Friday, August 29, 2008

Flashback Friday

 

 
Here I am all dressed up with a big bow in my hair for my 2nd birthday - but I don't remember this picture being taken. I always loved my baby brother's dandelion hair. My Mom sure looks happy! Love the shirt my Dad is wearing! Can you guess the year?
 
 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Grammie, You're Afraid!

 
Call me crazy but I always enjoyed taking my kids grocery shopping. For some reason, I never had a problem with them running in the aisles or throwing tantrums at the checkout. I think luck played a large part in it...that and I was not beyond bribing them with an after shopping treat to encourage them to behave.
 
I enjoy taking my granddaughters shopping too. I have them sit in the grocery cart for as long as I can...letting a 2, 3 or even 4 year old loose in the store is asking for trouble!
 
Grocery shopping can be a really fun experience. The kids love to bag, weigh and put the sticky labels on the fruit and vegetables. I let them hold the grocery list and "read" it to me as we shop. They like to collect the coupons on display and they even get to pay when we check out.
 
I make it a practice, however, to avoid certain aisles. There is no point in having the "I want that, Grammie" and "No, you can't have that" conversation 20 times in the course of a 30 minute shopping trip. So I map out my store route to avoid the temptation aisles, which include, in one particular store, a rather well displayed and stocked Barbie doll section.
 
Now K, my granddaughter, must have been 4 years old at the time and would still ride in the cart. We were moving through the aisles when I took a right turn, away from the aisle that led to the Barbies.
 
 
"Grammie!"
 
"What, Sweetie?"
 
"Where are you going?"
 
Grammie knows where she's NOT going. "I'm going to get some milk."
 
Hard stare into Grammie's eyes. Grammie tries to look innocent. Not easy.
 
"Grammie, you're afraid!"
 
"Grammie's not afraid of anything!"
 
"Yes you are! You're afraid to go that way 'cause you know what's down there," pointing over my shoulder in the direction of the Barbies.
 
Grammie cracks up. K cracks up. She got Grammie. We go get the milk. And an ice cream cone.
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Birthday Banners

 

Are you looking for ways to give a more eco-friendly birthday party?
 
One Mom and a Party has introduced its eco-friendly birthday banners!
 
Instead of paper decorations and streamers, add a fabric birthday banner! Not only are you cutting back on paper waste, you will have something that you can use over and over again.
 
We have banners in red/black/yellow or pink/black/yellow or an all pink banner just for girls! You can also select from our fabric inventory to create your own banner. If you don't see patterns for your party's theme, email us at onemom@onemomandaparty.com and we will be happy to custom make a banner just for your party.
 
Just one more way to green your birthday celebration. Check out One Mom and a Party for more eco-friendly birthday party ideas and supplies.
 
 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

 


 
Well, okay. Not ice cream. We are watching our saturated fat intake so this is actually Homemade Frozen Peach Yogurt.
 
I was inspired by Scribbit's post on Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream. All I needed was an ice cream maker! Wouldn't you know, a week later I found a Krups La Glaciere at a yard sale for $5.
 
All I needed now was a recipe. Tyler Florence filmed an episode on Ultimate Ice Cream for the Food Network. Looked awfully good but I thought I'd better start off with something a little less sophisticated than Sweet Kabocha Squash Ice Cream with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds.
 
I found this really, really easy recipe for Frozen Peach Yogurt. Only four ingredients...how easy is that? (Don't I just sound like Ina???)
 
So here's the recipe and let me tell you, nothing could be easier!
 
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches (I used 4 peaches)
2 cups low fat or fat free yogurt
1/2 c honey
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (which I didn't have so I substituted 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/8 t ginger and 1/8 t nutmeg)
 
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until ingredients are blended. I chose to leave the peaches still a little bit chunky.
 
Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. I had well frozen yogurt in 25 minutes. It's good to eat right then. If you store it in your freezer for any length of time it will become rock hard and you will need to let it sit out at room temperature for a while (15 minutes) to soften up a bit.
 
So if you don't have your own ice cream maker, check out your local yard sales and then make this healthy dessert for your family. Yum-O (Now I'm channelling Rachel!).
 
 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kid Pics: A New Pet

 

 
Karen over at Life in The Crazy Lane is hosting a Kid Pics Carnival where we take the day off (yeah, right) and turn the camera duty over to the kids.
 
My granddaughter took this pic of her new pet fish. She (the fish) is being introduced to her new surroundings!
 
So check out Karen's blog and add your child's photo masterpiece!
 
 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pork Invasion

 
We live just twenty minutes away from Canada and make frequent border crossings. These days you must show either your passport or 2 forms of identification such as a birth certificate and driver's license. U.S. citizens returning from Canada are permitted to bring $200 worth of merchandise back into the country, but there are restrictions regarding food products. No fruit, vegetables, plants or meat is permitted into the U.S. unless you have the proper importation paperwork. Your average individual or family crossing would not have this. There are signs at each inspection booth which state that these goods must be declared.
 
Some years back, pre 2004, we used to host a summer's end pig roast for our friends and neighbors. We had a relative in Canada who would supply us with the dressed pig and we had only to pick it up and bring it back into the States.
 
The first year we had no problem bringing the whole pig over in our van.
 
The second year my son was pulled over for a secondary inspection when he declared the pig. Apparently the officer would not recognize the Canadian equivalent of our FDA Inspection stamp. My son protested that the Canadian inspection is just as stringent as the American (saying something along the lines that Canadians don't eat rotten pork) but he was directed to the Customs office anyway. He was waiting his turn when one of the officers behind the counter called to him,
 
"Hey, Will! What are doing in here?"
 
"I've got a pig for a pig roast in my truck.
 
"Wow! How are you gonna cook that pig?"
 
"We fire up this humongous smoker in the middle of the night and when the wood and charcoal is just right we put the pig on the grill and smoke her for about 12 hours."
 
"Man that sounds good. So why are you in here?"
 
Your agent doesn't think the Canadian inspection stamp is good enough to allow the pork into the states."
 
(poignant pause....looks exchanged)
 
"Well it looks okay to me."
 
And Will left with the pig, relieved but a little befuddled since he had absolutely no idea how the Customs agent knew him!
 
The following year we determined that the pig would be broght over in two halves. Apparently the inspection restrictions are different for a half quantity of pig as opposed to a whole pig. But before we would actually be importing the pig, I thought I would inquire at the customs booth as we made a "normal" crossing, just to be sure we had all of our t's crossed and i's dotted.
 
"We're planning on importing half a pig next weekend for a pig roast. Is there anything special required of us to bring it over?"
 
The customs agent asked, "Is the pig dead or alive?"
 
I swear I kept a straight face.
 
"Our half is dead."
 
He looked a little rattled but he responded, "Well, then it should be okay."
 
Yep, keeping our borders safe.
 
 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Western NY Tomatoes

 

 
I'm about to give up on growing tomatoes.
 
Next year I'm planting cucumbers.
 
It's August 20th and my tomatoes are green.
 
I can buy so many more tomatoes for the price of two tomato seedlings.
 
Maybe they need more sunshine?
 
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Me and Mine

 

 Me and my three sons...but can you guess when it was taken?
 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shortcut Sourdough

 

 
We practically gorge ourselves on tomato bruschetta in the summertime. We've eaten it for breakfast (not a good idea if we plan to be around other human beings that day..we tend to go a little heavy on the garlic) and we often have it for dinner.
 
I have been baking our own bread this summer and have been experimenting with recipes for a good sourdough type baguette...I know I should just make my own sourdough starter but that would be like a major commitment to bake sourdough all the time. I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment!
 
My search led me to a recipe by Linda Larsen on About.com. I am always drawn to a recipe that claims to be easy. Instead of a starter, this recipe uses sour cream or yogurt to add the sourdough "tang." I made a few adjustments and it turned out great...who can resist sampling bread fresh from the oven.....and we'll be having bruschetta for dinner tonight!
 
Terry's Version of Easy Sourdough French Bread
 
4 - 5 cups all purpose flour
1 T sugar
2 t salt
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 c warm water
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 T vinegar
 
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl (I used my mixer for this step) Add water, yogurt and vinegar and beat well. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour until dough forms.
 
On floured surface, knead in 1 cup more flour until bread is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise for 30 - 35 minutes.
 
I have baguette pans but if you don't, simply grease a large cookie sheet. Punch down dough and cover with an overturned bowl for 15 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll each half to 14"x8" rectangle. Starting with the long side, roll dough up tightly and pinch edges firmly to seal. Place seam side down on prepared cookie sheet. With a sharp knife make diagonal slashes in the top of each baguette. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 15 minutes.
 
Heat oven to 375 degrees. I put a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack to encourage a crustier loaf. Bake bread for 30 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.
 
 


Monday, August 18, 2008

Mea Culpa

 
Everyone knows that after you have children you must be very careful about what you say in front of them.
 
Of course, you're not going to swear in front of your toddler, the one who is picking up new words every day. At least not under most circumstances. Not if you can help it.
 
And you're careful not to say anything unflattering or disrespectful about relatives, friends and neighbors.
 
Children are exposed to bad language, taunts and criticism soon enough. Parents certainly don't want to be the source of unwelcome behavior.
 
Sometimes, however, we're caught with our automatic censor off, our guard down and our foot in our mouths. Then a 3 year old can cut us down to size with just a few words.
 
We live on an island- bridges on and bridges off. There are tolls to be paid with LARGE signs to indicate cash lanes and E-ZPass lanes for cars with transponders. Not infrequently, drivers not paying attention will find themselves in the E-ZPass lane, cash in hand, expecting a toll booth attendant to appear out of thin air and take their toll. And they wait...and wait...while the drivers behind are yelling "Go through...go through...go, go, GO!"
 
And when we cross the border into Canada the same applies. There are EXACT CHANGE/TOKEN ONLY lanes and there are CASH lanes. There are attendants in the CASH lane but only a "basket" into which you toss your coins or token in the EXACT CHANGE/TOKEN ONLY lane.
 
By now I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with putting my foot in my mouth. You see, two of my granddaughters live in Canada so I make frequent crossings with them in the car. The drive to the border from my house is only 20 minutes but can be fraught with the frustrations of a long wait at the border first at customs then at the toll booths. There is a lot of jockeying for position to get into the fastest/shortest lane and depending on the time of day/holiday/month the wait can be up to 90 minutes. Not conducive to a calm disposition.
 
Now I don't even remember the circumstances of the crossing in question but we had survived the customs inspection and were lining up to pay our toll. My three year old granddaughter was in the car with me. Someone had pulled into the EXACT CHANGE/TOKEN ONLY lane and was waiting for a toll attendant to magically appear. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
 
 
Grammie: What is wrong with people! Can't they read!?!?
 
Long Pause
 
3 Year Old K: But Grammie, I can't read.
 
Grammie: (choking on foot in mouth) I know, Honey. But if you could, I know you wouldn't go in the wrong lane!
 
 
That day I learned from my granddaughter; it's not just the "bad" words that I need to avoid. I must also remember that my comments, no matter how innocuous, may sound quite different to a little person.
 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Voices

 
Here are the answers to Monday's post.
 
Antonio Banderas is the Nasonex bee
 
Catherine Zeta Jones is the voice of T-Mobil
 
Christine Lahti is the voice of Olay
 
Donald Sutherland is the voice of Simply Orange
 
Kiefer Sutherland is the voice of Bank of America
 
Gary Sinese is the voice of Cadillac
 
Linda Hunt is the voice of Home Depot
 
Sam Elliot is the voice of Beef..it's what's for dinner
 
Gene Hackman is the voice of Lowes
 
Tom Selleck (sigh) is the voice of Florida Orange Juice
 
How many did you get right?
 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Leftovers

 

 
The "other" leftovers from Barbecued Beer Can Chicken
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's a Battle

 
I don't know what brilliant minds dreamed up the foil packs for drugs but they should be confined to a small cell and required to actually open the packs every day for a period of, let's say, FOREVER!
 
My husband must take six prescription drugs every day. With just one functioning hand, he can't even open the pill bottles, childproof or not. But when it comes to the foil packs, puhleeze! I can barely open them!
 
Not to mention the waste inherent in the foil/plastic/paper packaging!
 

 
I open the month's supply all at once....I really could not bear to start each day in combat with an obstinate foil pack....then keep them in their own little bottle. So for the 15 minutes that that it takes each month to achieve dominance over the foil, I complain loudly. I guess it's pretty clear that I just unwrapped the month's supply.
 
I know that many of the cold/allergy meds are also packaged this way and are just as frustrating, but for everyday meds, give us a break! We want user friendly packaging!
 
OK. I feel better now. Until next month....
 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whose voice is that anyway?

I know that voice! But it's just a commercial and I can't place it! It may take a minute to identify, to isolate the voice from the message. Some voices are more easily identified (I'd know Tom Selleck anywhere) and who wouldn't recognize Morgan Freeman's voice in the Olympic VISA ads (which is what got me going on this bit of fluff). See if you can name the products that use the voices of these famous people?
 
Antonio Banderas
 
Catherine Zeta Jones
 
Christine Lahti
 
Donald Sutherland
 
Kiefer Sutherland
 
Gary Sinese
 
Linda Hunt
 
Sam Elliot
 
Gene Hackman
 
Tom Selleck
 
Here are some hints (not in any particular order):
 
Bank of America, Beef, Cadillac, Florida Orange Juice, Home Depot, Lowes, Nasonex, Oil of Olay, Simply Orange, T Mobil
 
Answers will appear later in the week. Can you add to the list?
 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Equality in Olympic Beach Volleyball

 
Can anything possibly be more uncomfortable than wearing a bikini, working up a mighty sweat and then rolling around in sand?
 
They call that women's beach volleyball.
 
I realize that there are more dangerous, physically punishing sports....gymnastics, track and field, rowing....
 
Competing with sand in my panties...no thanks. But these Olympians are tough.
 
So I was anticipating the men's competition to be equally demanding.
 
You know, sand in the speedos and all.
 
But the men appeared in shirts...tucked into almost knee-length shorts!
 
Where's the equality here?
 
So which should it be? Let the women put some clothes on or send the men out to compete in speedos?
 



Friday, August 8, 2008

Ditz of the Day Award

 
Sometimes I surprise even myself.
 
I admit that I'm often running on empty. On automatic. Without thinking.
 
But there was no excuse for this.
 
My laptop and printer are in the kitchen. My "supplies" are in the basement. The basement is cool...and damp..not wet, but summertime in the northeast is always damp and we don't have a dehumidifier in the basement.
 
So my envelopes are "damp."
 
The last time I tried to print out damp envelopes they would not run through the printer...paper jam
 
So I dried them out in a warm oven....perfect.
 
I thought I could do this again
 
BUT I left the envelopes in the oven just seconds too long...
 
And the envelopes all melted shut...
 
No, I could not open the envelopes, which pretty much rendered them useless.
 
So now I am using them for making my "to do" lists
 
Which earns me the Ditz of the Day Award.
 
Because who bakes their envelopes anyway?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Those were the days

 
When I married at 21, I was transported from suburban life in California to farm life in Ontario, Canada. We drank milk straight from our cow, enjoyed our own eggs and, of course, planted a gigantic vegetable garden every summer. My MIL taught me how to bake pies with the flakiest crust and how to can the fruits of the season.
 
Now I live in New York State in a subdivision that backs onto green belt but no cow, no chickens and no vegetable garden (too many trees and very little sunshine!) I try to buy most of my fruits and veggies from a local fruit stand but I no longer can, preserve, pickle, jam and freeze what I did in the 70's and 80's.
 
My memory is filled with the images of countless canning jars sitting on the kitchen counter, filled with the jewel tones of ripe fruit, the small jars of crabapple jelly firming up in the sunshine on the window sill and the big freezer filling to the top with bags full of bright green and yellow veggies.
 
This is what I would put up each year for the coming winter:
 
CANNED
apricots
sweet cherries
sour cherries
peaches
pears
plums
tomatoes
tomato juice
stewed rhubarb
applesauce
 
PICKLED
dill pickles
bread & butter pickles
sour pickles
peppers
sweet relish
tomato relish
eggplant
 
JAMS & JELLIES
strawberry
raspberry
peach
apricot
black currant
red currant
crabapple jelly
 
FREEZER
peas
green beans
yellow beans
corn
broccoli
brussel sprouts
 
I remember the backaches after picking peas and beans, which always seemed to be ready at the same time. There were hours spent in a steamy, hot kitchen and feeling dead tired at the end of the day, but mmmmm, lovely summer goodness to enjoy during the cold winter.
 
But now we don't eat canned fruit. I make applesauce sometimes but that's about it. No more do we have Sunday Dinners with roast beef and yorkshire pudding always accompanied by bread & butter pickles and crabapple jelly. One jar of jam that I keep on hand for the grandkids lasts for months. And I tend to buy my veggies fresh rather than frozen.
 
But those were the days. I'm glad for the memories. Do you put up the bounty of summer to enjoy during the winter? Was there a time when you did?
 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Mrs. McTweety's

 

 
Look closely, you'll see that Mrs. McTweety has a boarder! You can't actually see the bird but you can see her nest below the "front" door!
 

She's ready for Christmas!

 
No, not me....I'm lucky to be ready by December 20th.
 
I'm talking about my 11 year old granddaughter, K.
 
You see, K and I are planning to have a yard sale later this month. I've been cleaning out closets and the basement, gathering treasures to sell and K has been doing the same at her parent's house. Almost weekly, I bring bags of books and toys over to keep in the garage until the big day.
 
Even our neighbors joined in. They recently moved away and generously contributed several boxes of previously loved goodies to K's yard sale. Up until the past week, K had not investigated her growing stash, but now she thought it was time to see what she would be putting out for sale.
 
And she was thrilled with what she found!
 
"Oh look, Grammie! My Mommy would love this! And Daddy would love this! And Nani would love that!" and so on and so on and so on....
 
By the time she was finished inspecting the boxes, K announced that she had all of her Christmas shopping done! And she was so proud of herself.
 
"This is the first time I've done my own shopping, Grammie! Everyone will be so surprised!"
 
I can see that this yard sale is going to have to be an annual event.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Let them eat hay....

 
I was browsing through my cookbooks a while back, looking for some inspiration. I was thinking healthy so grabbed "Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish" the expert on eating to reverse heart disease. It's been 13 years since my Honey's heart attack and I am ashamed to admit that we have strayed from the diet we adopted immediately after his bypass surgery. So many reasons, none of them good........
 
But now I needed something that would appeal to my four visiting granddaughters too. I spied a recipe for haystacks!
 
That name would catch everyone's attention! So I made it. Everyone (except one fussy 5 year old who only ate the chips) loved it and it was so easy to put together. So here, courtesy of Dr. Dean Ornish and with a little tweaking from me, is how you make Haystacks!
 

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
corn from 2 ears cooked corn (a great way to use leftover corn on the cob)
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped or shredded
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar or your choice of cheese (I guess I should suggest low fat)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked rice (brown if you have it)
1 15oz can fat free refried beans
thinly sliced green onions, optional. (I left them out for the kids)
 
With a little oil in a large, nonstick fry pan, saute the red pepper, half of the green pepper and the corn for about 3 minutes until they start to soften. Add the cooked rice and continue to cook over medium heat until everything is nice and hot.
 
Heat beans in a microwave safe dish covered with plastic or heat in a pan on the stovetop.
 
To Assemble:
On a large plater spread the refried beans then top with the rice and half of the cheese. Next add the lettuce, the remaining cheese, tomatoes and green pepper. Serve with tortilla chips or soft tortillas if you want to make burritos.

I just put out the haystack with a basket of tortilla chips and let everybody go to it! The kids thought it was great to eat dinner with their hands and, I have to say, it tasted really good! And did I mention it was healthy?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One Mom and a Party Reviewed by My Greening

 
Thanks to CanCan at My Greening:Going Green for her spontaneous review of One Mom and a Party.
 
I had participated in the Great Summer Bloggy Giveaway, offering an eco-friendly party set of the winner's choice from One Mom and a Party. CanCan was not the winner, but she thoroughly checked out my eco-friendly party products and posted a review on her blog! I only learned of it in my blog comments! How sweet is she???
 
So bookmark or subscribe to this blog and CanCan's blog so you won't miss the next giveaway. It's going to be an eco-friendly Happy Birthday banner. Use it in place of paper decorations and streamers and make your next birthday party a little more eco-friendly!
 
You meet the nicest people when you blog!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We Have a Winner!




 
Congratulations to Lilith Silvermane who won an eco-friendly children's
birthday party set from One Mom and a Party!
 
Thank you to everyone who entered! I enjoyed all of your comments.