Monday, September 28, 2009

Food: the same old thing

I'm trying to be more proactive with our grocery shopping.  The best way to do that is to plan for meals and make good grocery lists.  However, I feel like I'm at a rut of doing the same old things for dinner. 

Share your favorite meals.  Post recipes if you have them!  I'm making a list, and will overcome this challenge!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Soundtrack of Your Life

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

~Victor Hugo~

I have always been a fan of music. Not just any music, but the music that speaks to your soul at any given moment. I firmly believe that there is a power in music that we highly underestimate.

Music has the ability to alter our moods, to uplift our spirits, motivate and inspire. It can encourage men in battle and lighten the heavy load of a tedious burden.

Often throughout my life I have started humming a tune that would fit right for the situation. I love to sing and would even make up songs to fit the occasion.

This past week I started off my Monday morning with the Bangle’s tune “Manic Monday” going through my mind as I got ready for the day. So I posted it on my facebook page and then decided to begin Lyric Week.

Basically – if my life was a movie, and there was a soundtrack, I would post random lyrics on my facebook page. To make it fun, I’ve also turned it into a contest. My friend on there will get to guess the source of the lyrics.

However, the point of the post is that we often have songs that are meaningful to us for a variety of reasons. They bring back memories and invoke emotions.

What are some that are meaningful to you – and why?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My first contest!

When I planned my garden this year I intentionally planted veggies and peppers so that I could make some recipes.  One of those that I wanted was salsa.  I absolutely LOVE chips and salsa, and love to lear to make my own stuff. 

So, today I made my first forray into salsa making.  In the same regards, I also canned for the first time.  I was so excited that all of the jars sealed up and want to share it with you.
Become a fan of me on facebook and make a guess on what day I will have my 200th fan.  The winner will be the one on or closest to that date.  I will ship a quart of homemade salsa to the winner!  So, become a fab and reecommed me to your friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Babies for Fluffy

A few weeks ago one of our hens started getting really broody.  She would protectively guard the eggs when I would go to collect them each day. Now, it wouldn't do her any good to guard those eggs, because we don't keep a rooster around.

This may sound silly, but I related her plight to those of many of my friends who have struggled to have kids and couldn't.  Here was a hen who wanted nothing more than to sit on a nest for weeks on end and have some cute little babies to tend and raise and tend.

So, I put an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone had some fertilized eggs that my little Fluffy could sit upon.  I got one response and picked up 5 eggs from her a few days later.

For three weeks Fluffy sat patiently in her little nest (we isolated her from the other hens), and kept those little eggs at just the right temperature. Yesterday we moved her cage/nest and set her up with her own private yard so the big hens wouldn't attack the babies when they hatched and I saw one cute baby fluffy face poking out from under the big fluffy chicken.

Today we head out to feed the chickens their scratch for their evening treat and out pops Fluffy with four little fluffy chicks following her.  It was amazing to watch her teach them how to scratch and eat, and she talked to them the entire time.
Then she climbed back into her nest and called and encouraged her little babies to hop into bed.  They listen a whole lot better than my kids! Soon they all hopped up into the nest and burrowed under the covers (mom) and settled down for the night.
We've been hatching eggs for awhile, but there's something just heartwarming about seeing nature at work - even if she is the adopted mother to those chicks. 
Now I truly understand the meaning of the phrase "Mother Hen"

Mock Stuffed Pasta Shell Caserole

My family loves stuffed pasta shells, but it's definitely not the quickest or easiest things to make.  So, I came up with a substitute and used up some more zucchini from the garden!

1 box medium pasta shells
1 small container ricotta cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozerella cheese
1 medium zucchini
Spaghetti sauce (I use the canned Heinz,  1 1/2 - 2 cans)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Boil water and cook pasta al dente, it's better for a casserole if it's a little under done than if you were to just eat it.

While that is cooking, place cheeses in a large bowl and add diced zucchini.  Add spaghetti sauce and mix.  Once pasta is done strain and mix in bowl with sauce mixture. 

Place in casserole dish and sprinkle with mozzerella cheese.  Bake for about 1 hour.

My kids devoured it, it was a lot easier to make than the stuffed shells, and it tastes just as good.  I've also been known to dice up imitation crab and put it in the mixture. I really want to try this with some pepper jack cheese tossed in with the mix!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Since when is encouraging education a bad thing?

Brainwashing! Indoctrination! Political Agenda!

No, this isn’t a lesson plan about the Nazi regime. These are the words thrown out by parents after extreme conservatives took a spin on President Obama’s intended speech to school children scheduled next Tuesday.

Every day I work with adults who have realized how hard life can be without a college degree. How different would their lives be now if they had a strong conviction of the importance of education and the encouragement to pursue their goals?

According to my research, the concern comes from the resource guides that have been provided online for teachers to utilize stating that they “obligate the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates”

Since when do questions such as

  •  What is the President asking me to do?
  • What is the specific job he is asking me to do?
  • Is he asking anything of anyone else?
  • Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?
  • Teachers could ask the students to share the ideas they recorded…
  • Does the speech make you want to do anything?
  • What would you like to ask the president?
  • Afterwards:
    • Have students create posters of their goals
    • Write letters to themselves about how they can reach their goals
    • Graph individual progress to their goals.
Do we know at this point exactly what President Obama will say? No, we don’t. But as a former teacher and parent, I think it is a wonderful thing that the President of the United States is taking time to discuss with children the importance of education.

Do we want children to stay in school? Yes. Do we want them to be excited about the possibility of learning new things and discovering their individual interests and strengths? Yes. Do we want them to learn to think critically about what others, even the president tells them? Yes! Do we want them to learn how to think for themselves and develop goals and plans on how to achieve them? YES!!
Will I keep my children out of school on September 8th because I don’t want them to hear how important their education and future is to me? No.
Removing children from school on a day they are to hear how important their education and future is for them is a horrible lesson for a child. What will they think when they hear about the speech later from friends or the news? That their own parents do not value education and think it is ok to not attend school if you do not like what you are being taught.
Next Tuesday parents and educators have the opportunity to teach one of two lessons: is education truly important or do my parents simply send me for free daycare and not want me to learn?