Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I don't like Mr. Squirrel. He eats my plants. Lookie my tomato plant. I can't believe it's still there and he hasn't chowed it down yet.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I have no idea what this flower is and it wasn't labeled. Too bad, I'd love to know what it was.
The same for this one, although I think it must be related to the Orchid if it's not actually an Orchid.
This rose was called "Lemon Zest." I want one. They are so beautiful. I bet the squirrels would love to eat this rose...but that another post.
This hibiscus had huge flowers in case my hand being in there for perspective was confusing you.
They have lots of fantastic bamboo and really neat palms. One of my favorite was the Fishtail palm. Really neat.
And this is a Blanket Flower. The butterflies loved this one.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The first was a bumper sticker:
"Why am I the only one on Earth that knows how to drive?"
HA! That's a good one.
The second was advertisement on a vehicle: Exercising Paws: Exercising your dog, so you don't have to.
You've got to be kidding me. Why have a pet if you don't have time to take it out to pee. I mean really. They even have a picture of a poodle on a TREADMILL on their website. I mean REALLY PEOPLE. They will even come to your house and clean up your dog poo for a measly $8 for the first visit and $2 per pooper-scooper visit after that. I mean...REALLY PEOPLE.
But good for them. I can hardly believe you'd be successful in a business venture like that, but I may very well underestimate the amount of money that people will spend on their dogs and cats.
As for me, that's what I've got kids for: pooper scooping and dog walking. Except we don't have a dog. Because there's enough poop and hair to clean up in this house as it is.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Looks yummy, no? I have several theories as to what went wrong. First, I didn't have fresh milk. I mean, it wasn't past date, but it was getting close. Also, my yogurt that I used for the starter was about two weeks old. Again, not bad, but not fresh. The biggest mistakes were these: I didn't cool the milk completely down to 110. I was in a hurry, and I realized later that it was 120. Also, I read that it is best to mix a bit of the warm milk into the yogurt and then add it all back to the milk. I didn't do that. As you can see, it is all nice and solid at the bottom of my container and liquid at the top. I think all my starter stayed at the bottom.
Anyway, I guess I was feeling brave the day I made this mess and just put it in the fridge to see what would happen. The next day when it was nice and chilled, I took it out to see if anything could be done with it. I smelled it, and it smelled fine. I tasted it, and it tasted great. But the texture was way wrong. Lots and lots of whey, and a dry and somewhat grainy yogurt. I did some research and found out that you can make cream cheese at home! I actually found this out by looking up how to make whey. I use whey to soak grains to make them easier to digest. I was having a hard time skimming enough off of yogurt for this and found that you can extract the whey out of yogurt, and what you are left with is cream cheese! Who knew?
So I got a bowl and set a strainer lined with a towel in it and dumped in my not-so-perfect yogurt into the strainer and let it sit out on the counter.
I let it sit like this for several hours on the counter until it wasn't really dripping out any whey anymore. At that point, I carefully pulled up the corners of the towel and tied it around the handle of a wooden spoon and hung it over a pitcher so it could drip while hanging and get every last drop of whey out of it.
It kept dripping overnight and a few hours into the next day. When the dripping stopped, it was done! This is what was left in the towel - the most beautiful, yummy cream cheese!
I was a bit skeptical that it would actually taste good, and the knowledge that it had sat out all night creeped me out a little bit, but it was really nice. And what was really strange was that it was even a bit cool to the touch even after sitting out. And I was left with a jar full of whey (about 1 1/2 cups) and a little over a cup of cream cheese. This cream cheese is a little bit different from commercial cream cheese - not so much in taste, but in texture. It is a little bit more dry.
I am working on a recipe using the cream cheese right now, and I'll have to let you know how it turns out.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
California Man 'Adopts' Wife's Two Aborted Children
Here's the AssistNews article.
I found that she is a leader of the women's ministry in her church. I think she's perfect for the job. I bet she's got a perspective on biblical womanhood that many women need these day.
What a fantastic story.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
So far they've left the tomatoes alone except for a few leaves toward the bottom of the plants. I expect them to be next because in all the reading we've done about squirrels in your garden everyone talked about them eating their tomato plants. I'm really upset.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
You should try it! (Although, you should probably scale down the amounts...)
Johanna's Extra Tasty Salad (feeds 40)
- 9 pounds spring mix lettuce
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- 2 bags dried cranberries
- 1 large bag chopped walnuts
- 1 large purple onion
- 2 blocks feta cheese
- 1 recipe Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
Thinly slice the apples and toss them with 1/4 c. salad dressing to prevent browning. Thinly slice purple onion and set aside. In a large bowl, toss 4 1/2 pounds lettuce mix with half of the remaining salad dressing in a large bowl. Top this salad with half the apples, one bag of cranberries, half the onion, half the walnuts, and one block feta cheese (crumbled). Repeat this process with remaining ingredients. Serve to a large group of hungry women.
This salad was awesome! I like that there was a combination of sweet, sharp, bitter, sour, and pungent flavors and also crunchy and soft textures. Very satisfying.
I rotate off the board this June, although I am going to continuing writing the newsletter. I will miss it, but for now I need to focus on my family a bit more. I'm sure I'll be back on some day!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
My favorite part is this:
"Motherhood is a Formal Enquiry, not “a challenge”. It is an Interrogation. Motherhood grabs you by the neck, slings you into a hard metal chair, angles a white hot light in your face and demands an accounting. It cross-examines you until you are no longer sure of who you are and can give no reasonable explanation for just what, exactly, you thought you were doing."
Yeah, motherhood isn't for wimps.
Go read the rest. You'll be glad you did.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
First you have the obligatory shoes by the front door.Then there's the ones by the garage door.There always some scattered in random placed about the house.It starts getting bad though, when you have a shoe box and the shoes won't stay in there. Keep in mind that the shoe box is about 4 steps inside both the front door and the garage door.But then look at the massive pile of shoes out the garage door. I mean, what in the...who left these...don't we all have closets???I didn't even take pictures of the shoes in the closets. It makes me wonder why in the world the girls can never find a matching pair of shoes to wear.
Yeah, I think we might have a little bit of a shoe problem.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Of course, what do you do with buttermilk other than make buttermilk pancakes? Ooh, these were sooo good made with the fresh buttermilk and topped with our fresh butter! I usually put peanut butter on my pancakes, but these were so good even plain, that I couldn't bear to tarnish their purity with the peanut butter, so I used some fresh butter and pure maple syrup. I cannot wait to make these again when I have fresh buttermilk again! Making butter is no cheaper than buying it, but getting the fresh buttermilk makes it a worthwhile endeavor!
Yogurt making was not new to me. I used to make plain yogurt all the time. It was one of Ethan's favorite baby foods. I had gotten out of the habit of making it, though. Here's what you need to make yogurt:
- a yogurt maker (or you can use your oven - instructions below)
- 1 quart good quality milk
- commercial yogurt starter or 1/2 c. plain yogurt (high quality and fresh, room temperature)
- candy thermometer
First, heat the milk gently until the thermometer reads 180 degrees.
Remove the milk from heat, pour it into the container that comes with the yogurt maker and cool to 110 degrees. You can do this in the refrigerator to speed the process, but watch it closely because it cools quickly once it gets under 120. Once cooled, stir in the yogurt starter. If you are using the 1/2 cup yogurt, stir about a cup of the cooled milk into the yogurt, then stir this back into the rest of the milk.
Place the container into the yogurt maker and process as directed.
I like to process mine for a shorter time, because then end product is milder. I can actually eat the homemade yogurt unsweetened because it is mild. It is great in smoothies and with a bit of fruit or jam, too. If you don't have a yogurt maker, you can pour your mixture into a shallow glass, enamel or stainless steel container. Then place the container into a warm oven (a gas oven with a pilot light or electric oven pre-heated to warm and then turned off) overnight. Your yogurt will be ready in the morning. I've never tried this method, but I've read that it works.
Mmmmm, yogurt. Other than being able to control the tartness, the only other difference between homemade yogurt and commercial yogurt is that homemade is generally runnier than store bought. Really, if you have milk and plain yogurt, there is no reason not to try this! I tried using the 1/2 cup yogurt instead of the starter this week, with not so great results. But that is for another post...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Easter. What's with that look on Ella's face. I don't get it.
And that's as random as it gets. I'm coming up blank otherwise. The getting up early thing is kicking my rear. My brain function is severely retarded. Maybe it's because I have not fed it coffee this morning. But I'm about to take care of that.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The writer of this devotional makes an excellent point about why we pray and ask God for help. It really isn't about getting the solution we want. He says,
"The point is that it really doesn't matter how God decides to solve the problem. By asking God for help, you have admitted that you need Him, and that is what really matters. How God decides to deal with the issue is immaterial, but rest assured He will intervene in the best way possible. God does not want you to depend on a particular solution; He wants you to depend on Him. "
How often I depend on the solution instead of Him! Jesus modeled this for us when he prayed before he went to the cross. The writer points out that the purpose of Jesus's prayer was to connect with his father.
"But what is perhaps more surprising is that Jesus is asking for something He knows He cannot have. When Jesus asks, "Let this cup be taken from me", He is perfectly aware that it is the Father's will for Him to proceed, so why even ask? Jesus speaks these words not to seek a result, but simply to express His anguish and anxiety. Jesus is not asking for a reprieve; He is asking for comfort."
I really needed to read this today. There is one thing I have petitioned God for help with throughout the years that is still a problem for me. Many times now I don't even petition any more, because I think God intends for me to depend on him through the tough times rather than remove the difficulty from me. This is encouragement for me to continue to pray. I need the prayer in order to depend on God! Not that I think God will change his answer (though he could), but because I need His comfort and help.
Friday, April 10, 2009
This afternoon, "He-who-shall-never-ever-ever-sleep-during-the-day" took a two hour nap. Two. Hours. This has never happened in the 151 days since he was born. And there was much rejoicing.