Wedding Plans

I've been out of it for a while.  Well, not out of it, but very busy with life.  My son is getting married in a week to the sweetest girl ever.  They were made for each other.  I'm helping with the reception so my brain has been on overdrive for a few months.

This is going to be a cute reception.  Very laid back with just a few decorations, hot cocoa and cookies.  After my experience with my daughter's wedding reception a few years ago, I learned that breaking my back isn't worth it.  You know I'm cheap, and the budget is small, so we're having fun with it.  It will be full of their personalities.  And I'll post photos afterwards.

Merry Christmas!


How do you get un-bored?

So who hasn't had their kids come up to them and say, "Mom, I'm bored".  Those three words make me want to tear my hair out.  There's always something to do.  If I find myself feeling bored, it's usually because I'm so tired I don't have the energy for anything else.  Sometimes sitting around doing nothing can be therapeutic.



I remember as a child, I didn't have the gadgets that kids have today.  The empty lot across the street or the orchard in the backyard were my playgrounds.  Or I'd get on my bike and ride.  That was freedom.

Has technology made our children lazy thinkers?  I don't think so.  But it has definitely changed the way they entertain themselves.  Video games can be time wasters, but they also can be logic and memory building, dexterity-improving and can help build creativity.  Agree or disagree?

When they would come up to me when they were younger and say "I'm bored" I'd give them the usual run-down:  Lego?  nah.  Read a book?  nah.  Puzzle?  nah.  Run through the sprinklers?  nah.  Clean the toilet?  Mo-om!

My response that would infuriate them the most would be, "Only boring people get bored".  That implies the worst thing ever: that my kids were boring.  They weren't though.  I said that to light a fire under them.  And they would usually wander off after that and find something to do.

Bored?  Here are a few ideas that have worked for me.

  • Play cards.
  • Read a good book.
  • Color in a coloring book with brand new crayons.  The brand new crayons part is important.
  • Write a letter to your grandparents.  The old fashioned way.  With a pencil.
  • Play a board game.  My favorites are Clue, Monopoly and The Game of Life.
  • Play a parlor game.  
  • Build a blanket fort.  A big fan blown into sheets held down with books and other heavy objects makes a great balloon fort.
  • Bake some cookies - use a recipe you've never used before.
  • Put together a big jigsaw puzzle.
  • Wash your car.
  • Put your favorite song on the stereo - no headphones allowed - and dance like no one is watching.


And I love quotes.  


“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~ Dorothy Parker


In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.” ~  Richard Bach

There's no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there's no excuse for boredom, ever.” ~ Viggo Mortensen

He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest.” ~ Dylan Thomas

Another word for creativity is courage.” ~ George Prince

"I am never bored anywhere:  being bored is an insult to oneself."  ~ Jules Renard

"Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true."  ~ William Inge

"When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving."  ~ Steven Wright

"You get ideas from daydreaming.  You get ideas from being bored.  You get ideas all the time.  The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it."  ~ Neil Gaiman

Life is fun.  Have a great un-bored day!



Making jam and jelly

I spent a lot of time this summer making apricot preserves, strawberry jam, plum jam and grape jelly.  Every time I finish a batch of one fruit, I say to myself, apricot (or any other fruit) is my favorite!  They're all my favorite.  :-)

Apricot preserves are easy because I don't go through the trouble of chopping the fruit.  Just cut them in half to remove the pit and cook the halves down.  I personally like chunks of fruit in my jam.  If you like a smoother jam, this method probably isn't the best one to try.

We have an apricot tree in the front yard that produces the smallest, sweetest fruit.  It always comes on about three weeks earlier than others trees in the area.  Maybe its a micro-climate in our yard, or just a different variety.  Either way, we get a bumper crop each year.  I was able to make 27 pints of preserves off this tree.  I like apricot because its not only heavenly with peanut butter, but its wonderful to cook with.  I like to call it my secret ingredient in a lot of pork and BBQ dishes.

Apricot Preserves
(This is half a recipe - if you double it, use a LARGE pot)

5 cups apricot halves
4 cups sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 package pectin

Combine apricots, lemon juice and sugar.  Cover and let stand for four or five hours (overnight works too).  Place in a pot, add pectin and bring to a boil.  Bring it to a full rolling boil and stir constantly for four minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars.  Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.  Makes about 4 half-pints.


My next batch was strawberry jam.  Costco was selling huge flats of strawberries this summer that we couldn't get enough of.  We would eat them whole as snacks while we watched TV.  Eventually, the strawberries we brought home would be a little long in the tooth so we decided to make jam.  I picked up a two more flats and went to work.

Strawberry Jam

2 quarts strawberry chunks (8 cups)
1 package pectin
1/4 cups lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 1/2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar in a large sauce pot and mix well.  Bring to a rolling boil and add sugar.  Return to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars.  Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.  Makes about 7 half-pints.


Gary's brother and his wife have a nice plum tree that they asked us to pick while they were out of town.  There were so many we couldn't eat them all soooo we made jam.  These I chopped up in the foot processor because I like plum jam less chunky.

Plum Jam

9 cups chopped plums
9 cups sugar
1 1/2 T lemon juice
2 packages pectin

Combine all ingredients except sugar in a large sauce pot and mix well.  Bring to a rolling boil and add sugar.  Return to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars.  Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.  Makes about 9 half-pints.


We have concord grapes growing in our back yard.  We also have another variety growing near it but I couldn't for the life of me tell you what it is.  I like to call it a red flame, but I highly doubt that's what it is.  It has tight clusters of small blushing grapes that are full of seeds, but they're so sweet.  I pick both varieties and throw them in our steamer juicer at the same time.

A steamer juicer is a fabulous device that takes all the work out of juicing grapes.  Just wash and stem the grapes, throw them in and a few hours later you've got juice, along with a mash of skins and seeds that are great for composting.


Last year, my mother-in-law gave us a bag of elderberries from their cabin in Pine Valley.  Since we were on our way out of town, I threw them in the freezer along with the juice from last year's crop.  I decided to thaw them out when we returned and make jelly.  

So this year, I pulled out the frozen juice and elderberries (see how long it took me...)  The juice I let thaw, while the elderberries went into the steamer with the grapes from this year.  I actually made two different batches of grape jelly.  This year was Elderberry-Grape, and the juice from last year was just Grape.  I thought it would take me forever, but it went by pretty quickly.  (I sort of cheated - see my note below).  

Grape Jelly
(Elderberry-Grape is the same, just measure the finished juice)

5 cups juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package pectin
7 cups sugar

Combine all the ingredients except the sugar.  A whisk helps mix in the pectin completely.  Bring to a full boil and add the sugar.  Return to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minutes.  Pour into sterilized jars and process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.

*Instead of making one batch and canning it before I moved onto the next batch, I made the all the jelly and poured it into the jars before processing any of them.  I added about 10 minutes to the jars to compensate for the heat that was lost while they sat.  I'm sure there are people who will say YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!  I'd say back to them, I can if I want.  I also use a steam canner instead of a water bath canner to which they will say YOU SHOULDN'T USE THAT!!!  I'd say back to them, I've done it this way for almost 20 years and my jam is wonderful.  If you decide to use a steam canner, make sure you double the time for the water bath canner.







Why I need this, part one

This is going to be a new thing for me.  Occasionally I come across something that really tickles my fancy, or it might be something that will make my life incredibly easier.  Or at least I'll be convinced that it will.

I remember walking through the BYU bookstore back in 1981 and stopping to look at the greeting cards.  As I was flipping through the assortment, comparing the pictures on the outside to the verses on the inside, I came across one that made me LOL.  Seriously.  I chuckled out loud.  There were so many people walking by me that I'm sure no one noticed.  But I loved it so much I took it to the counter and paid for it.  On the front was a disgruntled beaver, Boynton-style, and inside all it said was, "Dam Dam Dam".

It may not seem like a big deal, but I was in a "mood" that day and it tickled my funny bone.  Have you ever read a comic or seen something that made you giggle?  It might not even have the same effect on you the next day, but at that particular moment, its just what you need.

A few years ago I was shopping at Target for who knows what...but I was wandering through the toy aisle.  I saw this action figure and seriously thought about buying it.  I passed on it thinking that it would be a complete waste of money.  I was right, and I know it's silly, but I always stop at that spot in Target hoping to see it again.  I seriously wished I had bought it.  I found it on the interwebs so I could show you what it was, and I promise I won't order it.  Just seeing it again makes me happy.



"Completely devoid of darting eyes"
"A gripping hand would be nice"
"Realistic fake hair"

Fox News ran a story on this back in 2001, probably the same time I saw it in Target.  Its nice to know that people with a sense of humor can make a dollar here and there.

When I find something that really does it for me, I'm going to share it here.  I hope you don't mind.  And please let me know what kind of things have made your day!


Apple Cider Vinegar Honey Tea

I wouldn't normally put those words together but I've got a sore throat.  This is the kind that makes me squint every time I need to swallow.  I'm not congested, but I'm hoarse.  My Bigelow I Love Lemon herbal tea is gone so I've been trying all sorts of home remedies to help ease the pain and I found something that is quite delightful.  


By delightful, I don't mean delicious.  Its not bad, but it really soothes my throat.  Apple cider vinegar has some great health benefits too, but it's very acidic and should be diluted because it can damage the tooth enamel and the tissues in your throat and mouth.  According to TLC, it can increase calcium and other mineral absorption and control blood sugar levels.  


So I mixed one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey in a mug of hot water and sipped it over half an hour.  Really, its not bad.  I'm just glad I can swallow without cringing.

Clairol is my friend

I'm going to grow old kicking and screaming.  My husband thinks I should just go grey gracefully (say that fast ten times).  Some people look absolutely stunning with silver or grey hair.  I don't believe I'm one of them.  Some twenty-odd years ago I painted a room off-white and got a little paint in my hair.  As I looked at myself in the mirror I couldn't believe how a few white hairs could make me look ten to fifteen years older.  Since that day, I decided that I would not be grey.


I just finished with Clairol 115-A.  As a matter of fact, my hair is still wet as I type this.  Trying to find a shade I like can be complicated.  I like a little gold or red, but not too much.  I really liked the shade I used last year.  I got a lot of compliments, so you think I would have kept the box or even written the number down.  But liking change, I don't think I would have kept using it for long anyway.  


This morning as I was squirting that stinky brown goo all over my hair, my husband walked in and the smell took his breath away.  He was so upset that I was subjecting myself to inhaling ammonia that he went and got a fan and tried to air the room out.  I don't think men understand the lengths to which we will go to try and look younger and prettier.  I think Billy Crystal, in Fernando's Hideaway on SNL, put it best:

It is better to look good than to feel good.  And dahling, you look maaaahvalous!

So for the next eight weeks, until the grey starts peeking through, I'll feel mahvalous!  What do you do to feel marvelous?

Remember Jell-O 123?

I used to love this!  


For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, back in the late 70's and into the 80's, Jell-O had this cool dessert that was easy as 1-2-3.  Like the box says, one mix makes three layers.  Just blend it up and chill.  It separated by itself.  Talk about a neato dessert.  You could set it at an angle in the fridge and really make it fancy.

So last night I was really in the mood for something like this, but all I had in the house was cherry Jell-O, Ready Whip and fresh strawberries.
  1. Make Jell-O according to package instructions
  2. Pour half of your Jell-O into dessert cups and set aside the other half into another container and refrigerate
  3. When it's set, combine the Jell-O that was set aside of with an equal amount of Reddi Whip and mix well.
  4. Pour into your glasses of Jell-O and refrigerate
  5. Top with more Reddi Whip and garnish with fresh strawberries


FYI - cherry Jell-O and strawberries don't go well together.  Something about the tartness of either the cherry flavor or the strawberries made it kind of weird.  It's an interesting idea, but don't follow the above instructions!

According to Kraft, Cool Whip is better, and by the way, use fruit that matches your flavor.  Duh.  Maybe next time.




Drive

I love this song.  I like the tune and the harmony but I never actually listened to the words until I was plugged into my iPod one night while drifting off to sleep.  It brought me to tears.  I could really relate to the message.  I must have been feeling small and insecure at the time because it really had an impact on me.  Now I don't just love this song, I embrace it.


How many of you, like me, sometimes drifted with the wind without taking much thought to where it was blowing?  There have been times in my life that I look back on with regret because I didn't stand up for myself or voice my opinion when I should have.  Or I've said something that was taken the wrong way and someone was offended.


When I was younger, I didn't always have the courage to live life on my own terms.  I would let fear drive me into a "safe" place, when I should have been brave enough to "take the wheel and steer".  But I also realize that all of my experiences have brought me to this point in my life and have made me who I am.  So at the same time I'm grateful for all of the memories that I don't enjoy remembering.  


This song gives me courage to be my own person and not be afraid of following the beat of my own drummer.


Drive by Incubus


Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I'm beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?
It's driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I'm beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there






Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  ~e.e. cumming

There is just one life for each of us:  our own.  ~Euripides

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.  ~Johann von Goethe

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.  ~Confucius

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~Dr. Seuss

Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves.... Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine.  ~James Poland

You were born an original.  Don't die a copy.  ~John Mason

Why try to be someone you're not?  Life is hard enough without adding impersonation to the skills required.  ~Robert Brault

I was once afraid of people saying, "Who does she think she is?" Now I have the courage to stand and say, "This is who I am."  ~Oprah Winfrey

I started to repeat to myself "If I'm not where I want to be, it's because I'm not good enough... yet." Which meant it was up to me.  ~Sally Field



My wheat grinder

I'd like to share something kind of personal that had a tremendous effect on me.  



Years ago, my husband and I hit a proverbial road block and had to live off our home storage for a while.  My parents had given us a wheat grinder for Christmas the year before and I was using it constantly.  With six kids at home, we were going through a gallon of milk a day.  I'm sure they don't have great memories of drinking powdered milk.

"Mom, my milk has lumps in it"  
"Then chew it!"

I'm joking - that's from a TV show we loved.  My powdered milk never had lumps...

 I was also making eight loaves of bread a week.  Needless to say, my grinder was always in use.  One day while making a cake, I noticed that I had run out of powdered sugar and needed frosting.  In my infinite wisdom, I had this brilliant idea that I could grind sugar.  :-o  I watched in horror as the melted sugar started oozing from the flour outlet.  The moment I turned it off, I realized that it had crystallized and the grinder has frozen up.  Not my proudest moment.  FYI, you can't grind sugar in a wheat grinder.


I grabbed my grinder and tools and ran to find a quite place, which happened to be my bathroom, where I could try and fix it without being interrupted.  

I've always been able to fix things, so I took it apart, keeping detailed notes so I could put it back together again.  I spent what seemed like an hour chiseling at the hardened sugar trying to get it to a place where I thought it would work again.   When I felt like I had gotten as much as I could, I started putting it back together, reversing my directions.  

Everything was working fine, until I got to the gear mechanism.  It didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t understand my notes.  I was so close, but I was stuck.  It was finally at that point with tears streaming down my face that I realized there was nothing more I could do by myself and I got on my knees.  I explained my problem to Heavenly Father and let him know how much we needed this grinder right now.  I couldn’t do this without His help.  After my prayer, I went back into the bathroom and looked at my grinder.  I have a hard time explaining what happened next, but it’s as if my mind was opened and I saw that grinder in a different way.  I understood how it worked - it all made sense.  I could have built one from scratch if I’d had to. 

I put the gears back in order, closed it up and turned it on.  It worked!  By the time I had finished attaching the base, I had forgotten everything - I don’t know how I did it.  But for that brief moment, the Lord had given me such a wonderful gift.  He had opened my eyes so I could understand how to fix my problem.

No one can tell me God doesn't answer prayers.  I know He loves us and wants to help us with things that are important to us.  Don't be afraid to get on your knees.

Spiders

Ewwwwwwww.

I don't like spiders.  They have too many legs.

I used to dream there were spiders on my wall at night and I would sort of wake up and try to kill them.  Acting out my dreams is a little embarrassing, but it was a SPIDER!



One night I was drifting off to sleep while Gary was sitting on the bed with his laptop open.  I "saw" a spider on his computer.  It was the size of an apple and pretty hairy.  Doing what I thought was appropriate at the time, half asleep, I grabbed a pillow and flung it at his computer.  I had to save him from that monster.  I missed it by that much.  Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with me.  I was awake by now and trying to explain my actions.

"Sure there was spider.  Just like the dog you were looking for 25 years ago".

I can't help it.  I have a vivid imagination.

Lasagna Fagioli (Fazool)

One of my favorite songs is by Dean Martin called That's Amore.


"When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazool, that's amore"

I always wondered what pasta fazool was. Apparently it makes you drool. I made it one day and by golly, it did make us drool. Its an Italian homestyle chili-like stew that has as many different variations as beef stew. So you can't make it wrong. Its all good.

We also love veggie lasagna. I had this brilliant idea to combine the two. I'm sure someone else has already thought of this, but its new to me.

Lasagna Fazool

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed (can use mild, spicy is better to use)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried oregano, to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 diced zucchini
1 diced yellow squash
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or adjust to heat level, can use crushed chili flakes)
1 (15 ounce) can red beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 lb lasagna noodles
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
28 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
2 tablespoons dried parsley
12 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions. While they're boiling, in a large fry pan, sauté the sausage, onion, garlic, dried oregano and thyme over med-high heat until the sausage is brown, crumbling with a fork while cooking (about 6-7 minutes).


Add the undrained tomatoes, zucchini, squash, tomato paste and the cayenne pepper; simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender. Add the kidney beans and spinach and simmer 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.



In another bowl combine the cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley. 

 Start layering your ingredients:

-Sausage and sauce mixture (just a small amount for the first layer)
-Mozzarella cheese
-Lasagna noodles
-cottage cheese
-Sausage and sauce mixture
-Mozzarella cheese
-Lasagna noodles
-cottage cheese
-Sausage and sauce mixture



Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and cover with more mozzarella cheese and bake 5 more minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yum.  That's amore!


I'm making lemonade

Life is an adventure.  I honestly believe that.  We are free to choose how we view our life.  I know people who are always happy.  Joy seems to be attracted to them.  I don't think they are always lucky enough to have only positive experiences, but they have a way of seeing the good in everything.  That's the kind of person I want to be.  I'm still working on it, but I'm trying my hardest to see the good in life and to make the most out of what I have in front of me.

When life gives you lemons, well, you can squint and pucker because its sour, or you can make lemonade and enjoy it the best you can.




I've been given a lemon.  Its not too sour, but its a lemon nonetheless.

I found out that I have Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.  For the last three years I've been trying to understand why the right side of my body has been slowing down and being uncooperative.  I don't have a tremor but without my levodopa, I have trouble writing, typing and moving in general.

Through my curiosity about what I'm facing, I've read everything I can get my hands on.  It seems that I've had non-motor symptoms for a long time but didn't realize it.  My sniffer's broken.  About ten years ago I started losing my sense of smell.  I would get these horrible smells stuck in my nose and was convinced that it was my house.  But no one else could smell them.  I gave up trying to figure it out.  I can't smell the candle wax burning in my house.  I'm just hoping it smells okay to everyone else.

There's another symptom that shows up before anything else that we're not going to talk about here.  **clearing my throat**  Look it up.  I'm sure you can figure it out.

Dopamine is kind of important.  Without it, you can experience sleep, speech and swallowing problems, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal trouble, not to mention all the movement problems associated with Parkinson's.

I read Michael J. Fox's book 'Lucky Man' a few months ago and was very impressed.  He was able to show that things in life can either completely take over, or change you for the better, but ultimately, the choice is yours.  I admire his determination to not let pd take his life away from him.  I'm glad he took the time to write that book.

I've also learned that everyone responds to Parkinson's differently.  Some are tremor dominant, others like me are slow and rigid.  Gary likes to remind me that we don't know what will hit me first, the tremors or a bus.  Might as well live like there is no tomorrow.

So aside from the balance, sleep and movement problems I get to deal with, I'm happy and I love life.  I love my family, and my husband is the best boyfriend.  What more could I ask for?

Parkinson's stinks.  At least I can't smell it.

:-)

Exploding Head Syndrome

What a great name for a disease.  This is an actual phenomenon.  Believe me,  I'm not clever enough to come up with this by myself.  Its a condition where people will experience a loud noise that seems to come from within their own head that lasts for only a second.  Usually at night as they're drifting off to sleep, it will jolt them awake. It isn't usually painful, but it can be very alarming and unnerving.  Some people hear an explosion, roar, gunshot or someone screaming.  For me, its the sound of a buzz saw going through my skull.

I really thought I was alone with some strange condition that no one understood.  After my doctor looked at me like I was from Mars, he said it was probably a mini seizure.  Great.  So I did some searching and after a month or so I started finding out that others have had what they call a vibrating or buzzing brain.  Last night, I found out that there's a name for it.  There's even a wikipedia page about it. 

The first time it happened, I woke up terrified wondering what was outside my window making that noise.  I drifted back to sleep and again, it jolted me awake.  "Gary???  Was that you?"  Sound asleep.  The third time I realized it was coming from inside my head.  I was so afraid to fall asleep again that I kept myself awake for an hour playing solitaire on my Ipod. 

No one knows what causes it but apparently it can be brought on by stress and fatigue.  I'm not stressed.  Not in the least.  (@_@)  It hasn't been as bad as that first night, but I've found that sleep aids (benadryl) will keep it from happening.  With time, it supposedly goes away by itself, which remains to be seen. 



Quoting someone named James from his blog Disease Prone:

'So what’s happening?  Nobody has any idea.  It isn’t auditory because deaf sufferers have been reported.  It’s not linked to random nerve firing (often reflected in a condition called myoclonic jerks).  It’s not linked to epilepsy.  It’s not linked to migraines.

So we can’t understand what causes it, we have no idea what’s happening, we can’t say what might trigger it, it doesn’t seem to correlate with any associated conditions, apart from sleep – there’s only one thing missing here.  Can we cure it?  Of course not, what are you, stoopid?'

Thanks, James.  You made my day.  ;-)

Gangy

The other day our kids came over with the grandkids for a Thai dinner.  The whole family was here  except for Dan who had to work.

Jordan is two and a barrel full of monkeys.  What a darling little toddler she is.  She is learning how to say "please" by tilting her head and saying in her cute little squeaky voice, "Say please!!!"

Sophie is a week and a half old and such a beautiful baby.  I can sit all day just holding her.  This is the good-parts version of being a mom.  I don't have to change diapers, just cuddle and spoil.

Gary has decided that I need to be called Gangy (as in Arrested Development).  It tickles his funny bone.  I'm not sure I'm very happy about this, but I have to admit its pretty funny.  Jordan has already started calling me that, at least that's what it sounds like.  If you haven't seen the show, she's a horribly wretched mother.



This is one of my favorite conversations about her:



Michael: Lindsay, new outfit?
Lindsay: This? No, I've had this for years. I think it's a hand-me-down from Mom.
Michael: You got a price tag. Right there.
Lindsay: Is there? I guess she wanted me to have something new. Sweet old thing.
Michael: Only two of those words describe Mom, so I know you're lying to me. And where did you get that outfit?
Lindsay: Old thing got it for me.


I'll be the Anti-Gangy.  :-)

Yummy ginger cookies

I love ginger cookies.  I'm always looking for different recipes to try but they usually don't turn out the way I want them to.  I like them to be really spicy with a strong ginger and molasses bite.  These past couple of weeks I've been tweaking a couple of recipes I've found and I think I finally came up with one I like.


One recipe I'm borrowing from uses a large amount of mixed spices instead of a purchased gingerbread spice mix.  The other recipe I'm using was one I found when I was out of molasses and had a serious craving.  Between the two of them, this recipe I came up with isn't bad.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses

1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp turmeric


The fresh ginger gives it a little more zing.  The last time I tried powdered ginger it wasn't strong enough, and using just fresh ginger wasn't enough either.  So why not try them both?  :-)


I used coconut oil because I think there are some health benefits to it, but if you want, just use one cup of butter.  Same for the wheat flour.  Just use four cups of white bread flour if you don't want to use wheat.

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, mix the butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, and molasses.  Stir in the egg, fresh ginger and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Add the salt, baking powder and spices, then gradually add the flour and mix until well combined.  It's a pretty stiff dough.  If you don't think your hand mixer is up to it, mix the last bit by hand or use a stand mixer.


Roll into 1" balls and place on greased cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart.  You might want to flatten them because they don't spread very much.


Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F (cookies should be firm).


Yummy.  



Time to exercise

Its official.  I'm extremely out of shape.  I have felt a need to get some exercise for a while but it wasn't until I got on the elliptical this morning that I realized just how badly I need it.

Four minutes.

That's how long I lasted.

Its embarrassing.

But tomorrow will be better than today, and the next will be even better.

I have a friend that runs several miles each morning with her husband.  I'll never be a runner (Jerri, you rock!) but I will be in shape one day soon.

My day off

Today was fun.  Morelia gave me Tuesday off since I worked all day Monday while she moved back to St. George.  

My new couch and love seat were delivered today so I spent a little bit of time spraying fabric protector on them

Erica and I went to Twentyfive Main for lunch (yum) and then went to JC Penney and Walmart and did some shopping for her soon to be delivered baby girl.  :D

Stopped over at Dan and Debbie's apartment to check out their new digs and got to play with Jordan for a while

Came home and ate leftover Chinese food with Gary

Repaired one of the legs on our old green easy chair.  One of these days I'll reupholster it.  Its a mess right now

Replenished our 72 hour emergency kits

Watched a little TV

Went to bed

It was a pretty nice day.



Dobie

When I was about three or four living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my sister, Valerie and I had a cute little dog named Dobie.  One of our favorite past-times was to slide him down the laundry shoot to the basement and have him land in a basket full of laundry.  As far as we knew, he loved it.  Actually he was probably terrified of us.  But a sweet little dog nonetheless.


I've been looking for a picture of him in the boxes of old photographs I've got and couldn't find one anywhere.  I'm sure I've seen a picture of him, unless my memory of him is clearer than I thought it was.  I googled around for a dog that sort of looked like him and even though this isn't quite right, its close.  He was a little smaller and a darker brown.

Do you have a favorite pet from a long time ago that you still think about?  I miss Dobie.

We are cursed

I don't know what it is about the things that Gary and I like.  But when we love something so much, it's either discontinued or goes out of business (at least here in town).

Just to name a few:
  • Fazoli's
  • McCormick Imitation Butter Flavored Salt
  • Famous Dave's BBQ
  • Teriyaki Stix
  • Skipper's Seafood Restaurant
  • This yummy mozzarella cheese from Costco that was twisted up like a rope
Watch out Jack In The Box and Del Taco.  You're on the list...

Ten guilty pleasures

Sometimes I just need a little time out to indulge myself if I'm feeling tired or run down.  I tried to think of ten things that really float my boat.  (not in any particular order)
  1. Chocolate cake from Del Taco. 
  2. Honey smoked salmon from Costco
  3. Cheesecake
  4. Chocolate Cheesecake
  5. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies (Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are to die for)
  6. A hot soak in a tub with lavender bath salts
  7. Angry birds on my iPod
  8. Sitting on the porch swing on a nice day with a breeze
  9. A twenty minute nap
  10. Walking around holding hands with my sweetie.
It appears that I like to eat.  I like chocolate.  Gooey chocolate.  If I had to choose between a brownie and a french fry, I would take the brownie in a heartbeat.  Salty is good, but chocolate is, well, divine.
:D

Bunny fishing

When my three youngest girls were about four and five (the youngest two are twins) we lived in a house that had a balcony that overlooked an undeveloped desert landscape. We had horny toads and jack rabbits all over the place.

One of my favorite memories of that house was watching them entertain themselves by tying a carrot to a string and holding it over the balcony in hopes that they could feed a bunny. They never did get one to take a nibble but that didn't discourage them. They'd be out there day after day waiting for a bunny to eat their carrot.

I just love the thought process of a child.  In their mind anything is possible, and why not?  If we could all have that kind of imagination and excitement as we get older, think of the things we could accomplish. I'm always trying to quiet the voices in my head that tell me something isn't worth my time, that I'm not good enough or that there's no point in trying something new.

I'm really trying (the key word here is trying...) to step outside the box and be willing to try new things without fear of failure. Not trying because you're afraid is worse than trying and failing. Messing up just gives you an opportunity to try again. Here's to bunny fishing.

*bling*

My wedding ring needs repairs, again.  I love my ring.  Its the one Gary bought for me before we were married.  But its needed repairs so many times, and now the prongs on the smaller stones are snagging things and I'm afraid I'm going to lose one of the diamonds.

Years ago when it needed repairs but we couldn't afford it, I went down to Walmart and got myself a gold band to wear so my finger didn't feel naked.

These days I'm in the mood for a little more pizzazz.  So Gary told me I could go out and find one I liked that we could afford.  I went to the jewelry store in the mall and found the perfect ring.



I've always wanted white gold or platinum, and this has just the right amount of bling for me.  I wish the photo looked better.  Please ignore my fingernails.  These are working hands - they're not for show.

I took it home to show Gary my new toy and he asked how much it cost.  "Seven dollars."  He exclaimed, "SEVEN DOLLARS???"  I said, "I'm sorry, did I spend too much?"  He gave me a big hug and said he loved it.  

I love him.  And I love Claire's.

Being in charge

This job at The Alterations Shop has been the coolest thing since peanut butter.  And along the way I'm learning all sorts of things about dealing with customers and being the one in charge.

Today I had a bride come in with her somewhat overbearing mother.  This girl needed straps for a sleeveless wedding gown so I proceeded to fit her with a muslin strap so we could determine where the finished satin strap should sit and how wide it ought to be.  I asked her how she liked this, and how she liked that, and then the mother stepped in and completely took over.  okaaaaaaaaaaay.  She positioned the straps here and there, and not being in a mood to pick a fight and take over again, I let her do her thing.

Then the girl wanted the front of her neckline to be a little "pinched" or pleated so it would scoop down an inch or so.  I tried a few things but she wasn't happy.  The mother was trying to stay polite but I could tell she wasn't very pleased with how things were going.





We finally got it somewhat resolved, but on the way home I thought about the experience.  I was not happy.  I felt so out of sorts and embarrassed with how the fitting went.  Then it dawned on me.  I wasn't the one in charge.  I am very confident in my skills but sometimes I think I'm too "nice" and I don't come across very professionally when I get like that.  I realized that that mother probably would have been happier if I had just taken the time to exude a little more authority and strength.

Or maybe it's just her.  You can't please everyone.  I like my job and I'm good at it.
Thanks for letting me rant.

:D
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