Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Back to my story. I got bored. Then I got creative. I realized that bullfrogs will bite anything that you put in front of them. So, I quit fishin' and started bullfroggin'. MW thought that seemed like fun, so he joined in. Then he had a brilliant idea! He suggested that we bring the bullfrogs home and have frog legs for dinner. I've never had frog legs before - but, hey, MW likes them. And he assured me that they taste like chicken! :0) That was good enough for me.
We caught enough bullfrogs for dinner and took them home. We were so excited! We were gonna have frog legs for dinner! We didn't think through the whole process beforehand, though. Once we got them to the kitchen sink and got ready to prepare them, we couldn't figure out how to actually get their legs off. Do we cut them off while they're still alive? What would we do with the rest of their maimed selves after we cut their legs off? Please, we're not that cruel. Do we kill them first and then cut their legs off? That would be more humane, right? (If you belong to PETA - PLEASE, quit reading now.) How do we even kill them? Knock them in the head? What do we knock them in the head with? What if we knock them in the head and they don't die? What if they just pass out and then we cut their legs off they wake up from the amputation and start hopping around the kitchen all one legged and bloody like? No, we couldn't have that either. We were sort of in a pickle. We had all of these frogs and didn't know what to do with them.
The only thing that we could think to do was get some water boiling, put the frogs in the boiling water, cook them and then cut the back legs off of the dead frogs. Easy peasy. It was a plan. But, it wasn't a great plan. It wasn't even a good plan. Oh, we put those big bullfrogs in boiling water and cooked them alright. But, when we took the lid off of the pot we weren't expecting what we saw. Somehow, the frogs had expanded during cooking and they didn't look right. They were all grey and their eyes had melted. Ew, gross! Suddenly, MW and I had totally lost our appetite for frog legs. I'm pretty sure that I've never eaten them to this day.
So, what have we learned today? Sometimes you should just stick to shopping.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Dad passed one of his BB guns on to Little Britches for his birthday.
I think that this was Little Britches' most memorable birthday, so far. I was really glad that we were able to go up there this past weekend. It meant a lot to spend a special time with family that we don't get to see as often as we'd like.
I'll post more later.
Friday, July 24, 2009
When we went camping over Father's Day we had bought some Repel with 33% DEET. The stuff kept the insects away, that's for sure. However, I noticed that it had eaten the picture off of Little Britches' favorite mug when we got home. I thought, "Surely, this can't be good to put on your skin if it will eat the picture off of a mug." Then, Mr. Wonderful read the back of the container. It had some kind of warning about being extremely hazardous and that it shouldn't be used on certain people or some blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada that I can't remember right now. I just know it was bad. Really bad. Like, "Who the heck in their right mind would use this stuff?", bad. So, we were at a catch 22. DEET is bad for you. But, then again, so is West Nile Virus. So, what were our options?
Well, we could all go around looking like this. That would make us sure to turn a few heads, wouldn't it?
Enter, Listerine. Not the new fancy, schmancy, miracle working Listerine. The original, old fashioned, yellow, stinky kind.
The cashier at K Mart told my MIL that if you put original Listerine in a spray bottle and apply it as a bug spray, that it would work as well as any other repellent.
When we went to Brown County State Park to walk the trails, we tried it. We also brought the Repel just in case. Amazingly, none of us got a single bite!
I figure if it is made to be swished around inside of your mouth, then, it has to be safer than the stuff that can eat paint off of ceramic. Incidentally, after the coffee mug episode, I remembered that we had another experience with it once in FL where it got on my cell phone charger and completely deformed and ate away at the plastic.
Now, I've only tried Listerine as a bug spray once, so I can't vouch for it 100%. But, I can tell you, that after walking the wooded trails and not getting a bite, I will definitely be trying this again.
Hope you found this helpful.
Have a great weekend!
I'm linking this post to Works For Me Wednesday.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Quite a few years ago now, back when we were living in Florida, I happened to be using the restroom at a Sam's Club. There were two ladies who were, shall we say great in years? in there at the same time. I couldn't help but overhear their conversation. To make a long story short - one of the ladies was really, completely and totally honked off about something. I don't remember exactly what it was. I just remember it being pretty insignificant. Anyway, she made a comment about how she didn't have to be nice or polite anymore. She had paid her dues. And now that she was old, she had the right to be mean and nasty. Honest to God, people. I felt like my chin hit the floor.
Then there are the people who get behind you in the check out lane and insist upon banging your heels with their cart. Or when you go to load your cart with bagged groceries (we don't have Publix in these parts) and they scoot theirs right up to the handle of yours so you can't get back around there to even pay the cashier. What's up with that? Then you have to say something like, "Excuse me, but, could you please back your cart up a little so I can get in here to pay?". Then they have to turn around and say something like, "Get your *bleepity bleepin'* cart off my heels so I can back up! This woman needs to pay so we can all get the *bleep* outta here!". And then that person turns around and says... OK, you get the idea.
For the most part, I still believe that people aren't totally self-absorbed and rude to the core. I just think that the stresses of life can be a little overwhelming at times and people just don't think. At least, that's what I choose to believe.
That is also one of the reasons that I truly love living in a small Midwestern town. Most people still do think. They think about waving at the stranger passing by. They think about holding doors open for one another. They think about introducing themselves to the new neighbors. They think about making small talk with someone they see at the store. It's really nice. It gives a sense of community.
I have also recently discovered another sense of community - the blog community. It's so refreshing to find that there are other women (and men) out there who have common goals, desires and aspirations that just want to contribute in some way. People who give selflessly of their knowledge, talents and insights - just because they want to help someone. I'm so grateful for all of these "blogging friends".
I just met a new one yesterday. I had mentioned that the past couple of posts I had written didn't want to properly space out the paragraphs. Then Lori came along and left me a comment. She has never left me a comment before. She has probably never even seen my blog before. Lori has a blog, too; Family Trees May Contain Nuts . Don't you just love that name? Anyway, Lori commented that if I would e-mail her she could probably help me with my paragraph issues. Just like that. Just because she's nice. And she did help me. Because of the random act of kindness of a stranger - I know how to fix my paragraphs using HTML now when my computer isn't cooperating. Thanks Lori!
I would like to issue a challenge for us all. Let's try to smile more, use kinder words, do something kind when we have that little inward nudge. I think if we all would do a little - well, I might not get so annoyed in public!
Hey! Have a great weekend. I'll be on vacation all next week, so I won't be doing any blogging. Yay for vacation!
Friday, July 10, 2009
This potato dish came from Robin Miller off of a show on the Food Network. Sorry, I don't remember which one. She calls it Potatoes with Onions, Olives and Tomatoes. I'm too lazy to say that many words when my family wants to know what's for supper. So, I call it Greek(ish) Potatoes. Here's what you need.
6 small or 4 medium red potatoes, halved (or quartered if potatoes are slightly bigger)
1/2 c. pitted Greek (kalamata) olives
1/2 c. diced, ripe tomatoes
1/4 c. minced red onion
1 1/2 TBSP. chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried
salt and ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a saucepan and pour over enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Set pan over high heat and bring water to a boil. Boil 8 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
In a large bowl, add your chopped tomatoes.
Next came the bread. I had a frozen loaf in the freezer. You know, the kind that you set out and let rise while it thaws? I forgot to set it out in time for it to be ready by dinner. I had to get creative. So, I tweaked my quick pizza crust recipe to make this focaccia(ish) bread. (Ish) is my new word of the post! I needed a dense bread for the chimi churri (Don't worry. It's coming!) and this worked beautifully.
In your mixing bowl, add warm water, salt, sugar and yeast. Let sit a couple of minutes until it's bubbly. Add in the remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed until it's all incorporated. Then mix on #2 speed for 2 minutes. The dough should spring back when touched. Let it sit for 2 minutes.
Roll out and place on 1 cookie sheet. It will be thicker than pizza crust. Mine also didn't go to the edges of the cookie pan. I pressed my finger into the dough to make indentations all over it and then slightly pricked it with a fork.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Slice into squares and plate it up.
Back years ago, in Florida, our good friends, Mauro and Paula, made this to go with dinner one night. Mauro was born in Argentina and raised in Australia. I think he said that this is a dish that he had been eating since his boyhood in Argentina. I think there are several versions, but why mess with perfection?
Mauro chops his parsley and garlic by hand. I'm just lazy enough to throw the parsley and garlic together in the food processor and chop it together that way. Then I add a little salt, pepper, oil and vinegar and blend it up while it's still in the food processor. This is one of those things that you just season to your liking. I always make at least a double batch, many times even more. It's great on steak, burgers, bread and probably many other types of meat. We never make steak without this to go with it.
Here it is dipped onto the bread. The juice that is on the plate is great for sopping up with your bread, too. Mmmm....
OK. I didn't take pictures of the steaks marinating. So, sue me. Usually, I marinate them in Italian dressing. I tried something different this time. In the lavender gift basket I received recently, there was a tin of lavender and sea salt culinary blend. I wanted to try that.
I used rib eyes this time. I simply sprinkled some fresh ground pepper on the raw steaks, followed by a little of the lavender and sea salt blend. I let it set for about 20 minutes before I grilled them to our liking.
I was really impressed with the flavor and will definitely do this again. It gave the meat a really complex flavor that was simply scrumptious. It didn't really taste like flowers, but you could slightly detect the lavender if you were looking for it.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post and found a thing or two that you will consider trying in the future.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Little Britches rolled the entire first coat of paint for me while I cut in all along the edges. Knowing that I was going to be painting all the woodwork as soon as we were done with the walls, I opted for cutting in with a foam brush instead of the good angle brush I knew I'd need for the trim. This was my first mistake. I would recommend skipping the foam brushes for cutting in your paint job. Although, they're great for other projects - this isn't one of them. It gave me thin coverage that you could see through and I went through several of them because they kept ripping.
Go ahead and invest in one of these babies. An angle brush is just the ticket you need to get great coverage right up into the corners. I don't even have to tape off anymore now that I use this brush. A two inch brush seems to be a good size.
This is what it looks like without the cover. You can tell it's been used a lot. We made sure we didn't buy the cheapest angle brush out there, either. I choked a just a little bit when I saw the price - but, believe me, it was well worth the investment. I've have had this for years now and it is still in great shape. I'll never buy an el cheapo brush again (unless it's the foam babies for craft projects). Some things are worth the investment. My experience with cheap brushes has proven that the bristles want to come out in your paint job and get all crazy going off the sides and stuff like that. I really, really like this Wooster 2" angle brush. The next time you need to paint, buy one. Seriously. OK. Moving on...
I don't remember where I heard this next tip, but it's worked out really great for me. Whenever I paint, instead of just pouring the remainder of it back into the can, I save some of it in a glass jar. I put some Scotch tape on the jar and then label it, so I know what's in there and where I used it. This makes it really easy when I need to do a quick touch-up. It's also a great way to repurpose glass food jars. One of these was a pickle jar. One used to hold Cheez Whiz. Do this the next time you break open a can of paint. You'll be glad you did.
OK. This next tip doesn't have a picture. But, you're smart. You'll figure it out. :0) When you first open a new can of paint, take a nail and puncture the rim of the can (not the lid) a few times all around it. You want to make the holes in the lowest ridge of the can. As you load your brush and wipe the excess off of it, the paint will drip back down into the can through the holes instead of pooling up in the ridge. This is also helpful when it's time to close up shop. Have you ever went to put the lid back on the paint can, only to find that all of the paint sitting in that well spatters all over you, the floor and anything else that is in close enough proximity to it? This eliminates that problem because the paint isn't pooling there anymore. It dripped back into the can, remember? Aaahhh, very good, Grasshopper. Remember this one.
This next tip is something that I have just started doing since we moved into our current house last year. OK. Well, most of it anyway. The part I'm getting ready to tell you about, I actually started before we moved in. But, who's counting? All righty, then. I have a 3 ring binder filled with those clear, plastic sheet protector thingies. I took a few file folders, cut them in half, hit the bottoms with a 3 hole punch and added those to the binder. This became my Inspiration Book. Whenever I see something that I really like in a magazine, on the computer, in the paper, etc. - I rip it out and add it to my Inspiration Book. I have sections for general decorating, Holidays, landscaping and organizing. I also added a section at the front of the book (this is the new part) for our current house. I just took a sheet of lined paper and wrote down every room in the house, what brand of paint, color of paint, finish and chip number that we used. You could be fancy and type it out. I didn't feel like it.
On the back side of my paint chart, I slipped all of my paint chips in the pocket. I also stuck a binder clip on the top to make sure that they don't fall out.
I also have a pocket for the landscaping that we have started. I keep the tags of the trees, shrubs and plants that we have added so far. This is great, not only so I'll remember what they are, but, so we also have care instructions for each plant, should we ever need it.
Well, that's all the tips I have today. I hope you found something useful that you didn't know before. And, if you have a tip that I didn't mention that works really well for you - please, leave me a comment with it. I'm all for finding ways to make my life easier and more efficient.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Take olive oil for instance. I use it in my own furniture polish. I use it as a hot oil treatment. It is my personal favorite choice of moisturizer. It has so many benefits that I can't justify not using it. It's also cheap. Dirt cheap. I have recently found one other use for it that I would like to share with you. Back a little while ago Prarie Cottage Rose shared an olive oil cleanser . Well, I was all on that one. Seeing how it's so good for your skin, I definitely thought it a good idea to use it in a cleanser as well. Plus, MW would be inadvertently using it, too. MwaaaaHaaaaaahahahahaha!
I love vinegar, too. It may truly be one of God's greatest gifts to the world. I buy it by the gallon now. I use it in just about every aspect of daily life. I use it as a general cleaner for counters, windows and a variety of other surfaces... It unclogs drains, clears out the coffee pot, makes a great fabric softener, disinfects, does floors, removes hard water and lime scale, kills mildew...the list could go on and on. Read this post if you want to find out more about the miracle that I like to call vinegar. But, today, I want to talk about the new way I've been using it. Let me share, if you will.
For the past year I have been having a hair issue. It started with a perm I got last May. Let me just add here that I have been getting my haired permed since I was 7 years old. Well, last May, shortly after we moved into this house, I had a perm break some of my hair off for the first time in my life. Not good. It began to grow out and I thought I was out of the woods. Then it started breaking off again - months and months after my disastrous perm. For the life of me, I can't figure out why it's breaking off. It's just in one spot on the top of the back of my head. Seeing how my hair has always been the one thing that I usually always felt really great about - this has been a little unsettling for me.
One day while reading one of Pioneer Woman's posts - she was talking about her own hair issues. I would find the exact post for you, but, I'm too lazy. :0) To make a long story short, it all spawned from her extremely hard water. Then I suddenly had a huge light bulb appear over my head. We have very hard water! So hard, that we had to replace the kitchen faucet when we moved in because it had so much mineral build-up that no water would flow out - at all. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. My hair woes didn't begin until we moved into this house. Hmmm....Could it be that my hair breakage is due to the hard water we have? Pioneer Woman's thoughts (and they make much sense to me - because I have to remedy a lot of the same problems elsewhere in the house as she does) was that if hard water was messing up the pipes, the coffee maker and a host of other problems - then there's a possibility that it was messing up her hair, too. Well, vinegar is what we use to clear up these other issues, so, maybe a vinegar hair rinse would work here.
Now, it's not that I really want to go around smelling like a salad, or pickles, or the weird old lady at the supermarket - but desperate times call for desperate measures. Actually, I add a few drops of essential oil to my 50/50 vinegar/water solution to kill a lot of the smell. Once my hair is dry, it doesn't smell any more at all. Either that, or I'm just used to it by then. :0) No, it really doesn't smell any more after it's dry. BTW, I had actually read about doing this vinegar hair rinse in a book a while back, French Women For All Seasons. I had just never really tried it.
I should probably add here exactly what I do. First of all, I make a 50/50 solution of vinegar/water in a plastic sports bottle and add a couple drops of lavender essential oil. But, you could use whatever kind of essential oil you wanted. I just keep this in the shower. I shampoo and condition as normal. Then at the very end, I shake up the bottle to mix in the essential oil, and rinse my hair with it. I don't rinse this out. I just squeeze out the excess water and towel dry my hair. You can use either white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. It really doesn't matter.
I've been doing this for a while now and here's what I have noticed. a) My hair is really shiny and responds much better to styling when I rinse it with vinegar. b) My roots are blending in nicely as they grow out. I don't have that awful line between new hair and old, colored hair. c) My greys aren't showing up nearly like they used to. Yay! And, they are much more manageable.
Now, honestly, I'm not sure if this vinegar rinse is the cure all to my breakage problems. I haven't been doing it long enough to know for sure or not, yet. But, I do see enough of a benefit in other arenas of my hair that I will continue to do this. I'm way past due for a haircut because, I was trying to let that spot grow out. I'll be getting it cut this week and then I'll have a better gauge of how it's growing.
So, now that you've heard my oil and vinegar tales, I hope that you begin to consider viewing oil and vinegar as something that is useful (and safe) for much more than the salad bowl.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Not this kind. Although, I am rather averted to this as well. I feel a song comin' on...If you want my body - and you think I'm sexy - come on sugar - let me know... Ok. Enough of that.
This is the kind of cheese that spawned my total aversion.
Would you like to know the reason behind my aversion? Yes? Feel free to keep reading. No? Feel free to exit this blog post. Just know that I'll miss you...
Nine years ago we had a dog.
This dog. Her name was Judah. She was going to be named Harley, as in the motorcycle, because my hubby loves them so. But we also had another dog when we got her.
This dog. Her name was Holly because my hubby bought her for me as a Christmas present one year. Well, every time we called for Harley, Holly got confused and she came running. It just wasn't fair to mess with her little doggy head that way. So, Harley became Judah. But, I digress...
Judah looks very similar to this dog, doesn't she?
This is Layla - my current lass and the best dog in the whole world. I'm not being prejudice here. I'm just stating the facts, Mam. Anyway, Judah began this family's love affair with the perfect breed for our brood - the Doberman. Hence, the similarity.
Judah had some issues, though. She used to get puppy pimples on her chin when she was just a young thang. I didn't know puppies could actually get pimples until we had her. She also used to get little spots where her fur would come out. I don't know if it was due to the Florida heat or an internal glitch, but, evidently she needed more protein in her diet.
This is where the cheese comes in. The vet instructed us to add cottage cheese to her regular food at meal times. It worked beautifully and cured a world of ails. Then I got pregnant.
Up until then, cottage cheese made little impact on my life. I could take it or leave it. Pregnancy has a way of screwing with every aspect of your being, though, as I'm sure every woman who has ever birthed a young'n is well aware. But, we won't talk about how I can't even swing without wanting to throw up, or see blood, or hear about Kathleen's razor stories :0), or wipe boogers off little people's noses, or any of those things that used to not bother me - but makes my stomach do acrobatics now that it has carried a child. No, we won't talk about those things today. We'll talk about cheese instead.
I had been sloppin' the white, lumpy, soupy stuff which somehow managed to go by the name of cheese on that dog's dish for a long time and never thought a thing about it. But, once pregnancy came a callin', I thought it was "icky". One day - one lone, fateful day - "icky" became a massive understatement. As I opened the container of cottage cheese I found myself turning my head away. When I tried to spoon it into Judah's dog bowl - I found my stomach churning. I couldn't do it. I couldn't feed cottage cheese that dog. I was too busy - heaving and gagging and running to the bathroom and all. I just couldn't give my pooch the protein she so desperately needed in cheese form on that day, or any day after, for that matter. I had to switch to putting eggs on her food instead. I know that raw eggs is supposed to be a big faux pas and all. Blah, blah, blah...Whatever. It still got the job done and she never contracted salmonella poisoning. So, let's just get over it and move on already. Mkay? We good? Moving on then...
For nine years now the very sight of cottage cheese has caused a reaction in me where my nose curls up, my mouth sucks itself back toward my ear lobes and my eyes roll back into their sockets. I can't help it. It's involuntary. Something has changed recently, though.
A couple of weeks ago, my blog friend Kathleen, was featuring a table scape she had done for breakfast and this salad that she had been eating. It was a breakfast salad with fruit and a side of cottage cheese for protein. The salad really piqued my interest. I could definitely stand to get some more fruit in my diet and this looked like an interesting way to accomplish that. But, then I got thinking about how I need protein in the mornings, too. I decided to try this meal for breakfast, cottage cheese and all. I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be my nose curling up, my mouth sucking itself back toward my ear lobes and my eyes rolling back into their sockets. That, and me having to scrape the white stuff off my plate 'cause I was too grossed out to eat it. I could completely recover from that, right? So, I fixed my plate up, real purty like. I scooped out some cheese of the cottage variety on the side. Added a little salt and pepper to it and sat down with my plate. I ate the first bite with my nose curled up, but my eyes didn't roll back into their sockets. Hmmm...I think I can stomach this. Ok. This isn't too bad. I can do this.
Let me tell you, that breakfast salad is sooo good that I have eaten it almost every day. And the cottage cheese? I'm totally lovin' it now! So much so that one day last week, me and Little Britches met MW for lunch and I ate it right off the salad bar. Well, I did put it on my plate and go back to my seat first. I'm still in shock from this whole ordeal. I mean, how can one go from heaving and gagging on the way to the loo from the mere sight of something to completely craving it every day? Go figure. Pregnancy. Nine years later and it's still messing with me.
So, that's my tale of cheese. What do you think about cottage cheese? Love it? Hate it? Or are you indifferent to the stuff?
Have a great day!