Sunday, August 31, 2008

That time of year again! :(



It's that TIME of year at our house with illness taking over and the worst to get hit is always me. Being diabetic its one of those things I deal with everytime I catch something I get it worse than everyone else. I swore we had the flu we all had the symptoms and I can't imagine we got it so early but if we did, then we at least got it over with already.

Now I am fighting a lovely bout of bronchitis. This is a miserable condition with all the coughing and feeling exhausted and not to mention the sore ribs feeling like you've been beaten with a stick!

It's so important that when you get sick that you take care of yourself, I know that it's important that I take my own advice and rest and relax as much as possible so that I will mend much quicker. Drinking as much liquid as possible and taking my blood sugar readings more frequently. It's been very trying and I'm feeling as if I will never see that feel good healthy day coming but I know its there! I just have to wait all this out.

It never fails that the beginning of the school year my family catches whatever is floating around at school, the kids bring it home like mud on their shoes and it infiltrates our home like a dark cloud. The bright side, once it's over we are usually good to go for the next year, but getting through this is very miserable.

There are a lot of remedies for bronchitis or upper respitory infections and for me the most effective is a nice pot of hot water with a towel over my head inhaling the steam. Of course, good hot steaming tea, my favorite is peppermint and good menthol chest rub. You can't beat a nice bowl of piping hot chicken soup to help make you feel better, the best thing to eat when your appetite is not at it's best. There are many, many diabetic recipes out there on the internet for soup.

If you want a little heat to your pallet there is a cajun chicken soup recipe that is wonderful to open up your head.

All I can say is thank heavens for Big Brother 10 live feeds during my recuuperation thats all thats kept me entertained. I am not usually an ADDICT of big brother, I do watch the show religiously and have NOT missed one season, but since coming down with this illness and TAKING a lot of down time instead of pushing myself so that I can recuppearte quickly, I have been enjoying the hamsters in the house they have kept me quite entertained!

I think my family is beginning to worry that I am never going to turn it off, they are quite bored with the antics of the ones left in the house and it seems to be the topic of all my conversations, being that is all that I find comforting. Politics seem to be all the rage on the television and I'm quite bored with it and the only other topic that I seem obsessed with is the search for that little girl in Florida, Caylee Anthony, and although in my mind and heart I know they are never going to find her alive I hold out hope and keep constant vigil on the news waiting to see if her mother will EVER tell the truth or be honest about the sitaution! The family of this little girl is in my prayers and I do hope that the mother of this little girl is given justice for what she has allowed to occur.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Challenges in parenting


Do you ever feel like you are standing in quick sand as a parent, sinking slowly as you try hard to do what is right? I feel that way a lot of the time with my kids. I want them to be happy and have great values and self esteem. I try to guide them without stymatizing them and I try very hard to keep all communication open. Sometimes though, no matter how many times you say things, how many times you try to guide them they make bad choices anyway!

I spent the weekend reevaulating my parenting, questioning myself and feeling downright miserable after my 18 year old son spent the night in jail for something just plain stupid. How did this happen? He graduated from High school with honors and is beginning college in just a couple of weeks. Where did this boy's head go? I cried and I fumed, I felt sick and devastated as well as disappointed and then sorrowful. It was quite the roller coaster ride. I finally came to terms with it all and just decided to dig in and do what I do best, be his mother. We are now dealing with his mistake and although I'm still shaking my head and feeling very confused to what he and his other friends, also very good kids decided on that night, well its all just hard to wrap your head around. Either way, its all going to work out, he will have to pay for his play and the price is steep. A very good learning lesson in that regard!

I just find it hard to accept that he made a bad choice being so smart, and having to get over the embarassment that I feel inside. I feel like somehow I failed as a parent, but then again, I can't always feel responsible for what he chooses as a new young adult. This new stage in our lives, this parent and young adult is a new phase. Very hard to find my footing with, but every day I wake up and try to accept it and learn from it. I know this will be a great learning lesson for me as my other two grow up and become adults. I think its much easier to be a mom when they are kids then when they are starting off into adulthood.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer with Kids


The summer days are long and hot and the kids are always bored, no matter what you do or suggest for them. It's a long period of time for all involved and it can get very frustrating. The mess about the house, the higher food bills for snacks and of course if your house is like mine, you have suddenly gained at least three extra children. I thought I would look up some sites that would make summer less daunting and overwhelming and more fun for everyone.

This one has some cute ideas for the kids. We don't want to leave out the older kids as well and I think this one looks like a great idea. Of course you have your traditional amusement parks, and water parks and such, but that can get costly and with the price of fuel it's time to think thrifty and close to home. My older kids enjoy a good game of tennis or basketball and they have taken up croquet. My yard at times can look like a sports mine field until I urge them to clean it up. Hiking is a great favourite but of course we live in the mountains. Be careful if you have adventurous kids they should know the do's and don'ts of such things and be aware of the poisionous snakes and spiders and always always check them well for ticks. Reading is a big favorite at my house and with my oldest starting college we went and got his semester read ahead of the time for him to start with its called Three cups of tea. I've read a bit of it and it seems like a touching saga. For my daughter she received a list of books to catch up on over the summer for the reading bowl next year in school. So far, she's getting ahead of the game as I went ahead and purchased a few of the titles to keep her busy this summer. My middle child is a challenge he still hasn't found his genre but is always amazed at how good a book is once recommended. He seems to like historic adventure, but of course I can't TELL him that, that would make me WRONG haha.

Cooking and grilling out is always fun and making home made ice cream. It seems once the day is come to a slow pitch in the evening we are all ready to spend time enjoying each other and a meal together is the best way to do that.

Whatever you choose to do to entertain your bored children over the summer I wish you luck, I know how frustrating it is to try to find a balance and keep somewhat of a schedule going. It's so difficult.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer HEAT

It is that time of year again when the sun radiates over you and heats up the air like a steamy oven. Living in the North Georgia mountains I have enjoyed cooler summers since leaving the scorching state of Texas. However, a heat wave is upon us currently and its heating the temperatures up near 100 here and for us we know the drill having been in Texas for so long, but just a precaution and a reminder I thought I would share the precautions from the public health department:

Summer Heat Precautions


During a heat wave the body has to work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat can result in serious health threats by pushing the human body beyond its limits. Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk.

Measures for Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.
Avoid too much sun.
Plan outdoor games and activities for early morning or evening.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Stay indoors as much as possible; use fans or air conditioners to cool the air.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing that will cover as much skin as possible.
Protect face and head by wearing a wide brimmed hat.
Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
Hot Weather Health Emergencies
Heat cramps: Painful spasms, mostly in legs and abdomen, usually the result of heavy exertion and heavy sweating.

Recognizing Heat Cramps
Painful spasms usually in the legs and abdominal muscles that may occur in association with strenuous activity.

What to do
Apply firm pressure to cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasms. Replace fluids. Consult your health care provider.

Heat exhaustion: Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin. Weak pulse. Fainting and vomiting possible.

What to do
Lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool wet cloths. Fan or move person to air-conditioned place. Take sips of water. Consult your health care provider.

Heat stroke: A medical emergency- the body's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. Sunstroke: Another term for heat stroke.

Recognizing Heat Stroke
High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Individual will likely not sweat.

What to do
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or emergency medical services or get the person to a hospital immediately. Move to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use fans and/or air conditioners, to cool the body. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.


Oh course its always wise to keep hydrated and cool the best you can in the heat. Take care to be considerate to the elderly and check on them quite frequently. If you have a neighbor or friend that you know doesn't have air conditioning maybe trying to find something to help would be friendly.

Try to keep even a small wading pool available for the kids and pets to soak in if you find the heat overwhelming. It's a nice change of pace in the evenings when the sun is going down and the heat is still lingering.

Don't forget your precious plants as well they do sunburn and need to be moved into a more filtered sunlight, if not able to do that then remember to water them very very early in the morning or late in the evening at dusk so that the water doesn't stand on the leaves and petals and cause it to BOIL and burn the plant even more.

Now is a great time to make ice pops for your kids and self. I like to take ice trays and fill them with juice and put them in the freezer the kids like to just crush them in a bowl to eat or even use them in there drinks for ice cubes. Cherry juices makes a great cherry cola or even a peach juice for your iced tea. You can use the juice reserves off of your canned peaches and other fruits to make tasty treats that will cool you down.

Enjoy the longer days and the warmth of the golden sun but take care not to stay out in it too long with out proper clothing and sun screen. It only takes minutes for a child to start burning and adults as well if you are fair skinned like me and my family. Wear hats and sunglasses as much as possible and be weary of pooling water around that gives mosquitioes places to lay their eggs. After a rain dump out any empty pots or containers where water has pooled.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lazy

I know I haven't been very up to date with my blog lately, but I have had so much going on with my family. Which of course, takes first priority in my life. My son had his prom and I made a wonderful scrapbook for him. That took a lot more time than I had thought it would :S Also, preparing for graduation, getting everything tip top and ready for all the family coming to town and preparing party items menus and all the invitations. And, of course I have two other kids, one with a massive end of school project that the entire family worked on building. The space needle using the actual plans from the 1962 blue prints, hes sure to get a good grade. We had a lot of fun building that. My daughter has been busy as well with some projects and getting ready for their end of the year activities. It's amazing how busy things get from Spring break until the end of the year!
I did the bird bath planter as I said I would and have a photo to share. My yard is really looking lovley and all the roses are blooming now its just gorgeous.
We went hiking at Amicoloa falls this past weekend for mothers day that was exciting and a lot of fun. Being busy is a great feeling you get so much completed and you feel so productive.
I will get back into my blog as soon as I get my childrens lives back into a normal phase!
Cheers! :) Oh wait I'm on my NEW computer and I don't have my photo of my bird bath planter haha I'm so silly, I will add that from the other computer later!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring Planting

Beauty at its BEST!



I just love the spring and the time to plant new life in the ground. The feeling it gives me is envigorating and nothing pleases me more than to sit and look at my colorful loving yard.

New Azaleas on the side of my house to accent the once sickly rose bush that I spent last year nursing into a nice healthy bush. It's full of buds right now and will be absolutely gorgeous when they all bloom. Sadly, this bush among a few others will require extra special attention because they were originally planted in a less then desirable location.

A fill in across my shrub hedge in the front there was an empty spot where an azalea had died. It's taking well to it's new home.
I add my used coffee grounds to my azaleas they love the acidic soil and it helps their colors brighten and feeds their little rooted souls.

Another veiw of my new azaleas and my newly abundant now healthy rose bush. I just smile when I round the corner of my front porch and see that lucious green.
Shade gardening can be very frustrating learning where and what to plant when you have an area that gets little to no sun. It's very exciting to see things take off in such elements and it's a good idea to make sure you investigate your plants before planting them. The soil in shade gardening needs to be maintained and your plants need to be specific for the location. Partial shade is very different from full shade so you must learn where your sun is hitting if at all and you must watch to see how long and what kind of sun you get in a shadier garden. You can't go wrong with hostas and you can see my lavender azalea happily full of blooms. The bird bath was damaged during a storm and I have it ready to fill with soil and will plant ivy around the base and in the bowl as well as adding a pot with a nice lush fern. Of course I will add a photo when I have that completed.

Another close up view of my rose bush, I am so proud of this rose as it was nearly dead two years ago and last year looked as if it was miserable and had gathered a great deal of disease. When you don't put your roses in the right conditions and with at least 6 hours of good direct morning sunlight you lead your roses into dangerous territory with disease and unhappiness. I think this bush will be very happy this year now that I have doctored and cared for it with great tenderness.
This bed was full of weeds and untended when I started, I mulched and conditioned the soil for a full season before adding my new rose bushes. Last spring I put in two and they did well, I bought them off the clearance cart and they were quite sad looking. But, my heart is soft for a plant that needs love and will always drag it home like a child with a stray pet. I nursed them and they grew well and bloomed a good bit last year. This spring I've added two more hopeless souls from the clearance cart and they already look like they are smiling in their rooted hearts. The four triangled corners of the beds last year had annuals. My daughter planted some seeds in there this year and they are sprouting, but my intentions are to add a rose bush in each corner to make this a full rose bed. It's my sunniest spot in the yard and I just adore roses. They do require more time and tenderness and work but the joy of seeing the abundance of sweet smelling blooms is a great reward.

My new walk path. At the end of my porch next to the bed with my rose and new azaleas was a dead spot of dirt. There is no way to bring any grass up to it and my dogs and I use it every day to walk out into the yard, so I have started this little path to protect the earth a bit of our foot traffic. I am going to add some sand to fill it in within the cracks.
Another peek at my lavender azalea its just a beautiful site to behold when those big wide eyes blooms wake up and scream hello world. I can't wait to accent its beauty with my creation planned in the birdbath.

I added a flat of impatients to my shady driveway garden. The unearthed edge is also something I am going to work on but right now I haven't decided what I want to put there YET!

I am very excited to see this color in my front walk garden with it full of indigenous greenery and shade loving holly. The dogwood tree provides a great deal of shade but this little corner gets a sprinkling of filtered sunlight perfect for the colorful impatients.

Open my front door and I am greeted every day with such beauty as the azaleas begin to bloom. This hedge runs from one end to the other across the front of my porch and its a delight every time I see it. What better way to feast your morning eyes than to behold such delight when you greet the day.

Three more new azaleas I planted on the edge of my shaded yard facing my neighbors dogs. I am hoping they will grow big and strong and keep my little doxies from agitating the other dogs. They love to stand on that edge and bark teasing the two big dogs. It's a fun game for mine, but I don't think that the other dogs are having as much fun. Maybe they are and I just don't realize it!

There are many great sources on the web for shade gardening and plantings. Research a bit, find your zone and have fun with it. Just because your yard is shady doesn't mean it can't be beautiful and full of color!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finding a new perspective

I am usually an upbeat person looking for the positive in every situation even when I'm angry or cross I can step aside and see both sides so that I can find the positive in the moment. This past week has been very trying for me and I've had a very hard time pulling myself up to the top of the hole I have been sinking within. My fingers are hanging onto the edge and if you look you can see the top of my head but the strength in my arms is wavering as I try to pull and pull myself to the wide opening and inhale the fresh air and see the bright light. Do you ever feel that way? Well, my down fall was technology troubles.
My laptop will be a year old in May and I have already had it in the shop once, now I'm not going to rant about the qualities of the Acer product, I have some positive things to say about the computer itself and I have some negative feelings towards Vista but thats here nor there right now, being one that needs to keep order in her life and one that likes things to be just as she expects them to be would be my rant. I have such a hard time with change and trying to adapt to things thrown at me when I can't find the solution. I'm a fixer and a doer now a dealer hehe
My laptop was having a bit of trouble but it was working just not up to speed but my husband in his infinite wisdom was going to make it all better. Now I have a laptop that doesn't even boot without disk now. I have spent the week dealing with my anger without letting him know I'm angry, more trying to be positive as always and finding the light but as this week has wore on I've just gotten blank. There are no positive thoughts there are no negatives. I have decided that it's time to be productive and just find a way to get myself a NEW one and hope that he fixes that one for he and the children!
Now, its a new day, I'm feeling a bit like myself today and I'm ready to do some comparsion shopping because what I want is something that isn't going to cost me an arm and leg and something that is going to do what I want it to do but I don't need a lot of bells and whistles.
Where do I start? Hmmm thats the first query to ponder, yes? Well, thats where I am right now I'm going to investigate prices products and find something that I can enjoy and will do what I need it too.
With that on this quick and small rant about technology and how it really brings you down in a flash, I will move on and start shopping. When I am confident that I have some positive links to share I will continue my post :)
Happy day to all and have a great weekend!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cleaning Green

It makes sense these days to budget your money and live as frugal as possible. I am sure we all have that little voice in our heads telling us to do this but then the convenience of the prepackaged life takes over when our schedules seem so full and we feel tired and need shortcuts. I am one of those with three children and they all lead busy lives making my life busy as well. But, I find that I like to be as frugal as possible when running my household. My interest in living a green life has increased more and more as people are making it easier to do so with products and services. I am thrilled that so many have joined the "Green Living" bandwagon and its filling up quickly.
I thought I might share some of my ways of trying to lesson our stamp on the environment.
First, the other day I shared my obsession with vinegar which is the gods gift to us in all forms of life. Also, Baking soda, corn starch, salt, club soda and olive oil as well.

To create your own cleaning products I have a few recipes that I use that you may find helpful for the environment as well as for your wallet.

Home made Furniture Polish

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix in spray bottle. Spray liberally on wood surfaces and wipe dry.

COFFEE GROUNDS:

Fertilize plants

Don't throw out those old coffee grounds. They're chock-full o' nutrients that your acidic-loving plants crave. Save them to fertilize rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and camellias. It's better to use grounds from a drip coffeemaker than the boiled grounds from a percolator. The drip grounds are richer in nitrogen.

Deodorize a freezer

Get rid of the smell of spoiled food after a freezer failure. Fill a couple of bowls with used or fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight. For a flavored-coffee scent, add a couple of drops of vanilla to the grounds.

Cornstarch
For homemade laundry starch, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Place in a
spray bottle. Shake before using. Clearly label the
contents of the spray bottle.

Carpet Deodorizer
I use a cheese shaker and fill with baking soda and a bit of cornmeal I add put a broken cinnamon stick or a few orange peels in the shaker and leave them and sprinkle liberally over the carpets and sofa leaving to sit for awhile before vacuuming.

Scouring Powder:

Salt and Baking soda mixed in a shaker make a great scouring powder

Vinegar and Lemon Juice Wipes
I mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of lemon juice to about a quart of water then place in a container that I have folded brawny paper towels so they will soak. Now I have a handy WIPE for quick messes or wipe downs.

Air Freshener

A spray bottle with vinegar with a bit of lemon juice for fragrance sprayed into the air will absorb odor and freshen the room.

I also keep decorative bowls here and there with a bit of vinegar and lemon with rose petals floating for a decorative look. This keeps my kitchen odor free especially with the use of a lot of onion.

SPILLS

If you have a spill on your carpet or upholstery pour a large amount of salt over the spill and leave it to dry then just vacuum or sweep up. Great for wine spills

Lemon powdered drink like Kool-aid with water and baking soda makes a great all purpose cleaner. DO NOT USE anything but UNSWEETENED lemon powdered drink or you will have quite the mess!


Heres a great article by Michael Bloch on uses for Orange peels. I love orange oil and was very excited to find his recipe to make my own.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A couple of denture cleaning tablets dropped in your bowl leave for awhile then brush clean with ease. You can also use alka seltzer tablets you need about 6.

Club Soda takes out a lot of stains in carpet and clothing blot quickly then launder.

Liquid Laundry detergent:

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Gallon Bucket
1 Quart Hot Water
Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap(Or grated Ivory soap) in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

You can use a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to freshen clothes and clean the washer of any soap residue.
(This is not a green recipe because it includes borax which is not all natural but it is frugal if you are looking for ways to lessen the cost of laundry expenses.)

Homemade Fabric Softener
1 cup glycerin
1 gallon water
20 drops essential oil of your choice (Optional)



Dishwasher Detergent

Mix equal parts Borax and Baking Soda, and add 2 Tablespoons per load. Increase proportion of soda for hard water. Use vinegar in the rinse cycle like the jet dry and you will have sparkling clear glasses.
(This is NOT so green as borax is not a natural item but it IS frugal if you are looking to lessen the cost of commercial dish washing machine detergents)

I hope that some of these ideas and recipes are helpful to you, they are to me! Not only does it save me a great deal of money when shopping for cleaning products I know that my pets and my children are not exposed to toxic chemicals that could cause them harm. The best part is that I know that when I am cleaning and pouring things down the drain I'm not hurting my septic system or the earth!




Wednesday, March 26, 2008

VINEGAR


Vinegar! The pungent scented clear liquid with a very strong flavor is not just for food! Do you know about the wonders of vinegar? A bit of history always enlightens me, and the history of vinegar is fascinating. Vin Aigre means sour wine in France and that it is indeed. Do you know that it has been around for over 10,000 years and was discovered quite by chance? It was a cask of wine that had gone way past its flavorful date and then became what we now know as vinegar.
It's basically fermentation of natural sugars to alcohol then another fermentation to vinegar.

White vinegar, which is actually clear vinegar, is made from allowing a distilled alcohol, like white wine, gin, vodka, sake, or others to oxidize. Oxidation combines oxygen with chemicals in a substance in a way that reduces the atom content of the substance. When a distilled alcohol is oxidized its chemical components change, and it becomes much more sour, and frequently, quite unpleasant to taste.

Combining the chemical compound acetic acid to water can also make white vinegar. This second type is very sour, and is more commonly used to clean and disinfect, than for food. In fact, much of white vinegar, especially when sold in gallon units, is not used in cooking. People tend to prefer red vinegars or apple cider vinegar for cooking purposes.



Beyond flavoring salads or using it for pickling or adding into foods you can use vinegar for many other uses in your home.
Its a wonderful non toxic cleaner that promotes a green lifestyle if you are looking for something that will clean and disinfect without any toxins or chemicals.
Also its a natural deodorizer and makes a great way to freshen up your place from odors or smells by absorbing them. What a wonderful inexpensive way to clean your house. Here are some of the wonderful uses for white and apple cider vinegar, try one or a few and see if you find that vinegar becomes more of a household name around your home!

Clean and Freshen your microwave:

Put a cup of vinegar in your microwave for 30 seconds then wipe clean with a damp rag.

Dissolve warts -
Mix one part Apple Cider Vinegar to one part glycerin into a lotion and apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

Remove stubborn stains from furniture upholstery and clothes -
Apply White Vinegar directly to the stain, then wash as directed by the manufacturer's instructions.

Grow beautiful azaleas -
Occasionally water plants with a mixture of two tablespoons White Vinegar to one quart water. Azaleas love acidic soil.

Relieve arthritis -
Before each meal, drink a glass of water containing two teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar. Give this folk remedy at least three weeks to start working.

Kill unwanted grass -
Pour White Vinegar in crevices and between bricks.

Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine -
Once a month pour one cup of White Vinegar into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes.

Cure an upset stomach -
Drink two teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar in one cup water to soothe an upset stomach.

Kill germs on bathroom fixtures -
Use one part Vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom fixtures and floor, then wipe clean. Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains. Simply wipe the surface with Vinegar and rinse with water.

Deodorize the air -
Vinegar is a natural air freshener when sprayed in a room.

Relieve itching -
Use a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with Vinegar straight from the bottle.

Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker -
Once a month fill the reservoir with White Vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with two cycles of cold water.

Relieve a sore throat -
Put two teaspoons of Vinegar in your humidifier.

Soothe sunburn pain -
Apply undiluted Vinegar to the burn.

Clean food-stained pots and pans -
Fill the pots and pans with White Vinegar and let stand for thirty minutes. Then rinse in hot, soapy water.

Clean rust from tools, bolts, and spigots -
Soak the rusted tool, bolt, or spigot in undiluted White Vinegar overnight.

Prevent bright colored clothes from fading -
Before putting the article in the washing machine, soak it in White Vinegar for ten minutes.

Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh -
Mix one cup of Vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

Clean a toilet bowl -
Pour in one cup of White Vinegar, let it stand for five minutes, and flush.

Clean dentures -
Soak dentures overnight in White Vinegar, then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

Remove perspiration stains from clothes -
Apply one part White Vinegar to four parts water, then rinse.

Deodorize a room filled with cigarette smoke or paint fumes -
Place a small bowl of White Vinegar in the room.

Cure the hiccups -
Mix one teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar in one cup of warm water, and drink.

Eliminate odors from used jars -
Rinse peanut butter and mayonnaise jars with White Vinegar.

Condition dry hair -
Shampoo, then rinse hair with a mixture of one cup Apple Cider Vinegar and two cups water. Vinegar adds highlights to brunette hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil.

Clean mineral deposits from a steam iron -
Fill the water tank with White Vinegar. Turn the iron to the steam setting and steam-iron a soft utility rag to clean the steam ports. Repeat the process with water, then thoroughly rinse out the inside of your iron.

Remove light scorch marks from fabrics -
Rub lightly with White Vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Repel ants -
Use a spray bottle or mister filled with a solution of equal parts Vinegar and water around door jambs, window sills, water pipes, and foundation cracks.

Keep drains open -
Pour one-half box of old baking soda down the drain followed by one cup White Vinegar. When the bubbling stops, run the hot water.

Prolong and brighten propane lanterns -
Soak new wicks for several hours in White Vinegar and let them dry before inserting. Propane lanterns will burn longer and brighter on the same amount of fuel.

Remove decals or bumper stickers -
Soak a cloth in Vinegar and cover the decal or bumper sticker for several minutes until the vinegar soaks in. The decals and bumper stickers should peel off easily.

Deodorize a wool sweater -
Wash sweater, then rinse in equal parts Vinegar and water to remove odor.

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes -
Add one cup Vinegar to each wash load.

Prevent ice from forming on a car windshield overnight -
Coat the window with a solution of three parts White or Apple Cider Vinegar to one part water.

Prolong the life of flowers in a vase -
Add two tablespoons of White Vinegar plus three tablespoons of sugar per quart of warm water. Stems should be in three to four inches of water.

Prevent cracked hard-boiled eggs -
Add two tablespoons of White Vinegar per quart of water before boiling to prevent the eggs from cracking. The egg shells will also peel off faster and easier.

Clean windows -
Use undiluted Vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry with a soft cloth.

Eliminate unpleasant cooking odors in the kitchen -
Boil one tablespoon of White Vinegar with one cup of water.

Remove wallpaper -
Mix equal parts Vinegar and hot water. Use a paint roller to wet the paper thoroughly with the mixture. Repeat. Paper should peal off in sheets.

Eliminate animal urine stains from carpet -
Blot up urine, flush several times with lukewarm water, then apply a mixture of equal parts White Vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse, and let dry.

Relieve a cold -
Mix one-quarter cup Apple Cider Vinegar with one-quarter cup honey. Take one tablespoon six to eight times daily.

Deodorize a stale lunch box -
Soak a paper napkin in Vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

Prevent soapy film on glassware -
Place a cup of White Vinegar on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, run for five minutes, then run though the full cycle. A cup of white vinegar run through the entire cycle once a month will also reduce soap scum on the inner workings.

Unclog a shower head -
Unscrew the shower head, remove the rubber washer, place the head in a pot filled with equal parts Vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.

Relieve a cough -
Mix one-half cup Apple Cider Vinegar, one-half cup water, one teaspoon cayenne pepper, and four teaspoons honey. Take one tablespoon when cough acts up. Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

Retard patching plaster from drying -
Add one tablespoon white vinegar to the water when mixing plaster to slow the drying time.

Bumper stickers:
Remove bumper stickers by repeatedly wiping the sticker with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked. In a few minutes, it should peel off easily. Test on a small invisible area of the car to ensure there will be no damage to the pain.

Paintbrush softener:
Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar, and then wash out with warm, sudsy water.

Cleaning the Radiator Vent
Turn down the thermostat. Unscrew the air vent, soak it in vinegar to clean it, then turn the thermostat all the way up. After a few minutes, you'll hear a hissing sound followed by a little bit of water spurting out. Finally, steam will start exiting that hole. Turn off the radiator valve and replace the vent. It should be straight up and hand tight. You should not need or use a wrench.

Frosted windows:
For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar. They won’t frost over.

Furniture
Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaning Leather Shoes
Make a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar, and use it sparingly on the shoes. Dip a cloth into the solution, and dab it over the salt-streaked parts of your shoes.
May have to repeat the cleaning a few times before all the salt is removed. Salt actually can damage leather, so it's best to clean shoes as quickly as possible. Don't let the salt stains build up.

Fireplaces
Wash fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors.

Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak. Wipe it off with newspaper.

Cleaner for Gold Jewelry
Use one cup apple cider vinegar. Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove and dry with cloth.

Remove Lime Stains from Car
Pour a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth. Gently rub the area of lime staining with the cloth until the stain is gone. Test a small are first to ensure no discoloration.

Worn DVDs:
If you have a worn DVD that has begun to stick or suffers from the occasional freeze-frame, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth. Ensure the DVD is completely dry before re-inserting in the DVD player. (Note: This only works on DVDs that are scratched of dirty through normal wear.)


Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Brass polish:
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaner Dishes and Glasses
Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.

Remove Refrigerator Smells
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator. Within 2 days, any smell is gone!

No-wax floors:
To wash no-wax floors, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.

Carpet stain removal:
A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. This should be done as soon as the stain is discovered.

Carpet Cleaning Solution:

Fill the machine with equal parts white vinegar and warm water; then, clean according to the manufacturer's instructions.



So grab a gallon or two of vinegar next time you head to the store and a fresh new empty spray bottle and make your own quality inexpensive cleaner! You will be cleaning your house literally for pennies.




Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Empty Nesting


As the spring arrives and so many activities are nearing I have a deep feeling of sadness hovering over me with the impending graduation of my eighteen year old son. I will not be experiencing the empty nest with my other two children still under mothers wing, but the thought that I will have to let go of my first born son is gnawing at my heart strings and giving me a feeling of sadness that I can't seem to shake lately. What brings this on so fierce I believe is that he's in a drama class with a teacher that treats the students horribly and for the first time I have to sit back and keep out of it. Normally, I would have a conference with this teacher and find out where she stands, I would move to the principal if I felt that I needed to further the discussion. But, my son is eighteen and needs to learn to handle predicaments on his own now. The stories that he shares about her behavior and her degrading comments to the students makes my blood run cold. I believe that a teacher is there to mold a student to lend encouragement and to teach. I know that it's not an easy task for any teacher to take on a group of teenagers, but a drama teacher should be most encouraging and wanting to ignite the fire within these students to carry on with this art even after graduation. From what I understand, from hearing bits and pieces from many sources this teacher wallows in her own life's dis-satisfaction, using these kids as springboards for her own anger and pain. It's wrong in my eyes, but here I am with my very own lesson in life, it's time to let go and let my son fight his own battles. With the sadness of him heading off to college next fall and the feelings of loss and fear shadowing the excitement for me, it's going to be a hard course for me to take all of this in stride and keep that smile on my face. I watch him quietly as he goes through his day and evening and tell myself I am doing the right thing, leaving my feelings inside and allowing him to start living his life as an adult.
But inside I worry about the safety of college campuses with all the recent shootings and him staying safe when he leaves home to venture into his own independence. I worry about him making the right choices and finding his way. But, like my father once told me at eighteen I can tell you about all the mistakes you will make but you won't listen to me, you will have to find out for yourself and learn from your own mistakes. That advice and those wise words have stuck with me all my adult life.
It goes to show us the circle of life that we lead. I can remember turning eighteen and moving 0n into my life like it was yesterday, but now it seems to feel like a different world for our teenagers. But, who is to say thats exactly how my parents felt when I was off on my own for the first time. I suppose as I venture into this new phase in my life I will learn many new things and emotions that I will express. And, I can only hope that when my next son moves on I will be able to deal with all of the feelings that I am having now, with a bit of new light!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Bunnies



Easter will be here on Sunday March 23, 2008 and I know that a lot of people find it a great gift to give the children a pet rabbit. I think it’s a terrible idea to have an impulse purchase of a pet. They are adorable but they also require care, love and attention. If you feel strongly that you want a pet rabbit take time to research having them before you rush out to get one for Easter.

We happen to have a delightful little pet rabbit. His name is Chuck Norris, which always gives me a giggle when I have to speak out loud his full name. Our pet is a mini rex and he’s a wonderful pet. Small enough for the children to hold and pet and very soft to touch and caress. He’s very docile and enjoys being held and carried but loves to run around free. He has a 4-foot long by 2-foot wide cage that we keep indoors. I know a lot of people put a hutch outdoors for their bunnies but they really should be kept in out of the weather. Our rabbit has a litter box in his cage that we fill with organic litter and he uses it so we don’t have a lot of mess. Rabbit’s are

quite easily trained to use a litter box and are very smart.

Rabbits can live for many years and are a long-term pet if you choose to bring one into your life. They are very social creatures and require attention. You can have a rabbit spayed or neutered and you should if you are going to have more than one. Rabbits require a healthy diet and should
be given a great deal of timothy hay. They need the fiber in their diets. They love to chew so keeping chew toys in their cages for them is a good idea. If you are going to let your rabbit roam free you should take care and make sure there are no wires laying around. You can thread them through a small PVC pipe so that they are protected from the rabbit. They will chew your baseboards and furniture legs as well. We keep our rabbit in his cage unless he is out supervised for periods. We have three dachshunds that would love to play with him and they would play too rough. So please be mindful of your other pets around your rabbit. It's best to have safety in mind for your pet rabbit.

Rabbits also love treats even though they should not be overfed foods that aren’t that healthy just like us as well but an occasional treat is alright.

Honey Balls

Ingredients:


Weetabix crushed 1/4 cup
Oats 1/4 cup
Honey
Rabbit pellets crushed 1/3 cup
Carrot cut in tiny pieces

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients into a bowl (except honey) once mixed add as much honey as you
need to make the balls stick together.

Homemade Bunny Biscuits

1 small carrot, pureed
1/2 banana, mashed until really creamy
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup rabbit pellets, ground finely in a coffee grinder
1/4 cup ground oats, ground finely in a coffee grinder

Mix pureed carrot, banana and honey in a medium bowl. Add pellet powder and ground oats. Mix until blended. Knead in your hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll out the "dough" in 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick layers between sheets of plastic wrap. Cut into small cookies (about 3/4 inch across). Place cut shapes onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes (check to make sure they are not browning too much). Turn off the heat and let the cookies sit in the warm oven for an hour or so.

Remember, never to give rabbits a lot of foods that are sugary and high in carbohydrates you don’t want to upset their digestion and cause diarrhea. It’s all right for the occasional treat sparingly but not all the time. They do enjoy fruits and vegetables but be careful with iceberg lettuce.

If you are going to invest in a pet rabbit I know you will enjoy this animal, but please make sure it’s not an impulse purchase because it’s Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pet Health

I know I mention the care and health of pets quite often but I feel like it can't be said enough when you have a pet. I have on my to do list today to call the vet and take the dachshunds up to have their nails clipped. I am sure you are saying why doesn't she do it herself. Well, my phoebe has crazy toes and its so hard to do and I'm always worried about hurting her. So, it's worth my peace of mind to have the vets office do it for me for a small fee. Delbert doesn't need it done often because he runs so much that he wears his down. Smoochie is in between needing it more than Delbert but not near as often as Phoebe. So, today I will make an appointment to take them all. There are so many reasons to do this, or have it done. Overly long nails on a dog can cause them pain and can interfere in their walking. Dachshunds already bear so much weight on their fat little paws with their length its important to make sure their nails are short.
Last month was national dental month for pets, and I took Delbert in to get his teeth done because he has a hard time with his mouth. Even being a month later I'm seeing the yellowing of his teeth once again. I try, and I say that with a grain of salt, to brush all their teeth once a week. But, Delbert will bite he does not like his mouth fiddled with at all. His last checkup he had two teeth pulled because they had gotten bad, and they did that in a matter of a couple of months.
I watched a program on Food Network this weekend by Rachel Ray and she had some delightful recipes for dogs. She highlighted some wonderful activities and places that cater to pets and if you get a chance to watch the program, take the time it was inspirational. I enjoyed watching it and learned a few things as well.
Just to highlight my little rant and rave on pet health and because today is St. Patrick's Day I thought I would give you a site to see all the pet holidays that we all probably miss. I spent the weekend trying to find toys for my aquarium because I feel like since my tiger Oscar has passed the other albino Oscar is lonely and bored. I didn't have much luck, but I am sure there is something out there to entertain social active fish.
Just one more tidbit, being that weather is getting warmer and your dogs will most likely get into things that make them smell horrid. Don't forget to learn the proper way to bathe your pets. It's important that the experience is not life altering or scarring to your dog. My doxies love a bath; the ones that haven't had theirs yet stand at my feet waiting for their turn! It's so adorable. I just love the personalities of my pets! It makes having them worth every moment when you look into those loving adoring eyes.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone I hope you enjoy the day and that you wear a bit of green! You don't want to get a pinch!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Easter and your pets


It’s time for another holiday and pets like to be included as well. But, be careful and know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. This delicious creamy tasty treat seems harmless even delightful to us, but to our four legged friends even though they love the taste the effects are dangerous. Be sure to watch your pets for symptoms of poisoning with all the darling children and their treat baskets running around. If you find that your pet has consumed chocolate make sure you seek medical treatment right away to avoid a family pet tragedy.

Another thing to watch is that plastic grass that we use in the baskets. That could be something your pet finds interesting and if they ingest the little plastic strands it too could end up with a trip to your veterinarian.

Also, the beauty of the Easter Lily or any Lily for that matter delights us all during the spring months and for the holiday. But please keep in mind that this flower is poisonous to dogs! There are many plants that are poisonous to animals. It's always a good idea to check before you add it to your home.

Be sure to keep the number to the ASPCA poison control nearby when you can't get in touch with your veterinarian.

I like to treat my dachshunds during holidays so that they don’t feel left out with the excitement of the day. I make an empty basket for them and fill it with appropriate treats and toys that they all enjoy rutting their noses through until each one finds what they want. I love to watch them all running around with their new toys and wrestling around trying to take each other’s fabulous finds from one another. My dachshunds are most entertaining and I get the biggest laughs from them every day.

Each one of my dogs has their own favorites and I try to use this time of year to replace toys that have been chewed up and look ragged. Delbert, he enjoys a ball of any sort but can crush the doggy type tennis balls and they turn to flat felt covered rags. Smoochie likes anything that squeaks and although he finds them entertaining for hours the squeaking can get on even the most patient persons nerves. And, I think that is why Phoebe doesn’t really play with toys but loves to chew and destroy them, especially Smoochie’s. Who can blame her she has ears too!

All three of them love snacks and treats. If you ask them if they want a Smoochie snack they all run to the kitchen. We call all treats “Smoochie Snacks” because Smoochie loves treats and will sit pretty, on his back hindquarters and his little stubby paws in front of him, for his morsel. With the recent scare of contaminated pet foods I worry over their treats, so to ease my mind I find it’s easier to make my own.

I am adding a few tasty recipes so you can try your paw at them as well!

Doggie Biscuits

· 2 1/2 c Whole wheat flour

· 1/2 c Powdered dry milk

· 1/2 teaspoon Salt

· 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder

· 1 teaspoon Brown sugar

· 6 tablespoon Meat drippings

· 1 Beaten egg

· 1/2 c Ice water

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Combine flour, dry milk, salt, garlic powder and sugar. Cut in meat drippings until mixture resembles corn meal. Mix in egg. Add enough water so that mixture forms a ball. Using your fingers, pat out dough onto cookie sheet to half inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter or knife and remove scraps. Scraps can be formed again and baked. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from tray and cool on rack.

Chicken Liver Goodies

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 3 tbs. Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup wheat germ or cornmeal if wheat allergies are a problem
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 cup cooked chicken liver, chopped

Combine flour and wheat germ. In separate bowl, beat egg with oil, and then add broth & parsley mix well. Add the dry ingredients to bowl a little at a time, stirring well. Fold in chicken livers and mix well. Dough will be firm. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out 1/2" thick and cut into shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet 1" apart. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Bars

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375' In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter milk, and then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

So make your Easter holiday safe and happy for your pets as well and take some time to whip up a few treats to put in their basket with a new toy and be sure to have your camera ready!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Beaming Mother Hen


I know every parent is a proud hen when it comes to his or her babies and I am not any different. I am truly so proud of all my children. Each one of them has something special and unique to them that they excel at and they all make me smile with beaming pride. I have to brag just a little about my son Evan, he is in his second year of school tennis at the Junior High School and he’s doing so well. He had his first match yesterday and as he said “owned” it. Thank heavens I’m hip and up to date so I knew right away that he meant he won. Tennis is a great sport to start with in youth. I played tennis in high school and into college. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not very good but I loved to play. I think it helps a child develop a lot of hand eye coordination and it does give them a good cardio workout with running back and forth and side to side. I am so proud that my son has taken to it, as he is very active in football and baseball and karate as well. He’s asked me to get out on the court once again and I may just do that when the weather warms up but it’s been a very long time since this old mom has volleyed balls on the court! I do like the game of tennis though.

And since I am on the subject of kids. It’s prom time around my house with my son’s last senior prom and its all the buzz around the house. The planning, the excitement, the crisis’s and the cost! Oh my goodness to think how expensive this one school dance turns out to be. I just melt when I see my young man dressed in that tuxedo with his boyish grin and dapper hairstyle. It’s that moment when you can’t believe this 200 pound 6 foot man is your baby! Graduation is this year for him and I have been feverishly planning his celebration. I’m so proud of him and I will miss him dearly when he leaves my nest for college.

Not to leave out my daughter who also does karate and just finished up her basketball season. She’s wonderful and I enjoy the age she is right now she is just coming into her own with wanting to fix her hair and wear a bit of makeup and the boy gossip is blooming as well. I have to smile when the drama just pours from her mouth as if I would never know anything like these stories before. It’s so entertaining!

With active growing kids in the house having quality snacks and foods for them is important to me. I thought I’d share a few recipes my hungry tummies enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins

Note: You don't have to peel the zucchini before shredding it for this recipe. It won't affect the taste and the peel will provide some extra fiber.

Prep time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
  • 2 cups whole-grain pancake or biscuit mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • powdered sugar (enough to dust the muffins)

What to do:

  1. Wash zucchini and remove ends.
  2. Shred zucchini using largest holes on grater.
  3. Place grated zucchini on paper towels and squeeze to remove water.
  4. Measure 1½ cups of squeezed-dry zucchini.
  5. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  7. In a large bowl, mix whole-grain pancake mix (or biscuit mix) with spices.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, and lemon juice.
  9. Fold the egg-sugar mixture and shredded zucchini into the pancake-spice mixture; do not overmix.
  10. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter.
  11. Bake 10–15 minutes or until golden.
  12. Remove muffins from tin and cool on a wire rack.
  13. Sprinkle muffins with a dusting of powdered sugar.

About a dozen muffins.

Pineapple Pops

Prep time: about 60 to 120 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. canned crushed pineapple (packed in its own juice instead of packed in syrup)
  • 1 can frozen pineapple or orange-pineapple juice concentrate, thawed

Directions:

  1. Drain the can of crushed pineapple so all the juice runs out.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix them together.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cups. Fill them almost to the top.
  4. Stretch a small piece of plastic wrap across the top of each cup.
  5. Using the popsicle stick, poke a hole in the plastic wrap. Stand the stick straight up in the center of the cup.
  6. Put the cups in the freezer until the mixture is frozen solid.
  7. Remove the plastic wrap and peel away the paper cup. You'll have pineapple pops to eat and share!

Serves: 6

Serving size: 1 pop

Peachy Freeze

rep time: 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. sliced peaches (they can be either fresh or canned)
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Directions:

  1. Pour the milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.
  2. Pop the "milk cubes" out of the tray and put them into the blender. Then put the peaches and sugar into the blender.
  3. Put the lid on the blender and blend on high speed until everything is all mixed together and very smooth.
  4. Pour your Perfect Peachy Freeze into serving dishes and serve right away.

Serves: 3

Strawberry Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. cottage cheese
  • 2/3 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Pour all of the ingredients into the blender.
  2. Put the lid on the blender and blend for 45 to 60 seconds until smooth.
  3. Pour your smoothie into a glass and enjoy.

Serves: 1

Serving size: 1 large glass

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Soup for the Soul

Have you ever wanted to make a loaf of fresh bread but didn’t have any yeast on hand? Perhaps you are in the mood for a warm slice of home made bread but don’t have the time or patience for starting a loaf from scratch? That’s what happens to me and I used to be in love with the ease of the bread machine. But, there again if you are out of yeast it leaves you scratching your head instead of scratching up a loaf of bread. I felt like a day in the kitchen, now that I’m getting past the flu and back to normal. I started a wonderful pot of cream of broccoli soup. As it simmered on the stove I thought we need something else to go with it. My husband has been back in the kitchen brewing his own beer again, and there are several bottles in the garage refrigerator that he’s displeased with, so I grabbed a bottle and made a batch of beer bread. I love the ease of making beer bread. The beer and the baking powder combine and create the gasses the loaf needs to rise and the taste and smell is fabulous. So, I threw a batch together and in the oven it went. So, now I’m thinking I have a nice pot of home made broccoli soup and fresh hot from the oven beer bread with a garlic butter I threw together. Now we need a nice dessert. There is something special about chocolate on a cold sunny Sunday. What better to tantalize our taste buds than a lava chocolate cake? And, the kids love that they are served individually in their own little dishes.

I know you are thinking that’s a lot of in the kitchen time, but it truly wasn’t and well worth the little bit of effort when my daughter just came out and said “this is a wonderful day mom, you are the best cook and you make the greatest things!” Who can trade words like that for a bit of time in the kitchen? Not to mention my middle son helped me with some of it and we both enjoy that time together. We had to run to the store and grab some cheese and eggs and he and I really appreciate those moments when he and I are alone together like that.

My eighteen year old came in from work and smelled the fragrant scents wafting from the kitchen and said he was “stoked” that I made soup. Moments like those where your kids look at you with that love in their eyes is well worth anything.

So, if you need a great kid friendly dinner that doesn’t take a lot of trouble I thought I would share my recipes.

Cream of Broccoli soup

One onion minced in the food processor

4 cloves of fresh garlic minced in the food processor

One large bag frozen broccoli minced in the food processor

½ stick butter

2 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbl cornstarch

2 quarts 1% milk/or Hood’s calorie countdown

Melt butter in the pan mixing in the cornstarch. Add the onion and garlic and broccoli and mix around sautéing. Add chicken stock and let come to a simmer. Add milk, salt and pepper and simmer until ready to eat. Add shredded cheddar cheese to your liking.


Beer Bread

Measure

Ingredient

341 milliliter

Bottle Beer (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon

Sesame Seeds

2¾ cup

All-Purpose Flour

4 teaspoon

Baking Powder

1 tablespoon

Granulated Sugar

½ teaspoon

Salt

¼ teaspoon

Dry Mustard

1¼ cup

Old Cheddar Cheese; shredded

This recipe for a delicious, no muss, no fuss, no yeast beer bread comes from Labatt's, to whom we are very grateful. Great with soup and/or salad.

Pour beer into bowl; let stand. Toast sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes, shaking pan gently, until fragrant and brown.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, mustard and 1 cup cheese. Pour into beer; stir just to combine. Spread into greased 8 X 4-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and sesame seeds.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Makes 4 Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate (this is one standard chocolate bar)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar as needed

Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double-boiler, or microwave for a short time. Stir to combine. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light yellow in color, and the sugar is dissolved.

About 3 minutes.

Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and salt. Fold in with a spatula until combined. Spoon into 4 buttered 5-oz ramekins, and tap on the table to settle any air bubbles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place ramekins in a baking dish and add water until it is halfway up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm. The cakes can be turn out, or served in the ramekins.