Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Appetizing Story

I would like to lose a little weight.  I also have a daughter who likes to cook very fattening things.  We mastered egg rolls a while back and decided to move on to crab rangoons.  I love them and she loves them, so both of us were up to the challenge on this fine Saturday with no Zane around.

Crab Rangoons
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
8 oz. crab meat, finely chopped
1/2 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
pepper to taste
1 1/2 green onion, sliced
1 t red onion
1 large clove garlic minced

1 pkg wonton wrappers

Now, I used imitation crab because it was half the price of the real thing, and a tablespoon and a half of white onion, since I have a half bushel of them from the garden. and minced garlic from a jar. Don't forget the pepper, we did and then had to add it later.  It makes a big difference. Then I whipped it all with the mixer.

To assemble the rangoon, put the crab mixture, wonton wrappers and a bowl of water efficiently together.

Wet each edge of the wrapper, and put a heaping teaspoon of crab in the middle and then pinch up into a package or fold over into a triangle, making sure all edges are sealed.

Fry in 3" of hot oil.

and eat.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear

Or perhaps, a decorative pillow out of an old skirt.

But, back to the beginning....

My wrist is feeling so much better my creative juices are running again.  And, as I have purposed not to knit or crochet until after the first of the year. I need something to do.  Otherwise I find myself aimlessly wandering around the house, putting dishes in the dishwasher or folding the laundry. 

For those of you who are wondering when any aimlessness happens with Zane in the house.  He isn't ALWAYS in the house.  I usually get some time on Thursday afternoons.  And he IS learning to play with toys for a few minutes at a time instead of opening the deck door to let the cat in every two minutes. (It's every 10 minuties now.)  And if anyone can tell me how to lock, block off, or otherwise render inaccessible, the french doors off the deck, with an easily turned dead bolt, and serpentine handle (I wonder what those are really called?)  He unlocks both, and moves or turns over chairs. And the cats are entirely too willing to come in and taste the cinnamon rolls cooling on my counters.  (I wasn't home when THAT happened, I'll have you know.)

But, I digress,

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my brother's house in Texas.  My sister in law is in the business of buying new and good quality used things and selling them on ebay and other resale outlets in her area.  She had a bunch of clothes that weren't salable for one reason or other, so the girls and I sorted through them.  I didn't have any luck since everything in her pile was sized small, and I'm not going to see small anytime this century. But, there was this cute skirt, made out of what looked like a mauve crocheted table cloth.  I don't think I would ever wear anything like it out in public but I was drooling over the crocheting.  I just couldn't leave it behind.  I thought surely I could do SOMETHING with it.

So, I did.

Gorgeous color and pattern.

So, now to put a skirt on a pillow, the quick and easy way.

Take an old pillow.

And a small skirt.

Put the pillow in the skirt.

Fold under the waistband and sew down.

This skirt had a lining, which I also tacked down.

Then I just took a running stitch across the other end.

And.... the finished product. 

The whole reason for putting some color on my bed, is the new comforter on there.  After having this beautiful quilt on my bed for 23 1/2 years.....

Our bedroom looked incredibly plain.  So, until I can think of something else, because our bed needs a new dust ruffle as well, I'm enjoying the little bit of color it adds to my new comforter.

My grandmother made this quilt and it is starting to wear out, so I will use it more gently for a few more years.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tips For A Clean House

Dear Folks,
This is going to be my last post for awhile.  At least one with very much typing.  This is going to be done slowly all day.  Last week, I went on a knitting binge, after I started a new crocheting project.  I noticed I had some tingling in the tips of my fingers, but ignored it.  It has happened before.  Then my right wrist and forearm started to hurt, and my hand to fall asleep at night.  So, I went to the chiropractor, I looked "carpal tunnel" up on the internet, I started taking Aleve, I put on a brace, I quit knitting, and I quit using the computer.(Well, mostly quit, I'm typing with my left hand, otherwise, it hurts and my fingers go numb.)

So, of course it is taking me longer to get everything done.  And I am having Zane sometimes 8 hours a day, and that takes me longer to get everything done. So, I sometimes don't get much of anything done, except feeding people and laundry. 

And everyday there are floors to clean, clothes and toys to pick up, dishes to do, stray items to put away, and the usual detritus of a normal day. And dusting and bathrooms need done sometimes, too.

So, what to do?  How about raising your own cleaning team?  One that works while you're gone, one that does a good job, one that has to be really bored before they even think about doing it on their own.

We were going to see Aunt Inez for her birthday, we went early, since we will be gone on the day, and Lorene threatened to rearrange the living room.  I told her to "have at it", just vacuum under things.  We had already been tidying up, picking up the paper, and toys, and, dishes, and big pieces of cracker. Lorene was vacuuming already, and Lynette had her homework done.

We came home to not only a rearranged living room, but vacuumed carpet, mopped kitchen, washed dishes, a couple of organized cupboards and drawers, cleaned and decorated counters, and a clean and organized fridge. 

I think I'll keep them after all.

The fruit of the labors:

Things left as usual:

Piano books

Toys at the end of the day.

My stuff

Snacks before bed, but notice the cute little pine trees.

And the girls, said, "this was easy", "this didn't take very long", "what do you do all day?"

Now, all you moms and grandmoms out there can pick yourselves up off the floor, now, and stop laughing.  Perhaps you better make a cup of tea to help you calm down.

After those girls made the above comment, Jim reminded them, that I have Zane most of the day. To which they answered, "we did all this and had Zane, too!" But, it came out a little later, that they took turns entertaining Zane while the other worked.

Well, thanks to them, I didn't have to pick up any thing out of the living room this morning, I didn't have a load of dishes to do, I didn't have to pick up toys, I didn't have a lot of things here and there that get left out by me or other members of the family after I've declared it the end of the day and I need to go to bed.

It's easier to keep the counters, sinks, floors, etc. clean when they start out that way and that leaves me with a little more time to do what I usually do all day:

Get dressed, make bed, swish bathroom, tidy bedroom, make breakfast for Jim, make breakfast for Lynette, change and dress Zane, make breakfast for Zane, clean kitchen, clean Zane, clean high chair, clean floor, change Zane, bathe Zane, feed Zane snack, follow Zane, say 'no candy', get him off the table, get him out of the candy, get him some juice, put him in time out for throwing raisins on the floor, read to Zane, cuddle Zane, follow Zane some more, say 'no candy', put a load of laundry in, show Zane how to stack blocks, duck as he throws them, play with Zane's toys, make lunch for Zane and I, make lunch for Jim, wipe yogurt off the carpet and wall, tell him to play with his loader with the blocks, kiss Zane's booboo, get the colors for Zane (he asked for them, unh,unh, point), get paper for Zane, watch to make sure he doesn't color anything but paper, not watch closely enough, take his photo book away after he colored and spit on it, change Zane,
check laundry, restart laundry (Zane opened the door just as it started), follow Zane again, say 'no candy', get jeans off the line from Friday's washing, kiss another booboo, listen to Zane play happily with a car while I'm at the computer, follow Zane, say 'no candy' AGAIN, give Zane to his mother at 1:30, pick up Zane's blocks, colors, and bath toys.

and I was doing this all while I did my home bills and blogged a couple minutes at a time.

And for the rest of the day, I am going to think about packing, get school photos ready to go, stamp some letters, pay some bills, dry and fold clothes, get Lynette late from school after a make up test, take her to TKD, make supper, type some estimates for Jim, get Lynette from TKD, eat supper, and make sure the house is clean again before I go to bed. 

Do you know where I can find good help?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Champion at Last

This weekend we went to Franklin for a Taekwondo Tournament. Franklin is quite a ways away, it takes an hour to drive there.  One thing about participating in a non-traditional sport is the lack of close competition.  We very often drive an hour to tournaments. 

This particular tournament was very small.  The first year we came here, Lynette's friend from class won grand champion in youth color belt form, and last year Nathan won Grand Champion in youth black belt form.

With students from our school taking a grand champion two years in a row, Lynette was just eaten up with the desire to win a grand champion trophy herself. 

And that is part of the problem.  While the desire to win goes a long way, it needs to be backed up with hard work in practicing the skills needed.  And Lynette was in a slump.  She has been unsettled ever since our school changed instructors.  She has been used to being instructed with a mature teacher with plenty of experience under his third degree black belt, and now is being taught by college students with very little experience.  It is a difficult adjustment because she needs to take more responsibility for her own learning.  To see where she needs to improve and be proactive in asking for it, and working on it.  Thus, her attitude has been down, where it is usually over the top. 

Competing Saturday, made  a big difference.  There weren't enough adults (16+) for judging, so she was elected to help out, even though she is 15.  So, it was a big day, first the board breaking, which she had a cool break and I had a camera operator glitch, and not only got bad pictures, I couldn't get the video going. 

So, you'll just have to use your imagination. She did a jump double break with both legs split, and came down immediately to a hammer fist on the ground. She didn't break the left board the first time, but did the second and got a first. She has trouble with that left leg.  (She can do this, really.)

Then is was judge, judge, judge, forms, padded sword sparring, regular sparring.  And her first time, too.  She did very well, her scores were compatible with the older judges.  It is nerve wracking work, but that is part of the deal when you get to be a black belt.  There are responsibilities as well as the fun.

Then came the form part of the competition.  Lynette does forms very well, but she wasn't as prepared as she could have been or as confident.  And, she knows that her teammate (the one who won grand champion two years ago) can blow her away in forms.  And she did.  Lynette got third, removing any chance of getting a grand champion trophy in forms. 

She was MAD.  I knew it.  It was the kind of mad that spurs Lynette on to really good performance.  It's the kind of mad that works really well when sparring is the next event.  I knew what was going on in her mind.  She was going to win that event, no matter what.  And she did.  I have never seen her spar that hard or with such determination.  And where some people when they get mad, they spar so aggressively, someone gets hurt or they get warnings.  But not Lynette.  She was quick, and clean, and fast.  She was in a division with 5 young women all older than she was.  She won the first match by four points, the second match by two.  And then the final match, for first and grand champion women's sparring, she was facing two 2 minute rounds.  At the end of the first two minutes the girls were tied 3-3, Lynette would get a point, and her partner would match it.  Lynette said she knew she needed a bigger margin, and pushed up a notch to make a two point spread just as the match ended. 

She did it.  And she was happy!  And we were proud.  I was so nervous through the whole match.

 Not very many people go to a TKD tournament.  Usually all the people there are competitors and sometimes some extra family.  Not all the competitors even stay to the very end. 

Here is a picture of what a tournament is for the competitors and the spectators:

The competitor has to be able to set up her board breaks, tell the judges what she is going to break, give warning, and break.  They are judged on a 9.0 scale.  

Set up 

Ready,... jump.


Well, here is NOT a picture of what a tournament is like, since I can't get the videos to load.

Accepting 3rd Place



No video here either.

At the end of the first 2 minute match.

First Place

Grand Champion

I think she looks pretty pleased with herself!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Family and Friends

My aunt and uncle visited us this Sunday.  They are on a little trip through Nebraska and seeing various relatives on the way to my mom's.  I love these people.  I wish they didn't live 10 hours away so we could see them every week.  So we could do lunch and supper and shopping.  So we could laugh and talk and listen.  So we could take advantage of their wisdom.  We visited them every five years since we were married, until this year, and this five years we met at two funerals, their daughter and our neice/cousin, and our family reunion.  This five years it has been harder to get around to see anyone.  With teens working and going to school and growing up and not wanting to travel anywhere except World's of Fun, or some equally busy place. Visiting relatives they don't know very well, doesn't rank high on the list of busy fun.  I'm glad that before they turned into teenagers we had fun there, the kind of fun I hope they remember when they grow up a bit more and remember when.  

The kind of busy life I have now isn't always fun, and it does seem to limit long trips.  And Jim's schedules aren't much better.  We have a hard time getting employees, and the one we need to be able to organize and take Jim's place when he's gone, doesn't seem to be out there.

So, we ate and talked and laughed and listened and did dishes and shared our guest room.  We made the most of the little time everyone has when busy people cross paths with other busy people.  I'm always a little sorry some of those times aren't longer, but I'm always glad they come at all. 

What I really love everytime I see them, is how happy they are, and it is an earned happiness, it isn't happiness because they've never had anything hard happen.  They are happy because they choose to be.

Friday, November 5, 2010

There is a Reason...

 for all the mess in my house. 

While Zane is looking all innocent in these photographs, looks can be deceiving.  I rejoice in the fact that Zane is a little easier to take care of these days, since he understands what I'm saying and I don't let him get away with thinking he doesn't. In fact, this morning he actually spent 10 minutes playing with his car in the kitchen while I was finishing up bookwork on the computer.  In fact, right now, he is playing with his toys right behind me and I'm not having to get up and protect the cupboards and the fridge.  Wow!! This is amazing, this is so NICE, this is so better hurry up and finish this post before I have to jump up. 

Some days I think I should put everything movable under lock and key.  When Zane goes through the kitchen he likes to dump the basket of cookie cutters, (to hear the crash, no doubt,) since he seldom does anything with them except try to feed them through the vent at the bottom of the fridge. Anytime I want to get anything done, he is dumping, spreading, opening, so that if I ignore him for even 5 minutes as he is busily entertaining himself, he has given me at LEAST 15 minutes of picking up after I'm done. He spent a good more than 5 with the salt he dumped on the table a couple of days ago, spreading it very evenly across half of it.  He did a nice job, too.  Perhaps he could get employment spreading grass seed or something.

Pure Innocence.

 Of course, these photos don't show what Zane was up to.  I was TRYING to make the bed, Jim started but the two of them were wrestling around in the sheets, so I gave up.

And we had to sleep on a bare mattress that night. 

just kidding

 And doesn't he look so cute smashed into the Lego box. 

At least he did until he decided he needed to be pushed around in it.  Since I am the only one with good enough knees WILLING to push him.  I was elected.  (It seems like the KIDS around here who should be doing it are gone when Zane wants to be pushed. If he DOESN'T want to be pushed, well, they are there with bells on.

You can't see much mess because I cropped it out, and didn't publish the really bad one, I should have, it was just toys. There will be other photos, since toys will be around for awhile.

I'm just glad I didn't look as big from the behind as I thought I might. 

The End

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Cool Mama

I had the nicest compliment this weekend.  Lynette informed me that all her friends think I'm "cool".  Now how many of you people out there are cool?  The sad thing is that most of the time I wish I was cool. 

Temperaturewise that is.  My family is already complaining that "they are freezing to death, it's fall, and isn't it time to have some heat around here" and I'm running around wondering what more I can take off and still be decent. 

Anyway, back to the coolness factor.

 I'm cool because I make my daughter breakfast every morning. 

I'm cool because I'm a stay at home mom, and I'm home when she comes home from school.

I'm cool because I let her and her friends take over the kitchen to tie dye and not only do I take pictures but help, advise and want to dye, too.

And I'm cool because we eat supper together at night.

I'm probably also cool because I actually let three extra girls stay for the weekend for my daughter's birthday.  Lynette has discovered how neat and easy it is to tie-dye with a purchased kit so here we are getting ready to MAKE A MESS and have fun doing it.

First cover the entire kitchen floor with a painter's drop plastic.  (I guess this is after you twist and rubberband and whatever your items to dye.

Then after mixing the dye, squirt the cloth with the cute little squeeze bottles provided. They squirted over plastic bowls to catch excess dye.

Then wrap the t-shirt in plastic wrap to sit for 6-8 hours to make brighter colors. We left ours overnight.

Before wrapping.

When Lynette tie-dyed in her art club they tried several different ways to dye t-shirts.  One of which was a splatter method.

And then when it is all over it's time to clean up.  It comes off the floor and counters alot easier than it comes off hands and feet.

A final note:  The last thing you do with tie-dyed garments is wash them separately in hot water and dry them.  And I wonder if separately could have meant from other clothes not each individual shirt, of which there were about 8.  And 8 different loads (well, loads isn't really the term) while I'm getting ready for 50 people to come potluck at my house wasn't really very convenient.

Especially since the dyed clothes were sitting on my dining room table.

But one nice thing about being so cool, is that it didn't really matter, it all got cleaned up in good enough time with no one losing their temper, and we had a very nice time with their company.

And a FINAL final note: One of the girls that stayed over, said among other things, "your house is so nice", "it's cozy", "it looks like people live here", "you don't have to worry about things". I'm taking that as a compliment, because we DO live here, we have lots of company here, and that means our house is only clean enough to keep the health inspectors at bay.

The finished product!