Friday, January 30, 2009

Exploding Eggs and Whole Wheat Bread

My husband cooked some hard boiled eggs this morning. Made the whole house stink and Tae decided to have them for lunch. I really need to watch my kids better. My four year old knows how to work the microwave popcorn button. In his need for independence, he decided to cook his own lunch. Mind you, the 12 and 9 year old were watching him as he scaled the counters (and said nothing). He wraps his little toes around the drawer pulls and hikes himself up. So the only button he knows is the popcorn button. All things in his world need to be cooked with the with the popcorn button . Even hard boiled eggs that are already cooked. Just so you know, Eggs "pop" with the popcorn button too-incase you ever wanted to do an experiment or something. Morgan called from the other room (still eating her own lunch), "Hey Mom, The microwave just exploded." It did-the door was open and there was an egg rocket all over the floor-clear over to the kitchen table that is at least 8 feet away from the microwave. The dog was quite happy with his snack.
It took me about half an hour to clean this up. Ever try to get hardened egg yolk out of nooks and crannies in the microwave? You should see the vent on the top. I had to get a toothpick to clean it out. Tae has been forbidden from using the microwave. Even for popcorn. Ever. At least until he gets his driver's license.

I found a recipe for whole wheat bread in the December/January issue of Mother Earth News. It is in the same article for the Artisan Bread I use. I've always had trouble with Whole Wheat sandwich bread being tough but this recipe was great. Chewy on the outside and tender inside. I don't think I'll be buying any more store bought bread. After tasting this and then reading the ingredients on the store bought stuff there really is no comparison and really it took no time at all to make.

You can find the great recipes here:

We use Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour. I love my Kitchen Aid Mixer with the dough hook. I had a bread machine years ago but didn't care for it.
The dough was very heavy and had me worried but it turned out just great. I need to buy some bigger bread pans to make larger loaves that will last longer with our family of five.
The kids did some literature today. I was very tired and grateful we had another meal dropped off from a church member.

We found this great site that was sent to us from another local homeschooler called Journey North. It's a whole site dedicated to following the migration of Monarch's and Hummingbirds and other animals. I think in the Spring we will work a new plot of soil and plant a butterfly garden and do a unit on the Butterfly and migration-perhaps with our homeschool group. I was so impressed with the site and how many activities there were for the kids. There are tons of videos for them to watch too like the Monarch emerging from the Chrysalis. Very cool. You can watch it here:
and find the website here:
These are some photos that I took last year when we went to the Roger Williams Park and Zoo Butterfly exhibit. I dabble in photography and love the nature photos best. I could have spent all day there. So relaxing.

Gorgeous Monarch

Monarch on Echinacea.

They even had a display of all stages of different butterflys emerging from the Chrysalis. Very cool. All of the looking at spring flowers and butterflys makes me yearn for my gardens and some warm weather. It can't come too soon.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caution: May Contain Fruit

My husbands work graciously sent this really lovely fruit basket while I'm recuperating. Actually, it came in a box and had pears, apples, mangoes and oranges. Really nice. The thing that stumped me was the label on the top of the box. In big bold letters it said, Warning: May Contain Fruit. Hmmmm. Now If I was shipping a fruit basket, would I need to put a warning label telling me about the product? What exactly is wrong with the fruit that I need to warned that it's fruit. I could see if it had peanuts or something that might cause an allergy but it's fruit. Fruit shipped as fruit... in a box. No mystery there. Hmmm.

These are our dogs, Pete and Stewie-they are best buds. Pete stays home and sleeps all day while Stewie is out at work with my husband working as his hearing dog. Larry has been deaf since the age of 4.

Stewie alerts Larry to the telephone ringing, someone knocking at the door, the kids crying, smoke alarm and many other sounds. Tonight, Larry ran to Target to pick up a few items for me. There were two girls there ooohing and aaahing over Stewie and trying to get close to him and pet him. Their mother stood by and said and did nothing. Stewie in his ever present working mode, stared straight ahead and only focused on Larry as he should. He's spot on in public. In restaurants, he curls up under the tables and sleeps and only responds when Larry needs him. So what annoys me? People who clearly see the sign on Stewies vest that says, "I'm working-please don't pet me" and ignore it. Stewie is not a pet, he is an assistance dog. He is on duty 24 hours a day and loves working for Larry. He's a Lab and all Labs need a job or they turn into lunatics that don't behave.
At home Stewie loves to play but also knows at a moment's notice that Larry may need him. We always stop to educate people that may have questions about hearing dogs. Questions are different than interrupting a service dog at work and preventing them from doing their job. Yet people on a daily basis, often ask to pet Stewie. Last week while at Walmart, a woman and her family blocked the aisle so that Larry and Stewie couldn't get through. They stood there and stared at the dog and were talking to the dog in a cutesy voice trying to get the dog to respond. Larry just explains that he's working and excuses himself. Some people just don't get it. So here's the thing....feel free to ask questions, don't pet or talk to the dog, tell your kids (and adults) that we are not being rude, and move on.

Patrick and Morgan had sign language today. My neighbor and fellow homeschooling mom picked the kids up for me since I'm unable to drive. While the kids were gone, I had some nice time to work with Tae one on one. Being the smallest, he always has to share his time with the other kids. And let's face it-as homeschoolers we are always together. Tae was digging thru some books that a friend gave us and found this one that let's the kids use a dry erase marker to do their work. Tae LOVES dry erase markers. He has his own dry erase board for drawing or doodling or putting his magnetic letters on.
It's amazing to watch how he's putting things together. He's figuring out that letters have sounds with them. A few weeks ago he didn't understand this. I don't push him but he's getting it on his own. He did this all by himself and only put a K for the beginning letter in cup. "Kite begins with K" he said. (He often looks at the alphabet chart on the wall for sound and letter comparison). It's so confusing to them when they start to learn the sounds with letters-especially the letters that don't fit the norm. He'll get it. I forget that he's not even 5 years old yet. I remember this age with my other two kids. Watching the wheels turn and it seems for weeks they are stuck on one thing and then just explode with new concepts.

He worked on this page too. Beginning sounds. I was laughing because he had no idea what the milk carton was. Homeschooled kids never see or use milk cartons like public school kids. When I told him that is was milk he said, "Why isn't it in a glass jug?" We get our milk delivered each week the old fashioned way. Perhaps if it was in a sippy cup with a crazy straw he would know what it was.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Soaps of Days Gone By

So not to much to blog on today. We've started using our homemade laundry soap. Those aren't cheese curls. It's Fels Naptha Soap. Next time we have to grate the soap a little finer or buy the preshredded stuff. Gotta say. I like it so far and for about $0.04 a load we are saving a boatload. The laundry smells fresh and clean like it was hung on a clothes line. Granted there are no Lavender smells but I bet with a little tweaking I can incorporate different scents. We bought a starter kit here:

Morgan and Tae love playing on Crazy Machines on the computer. It has some really cool stuff to create. The kids get to invent these really wild crazy machines. Some have pullies, spinning wheels, ignitions and all kinds of cool things.

Morgan working on American History with our cat Dixie keeping watch. I think the dark sunglasses make American History easier to bear.

Tae is loving doing workbooks. Personally, I hate them but this kids loves it. We covered the letter D this week as well as the color blue, triangle, patterning and the number 4. Did I mention that last week when I was in the hospital and Dad took over teaching that the kids had a blast. Larry and Tae covered the shape Diamond. Know what Tae drew on his diamond scavenger hunt paper? A picture of my wine rack. Yup. Four years old and drawing mommy's wine stash.
But he's really starting to put letters together with sounds. Then we went on a scavenger hunt in the house for things that began with the letter D. I found a really nice curriculum for him online at:
Even though I hate dittos and workbooks, this is a nice gentle curriculum that incorporates daily reading suggestions, nursery rhymes and colors. Since it doesn't require a whole lot of work on my end that makes me very happy.
I was also able to speak to my neighbor up the street. She 's been bringing the kids to Sign language class since I'm not able to drive. We caught up on everything and got around to discussing chickens again. We both want to order more for egg production and probably will combine orders for ease. Right now we are getting 2-4 eggs a day but going thru them like crazy and I have other homeschoolers who have asked to buy some fresh eggs. I ordered last year from:
And probably will order from them again.
The weather has been terrible today. We had about 2 more inches of snow this morning and pouring freezing rain tonight. Our back deck is a sheet of ice and there is wet heavy snow everywhere. Morgan's soccer practice was canceled because of the weather. I have to say I was delightfully pleased. I'm off to look for a quiche' recipe to use all of these glorious eggs up.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All in a Day or Two's Work

I'm healing slowly from my hospital fiasco so we are looking for quiet things to do that don't exhaust me.
Morgan has been diving into some of Patrick's favorite books. Here she is reading The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan.

Patrick has really gotten into his high school level biology. He initially complained about it being boring but has some really good questions about receptor proteins, the sodium/potassium pump, hypertonic and hypotonic diffusion and facilitated diffusion. I really need to brush up on my Biology. It's scary when your kids know more than you. But totally amazing to watch them blossom. I'm so proud of him-he's come so far since being in public school

Folks from church, friends, family and co-workers have been dropping off meals since I'm so weak and unable to cook. I was especially glad to get this delightful fruit salad. Everything was so sweet for the winter months. I haven't had to cook since I got home from the hospital. We've had chicken casserole, pasta dinner, roast beef and vegetables, pizza, turkey dinner and a few others. What a blessing.

My Easter Egg chickens (yes that's what they are called) started laying these gorgeous blue and olive green eggs. I'm going to blow some out, decoupage them and make an easter egg tree. We also get some brown and pink eggs. Maybe sell some of the crafts.
Morgan worked on her scrapbooking today.
Tae learned to tie his shoes as the dog's dead hedgehog toy that makes obnoxious farting sounds lies nearby. Too cute. He turns 5 next month. Tae, not the dead hedgehog.
My BFF and her daughter Rachel from CT came on Sunday to visit. I haven't seen her in over a year so it was so good to reconnect. Morgan and Rachel are doing tatoo spray art. They haven't been able to see each other in a while either but always it's as if they just spoke on the phone. No time to waste and they settle in as if they saw each other only yesterday.
The kit comes with stencils and a spray gun. However, the tatoos do not wash off that easily and my kids just look dirty right now.
Today I cut out sponge hearts and let the kids stamp with paint. Lots of fun. Can you tell Tae loves the camera?
Tae's creation. Notice the glitter paint.
Morgan stamping.
Morgan's gorgeous creation.
Patrick-don't comment on his hair. He wants to grow it out and it's looking bushy. Not a battle worth fighting for me. It's driving me crazy but doesn't bother him. He's an awesome kid and if that's the worse he does in letting his hair grow then I'm pretty lucky. Granted he's only 12 but he has a heart of gold and takes great care of his mom when she's under the weather.
Patrick's lovely artwork. That's all for tonight. I'm off to rest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Coming Home

So where have I been for the past 10 days? I really missed blogging. I spent a too long stay at the hospital after having a terrible reaction (read lost my airway)to the antibiotics used to treat my Lyme disease. On top of the allergic reaction I was in full blown Herxheimer reaction from the Lymes. It was horrifying. I had a headache (read put your head in a vice and squeeze hard for days on end), joint pain, muscle pain and tremors, fever and to top everthing also had to have my gallbladder taken out thanks to the antibiotics. I had a lumbar puncture, MRI and ultrasound too. Then they tried me back on the antibiotics at a 1/4 dose and I had yet another reaction that also caused me to lose my airway (read throat swelling and closing). I have lost 15 pounds in a week and have much muscle wasting and am extremely weak. My husband took 2 weeks off of work to care for the kids and traveled back and forth each day to see me. I'm grateful to our church for the support, meals, childcare and pastoral care that they have provided. Several homeschooling friends also watched the kids so that Larry could be with me. I really missed my kids and was unable to see them for the 10 days. I was so ill. I came home Thursday and still am not able to do much. Even making a cup of tea is difficult-I have no strength to stand for long and I'm shaky and weak carrying a teacup. But I am home and glad to be with family and my incredible kids who made beautiful artwork for my hospital walls. On a brighter note, I don't have any Lyme symptoms. The general anesthesia used for my gallbladder surgery took away the never ending headache and my muscle pain and joint pain are gone. I'm hoping it is not temporary.
I really missed my family, home and my things.
These are a few of my favorites.

Larry did bring my mala beads to the hospital for me. They are made of palm-wood and very light. As well as my favorite Lavender Williams and Sonoma Lotion. Did I mention that the skin on my hands and feet sloughed off due to the allergic reaction and antibiotics. I look like a burn victim.

And my monkey slippers. Yes these are the ones I got for Christmas and they already have a hole in them. I love them.

I really missed good coffee. Hospital coffee sucks. Pure Battery Acid. Better yet, I got to share a cup this morning with my ever wonderful husband.

This hand sculpture that sits on my dining room table. It's our chalice and is lit before every meal.

My meditation table. Not that I've been able to use it much with the joint and muscle pain but it is a reminder to always try to stay centered. I hope to get back to my practice soon.

This centerpiece on my coffee table. I love round smooth rocks and collect them whereever I go.

This is my favorite dove sculpture and a birds nest I found in our yard. It's so peaceful looking and smooth to touch.

And this picture of stacked rocks that's hangs in my office. Very meditative.

My cat Dixie who sleeps on my desk while we work and sheds her hair everwhere. Ok ,well that I didn't miss. I will spend the weekend recuperating and hopefully blog again soon.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Find Your Soul Through Refrigerator Artwork

Here are the results of our egg experiment from yesterday. This is the egg that we put in vinegar overnight. Held up to the light it is completely transparent and rubbery. See how shiny it it is? It's not wet at all. You can squish the egg without it breaking. And it bounces without breaking. You can poke sharp objects into it (with parental supervision......I had one of the kids help me.) And then all you are left with is this weird rubbery membrane and hands that smell like vinegar. The yolk is pickled too in the vinegar solution. These are my favorite little blue bowls. Yesterday Larry ran to BJ's for me to do our bulk shopping. I sat on the floor and cleaned out the entire pantry. Those two Rubbermaid containers on the third shelf were the best investment I ever made. No more stale cereal that the kids won't eat. I've been shopping online for coupons and best of all yesterday I hit an all time high of about $58.00 in savings. BJ's had lots of BOGO (buy one get one free) items so we stocked up.
What's on your refrigerator? I think you can pretty much tell whatever you need to about a person or what is important to them by what's on their refrigerator. The bottom artwork Morgan drew a picture of our family at church school. Above that is a picture of my Mom with the three kids before she passed away . Upper left to that is a picture of Me, my mom and dad and my 3 brothers about six months before my Dad died. The blue paper is the kids sign language class schedule, to the left of that is a picture of Larry's nieces and a prayer card. To the upper right of the blue paper is a picture of Larry's mom with Patrick and Morgan that was taken many years ago. The top picture is a dragon swallowing the world that Patrick drew. Some of the magnets are animals, some from stores and companies we use and some from Korea. The cabinet door to the right of the refrigerator has the soccer schedule and house rules list. It says things like "Always speak in a kind voice." These are my favorite. They are word refrigerator magnets and depending on what is going on in our house, they may change daily. My husband often leaves me love notes. Ingore the greasy fingerprints.

You can pretty much find your where your soul is through these word magnets. These are a few of the sentences I've made lately. I try not to plan them out rather let the words come to me to see what my soul has to say. It's kind of a meditation to see what needs attention in my life. Larry calls it my Refrigerator Journal.