Sunday, January 28, 2007

household meme

Ooh, another fun fun! This one is from Sallie at A Gracious Home

Here goes:

Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like?
Yes, I have several and I love them all

Baking – Favorite thing to bake
snack bread

Clothesline – Y/N?
Yes, luckily on my covered porch so I don't have to worry if it rains

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
Yes but not in a long time

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
Pick up the kitchen desk - it's my hot spot

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes, in the basement

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
No, we have a septic so it wouldn't be a good idea anyway

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
the world wide can find anything there

Ironing – Love it or hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
It's okay, can be soothing but is not high on my list of favorite activities

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Yes, 2nd drawer to the right of the sink

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
wood cabinets and floor, very old country heart pink themed wallpaper that I plan to change one day - as soon as I figure out what I really want.

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Making good meals for my family

Mop – Y/N?

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Don't wear them

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
Both, depends on what's cooking

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
sauteed onions peppers and cheese, mmmmmmm

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
read or knit

Recipe card box – Y/N? What does it look like?
No, scrips and scraps of paper all over the place, I really need to do something about that one of these days

Style of house – What style is your house?
colonial, beige with rust colored shutters and brick

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Yes. Every day.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?

Vacuum – How many times per week?
Once a week, easy with my trusty roomba

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
seven or eight

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?

Yard – Y/N? Who does what?
Hubby mows the lawn and trims trees, I'm supposed to weed and take care of fruit/herb gardens

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
wipe down the kitchen sink

Who's next?

Friday, January 26, 2007

another one

As my mother will tell you..."In our family it's all about the food." We love to discuss who ate what, how to prepare that, and she sends me lots of links to good places. Lately it's been blogs. Here's another one Toast. I admit to having a hard time going back through all the archives of everything I've added lately, but at least I never run out of stuff to read.

it's a crime

This one is for Sam:

Australians incensed at 'Gnomesville Massacre'





with thanks to picture-newsletter for the pinched picture.

just ridiculous

I am a fan of Lionbrand. Some of their yarns are very soft and easy to work with. I love the fact that they have free patterns and tutorials online. Their magazine is also fun to look through.

But this?

spray paint art.wmv

Way cool! h/t to Amy at angry chicken for this link.

Spray paint artist from Portoro┼ż, Slovenia doing sci-fi paintings in less then 10 min. You can find more about artist and his art here

Thursday, January 18, 2007

being of very little brain

I almost forgot that today is a very special day.

Why is that picture up there? Who is that man above? Why none other than A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. I loved those stories, still do. And today is his birthday.

Monday, January 15, 2007

food for thought

I have mentioned several times my desire to take a page from my Aunt's notebook and Do Less. Frequently easier said than done. Here is a link that I found inspiring as I try to move in that direction:

  • Soul of the Home

    Of course this line of thinking also always brings up for the that scary word...organization. I swear I constantly tell myself "if I could just be more organized." Somehow I am never organized enough; I come up with all sorts of plans and programs, implement some of them, some of them even stick. But it's still not enough. Not sure why. I've even found two sites Fly Lady and OrganizedHome.Com where I have gotten and implemented a lot of useful ideas. I've even been tempted by the thought of a Home Management Binder the idea of which seems to be sweeping bloggerville. Some of them are really pretty. And it's tempting because I like to scrapbook and so this could be a FUN project, hah!

    But will it really help? Not sure. I've been trying to use my Palm Pilot more. I've got 80% of my address book(s) in there, pretty good about keeping the calendar in there, great at the shopping lists, got a few e-books (thank you Gutenberg Project) and, of course, a couple of games. But I like paper. I didn't buy myself a paper planner this year to force myself to try to learn to use my Palm more. But I miss that planner, turning the pages is better when they're real pages not clicks on the screen (does this mean I am becoming old fashioned?). And that still doesn't answer the question of why I feel so disorganized.

    Which brings me back to the link at the top of this post. I think I'm going to have to print it out so I can read it a few times and cogitate more upon the message therein.

  • Friday, January 12, 2007

    blogreads and more humor

    Thanks to my Mom I have added a bazillion new links to my blog read list (not really but close). She sent me this very funny link that turned -- as blog wanderings are wont to do -- into a collection of food history type blogs and a lot of chuckles.

    Not sure how these people come up with this stuff so fast (read the link to understand what I'm talking about here) but they are certainly smarter than me.


    I found this while wandering the blogosphere and it was too funny not to share.

    “My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” – Dave Barry

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    books books and more books

    I've joined the Winter Reading Challenge sponsored by Seasonal Soundings. My list is posted here. It looks like I'll be busier than the three books that I originally chose because many generous and lovely people in my life sent me....ta dah! BOOKS for Christmas.

    So I'm adding to my original reading challenge list (and home library - thank you all) with the following:

    Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey I really admire Jane Goodall and have been wanting to read this book ever since I heard about it.



    The Twelve Teas® of Friendship My mom got me this because she knows how much I love having tea parties. I've actually already read it and really enjoyed it. There are little menu suggestions and it's very nicely put together. Some of the ideas don't really appeal to me (such as decorating with shopping bags from high end stores for the "Shopping Bag" tea -- I'm not into shopping) or the back patter favors for the "Job Well Done" tea. But the suggestions for different themes, quiet, simple, elegant decorations, nice recipes and, of course, tea, are all good.

    ReadyMade: How to Make [Almost] Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer Another gift from my Mom. All kinds of interesting other uses for things and crafty type projects. I'm going to enjoy leafing through this one and hopefully garnering ideas for good ways to re-use stuff that is currently not living up to it's current potential.


    Helping Christians Live Their Faith the Jewish Way with A Little Kosher Seasoning This looks like an interesting book with some recipes in it. The author was raised as a Jew, married a clergyman and in the book tries to integrate her Jewish roots and Christian beliefs. I'm looking forward to reading it.


    Leaving the Land: A Novel Highly recommended by a friend, I'm looking forward to this book as well.



    Fatal Majesty: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots I like historical fiction, really liked Reay Tannahill's Food in History so we'll see how I like this one.



    The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America Another historical book, this one taking place on our shores.


    and last but definitely not least:

    Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things I really like books like this, it's so fascinating to find out where and how stuff came to be. I'm sure this isn't a read cover-to-cover book but I will still have lots of fun perusing through it.



    All in all it's a VERY ambitious list and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to read all of this before spring comes, but I shall do my valiant best.

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    ten things i love that begin with k

    Dawn and her fabulous letter pickers have assigned me the letter K, thanks guys! So here's my list, in no particular order:

    1. Kids - especially mine, but others too. I find their perspectives on things to be so unique and they are all so wonderful in their own way, I really enjoy spending time with them.

    2. Kitchens - some are admittedly better than others, but I love working in the kitchen (and it's even better when I can work with my kids!), baking, canning, reading cookbooks, eating, when I have tea parties we all seem to hang out there, it's a great place to be.

    3. Kisses - what's not to like? :-)

    4. Knitting - if you've read this blog you know that I have a knitting group called Stitch Sisters. Each of these women is so special and important to me. I love that we get together and enjoy some female time and also craft and do charity projects together. I also like creating knitted objects. When I'm done I'm always amazed at how those two sticks and string have turned into something completely different.

    5. Knowledge (and learning) - I am a big proponent of education, both self-taught and in school. I believe it is and should be an important part of everyone's life. We are never to old to stop learning new things.

    6. Kale - sounds silly but I really do like it. It's a nutritious food and very tasty. My favorite way to make it is stir-fried with garlic and pignolis.

    7. Kaleidoscopes - I have always been fascinated by these. My grandfather used to have several and now my dad has some. They're neat to look through and see all the different patterns.

    8. Keyboard - another way to say piano. I've always enjoyed listening to others play them, especially my kids. I have in the past taken lessons and one day hope to do so again.

    9. Kittens - another way to say cats since all kittens eventually become cats. I love cats, I think it's genetic as my grandmother was absolutely mad about them, my mom too and we always had them growing up. There is something special about a warm bundle of purring fur sitting next to you.

    10. Kneading - what you do when you make bread. Very relaxing and the end product is wonderful.

    If you want to play too just leave a comment and I'll pick a letter for you.

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    oooh, imperial!

    My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
    Imperial Majesty Mira the Recumbent of Lower Beanthrop in the Hedge
    Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

    h/t to Dawn for this one.

    Thursday, January 04, 2007

    national spaghetti day

    is today!!! Whoo hooo!

    Not sure who determines these things or why it is cause for celebration but if you love pasta, celebrate the day with a big old bowl!

    And if you are seriously sick and twisted you can visit the Bent Spaghetti page and discover why it breaks the way it does.

    today is the day!!

    To my lovable niece, Miss M!

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    wfmw-holiday thank yous

    Another Works for me Wednesday. Don't forget to check out the tips that others are sharing and even share one yourself.

    'Tis the season...for thank you notes. For years we have been sending a group thank you. Everyone writes or draws in a card and we send that one card off to the gift giver. Some years when I have more time I actually make my own cards which makes it even more special. This also allows me to make sure the kids send their thank-yous. It works for me.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    tink tink tink

    Stitch Sisters again tonight. A small group of us but that was good because I needed a lot of help. The hoodie is back. I started it back in 2005 *gulp*. Somewhere along the way it got put down. Now I've sufficiently emptied bunches of stash, reduced my on-the-needle inventory and have decided that I really need to finish this sweater before another summer of beach weather comes and goes.

    Unfortunately in the meantime I lost my "cheat sheet" that told me where I was on the sweater. One of the sisters helped me figure it out after a couple of attempts to figure out what size I was knitting (I'm ashamed to confess that I didn't remember). Try counting sleeve stitches over and over and .... Finally got it. She measured and told me where I was.

    Happily I picked up and soared off on the new row. In the wrong direction *sigh*. Tink time (un-knit in other words). Luckily I only did one row before that I realized it. I was quietly tinking to myself when another sister mentioned "You have a funny string hanging from the middle of your sweater." *blush*, 'unh huh, that's why I'm tinking.' But I got it fixed and am confident that I will work on this hoodie until it is done. Maybe I'll even take a picture of me in it (no promises until it's done)

    In exciting news, one of us, not me, got two adorable new pygmy goats! I'm so excited I can't wait to go over and meet them. They are named Whinney and Whitney. I'm hoping to have a picture of them up soon. They've just arrived and sound absolutely adorable. Hmmmmmm, I wonder if we could hide a pair around here, they could be very useful for clearing out the garden. Neighbors? What neighbors? Maybe if we offered to lend them the goats to clear their yards too......probably not.


    Tobi went to his first Vet visit (with us) today. He was very happy and excited, wagging and sniffing, greeting all the people. He was even happy when he got back into the exam room, lots more good smells. Then a nice lady (the technician) comes in and pets him, admires him, what's not to like. Another nice lady comes in and pets him, he's thinking this is fun. The first tech gently puts her arm around him and the second one gently takes his front left paw. He's sitting there contentedly until the moment he sees the needle. Bam! Different dog. Wriggling, squirming, determinedly trying to get away. The second tech gets the needle into his vein and he shakes it free (bleeding quite a bit). So they change tactics and one holds him tightly while the other takes blood from the vein in his left hind leg. He's fine until the needle goes in and then goes nuts again. Luckily they get just enough blood that, when tested, reveals that he has Lyme Disease.

    He gets a couple of freeze dried liver treats which he likes and we sit there waiting for the Vet. I pet him and tell him what a good boy he is. He's sniffing the room again and trying to get out. Not on the patient side, on the lab side, he wants to follow the techs.

    Dr. comes in, admires him, examines him, tells him how handsome he is, he's loving this. Then she asks me to hold him so she can give him his distemper and rabies. One goes in the shoulder the other in the rump. The shoulder is first. She pinches his skin and he's fine. The needle goes in and he starts frantically wriggling to try to get away. Luckily she gets the full dose in there. Then the rump. As soon as she touches his rump to pinch it he ducks under and to the side. The Vet almost stabs me with his shot. I wrestle him down and she injects him. More liver treats, he calms down and he's okay again.

    He's on doxycycline, we're changing his tick medicine to something stronger and I'm going to have to figure out how to help him calm down when he gets shots. Luckily I have a whole year before we have to do this again.

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    a day of travel

    Miss D and I went with some Indian friends on an adventure today. They took us to two Indian temples. It was fascinating to walk around and see all the colorful sights, the decorations, the way people dressed, to watch the priests blessing people. Of course since everything was in Hindi we did not understand a single word but I know I could feel that aura of spiritual togetherness. It was a really unique moment.

    After visiting the temples and stopping to chat with and be introduced to many people and share many sweets (and I am talking really sweet here) we went to the market. Wandered around admiring all the jewelry, sari's, household implements, listened to lots of really loud Indian music coming from the shops and smelled all the difference incense wafting onto the street. Miss D was very taken with the bangles and somehow managed to purchase an enormous collection of them and very happily played with making patterns on her arm. Very bright and sparkly, she plans to wear all of them to school tomorrow.

    Next we went to a buffet restaurant. I thought the food was pretty good although I admit their palak paneer wasn't as good as my friend's homemade version. My friends all thought the food was rather poor. Later it occurred to me that it was probably spiced more for my (more delicate) palate and their complaint was due to the fact that it wasn't spicy enough. Lucky for D and me, otherwise we would have been relegated to rice, naan and yoghurt for dinner.

    After dinner it was on to the Indian food market. Wow! Lots of stuff that I have no idea what to do with, lots of stuff in amazing bulk qualities (8 pounds of dried chickpeas anyone?), just lots of stuff. I love going into grocery stores from other cultures. Unfortunately I don't always know what everything is for so am usually relegated to buying what I know or what I can get a suggestion for. But it's still really fun to wander and explore. One thing that amazed me was that this store carried 10 different kinds of white rice. Parboiled - 3 kinds, Jasmine - 1 kind, Indhi (?? It looked like short grain Japanese rice to me) - 1 kind, Basmati - 5 kinds. That's a lot of rice. I did buy some mango pulp to use to make Mango Lassi which we had at the restaurant and which was delicious. I've had a Sweet Lassi before but never Mango. According to my friends they don't blend in the ice cubes but rather pour the other ingredients over the ice so that it's not as thick. D at first refused one and then when I convinced her to taste it (she loves mango and I told her it tasted like a mango smoothie) wound up drinking most of mine.

    Full, shopped out, tired, we all piled back into the car for the drive home. Thank goodness I wasn't driving because it was an action-packed day.

    thoughts on the new year

    Here we are, another new year. It's an arbitrary day really but somehow one that we ascribe lots of importance to. Making resolutions, reviewing the year past, making plans for the upcoming year. All good things for many but this year I have decided to try something different.

    I'm tired of feeling so overwhelmed by my shoulds, both past and future. I think I would find more joy in life if I simply focus on the now. I've been doing more of that, especially since I started (and continued) my 30 Days of Peace. Instead of thinking about what I didn't accomplish, what I missed, worrying about what I have to do and when, I'm going to once again be grateful for what I have and to remember to follow my Aunt's advice to Do Less.

    So no resolutions this year. Do I still have goals to be accomplished? Absolutely. Will I always have daily lists of things to be done? You betcha. Will I have things/actions/decisions that I will rethink as time goes by? Probably. But instead of worrying about these and focusing on them I plan instead to focus on the good stuff and to try to be more present, more now.

    Whatever your plans for your new year I hope they are happy ones and that the coming year brings you much joy.

    vegetarian shepherd's pie

    Shepherd's Pie is one of our family favorites but I had never thought of making a vegetarian version. I'm not thinking ahead to meat substitutes well enough yet I guess. When visiting my in-laws for Christmas I found a really nice vegetarian cookbook on my mother-in-law's kitchen shelf and she is letting me borrow it. Our first recipe was for this pie and turned out delicious. I'm going to assume that people already know how to make the mashed potatoes that go on top, if you don't you can get directions here.

    Base of pie:

    soak 1/2 C. tvp in 1/2 C. hot water until absorbed (about 10 minutes)
    cook 1/2 C. lentils in 1 quart of water until done (about 30 minutes)
    sautee 1/2 C. onions and 1 clove garlic in olive oil until soft
    add tvp and sautee until mixed well
    add 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper
    drain lentils and mash
    add lentils to tvp mixture
    pat into bottom of casserole dish or pie pan


    your choice - we used 1 1/2 C. of mixed vegetables

    place filling on top of base

    top with mashed potatoes so no filling or base shows

    bake at 350 F for 25 minutes until thoroughly warmed

    This was so delicious! V did say that she didn't like the lentils so much and wondered if it could be made with just the tvp and onion/garlic. It probably could but Steve and I liked the lentils so much that they're going to stay in this recipe. Definitely a keeper and one that I will be making again.