to watch! A neighbor down the road a piece from us was in town, on the other side of the bridge, attending a ball game. She had this to say, "Wouldn't have been able to get home to our higher ground due to that jam up on the bridge. What a bunch of nuts, if there was a tsunami, the bridge would be one of the first things to go"
Must've been about 9:15 they finally announced on TV that the tsunami warning was over, details at 11. Shortly after 11 they announced on the news that the bouy had detected a 1 inch wave.
This scene was repeated in some variation or another all up and down the West Coast. Listening to all of it here we didn't know whether to laugh or cry!
I'm thinking, in case it would actually happen I am glad we have a scanner so we get the warning at least 10 minutes earlier than everyone else, our home is higher than sea level and we live on the other side of the bridge with instant access to a road leading to even higher ground.
Am also thinking a bit more training and community education may be in order, not to mention, as in the gulf coast, a little coordination between agencies?
And now for the entry originally intended for yesterday. I realize the chances are more than slim that anyone from Canada will see this but, I thought some of you might like to know. .
Thank You Canada! The people of Canada have been more than generous this last week. They have been collecting funds practically since the moment Katrina hit. The Canadian Government has also stepped up to the plate. They have generously offered, and our Government, our President has accepted their pledge of assistance.
Canada is sending their highly trained troops to assist in the rescue efforts on the Gulf Coast. They are sending ships and helicopters. They have offered medical assistance,water, lumber, tents,baby supplies and more. In addition Canada has offered a portion of their National disaster preparedness supply. They are going above and beyond what we could ever expect.
Thank You Canada! Once again, you are showing us that you are, indeed, the best neighbor any Country could ever hope to have.
There was a time, not so long ago that I enjoyed a good debate. I have since learned a few things. The biggest thing I learned was it is difficult to find someone capable of debating a subject without resorting to personal attack which, of course results in the natural human response, defense. Before we know it the "debate" has deteriorated to the point that it resembles little more than a verbal wrestling match, oftentimes to the point that the original topic is completely disregarded if not forgotten! In a way it is understandable, after all, unless you are in a classroom, with a subject and a side being assigned to you, chances are, all involved in the debate are feeling emotional about the subject at hand.
Since I cannot see the wisdom in participating in something that seems destined to become "ugly" while accomplishing nothing, these days, I tend to bite my tongue. Yes, a retort is usually right there, just begging to be loosed but, if I stop, bite my tongue, count to 10 (or, if necessary 20), and ask myself if anything will change, if anyone's mind will be transformed by my words, I usually determine that nothing will be gained by opening my mouth and allowing my (oh so clever ;) )retort to have it's way. I do my best to not add to a controversy which seems to be doing a fine job of brewing and stewing all on it's own with no help from me whatsoever.
There are, in life, circumstances, and events which, whether we realize it or not, personally affects each and every one of us. Some are wonderfully exhilerating! Others are tragic, and then there are those which seem to serve as nothing more than to be controversial.
Katrina and her aftermath, without question falls into the tragic category. Some, perhaps as a coping mechanism, seem to be attempting to place it in the controversial category, placing the blame for the aftermath on their favorite Political scapegoat. Democrats (and some Republicans) are blaming the President, Republicans are blaming the Democrats closest to the situation. Truth be told there's plenty of blame to be passed around, starting at the top, with the resident fellow in the White House, down to Fema and Homeland Security, on down the line to the local government and, in what I expect are rare cases, the residents themselves who chose not to leave, as opposed to those who really had no choice in the matter, due to finances, physical limitations and their employment as emergency personnel.
I expect a lot of blame lies quite simply with lack of coordination and cooperation between agencies from the bottom to the top and everywhere in between. I seem to recall a verse that might apply here, something about a kingdom divided...
Yes, it would seem there were some mistakes made at the local level. One question I find myself asking is why were the flood waters rising around buses? Why were the buses there? Shouldn't they have been filled with potential victims and sped out of harms way? I am also aware there were instances in which the local government wanted to act but couldn't, their hands were tied by their higher ups, the federal government. It is important to learn who all was to blame, for what and why. We need to know so lessons can be learned and mistakes won't be repeated..
We also need to have an understanding of where we stand should a catastrophy hit our area, whether it be from Nature's wrath, man's mistakes, a terrorist attack or what ever else you may dream up. If the situation in the Gulf coast is any indication it would seem the answer is, we're on our own.
While my family does what we can to assist the victims of Katrina. we are also considering what additional steps we should take to help ensure our survival should we one day become victims of Nature's fury. As was the case along the Gulf Coast there will be neighbors helping neighbors in any way possible. Naturally, those who are the most prepared will be able to reach a little further, help a little more. I hope everyone who witnessed this tragedy will be doing the same.
As I was watching the news tonight I saw children speaking of their plight. One little boy, maybe 10 years of age, his words sounded like those of an old man, an old man seasoned by a lifetime of experience.
I know of a nurse, and have been getting updates from her since before the storm hit. She had to stay. She was the head trauma nurse at Charity hospital. They finally got cereal, pineapple and milk for themselves and their patients today. They were supposed to be evacuated yesterday but crowds and snipers prevented their rescue. Interestingly, the private hospital right across the street was evacuated in plenty of time...
People are dying, in need of medical assistance, food, water and shelter from the gangs.Women and children, are being raped, not only on the streets but within the shelters.
Our President visited the area today. He told them to hang in there. Things would get better. Help is on the way. Just a bit more time...
An elderly woman sits on I-10 in the heat and humidity. She has no food to eat. She has no water to drink. Her husband lies, dead, at her feet. He ran out of time.
Somehow we can manage to get troops to Iraq in 24 hours time. As of tomorrow morning, when this is most likely to be read, it will have been 5 days for those victims in the path of Katrina and they are just now starting to get few measly trickles of assistance.
Nathan wasn't feeling well the week of his Birthday so we put his Birthday celebration off 'til this last week.
It took several phone calls and a few email messages but the Coast Guard, Air Division, after discussing it at a meeting agreed to give us a tour for Nathan's Birthday. It was great! The young woman who showed us a round, LT Cox, did a great job. She showed us her emergency suit which they wear when they go out above the water and explained how they work to protect them if they should have to bail out. She also showed us her helmet, which she let Nathan try on. He said it was heavy.
Afterwards she took us out to see "the Flying Pumpkin", the rescue helicopter. Both Nathan and Lindsay got to sit in the pilots seat where she explained what all the buttons and levers did.Daniel even got to sit in the pilots seat! I think he enjoyed it as much as the kids did. We then went back inside through the hangar where we were able to see another copter (identical) which was being worked on. It was quite interesting seeing the same machine "undressed".
As we were leaving, two fellows from the ORCA division were in the lobby and said we were welcome to come by there for a tour anytime. Great! Big Boat! Sounds like a future Birthday event to me!
I usually make the cakes but wanted to do a helicopter theme cake for his Birthday this time and couldn't think of a way to pull it off so we let Albertson's take care of the cake this year. They did a fine job with it. It was a photo cake with a photo of a helicopter on a blue background. Nathan was quite pleased with it.
Among Nathan's gifts was some Ninja Turtle clothing. Since the vast majority of the kids television viewing is limited to OPB he's never seen the Ninja Turtles. He looked at them a minute, smiled and, holding up the colorful top turned to Lindsay and said, "Angry Turtles! " He really llikes the angry turtles. Perhaps, in some way they remind him of "RedWall"?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHAN!
8 years old today! Since I don't have any current pics in my system right now I will post his very first story, written a few weeks ago in honor of his day.
Brass was a beetle who had black wings and was two stories high.
One day he was looking for roses to eat. He was looking deep into the forest.
Suddenly, he came upon an old old city. There was moss covering every building and there were no people.
Suddenly, Brass found what he was looking for, sweet smelling red roses. Then he found a deep twisty hole under the rose bush. So he ate a rose.
Then a ghost came out of the hole! Then Brass spit the petals out! Then he ran into one of the buildings! So the ghost raced after him! Then the ghost was right beside him. The ghost said, "Boo!" Then Brass smashed into a wall and it broke to bits. Then brass said, "Ouch!" So the ghost said, "Boo!"
Brass turned around, went through the doorway, ran through the forest and all the way home. He never ever went back again. He lived happily ever after. The end.
The kids and I worked in the garden for a good hour this morning. After last years fiasco I'm just thrilled with how it's doing this year!
Ever known anyone who actually had problems growing zucchini? Finally, after 3 years of disappointment it looks like we may actually have some happy healthy zucchini plants. Of course, if it actually makes it and produces the mass amounts everyone else complains about getting we'll be forced to acquire a food processor so I can make relish.
The kids got to pull their first carrots of the year today. They're excited about consuming them with dinner tonight. I'm looking forward to when the remaining carrots get even bigger so I can start grating them for use in other dishes. Just love meatloaf with plenty of carrot grated into it!
Ever had green beans straight from the garden? I have to wonder what they do to those we get from the store. The only resemblence is the shape! Those from the garden are so good! So sweet! Almost like eating dessert!
We yanked the peas that had finished producing the other day and planted green beans in their place. I'm so anxious to see them pop up so I can start anticipating the sweet addition to our dinner table once again.
I never liked the heat of Summer but the delights we harvest from the garden, with some assistance from the summer sun makes dealing with the heat almost bearable!
New Orleans is sinking. She's a city built on property that has been sinking, probably since before she came into existence. I wonder if this "event" may have hastened the rate of the sinking.
I'm also wondering if it could be a possibility that New Orleans could become a memory? I can't imagine any of the homes or businesses left standing would be repairable, not with that "soup" swirling around them, seeping through the walls, rising higher...I realize there's a lot of history there and people are resilient and determined to rebuild their lives, reclaim what was lost to them, but at what point do you decide the rebuilding should be done elsewhere?
It seems New Orleans is a perfect example of what happens when we go too far in our efforts to manipulate nature. Question is, will "they" consider this a very hard lesson learned and move on to a more naturally habitable area?
It just breaks my heart seeing the images, hearing the stories of loss and heartache, the Family who lost a wife and Mama, the little girl watching the news reports of her home's destruction, the dead being passed by, shoved off to the side in hopes that at least some of them might be recovered at a later date. Knowing the news isn't going to get better. It is beyond my comprehension. This is happening in the US? It just doesn't seem possible. Yet, it is. All because we figured we could outsmart the greatest force on earth, Mother Nature, and as always seems to happen, she bit back.
Will we ever learn?
I always liked those commercials. As a child it reminded me of another favorite, Tony the Tiger. That was back when the commercials were almost as much fun as the shows they were supporting! It was also when the idea of packing everyone up and going for a Sunday drive seemed a good and affordable Family outing. When a weekend trip to the beach meant spending more for a nice room than for the gas to get there.Now I'll admit it's been awhile. If you remember this tiger you know it dates me. This was prior to the gas prices inching up until the service stations were forced to scramble to add a digit to their meters. Remember when they were called Service Stations? When you actually received service beyond someone sticking a nozzle in your vehicle, taking your money and, perhaps, muttering a Thank You as they walked away? But I digress...Recently, I stopped by a BB I used to frequent on a daily basis. I enjoy going back there occasionally to see what's up with my old friends. A gal had posted how she looks for the silver lining, gets creative and finds ways to benefit from the setbacks life throws her. So far so good. I can relate to that. She then went on to say she sees a huge benefit to the current fuel situation. Everyone is trading their SUVs in for more fuel efficient models. She proudly announces she's going to make the most of the situation by "trading up", taking advantage of the great deals to be found. She wants to know if anyone else is getting creative and taking advantage of this great opportunity. I usually try to be creative and make the best of things, but I also take great pleasure out of being frugal so, no, you won't see me taking advantage of the "deals" on the gas guzzlers. I'm still having a hard time figuring out when and why we got away from the fuel efficient vehicles after the last "crisis", back when the consumer's price per gallon went in to the triple digits. I can remember going to visit a friend who proudly showed off his vehicle that got better than 40 MPG. I wasn't the only one that coveted that vehicle..Now, I do realize there are situations where a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle may not be an option for some, those with large families who , no matter how they shoved and squeezed could never manage to get all those car seats and booster seats into a "beetle". Then there are those who really do need some cargo space for long trips, for toting large instruments or tools of the trade. Not all of us fall into that category though. If I were to hazard a guess it would be that the majority of those who own, or are contemplating purchasing one of these vehicles do not have any of these requirements to fulfill. With virtually every aspect of retail consumption being impacted by fuel prices I have to wonder how it is affecting our Dentist, Our Optometrist, Our Dr. I find myself hoping they are not inclined to take advantage of the great gas guzzler deals and perhaps passing the cost of the fuel on to their customers.I am daring to hope that the current fuel situation will make more people, especially those in a position to do something about it, seriously consider alternate energy sources. I would love to see a tax break for folks who took the economically and ecologically responsible action of setting themselves up with the viable alternate solutions for their area. I have to wonder, whatever happened to frugality? When did "Moderation in all things" fall by the wayside? Will these virtues make a comeback? Could this be "the silver lining" that emerges from this situation?