Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Golf

My Girl currently loves two things: Karate and Golf. So on the days there is no karate class, we run some drills for karate of course (practice makes prefect) and then we play golf. I recently got her a little plastic golf set and she adores it. Every morning I hear,
                    My Girl: "Are we going to Karate today?"
                    Mama: "No, darling. That's tomorrow."
                    My Girl: "Let's play GOLF! I get the golf balls and the clubs."
This is all before she gets out of bed...
We use big soccer balls and the tiny golf balls in our game of golf. It reads a little more like croquet because golf is hard and I am terrible at it! Absolutely terrible at it. Even at mini golf, with the little windmills. I end up raging after my 40th stroke! Golf ranks slightly below Bowling on my dislike-o-meter. But I bowl because my daughter loves it and now I Golf because she loves it.
I teach a less convectional golf of course. One of the Wreck This Journal activities is to use the book in a game of golf. So we hit the ball back and forth through the book and sometimes place the hole on the other side. My Girl is much better at it then I am! But she has passion and whenever you have passion you do it better.
Though I dislike Golf, because its hard and boring etc, I think its something probably important for her to know how to do. Its a long way off, of course, but there is alot of business that happens on the golf course. I don't want her excluded or being at a disadvantage for that should she choose to go into that world. Like I said I know its a far way off and a perhaps at that but its my job to prepare her for the "grown up world" and I'll do it. Even if golf sucks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade Cheese Crackers

If you bring a box of goldfish or cheez-its into my home, they will be gone long before the end of the day. You bring cheese nips and you are on your own there. Cheez-its are clearly more delicious.

Well, as good as they are, it might bankrupt me to keep them in the house. Srsly!?!?! So I found a recipe for them and they are crazy good out of the oven. I need to tweak the ones I made. I didn't put 8 full oz of cheese in mine, whoops, math is hard and I had trouble rolling the dough thin enough. But practice makes prefect.

I came across this recipe at Savory Seasonings. A wonderful site about cooking with pure and simple ingredients! I love her blog and the yummy stuff on it.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white ground pepper (optional)
4 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3-4 TBSP water

Pulse the flour, salt and pepper, then add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.

Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.

Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.




Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 1 inch squares, then bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. If the outer edges your pan are done but the crackers in the center still need a few more minutes- remove crackers on the edges and bake the center crackers for a few more minutes.

Remove from oven and recut any squares that may be stuck together. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Compost!!!

This was my compost pile when I first started my garden. It was full of chopped up pulled weeds, wood chips, fireplace ashes, and over time kitchen scraps. For sure its not the optimal formula of greens and browns. But we keep it wet and covered and the heat sure helps. Oh and we turn it about once every 3 days. It absolutely doesn't smell. I know you are doing something right if it doesn't smell. That being said, its reduced our kitchen waste dramatically and we only throw out about 1 bag of trash, 2 rarely, a week. To be fair we also made a recycle bin and stopped buying a ton of prepared food around the same time. Egg shells, coffee grounds, bad apples, lettuce (which frequently goes bad in our house, stupid leaf freezing refrigerator!), bad tomatoes, potato peels, carrot peels, cores of lettuce, those grapes that are too squishy, anything that doesn't have oil or animal fat in it.

We now have at least 6 bags of compost chilling at the bottom of this pile. Yesterday, I added a lot more dried weeds, grass clippings, corn stalks, and assorted bad veggies on to it. Its not a difficult undertaking to make a compost pile and not gross. Its kinda neat to watch it turn back into healthy soil, cause my backyard is essentially sand. I think we are just gonna keep adding on to it whenever it gets flat again until next march to have just an amazing amount of happy dirt!


Oh it doesn't stink but there is a lot of "wildlife", Crickets, earwigs, snake, alligator lizard, a healthy amount of spiders, worms, rollies pollies, and beetles. I think a Opossum was there for a while until my 30lber cat , Lincoln, scared it away.



How to Compost

Your dirt can be happy too!

 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Karate-do!

It was time to get My Girl into a structured social activity. Get her ready for preschool next year. We had considered several things. Dance class, gymnastics class, cheer leading class, pee wee soccer, pee wee t-ball, or ballet/tap class. But as a parent, I feel like there are certain I need to have my daughter know. One of which is self defense. I know, I know,  a 3 year old isn't gonna be fighting off any attackers or probably not gonna be attacked and I don't expect that for her now. I expect for her to have fun, build confidence, and social skills.
We went to a free trial class for the mini tigers, age 3-6.  My Girl absolutely loved it! She talked about it the whole week until it was time for the next class that we signed up for. Plus, she looks soooooo cute in her uniform.
She's doing so well. I'm so proud of her and its wonderful to see her have a passion. She wants to practice karate all the time. Well, that and golf. its her new thing too. Which is definitely one of the things I want her to know how to do. Business happens during golf. So we will take her mini golfing soon :P
During her 3rd class, she won her first tug o war match! She also won her second! Which is amazing because she's the youngest and smallest. She's also the only girl in her class. I don't know why more girls aren't in karate. The instructor is fantastic! She and the assistant are both women and absolutely amazing at get the group of kids to listen and be nice to each other.
She's still the sweet little girl despite her new growing abilities to beat people down. A boy in her class took his belt off and started hitting people with it. The instructor took away his belt and told him he could have it back after he performed 10 punches. The boy threw himself on the floor and sobbed, his mom said he missed his nap (we have all been there). My Girl went over to him and put a hand on his back and asked him, "what's wrong?" and she tried to comfort him. She even tried to give him her belt but she couldn't get it off.
The class has been a very positive experience and she's so cute in her uniform!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weeds are Worthless...?



Not from everything I have read. Dandelions are used for all sorts of stuff. I finished weeding a large area and the pile of weeds looked like salad. I wish I knew which weeds were edible and helpful. Its a little dangerous to just start popping random weeds in your mouth. My Boy in my belly probably wouldn't like it either. So I have resolved to figure it out! I WANNA KNOW!

It turns out I could have learned this years ago (about 4). But I wasn't into doing anything at that time. My aunt gave me a book on the subject: American Nature Guides: Wild Flowers by Pamela Forey
Its really hard to find this book (I did a Google search and everything). But she has lots of other books on similar subjects. 

This book is my reading/studying material for the next week maybe 2 if I want to remember any of it. LOL. I already know dandelions are amazing and can be used for wine, coffee substitute, and in salads. Delicious!!! I hope to find other treasures!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kitten Update

Anyone want one, they are FREE and they are way talented cats. Very special and very beautiful. They may also grant 3 wishes... just saying.


They have started litter box training now and eating kitten chow. Almost time to leave the cat nest. I haven't named them but I will miss them. My Girl spends most of her day play with them. They are definitely getting used to be around small children.


The dark orange one has gotten much more adventurous then the light orange one. I dunno what happened.



Sookie Mama is such a worry wart. She runs out into the kitchen and the kittens meow and then she runs back.


The snake is a favorite toy of the kittens, My Girl, and generally everyone in the house!



My Girl builds towers out of boxes, tents out of sheets, and forts out of pillows for the kittens to climb through.

And so no one gets jealous:


Monday, September 19, 2011

Pizza!

It's time to make dinner and I'm worn out. I got everything on had to make pizza, except the crust. And who wants to make pizza crust! Mix, rise, punch, rise, etc. I found a recipe to make pizza dough quick and easy. I put it all in the bread machine on the dough setting. That way it makes like zero mess for me. I also like to let it rise a little longer than suggested for a sort of thick crust. But I made several batches of dough and froze them. Now when I am feeling extra stressed out about making dinner, I just thaw a ball of dough and top it with whatever.

 

Pizza doesn't have to be red sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. To be fair it does have to have cheese, in my opinion. But I have made a loaded baked potato pizza, chile relleno pizza, breakfast pizza. And I am going to try pot roast pizza, cheeseburger pizza with dill pickles, chicken alfredo with broccoli, catfish pizza, Reuben pizza, clam chowder pizza, spam and kimchi pizza, and tuna melt pizza. Seems like you can turn any leftover into a pizza! And on busy days I sure plan to do it. Try new things, or rather old things in a new way! And anything in pizza form kids will eat. 

 

Its the "ZA"!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Lion King 3D


Roaring like a lion!

I grew up on Disney! My friend and I play a Disney movie lyrics game. In college, we had Disney song singalongs. A dorm room packed with college student who weren't drinking and singing along to Disney's Greatest hits. I love Disney! The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was the Lion King, especially, the opening scene, the circle of life. It was absolutely magical back then and on Friday, taking My Girl brought back that magic. She lit up over popcorn. She thought the 3D glasses made her look cool. Then when it started, I watched her pull her glasses up and them down again to figure out how this 3D stuff was happening. When I cried after the stampede in the gorge, she kept saying, "Simba's dad is hurt. That's so sad." At the end, when the rain is washing away Scar's tyrannical reign from Pride Rock, she held her hands out in front of her to catch the rain. Disney FTW!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wreck this Journal!


The new crafty craft!

Well, a long time ago, My Girl and I had an arts and crafts time. I had bought a box of crafts, Made By Me Junior Box of Projects. My Girl called it "Crafty Crafts". We spent an hour every afternoon or evening, depending on how busy we were that day, doing one of the projects in the box. The box contained supplies to make:

*2 paper bag puppets (bags, glue stick, cardboard & sticker decorations)
*2 "tissue paper" animals (sticky board, tissue, google eyes)
*several tissue paper flowers (tissue, pipe cleaners)
*several foam-bead bracelets or necklaces (elastic thread, foam beads)
*1 coloring roll storybook and markers
*4 clay animals (modeling clay, cardboard heads & feet)
*1 sticker art page (farm backdrop + lots of stickers)
*1 teddy bear paper doll (cardstock bear + sticker clothing & accessories)
*1 "mosaic" heart (cardstock heart + foam sticky squares)

These were easy to make but I felt like it kinda stifled creativity. Here are the premade crafts, now put them together kinda thing. Kids are sooo creative! It amazes me how they think of the world, the stories they come up with for their stuffed animals, or the descriptions of the pictures. Its fabulous. This Project box is good for teaching skills like glue stick, gluing, threading, and other art skills but not for actually creating things. It was fun though. So when we finished the box of crafts, I decided not to get another one or pursue that line anymore. I researched for something else to do. For 2 weeks, I heard, "Mama, lets do crafty craft." I'd substitute playdough, saltdough, painting, or coloring. But it wasn't the same. Then I found Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

Crack the Spine

It is just what it says it is. There are prompts on each page like "cracked the spine of the book", "fill this page with circles", "poke holes in this page", "climb up high and drop the journal", "Glue a photo of yourself you dislike and deface it" or "make prints on this page using an ink pad and cut vegetable."

Instructions!
The Instructions are: 

1. Carry this with you everywhere you go.
2. Follow the instructions on every page.
3. Order is not important.
4. Instructions are open to interpretation. experiment. (work against your better judgment.)

STAND HERE : Wipe your feet, jump up and down
This journal give us neat prompts that we change to fit what we want. We traced our feet and My Girl suggested we take pictures on our feet dirty. But she didn't want to actually get them dirty so we stood in grass and each took a picture and glued them in. 

Draw lines while in motion: on the bus, on a train, while walking.
This one we did while we bowled. This is gonna be an ongoing page. Once I can get My Girl to get into the ocean water, we will do it there too. It'll be a neat way to keep track of all the cool things we did. We are gonna do it while on the teacups at Disneyland!
 
Throw Something: a pencil, a ball dipped in paint

It so far has been a great buy! I recommend it. Its fun and helps you think out of the box. My Girl asks everyday if its time to journal. We do 2-3 pages a day. I read the directions and then I follow My Girl's lead. There nothing more creativity then a 3 year old! There are other books by Keri Smith that are just as interesting and look just as fun.

Wreck this Journal, This is NOT a book, Mess: The Manual of Accident and Mistakes, Guerrilla Art Kit



Thursday, September 15, 2011

ExtraLife- The Biggest Gaming Event of the Year


"Welcome to Extra Life, an annual 24-hour video game marathon that raises money to help kids at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s never been this much fun to do this much good. Just click the Register Now! button to get started. You'll get your own personal page to help your fundraising efforts and track your progress.

This year’s event begins at 8 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2011. Each participant is asked to raise money by recruiting at least four sponsors to give $1 for each hour of the marathon (that’s just $24 per sponsor).

What makes Extra Life so incredibly easy is you can do it from the comfort of your own home. While many churches and schools do lock-ins for Extra Life, you don’t HAVE to go anywhere. What’s more, you can play any game or games you want to during the event. Xbox 360, PS3, PC, even games on your phone count.

If you can’t play the full 24 hours on Oct. 1 nobody is going to kick down your door and stick a controller in your hand. You can make up the time later, or even get ahead by playing some of your 24 hours BEFORE the event.

The important thing is to make the commitment to help local children get better. All the money you raise will stay at the Children's Miracle Network Hospital near you.

Thank you for taking the time to be a player, a donor or to simply spread the word to other gamers.

On behalf of over 3,500 past and present Extra Life participants, welcome."

Jeromy Adams (Doc)
Founder
SarcasticGamer.com


*Jorg is really excited to do this. Anyone wanna sponsor him?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eggplant Attack


I almost didn't plant it this year. Last year,  I bought one and it got mauled by bugs and I only got 1 eggplant for all my pride. Discouraged, I saw no reason to plant any again.


Fortunately, if you are lucky you surround yourself by amazing people. People who will encourage you and challenge your doubts of yourself. I have several of these friends but only one who is as crazy about eating Eggplant as I was. She convinced me to plant six and they have flourished.


I plan to be eating eggplant with red curry or eggplant parm for a least a month. But I'm saving some for my eggplant champion.


The first harvest should be about tomorrow or so. I know Jorg's excited! YAY! Eggplant! We need to try alot of different recipes with eggplant. Any one got one they wanna share?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Whale Watching and First Trip to the Beach


GOOD MORNING!

This the face I get to wake up every morning too. That is when I get to sleep! This morning we all piled out of bed and headed out, finally in search of the beach! We have been trying to make it to the beach since February. But things kept coming up and causing a ruckus so no beach. My Guy stayed with his Ghee for the day. Thanks Ghee!


My cousin, who honestly the way we were raised is more like my sister -you only children know what I am talking about!- came to town all the way from the mile high state and had a birthday party for her oldest at the beach! But before we got to the beach, we decided to take full advantage of the trip out to the beach!


We boarded the Patriot in Newport Landing for a 2 1/2 hour whale watching trip, Jorg's idea and a great one. We were running late and barely made the boat so I forgot rubber bands, brush, sun glasses, etc. as we ran to the boat.


We saw pelicans, nursery pods of the common dolphin and the bottlenosed dolphin, a jellyfish, seagulls (of course), and dolphins that had round heads (can't remember what they are called- but they had like 12 teeth and exclusive ate squid.) At least that's what the Captain was saying.


I must say, these dolphins are so much fast then my camera. I took like 200 pictures of these dolphin and when I look at them there are only ripples of the ocean. Maybe I need a quicker camera!


We didn't see any whales. Insert sad face here... but we got vouchers for a second whale watching trip for 50% off! Its called a dolphin check.


My Girl has a wonderful time watching the birds, asking if the tail of that dolphin belonged to Ariel, asking when we'd see a whale (over and over again) and eat cheetos while trying to manufacture a way to keep her hair out of her face.


Something about staring out into the ocean makes you feel so peaceful. It definitely made me want a boat to chill on, something I never had any desire for. I want a Spanish galleon with a yacht interior! But dreams, eh?

 
It was so much fun! I highly recommend it if you get the chance. We even met a wonderful couple from Jorg's hometown. We didn't see a whale or like I secretly desired a REALLY BIG shark, sometimes you wanna be terrified!


The Newport Landing Whale Watching is the place to go. The crew was very accommodating to us running late and actually held the boat for us. They took safety very seriously and the ship was beautiful. I like going on the morning voyage because it wasn't terribly crowd at all. You could move around easily from one side of the boat or another without bumping into each other or pushing each other out of the way to see the dolphins. The Captain gave very great information about all the sitings. We also got long opportunities to see each dolphin pod. It was wonderful! We will be using them again, especially with our dolphin checks.
 

I imagine this is a constant on the whale watching trip... the sea lions on a buoy. A nice way to wrap up it up. My Girl stood across from them barking like a seal and then it was onto Huntington beach!


We greeted our family and Jorg took My Girl into the water. Where she kicked, screamed, climbed him like a cat trying to stay away from water, and eventually persuaded Jorg to bring her back to land.

        Jorg: "What are you so afraid of, its just water?"
        My Girl: " I don't want it!"
        Jorg: "Why?"
        My Girl: "I'm afraid to step... I'm afraid to step on the Whales!"


I remember my first time in the water at the beach. I was terrified and probably about her age. The ocean kept trying to pull me in and somehow even though I was standing in one place the shore kept getting further and further away. My Girl spent the day playing with her cousins, chasing seagulls, digging in the sand, and being amazingly cute! Jorg spent the day swimming in the ocean and then body boarding. I spent it doing a little of each but mostly sitting on the beach with my cousin!


We had obviously a wonderful time. The weather was perfect! It was my cousin's oldest daughter birthday and we were walking back to the parking lot to get my lighter for the candles of the cake. A huge Harley run passed through on the PCH right then. It must have been 15 minutes long in remembrance of 9/11. We discussed what we felt that day. She was a teacher to young children at the time and I was in high school. Just the differences of what we felt changed and how we had to deal with it. 

It was wonderful to see them all together like this and to be able to celebrate this wonderful, smart girl's birthday with her. BTW that's a California grown lemon she's holding!  Happy Birthday you wonderful, smart, sweet, and generally amazing little girl growing up so fast! Man, I remember when she was born!

It was an amazing day and I will treasure it always... there's just something about the ocean. I can't wait to got back again. I tried desperately to stay awake in the car and so did My Girl, but we both fell asleep pretty quickly. But the day still ended how every trip to the beach should with A double double animal style with extra pickles with animal style fries and and iced tea. Either that or spaghetti.