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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Science Lesson Anyone?

My thumb had a science lesson today in motion. As of the time I'm writing this, it still has not forgotten todays lesson. We spent the day in Olympia cleaning Grandpa's house. Don't worry, he hasn't passed away yet. Some of the regular weekly chores have become more of a chore than they used to be. We spent several hours today scrubbing kitchen counters, doing laundry, cleaning windows, and scrubbing bathrooms.

The spare bathroom is where our little science lesson takes place. In this bathroom, lived a very dusty vent. Grandpa has lung cancer and is living on oxygen. Dust in this house is bad. We were on a mission to remove dust. This vent needed dusting badly. What's the best thing to remove dust from a vent without taking it down and washing it? How about a vacuum cleaner? This shouldn't be too hard. Just run the vacuum hose over the vent and its done.

It works just fine if you can get the vacuum hose detached from the floor runner. This is how we come to our little science lesson in the laws of motion.

When the vacuum hose has inertia, outside force is required to set it in motion. In this case, my hand was the outside force. Remember, once an object, such as a hand holding a vacuum hose, is in motion, it stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, such as the vacuum motor itself. Finally, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When a hand, holding a hose hits a vacuum motor, the motor gives off an action of equal force to that of the hand holding the hose. This is why my thumb now has two red marks that will very likely bruise by tomorrow morning.

Has the party ended?

Oh well, the end is here. The Ultimate Blog Party is over for 2008. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to visit all 1470 party guests. I only got up to number 200 on the Mister Linky list. yesterday, I had too much to do to even visit anybody.

My deserts of choice last night were two different cobblers. One was my classic apple/blueberry, the other was apple/blueberry/strawberry. I saved myself time at home by making the crumble here at home, then putting everything together and baking there.

My crumble is fairly easy to make. I'll be sweet and give you the recipe.

Cobbler Crumble
(enough for two or more cobblers)

3 cups flour, don't worry about running through a sifter, you can get away with stirring with a spoon
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, does not need to be well packed
1 cup oatmeal, any kind works. Right now, I have the regular stuff
2 sticks butter or margarine

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients, except the oatmeal (add that at the end) . If you wish, add some fun spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. I typically only use those for straight apple cobbler. But, have fun and play with this. Make it your own. Post a comment later to let me know what you did to it.

Cut in the two sticks of butter, and blend until crumbly. I still haven't unpacked my mixer, so I do things the pre-electricity way; I use a pastry blender. You can use a mixer if you like. Add the oatmeal and fold into mix.

In a casserole dish or two, or a dutch oven if you like, pour crumble over fruit of choice. I do not use pie mix. I prefer to use fresh or frozen fruit. Pie mix tends to have too much sugar and liquid for my preference. Besides, its precooked and you loose flavor in the fruit. Pie mix is for pies, not cobblers in my world.

Bake everything for about an hour at 350 or 375. It depends on how cooperative your oven is. serve this with whipped cream, cool whip, or ice cream. Drizzle caramel or chocolate if you wish. Enjoy and Have Fun!

By the way, in case you missed someone during the Ultimate Blog Party, you can still get to the Mister Linky. Have fun!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Green Tissue Paper, That's All I Ask For

Did you know you cannot find true green tissue paper five days away from St. Patrick's Day? Why, you ask. do I need plain true green tissue paper five days before St. Patrick's Day?

Well, the answer has to do with the fact that I'm just a bit crazy. I sucker myself assist Bigboy's blue lodge with event decorations. There are anywhere from five to eight events I decorate each year. This year, there are more like ten (counting from January to December). Of those ten, two have been dropped from my plate this year. That is for another story. I covered that story yesterday. One of these events is a Shamrock Dinner, this Saturday.

For this dinner of Irish celebration, I am planning on stuffing miniature Irish flags into flower boxes Bigboy made last year, along with some curling ribbon and little black pots. There will be quite adorable by the time I'm done. If I can find the green tissue paper. I honestly thought the orange paper would be the most difficult. Boy, was I wrong there. I found that on my second stop. But green?

I can find bright-neon green, "candy apple" green, and "so-dark-its-almost-black" green. I can find green with shamrocks, green with rainbow colored polka-dots, green with who-knows-what-kind-of-design-that-is, but plain true green? HA!

I drove all over Port Orchard last night looking for that darned green tissue paper. this is not exactly an easy trip. Port Orchard is one of those everything-suburban-sprawling-everywhere towns. Albertson's is in one part of town. Wal-Mart is a mile away. Over a full mile from that is Fred Meyer. Somewhere in between in Jo-Ann's, Dollar Tree, and Safeway. There are no seriously dedicated shopping centers. Everything sprawls away from everything in such a way that you cannot simply park you car in one place and walk to everything. What public transportation we do have doesn't support anything being done efficiently by bus. I am a firm believer that Port Orchard is a poster-child town of big-box retail and the exploitation by big oil.

So, back to my story. I'm looking everywhere for this green tissue paper. None of the elusive paper existing in Port Orchard means only one thing: a trip to Silverdale. Silverdale is twenty minutes from my house. Gas is currently $3.50 a gallon right now in Kitsap County. I do not, under any condition go into Silverdale unless I am desperate for something that can only be found there. Even if I am desperate for green tissue paper, I am willing to avoid driving into Silverdale. I am now to the point of finding an alternative to the green tissue paper.

Find an alternative, I did. Fabric. Fabric and I are friends. I have orange fabric. I have green fabric. I picked up white fabric today. I can fashion my little Irish flags out of fabric. Ah, peace has come.

Take a Deep Breath, Take a Deep Breath

Please do not feel disappointed today. I am on hiatus from Wordless Wednesday for a few weeks. Our plate is plentiful with everything on it already with things I need to get of my chest.

Much of our time over the past few weeks has been routed to caring for Bigboy's grandfather. He is slowly dying of lung cancer. This dear man is almost ninety years old. Due to the location of the lump, treatments aren't effectively possible. The lump, I'm told is located at the top of one of his lungs. Surgically removing it would risk cutting the very muscles they are trying to save, therefore killing him. Radiation treatments would end up cooking those same muscles within the lungs. Chemotherapy isn't an option for, obviously, the same reason.

In the mean time, Grandpa is living on oxygen. Just a few moths ago, the oxygen treatments were only for a few hours a day. Now he's living on borrowed time with oxygen all twenty-four hours. Pain is increasing each day. Just two weeks ago, Grandpa fell out of bed, tearing his shoulder muscles and breaking a rib. Hospice has brought in a hospital bed for him since then.

We've been traveling to Olympia every weekend for the past month. Grandpa has his good days, and his bad days. Saturday, as we arrived at his house, Bigboy was asked to come in, and assist with taking him to the ER. Fortunately, that trip was only for a reaction to pain killers. We didn't have much of a visit that day. Hopefully this next visit to him will be much more pleasant. We would like him to stay alive long enough to see the tulips bloom this Easter.

In the mean time, I have my hands full as usual. I have kids to educate, laundry to take care of, errands to run, a dinner to decorate this weekend, desert to bake for the lodge, and I just got stuck with babysitting for the next few days.

Of course, I haven't done any of the decorations am totally prepared for this dinner Saturday. I still have to shop for have all the stuff I need. This is another story to be posted tomorrow.

At the last minute I have selected three deserts for twenty people or so. Amazingly, I have no shopping to do, as everything I need, I have here at home. Yeah! I don't have to shop any more than necessary this week.

I was not supposed to babysit this week. I got a call yesterday, asking if I could. Her grandma went back into the hospital in Seattle Tuesday. Sure, we can take her this week. I think it may be all week that she's with us. Not something I was expecting, or really prepared for, Just something I have to do for this mom. There isn't anyone else she can go to for sitting help. The retail industry is not friendly toward moms in the least. I've worked retail before and know just how bad it bites.

Just to keep my busy, as if I wasn't busy enough, I am trying to visit every site participating in The Ultimate Blog Party. Monday, I started at number one. As of this blog entry, I've visited up to #125. I already know I won't get to everyone by the end of the party. over 1000 people have registered on Mister Linky. I figure I will spend at least one month getting to everybody. Yes, I'm crazy. I know this already. Just look at my family. You know I have to know I'm crazy.

With everything going on, I'm not expecting anything to slow down for me. I don't think I'd know what to do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Recipe Time! Party Bean Dip

Since this is a party, The Ultimate Blog Party, for that matter, we need some food, right? One recipe I love to make for parties is a classic party bean dip. I know you'll love this, as well as your guests. If you decide to tweak it, let me know. I'm always open to new ideas for this classic.

1 can (15 oz ish) chili of choice, I prefer the thick stuff for this.
4 oz cream cheese, Let it soften, brick style works best in my book.
½ medium onion, chopped well
8 oz package shredded cheese, I like the Mexican style.
1 can sliced olives, the small can
green onion, sliced. This is a garnishment. Use as much as you like.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees (Farenheit if you're not in the US)

Over medium heat, using a medium saucepan, cook chili and cream cheese together. Mix in onion, and cook until cream cheese is melted.

Pour chili mix into a baking dish, top with shredded cheese, olive and green onion. Melt in the oven. Let it set for twenty minutes or so, Serve with chips like Fritos or tortilla chips.

Don't forget to visit 5minutesformom and visit others in the Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting Closer...

"Moreover when you fast, don't be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward." Matthew 6:16

Getting closer to Easter that is. What happens on Easter? Enough is happening Easter Sunday to keep me busy well enough. Easter is a very good day this year. It is the day Christ has risen. It is the day of new birth for humanity. Easter marks the end of Lent, and a new beginning for life.

For me, the end of Lent means the end of my sugar fasting. I've been sugar-free with the exception of one Sunday. You can read more about that one here. Yes, one time, thankfully, only one time this Lent season, I gave in and partook of delicious carrot cake. A few times, I've been told to let go and treat myself. I don't think so.

The whole idea behind Lenten sacrifice is to honor the forty days Christ spent in fasting in order to fend off temptation. We, as humans and Christians, make a sacrifice of some sort in order to face and overcome temptation. Lent is not about making excuses, but about sticking to what you decide to make of your time.

I felt this passage is reflective of Lent because it shows people with high status and position often cheat at basic principles. If everyone of high status acted honestly about themselves we would live in a very different world. Wouldn't that be nice? Jesus is telling the common people to act as their words speak. There were already too many people abusing position in his world. He didn't want the people he was trying to touch fall into the same pit as those who didn't want to receive his message.

People in a position of leadership should not lie about themselves in order to control others around them, but should act as they expect others to. This is appropriate during Lent because as humans, we are tempted into breaking our promises. We are tempted to lie about ourselves for the control of others. Several times during this Lenten season, I've been tempted to eat candy, syrup, cake, ice cream, donuts, and anything in general loaded with sugar. I've pondered ways I can be sneaky about it. Fortunately for me, I haven't given in. I don't need to be proven a liar to my family.

As of today, I have thirteen days left. Easter Sunday, I don't plan on over-indulging myself. There won't be a need to. I will have proven I can live without something unhealthy.