Saturday, April 29, 2006

tennis anyone?

V asked me to go to the tennis courts and play with her today. We put on our sneaks, grabbed a couple of rackets and a can of tennis balls and headed off.

It has been, literally, years since I've played. I discovered that I still have all the right moves. They're just not hitting the ball. It was pretty hilarious watching the two of us.

V came up with a totally new move, the "granny stroke". Remember when you were a kid and you bowled "granny style" with the ball between your legs? It's something like that except with a tennis racket and ball as a return serve.

But still and all we had fun, running around hitting the ball, enjoying the breezy, sunshine and each others company. Perhaps if we practice enough we might wind up with a set that lasts more than three volleys.

arboreal dinner

Tonight we had pizza for dinner. D wanted us to eat in the tree house. It was fun. We sat there in our folding chairs balancing our plates on our knees and enjoying the view and the location. It was a wonderful way to spend time together and enjoy our dinner.

Next I'm dreaming of this.


Perhaps for next year.

not spearmint

Remember the spearmint that I mentioned yesterday? Got it from a friend, planted it, watered it? It's not spearmint.

It's catnip!!!!! I discovered this by simply watching as my cat leapt onto the container that it was planted in, rolled all over the top of the pot, dug up the plant and proceeded to shred it to bits. She then staggered off.

So I still need spearmint and have just managed to conclusively prove that any catnip I try to plant in my garden will not last any longer than it takes for the cat to find it.

yeeee haw!

We own a yard tractor with a trailer on it. It came with the house. For some reason I have always been a little afraid of it and always let Steve drive it.

Don't ask me why but I've just decided that I need to stop being dependent on his being around when I need stuff hauled all over the yard and asked him to teach me how to use it. It was simpler than I thought and a whole lotta fun! He walked beside me on my first trip down the hill to make sure I had it all under control.

Later when he wasn't around I backed it up and drove it to the other side of the yard, all by myself. I actually like this little thing and am wondering what the heck took me so long to figure this out.

delicious twist

In my yoga class yesterday I forgot to mention this awesome pose that we did. The class, as always, was wonderful. Wendy is such an amazing teacher and I feel really fortunate to have found her.

We did a partnered version of Bharadvajasana. Basically you face your partner with your knees touching. Reach up your left hand, wrap your right hand around your back, then connect your left hand to your partners' right hand. Twist and gently pull. Then you repeat the pose on the other side. It opens the back so much, it was great!

Friday, April 28, 2006

garden notes

Another beautiful day. I got out into the yard again and began moving a few things from the area that I am planning on ripping out, transplanting them to areas where I want to keep them. Where I have too much I am calling friends and asking if they want plants. So for no one has said no.

In return I did take one small spearmint since mine does not look like it's coming back. I need to put it in a better container before next winter.

Steve finished the tree house. People this is the most amazing, totally awesome tree house, ever! The bridge is cool, it's on cables and slightly bouncy. The house itself is cedar shake roof with lattice sides and an open viewing area. Cool, cool, cool! I am so thrilled. And when we went to sit in it for the first time we noticed an adorable birds nest there. Steve carefully checked and there don't appear to be any eggs. The birds may not come back now that we're using it, we'll have to see what happens; but I can assure you now that it's built I plan to use it a lot, thank you honey.


I was talking with a friend today when he informed me that we have a rather unusual animal here in our tiny town...a feral goat! His name is Caspar. He belonged to a family in town, managed to escape his enclosure three years ago and is now happily living in the wild. How he managed to survive three years with the horrible winters we've had and the fact that there is a bobcat in the area is beyond me.

Apparently feral goats are a problem in Australia and New Zealand, now we have one of our very own.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

whirlwind evening

Tonight was a busy night, lots of activities going on.

It started with D's Girl Scout meeting. I am helping the girls earn a couple of badges so those meetings where we are doing work specific to those badges I need to be there. Today they were picking flowers which they then pressed. At the next meeting they'll use them to decorate haiku's that they wrote which will be turned into a Mother's Day gift. It should be a beautiful project. We also worked on other stuff but that was the fun part of the evening for them. Especially the fact that they got to run around outside and burn off some of that excess energy.

I had to leave early to run over to Stitch Sisters. It was busy there too. We had a birthday party for one of the members and a surprise birthday party for the another. The birthday girl was not surprised since we tend to do that. The baby shower girl was very surprised and touched. It was funny as we were passing the cards around surreptitiously in order to get them signed (without letting the recipients know) trying to make sure that each got the other's card and not their own. We had two cakes, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake, so each had her own cake to celebrate. The gifts for the baby shower were truly lovely, a mostly handmade collection of wonderful things to show how very much we appreciate, love and support the new mom-to-be. It was great.

Back to Girl Scouts to pick up Miss D, bringing a piece of cake from the shower, and then home to bed. Definitely a full evening.

garden time

It was a beautiful sunny balmy day today. I managed to get out in the garden for a little while. Not as long I would have liked because there were household chores calling my name but enough to enjoy the breeze and the birdsong.

While weeding the top bed I managed to get the whole "carrot" of a Queen Anne's Lace plant. Apparently it is edible, not sure I'm adventurous to try and I know the kids won't touch it. While I like having them in the bed around the mailbox I try to contain them to that area otherwise they would probably spread rampant through the rest of the front gardens.

The Weigelia bush by the front of the walkway has started to bloom. The blooms smell so pretty, it's really intoxicating to breathe deep.

I really need to finish cleaning out around the currant bushes. They are looking very full so hopefully it will be a good year for berries.

We have one lonely little asparagi at the moment. Since I planted 25 of the things last year I'm hoping the rest show up otherwise I'm going to be upset. I know we can't eat them this year but they need to at least grow.

I managed to get over to the raspberries on the other side of the house today. I must have missed some of the old canes last year so I trimmed them off. What is there looks like it's growing well. Some babies escaped the bed, I'll have to move them back into it when they are big enough to transplant. Some are growing in the thick of the two Rose of Sharon bushes I have in there. I'm going to have to leave them as I don't think I can get them out. I'll have to keep an eye on them though to make sure they don't overwhelm the Rose of Sharon.

My elderberries that I planted last year have little leaves on them so I guess they took. The thornless blackberries are starting to grow. I'm going to have to trim them a bit and seriously get to work on the trellis so I can train them.

In other notes the bedstraw is trying to make inroads on the garden. So far, of the front and side gardens I'm on top of it, probably not for long. The ground ivy is trying to set up a command post in the rock garden but I'm managing to stay on top of that too.

The local herb garden up the street opens on May 1st. I can't wait to go see what lovelies she has. I'm thinking of putting in tarragon this year to make some vinegar with. I think the thyme is not going to make it so I'll need another one. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to put in oregano or if I'll just get it from the farm. The cilantro will probably start to appear sooner or later, goodness only knows where in the garden it will show up. Not sure what other herbs I'll put in but I'm sure I'll find stuff when I visit her. My goal at this point it to not buy basil or dill, since I get lots of that from the farm (I dried a bunch and am still using it), but to put in things I will use. Oh, and a friend has offered me Korean Sesame which she grew last year with great success, I'm looking forward to trying it.

Looking forward to many more enjoyable days in the garden.

sights around town

Spring is here as evidence by the wild (and not so wild) life making appearances around town.

First on the list is the baby squirrels with their flippy little tails. You know, the critters who run back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth in the road trying to figure out which way to go while you are insanely whipping your steering wheel left-right-left-more left-right. They're out. In force.

Baby cows at the farm down the road. They're always very cute and fun to watch.

The first woodchucks of the season. Sitting up by the side of the road, munching away. They're looking a little slim at the moment but they'll fatten up as the season progresses.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


For breakfast this morning I decided to have toast with jam. Homemade bread toast and homemade red currant jelly (I have currant bushes in the fruit garden). It was delicious.

Unfortunately when I went downstairs to get the jam from the pantry I discovered *gasp* that this was the last jar. Last summer was the first year that I had enough berries to make jam, six precious jars. I thought it would be too sophisticated for my kids and Steve and I would be able to enjoy every last drop ourselves*. No such luck. They loved it. Here we are three whole months before I can make more and we are eating the last of it.

I was tempted, I admit, to hide the jar in the back of the fridge somewhere amidst the other jars in the hope that it would pass unnoticed. But I decided that wasn't exactly fair. Perhaps if I turn it around so they can't read the label? Nope, I decided that I'm glad they love it so much and put the jar up front where it can be enjoyed.

I did run out to the garden and look at the currant bushes to see how they were doing. They seem very happy, perhaps a little larger than last year; I spoke nice encouraging words to them which will hopefully convince them to make more berries this year. I'll keep you posted.

*side story: My mother tells that when my brother and I were little she and my father fed us lobster on the theory that we wouldn't like it and they could then always tell us, "Oh no, you tried it and you don't like it." We loved it - theory shot down. You'd think I would have remembered that when I was doling out tiny tastes "to see if you like it." hmmmph.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

yarn musings

Ever since I bought those scarf-knitting needles I have been itching to knit a scarf. Amazing how that scarf needles need a scarf. Need a scarf, buy yarn. However...I've been really really good. I didn't buy any yarn. Even though I drove past two yarn stores today (well one was about 10 miles out of the way but I could have made it there if I really wanted to) (and did I mention that I was really really good?).

Instead I came home and fondled sorted through my stash. I'm leaning toward something with fun fur that I can give away. In a moment of knitting weakness mumbledy years a while ago I bought some valentine red fun fur. If I start now, in the midst of everything else, I might be able to have it done by next valentine's day.

While rummaging through yarn I came across a downloaded and printed copy of clapotis from who knows when. This made me decide to pitch the shawl that I was working on. I'll need to frog the whole darn thing and start over. But the clapotis looks so nice and will be beautiful and I've really really wanted to make one for the longest time. All the work that went into the shawl? whoosh shoot me now.

My Aunt Carol shared a story with me once about how my Uncle loved it when she bought yarn because she got more mileage out of it than anyone else he knew. She would knit a gauge swatch, rip it out, knit something, decide it wasn't what she wanted, rip it out, knit another gauge swatch and then knit the item. I'm taking her's a matter of finding what the yarn really wants to be. Then and only then will the project finally get completed. sounds good anyway.

weedly wonders

I managed to spend a little time in the herb/fruit garden today. Pulling weeds and trimming things up a bit.

The rhubarb seems to have taken, at least it's not brown and dead where I separated the babies and planted them.

The first of the asparagus is poking it's heads through the ground (I know another not fruit in the fruit garden but there it is).

Found MORE lemon balm. Boy that stuff really took off this year. Frantically giving away pots of it.

The weeds are probably winning. At this point some of the teeny weeny plants are so small I can't tell if they are weeds or flowers

Me:hello, are you a flower or pigweed?
Me:hmmm, I guess I'll let you stay for now

V has a bed dedicated to her flowers. She decided she wanted her own garden this year. There is some garlic at the back of it but I put it in before she decided she wanted a garden so she's living with it. Her flowers are poking through (and probably some weeds). There are also what look like a few volunteer tomatoes coming up. She was horrified that there were tomatoes in the middle of her flowerbed and demanded that I pull them.
Me: ????
I convinced her that if she could just leave them be until they were big enough for me to transplant to another area I would eventually remove them. She reluctantly agreed.

Then she informed me that we are expecting a frost tonight and would I please cover her flowers with a sheet or something so they don't freeze.
Me: ????
I did check out the weather and it is supposed to dip down to the low 30's. I think her flowers will be fine. I'm also not maintaining her bed. She wants it, she works it. That's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it...until the weeds take over and I need to take evasive action to keep them from spreading to the rest of the garden.

Monday, April 24, 2006

baking bonanza

While visiting my mom last week she gifted me with 10 pounds of King Arthur flour, 5 white, 5 wheat -- thank you mom. She's apparently not baking much anymore and it was too much for her to keep.

Today was baking day; let me tell you there was a whole lotta baking going on.

I started with a double batch of Cuban Bread which I made 1/2 wheat 1/2 white (recipe is for single batch):

4-5 C. flour
2 C. hot water
1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt

add yeast, sugar, salt and 2 C. flour to hot water. Stir well. Mix in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky, knead 8 minutes. Oil dough, cover, set to rise 1 1/2 hours or until double. Punch down, form into rounds, let sit 15 minutes. Bake 325 degrees 30 minutes or till done.

Then I made Bath Buns. They're a yummy treat but I don't make them often because they are fattening. I have been craving them though so today was as good a day as any other to give in to the craving. These were made solely out of white flour:

3 C. flour
1 1/4 C. milk
1 t. yeast
1 t. salt
1 C. butter
2 T. sugar

Warm milk slightly, pour a little over yeast. Rub softened butter into flour, salt and sugar. Add creamed yeast and mix to light dough with the milk. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours until dough has risen very high and is light and puffy.

Form 12 buns and place on a greased pan. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Bake 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

Glaze & sugar, eat warm.

2 T. powdered sugar 1 T. milk in sauce pan. heat and brush over buns. Sprinkle with sugar. Optional: Adorn with stripes of lemon or orange peel.

Next up was strawberry-banana muffins:

1 C. whole wheat flour
2 C. white flour
1 t. baking soda
1 C. oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 C. honey
1 T. vanilla
1/4 C. wheat germ
2 bananas
1 C. sliced strawberries
1/4 C. water

Throw all into mixer and mix until batter forms. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 250 degrees F 25-30 minutes until done.

That was followed by a double batch of King Arthur's Whole Wheat Brownies. This is the recipe from the back of the bag and it's awesome (recipe is for single batch):

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspooon salt
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything together, bake in a greased square pan at 350 F for 30 minutes.

And after all of that baking I still have enough flour left to make a batch of bread (mostly whole wheat). But I think I've created enough baked goods for one day.

Next on the list? Cleaning the ungodly mess I've made in the kitchen.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

yipes stripes

From Kiss Your Shadow (I found it from a mention on the Cast-on podcast ('s all the way back at episode 5, or 4, somewhere in the beginning. I'm rotating podcasts to listen to so I'm waaay behind on all of them, back in the past if you will -- but eventually I will catch up).

This site/tool is so cool. I spent far too much time playing with the little stripeys. I did manage to restrain myself from running to the nearest secret hiding place closet and grabbing a bin bringing the colors back to run a Real Life Simulation (TM).

Not that I have anything striped that I need to make at them moment. I am working on a striped hoodie for myself but it's from a pattern and considering that I am probably close to 2/3 done I'm not ripping the thing out now and starting with new stripes.

But this is fun to play with and could be very useful in the future if I want to make something with stripes.

knitting update

Not a lot of knitting got done over this spring break. There were high hopes, but no actual activity. There was a minor amount of knit shopping as mentioned in on the road part one, it (the minor part) may have had something to do with the fact that Steve was standing there while I was shopping, I forgot my wallet and my mom had to bail me out but then again maybe I was just being good and restraining my stash enhancing impulses (yeah, that's it! *snort*).

Over the break however there was a lot of knit reading. I don't know why but I somehow came home from the library with three knit related books and managed to read them all in one week (sort of). If you knew how very little time I have for anything in my life these days, much less reading, you would understand how amazed I am by this feat.

The first book was "At Knit's End" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot. I love her blog, she's very funny. Since I like her blog it was no surprise that I liked the book. I tried to space it out to prolong the enjoyment but found myself racing through this book, giggling hysterically at some parts. Of course I also tried to read some parts to Steve but he didn't understand the humor. Stephanie has other books out, "Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter" and "Knitting Rules", I'm going to have to try to get thse from the library next (hopefully convincing the librarian to buy them so I can read them).

The second book was "The Shop on Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber. Funny enough I had read the second book in this series "A Good Yarn" first. It was sweet, they both are. Light reading, cute story, a very nice quick read. The fact that I was on vacation and not at home probably accounts for my finishing the book in two days. It was nice to curl up and just read...something I haven't done in a long time.


The third book, "Weekend Knitting" by Melanie Falick accounts for the sort of part of the second paragraph. I flipped through it, read through it focusing on the patterns I like, and am now reading it for a third time more carefully. I'm not sure that I could actually complete any of the projects in a weekend even with unrestricted time but the projects are cute. I'm a little dubious of egg cozies shaped like sweaters. I mean it's cute but unless you give it to another knitter I'm not sure anyone else would want them -- maybe I'm wrong. It probably also has something to do with the fact that I knit so slowly I cannot even fathom the thought of investing that much time and effort into a sweater for an egg, but that's just me. Some of the projects in there really made me want to run out and buy yarn [side note: why does it work that way? Why doesn't it make you want to run to your stash first? Or is that just me again?]. I restrained myself but will definitely have to make note of some of the projects in this book so that I can check it out again in the future and knit something from it.

It's nice to have knitting books to read, I like that two of them were not actually pattern books and may have to look for more along those lines. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments and let me know.


I had to run some errands today including the dreaded Sunday-at-Costco-hordes. But while driving around I was able to listen to my favorite podcasts which I have burned to CD and listen to in the car. I'm really enjoying this stuff, it's great. MUCH better than radio.

I think it would probably be more efficient to listen to them on some sort of a portable device that I would overwrite but for now this works. One bad side-effect is that many of the podcasts are starting to mention other podcasts! Aaaaaah. I can't listen to that many at once but I want to check them all out. We'll have to see how it goes but I think I'm going to have to firmly remind myself of just how little time I spend in the car. And I certainly can't listen to them at home otherwise I would get no housework done. So for now it's car listening only.

But check out Podcast Alley and see if there are some podcasts that you like. They're really alot of fun. Once again, kudos to Meg for my newest addiction hobby.

yuck and yay

Yay! I posted some bushes I no longer wanted on Freecycle and someone came to get them. Actually I got a lot of responses I was amazed. But they have gone to their new happy home.

The yuck part? It was raining cats and dogs today and I had promised to dig up the bushes. Silly me. And we all know what a wimp I am...I loathe gardening in the rain, especially the downpouring type. But I trudged out there and dug up all seven bushes. Only managed to haul four of them up the hill; luckily the people who came to get them were more than happy to fetch the other three.

Step one towards the garden redesign has begun. As Confucius said, "A journey of a thousand miles..."

Saturday, April 22, 2006


My rhubarb has started poking it's lovely leaves above ground. As I had mentioned in an earlier post it looks like it will be a good crop this year although I have a bald spot where I gave away too many babies. I think we'll still have plenty to eat.

This is where I'll have to go to find other uses for the rhubarb. I already have a rhubarb apricot jam recipe from Steve's grandmother and a lovely rhubarb raspberry crumble. I think this year I'll expand my rhubarb repertoire.

back home

Yesterday we arrived at my in-laws house mid-day. After exchanging a few pleasantries Steve was put to work, again. This time helping my father-in-law install the new sink in the kitchen. My poor husband...his entire break has been spent working, building my tree house, digging holes for my mom, installing sinks for his dad. Some vacation, huh? We're calling it the "Handyman Special."

The kids were happy because they have friends who live in the area. Phone calls were made and they were all able to get together.

We went out to dinner to an Italian place down the street. It was nice to walk into town, enjoy a good meal together, stop for ice cream at the local shop, and walk home. There are definite benefits to living in or near town.

This morning we had a lazy was raining. D's friend L came over and they were able to play together again. They tried to go fishing but between the rain and the tangled fishing poles it didn't quite work out. It's really not exactly fishing season yet anyway. I'm sure the next time we visit they'll be able to catch and release all the fish they want to.

An easy drive home, put away all of our stuff and now settling back in to enjoy our last day of spring break. When we arrived back at the house we were greeted by the loveliest vista of our garden. All four calary pears are in full, glorious bloom. The front yard is awash with daffodil blooms, and the small rhododendron's in the front yard are blooming a vivid purple. The lawn also looks very green and luscious (probably from all the rain). It was certainly a wonderful welcome.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ice cream part two

We made ice cream again tonight. I bought ice at the grocery store so that we would be sure to have enough. Good thing because the kids had made two pitchers of iced tea and there was hardly any left in the ice maker.

Remember all those plastic ice cube trays that you think you no longer need when you get a fridge with an ice maker? And how in an effort to save space you decide that you will throw them out? Well guess what happened? uh huh I did manage to find two that had somehow escaped the plastic purging wrath. But we're definitely going to have to start bagging the stuff.

Anyhow the second batch was chocolate. It was delicious. Very chocolate-y. We all had seconds. It was a lot of fun, smashing ice, churning. V's friend L was surprised to learn that a long time ago if people wanted ice cream this was how they did buying it at the store. She mused that perhaps her great-grandmother might have churned ice cream. I'm thinking perhaps even her grandmother. Steve wondered who came up with the idea to churn milk and sugar in the first place. I'm not sure but whoever they were it was a genius idea.

Next on the menu we'll probably try some sort of a fruit or nut ice cream. We're only making 1 quart at a time right now which is probably a good thing so we can experiment with other flavors more often.

garden post

I've spent part of my day enjoying the outdoors, spreading mulch and weeding out the rest of the herb/fruit garden. Steve has been working on my tree house and I'm so thrilled I cannot even describe how beautiful it is. Wow Wow Wow!

The lemon balm in the garden was obviously very happy with it's surroundings. It spread like crazy. I have seven pots ready to give away to friends and neighbors.

Some recipes to go along with the lemon balm:

Breakfast tea: 2 tsp. chopped leaves added to 1 cup boiling water steep 5 to 10 min. strain add honey and, or lemon.

Chicken with Lemon Balm & Vegetables:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups fresh lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup coarse mustard
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbls. olive oil
1 tbls. butter or margarine

Marinate the chicken breasts in the lemon juice for 1-2 hours, set aside. Heat the butter, or margarine, and oil in a large skillet. Sauté the mushrooms and red onion just until tender, then set aside. Add the chicken and lemon juice to the pan, cover and cook over low-medium heat 15-20 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned. Remove the chicken and keep warm. And the wine, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan. Layer the lemon balm leaves on top of the mixture and continue to simmer until the leaves are just wilted. Serve at once over a hot bed of rice.

Lemon Balm Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
2 Tbsp. lemon balm, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. brown sugar
8 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Mix first 7 ingredients together, then slowly blend in the oil. Mix well before serving. This is delicious on salads, especially fish or chicken salads. You can also marinate chicken or fish piece in this mixture before cooking. After cooking, serve the vinaigrette as a sauce. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Lemon Balm Tea Biscuits:

1 c Butter
1 c Honey
3 Eggs
3 c Flour
3 ts Baking powder
1 tb Milk
2 ts Lemon juice
4 Sprigs fresh lemon balm, chopped

Thoroughly cream the butter and honey. Add eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients, then the milk, flavoring, and lemon balm. Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375 F.

fifty-dollar taco meat syndrome

My friend Karen once told me about something that she called the $50 taco meat syndrome. It's where you go into the grocery store for taco meat and walk out $50 later. I thought of it today when it happened to me today, not for the first time I might add.

V invited a friend over. After we picked her up we stopped for gas. Decided on hamburgers for dinner so I needed to stop at the grocery store for hamburger meat. And buns. And lettuce. And tortillas "while I was there." Plus chocolate milk for tonight's ice cream. Oh yeah...gotta have ice as I'm sure the ice maker hasn't replenished itself. I think we need juice and it's on sale. Ooh, the sweet potatoes look nice. $44 later I'm walking out of the store wondering just how that happened. And I was really good folks, I didn't even go into the middle aisles...just the perimeter (I sent the kids in after the buns for fear of aisle purchases). It's amazing how that works.

cool, cool, cool

I've always wanted to learn how to do that. This guy is amazing! Thanks to Jen for sharing.

one red paperclip

I read about this at Happy News. Neat story.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

china town

Today we took the kids into Chinatown in NYC. It's their school break and we decided to go explore the city. We had a lot of fun, the weather was perfect and we didn't get lost! That last is a pretty amazing fact for people who don't usually venture into "The Big City".

We started out at

Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry Street. Sat in the park eating our yummy dumplings and admiring the astroturf on the playground while looking at all the tall buildings around us.

After that we headed over towards Broadway in search of Pearl Paint which bills itself as the World's Largest Discount Art Supplier. 6 floors worth! They certainly have a lot of art supplies. We had fun browsing around, spent money, of course, and decided that you could get good exercise running up and down all those flights of stairs each day.

Next on the agenda was Pearl River Market. A fun place with lots of neat imports. We came home with dishware. Luckily we were limited to what we could carry or we might have gotten more. This was such a neat store to explore we browsed for quite a while.

Then it was off to food shopping at the

Po Wing Hong Food Market on Elizabeth Street. This is apparently one of the oldest food markets in Chinatown and they have some great deals. The kids go straight for the Pocky, Koala Treats, etc while the adults go for the different teas, spices, sauces and anything we think we can read or figure out the use for. Their prices on green tea and white tea cannot be beat.

After all this wandering and shopping (I'm not sure how many blocks we covered but it was a lot) we decided we were tired. But instead of eating Chinese the kids decided they wanted to go into Little Italy. So we did! We stopped in at

Caffe Napoli where we enjoyed some excellent Italian food. Their marinara sauce was amazing! So fresh and delicious. We sat at tables on the sidewalk and had lots of fun people watching. Something that we certainly can't do in our little rural town. For dessert we enjoyed a selection of Napoleon, Blueberry Cheesecake, Black Forest Cake and Chocolate Mousse. We all shared tastes and it was all wonderful. On our way back to Chinatown we passed La Bella Ferrara where we have had dessert before. Their desserts are truly amazing; we made a note to stop there for dessert next time no matter where we have dinner.

On the way back to the car we stopped for some amazing deals on produce from the street vendors. The plumpest, nicest-looking ginger root for $1.00 per pound? Amazing. Gorgeous, delicious grapes for $1.00 per pound. Heavenly smelling tomatoes, $1.00 per pound. We bought a LOT of produce for $5.50. Not sure why they can sell it so cheaply on the street but we suspect it has something to do with volume and lack of overhead.

Also on the way back to the car we stopped at the Dragon Land Bakery to pick up some yummy treats like Cocoanut Buns, Steamed Pork Buns, and Bean Paste cakes to bring home. We love these things, they are truly delicious and not to be found at home.

Back to the car, full-tummied, arms sore from carrying packages we settled in for a pleasant drive home. It was a fun day, with perfect weather and we had such a wonderful time all together; what a marvelous way to spend a day off.

Monday, April 17, 2006

ice cream

Earlier this year I won this baby on ebay!! Tonight we used it for the first time. I found a vanilla ice cream recipe, found rock salt (funny I don't remember it being partially purple/black), and tonight was the night we made ice cream. Years ago my parents had given us an electric ice cream maker but in one of our many moves it broke and we never got around to replacing it. Now, 10+ years later I guess we've decided that homemade ice cream is a worthwhile endeavor.

The kids enjoyed smashing the ice cubes more than churning the ice cream. Funny how that works, I seem to recall feeling the same when I was a kid. My mom used to make the best ice cream, peach, rum raisin, chocolate chip, mmmmmmmmm.

As I was churning and yelling for erm...requesting more ice, I was struck by the fact that one cannot knit and churn ice cream at the same time. This seems to be a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to get in a few rows. I'm thinking that if one could create a bicycle type setup to churn the ice cream it would be more useful. After all your leg muscles are typically stronger than your arm muscles. And this would leave your hands free to engage in a useful activity such as knitting a blanket on which one is woefully behind; but I digress.

After massive sacrifice of arm muscles dedicated effort the ice cream was done. It looked lovely!! Sorry folks, no picture. Everyone crowded around bowls eagerly at the ready. The verdict? It was good. Steve wanted to know why I didn't use the chocolate milk to make chocolate ice cream. V thought the vanilla ice cream tasted like coconut (?????). D thought it was good, she quietly and quickly slurped hers down without saying anything. Steve thought I should add cream since this was really ice milk. He's picky that way, it's a good thing I love him. Next time I will add some half and half or cream to see if it gives a creamier consistency but still for a first effort it was excellent.

The hardest part is going to be our poor ice maker having to keep up with the demand. Between all the ice we go through making iced tea and now the ice cream it's going to be tough. I may have to start storing the stuff in baggies in the freezer.

feeding children

Is sometimes an impossible and thankless task. One has declared herself a vegetarian, the other claims she is a meatatarian. Neither of them seems to like anything I'm making these days.

Tonight for dinner I made some yummy bulgur stuffed cabbage. I even used the homemade sauce that I canned from this summer. I thought the cabbage was delicious. So did Steve. D, the vegetarian, has now decided the she doesn't like stuffed anything. V, the meatatarian, was distinctly unhappy that it was not stuffed with it's usual chop meat filling. Urgh! I made 1/2 of the normal recipe which still gave me 14 rolls. I now have three two-person packages sitting in the freezer. I guess Steve and I will be eating lots of candelight stuffed-cabbage suppers a deux.

You'd think that being raised with parents who enjoy all sorts of food you would get kids who enjoy all sorts of food. Somehow it's not working out that way. That's alright...the ultimate revenge lies a decade or so down the road. Eventually they'll have to cook for themselves...a decade or so after that?? They'll be cooking for their kids. mwahahaha


My blueberry bushes have finally arrived. I was so excited...they are comfortably ensconced in their bed in the garden. This brings my total to nine blueberry plants of three different varieties. Hopefully next year I should have a good yield.

I managed to work for about an hour in the fruit/herb garden today. Mostly cleaning out the overgrown herb area and trying to figure out which annual herbs I'm going to put in this year. For the perennials we have top bunching onions (not an herb but there they are), thyme (which doesn't look like it's coming back very well but we'll see), hyssop, cilantro (which self seeds and will be wherever it chooses to show up), lemon balm, sage and chives. I've got a rosemary in the house which I have successfully tended all winter and it is still in good shape which is a first.

I also planted some sunflowers, gotta have those, they're so cheery. Hopefully this year I've planted them well enough that the deer won't get them. Last year the pesky buggers stuck their heads over the fence and grabbed the sunflowers pulling the luscious heads to nibbling range.

The rhubarb was tightly bunched in two areas. I had given away some babies last year and it left more of a gap than I thought. I divided off a couple of sections and planted them in the gap. Hopefully I brought them with enough root stock that they'll flourish. I'll just have to remember not to pick from that area this year so that they can really establish themselves.

I love the fruit/herb garden at this time of year. There are not too many weeds and the garden looks so neat and orderly. Unfortunately it doesn't last long...eventually the weeds win. But who knows, perhaps with the change to fruits instead of veggies it will be easier to take care of.


French for wet-the-bed (for which I have been informed it is a cure) a.k.a. dandelions. The first ones have shown themselves in all their bright yellow glory.

It actually is supposed to be a plant with a lot of medicinal uses from a blood tonic to liver detoxifier/cleanser to a diuretic. It's also supposed to have a lot of potassium, be a good laxitive and stimulate the appetite.

I've tried in the past, unsuccessfully, to make dandelion wine but I've also wondered about eating dandelion greens. Since we do not put chemicals on our lawn it might be something to try. Anyone have any good recipes?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

happy holidays

Easter, Passover, whatever you celebrate may it be a happy one!

laundry cat

Hmmmmm! There is a camouflaged kitty in amongst the sheets on the sofa. Admittedly the sheets don't belong on the sofa but I was doing a LOT of laundry (in a vain attempt to "catch up"). I didn't have a chance to fold the load that was dry before I needed to hang the next one. By the time I hung the sectond set of laundry Miss Chloe had taken up residence on the first sun-warmed set. I've chased her away and it doesn't look too furry so I'm not going to rewash them. But I've learned that I need to either fold as I take them down (which is a bit difficult) or make sure the cat isn't around.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

play day

D and V both had friends over today. It was a great day for it. Bright sunny skies, slight breeze, in the 70's. I think they all had fun together. It's so nice when your kids are old enough to amuse themselves without having to be shepherded through each moment of a playdate. D and her friend wanted to go to the playground in the center of town so we headed over for a while. They got rid of a lot of energy on the playground and running around the field. V and her friend spent most of their time wandering around the yard, playing games and inspecting the woods.

After the friends left we tidied up a tiny bit (and I do mean tiny) and then V asked me to do a craft project with her. So she made a card while I scrapped. It was nice to sit at the table working together like that. D played "Spy Angel" and kept targeting us with the rubber chicken gun. When she ran out of chickens she used green peas lol.

Grilled cheese for dinner, movies on t.v., me hanging sheets on commercial breaks. Perhaps a cup of tea together and then an early bedtime for me. Thank goodness tomorrow is Sunday so I can sleep late and...more's school break week.

mulch update

After a hearty breakfast of whole wheat pancakes and homemade apple syrup Steve and I headed out to the mulch pile. Luckily the stuff is light because there was a huge pile at the top of the yard that needed to be moved around to various trees as well as around the tree bed at the top of the yard.

In hindsight spending 2 solid hours outside raking and shoveling mulch on my first day out of bed probably wasn't a good idea but we managed to get the entire front yard done so I'm happy. I also came inside and took a nap!

We decided to leave the pile at the bottom for tomorrow. I'm very pleased with the amount that we ordered as well as the quality of it. It's especially pleasing because unlike the cocoa-hull stuff that we got last time (the Nestle plant is near our house and sells the cocoa-hull by-products for landscaping) the deer shouldn't be as attracted to it. Imagine our surprise the last time we mulched to discover that the deer thought we had brought in a truckload of food for them!! They were pawing apart the beds and munching down whatever they found. Funny in retrospect but highly aggravating at the time.

Chloe loves the new mulch. She kept rolling in it and stalking through it. Playing with us while we were spreading it. Especially funny was how she would hide under the evergreens and then attack us as we were spreading mulch near her. She really is a garden cat and loves to be outside with us.

signatures in space

I'm so excited. I just found out that our school has been selected to participate in the Student Signatures in Space program!! NASA is sending us a signatures packet which the students will sign. We send it back and it will go up into space on one of the missions. Then it comes back to us to display with our Mission Certificatae. How fun for the kids, I can't wait to tell the school about it so we can get the kids ready.

When we know which is "our" mission I'll be sure to mention it here.


I've been ill the last couple of days with a stomach bug. No gory details but it was enough to keep me in bed and feeling pretty miserable.

Luckily today I am feeling better as we got delivery of 10 yards of beautiful brown cedar mulch. Steve and I were able to catch the truck and have the driver deliver to two different locations...the top bed, which needs it the most, and some at the bottom for the lower beds. We both agreed we'd rather wheelbarrow it downhill if necessary than uphill.

Updates to come later at the end of the day when we're both weary.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

pleasant evening

As I was hanging the laundry this evening and I again reflected on how pleasant it it to accomplish this simple household task. There was a cool breeze flowing through the early evening with the spring peepers chorusing in the background. There were also a few murmured tweetings from sleepy birds settling down. It's so peaceful and so calming.

vegan pineapple muffins

This evening I baked a batch of vegan pineapple muffins for the bake sale at V's school. One of the students there is a vegan and I wanted to make sure she had something she could have plus it would be good for another student who is severely allergic to casein and so avoids all dairy.

The recipe is really easy:

3 C. flour (I used ezekiel flour to boost the nutrition a bit)
1/4 C. millet
1 C. sucanat
1 C. oil
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 can crushed pineapple (not drained)

mix all ingredients together, spoon into muffin cups.
bake 375 F for 15 minutes or till tops bounce back when tapped
cool for 2 minutes in muffin pan then remove and finish cooling

in the garden

Not too much time spent on actual gardening today but a lot of time spent in the garden.

First a lot of time spent admiring my amazing treehouse. Steve is building it for my birthday and I'm so thrilled -- I cannot even describe how overwhelmingly excited I am about it. I went out there to watch him work for a while and to wander around on the platform looking out the overlook. *sigh of contentment* Unfortunately the roof design is being slightly reworked. He had started last winter with tar paper and then cedar shingles. But some furry little critters decided that they needed a comfy home and chewed holes in the tar paper as well as the heavy canvas tarp (seriously, the tarp looks demented at this point with odd shaped holes all over it). So the rest of the roof will not have tar paper on the theory that if they're going to eat it why put it there. The treehouse is going to be open on the sides so weather will get in anyway. I can't wait till it's done. Perhaps when it is completed S can take a picture with her digital camera for me to upload.

Next was wandering around the garden "planning." We have a l-a-r-g-e garden in the back yard and it's all on a h-u-g-e hill. I can't keep up with it anymore. I also have the front garden, the rock garden, the fruit garden and the orchard/side garden. It's all too much. So the back yard is getting ripped out and redone. There will, I think, be three beds at the top (much smaller than they are now) and two small terraces. The rest will be returned to grass and/or a natural state. This is going to take a long time to accomplish, probably years since it's really big, but at least we have some idea of what we are doing with it.

I have someone coming to look at one section that we are ripping out to tell me how much he would charge to clear it and prepare the ground for a cover planting. *gulp* I'm not anticipating anything cheap, but I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

self portrait tuesday

D aka Sr. Pancho

lost sock day

It's on May 9th in case you are wondering -- only 28 days to go!!! I read about this and thought about the drawer full of socks that hides under my bed waiting for me to have the patience to pull it out and go through making pairs. I have never managed to go through the entire box. I do make pairs though which is what inspires me to keep the box.

D has come up with a good way to deal with it, she just doesn't wear matching socks. People think it's a fashion statement and she never has to bother with making matches.

I'm wondering if on May 9th I should make matches, give her the ones she wants from the sock box and throw the rest out...after a suitable memorial service of course.

out of hibernation

With the warmer weather I've been spending more time in the garden. Clearing away the detritus of winter, snipping things where necessary, pulling the ever-obnoxious weeds that are already waging war in the garden.

As I've emerged from my winter hibernation so have my neighbors. Slowly we are starting to see each other outside. Fertilizing trees, raking thatch, just glorifying in the warm breezy sunshine. It's wonderful to be able to see people in the yard again and not feel so isolated.

Today was a beautiful sunny warm slightly breezy day. Perfect for being in the yard. I see that the bedstraw has already started it's invasion. As I clear away leaf mulch it pops up to greet me.

I didn't get as much done as I had planned mostly because D came out and invited me to play hopscotch with her. We spent a lot of time looking for potsies. Then drawing the board. It was a fun game but eventually we had to stop because it was time to make dinner. We both need to practice our throwing skills and I should probably work on hopping better. D really boingy-bounces, I sort of half-walk/hop. It was still a lot of fun to play together.

Monday, April 10, 2006

small town stuff

Three only-in-a-small-town happenings today:

1. Went to the post office to mail something. Forgot the suite number to the address. Meg, the postal clerk, said, "Call me, I'll fill it in for you." Paid for the postage (I had the zip code), drove home, called Meg and away my package goes. I think in a larger town you would have to take the package home and come back to mail it. Of course when we lived in Milton, FL we were outside the boundaries of the "city" and could leave packages in our mailbox to be mailed. The postman would take them to the post office, mail them and leave a slip in our mailbox letting us know how much we owed. I wonder if they still do that there?

2. Driving home from running the aforementioned errand there were several trucks at an intersection. Turns out that a power line was down and a couple of those amazingly wonderful people known as volunteer firemen were there diverting traffic, such as it was, and waiting for the power company to come fix the problem. I knew both of them and had a lovely conversation with one, ending with my best regards to his wife who is a friend of mine. Again, only in a small town does one make small talk with an on-duty fireman in a situation like that. Of course it probably helped that I was the only car around, not a lot of traffic at that particular intersection.

3. Driving home from an outing with my friend Christina we almost hit a deer. Seriously, we missed it by mere inches. Christina screamed, hit the brakes, I grabbed the dash, the deer kept going (thank goodness). I don't think you have this problem in more heavily populated areas. I could have done without the adrenaline rush that caused but am grateful that no one was injured.

And in other small town news our one traffic light town is temporarily a two traffic light town. There is now a light in front of the town garage where there is some construction work going on to fix one of the bridges. They have to bring the road from two lanes to one in order to make the repairs. Funny how all of a sudden people are going the "other" way and how inconvenienced they feel by having this extra light in town. We should be grateful, really, considering how many lights they probably have in the surrounding towns.

lovely knitty

The new knitty is up! I'm so excited! I love this magazine, the projects are so inspiring and the articles are truly great. Unfortunately I always want to knit so many things I see there and I already have so many things on the needles and I'm not a fast knitter.

Current projects are:

  • hats for the homeless
  • afghan - one in progress but two more to follow
  • fabric knitted purse - yup folks, it's still there
  • shawl - which I am thinking of unknitting and starting over (hmmmm maybe with a new knitty pattern???)
  • pillow - made the front, have the back, lost the front *sigh*
  • hoodie for summer - hopefully I'll finish it in time, 3/4 done
  • fingerless gloves - not working well, may be unknit as well

The list of Projects-To-Be-Done aka the Dreamlist...well...we won't go there because at this point it's probably bigger than I could accomplish in my lifetime. But at least I always have a project to work on. I think I'm going to have to go back on a yarn diet though and a project completion plan. At least I have managed to hide all of the projects and all of the yarn so artfully around the house that my DH doesn't know quite how much yarn is crammed stored/available. As long as he doesn't go looking through certain closets or boxes I should be safe.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

word clouds

Found this neat site...I'm thinking about ordering a t-shirt with this word cloud on it. What do you think?

lovely sunday

The in-laws went home today after breakfast. It was a wonderful weekend full of lots of laughter, good conversations and hugs. Breakfast was homemade tomato juice, homemade waffles (from fresh ground flour of course), scrambled eggs, soy sausage and a heavenly ripe pineapple.

Over the breakfast table somehow the subject of how many people in a house versus how many bathrooms you need came up (wonder why?). My father-in-law said that if you have five people living in a house you need 75 bathrooms. I said if you had three daughters in the house you needed 75 bathrooms. Then my father-in-law said that if you had children you needed a balanced heating system with multiple hot water heaters (can you tell he's raised a couple of teenagers in his time?). My husband claimed you needed one hot water heater per shower, everybody has to dial their own hot water heater when they get in the shower. My father-in-law suggested a husband suggested a pay-box! At this point we were all helpless with laughter. Then my husband suggested 3 1/2 minutes for 25 cents. I was laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face. It was a fun and funny morning.

After they left we had a rather lazy day. Ran an errand, picked up a bit, took a nap, it's nice to have that kind of a day. I find that I appreciate it so much these days when my life seems to busy and full.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

date meme

Got this one from my Mom. Kinda strange but interesting:

Put your date of birth without year into Wikipedia and pick 3 events, 2 births and 1 death which happened on that day

1279 BC - Ramesses II becomes Pharaoh of Egypt.
1884 - John Harvey Kellogg patents corn flakes.
1927 - The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.

1048 - Omar Khayyám, Persian poet, astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher (d. 1131)
1640 - Michał Wiśniowiecki, King of Poland (d. 1673)

1594 - Tintoretto, Italian painter (b. 1518)

play night two

My in-laws and our family went to tonights performance to see D once again reprise her role as an indian in the school production of Peter Pan. The production was just as cute as last night. A little different in parts but definitely enjoyable. As with last night D did an awesome job as a barefoot indian. Oh, as a side note, she was the only indian in brown pants, the costume people didn't make me change them. It did make her easier to spot on stage amidst the 35 or so other indians.

After the performance we all gathered around for hugs and congratulations. She blew fairy dust on her dad but he somehow didn't manage to fly. She came home in her costume which she got to keep.

On the ride home Steve mentioned that it was a lot of rehearsal (two months) for two nights of performance. My father-in-law then said, "But aren't they playing in Oklahoma next week?" We all laughed. It was a fabulous experience for and I think she got a lot out of it. Perhaps she'll decide to do it again next year.

brunch bunch

To celebrate my father-in-law's birthday we had a brunch at our house. All the in-laws came and a couple of collateral cousins. It was a lot of fun to all hang out together, the kids always play so well.

It was my favorite kind of brunch, bagels, assorted cheeses and lunch meats, five kinds of pickles, two kinds of tapenade, hummus, all those yummy foods. For dessert we had three kinds of desserts including a beautiful birthday tarte with gorgeous fruits on it that my sister-in-law brought.

We all gathered around to sing happy birthday (some of us in their own key) and I think a good time was had by all. It was a very relaxing and easy-going get together.

Friday, April 07, 2006

weather report

It's been raining all day, mostly drippy stuff, nothing big but the kind of rain that's good for the garden. I'm very pleased about this because, of course, it helps to water the bushes and trees we've just planted in the yard.

Just now it switched and is coming down much heavier with accompanying thunder and lightening. Tomorrow is "mixed precipitation." I'm not really sure what that means but I think they're hinting at snow. Bleah! Think spring, think spring, think spring.

sight bytes

Another site today that was astoundingly wonderful...D is an Indian in the school performance of Peter Pan. Today was opening night. These kids were AMAZING. It was so great to see them and how hard they worked. Plus it was fun to watch some of the choreography. With 83 bodies on stage at times it must have been a job and a half.

The Fine Arts Committee managed to raise the funds to ensure that Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael and John could fly. That was a lot of fun to watch too. Lots of smiles in this performance and tons of talent.

I'm so glad that I get to go again tomorrow.


Today I went to yoga. I haven't been in a long time and it felt really great to go again; I've missed it.

Today's class was great. First, I managed to do the Tripod Headstand pose. That's big for me because although I can do shoulder stands I stink at headstands, can't do crow worth a dime and generally have an unpleasant time trying to do arm supported inversions. It actually turned out to be very comfortable.

The other pose we did that I loved was the Standing Child's pose. It was so comfortable...amazing. You put your feet together, squat down with your arms wrapped between your knees and try to get your ribs to touch your thighs. Sounds hard but it really was not too bad at all.

Did a LOT of chatarungas (sp?) (this was a Vinyasa class) and my poor arms are aching. That will teach me to not go for almost a month.

I love the energy that comes out of this class and really get so much out of it. Plus today three of the other women and I went to *buck$ for tea and conversation. We had a great chat about organic food and baking, etc. It was so nice to connect with them on a different level.

view bytes

Driving around today I saw a couple of sights that made me smile and thought I would share.

The first was a wild turkey flying (sort of) across the road right in front of my car. That was so neat because I haven't seen much of them lately and I don't think I've ever seen one flapping for all it was worth. It managed to make it across the road but I have to confess it was skimming the asphalt.

The second was a purple bush (possible rhodendron??) in full flower. It was so lovely, so bright and colorful against the still barren brown landscape of early spring that it really took my breath away.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Just came back from Stitch Sisters. If ever there was a recipe for unfrazzling, sitting in a room with a bunch of friends and knitting is it. Lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and elevates endorphins. Folks, I am not making this stuff up. I feel sooo much better now.

I worked on my afghan. It's made up of squares from Knitting Nonsense. I am knitting them to spell out someone's name (I'm not saying who). It's taking longer than I expected; in part because I am a very sloooow knitter (well, that and lack of time). I thought I might have the first one done by Christmas. I started in January. I just cast on my fourth square. I need 35, you do the math.

After Stitch Sisters I pickup D up from Dress Rehearsal for the school play, came home and discovered...taa daaa! bread rose! For the third time! YAAAAAY! As I type it is baking in the oven, smelling delicious. Hopefully it will also taste delicious. Not that I intend to repeat that experiment any time soon but at least I know it can be done.

As soon as the bread comes out of the oven I am off for bed. As we say in our family, "I am gepoopinde."

frazzled part two

The second thing on the frazzle factor list was the juggle fondly referred to as the Mom-taxi. It started as soon as D came home from school. She had to unpack her backpack, pack a dinner to take to tonight's dress rehearsal for the school play, and get out the door in time to be there an hour earlier than published on the schedule. Don't ask me why they bothered to publish a schedule but they did and then they tell the children about the changes?!? How strange is that. But I called the school and verified, yes, she's supposed to be there an hour early.

Drop her off, rush to the next town to pick up her sister at an after-school art program. On the way D calls and tells me that she needs pants for her costume. Huh? Why wasn't there a note? She doesn't know but she does know that she's got to have those pants. Brown or tan. I stop at a local store on the way home, grab the first pair of brown pants that I see in her size (well, close, they'll have to pin the waistline). To the checkout, pay and leave.

Stop for gas on the way frazzled somehow that I FORGOT to put my gas cap back on my car! Thank goodness it's attached by a little plastic thingy. Some guy in a huge truck kept creeping up on me in traffic (I'm in my itty bitty cute Scion) and I'm getting nervous. Then I realize he's shouting at me. I look over and hear the word gas cap. OMG. Luckily there was a bit of a traffic jam. With a very red face I unbuckle, get out, reconnect the gas cap, profusely thank the guy (who says, "Wouldn't want you to lose any of that hard-earned gas." -- no kidding the stuff is up to $2.69 per gallon!!), get back in buckle and drive away.

Next stop. The library in the neighboring town. I realize as we pull up to a parking space that it's 4:58. I think the library closes at 5 pm on Thursdays. Yup, that's what the sign out front says. So I start running with V in the background going ????. Get there dive into the stacks, grab a book (a Mercedes Lackey title in case you are interested) just as a huge bell gongs and the librarian in a loud stern voice says, "The Library is Closed!" Whaa?? Not even a chance to read the dust cover to make sure this is one I haven't read before I dive for the counter, plonk down my book and smile. The librarian says, "Returning?" "No." "Checking out?" "Yes" Another smile. She checks the book out and we head back to the car. In the car I read the dust jacket and discover that it is, luckily, one I have not read before.

On the way home we divert to the school to drop off the aforementioned pants. D is running around with all the other little indians in the hallway. None of them are in brown pants. I hand her the pants. She gives me a hug and one little indian says, "They're supposed to be khaki's." !@*#$($*# What!!! I'm NOT going back to the store today. I'm sure a note will come home from somebody connected to the play who probably thinks I am a total doofus for bringing my daughter brown pants when they clearly wanted khaki. Oh well. I guess I'm going to the store tomorrow too. Bleah.

Back to the the dough...shove dinner at V and head off to Stitch Sisters where I have not been for far too long. More later.

frazzled part one

Urgh! What a day.

It's been very hectic today starting with the fact that I rose early in the morning to bake bread. Went downstairs, milled up a lovely concoction of hard red wheat, hard white wheat and spelt. Came upstairs, laid everything out (mise en place for those edjumacated cooking types) and started to create and knead my bread. Got it all oiled and covered and in a warm spot.

*%^$&#* I realized I forgot the yeast. Can't be, I've been baking bread for YEARS how could I possibly forget the yeast. Go downstairs and yup, looking at the yeast container I realized that I didn't add any. What to do? Without yeast this puppy is going to remain a lump of flour and water (and a few other things but mostly flour and water). So I did something that I have never done before, I added the yeast at the end. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy! That dough was just about perfect and getting it to stretch enough to add in oily yeast was a feat and a half. All I have to say is thank goodness for whoever invented quick rise yeast that doesn't need proofing! Many kudos in their general direction.

It rose, I punched down, vigorously, and decided to let it rise again. I have just punched it down again and it is now all shaped and in it's pans (one day I'll have to break down and get a banneton as I think it would definitely be an interesting change to make more rustic breads). Now in it's third rise. Folks this started at 6:30 am! I'm seriously wondering how this long, triple rise is going to affect the bread but what the heck, I'm a curious type. I'll let you know.

happy b-day

To my father-in-law! Happy happy wishes
for the day and many happy returns!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

charity knitting

It's a busy time for Stitch Sisters, my knitting group. We are currently working on our next project, 100 Hats for the Homeless. Our goal is to make 100 hats and then donate them to the local homeless shelter next November before the really bad weather gets here. So far we have 10 hats. They're really cute, all different colors and styles. It's a fun way to use up some leftover yarn.

We've also put together a knitting-related basket to donate to the Basket Auction at the church where we have our meetings. We've been meeting for almost 3 years now and they never charge us so we want to do nice things for them to let them know how appreciative we are. Wendy, one of our extremely talented members, made a basket liner with sewn pictures of knitting needles, yarn, etc. Very very cute. Then we filled the basket with yarn, needles of different sizes and a couple of books. I'm hoping it fetches a good price. The lovely thing about this kind of donation is that everyone contributes a little bit and you wind up with a really nice gift.


Ooh, this is dangerous stuff. My podlistening list has grown tremendously. Considering how inky-dinky my little town is it takes me a looooong time to listen to a CD but I'm managing. However one podcast leads to another. First of all they keep making episodes, imagine that, then they have links to and mention other podcasts. I go check them out. Ooh,that one looks interesting I'll have to add it to the list...never mind that they are already on episode 27 I've got to have them all.

And if that's not bad enough some of the podcasts have blog links, gotta have those. And they mention other blogs. Gotta have some of those too. Hmmmmm, this has got to stop. I'm going to have to declare a podaddiction moratorium. No new pods until I'm current on the ones that I've subscribed to. And no visiting Podcast Alley to see out new and different pods.

I'm going to have to find a way to thank Meg for this.

winter white

V was right. Woke up this morning and it was snowing. There is a light white wintery blanket coating the ground and trees. Hope we don't get too much because the daffodils have just started to bloom and I would hate to see them die off from the cold.

I am so ready for spring that I hope this weather doesn't last too much longer (even though I know the last frost-free date for my area is late May).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Seen today on a license plate from Massachusetts


if you don't get it leave me a comment and I'll explain


On Wednesday of this week...
At two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the
morning.. The time and
date will be...

01:02:03 04/05/06

This won't ever happen again in your lifetime!

Are you staying up?

ps with thanks to Susan for passing it along and Carol N. for sending it in the first place
pps more thanks to my Mom who got it from Carol who got it from Ben

Monday, April 03, 2006

light the lights

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"


It's raining. Been raining off and on all day. It was a light, softly soaking rain all day. Perfect for the fruit trees that I planted (probably also perfect for the weeds *aaaarrrrrgh!*). Now as I'm sitting here typing the drops are getting bigger and faster if the noise against the window pane is anything to go by. V informs me we are supposed to have snow on Wednesday...I hope not.


Happy Birthday D! We you!!


This whole thing started with an email from my Mom. It got so good I just had to share.

email one
This is too funny.

O.K. So we used to try to pat our heads and rub our tummies (singularly, we only have a head / tummy apiece) This is worse.

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

Go on, try it.


email two (a response to my sending email one to friends)


Okay, that;s bizarre on two levels - 1 - why do we do that? and 2 - who and how, in the name of god, ever realized this?

email three (my reply)

My supposition is that some Ph.D. nerd in behavioral science needed to find a thesis project and picked this one. Okay now that you are done laughing you're going to throw something at me the name of curiousity I decided to see if it worked if you made the circle with your right foot and the 6 with your left hand. Guess what???

And then...

Left foot left hand - same as right foot right hand

left foot right hand - same as right foot left hand.

Itellesting, velly intellesting.

baking day

Today is/was baking day. No bread today, I'll probably do that on Thursday this week. But I did make three snack loaves, an apple oatmeal bake thing-y and pita bread.

The snack loaves were made with fresh ground ezekiel flour. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to my husband for getting me this grain mill. I LOVE it! The flavor of my snack loaves always changes depending on what I have on's a basic recipe for quick bread and then just throw stuff in there. Today was millet, apple, pear and raisin. Yummmmm.

The apple oatmeal thing-y...well...we'll see how it turned out. It was modified from a recipe that I found on the internet. Basically oatmeal, raisins, butterscotch chips, walnuts, apple butter and milk all layered into a pan and baked. I'm a little bummed because after the second layer it became very clear that my pan was not deep enough and I attempted to slop artistically slide gently shift everything into a new pan. I'm sure you all know exactly how successful that was. However all the ingredients were there and the top layer was layered so who knows. It looks cooked and smells delicious, we'll try it and find out.

The pitot (plural for pita) were fun to make. I did learn that next time I need to roll them out a little thinner - they came out fine for a first attempt, pocket-like and tasty. They are a little on the yeast-y side so I may try reducing the amount of yeast by just a tiny bit. The bottoms are a little thick but hopefully rolling them thinner will take care of that. They were surprisingly easy to make and when this batch is gone I plan to make another one (perhaps even on Thursday) to see if I can get them thinner and lighter.

It was fun doing all this different baking today.


From the window of our "office" I can see the meadows belonging to the Arabian Breeding Farm. Today I saw the horses out grazing in the fields. Not sure how many foals are due this year but there are seven beauties quietly grazing in the field. We're so fortunate to have this view.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

speaking american

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% Yankee

40% General American English

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


Listening to D practicing piano, unprompted, makes me realize how fortunate I am to have children who love music so much and who are so talented. S does the same thing, practicing/playing a lot, of her own volition.

To have them play for me is so wonderful, I am truly carried away by the music they play and their skill. I feel priviledged to be able to listen to them when they are playing at home, I don't think they appreciate how much it means to me.

blog meme

This one looks like fun. For the record my 23rd posting date was Thursday February 17, 2005, a date that is very significant for a number of reasons...special birthdays...and 17 was my Grandpa's lucky number. So it really made me smile to see it work out that way. I chose to do days of posting since sometimes I do multiple posts in one day...I prefer to write short posts with titles than to do longer posts. o-kay...enough pedantic pontification...onto the meme

1. Delve into your blog archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

"And then a Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake."

tagging: hmmmmm


D is starting softball soon. V decided that she should help D learn to throw and catch better. Unfortunately we can't find the mitts and don't have anymore softballs, but they used a tennis ball. I went outside and ran around with them too; it was a lot of fun on this beautiful sunny spring day. None of us throw well but we had fun and I'm sure we'll all get better as we practice more.

granola goodness

Since I didn't get pancakes for breakfast this morning (see previous post) I finished off the homemade crockpot granola. It's great stuff and I am about to go make another batch. I love this stuff. So do my kids, I make a batch every week to 10 days. At this point it seems that the cold cereals of choice in our house are: Cheerios, Kix, Special K, Raisin Bran and homemade granola. Probably better than all of the colorful, dye-laden cereals that we used to eat.

Recipe (modified from an earlier post):

3 C. rolled oats
2 C. barley flakes
1/2 C. ground flax
1/4 C. wheat germ
1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups dried fruit
1/2 cups nuts, broken up

mix all ingredients together
place in crockpot and stir well
turn crockpot on low
leave wooden spoon in crock to help prop lid open
stir once every 30 minutes
cook 4 hours

birthday pancakes

D's birthday party seems to have been a huge success if the tornado-strewn contents of the house are any indication. I went to bed at 10:30, they stayed up. And up...and up...and up. Woke me at 4:30 am with all the giggling and shrieking. I confess that I went over and said, "You woke me, it's 4:30, I'm cranky, GO-TO-SLEEP!" Mysteriously they all did just that.

This morning it was pancakes for breakfast. I think these were a hit mostly because there were none left. I can't tell you how they tasted since I didn't get any; the savages sweet darlin's ate them all.


2 C. of mixed grain flour (I used flour left over from the weeks baking of ezekiel muffins and whole wheat/spelt breads)
1 1/2 T. sucanat
1 T. baking powder
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
water to make a batter

cook as pancakes. Yummm (I think)

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Glow bowling at the alley! It was tons of fun. D's birthday party with 9 friends. At the alley they turned off all the lights, turned on the disco balls and turned up the rock-and-roll. The theme was CareBears (D picked it). The kids had a fabulous time. They also managed to chow their way through three large pizza's.

After two hours of bowling we tromped (rode actually) over to Friendly's for ice cream. It was quite amusing to see the look on the hostess' face as we walked through the door. The guy standing next to her was counting...five, I popped my head up above them and said, "No, fifteen(we had a couple of parents and sibs with us). We wound up getting the back room all to ourselves. The girls got loud and giggly, it was so much fun.

Now we're home with five sleep-overees. Given the current decibel level I wonder how long it will be until I need to put in ear plugs. But they're having such a great time.

Funny note...when she dropped her daughter off one mother reminded me of a previous year when the sleep-over was over Daylight Savings and everyone showed up one hour late...wonder what will happen this year.


Ten Top Trivia Tips about Reiji!

  1. Reiji has often been found swimming miles from shore in the Indian Ocean.
  2. Reiji can jump up to sixteen times her own height!
  3. Reiji can be found on a Cluedo board between the Library and the Conservatory!
  4. Without reiji, we would have to pollinate apple trees by hand.
  5. Reindeer like to eat reiji.
  6. Reiji is only six percent water.
  7. During World War II, Americans tried to train reiji to drop bombs.
  8. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same reiji!
  9. It's bad luck to put reiji on a bed.
  10. Ostriches stick their heads in reiji not to hide but to look for water.
I am interested in - do tell me about