Monday, October 20, 2014

Snickers

     The candy bar kind, not the laughing kind.
Our oldest Zooligan made them. She was in the mood for Snickers bars, but we don't keep junk food in the house anymore. Much. So I told her, half jokingly, that maybe she could make some. She checked the internet and found a recipe!

Before I share the link, Here is our terrible food photo:

           


We didn't have enough chocolate to dip the bars in, so we spread some on the bottom and the top and cut them. When you follow the recipe, you will have nice looking candy bars. Also, we were ready to DEVOUR these candy bars. Also, we found out that this home made version is rich and delicious! Even our little sugar fiends were unable to eat an entire bar. They all saved the other half for the next day. We ended up cutting the rest into 'fun size'.

The link to the recipe is here at Sweet and Crunchy Blog.


     While these don't fit into our 'no refined sugar' rule, they do fit into the "you can eat junkfood as long as you make it yourself' rule. I'm hoping that TheZooligans learn that making things requires, sometimes, many ingredients, much planning, time and energy. That seeing goodies being devoured in two minutes and still having children ask for snacks withing ten minutes of said devouring is frustrating. I want them to realize that we can savor something, enjoying the flavors and appreciating the work that went into it. 
     We'll probably have to move and buy a milking cow, because I can see that they currently don't appreciate the cost of milk.





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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friends



     Have I told you before that my dear, wonderful friends moved across the country? It's been months and months since she's been gone. We text and facebook chat and call on the phone too keep in touch. It's not enough, though. I miss her so much my heart aches. Her kids and TheZooligans were like siblings. They fought with each other and loved one another fiercely.
     So, I've been lonely. We were the kind of friends that could stop by the house and just start doing whatever needed done. Show up for a visit, and start washing a sink full of dishes. Coming to pick up or drop off a kid, run a load of laundry. Have a cup of coffee, and clean up a spill. It was community living. Maybe it was sisterhood.
     Now I'm in a community of busy people. I'm a busy person. Kids are getting older and involved in things with teams and friends and competitions. They are discovering what they are good at and things they'd like to try. They are learning that following a passion can be challenging and gratifying, or frustrating and unfulfilling. We don't have a lot of time to stop and have a cup of coffee. Who goes to someone's house and does their dishes? Not many people, I guess.
     Last night, when the family had done all the things they intended to do with the day, leaving some things for the next morning, we put on our comfy pajamas, brushed our teeth, and settled in for relaxing evening activities. I was browsing the internet for a specific cowl necked, side tied, hoodie sweatshirt that a zooligan would like for Christmas, when I received a text. It was a picture of a donut.
     What? I replied "Are you teasing me because my donut pans haven't arrived yet?" I am a Pinterest junkie, and have been seeing baked donut recipes that look so yummy, and do-able with our real food choices. I've been going on about them for days.
    Next text reads "open your door". I open the door and see nothing. Then I see three ladies standing in the street waving at me. I shut the door. I rummge for a sweater, because I am not decent. I find a lined winter coat. I wear it. The ladies came in with happy smiles and hugs. Mischievously happy smiles.
     Then they hand me these:

So exciting! They stayed and visited for a bit, not too long, because one of them had a crazy day of driving all over the Puget Sound area dropping people off and picking people up starting at 3 a.m. She was done! 
     I am blessed to tears. These ladies are my friends. Friendships don't all look the same. I already know that a preconceived idea of friendship is no good, but somewhere along the way, I forgot. When folks can be friends despite busy schedules and stresses, sharing kindness, joy, and patience (to name a few) you have friends. 
     This morning's bounty from last nights beautiful, thoughtful gift:

These are spiced cake donuts coated with spiced sugar. They smell amazing, and taste even better.


Have a friend, be a friend.




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Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Goal of Mine



     Remember that post a while back about dreams changing? I'm going to share with you one of my 'new' dreams. It's new because I didn't realize how interested I am until fairly recently.
     Herbal and natural medicine and remedies area passion of mine. It's amazing that there are uses for nearly every plant that grows. There is a purpose beyond a pretty flower or a nicely shaped leaf. There is usefulness to plants beyond landscaping. Most plants offer some part of themselves to our well being!
     Recently I discovered the Herbal Academy of New England . This school offers primary and secondary courses, with certification upon completion. It's a respected educator in the world of natural medicine. While I don't aspire to becoming a doctor or nurse, I do want to be more involved with our family's wellness. I'm terribly excited to have found the HANE, and I'm even more excited to begin my education with them. I'm hoping to start in February, when my kids begin their second semester of school, and we will all be so organized that my concentrating on classes won't be a problem at all! Right? Right!

                                         
                                           

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

     October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Week.

     Living with the death of an infant, either during pregnancy or after, is a grief that the world seems, for the most part, to ignore. Some say that they are so sorry for our loss when they are told, then forget. It's easy to forget. The child is never born. There are no photos to like on facebook. There is no happy birth announcement. People must carry on, continuing to report to work and care for families. There is no outward reminder that there was a baby. The world quickly resumes as though nothing is has changed, but our hearts don't. We remember the babies we never held. We grieve for the ones that lived for a short time. Though we may have been blessed to meet and hold babies in the years since, the others aren't forgotten.
     Please say a prayer for those that you know have suffered the loss of an infant.




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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What's That?


     Our 11 yo is taking 6th grade courses this year. She's also taking a slew of electives. Not even just a slew. The electives she is taking are many and amazing. The kid opted for piano, violin, Irish dance and Introduction to Japanese. No, really!
     We came upon violin that someone was selling for a low, low, ultra-affordable price. Then we needed to restring it, purchase a music stand, a chin rest, some other kind of strappy thing, rosin and this little tid-bit.



Wait, can you read that? It's hard to see. Maybe you will recognize this view:



Still stumped? When your child is taking violin, for the first time ever, you will want one of these. It's at least as important as the music stand. It's possibly even more useful than a chin rest. With eight other people living in our house, it's a sanity keeper. 
The thing is called a Violin Mute. A new violin student may practice drawing a bow without the sound filling the house. Ahhh, sweet relief! The keyboard has volume control, the violin doesn't. 11 yo is learning, and quickly at that. Still, this little piece of wonderful is one of the best purchases we've made yet.




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Monday, October 13, 2014

Surprise Pumpkin!



     One day, when I was out looking at this year's neglected garden, I found a vine. I hadn't planted anything that would grow a vine. I watched the vine and tried to guess what it was. A neighbor thought it might be an Acorn Squash, since it looked like the one she was growing. The vine wasn't producing any fruit. It just kept flowering. Many of the flowers would fall off, looking as though they had been cut neatly at the stem. I started looking for cutworms, but never found any.
     I then learned that some of the flowers were male, and some were female. The female flowers have a 'hip' at the base of the flower that could become a fruit if the flowers were fertilized. The male flowers would simply fall off the vine. I looked for weeks and didn't find any fruit growing.
     One day, I remembered that I had planted watermelon seeds. I was almost certain they wouldn't grow, but since our growing season here is long and has been consistently warm the past few years, I thought I'd give it a go. I was so excited that we might be getting watermelon from our own garden! Several more days passed, and no fruit.
     An hot afternoon found me outside in the shade of our trees, inspecting this vine. It was rather thorny, and had sprawled out everywhere! There was one fruit, growing under the leaves of the wisteria that climbs the fence. It was a tiny green ball with a striped pattern. I was convinced still that it was a watermelon. About a week later, the tiny green ball had grown quite a bit.
             
I might have still thought it was a watermelon if it weren't for the stem. Definitely a pumpkin stem. This is when I found out, via Google, that pumpkins turn orange on the vine. I've never seen pumpkins grow before! This was exciting!  As the pumpkin became larger, I could see it from the kitchen window. I started looking out every time I was at the kitchen sink. I am there quite a bit.

Soon, it looked more like this:  

The vines are beginning to die back, and we'll harvest our one pumpkin. There is a lot of speculation in the house about who will get to use the pumpkin and to what purpose. I know now that if we grow pumpkins again, I will turn them or put straw under them to keep them from getting flat on one side. I will also pinch off female flowers to give fewer buds a better chance at becoming pumpkins.
     Not bad for a volunteer plant!
















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Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's All New!



     Take a look at the new digs! There's a new design on the blog today. I will have info on the tabs at the top in the next couple of weeks. Right now, every tab shows the blog posts.
     Isn't it fabulous? I'm excited about it, and now, I'm getting to work on the information for those tabs!
Have a great Thursday!










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