Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Day 98 – March 29

A few years back, we bought some cabinet locks that were ostensibly supposed to keep the babes out of kitchen cabinets. We discovered that they were useless because DS1 could still open the cabinets my yanking on them really hard. We’ve kept them and are still using them because DS2 has yet to figure that trick out. But, today I discovered that those locks have been recalled because “young children can disengage the cabinet locks.” These are the locks that are recalled.

So I’m going to call the company to get a replacement. I have to say that recall information is not really easy to bump into. If I wouldn’t have been on the CPSC listserve, I would never have seen the email (about a totally different issue), and I wouldn’t have seen the link to the CPSC’s blog, which is where I found the recall information. You’d think this info would be more readily available. Apparently, such is not the case!

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Day 97 – March 28

Every time I see the big, fat Southern-style biscuits on sale at Meijer’s, I buy them. Up until today, I’d tried LOTS of vegetarian gravy recipes, with only one turning out. The only thing I didn’t like about that recipe was that it needed to use veggie sausage, which is not cheap. So I’d been on the hunt for a good gravy recipe. I found that recipe today. I got it from allrecipes.com, but made a few modifications. It was a hit with everyone except for DD. But then she ended up eating a bunch of it at dinner, so I’m guessing she was just feeling recalcitrant at lunchtime=)

Vegetarian gravy, adapted from Allrecipes.com

yields 4.5 – 5 cups of gravy

2-4 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4-6 mushrooms, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 – 1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sautee the onion, garlic and veggies in the vegetable oil until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the flour and soy sauce, stirring to make a roux.
Add a 1/2 cup of the liquid (broth, milk, cream), stirring to incorporate into the roux. Once the lumps are all out, pour in the rest of the liquid in.
Stir in the herbs and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the gravy has thickened.

You’ll want to play around with the salt amounts. I used McKay’s seasoning, which is woefully salty. In the future, I will use less of the seasoning. Between that and the soy sauce, it was too salty for my tastes. Err on the side of less salt, you can always add more once the sauce is done. I have yet to figure out a good way to get salt OUT of a food!

Day 95 – March 26

I was quite surprised to learn that the babes do remarkably well with a babysitter. DH and I really aren’t into having other people take care of our kids. Partly because we don’t trust anyone else, and partly because we want to be the ones doing the raising. We have had one non-family person stay with them a few times, but they were sleeping, so that doesn’t really count. Today, I had to play the piano for a musical rehearsal, and it was during the time when DH would be working. We had originally thought about having the babes stay home with him, but then the director suggested that she might be able to find a few 8th grade girls to watch over the kids. We decided that it would be good to have the babes start getting more used to being around other people, and not just us, so we decided to give it a try. I was there the whole time, but I was involved in the rehearsal, so not really watching the babes too much. DH was also there, just hanging out in the corner. Initially, he sort of shadowed the babes, but once he figured out that they were all fine (even the toddler who is VERY attached to me), he let them be.

It was good for all the people involved. Good for us to see that the babes did just fine. Good for the babes to get used to other people. Good for the 8th grade girls to get some experience. Everyone had fun and they are all looking forward to another fun-filled 2 hours tomorrow afternoon. One giant leap for the parents!

Day 94 – March 25

I always thought that the notion of sour laundry was silly. I had often left a load of laundry in the washing machine for a few hours, or even an entire afternoon, and the laundry was no worse for the wear. Well, today I discovered that yes, you CAN have sour laundry.

When I walked into the laundry room this morning, I was almost bowled over by the stench. At first I thought, “Great, one of the kids forgot to flush down the brown!” Nope, empty toilet. Then I thought, “Must’ve been a seriously poopy diaper in the diaper pail. (No, I didn’t go searching!) Seemed like the best plan would be to just wash the dipes (and open a window to get some ventilation post haste. I opened the washing machine and holy cow, MEGA STENCH! Apparently, I’d totally forgotten about a load of towels that I had run on Friday afternoon. So they sat in the closed machine for a day and a half. And yes, they smelled really bad! I ran them with extra soap on the heavy duty cycle . . I wanted them extra clean. Merrily, the smell disappeared after only one wash.

So my lesson for today? Don’t let your laundry sit in the washing machine because sour laundry does indeed exist!

Day 92 – March 23

Grass grows fast, especially when presented with sunshine and water. Until today, I had no idea just how fast grass could grow. We have an extremely shaded lot, which means the lawn is disgusting and muddy and mossy. Last fall we planted a bunch of grass, and about 2/5 of what we planted grew quite nicely (and is coming back beautifully this Spring). Since the weather warmed up early this year, we thought it would be wise to toss out some more grass seed in hopes of creating a nice, non-muddy and demossed place for the babes to play. We’ve been watering every morning for about a week now. Some of the spots had little bits of grass growing, but the one spot we REALLY wanted to have grass had nothing as of yesterday. I was feeling disappointed, thinking we were wasting water and money. Imagine my surprise when I went out this morning and saw all manner of grass! And it was probably 2.5 inches tall! I’m certain there was nothing there yesterday, not even the tiniest beginning. I got down and looked very carefully . . . it was just dirt. So in one day, the grass popped up 2.5 inches! I was shocked . . . pleased, but shocked. I’ll be curious to see if the growth rate continues to be that much. I’m guessing no, otherwise we’d have grass that was a foot tall by the middle of next week! Anyway, so it would seem that grass grows almost right before your very eyes, at least when it’s in the seedling stage.

Day 91 – March 22

Bedtime has been totally nuts around our house for a good year now.  It seems like we can’t get the babes in bed at the time we want, and it’s always a war with the preschoolers.  Before we know it, it’s 9pm and the toddler has barely fallen asleep and the preschoolers are still wide awake.  As you can imagine, this leaves us, the parents with remarkably little down time.

Today, we hit upon a solution, I think. We had tried to take them on a pre-bedtime walk a few nights before. The toddler would be in a carrier, and the preschoolers would be in the double stroller. Unfortunately, this didn’t work since they stroller riders would talk to eat other and be crazy, and the toddler would be looking around at everything and commenting on it. So we’d spend 30 minutes out and about, and gain nothing from the experience. Such was not the case this evening. The toddler hadn’t napped, so he REALLY needed to be asleep, now. He stayed home with DH, who popped him in a carrier. He fell asleep almost instantly. I took the preschoolers and popped them in the stroller with blankets, and I reclined the seats almost all the way down. That way, it would be MUCH harder for them to talk to each other. I walked for about 15-20 minutes. When we arrived home, I quietly led them into the house, to their rooms and tucked them in bed. We didn’t hear a peep from them until the following morning.

Since I’m writing this blog post late, I can say that it’s working for Day 92 as well. So I think I’m confident in saying that we have a new plan! Huzzah!

Day 89 – March 20

The JoAnn’s in our area is closing their store in one location and moving to another location about a mile away. I discovered that apparently, it’s more advantageous to them to sell everything in the old store rather than just moving it over. So today, we hit the store and found that:

  • most fabrics were 50% off
  • you could buy everything in the store, including the fixtures, display cases and the stands where they keep the fabric.
  • apparently, lots of people actually want things like pattern drawers and giant cutting tables . .  .who knew!  (There were plenty of “sold to x” signs around the store.
  • patterns were MEGA cheap . . . 4 for $1!  (Except for Simplicity, which was $1.99)  I’m not usually big on buying patterns, I just do my own or find tutes online.  But at this price, the babes and I were searching through the drawers to see what goodies we could find!

Because of the huge sales, the selection was limited, but that wasn’t stopping people.  I saw a lady going out carrying two giant bags full of fabric, followed by one of the salespeople who was carrying another 4-5!

I wonder how long the sales will go, and if they’ll reduce things even further.  The new store opens in about 3 weeks, so I”m going to keep my eye on the old store and swoop in for a quick look see in the last week or so to see what goodies I can find.

Day 88 – March 19

Several years ago I found a pretty good recipe for Pasta Primavera in a Cooking Light magazine. It’s made many appearances on our dinner table over the past few years, but tonight I hit upon the jackpot. Thanks to not having all of the correct ingredient and having to improvise, I came up with a version that was delish. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t stop eating it!!

Here’s the recipe (adapted freely from Cooking Light)

8oz pasta (I used elbow mac, any smallish pasta would work)
1T olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, shredded
a handful of baby carrots, shredded (you could use regular carrots, and I would have used more if I would have had more!)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2T kosher salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/3 cup whipping cream
2-3T lemon juice
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1T dried parsley (you could also use fresh, or use basil or another herb)

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Add vegetables, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes until tender.
Stir in the cream and juice and cook for another minute or two.
Pour over the pasta and mix.
Add the parmesan cheese and the parsely.

Enjoy!

Day 85 – March 16

I discovered today that my knowledge of how the voice works, which comes from having a degree in vocal performance, and the knowledge of a speech and language pathologist (SLP) overlap nicely. Granted, there are plenty of things related to how people learn to create certain types of sounds and how to fix speech problems that are beyond me. But as far as phonation and articulation go, vocalists and SLP’s have very similar knowledge.

I took our preschooler to a SLP today because he has vocal nodules. I wasn’t at all surprised when he was diagnosed as I’d been telling him since he was about 2.5 that he needed to stop making certain sounds as they were terrible for his voice. He, of course, didn’t listen to me, and now he has nodules. It was interesting talking with the SLP. Once she figured out that I was quite knowledgeable in how the voice worked, we were able to have an interesting conversation about my son’s vocal problems. At one point, she was listening to him talk and pointed out that he phonates when he inhales . . . not really a good thing. I had noticed it before, but hadn’t really thought about it as I’d just gotten accustomed to hearing it. Once she pointed it out, I was hearing it all. the. time. And since returning from the appointment, I’ve been hearing all sort of bad vocal habits.

It will be interesting to see how his therapy goes. The SLP was pretty convinced that I would be able to do all of the work with him myself, but I thought it would be best to have the info coming from someone else so that he would actually take it to heart. I’m looking forward to seeing how else I can use my vocal knowledge to help DS improve the use of his voice!

Day 87 – March 18

I used to love going shopping. Not grocery shopping, clothing shopping. I was like the energizer bunny . . . I could just go for hours and not get bored. Even after I had my first child, i still loved to go. I would just load him up in the ring sling and off we’d go to the mall.

It seems that I no longer have that love for shopping. I went shopping with my 3 year old today. We went to a consignment shop, a second hand store and the mall, and we were out for about 3 hours. I came home feeling like, “Blech, that wasn’t particularly enjoyable.” Obviously, the time with the 3 year old was fabulous . . .the shopping . .. not so much. Add to that a) the shoes I bought for the toddler were too big and b) the two shirts I did find somehow didn’tmake it home with me. I’m thinking I left them on top of the car, or maybe even in the store. *sigh*

When I got home, I couldn’t help thinking that I would have much rather spent the 3 hours at a fabric store finding fabric and patterns to make things for myself. Of course, then I’d have to find the time to actually create the garments, but that just sounded like so much more fun than wandering from store to store and finding nothing.

Alas, my shopping days are over. But, I suppose that’s not the end of the universe, right?

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