Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chocolate marshmallow ice cream

We made the ice cream today - remember, Edgar gave us extra milk on Saturday so that we could make some this week. It's mmm, mmm, delicious. I didn't use marshmallow creme, instead I mixed 1 cup of mini marshmallows into each half-gallon before I froze them in their containers.

Here's my recipe for this batch:
In a large metal bowl beat together 8 eggs and 1.25 cups of sugar. Beat for 5 min. Switch out beaters on mixer for whiskers. Whisk in 6 cups of whole milk, 3 cups of heavy cream, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp vanilla and an entire 9 oz bar of La Popular Mexican Chocolate (melted). Whisk until blended. Pour into the metal canister of your ice cream maker (if your maker does not hold a whole gallon then half the recipe), put the dasher in, put the lid on, attach the turning mechanism and churn or plug it in until it's solid or your electric ice cream maker says that it's done. Transfer the soft/uncured ice cream into 2 half-gallon containers (those Ziploc/Glad/store brand 8-cup plastic storage containers work great) and stir 1 cup of mini marshmallows into each one.Put the lids on and stick them in the freezer for curing/hardening/storage. This batch made almost 3 cups more than 1 gallon so the 3 of us ate the rest as soft ice cream in our way cool ice cream cups - I had mine without marshmallows.

The next batch will be mint - I'll use crushed candy canes!

Since we ate the ice cream as our first course of dinner, the kids had cheese tortellini for dinner and I had a bowl of mixed veggies. As soon as this is done (transferring the pictures from my camera to the 2 computers, resizing for the Internet and posting them into this post) I have to tackle the dishes from the ice cream making.

Oh, I haven't mentioned the dishwasher yet!
Joe bought me a new dish washer last week! The one that we had was original equipment from when this house was built in 1983 and it had long since not worked correctly. Well, I never used it anyway for anything other than a place to store my oversized metal mixing bowls and the oversized plastic serving bowls. I'm still storing the bowls in the new dishwasher but I have actually used it 2 times! Or is it 3 times? No, just 2. The deal is that I can't stand using the washer as a holding tank until I have enough dirty dishes to do a full load and that takes about 3 or 4 days. So I end up washing by hand most of the time like I've done for the last 25 years of my life. I usually don't have many plates, it's mostly silverware, cups and bowls that need to be cleaned. And all of my cookware which can't go in the washer anyway. But it sure makes washing the milk bottles easy! I'm sure that as the kids get older and use more plates & cups (regardless of my nagging to rinse and reuse instead of dirtying another one) that it will get more use.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who would play you?

Donna at Quiet Life has a fun post going on where she asks who you would have play you in the movie of your current life. I'm going to continue that here but instead of telling me I want you to post a picture of that person on YOUR blog. Please play along!

I said Andie MacDowell minus the fake hair color - mine is white and dark brown and I'm sure that hers would be also if she didn't color it.

the above picture is from here

Joe would say Cher in the movie Moonstruck.

I started this post just before school this am and just now finished it at 3:15. It's impossible to find any stills of Cher from Moonstruck that are the ones that I want.

EDITED ON 4/30/08 TO ADD: Joe found this one for me

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hail and rain

We woke at 6:45 this morning to hail pounding the other side of the bedroom wall that we sleep next to. We had some 'snow drifts' of large pea-sized hail to play in outside the back door and off the side of the back patio. Nothing dented, nothing broken, just a steady gentle rain since then and scheduled until noon or 1.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

no time tonight

Spent the first part of the day at The Farmers Market and spent the second half of the day at Eeyore's Birthday Party. It's a big HUGE party that they've thrown every year for 45 years to celebrate the birthday of the Winnie the Pooh character. It's a wild party and I try to never miss it, this year was no exception (last year was since we were in Florida and couldn't make it). Everyone is supposed to be in costume, some choose to wear JUST body paint as their costume. The beer is flowing, there is a LOT of pot smoking, people are chomping on smoked turkey legs, kids and dogs are EVERYWHERE and everyone seems to be having a great time! It's just crazy and it's so much fun; the kids (my kids) love to go (although we only drink water and lemonade, eat ice cream, sausage wraps & chalupas (no beer or pot for us)). It's the only time that I let them get their faces painted, we ride school buses to get to and from the party (the free shuttles), they get to bang pots and pans in the drum circle, they make god's eyes, we untie and keep giant tissue paper flowers and they get to see grown ups doing very unusual things!
Here are some YouTube videos showing the full flavor of Eeyore's
Most are from 2007

but I've got to get some of my TiVo shows watched and delete off a bunch of suggested shows that no one will ever watch so I'm outta here for now!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Originally submitted at UncommonGoods

Clean your feet - and the environment at the same time - using these colorful and durable mats with a storied past. Sandal factories have always generated surplus foam rubber in the production of their flip-flops. Instead of heading to a landfill, that flip-flop rubber is now made into these door...

It sure looks cool!

By Mommy of 2 from Austin, TX on 4/25/2008


4out of 5

Pros: Attractive Design, Cleans Shoes, Dries Quickly

Best Uses: Wet Weather, Front Door

Describe Yourself: Regular person

The one we received is not as cool looking as the one in the picture but it's still pretty cool. The ends of the wires that hold the mat together can catch on shoes or rolling luggage so be sure to rebend them down periodically. I think think that it will hold up well for a lot longer than the coconut fiber mats that we've had previously. It definately stays drier!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

I gave blood again

Yesterday we went to the local blood and tissue center because it was time for me to give blood again. This makes 7 times that I've donated since last February! Giselle asked the woman at the front desk how many people donate each day and she said "About 70." We did the math: 70 pints = 35 quarts = 8.75 gallons donated every day! If I continue to give blood 6 times a year I will hit the 1 gallon mark next time I donate, I'll hit the 5 gallon mark in another 5 years. It'll take me 6.6 years to donate each 5 gallons, so I'll need 11.6 years until I hit 10 gallons and I'll hit 20 gallons 25 years from now. That'll be a total of 160 pints donated, with each one of them possibly saving a life, so that's the potential of me saving 160 lives! WOW! Now doesn't THAT make you want to go and give blood today?

The world's bravest crawfish

Late last night, around 11:15, Joe was in his workshop doing something that involved playing music loudly. He felt something on his Croc, looked down and saw the biggest scorpion that he had ever seen. When his heart palpitations stopped he realized that it was NOT a scorpion, that it actually was one of our crawfish! The bizarre part of this to realize what that crawfish went through to get to Joe. This time the pool is located under our bedroom window, on flat ground. He had to climb up the sandbox lid that we use to cover half the pool, drop over the side of the lid and then walk diagonally across the yard 25 feet to get to the gate in the chain-link fence; I don't think that he would have been able to get through the fence unless he was one of the ones with smaller claws. The gate is always open so that wouldn't have been a problem. Then he had to walk down a steep hill (at least a 45 degree angle) regardless of where he got through the fence, walk across the vast concrete slab in front of the shop and then walk 20 ft through the shop to the middle were Joe was. Joe looked down to see the crawfish waving his claws at him as if to say "Take me back to the water!" The poor little guy was covered with dust, dirt and metal shavings so Joe carefully picked him up (I would have loved to be there to see that! Then again, if I was there Joe would have made me pick it up), carried him back up the hill and put him back into the pool with his friends. What an adventure he had to tell his friends (both Joe AND the crawfish)!!

This morning Giselle fed the crawfish some frozen peas/carrots/corn/green beans because that's what one of the websites that we investigated said that they like to eat. We'll find out later if these guys actually like it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without. - James C. Dobson

I saw the above quote on Dr Laura's blog the other week and thought that I'd pass it along. Especially seeing as how Joe and I hit the big two-oh in another 4 months.

Crawfish Feeding

I was just outside feeding the crawfish and I stuck around to watch them eat (we are using our leftover Betta food). They eat while laying on their sides! They climb up on the bricks or into the shallow water and turn on their sides so that the food floating on the water just floats into their mouths. It looks really cool and you can even hear them. Giselle and I spent a long time watching them eat and talking for them. We have to run some errands so we'll get some more food for them while we're out. Later I need to Google to find out why they eat on their sides.

Sunshine House Surf Shop T-Shirt pictures

Last year I posted this about my Sunshine House T-Shirt. Yesteday I was going through some boxes that are about to go back up into the attic and I came across my Surf Naked pin. This morning while checking my site stats I saw that in the past 2 days that I have gotten two hits from Google searches for Sunshine house. In my ongoing efforts to increase my stats I decided to actually post some pictures of the shirt that I've had since 1982 and the re-print shirt that Joe got for me earlier this year. There is a store that is doing re-prints of the shirts, they are not the original Sunshine House tee-shirts but they still pretty neat. Oh, and my amazing friend Holly used to work at the Bethesda location of Sunshine House back in the day!

Here is my Surf Naked badge. Identify this quote and I'll send you a prize "Badges?! We don't need no stinkin' badges!"

This is the front pocket of my old shirt.

This is the front view of my old shirt. For whatever reason when I was younger, I felt compelled to cut the necks off of all of my t-shirts. Not the whole neck, just the top of the ribbed area. Yeah, I don't understand why either.

This is the back of the shirt. The bird is pretty big and covers most of the back of the shirt.

This is the front of the new shirt that Joe got for me. There's no pocket on this one. The shirt really is navy blue but with the flash it totally washed out the color. I don't usually use a flash anymore but it was the only way to get it in focus. I guess I could have taken the pictures outside but I was too lazy to do that.

And this is the back of the new shirt, in the true navy blue.

Now go and find yourself one at Chauncey's Surf Shop! The shirts aren't listed on their site but if you contact them at or call them at either 410-289-6005 or 410-289-7405 they can get you set up.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

sorry, but you'll have to wait some more

I know that I promised to finish up the Juanes story soon but I just got the kids to bed and I really want to finish watching ER on TiVo and then watch Friday's new episode of The Dog Whisperer. Sorry but you'll have to wait longer.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Juanes! Insert teenage-girl scream HERE!

I met Juanes! Yes, that's right, I did! And that's because things like that happen whenever Holly is around. The funny thing is that we had no intention of meeting him and when we actually me him that's the way that we acted - "Oh yeah, Hi Juanes, I'm Natalie." and then turned back to our conversation. Yes, inside I was screaming like a teenage-girl and thinking "Should I ask him to autograph the goofy Polaroid picture that I have in my purse?" but on the outside I was simply watching him out of the corner of my eye.

We left Paul and Giselle at home with Joe for the evening. Paul was sick with a fever and some nasal congestion (he's all better this morning) so I had to give Joe the babysitter talk. They had pizza for dinner and watched a movie, "Surf's Up"

I've got some things to take care of so I'll tell more about this later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Boys will be boys

This afternoon we had just gotten home from yet another closing and DS, who turned 4 just a few months ago, proceeds to start to drop trou (yeah, when’s the last time you heard THAT expression?) to pee ON THE DRIVEWAY in our suburban neighborhood! I caught him just as he was about to let loose and told him “Hey, you're 20 ft from a toilet! Go inside and pee!!” I think that their brain really IS in there sometimes!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just a quick check-in

Dinner ended up being some phenomenal chicken noodle soup. Yes, I'm so very not modest about my cooking when it's good; and I'm totally honest when my cooking is not up to par.
I used some turkey consume from Christmas, some diced turkey from Christmas (did I say that this was CHICKEN noodle soup, well, that's what I told the kids before I made it so that's what I still called it after I made it so as to not have a big freak out on my hands), some chicken consume, 8 oz frozen mixed veggies, some mini-lasagna noodles broken into 2-inch pieces, 1 lb of ayote squash, 2 giant cloves of garlic - pressed, 1/4 cup diced onion, 2 cubes of my frozen pesto from 2006, some Spike seasoning, some sea salt, some white pepper, some water and that's about it. The kids loved it and I forgot to take pictures, again.
Since Paul has a sore throat I gave the kids tapioca pudding for dessert.
Some how my sink is full of dishes again! Oh yeah, I changed pots for the soup halfway through and I changed out every one's bowls for wider, shallower ones so that the soup would cool off quicker.
I've got laundry going right now, I just started it so that will have me up all night. Two loads for the kids and me combined and two loads for Joe's clothes. I'll hopefully get them all put away tomorrow morning before school.
I need to stop this blogging thing and attend to the HUGE pile of give-away clothes that is engulfing a corner of the living room. I need to separate it all out now that I'm done going through all of our drawers and closets. Actually, I'm not done going through Joe's closet but that can wait another week.
On a more fun note:
Saturday night we stayed over at our dinner/birthday party friends' house until almost 3 am! The kids had fallen asleep MUCH earlier but I stayed around talking.
Holly gets here in 1 and 1/2 days!
Gotta go, the chores are calling me away!

My stats are crashing!

Gee, I guess that I need to actually post in order to keep my stats up. I've dropped below 10 hits a day 3 times over the last week!
I promise to post later tonight but I've got to make dinner for the kids right now. I already had my dinner - a Pay Day candy bar on the way home from ballet lessons.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Off the Grid

No specific reason but I've been off the grid for the most part this last week and might continue to be for the next several days. I haven't even been checking my favorite blogs. I've probably missed 2 contests over at PW's.
See you when I get back

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I can't stop playing the games on because they are FUN!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Crawfish 2008 part 2

On Sunday afternoon we took last week's crawfish down to one of our local creeks and let them go. Only 4 out of the roughly 16 crawfish had died over the week so about a dozen happily entered their new home. It's chock-a-block full of minnows and tadpoles (Yes, I watch a lot of Steve Irwin) so they'll have plenty to eat.
Today we bought 2 pounds of them, these guys are a little bigger than last weeks were - as you get further into the season they get bigger at the store. One is the cutest little teenager one - he's only 2 inches long - I picked him out cause I want that little guy to make it back into the wild next week. They're out in the pool.
I gotta go to bed - my upper back is killing me from taking care of all of those strawberries.
I just realized that once again I forgot to take any pictures!

Blogger keeps wanting me to call them craYfish but I refuse!

Monday, April 07, 2008


7 and 3/4 quarts of pureed strawberries later, I'm done! I left one container hulled but not pureed so that we have some to eat for tomorrow. The 3/4 quart container is in the fridge for use in fruit milk soon and all the rest is in the freezer. 3 quarts are in quart-sized Ziploc bags, 3 quarts are in empty sherbet containers (from last week) and 1 quart is in a Ziploc freezer container. All the cleanup is done except for washing the 1/4 cup measuring cup and my sampling spoon and the measuring spoons.
Per quart of puree I added in 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
With all of this puree in addition to the 4 pounds that I froze whole last week, we'll be set for the next year.

Fruit milk is simply 1 quart of very cold milk, some honey or sugar, several dashes of cinnamon, 2 dashes of ginger, and a bunch of whatever fruit you want (frozen or fresh, it doesn't matter). If you like it fruitier then add more fruit. If I'm NOT using any bananas then I'll add a bit of vanilla flavoring. Oh, you put all of this in the blender (or in the big 5-cup mixing container that came with your (my) immersion blender) and blend it on high until it's smooth. Pour it into cups and enjoy. If you don't want to drink it right away it's great to pour into those cool popsicle molds that have the built-in straws and freeze them up for eating later on a hot summer day. Today I made it with 3 or 4 very ripe medium-sized bananas, 3 ripe baby bananas, honey, cinnamon, ginger and about 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries (from last summer). It's my kids' favorite!


On Friday afternoon I was standing on the back deck and along came a hummingbird, the first one of the season, to check out the EMPTY hummingbird feeder. She buzzed around it a few times, landed on it, stuck her tongue in to double check, turned to look at me and then flew off in a tiff. I IMMEDIATELY took down the feeder, cleaned it and filled it and rehung it before she came back to fuss at me.
Some of you may be laughing in disbelief, others of you that have had hummingbirds of your 'own' know exactly what I'm talking about.
8 years ago, I'm camping out in the back yard with the dog one Summer night. At dawn the next morning I wake up to an angry buzzing and chirping outside the tent entrance. It was a hummingbird letting me know that the feeder was empty and that he was hungry NOW! He stormed around the tent for a good 10 minutes until I came out then he flew over to the feeder, he fussed some more and then flew off while I went inside to make more food.
Bossy little things!


Sorry to post and run but I've got 32 pintss of strawberries to wash, hull and process in one way or another before I go to bed this evening.
Yes, I said 16 POUNDS of fresh organic strawberries that I bought at HEB today. I know, I'm only supposed to be buying locally and these were grown in Mexico ... But HEB IS a Texas company and I went to my second closest store and Mexico is less than 4 hours away by car. And, most importantly, they were on sale for $1.97 for each 2 pint container. Yes, I paid 98 and a half cents per pint for organic strawberries! I know - overhead, underpaid Mexican workers (at least they weren't illegals!), etc - I told you, I'm not proud of what I did but DANG! I got 16 pounds of fresh organic strawberries for $31.52!
Gotta get back to hulling!

If I could read, I would be deadly. Each container is 2 dry pints which equals 16 oz which equals 1 pound. But it's still a screaming deal!!!

My Paul is not bald

The difference between my Paul and Paul who went to Damascus is that my Paul is not bald. That's what Paul learned in Sunday School yesterday.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Backyardigans

It's been a while since I mentioned the Backyardigans but I still love this show! I love how each episode has a musical theme and even though the songs are originals they are all of that same theme. I went to Blockbuster earlier today to pick up Marie Antoinette (2006) for Marie and I to watch tonight after my kids are in bed. I'm sure that Joe will get sucked into watching it with us! The kids were busy in the Kid and Family sections while I was picking out my movie so I didn't have to let them know what I have planned for after they go to bed. Back on track with the story - So the kids picked out some movies too. Giselle found Island Princess and every other Barbie movie ever made, Paul grabbed a Care Bears and some Veggie Tales and I picked out the original version of Doctor Dolittle and since they didn't have the old version of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs I got Cinderella (the original Disney version). I made the kids put everything back that they had picked out except for Island Princess. Then Giselle brought to me a Backyardigans movie that we hadn't seen before - Super Secret Super Spy. It has 3 'shows' on it - International Super Spy, The Secret of Snow and A Giant Problem. A Giant Problem was all 80's-style music. It's just so neat, 5 friends that live close by who meet up every day and play imagination games! How fun! And they make up their own songs while they play too!
We're watching Cinderella now; I wish we had been able to get Snow White. Doctor Dolittle is 2.5 hours long so we're going to watch that on Saturday after the Farmers Market. I sure hope that Marie Antoinette is good otherwise we'll have to find something on live TV.
What wine should we have? Georges Duboeuf or Louis Jadot or a Texas white? I'll go ahead and chill a white but I think that in honor of the French Queen we should have one of the French Beaujolais.
Kick ball at Park Day tomorrow!
What'll we have for dinner tonight? Paul says tortellini so that's what it is! With sauce and meatballs for Giselle and no sauce and no meatballs for Paul, spinach for both.

Real Simple Daily Quote

I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. — Martha Washington

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Good food and great family

Today was Thomas' birthday so of course we had him (and his roommate Bobby) over for dinner. Lisa had already come up over the weekend for a surprise visit so she wasn't here for the big day.
I did a total Wonder Woman effort today: did 2 loads of laundry, made and baked a carrot cake for the birthday cake, started a pikes peak roast cooking on the stove in the dutch oven, taught school for 3 hours, had a neighbor kid over playing with Paul, made a deposit at the bank, got ingredients at HEB for the cake icing and sherbet for dessert (half gallon each of lime, orange and pineapple), cooked tamales for 4 (3 pork, 1 chicken and 1 black bean), cooked a 1.88 lb pork tenderloin roast for Joe and me, made orange ginger cream cheese icing for the cake and iced it, sauteed up some more spinach, served and ate dinner and dessert, played several rounds of Uno, put the kids to bed, finished shredding the beef roast and bagged it up into 5 half-pound bags for the freezer, laughed at the dishes in the sink, hung out with my fantastic husband for 2 hours, ate a baby banana and now I'm blogging for the night.
The kids helped out a lot today with the cooking but once Thomas showed up at 5:30 they abandoned me to play outside with him for the next hour until dinner was almost ready. He did need to leave shortly after dinner to finish up a loan application for his new car - I found out about the car and forwarded him the email, Joe checked out the car with him this afternoon and tonight he's buying it - Happy Birthday to Thomas! I told Bobby that since he's also far from his parents that he should expect a tamale dinner complete with cake and ice cream for his birthday in June.

The pikes peak started out weighing about 3 lbs. Since I was going to be cooking it for several hours and then shredding it, I didn't bother searing it first. I put 4 cups of water into the dutch oven with the roast and halved about 8 large cloves of garlic to throw in there. I took one of the big branches of rosemary that trimmed from my bush yesterday and put it in on top of the roast and chopped up one of the spring onions and put it in there too. After about an hour I took out the rosemary and let the roast continue to simmer for about 4 hours total (always covered but with the lid askew for about an hour half way through) - until it could be easily shred using two forks. Like I said, when it came time to package it up for freezing I had 5 1/2 pound packages. Now I'm set for the next time that I need to turn one of my packages of 3 servings of chili into a meal for 5 - I throw in one of the packages of shredded beef and a can of beans and that's it. Oh and I'd throw in some more ayote squash too and maybe serve it on top of rice to help stretch it further. Of course I forgot to take any pictures until I was bagging up the finished product so I didn't bother with that either. That's why I got inspired to do this post.

Well, it's midnight now so I'm going to bed.
Read you in the morning!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bug Season

It's crawfish time again (some folks call them mud bugs, or bugs for short) and we have a kiddie pool full of about 15 to prove it! While at the seafood counter getting some super jumbo shrimp and bay scallops I noticed the sign for live crawfish at $2.49/lb so we got a bit over a pound to take home and play with. We haven't had much rain lately so the creeks are not exactly flowing right now. We'll have to search to find a good release spot for them this spring. For more about our past crawfish adventures check out these old posts:
pictures in this post
more pictures

Since I already had a pot of boiling seasoned water on the stove from cooking the shrimp, I grabbed 4 of the crawfish and threw them in so that we could eat them for dinner. Paul, who loves scallops but doesn't care much for shrimp, didn't like the crawfish at all since it tasted just like shrimp. Giselle ate 2 of them. I always plan seafood night the night before trash day so that our inside and outside trash cans don't get all stunk up. We rounded out the meal with some fresh spinach sauteed in butter and garlic. The kids pretty much love any food that we get from Finca Pura Vida and the spinach is no exception! Tonight I think that I'll cook up some more spinach and the rest of the snow peas.