Friday, December 31, 2010
4 lbs red grapes, frozen
4.5 lbs bing cherries,pitted & frozen
2 lbs Rainier cherries, frozen pits and all
1 gallon raspberry jam (canned by Hubbie)
48 oz Strawberry Orange jam
48 oz Strawberry Orange syrup
3 Purple Cherokee tomatoes
5 oz cherry tomatoes
5.25 lbs German Butterball potatoes
5.5 lbs 'Russian Banana' fingerling potatoes
2 lbs 'Candy' onions
3 lbs sugar snap peas
4 oz rhubarb
1 gallon bag of salad greens
Razzies: 5 lbs (that have entered the door to be counted)
1 lb blueberries
Shazam...try to beat that 2011! Please do...especially if i plant 11 tomato plants again!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
You're the fairest of them all!
We found this today in a consignment shop in the mall. It's the first vintage mirror I've seen that had frame and silver both in good shape.
The owner was willing to make a deal.
I can't wait to see what it looks like in our dining room!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
We're putting the new oven through Christmas Boot Camp.
2 pans of manicotti, 3 different cookies, an apple cake, quick bread, crackers, and chocolate coated candy canes.
Whew! Thank goodness it all doesn't stay here!
Pictures to come.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Here are some highlights of our tour:
Outdoor lighted walkways at the Seattle Center
The Macy's Star (formerly the Bon Marche' Star) at 5th and Pine
Thursday, December 16, 2010
What a weekend! I think we are all still recouping; Moose most of all at our place. I can't imagine what it must be like for the families in the area dealing with major flooding...especially this time of year.
Stories of people canoeing through Snoqualmie, tweets from Wsdot about the Tolt River flowing at 6500 cfs just a few hours after the rain started (flood stage on the Tolt is a mere 2500 cfs., Moose discovering that the info presented to him on the estimated amount of flow in the Green River was way too conservative. Thankfully the Green River Valley and the Howard Hanson dam survived this latest lashing from Mother Nature.
Of course, because our culture is so business-centric, you don't hear many estimates on the number of people who live or work in harm's way in the valley. But you hear numerous times that the nation's second largest industrial area this side of the Mississippi exists just in Kent's portion of the valley. That alone is scary, especially in a recession period. Who insures the businesses that stay in a flood plain? What does that do to the price of goods coming out of this area?
All that seems trivial though, when I see pictures like this from my friend who lives on the Green:
those lite green things at the bottom of the picture? her deck rail. Above that, those black things behind the bushes? Sandbags. Her backyard is actually about 5 to 6 feet lower than the levee that those sandbags sit on. And her house isn't on stilts. Thank goodness her main living area is on the 2nd floor of her home, but truthfully, who is going to stay in their residence when their backyard (and downstairs) could be filled with 5 ft. of water??
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
One more bunting to go i think today (for Moose's office...sneaky sneaky! That's what a good wife has to do when her hubbie doesn't want to display his Star Wars Christmas gear she collected for his office), then it will be time for dinner. :)
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
At her birthday party, my 5 year old niece shared her desire to have a proper purse. Of course, the only special request regarding it was that it had to be pink. Pink's all the rage with the 5 yr old set you know.
So, I got to figurin' that I could make one just as easy and with a little sass too.
Here it is. Not good enough for Made in China, but pretty darn good for a beginning seamstress like myself.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It's the only way to get everything done by Thanksgiving. :)
Actually, in the spirit of this homeschooling stuff, we decided that Cookie Monster would learn to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.
She picked out a sugar pumpkin at the store with Grandma and we roasted it today. It yielded 1.5 cups of pumpkin, so we had to do a little mathematical figurin' to get the purse the cream ratio just right. Then she measured all the ingredients and beat the filling. I had a pie crust ready in the freezer, but she's made that before and if we get all our school done early tomorrow we're going to try our hand at making homemade puff pastry, which is sorta like pie crust.
Beautiful job, eh?
Next Turkey Day recipe she is going to tackle is dressing--two batches worth to feed all the in-laws!
Now, she's come up with an entirely new gig...
Monday, November 22, 2010
Because our roads are like \ or / with lots of U, S or C (read "lots of hilly, curvy roads" for people with more than half a cerebrum), snow is never a good thing when it falls in the Pacific Northwest.
When conditions exist that make the roads look like this:
there are some basic truths you should follow. See below my list of handy hints to help make yourself not look like even more of a moron than you already do, especially if you are taking your life and fellow drivers' lives in your own hands. Besides, if you end up dead, you'll never have another chance to prove that you aren't a complete jerk or totally daft!
1. Don't go out in your car if you've known you needed new tires since last Spring. (I actually heard someone admit this today while she was stuck blocking one of the lanes on the highway to our house.)
2. Don't drive your BMW with 16 inch rims (but 1 inch thick racing tires) ON ANY ROAD.
3. Don't operate a truck without 4 wheel drive, unless you have something heavy in the back. Also, if your truck is sliding all over the road because you neglected to put sandbags in the back or if you have bald tires, it's probably also wise not to try to "gun it" up the hill with a 65 degree turn in it at a high rate of speed when you are surrounded by at least 50+ cars.
4. Don't drive on the shoulder to avoid the traffic jam. (P.S. You will not get around because all of the semi-responsible people who have deduced correctly that they will not make it up the highway you are travelling have actually pulled their cars onto the shoulder and left them there till the snow melts. (That's why all the people are walking down the road...against traffic.) Your car, however, may get stuck sideways while you are trying to cut back into the lane of traffic that will be moving as soon as the semi up the lane gets his chains on.)
5. It doesn't matter how close you follow someone, it will not make them be able to go any faster, since they are in fact behind 50+ cars that aren't going anywhere either.
5.1. Along the lines of following too closely: when you see the vehicle ahead of you whipping back and forth across the road because they are losing control of their vehicle, that is not the time to ride their bummer.
6. If the road was a two lane road before the 2 inches of snow fell, chances are pretty good that it's still a two lane road....at most. If you want to be completely honest, in a total white out, with no exposed asphalt, probably best to make it a one lane chain, slogging it up the hill together and leave space for emergency crews to get through to help clear accidents.
7. It doesn't matter if you are late. Slow down!! Breathe. And btw, you might want to hang up your phone. Doctors, your boss, the school....all will understand when you arrive really late, because they will hear on the traffic reports that the highway is at a complete stop.
8. Also along those lines, forget the speed limit. The new speed limit is only what it takes to get your car safely up the hill. Think of 5 mph as the new 55mph.
9. Don't cut off the guy with the Minnesota license plates. Granted, he may not look like he knows what's what because he chose to wear shorts to a snowstorm, however....he has more experience at this than you do. Worship (and follow) him (just not too closely.)
10. When you are stuck next to someone going the opposite direction (whether walking or driving), roll down your window and talk with them. Ask 'em about what's going on ahead. Oh share a better route to get through. Shoot, even if they don't know or you don't know anything, you can at least find something in common and help pass the time.
I know that was our last trip out in our vehicle till Thanksgiving.
If it hadn't been for the bread for our dressing molding, we wouldn't have been able to put together this list. I am going to be most thankful this week that i still have my life. Now to try to get Moose home in one piece.
People back East had Snomegeddon last year; we're calling this snOMG here in the Pac NW. At 6:30pm it's 25 degrees and the wind is blowing snow at 20 mph. 2" accum.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The snow flurries that started around noon today have accumulated enough for Cookie Monster to head outside dressed like the little brother in A Christmas Story so she can throw snowballs off the deck.
Also, in other news, because it was so stinkin' cold this morning (for us webbed-footed Washingtonians anyway), we Wii'd it up a little. We all weighed in and i was delighted to find that i now weigh under 300 lbs!! Woot!! That's 7 pounds less of me in 2 months! 49 more to go and we can start trying for another little cookie...except maybe this one we'll have to name Snickerdoodle or Whoopie Pie. :)
Like i said, Christmas came early! Do you think it's too optimistic to think that one could possibly shed 15 more pounds before February 3rd?
Now it's off to make dinner. I have a feeling Cm will be eating her meatloaf sandwich outside. There's no dragging her away from the white stuff!!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I thought it might look so sweet to have ricrac exposed on the outer seams of the legs. So i sewed a length of it one of the right sides of the fabric.
Then i married the pant legs, right sides together, and sewed down the stitch i created when sewing the ricrac in place.
Upon turning the pants right side out, i discovered it was even better than i imagined: doesn't it look like a little zebra mane?? Ha ha! Success!
Another neat idea i found on the blogsphere is that many people sew a little ribbon in the back of pants, diaper covers, etc. to make the back easily identifiable.
The most important result being Cookie monster's approval. :)
Well, i am sure you have more important things to do this week than listen to my predictaments, but i hope you find the fleece pants insightful. I suppose i should get back to school and Turkey Day prep. Frankly, i think all we'll be doing for the next few hours is singing and dancing to our new favourite song from the Recess Monkey, "Los Icepacks Estan ardiendo". Super cute and funny song, aiding in our denial quotent! Hooray for the Monkey!! Heard in the movie announcer's voice: "In a world, where a young boy or girl falls off of a swing. There is....Icepack." Then the chorus chimes in: "Icepacks are cool, so get them while they're hot! Cha cha cha!"
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
First Question: What would you do if you wanted to list your home in the 2010 market, however the listing price is the same as the appraised value from 11 years ago??
a. unpack all your treasures again 'cause you're not going anywhere.
b. curse Bush 2.0 and those who came before him...all the way back to the president after FDR.
c. raise your child in an area where they could possibly film a whole season of Cops.
d. if it's this bad for a family that has a stable-ish job and a slightly sensible mortgage, pray HARD for those families whose jobs are on the chopping block and who are teetering on the brink of foreclosure.
doo doo doo dum, doo doo doo.....
Second question: True or False. Can you negotiate the price of a short sale home?
doo doo doo dum, doo doo doo.....
We're sorry you didn't win anything on today's episode of "Big Dose of Reality." But as a lovely parting gift, we'll leave you with more cardboard and packing tape than you could ever use in your lifetime. Plus, the extra bills this month to fix the kitchen floors and the second coat of paint for the deck.
The more the mess unravels, the more ashamed i feel about the country of my origin.
This is not what America has been about these last 234 years. Except for maybe a short time during the 70's and 80's where you couldn't sell a home if your life depended on it and you were stuck in line for gasoline.
Good day, fellow Americans, and good luck!
It's murder out there!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
How ya been? As you can see, blogging has moved a little further down on the priority list. The pay off? We are having our first week off of school--and we are all on track with the outline of work to be done at this point of school.
The reason why it couldn't be better timing?
This could be our new bathroom.
Friday, October 22, 2010
This is my best loaf yet! I can't believe the largess of it! It's like a begula!! After reading The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens, it became apparent that my bread making could use a lot of help. So i started incorporating a few ideas i gleaned from the book: like adding gluten flour to the bread for better structure (i sub out 1/3 of the "white flour" with gluten flour), looking for the perfect knead, forming the roll a certain way so that most of the loaf isn't one big bubble of crust attached to a densely packed bottom, and most importantly making it more like the commercial breads in texture (which just requires that you bake your bread in a steamy oven.)
The last two loaves i tried in this way have been amazing. Best, i've merely stored them in the oven, uncovered, and they've lasted at least 3 days!! However, you see, i can't attest that they might last more than 3 days, as we devoured this entire loaf this large in 3 days!! Shhhh! Don't tell my Weight Watcher leader. :)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I'm game, but i have to admit, i feel a little homely compared to some of what these amazing people do! I don't grind my grains or make fabulously healthy dinners every night of the week. But i thought i would contribute since even the littlest changes and successes count, right? I have become more scheduled this year, consequently overcoming my need to make extra trips to the grocery during the week or consisently feeling behind (in some areas anyway, i'm still a work in progress, don'tcha know?)
So, here it is "Livin' the Slow Life: a not so typical Wednesday" by me, Whit
Now yesterday's kinda Wednesday doesn't happen every week. We have religious ed class once a month during the school year. It makes our life a little crazy, as you will see, however it is totally worth it because Cookie Monster is getting a great education (so are we)...and to boot she gets to see her uncle, who is our priest, more often!! Good Guys Win! Woot!
0545 Moose's alarm wakes me up. I dispise getting up this early. Especially because most nights i'm wide awake from somewhere around 2 am to 4 am. So, as i watch hubbie have a rendezvous with the snooze button over the next half hour, i tuck the covers back around me and grab the phonebot to catch up on the news that happened overnight--you know, mainly just what some crazy Tea Party candidate says on the Really Late Late Shows or something.
0700 Cookie Monster wakes. This is usually the time we snuggle in bed and read, awaiting Moose's departure. This day, we finished our first American Girl mystery.
0730 Moose is currently in a heated battle with some hornets that decided to build there nest just under our bedroom window in the wood pile. He pours 3 gallons of hot tap water on them to try to evict them. This is the third day in his war against the hornets, and thankfully it's not as expensive as another current war going on in our world. :)
0745 Moose says good bye and head's off on his bike for his 3 mile commute to work. C.m. and i get up and get ready for the day.
0800 Made granola. A few months ago, i purchased large quantities of flour, oats, and the like) and spent a few hours over the course of a few days making homemade "pre-mixes" of things that we use frequently (cookie mixes, granola, granola bars, meatloaf mix, and such.) As you can imagine, this really cuts down your "baking" time.
0825 While the granola is baking, it's time to make bread. I am currently working my way through a bread book by the River Cottage owner and his instructions are wonderfully easy! And while my stand mixer does the work for me, i jump online to check out a couple blogs. Obsess some more over a really cool quilt i discovered on one of my favourite blogs. But how to make it bigger???
0900 We have breakfast: we have cereal and some of our homemade applesauce we made at the beginning of the week. We tend to read during this time too, making breakfast extremely longer than it actually needs to be.
0945 We clear the table and get down to business: Homeschool! And remember to take the granola out of the oven before it burns. :)
Since we are a homeschooling family, we need to make the most of our weekdays. So i discovered creating a weekly plan that considers our work load, our appointments, and our dinners really helps us out. I usually sneak out of the house at an ungodly hour on Saturday morning and because the local library isn't awake that early, i head to our local coffeehouse (my only trip to a coffeehouse for the week) for a couple hours, taking with me cookbooks, school books, and our trusty calendar to plan the week and make the grocery list. After a sufficient amount of caffeine, i head from there to do the weekly shopping. We've made significant changes in the way we shop: we visit the butcher once a month on our way to church and we order staples from a food co-op monthly. I can't believe how much those two things will add up in time savings at the brick and mortar grocer!
1000 Math lesson.
1050 Break. During our 15-20 minute breaks inbetween subjects is when i bake or clean. Now i can add the extra task of packing up the house to the list too. On this day though, the bread was overdue for shaping and it's second rise. Also swept floors.
1105 Writing and spelling. Clear the table.
1200 Stick bread in the oven and make lunch. We keep it simple for lunch most days. Today it's ham, cheese, and apple quesadillas.
1250 Clear the table (again) and prepare some grapes to freeze to sustain Cookie Monster's appetite for them through the winter.
1310 Retrieve bread from oven and start Art History: read about Toulouse-Lautrec and Matisse for 30 minutes. Also cover our memory work that involves trying to commit the Egyptian dynasties to memory.
1400-ish Read for 30 minutes more. Cookie Monster tackles this while i discuss the latest object of my obsession over the phone with my mom. After serious debate, we're satisfied we've solved my problem. Unfortunately, we were both quite chatty and ate up a huge amount of our day. Arrgh...times two.
1515 Grammar lesson. STAT!
1530 Take leftover grapes, lunch, and snacks out to the Ladies of Laying, take care of their water and food, and collect eggs. Look over the garden quickly to see if there are any treats for the girls. Since the ruthless killing of one of our hens by our neighbours off leash beast, we haven't been able to let our girls free-range as they should, so gathering treats each day is a MUST!!
1550 Return inside to help dress Cookie Monster for her dance lesson. Reminded again why i love these crazy Wednesday night because she doesn't need to wear tights to class. I *loathe* tights!
1555 Make 2 tuna sandwiches and one PB with homemade raspberry jam on homemade bread. Pack water and cookies.
1615 Head to dance in the Kent Valley. While dance class is on, i obsess some more over the quilt while i eat dinner and work a bit on my first pair of socks i am knitting for C.m.
1745 Meet Moose at the car, dispense dinner items and beat cheeks to Lakewood.
1834 Arrive 4 minutes late to religious ed class, however it is okay, because the Deacon George still has have of his announcements to go since he has to make them in English and Spanish.
2030 Drive back home. Play "Whoever Yawns the Most on the Way Home Wins" game with family.
2105 Arrive home. Indulge in a dalliance on the computer for 10 minutes while C.m. gets herself ready for bed.
2115 Head to bed myself, reading a Curious George story to C.m. and giving the feline a pat before hitting the pillow. Having a brief thought about Mad Men before my eyes couldn't stand it any longer. We went through Hell this entire season with Mr. Draper, and now, in just a few hours in California with his secretary, he's proposed marriage to her? Really?
Anyway, that's a day in the life around here. A little extreme i guess because truly it's only one day of the month that looks like that, but subtract out the trip to Lakewood and it all pretty much looks the same otherwise! :)
What's your day look like?
I must say, reading through some of these entries has given me a plethora of great ideas!
To see more ideas on how to make your life simpler, visit the Simple Lives Thursday link at the top of this post.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
As long as you have a crock pot, it will be completely easy for you too, to have wholesome, flavourful beans ready anytime and no further than your freezer! However, it does take some planning.
And since it is such a simple process, i am going to keep this post simple. No pictures. No fluff. Just facts.
Steps for cooking dried beans:
1. The Soak: Place 1 pound of beans in the crock, covered about an inch or two above top with water.
- Large, thick skinned beans (e.g. runner, lima, or fava) soak 12 hours
- Garbanzos or whole peas soak 10 hours
- Medium beans (black, kidney, pinto) soak 6 - 8 hours
- Small, thick skinned beans (azuki, mung) soak 8 hours
- Small, thin skinned beans soak 4 hours.
Take precautions during hot, humid weather, either changing the water once or twice during soak times or place crock in fridge overnight.
2. Pull The Plug: Drain and Rinse Beans
( More special precautions: if cooking red beans, boil for ten minutes in fresh water on the stove top for at least 10 minutes to dissipate toxins contained within the bean. It's something regarding a natural occuring chemical in the bean that makes a human sick. Even NASA has funded research on the subject.)
3. Repeat. Place soaked beans back in the crock, cover with fresh water and cook on low for 8 hours* (* or till bite tender.)
At this point is where i diverged from the beaten path. Add fresh or dried herbs. Add garlic or ginger. Add anything your little heart desires to make these beans palatable and sought after!
4. Salt. Add this at toward the end of the cooking time. Or not.
5. Drain and Chill!
After they are done, it's time to drain the cooking liquid and cool your beans. Once cooled, they can be packaged in containers and frozen for up to 6 MONTHS!! Yippee! I find packing them in a pint glass jar provides the closest quanity to a canned equivalent.
Should you come from a family that consumes beans in *large* quantities (bless your heart), then the pot of these in the fridge will last 2 weeks.
To see more ideas regarding making your life simpler, visit Simple Lives Thursday. Every Thursday.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
And what was pretty good about it (the best being that everything is running smoothly, by the grace of God, and the men are coming up reasonably healthy and reuniting with their families) is that it is a current events story i feel comfortable teaching my soon to be 8 year old about! Hooray!
Up until now, i've been pretty mum about the whole business. I remember the day in '86 when someone at our school had the great idea to have us all watch the Challenger lift off because it carried the first teacher in space. And there us 5th graders sat with a group of 2nd graders to watch the horrifying events of the morning, while our teachers and principal shuttled in and out of the room dealing with their own shock, and having to contain ours, while coming up with a game plan. So you can say i've been a little antsy to say anything about the Chilean miners...until today!
But that's just what we did....as soon as our feet hit the floor this morning!
We talked of the geography and methods of mining. We talked of the science of living underground--trapped a mile below for 17 days with little food or light. We covered math in conversions from days to months and metres to feet to miles. We touched on everything else from plate techonics to modern technology. We talked about life vs. time: miners celebrating birthdays, babies being born, men who had just started working a few months ago with a man who was going to retire in a few months. We discussed the strength these men have to possess to stay alive for 69 days underground. We discussed world relations of Chile and Bolivia having to put aside differences now because the miners include a Bolivian citizen; and how a number of US companies and NASA helped with donations of materials so that the Chilean government could design a plan that would be so successful! We delighted in their superstitious belief about the number 33: there were 33 of them, it took 33 days for the rescue shaft to be completed, and they were rescued on 10/13/10 (add them up, you get 33)--they marvel at the fact that their 33's match up to the number of years that Jesus was alive on this earth. We talked of the power of hope. Of faith. Of determination. And of courage.
And then, we went downstairs for an hour and watched 2 rescues. Cookie monster's hooked now. I can't get her to come back up and eat breakfast so we can start school. And once she heard the chanting "Chi chi chi, le le le. Los Mineros de Chile," she couldn't stop singing it.
We've found a great live feed website to share called Breakingnews.com. It is filtered to receive only the news on the miners, and MSNBC links video of important developments very quickly. They even have a video of the ride up the rescue shaft with the rescue of Edison Pena. The BBC has a great website that is updated as well with international feed. I find their feed for mobile devices is best...as in if you are in a place that you can't watch video feed but you will be able to read updates.
I know we'll be glued all day!!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Place potatoes (russet, Yukon, sweet, etc.) in the microwave, covered. Steam 3 to 5 minutes to remove the excess water from them. Pat dry, then hand toss to coat in 1 tbsp oil mixed with 1 tbsp organic, non gmo corn starch and 1 tsp salt. Meanwhile, in oven, have a large cookie sheet with 5 tbsp veggie oil heating until it smokes. Carefully place fries in the oil. Cook for .... then turn and cook for .....
Crispy fries. Is there anything better?
Friday, October 8, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
It also had to meet the all important criteria: no shopping any further than the pantry. :)
I had some 7 Bean & Grain soup mix, in which are pinto, black, kidney, and navy beans, split peas, lentils, barley, etc. There's a cabinet full of spices.
So it sounded like to me, soup was going to be the ticket. However, i didn't want any tomatoes added.
Here's what i came up with--more gruel than a soup, i'd say, but pretty yummy:
1/2 lb lean ground beef
half large onion
2 cubes garlic (this fabulous new invention i found--frozen packets of garlic by Dorot, frozen in perfectly beautiful cubes equivalent to a clove)
1-2 cups soup mix
8 cups water
2 tbsp organic beef boullion
2 tsp parsley
2 cubes of frozen basil (see garlic)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp rosemary
Precook the beef. Add beans, etc and simmer for a few hours.
Best the next day!
Monday, October 4, 2010
The first list i made regards the great artist covered in Art History curriculum. In the Well Trained Mind book they seem to be in random order to me. I wanted the list to tell me who arrived in what order, since i remembered studying these artists in an actual order as they tend to build off each other somehow. I also added a few i thought weren't worth missing.
I've arranged them in order of accepted year of birth. That way, when we are studying the Renaissance, we'll be able to pull all the artist from that time and review them.
Art History Reference: Who Came First, What's on Second, Picasso's on Third, and Warhol's in the outfield.
Da Vinci 1452
Francisco Goya 1746
Edgar Degas 1834
Mary Cassatt 1844
Van Gogh 1853
Edward Hopper 1882
Diego Rivera 1886
Marc Chagall 1887
Grant Wood 1891
Norman Rockwell 1894
(the salmon above and below are exhibits at the Oregon Zoo, in Portland.)