Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
One Loaf of Banana Bread
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 eggs or 3/4 cup egg substitute
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium-large bananas)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups flour (I like 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Beat the sugar and butter/margarine in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into the banana mixture just until moistened. Blend in chocolate chips or nuts. Pour and scrape batter into the loaf pan.
Bake the 8 inch pan for 60 minutes, 9 inch pan for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Warning: Teenagers in house will inhale this. Make two if you want some for yourself.
I have two zucchini sitting on the counter waiting to be diced or shredded into some form soon. And there's always the ever-growing rhubarb. The family will not go hungry.
Thanks again to Betty Rohde of the Super so fat, low fat, no fat cookbook. This recipe is adapted from hers. If you bake it the low-fat way, it has only 1 fat gram per serving. Stumble It!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Many of my blogging virtual friends are in Chicago this weekend for the BlogHer conference. (My last trip to the big city included a hot, steamy baseball game, not a businesslike conference.) I chose not to go to BlogHer, but I will look into the transcripts of sessions from the volunteers who were sweet enough to live blog them. Meanwhile, I will rest with the knowledge that even though I'm not hobnobbing with the blogging A-listers, according to at least one marvelous blogger, I still rock!
Compost Happens is approaching a major milestone: my 10,000th hit. I didn't add the stat counter immediately in the beginning, so there are a few hits missing, but I know it didn't miss a significant number. I think I may have to have a party when I reach 10,000. Stumble It!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Christmas in July
Even though I like to pick on my younger brother, I would probably give him this. Cute, eh?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Naming the Mother
In the Ugandan tradition, children are named not just at birth, but throughout their lives according to their characteristics and significant events.
The only girl.
She of thoughtful eyes that needed strong glasses.
She who shared a room with her brother.
The one who took to the piano and the organ like a duck to water.
The one who earned A‘s without breaking a sweat.
The child with the near photographic memory.
The first generation in the family to attend college.
She of carpools and babysitters.
She who attended concerts, talent shows, conferences, and open houses galore.
The one who welcomed our friends and significant others.
The one who set another plate on the table whenever our special someone visited.
She who sent us to college, even though we took a little extra time to graduate.
The one who read the first four Harry Potter books to her grandson.
The one who helped her granddaughter make skirts out of jeans.
Call on the phone grandma.
Email the whole family grandma.
She who faced breast cancer with courage and humor.
She who laughs until she wheezes.
She who keeps up the old traditions and creates new ones, too.
The mom I can only hope to equal someday.
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
My younger brother just gave me yet another item worthy of big-sisterly teasing that fits at least one of the above categories; I just can't decide which one.
My brother and his wife were staying at my mom's apartment in the senior living complex. Mom left for a morning appointment. Shortly after that, her husband got a phone call for an appointment of his own saying, "We've had a cancellation. Can you come now?" He left, too. Brother and sister-in-law were gathering their things and putting their shoes on to drive across town to my house when they realized they would have to leave the apartment unlocked because there were only two keys, and both keys had left with their respective owners. Er, renters. But my ever-creative brother thought of another solution.
He locked the door from the inside and climbed out of their balcony. On. The. Third. Floor.
His route to the ground took him over the balcony, past the apartment below, down one floor to a mildly slanted roof, and from there to a nice, solid wall surrounding the dumpsters. He jumped down from the wall to where his wife was waiting for him. I didn't see this happen, but I'm sure she was at least grinning, if not laughing out loud. They hopped in the car and came over to visit.
The plot thickens. We went back to the senior living community and had lunch in its little cafe. The downstairs neighbors were eating there, too. They didn't seem to recognize Brother, so we decided he had escaped the adventure without being seen, despite smiling and waving at the other table.
So, folks, what do you think? Here are a few category options.
- Creative thinking
- Cognitively guided problem solving
- Things you should have learned in school (or not) had you been paying attention
- Reasons to build your upper arm strength
- Are you really smarter than a fifth grader?
- I can do anything, I'm a liberal arts graduate!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
10 Common Traits
2. We like to go out for lunches and brunches, especially in the summer. this year we've tried out several new (new to us) restaurants and diners. We'll remember those that had Braille menus for him!
3. Both of us have a tendency to get anxious in new and difficult situations.
4. We bond over Trivia. We watch Jeopardy as a family each night. At 15, Amigo can hold his own. He has an excellent memory.
5. Green Bay Packer football! He is a cheesehead through and through.
6. We both love Christmas, even the shopping and wrapping parts, but especially the music.
7. We enjoy the public library. He checks out books on tape/CD, and I pick up whatever strikes my fancy. In the summer we go at least once a week.
8. We like to bake. Okay, I like to bake cookies and he likes to eat them. It works, doesn't it?
9. Reading. Reading together. 'Nuff said.
10. I admit it; we share a sense of humor.
He reads my blog, so I'm sure he'll have to say something about it -- when he gets away from Youtube and gets around to reading it, that is. :) Stumble It!
Monday, July 23, 2007
I'm addicted to coffee, too.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Tiny and Beast bonded. When Tiny got older and matured, we took her in to get spayed. She came back, well, neutered. She was really He.
Beast died last year. Tiny has lived in the house with us since then, hiding in odd places and playing with toys. This morning we called the animal hospital. Tiny is sick, with many of the same symptoms that Beast showed last summer. He had trouble breathing this afternoon and ran a high fever. The vet put him on an antibiotic, but looked very worried. Late last night, Tiny started sneezing blood violently from his small furry nose. We called the 24 hour vet line and brought him in. The bottom line: he has an infection, probably an abscess, and is very likely on his last petite little legs. Rather than leaving him in an specialized oxygen tent at the animal ER, we brought him home. We will make his day(s) as comfortable as we can, keep checking in on him, and snuggle him as much as he can handle. When he's ready, we'll say goodbye.
Update: Tiny passed away around 2:30 Sunday afternoon. I was with him and able to pet him and soothe him as he took his last few breaths. Thank you for all of your words of support.
Labels: bunnies bunnies everywhereStumble It!
Friday, July 20, 2007
Blog Blast with a Cause
I've become a regular online shopper, and for safety's sake I tend to stick to vendors and merchants I know. This list of links appeals to be because it includes well-known names such as Lands' End. Linens and Things. Delia's (a favorite of my college-age daughter). NFL Pro Shop, too (as if I needed more Green Bay Packer clothing!).The list goes on and on, and in fact can be intimidating in its length, so I prefer to click on "Select Category" and get a more focused display.
Now, here's the fund-raising part. Click on "Select an Organization" to direct your donations to a meaningful source. I chose the Wisconsin Lions Foundation in Rosholt, Wisconsin because my blind son spends a very happy week at Lions Camp every summer and our local Lions have been very generous whenever we've asked for assistance. (They make great buffalo burgers at Octoberfest, too, but that's a matter of personal taste. Yum.)
Here goes. To join iBakeSale, click here. Create an account, and then choose a group for your donations. I'd love it if you'd choose the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, but I hope you'll look for other groups that are close to your heart. You can sign up a new organization, such as your children's school PTA, as well. Go for it, folks; sign up before you start your Christmas shopping!
Please note: There is a prize involved for the blogger who gets the most sign-ups by August 7. My readership is small, so I'm not expecting to win. The only benefit for me would be to see people sign up to send a bit of their shopping money toward a good cause. I do not earn money through this post. Stumble It!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Hello, my name is Minerva
Some day soon I'll see the movie for The Order of the Phoenix. I was nervous about seeing the first movie because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the book. Now I thoroughly enjoy the movies, even as I insist that the books are better. They are. Really.
As I read, I see myself as Professor McGonagall. She's definitely a kindred spirit. She's a leader, one who knows what's right, and calmly deals with many big issues. With the Weasley family in her house, particularly Fred and George, I'm sometimes amazed at how calm she can be! When I saw the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, my first glimpse of McGonagall was a mild shock. "No, that can't be her. She's much too, well, old. She's supposed to be me!" Several years later, now I can watch the movies and say, it's okay. I can only hope to age as well. Can I wear a nifty green hat like hers? And where's my wand?
So it was no surprise when I took a sorting quiz and found myself in Gryffindor. Behave yourselves in the common room, Fred and George, I'm on my way!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Reduce, reuse, and recycle: the chair project
Attach removable rummage sale stickers to chair in random pattern. Paint chairs thoroughly with main color. Let dry. When chairs are dry, carefully remove stickers.
The result: the formerly old and junky chair becomes a simple polka-dotted accent piece for the deck. Bring out the cappuccino!
There's a table to match, but I don't have the heart to take it away from the bunny just yet.
Monday, July 16, 2007
More on the first apartment...
The bathroom is, well, unique.
Did I mention the lights?
The lights all have longlasting energy efficient bulbs. They stick out of the fixtures because the fixtures are old (it's a college apartment!). The light fixtures themselves are decorated with -- mallard ducks. Why? I'm sure we'll never know. Maybe the owners or builders got a good deal on a large flock, er, quantity of these.
I just hope the wildlife on the overhead lights is not an indication of the wild life yet to come between these well-worn walls. Stumble It!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
...and looked for trains.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Scene 2: Husband runs in house for fire extinguisher. La Petite shouts, "No, dad, wait! I want to take a picture!"
Scene 3: After she takes her picture, he puts out the fire. (Note: he didn't stop for shoes.)
This post was entered in Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for July.Stumble It!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I am...I think. Wait -- strike that, reverse it.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Tasty Tuesday from the backyard garden
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 13 by 9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the margarine/butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Add the egg; beat well. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Beat in half the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, ending with the flour. Stir in the rhubarb.
Spread in the prepared baking pan. Combine the remaining cup of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake test done with a toothpick or skewer.
Optional: Drizzle with powdered sugar frosting or other dessert sauce of your choice. My family likes this cake served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side. They even eat this for breakfast. Yes, I allow it. Nutritionally, it beats the heck out of a toaster pastry or donut! Did I mention it's great with coffee?
Leftover cake lasts longer if refrigerated. It tastes great microwaved for a few seconds.
Thanks to Betty Rohde of the Super so fat, low fat, no fat cookbook. This recipe is adapted from hers. If you bake it the low-fat way, it has only 0.5 fat gram per serving. Stumble It!
Monday, July 09, 2007
The first apartment
And speaking of colors, what is this color? Does it have a name? It's not goldenrod, it's not avocado, but I really don't know what to call it. But next to that floor, does it really matter?
Ah, yes. It's really a decent apartment for two college girls. I'm just not sure how La Petite's navy blue towels and her roommate's hot pink will coordinate with the bathroom decor. But heck, nothing else matches, either. It's the kind of apartment that creates memories -- before the kids even move in.
The good, the bad, and the perspective
I guess it's all in your perspective.
Now, the good/bad comparison.
Good: The tickets were free, a prize Amigo won at a minor league game.
Bad: Gas to fill the tank cost more than $3 a gallon.
Good: We visited my brother and stayed overnight with him, went shopping with his wife, played with his cats.
Bad: I'm allergic to cats. Even sweethearts like these three.
Good: He keeps a room cat free so I can sleep without allergy problems. What a considerate little brother!
Good: We picked up a coffeecake from the grocery store for breakfast. They had Husband's favorite steak sauce, so we stocked up. (We can't get it here in the North Country)
Bad: The cats tried to eat the coffeecake.
Good: Haha!! We hid it in the microwave overnight.
Good: The trip to the ballpark was smooth and quick, with no traffic problems.
Bad: We arrived two hours before game time.
Good: We found a good parking space in the handicapped lot, thanks to Amigo's handicap permit.
Good: We had a lot of time to take pictures, put on our sunscreen, and listen to the live music outside the gates. A small band was playing classic tunes by Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. They made my babyboomer heart very happy.
Bad: It was hot, hot, hot. Amigo doesn't do heat well.
Good: There was a strong breeze.
Bad: They don't call it the Windy City for nothing. The wind snatched both husband's and Amigo's baseball caps, causing a minor panic on Amigo's part.
Good: With my SuperMom reflexes, I caught Husband's flying cap, while La Petite caught Amigo's.
Good: Our seats were in the shade.
Bad: Our seats were extremely high up. Husband doesn't do heights well.
Good: We left after the top of the third inning.
Better: The third inning was the best one, with the Sox scoring like crazy! They won, 6-2.
Score: Good -- 12 Bad -- 7
Good wins! It was a successful road trip. Stumble It!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
That's peppermint and chamomile in the cappuccino cup, by the way. I got the seeds in a free sample pack from Celestial Seasonings.
The souvenir cups are rather pricey at the stadium, so finding a new use for them is quite rewarding. We're going to a White Sox game this afternoon. It's going to be hot, so I might just add to this collection.Stumble It!
Friday, July 06, 2007
When there's a disability in the mix, the questions and the disapproval grow exponentially.
I am hearing impaired. It may or may not be genetic; I don't know. There is no medical indication of the precise cause. I focus on treatment: hearing aids, training in lipreading, and the like. Most important, being hearing impaired doesn't disqualify me from bearing children or raising them.
My 15-year-old son, "Amigo", is blind and is on the autism spectrum. His vision impairment is genetic. Both Husband and I carry the gene for this autosomal recessive condition. No, we didn't know it, but it's really nobody's business but ours. Our daughter, "La Petite", may or may not be a carrier of this trait. It will only matter if the man she marries is also a carrier. Given that there is no test at this time (although there is a study in progress), she might never know. Should she have children, knowing that they might be blind? MYOB, turkeys. She'll make that decision. she knows more than anyone what it means to live with a blind person.
So...will you be having any more children? Or the other question: since you know your children might be disabled, will you have any more? Most of the time, I greeted that question with a blank stare. It really didn't deserve an answer. A business-style card that says, "Mind your own blankety blank business" would have been handy.
Well, new moms and moms-to-be, if you get that intrusive question, don't you wish you could just hand them this? Then you won't have to answer. Your questioners didn't deserve your time, anyway.
This Blog Blast brought to you courtesy of the Parent Bloggers Network. Click here to read more on the same topic. Stumble It!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
It can be wrapped in just about any shape for any holiday.
It works almost as well as flowers. Well, almost.
It's the cure for a dementor attack.
The truth comes out. Dark chocolate can contribute to lowering blood pressure.
I think I'll add dark chocolate to my next grocery list, right after the coffee.
Labels: Random ThoughtsStumble It!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The end of the top ten list: #10 is false.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Daisy's Top Ten List: #8 is (gulp) True! (so is #9)
This is not from uber-organization; it is necessity. Starting at the end of November, we have four birthdays and Christmas all within eight weeks. If I didn't shop ahead/ year round, we'd go broke by February.
What did I buy already? Eat your heart out, family, I'm not telling.
9. I am older than my husband.
His birthday is exactly two weeks after mine. I am two weeks older than he is.
By the way, his mother tells me he was born about two weeks after his due date. Um, honey? About that problem you have with getting places on time? Is it, perhaps, a birth defect? Just kidding. He's not really a chronic latecomer. :)
In between thunderstorms today, I settled in and read more of Harry Potter #5: The Order of the Phoenix. I plan to re-read the entire series before the new one comes out in July. I finished #4 over the weekend, returned it to the library (the only book in the series that I don't own), and started on Harry's adventures before going back to Hogwarts for his fifth year. Thunderstorms are great reading weather. That is, except for the little detail of the power going out before the coffeemaker was done brewing...darn it. Stumble It!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Daisy' Top Ten List: #7 is True.
It's the green combined with the frugal in me. Wrapping paper seems so wasteful. Use it once, then throw it away. It can't be recycled, it can't be burned in the fireplace (too many chemicals), so it ends up in a landfill after one use. Does this make sense? Not to me.
My family gives me a hard time about this. I give in at Christmas, and I don't complain if other family members buy wrapping paper (but it'd better be on sale!). But for birthdays, father's day, and most other gift-giving occasions, I like to revive the first two Rs: reduce and re-use.
When I open my own presents, I carefully refold the paper for later. Smaller scraps will wrap stocking stuffers or combine with another coordinating wrap. Gift bags and tissue? Multiple uses. Small, attractive shopping bags? Again, multiple reuses. Bows? If possible, I set them aside to be part of another gift. Curling ribbon, well, I admit that's hard to salvage.
But my favorite of the Green Wrapping techniques is this: last year's cards become the next year's tags. After Christmas (sometimes months later), I go through the holiday cards and cut them apart into gift tags. They're unique and fun, and honestly -- I haven't bought gift tags in twenty years. Stumble It!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Funday Sunday with the family
So here's the family with three of the famous racing sausages. Sausages from left to right: Hot Dog, Polish Sausage, and Bratwurst. Family: back row, me and Husband; front row, La Petite and Amigo. Missing: Italian and Chorizo (Chorizo is new this year and doesn't have a bendable toy -- yet).