Monday, March 31, 2008
I think that I prefer posting directly here especially if I want to include pictures.
It took me ages to figure out a font that I like to use as my standard template. The new idea of Office 2007 is that your pull-down menus are no longer pull-down - they are there in the open as quick tabs. The icons are kind of big on some of them but for the sake of learning something new I'm using them instead of just making it all the way that I am used to. It IS throwing me off that this keyboard has a number pad on the right hand side - I'm used to my hands being centered on the keyboard in the middle of the computer, not off to the left. I'm getting used to it but it'll take some more time.
School is going so much better now that all the candy is out of the house!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Dinner tonight was beans and rice. I know that to a lot of people this might not sound like a very exciting dinner option but those people have never had MY beans and rice. Tonight the bean was Pigeon Peas. I know that technically they are not beans but I consider Black-eyed Peas to be beans also. Maybe I'll make up a new name for them – PEANS! That's it, from now on all the peas that I use like beans will be referred to as peans! There, I just added to my Microsoft Dictionary so it's a real word now. The rule in our house when I was growing up was that if the word could be found in the dictionary then it was a real word. I'm just going by what my dad taught me – I don't make the rules, I just follow them.
Let's get back to dinner: Pigeon Peans and Rice.
Into a medium saucepan over high heat pour in all of the following:
- 1 15 oz can Goya Pigeon Peas* not drained
Stir all ingredients together thoroughly and bring to a boil and then reduce temp to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 min. I prefer my beans/peans and rice to be 'wet' so add water and stir it in if there isn't enough 'juice' in the pot.***
Serve in bowls with a generous dollop of Daisy sour cream (full fat only in this house) and I topped mine with the 1/2 cup of spring onion greens chopped (I've got full on onion breath at this point so I probably could have used a quarter of a cup instead but it tasted good!)
*I guess that any brand would do although previously I've never tried another brand. I do have two cans of another brand in the pantry that I'll be using next time, El Jibarito.
**I've tried Uncle Ben's instant brown rice but was not as pleased with the packaging. Inside of the cardboard box it's inside of a plastic non-resealable bag. It's also not as pre-cooked as the Minute Rice so it takes 10 min to cook and 5 min to rest instead of 5 to cook and 5 to rest. When I've got to feed a hungry me and 2 kids as quickly as possible then every 5 minutes of cooking time matters.
***I'm not talking soupy, just hearty, kind of like chili consistency. That way you know that the rice is fully cooked and the rice won't absorb all the moisture in your stomach and bind you up the next day.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I would have gone to bed with the kids but I had to adjust all my personal settings on this new computer. I've only fixed up Internet Explorer and Outlook 2007 so far. Tweaking Word and Excel will take a bit of time since evidently the newest versions are 'different'. I'll have to use the new changes a bit to see how exactly I have to adjust them to my liking.
I think we might go the the Zilker Garden Festival tomorrow after church (Giselle wants to go to both Sunday Schools this time) instead of going to the Fairie Festival at the local Waldorf Preschool.
Thanks for reading, good night.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I'm not sure about this touchpad thing though. I'll use it when I'm not plugged in but I think that for regular use I'll still use the mouse. Then again, I thought that I'd never give up my trackball and I dumped that for a scroll mouse that looks like a ladybug a few months ago. Maybe I'll convert someday. But the kids will have to still use a mouse - I don't want any grimy fingers all over it. Unless of course they are using MS Paint, then they can use the touch pad. I guess that the old Gateway will become the school computer - most of our educational software is PC only and Paul will start using the Edmark ones this fall for preschool. I'm thinking that this fall is going to go really well for schooling; I think that Giselle is feeling confident in her abilities and I've planned a fairly light school schedule for the summer. Paul will be ready to play with Jaden every day after school just like Giselle plays with Jessi each day. Paul in preschool, Jaden in kindergarten, Jessi in 1st grade, Giselle in 2nd/3rd. I see a lot of trips to the library in our future. Speaking of which, we've got a homeschool field trip coming up next month to the local public library. And I think we are supposed to have a field trip to the local natural gardening center soon too. When was the last time we went to the zoo?
I'm going to bed - it's 12:30 and Joe's watching Battlestar Galactica which I can't stand.
The new season of Dr Who starts Friday April 18!!
I just found out about this event where millions of people around the world are joining together to make a statement about climate change by turning their lights off for an hour. It's called Earth Hour and I just signed-up to participate-I thought it might be something you'd want to sign up for too. Earth Hour is on March 29 from 8 - 9 p.m. local time, and it looks like it's going to be really big. So far 25 cities around the world are taking part, including Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco in the U.S.
Watch the video about it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_c5K7Jdw9E and then sign up for Earth Hour by visiting www.earthhour.org/sign-up to join the movement with me.
And remember - Lights Out on March 29!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I gotta go delete stuff of of TiVo to make room for more things to delete. The kids were watching Monster Jam this evening and they loved it so I had to give it one thumb up so that it would get recorded again. It was a TiVo suggestion in the first place. I guess it knew something that I didn't know. Then again, Paul does already own a die-cast tiny version of Grave Digger but tonight he wanted to sleep with it. I, of course, said NO! He's now watched Cars three times in the past week and currently wakes up every morning asking some random question like "If they painted Lightning McQueen blue would he still be Lightning McQueen?". I've got a feeling that tomorrow morning's question is going to be something like "If they put really big tires on Lightning McQueen would he be a monster truck?"
Well, tonight when we got home from watching for the space shuttle and the International Space Station to pass by in the Southwestern sky at 8:30, I decided to do my vanilla research.
Tomorrow we'll research the space shuttle and the ISS for school - find out when we'll get to see a re-entry of the space shuttle next since it looks like a ball of fire in the sky. It freaked Joe out when we saw it early one morning about 12 years ago.
Back to the vanilla. So the first link that I clicked on after Googling "ingredients in Mexican vanilla" was this place www.gourmetsleuth.com/vanilla.htm where they informed me (and anyone else who wants to read it) that "Coumarin is a the bad guy of the vanilla industry. It is derived from the Brazilian tonka bean from Dipteryx ordorata, a tree. The bean can be used to make flavoring very similar to vanilla. Sadly the concoction is dreadfully toxic and can cause liver damage and is a know carcinogen. Coumarin is used extensively in synthetic vanillas manufactured in Mexico. The U.S. banned imports of the coumarin laced products back in the 1950's. Unfortunately the products still make their way into the U.S. If you purchase any Mexican vanilla make sure it is clearly labeled "courmarin free". and "Most of the vanilla extracts that come to the US from Mexico are synthetic. The best way to determine quality is price. If you are offered a large bottle for a cheap price it is most assuredly a synthetic product. Also, real vanilla is not "clear". No matter what the label may tell you if it is clear it is synthetic. True vanilla is amber colored. Synthetics tend to be dark and murky either from the coal tar from which they are produced or from caramel and red food colorings. Mexico today still uses coumarin in much of its vanilla products. Lacking strict labeling laws as we have in the U.S., Mexican manufactured products may not list accurate ingredients. Again, purchase from a reliable source and steer clear of those large "bargain" sized bottles found all over Mexico." also "The other synthetic common in Mexican artificial flavorings is Ethyl Vanillin derived from coal tar. " EWWWW, gross!
Now don't go thinking that American vanilla is any better since "U.S. manufactured artificial vanilla is produced from synthetic "vanillin", Lignin Vanillin, which is made from a by-product of the paper producing industry. This by product is chemically treated to mimic the flavor of vanilla. The product help take care of a ecological problem with paper producers and created an "affordable" vanilla flavoring for the public. "
According to this site http://www.mexicanvanillaextract.com/ "Vanilla was discovered in Mexico by Spanish invaders. As a precious item, it constituted one of the tributes paid to Aztec overlords by some tribes. The quality of the aroma and flavor of vanilla varies with the geographical regions from where the beans are obtained, because of their vanillin content plus other factors. It is generally accepted that vanilla beans from Mexico are superior because their vanillin concentration is higher."
In conclusion, read the label to make sure that it's pure vanilla extract and buy the expensive stuff. And the Mexican vanilla DOES taste the best!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I don't ever plagiarize and my brain is not up for 'restating in my own words' other than my explanation above so here are are bunch of links if you want to learn more about Paskafton and Pask in Sweden:
I'm off to finish filling the kids' Easter baskets and then watch the latest episode of Torchwood.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
If you want to see what ours will look like then see my post about making them last year. Here's the link for you so you don't have to search for it.
http://casadegalletti.blogspot.com/2007/04/cascarones.html - about us making them
http://casadegalletti.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-pictures.html - pictures of us making them
And here's one of the pictures from last year. I'm so proud of how nice this picture is that I'm posting it again. Look at it in the big version, the colors are so nice and the edges are so crisp. I rarely take a still-life picture this nice so forgive my crowing (another bad egg/chicken/rooster pun, sorry).
Purim is a really cool holiday celebration so please read all about it here http://www.holidays.net/purim/index.htm
It starts tonight at sundown
And on Saturday night is another holiday that's cool - Sweden celebrates Easter Eve with a Halloween-type celebration. I'll write more about that in another post.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
added on Wed at 2:20pm:
The Dr Laura Show is too much for me to listen to but I enjoy her blog and her books.
In this latest nanny thing, the press was all over the nanny for flopping the 7 month old twins around like sacks of potatoes and being very careless with children that she was "hired by THE MOTHER" to look after. Dr Laura was wondering the same things that I was: Where is the father of these twins? Why isn't he taking care of them when she's at her job? If she's a single unmarried mother of twins then why hasn't she moved close to other family members to help her out with child-care? If she's a divorced mom, why isn't the dad paying enough child support that she doesn't need to work full-time to support his kids? And the big question that I'll maybe regret saying out loud - (WARNING, THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AND IT MAY OFFEND OTHERS) If she's unmarried, then what was she thinking getting pregnant in the first place?
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Last year some brilliant lady (ladies) came up with the perfect solution - Bra Babies. I'm sure that the idea came from those baseball cap holders for the laundry that have been around for several years. You wrap your bra around this vented plastic ball (think wiffle ball) then you put it inside of a bigger wiffle ball and toss it into the washing machine with the rest of your laundry. The idea is that your bra gets swished in the soapy and rinse water but doesn't get mangled by the agitator.
I saw an ad for the Bra Baby (or it was a review in a magazine) back in the fall and I've been wanting one ever since. I got my new bras last summer and have been very delicately hand washing them since then. I finally bought a Bra Baby today at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It was $9.99 so I bought a plastic citrus juicer for $4.99 and a bottle stopper for $1.99 (I actually did needed both) to bring my total over $15 so that I could use my $5 off coupon! I've now firmly entrenched myself onto BB&B's mailing list. I'm trying the Bra Baby out for the first time right now. It's designed for washing A, B, C & D cups; my bra is larger so it will be interesting to see how it all turns out. It certainly will be better than washing it either by hand or loose in the washer. The instructions say that you can put the whole thing in the dryer but I never put my bras in the dryer - my Momma taught me right. After the bra is done drying I'll let you know if it passed the test.
So, the supposed tip to peel a banana from the bottom up to decrease the amount of strings is FALSE. Try it yourself if you don't believe me, you'll see!
Just trying to help out my friends and protect them from falsehoods.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Don't even ask me how many times in a week I run into the kitchen table with my thigh! And no, my vision is fine - I just got it checked 2 months ago and it's 20/25.
In 7th grade I was walking down the hall in Jr High and one of my 'friends' came running down the hall with a block of wood from shop class. He hit me on the top of the head with it as if playing a game of Duck, Duck, Goose and I was Goose. It landed me in the Nurse's office for the rest of the day with a mild concussion. Did you know that most schools don't even have a nurse on staff all day 5 days a week anymore?
In 3rd grade I got my fingers closed in the wrong side of a classroom door. I got a metal finger splint from the doctor for that one which got reused several times over the years.
In 7th grade I was running the 100 yard dash one day in PE and at the finish line I tripped on the toe of my own shoe and skidded along the blacktop for a few feet. That was not one of my most graceful moves.
At 3 years old I was carrying a sandwich on a plate, tripped while walking down a flight of 3 stairs in my own house, cut my forehead open and got several stitches.
Just before I turned 5 I was riding my tricycle in our carport and came up behind my about-to-be 6 yr old brother who was shoveling snow. My upper lip contacted with the shovel as he threw the snow over his shoulder. A snowy ride to the local military hospital for that one. A week later that same brother got his head stuck between the banisters on the upper staircase in the house.
No one was harmed, but one day in sixth grade (elementary school) we were playing kickball at lunch recess and when I kicked the ball my platform Mary Jane went flying through the air. It actually went further than the ball did. The perils of wearing hand-me-down shoes that don't quite fit yet.
I'm not even going to go over my brainless bike accident when I was in 5th grade, other than to say "big steep hill", "downhill with no hands", "swimsuit, shorts & flip-flops". You can imagine the rest.
Then there was the time that I went dirt bike riding with Joe and ended up with a gravel-sized hole in my jeans and knee.
And the 10 stitches over my left eye from playing catcher in the local co-ed softball league when I was 30. The pitcher was having and off day and one of the pitches bounced off of the plate into my eye socket. "No, it's fine, I can keep playing!" "Uh, Natalie, it's bleeding. A lot. I think you should go to the hospital" "Fine, but I'll be back for the end of the game." NOT! But I was back 3 games later, this time with a catcher's mask! Yeah, we didn't wear masks before then, but two other catchers got hit over the next week after I did so they became standard equipment for the league. That was before I knew about Arnica so I had one of the nastiest, coolest, grossest shiners ever seen. Joe couldn't go out in public with me since most people assumed that I had been beaten up by him. Fortunately I had both neighbors and co-workers on the softball team that had seen the accident happen so they knew the real story and kept the false stories from spreading.
To think that I had 3 years of ballet. Come to think about it, it could have been worse if I hadn't taken ballet.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Paul got hit in the face with a golf ball this evening. That boy gets in more accidents than I could dream possible. I carefully watch over him 95% of the time, but sometimes I gotta go to the bathroom or blink my eyes. At least once every other day I'm saying one or more of these: "Paul, please watch where you're going on your bike.", "Paul, keep an eye on where you're climbing and not looking at me.", "Paul, that's not a good decision, you need to get down.", "Paul, you know how Mommy feels about sticks, stop running with those in your hands.", "Paul, you're stronger than you think so calm down when you're playing swords and light sabers.", "Paul, pay attention to the other people around when you're playing sports."
That last one was the one that I was on my way around the house to remind him about when I heard him crying from the neighbor's back yard. His first words to me were "He wasn't paying attention to where I was!" I'm figuring that this is his first lesson in defensive driving (golf pun intended). Several Arnica, Hypericum and Ledum, a dab of ointment and 1 Motrin later, he's on the mend.
Did I mention that he fell out of a hammock 2 weeks ago?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
So here's the latest recipe for Natalie's Homemade Chili
3/4 lb frozen shredded beef (seasoned w/ taco seasoning when first made from a Pikes Peak Roast from Finca Pura Vida back in August)
1/2 lb uncooked ground beef from Finca Pura Vida
1 15 oz can Eden organic black beans
1 15 oz can Eden organic garbanzo beans
1 15 oz can Westbrae organic salad beans
1 15 oz can Natural Value organic refried pinto beans
1 28 oz can Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes (seasoned w/ basil)
1 15 oz can Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes w/ green chilies
8 0z Pace organic mild salsa
1/2 c frozen chopped organic celery tops (from Finca Pura Vida Dec 2006)
2 c frozen chopped organic sweet peppers (from Finca Pura Vida July 2007)
1 1/2 lbs frozen chopped organic ayote squash (from FPV Nov 07)
3/4 c fresh minced organic onion greens from the backyard
a boatload of organic cumin powder
a boatload of dried organic oregano
about 3 Tbs of minced garlic
1 1/4 c minced fresh organic cilantro from FPV
NO added salt or pepper
I cooked it on the stove at 4 then 3 then Lo for 2 hours at which point, after giving the kids and myself a taste test, it was determined by Paul to be PERFECT!
Now I have to let it cool off enough so that I can bag it up to chill it down so I can freeze it and store it.
In getting the peppers and shredded beef out of the chest freezer, I noticed that I still had a whole chicken in there so I took that out and it's sitting out thawing for 'I don't know what' for dinner tonight. Maybe I'll make a chicken casserole. Oh, I've got everything to make another King Ranch Casserole so maybe that's what it'll be.
Monday, March 10, 2008
So, back to Babar.
Babar was originally written by Jean de Brunhoff. He wrote 7 books about Babar before he died at 37 years old in 1937.
Jean de Brunhoff's Babar books were:
The Story of Babar (1931)
The Travels of Babar (1932)
Babar the King (1933)
L'ABC de Babar (1934)
Babar and Zéphir (1936)
Babar and His Children (1938)
Babar and Father Christmas (1941)
Seven to nine years later, his son Laurent de Brunhoff started to continue the Babar series and has now written over 30 books about the Elephant King.
Now, the tricky thing is that Babar became a TV show with 78 episodes and, in collaboration with that, there are books published that are "Based on the animated series "Babar"". These books are "Based on characters created by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff" but the books themselves are based on stories written and illustrated by other people. For instance we own the book "Babar; The Best Present in the World". It's based on a story by B.P. Nichol with image adaptation by Van Gool-Lefevre-Loiseaux. It was published in 1990.
So I guess that the point of all of this is to pay attention when you are buying or checking out a Babar book to notice who actually wrote and illustrated it.
For additional information see:
We ran into a similar issue when we started collecting all of the "Lars the Little Polar Bear" books by Hans de Beers. And come to think of it, we also ran into this when we were collecting the "Harold and The Purple Crayon" books; not all of those are written by Crockett Johnson.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
The Cure - Love Cats, A Forest, Boys Don't Cry, Lovesong, In Between Days
Sisters of Mercy - Walk Away
New Order - Temptation, Bizarre Love Triangle, Blue Monday, Perfect Kiss
Siouxsie & the Banshees - Cities in Dust, Dear Prudence
Joy Division - Love Will Tear us Apart
U2 - I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday
I almost played a Smiths song but I came to my senses
I played a few Gene Loves Jezebel songs
Art of Noise
and some others that I was randomly clicking on.
Argh, now I want to go see some more!
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The rules are:
1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 people.
The book I grabbed is First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise
Page 123 is Lesson 69 on pronouns and seasons.
"Instructor: What two seasons have we learned about?
Child: Winter and spring.
Instructor: The winter months are December, January and February."
I'm glad I didn't pick a Little House book to write from, that Laura Ingalls Wilder is the queen of run on sentences! I counted the words in one of her sentences in The First Four Years; it was 55 words long. Although it would have been more exciting than the quote I ended up with, I'm sure.
and the next person searching for korv stroganoff (since Rechelle won't do memes)
Monday, March 03, 2008
1 - Asian noodle soup
2 - Eat out - Buffet Palace
3 - Pork chops, sauerkraut, carrots
4 - Group Dinner - Salmon, grouper, stuffed crabs, mixed veggies
5 - Homemade pizza w/ summer sausage & olives
6 - Black-eyed peas & rice, eggplant, okra
7 - Take out - Don's BBQ
8 - Paul - tortellini w/ meatballs & sauce; Giselle - hot dogs w/ chili
9 - Spaghetti w/ meat sauce made with leftover BBQ meat
10 - Group Dinner - Salmon, tuna, shrimp, mixed veggies
11 - Leftover spaghetti w/ meat sauce, I had a black bean tamale
12 - Chicken fajitas, okra w/ rice, mixed veggies
13 - Hot dogs w/ chili
14 - Asian noodle soup
15 - Pizza bites, mixed veggies
16 - Ravioli w/ meatballs, mixed veggies, ratatouille
17 - Salmon patties, shrimp, mixed veggies, shark, ratatouille
18 - Lasagna made with cubed chuck steak
19 - Leftover lasagna
20 - Eat out - Joe and Giselle at Cheesecake Factory; Paul and I at Maudie's Milagro
21 - Eat out - Joe and me at Hyde Park Bar & Grill - South; kids at Marie's house
22 - Eat out - Dynasty Buffet
23 - Eat out - Taco Bell
24 - Eat out - Olive Garden
25 - Eat out - Satellite Cafe - Oak Hill
26 - Asian noodle soup
27 - Lasagna, ratatouille
28 - Shrimp, salmon, tuna, mixed veggies
29 - Eat out - Chik Fillet
30 - Tortellini w/ meat sauce
We had family in town, that's why we ate out a lot in the middle of the month.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
We started watching The Electric Company on DVDs after dinner and the kids are HOOKED! As a kid I never watched Sesame Street but we watched The Electric Company every week in school. I loved that show and if you did too and you have kids then you need to go to Amazon and get yourself the Best of The Electric Company DVDs. There are two volumes and each are 4 DVDs - over 10.5 hours in each set. You know what, even if you don't have kids of the 'appropriate age' get it for yourself for the memories.
This evening Paul said to me "Momma, was today a long day?" and I said to him "Well Paul, let's think about all we did today."
We got up
got dressed for church
watched more Electric Company
went to Sunday School
played on the playground
watched more Electric Company
went to the kite festival from 2:30 to 6:15 hours
watched more Electric Company
went to bed
That sounds like a pretty long day to me, considering all that happened in just 12 hours!
I'm finishing up the kids' and my laundry right now and need to get Joe's started before bed. I can't watch last night's Torchwood since the DVD player is hooked up for playback instead of TiVo and I don't hold the knowledge for doing that myself, YET.
Wow, Paul just woke up with a scream fest. I don't know if it was night terrors (unlikely since there are 7 dream catchers hanging over our bed) or just that he was angry about having to go pee so badly but he thrashed about in my arms for a good 5 minutes just screaming. After the first minute I remember to start humming "Deep in the Heart of Texas" which is the bedtime lullaby that I've sung and hummed to them since they were born. After several minutes of humming he calmed down enough to open his eyes and say to me "I have to pee really badly!". So we took care of that and I put him back to bed and hummed him back to sleep and I think that he's all back to normal.
I don't feel like doing the dishes right now so I'm going to make them wait until after breakfast tomorrow. Joe, I swear that I'm gonna go back to getting up with kids starting in the morning so you'll have breakfast again. I even thawed out a fresh package of bacon for you.
Gosh, it was really windy, blustery even, at the kite festival. I was too busy trying not to kill people with our kites to get many pictures but I think I got some good face shots.
I'm going to bed now after I finish my glass of Louis Jadot 2006 Beaujolais-Villages AND put a load of Joe's laundry into the washer.