Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hello Lover...

I loathe McDonald's but have fallen head over heels for their McCafe Mocha. It's a nice strong espresso topped with whipped cream and their hot fudge sauce (which melts rather quickly into the drink!) You can also opt for a skim milk option.
A large is a little over three bucks. With no Starbucks within fifty miles of us this is a good alternative!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My boyz got game!

Kyle had a game tonight and his team lost by a hair...6 to 5!
It was a great game and Kyle made two AWESOME catches and scored a run.
We'll get 'em next time, Ky!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Three cheese lasagne and garlic bread.

Tuesday: French onion soup (ala Pioneer Woman)

Wednesday: Vegetable quesadillas on homemade sprouted wheat tortillas.

Thursday: Spicy shredded chicken tacos.

Friday: Fish & shrimp fry at our parish.

Saturday: Pasta carbonara.

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We won!

Kyle's team, the Royals, won their season opener!
It was a blow out ~ 10 to 0!
We're looking forward to a great season...
JP is looking forward to Ring Pops (the ONLY reason he goes to games!)

Gotta love Texas weather!

Just when I've packed all the jackets and hats away for the year, we get a cold snap!

Forty degrees and a 20 mph wind coming right off the field doesn't deter my boys!
There is playing to be done!

All I know is I better pack lots of hot chocolate and a stadium blanket or two for Kyle's baseball game tonight! It's going to be a chilly couple of hours!

Weekend sewing

Spending the weekend sewing and vegging out on my iPod.
Maybe a new Easter dress will emerge from one of these stacks of fabric.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Make your own ketchup

My boys eat a ton of ketchup ~ good thing it is considered a vegetable!
But have you ever read the ingredient list? The second ingredient listed after tomatoes is high fructose corn syrup. I'm trying to rid our diets of this nasty little chemical and found a great (and easy) recipe in Nourishing Traditions.
I made a batch today and it will ferment on the counter for the next two days. I tasted it before putting it into the jars and it tastes just like the stuff from the store. I'm sure the fermentation will add a bit of twang to it like vinegar does in the processed stuff. I did have to add distilled water (because chlorinated water will kill the lactobacilli) to thin it out a bit. It increased the volume enough to give us an extra pint!

Homemade Ketchup
from the book Nourishing Traditions
by Sally Fallon

3 Cups canned organic tomato paste (about six small cans)
1/4 Cup whey (strain a carton of plain organic yogurt, the water you get is whey)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup (the REAL stuff - not Aunt Jemima's!)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic peeled and mashed
1/2 cup fish sauce (can be found on the Asian foods aisle)

Mix all ingredients. Place in a quart sized, wide mouthed mason jar. The top of the ketchup should be at least one inch below the top of the jar. Leave at room temp. for two days before transferring to the refrigerator.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Garden 2009

Our summer garden for this year has been tilled, compost spread, hoed into rows, covered in black plastic, and planted. It's such a great feeling to finally have my seeds in the ground after so much work and planning...now we let God take care of the rest!

Here's what's planted:

Cucumber - 2 varieties
Green beans - 2 varieties
Lima beans
Bell pepper
Hot pepper
Acorn squash
Tomatoes - 7 varieties
Spaghetti squash
Yellow summer squash
Cantaloupe - 2 varieties
Honeydew melon
Whew! I'm tired just typing that!
I hope that I haven't gotten to over zealous in my plantings.
I am wanting to preserve about half of what we harvest to enjoy during the winter months. It will really cut our food costs in the long run! Plus, this year is going to be an experiment in trying to sustain the garden year round, with harvests in all four seasons-not just two!
Hey, I see you 'eyein my garden...
don't be getting any ideas!

Friday, March 20, 2009

DO try this at home!

My scratchy throat turned into a full blown head and chest cold. I was scheduled to work so much this week that I turned to the internet to find some home remedies for fear that NyQuil would make me too sleepy the next day. I was actually looking for a mustard plaster to quell my night time cough, but came across this remedy intead...

It's a cocktail of apple cider vinegar, honey, and cayenne pepper.

Mix 2 tsp. of honey and acv with 1/2 tsp. (or less depending on your tolerance) of cayenne. Dilute with 8oz. of water and drink. It tastes horrible BUT they cayenne doesn't actually burn! You get the most pleasant warming sensation down your throat and into your chest. I felt like it just melted away all that sticky mucus and it cleared up my nasal passages. My lips and tongue did burn a bit, but it wasn't bothersome...kinda like what it feels like after eating a bite of hot salsa.

All I know is my cough is gone and I can breathe!

You must use the Bragg's acv!
It's organic and contains huge amounts of vitamins, mineral, and enzymes that processed acv takes out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Fantastic Kind Philanthropist

You can create your own superhero for free here.
My weapon of choice? Groceries.
The site generates your superhero name.
Mine is a little....meh...could be worse, I suppose!
Link me to your superhero in the comments section!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No longer a blonde...

I got tired of dyeing my roots every couple of weeks so I decided to go back to basics.
The only drawback is that you can REALLY spot those gray hairs a mile away!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Have (bento) bag, will travel...

I was feeling better by Sunday and decided to whip up this cute little bento bag from scrap fabric from my stash. The front has this long pocket that is just right for a water bottle (or a cold pack if you need to keep your lunch cold.)

The inside is nice and deep. It will hold a two tier stacked bento, extra fruit, and a tea cup & honey bear! When working 12 hour shifts it's a great "pick me up" to sit down to a nice lunch and tea time.

There are literally thousands of bag tutorials online, so I won't bore you with this one!
You can find many of them HERE.

I've been fortunate enough to pick up lots of shifts this week through my nursing agency, so I'll probably be scarce much of the week. I'm trying to talk Doug into posting on our blog...he's got a lot to say about the state of this nation and a new movement of people who are ready to do something about it!
And say a prayer for him, he's going to be here all week schooling, feeding, cleaning, chauffeuring, etc...while I'm working in ADDITION to all the things he needs to be doing for his business.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

There's someone I'd like you to meet...

Blatantly plagiarizing from Karen's blog, Nine Texans, because this sweet boy and his parents need all the prayers they can get! We are all aquainted through the message board Defenders of the Catholic Faith.

This is Peter. Peter is 2 years old. His parents are friends of mine I met through the internet.
Peter had brain surgery last week to remove a golfball sized tumor.
The surgery went well and he will need no further treatment as long as the tumor does not come back.
Unfortunately, his recovery has been two steps forward and one step back. He now has a fever and a blood clot in his brain and is having trouble eating. He is being treated by wonderful doctors and they are doing everything they can to get him well and home with his family ASAP.
Please pray for Peter and his family.
St. Peregrine, pray for us.
St. Peter, pray for us.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

For Dougie....

It's the color all the fashionable cabbage are wearing this season!

Two weeks of fermentation are up and I bottled this sauerkraut this morning. I used up the rest of my purple cabbage from the garden and the natural pigments turned the kraut the most beautiful color!
Can you imagine a turkey ruben with pink kraut on top?

These beauties are going in the fridge and will keep a year or more
(if they last that long!)

Lacto fermenting vegetables has been such and easy process and I can't wait to try this with our summer vegetables. I plan on fermenting some salsa, pickles, beets, garlic, and maybe even kimchi. The health benefits are numerous, and you can read all about them HERE.

We've been so blessed this season by not getting sick and I'm positive it has been from the increase in probiotics in our diet. We've had one small head cold at the beginning of winter and then some weird virus went through the kids about two weeks ago (fever and cough).
Doug and I didn't get sick at all!
We've also amazingly escaped getting the rotovirus that has been going around
(knocking on wood as I type this!) and now that I think about it, we've had no tummy troubles at all!
Today I have a scratchy throat, but otherwise feel fine. This weekend I'm going to load up on supplements and probiotics and gallons of green tea.
We'll see how it goes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Garden work day!

I declared Wednesday a garden work day. I simply cannot do it all by myself with my bad back (18 years of being a nurse will do that to a girl!) and why should I with five strong men around the house? Doug got out the tiller and turned up the soil. It's our biggest garden yet! He just smiled and shook his head when I told him how long I "needed" it to be.
My seedlings have been outside "hardening off" for the last week and should be ready to go into the ground by the 20th.

The peppers and eggplant might need a bit more time in their peat pots. They're taking their time getting to the proper height and strength to endure the winds that come off the field.
My medicinal herbs are slow growers as well, and not all of them germinated as you can see from the container in the forefront of this picture. I'll try again to get some more to sprout, if they don't, the whole lot of seed packets are going back to the grower for a refund!
And speaking of seeds, these will go into the ground along with my tomatoes on the 20th.
This small $20 investment will give us more than a ten-fold return on our money~but the joy of planting and watching them grow is priceless (so is watching Danny dig into a big buttery corn cob fresh from the garden!)
Our fruit trees are coming to life!
Here is our big beautiful fig tree. Looks like we'll have a bumper crop this year!

And my Christmas presents from Doug are now sprouting leaves.
Here is my peach tree:

My pear and two apple trees:
I don't expect any fruit from the trees this year, but that's ok, I'm enjoying watching them grow for now. Signs of life are spring up all around and I'm as happy as a fat country girl can be!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Popo!

This week we celebrated Doug's dad's birthday (a mere two days early!)
Doug cooked the entire dinner on the grill~
filet mignon, grilled zucchini, and baked beans with his "special" sauce.
It was really good...I'm thinking he should do more of the cooking from now on!
After dinner we had cake. A BIG 'ol chocolate cake!
Danny helped Popo blow out all the candles.
We felt very blessed to share a wonderful celebration together!
Popo is back on the road working again starting Wednesday.
Prayers for his safety while on the road and job site would be much appreciated!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artists at work

It's almost time for the county fair and the kids are getting their projects ready! All the boys are submitting a record (in our family, at least!) TEN projects each. It's a lot of work but the payoff will be free admission to the fair grounds all week.
John Paul has completed one project so far, you may have already seen his painted birdhouse. His second entry will be a hand sculpted Holy Water font:
He crafted it out of Sculpey all by himself, he baked it (with a little help from mom), and painted it this morning. I think it's just lovely! After a good spray of shellac, we can mount it by the door for many many blessings!
Kyle is also submitting a hand sculpted piece, a facing of the Alamo:
He did it from memory and all he used was an exacto knife!
This photo does not do this piece justice! The detail is incredible, right down to the planters in the windows! If this doesn't win a blue ribbon I don't know what will!
I'll continue to post their projects as they complete them and will let you know how they do at the fair.