Monday, September 26, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

I'm truly odd.

In a world full of Monday haters, I'm pretty lonely.  I LOVE Mondays. 

LOVE.LOVE.LOVE

I know, it sounds weird, right?  I mean, seriously, most people are all fluttery about how great Friday is.  I hate Fridays. 
I wake up on Fridays and feel like I have a case of the "Fridays".

Blah.

There's a simple logic for this.

Fridays are my errand days. 
I generally wake up at the butt-crack of dawn on Fridays, grouchily get two monkeys out of bed and dressed- in clean clothes.  Somewhere in there I have to feed them- they never want what I want- and load them in the minivan.  I end up having to drive into town and finding errands to run until the bank opens at ten.  Then I drive around with more errands.  Somewhere in there I start hearing hungry growls from the backseat.

Long story short, I might see my house three or four times during the day, but I don't get to go "home" until 9 or 10 at night.

Monday, on the other hand, is my day where I actually feel accomplished.  I keep a running tab of phone calls to make and chores to do and Monday is my buckle down day.  I get it all done and am so cheerful... until Friday rolls around.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Speed clean - From AllYou.com

AllYou.com has some excellent tips for speed cleaning.






I know what I'm going to be doing today!


Speed clean - AllYou.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

Farmer's Market, Here I Come!

I've spent a great deal of time since the move planning my next big project!

You all know how much I LOVE baking. 

Well, I've been sharing some samples of my kitchen goodies around, and the biggest question everyone asks me is why don't I sell my cookies and bread?

Well, um... I don't like professional baking because I hate the smell of icing sugar. 

It hit me- I don't HAVE to bake cakes with frosting.  I can stick to cookies.  I can stick with breads.  I can stick with non-frosted pound cakes.

I have HUNDREDS of recipes I've developed over the past decade.  Each recipe has weeks of testing in it to produce consistent results.

Why not?  But- I don't want to sell BIG.  I'm a busy lady.  Where can I sell small and still have fun being creative?

It hit me- there are farmer's markets EVERYWHERE in this area.

Why not rent a booth for the season?

(Note to the crowd: Yes, I ask myself a LOT of questions.  Unfortunately, I get angry when I don't answer non-rhetorical questions also.)

So, I'm sending in my application for booth space. 

Surprisingly, the Husbeastie is fully supporting of this endeavor.  (I'm fairly sure he's excited to be a taste tester more than anything else.)

So- if my application is approved, expect to see me at the Ohio Valley Farmer's Market in St. Clairsville this summer.  All goes well, and I might expand to a few other markets next season.  If it doesn't go well, I'll go back to the drawing board, plan some more, and get back out there next season.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tom Neely & Dylan Williams Speak Out On Their Customs Seizure Experience

While I might not read the books personally or agree with things in the books (heck, I don't even watch Law and Order because I think it's disgusting and it makes me physically ill), I'll support their rights to free speech and expression. This just points out a bit more explicitly that other countries don't have the same freedoms.


Posted Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Last weekend artist Tom Neely and publisher Dylan Williams were stopped and searched by Canada Customs on their way to the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Customs officers seized copies of two items they were bringing to the festival, Black Eye, an anthology of comics Neely contributed to, and Young Lions, a graphic novel by Blaise Larmee. The CBLDF caught up with Neely & Williams over email when they returned to the United States to learn more details about their ordeal.

For more information, go here:
Tom Neely & Dylan Williams Speak Out On Their Customs Seizure Experience

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says - Galactic Empire Times

This gave me a bit of a giggle.
Vader announcing Obi-Wan's death via news conference.

 
CORUSCANT — Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mastermind of some of the most devastating attacks on the Galactic Empire and the most hunted man in the galaxy, was killed in a firefight with Imperial forces near Alderaan, Darth Vader announced on Sunday.

For more of the article go here:
Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says - Galactic Empire Times

Like Crafty Deals?

I'm a huge fan of rock bottom deals in limited quantities.  So, when I heard about Pick Your Plum, I knew I had to share it with you.


Pick Your Plum offers 1 craft item each day at an incredibly low price.  I'm talking CRAZY low prices on some of the coolest things.  In the past few days I've seen chalkboard decals, patterns, vinyl craft sheets, and old-fashioned key-in-locks.  And when they're gone, that's it for the day.  Then it's wait for the next morning to see what new treasure awaits.

12 for 12- May is a Month of Change

I realize this is almost two weeks late, forgive me.  Moving has been very time consuming and then recovering from moving is likewise time consuming.

To recap the last few months- I've lost a bit more weight and it's showing nicely in my face and lower legs.  My scheduling is back on track after being side lined for the move and I'm getting things done.

Goals for this month:

  1. Drink more water, less pop.  Even though I'm now on diet soda 100%, my water intake is hovering right around 64 ounces a day.  Despite that, I'm still drinking a lot of diet soda.  So, my goal is to get to no more than 36 ounces of pop per day this month and up my water to 132 ounces per day.  (And yes, I get that thirsty.)
  2. Utilize my crock pot more.  This place is lacking central a/c so using the stove has been heating the house a great deal.  I plan on loading up the crock pot the night before with oatmeal and letting it simmer gently and starting my dinner plans around 9 am to allow time to bake gently in the crock pot.
  3. Return to my childhood.  It occurred to me when I turned the Smurfs on for the kids the other day that it's been forever since I've watched cartoons.  Or played a board game.  Or sat on a swing.  So, I'm going to take some time to just enjoy how my kids are being kids and try to see things from their perspectives.
  4. Invest in my family's comfort.  When we moved in here, we decided to set up the basement as a huge family room with zones for classroom, entertaining, and just general playroom.  I'm budgeting both time and money this month towards making the basement awesome.
  5. Eat less pasta.  I think I've eaten pasta (in some form) every day for the past month.  I want to menu plan out no more than one pasta meal per week for the next month. I'm going to have to draw the line and include ramen noodles in this list because, well, we go through a lot of ramen.
  6. Put out a bird feeder.  Living out in the country gives us many birds to examine.  In fact, there's a few out there right now that I have NO CLUE what they are.  I plan on setting out varied feeders and grabbing my camera and a bird identification book and having a day observing nature.
  7. Write more.  I've put my novel on the back burner, yet again.  I'm going to start finding time to write a bit more.
  8. Steamline my commitments.  I never realized how much MY schedule was disruptive to everyone else in the house.  Writing for multiple websites, magazines, as well as trying to have some me time has put a crimp in things that should be routine for the rest of the family.  So, I'm streamlining my agreements to only those things that fit on the calendar.  No more "oh, I'll get around to that" type stuff.
  9. Wash the walls.  We've been here less than a month.  The walls were fresh painted before we moved in.  My kids have dirty hands.  Enough said.
  10. Find a bathroom storage method.  Right now, everything in our bathroom exists in two large cardboard boxes.  There's plenty of room for other stuff, I just haven't figured out how to unpack it all in a way that makes sense.  So- before the end of the month, I'll have found a functioning bathroom system.
  11. Find things.  I have a sheepish confession to make: When we moved in here, by the end of the second week, I began unloading stuff straight into the garage.  I figured that by that point, everything I immediately needed would be in the house and the rest of the stuff was just dross.  I'm starting to realize how incredibly wrong I was- especially when I go to look for something like laundry detergent and realize that, "Oh... um... yeah... it's somewhere in the garage."  The garage is PACKED full of stuff.  I need to go through it all and find a place for it.  A lot of it will go to the basement for the classroom.  A lot will stay in the garage for construction purposes.  Then there's all the in-between stuff.
  12. Get the baby out of my bed.  I love my Doc-boy toddler.  Seriously I do.  But, he's been in my bed since February!  And he tosses, and turns, and rolls off the bed.    As much as I love the idea of family bed, my fibromyalgia makes it very painful to carry out.  Being elbowed by little bony body parts all night leaves me covered in bruises and too sore to walk in the morning.  So, I'm setting up the boys room again (as soon as I find stuff) and want to have him transitioned into his big boy bed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sci-Fi IKEA Hacks

    I've seen these floating around the internet- and I have to admit, I'm rather tempted to print them off, frame them, and hang them somewhere appropriately geeky.  (Hubby's new Man Cave, perhaps?)

Awesome, right?  Now if only I could figure out a child-safe way to harness the 1.21 gigawatts I'd need to power the thing--- I'd never be late for Cub Scouts again.

The funnier thing with this one is that there are NO Jar-Jar Binks included.  Too bad the movie couldn't say the same thing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

So, It's Been A While

Moving is continuing at a snail's pace- which means hopefully, someday, it will be over




























Monday, April 25, 2011

MIA

Yes, I'm missing in action-We're in the middle of moving and well, there's no internet service on this farm


Quite literally- none- nor cable, nor satellite, nor dial-up

So, until that little snafu is cleared up (aka the cable company is digging to lay a line) posts will be sporadic

BUT I WILL BE BACK

--also, a funny note, my kids destroyed the period on my keyboard, so my sentences seem a bit lacking

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Oatmeal




We eat a fair amount of oatmeal here.  It's one of Chaos's favorite foods.  That being said, I don't have time to make it very often.  So, a bit of tweaking and I've discovered the easiest crockpot recipe.

1 cup of groats (steel cut oats, Scottish Oatmeal)
+
2 cups of liquid (milk, cream, water, apple juice, or any combination)
+
1 pinch of salt
=================
Dump into a crock pot, and cook on low over night (or up to 8 hours).

Perfect oatmeal.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can add in up to 3/4 cup of "mix-ins" such as dried fruit, fresh fruit (go for firmer fruits), nuts, your favorite granola, etc.

You can add your sweetener of choice when you dish it up in the morning, or if you're feeling lazy, add it in while cooking.  I've also found you can add in a wee bit of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other flavoring agents you want.

I generally like mine scooped hot into a bowl with a dab of butter and a small pour of cream.  Chaos loves his with fresh fruit, honey, and a dab of cream cheese. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New House

I took a moment today to snap a quick photo of the new place as I stopped by to install some child locks.



It's huge without being ridiculous- and it's well laid out!

N is for New House!




We found a new house! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

M is for Mutton



     I have been fascinated with mutton ever since reading a scene from The Hobbit, in which Bilbo Baggins overhears several trolls discussing eating mutton.  Then, to later have Miracle Max (you know which movie I'm talking about) describing an MLT-mutton, lettuce and tomato-sandwich, well, mutton became a very geeky thing for me.

courtesy of The White House Cookbook circa 1887.

   
MUTTON.
No. 1. Leg, used for roasts and for boiling.
No. 2. Shoulder, used for baked dishes and roasts.
No. 3. Loin, best end used for roasts, chops.
No. 4. Loin, chump-end used for roasts and chops.
No. 5. Rack, or rib chops, used for French chops, rib chops, either for frying or broiling; also used for choice stews.
No. 6. Breast, used for roast, baked dishes, stews, chops.
No. 7. Neck or scrag-end, used for cutlets, stews and meat-pies.

NOTE.—A saddle of muton or double loin is two loins cut off before the carcass is split open down the back. French chops are a small rib chop, the end of the bone trimmed off and the meat and fat cut away from the thin end, leaving the round piece of meat attached to the larger end, which leaves the small rib-bone bare. Very tender and sweet.
Mutton is prime when cut from a carcass which has been fed out of doors, and allowed to run upon the hillside; they are best when about three years old. The fat will then be abundant, white and hard, the flesh juicy and firm, and of a clear red color.
For mutton roasts, choose the shoulder, the saddle, or the loin or haunch. The leg should be boiled. Almost any part will do for broth.
Lamb born in the middle of the winter, reared under shelter, and fed in a great measure upon milk, then killed in the spring, is considered a great delicacy, though lamb is good at a year old. Like all young animals, lamb ought to be thoroughly cooked, or it is most unwholesome.

Friday, April 15, 2011

L is for Laundry



    I won't horrify bore anyone with pictures of this particular dilemma.  The laundry room in this house is... well, adequate is the appropriate word.  It gets the job done. 

     That being said, thanks to the move and the packing, I'm facing some nine million loads of laundry.  (Okay, maybe not nine MILLION loads... but I'm on my FOURTH bottle of detergent and I'm only about halfway done.)    It seems like all these things just creep out of the corners of my house- dirty stuffed animals, sweaters that were misplaced, blankets that needed to be swapped out for the summer anyway...  I've even found pot holders in decorative vases odd places!

     Even worse than the laundry is the stuff that seems to follow it around.  I've collected broken crayons, drill bits, odd coins, dead flowers, a rubber ducky, and other odds and ends from pockets as I've gone.  I'm not certain why my seven year old had some paint swatches in the back pocket of the jeans he wore two summers ago or why I found six matching buttons to a shirt that isn't currently missing any buttons, but I do enjoy the sense of order that comes from consistently washing/folding/and sorting the washables.


I wish I could print these out and sew them into my Husbeastie's clothing.  The man is dangerous- we've lost two washers to his domestic black thumb.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And Sango-Kitty Mews For Attention

     Moving has been crazy.  Boxes everywhere, schedules disrupted, my kitchen in utter chaos... I realized today that there was a casualty in all of them.  Poor Sango, our little cat, has been forced out of her usual routine and into a very uncomfortable life.

    On the one hand, every kitty-jingly-ball and catnip filled mouse has been pulled out of hiding spots.  On the other hand, every kitty-jingly-ball and catnip filled mouse has been pulled out of hiding spots--- and into the hands of my overly eager toddler who wants nothing more than to be BFFs with his four-legged housemate.  Several times a day you see him trotting around the house holding a catnip-laced toy in one sticky little hand while calling, "HE-AH, keeety keety KEETy, SAWnGOH?!?...."  The look of sheer terror on Sango's face is epic and calls for a lot of pity.  Unfortunately, I'm too busy to give her much of anything at the moment.

     Tonight, out of desperation, she sat in front of me STARING.  Just staring.  Anytime I attempted to look away, she moved in front of me again.  She put a careful paw out.  She trilled questioningly.  And I smacked myself in the forehead.  I'd forgotten to feed her...

    I suppose I owe her a good long ear scritching... and a new catnip mouse.  And another kitty treat.  And, more than that, I owe her a plain old apology and a day in a safe hiding spot- so she can observe her kingdom without being a part of it.

K is for Knitting




     I love to knit.  However, as many sets of needles, as many balls of yarn... I've only finished two projects.  Ever.  In the 10 years I've been knitting, I've completed TWO projects.

     I've gotten close to finishing projects.  I've been in knitting circles.  I'm on Ravelry, even.  I LOVE to knit.  It calms me.  It's soothing.  It's great for me because I always need to keep my hands busy.  But- I rarely finish things.  It's not completely my fault.  My children tend to run off with my projects and unravel them.  I get busy.  We move. 

     Someday I'll finish a project.  Just not this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

J is for Journey



What can I say, Journey was the first band I ever owned a cd for. I'm still a sucker for Journey (I didn't even need Glee to remind me they existed!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I is for IQF



     IQF is restaurant lingo for Individually Quick Frozen.  Check out your freezer and you'll probably notice the words appearing on quite a few items.  IQF-ing your food lets you pull individual pieces of frozen goods out of your freezer without it sticking to everything else.  If you've ever tried to separate a frozen family size pack of pork chops vs. pulling a single chicken breast out of the giant bag, you know exactly how IQF benefits you.

     I love to IQF things.  It makes it so much easier for me to cook quick meals or prep instant snacks.

    For purposes of this demonstration, I'm going to show you how I IQF'd a pineapple.  Yep, if you've been around long enough, you'll recognize the pineapple my How to Peel A Pineapple Tutorial.

HOW TO INDIVIDUALLY QUICK FREEZE A PINEAPPLE

1) Start with a fresh pineapple that you have cut into similar sized chunks.

2) Place them in a single, non-touching layer on a baking sheet.    I use parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the pan.

3) Store in your freezer for at least 8 hours or until frozen solid. 

4) Once the pineapple is frozen remove them from the freezer.

Notice how each piece looks slightly dry.  This is because all the surface moisture is frozen and they won't stick together as long as we work quickly.  If they start to look glossy again, place the entire tray back in the freezer.

5) Place in your storage container of choice.  I actually got two quart bags out of the one pineapple since it was such a large pineapple.  Now, when I want a smoothie, I can just pull out a few chunks of frozen pineapple instead of having to wrestle with the entire bag of them.
     The best thing is that you can IQF almost any food item.  My favorite things to IQF: fresh fruit (allows me to buy in bulk), homemade meat balls, chicken pieces, pork chops, homemade dim sum, homemade pop tarts, mini pot pies, single servings of cooked rice, ground beef, ... the list could go on forever. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Packing Makes Such a Mess

     I always assumed moving should be a tidy process.  After all, I'm not a huge collector of junk.  I toss my trash and recycle regularly.  Therefore, putting the things I own into a box should require two steps- pick up and pack up.  So, why is it that I've got 45 half-filled boxes and 10 bags of trash waiting to go out? 

    Each time we've moved - keep in mind this is our 20th move together in 8 years- it seems as if we start out really simply with a goal of putting like items in boxes together.  Dishes go with dishes.  Office supplies go with other office supplies.  Craft items should all go in one box.  Somewhere towards the end of the process, I finally throw my hands in the air and just start tossing EVERYTHING together.  Office supplies will end up with shampoo.  Toys will get mixed in with pantry items.  After all, by the end of the process, I can't waste the time to sort things.

     I'm actually counting DOWN the days now.  Instead of the moving process being some generic future thought, it's become tangible.  I should panic, looking around the giant piles and rooms filled with stuff.

     I find myself far calmer than my husband.  He woke up today with an overwhelming sense of urgency.  Before today, the thought of moving wasn't a real thing.  It was still a long way away, he had time to play his video games before packing them up.  But today- BAM!  It hit him hard.  He's questioned me several times as to why I'm taking the time to re-read a magazine article or why I'm bothering with cooking a meal from scratch.  After all, these are things that need to be packed.

     To be honest, I'm not certain why I'm so laid back about the process right now.  It's possible that all my earlier stress was unhealthy and I'm giving myself a mental health day- a moment to relax before the storm hits.  Perhaps it's because I work faster and neater under stress.  Or, perhaps it's because I've finally found my stride.  I'm packing and cleaning, tidying and labeling, changing diapers and cooking dinner... as a routine. 

   After all, if I don't have the process down by now- number 20, that is- perhaps I shouldn't own things.

H is for Hearts



    My kids love the whole Muffin Tin Meal concept.  Here's a pretty one I put together with some new goodies I'd won.

From bottom left to right: Fruit Punch, English Muffin Almond Butter and Cranberry Gelee heart sandwiches.  Next row: Watermelon and Omelet hearts.  Top Row: Stawberry Yogurt with Sprinkles, Apple Wedges

How friggin' adorable is that?  Couldn't you just nibble them up?  I want to add random heart-shaped fruit to the next fruit salad I make and see if anyone notices.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

G is for Granola



There's never going to be another recipe as good as David Lebovitz's recipe that I've posted below.  He also has some very witty commentary for his rationale behind this version over at his site HERE.

Granola
Makes about 2 pounds (1kg)
Adapted from Feast, by Nigella Lawson
I’ve made this with one tablespoon of plum kernel oil filling in for a tablespoon of the oil called, and let me tell you, it’s amazing. I don’t know where to get that in the states, but hazelnut or walnut oil, which are both easily available, would be terrific, too.
5 cups (450g) multi-grain flakes or old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups (375g) almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup (125g) sunflower seeds
3/4 cup (100g) untoasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce (or another unsweetened fruit puree)
1/3 cup (100g) rice syrup
1/4 cup (80g) honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
1. In a very large bowl, mix together the flaked grains or oats, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
2. In a small saucepan, warm the fruit puree with the rice syrup, honey, and oil.
3. Mix the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly dispersed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two baking sheets. (If you have ones with sides, often called jelly-roll pans, use them.)
4. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.
5. Remove from oven, then cool completely.
Store the granola in a large, airtight container. It will keep for up to one month.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

F is for Formality

<center><a href="http://www.tossingitout.blogspot.com/2011/01/very-special-and-exciting-announcement.html" target="_self"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__Tx8k6-aLY0/TT_VKBsQU7I/AAAAAAAABhI/drsZE1pP2_Y/s200/A-ZApril.jpg" width="190" /></a></center>

     As I was speaking to an online friend the other day, I mentioned that I've come to several conclusions about myself.  I've spent so much of the last three years working for my children, I haven't had much time for myself to do a ton of soul-searching.  That being said, the few conclusions I've managed to find have been somewhat profound.

     I'd always assumed that I was going to grow up, have kids, live in a nice house, have weekend barbecues with the neighbors, have the cat and the dog, and, and, and.... the whole formal American dream. Yeah.  It hasn't happened that way.  For the longest time I've been suffering (and I mean SUFFERING) from the fact that I wasn't where I'd always expected to be. 

    I realized, somewhere in the last few months, that I wasn't disappointed in myself.  I was disappointed that I wasn't what everyone else expected.  I can even recall the moment I came to the realization that I was HAPPY not being the formal, stuffy, perfectly dressed stay-at-home Mama.  I was watching Mamma Mia! and thinking to myself that, more than anything, I wanted to grow old with a sense of grace, humor, and self- like the Mom played by Meryl Streep.  When I told the Husbeastie this newfound goal, he quickly pointed out that I couldn't do it; I cared too much.  I competed too much.  I tried too hard.

     A light switched on.  Why was I competing with snobby neighbors who disliked me because I was overweight?  Why did I even WANT to be friends with people who put me down constantly?  Who cared if I wore $5 sweats around the house?  I certainly didn't care.  If I cared, I wouldn't do it.

    I'm a lot happier now.  (Ok, I'll admit, right now I'm cranky and tired and stressed because my home is piled high with half-empty moving boxes and I'm the only one who seems to realize that we move in THREE weeks...) I'm a lot happier with myself now.  I don't feel a constant need to kick myself to be what others want.  And, honestly enough--- I'm happy without formality.

Friday, April 8, 2011

E is for Only "E" in my Dreams


It occurred to me that I've had a lot of "e" words appearing in my dreams lately.  Here they are, along with their associated meanings:



To dream that you are headed east, represents inner wisdom, rejuvenation, and spiritual enlightenment.  You need to dedicate yourself to your goals, family, career, etc. The direction east also symbolizes the sun. Since east is related to the direction right, it can suggest that you are headed in the right direction.

Easter Egg

To see Easter eggs in your dream, symbolize potential, bewilderment and wonder. You need to recognize that potential and unleash it. The dream may also be symbolic with the passage of time.

To see an elephant in your dream, indicates that you need to be more patient or more understanding of others. Or perhaps there is a memory that you are holding on to for too long. You need to let go of the past. The elephant is also a symbol of power, strength, faithfulness and intellect. Alternatively, the elephant's introverted personality may be a reflection of your own personality. In particular, if you see a white elephant, then it symbolizes royalty.

To dream about email, indicates that you need to reach out to people who may not necessarily always physically be around. It could also very well mean that you have been spending too much time in front of the computer and this has carried over into your dreams.

Emotions expressed in dreams is a way for people to act out the feelings that they normally would not express if they were awake. The dream provides a "safe" outlet for these emotions instead of letting them get pent up.


   This just makes me wonder what the other non-"E" symbols in my dreams reflect.


Educational Card Games Giveaway!

     Last month I told you about getting a free deck of educational cards from the folks at I See Cards.  I fell in love with the card game, and, while Chaos is still a bit too young to play these this year, I begged them to let me give away a full set of their math games to one of my readers.

     They were more than happy to send me a set- in fact, they sent TWO.  So, two of my lucky readers are going to win a full set of three math-based educational card games.  These are perfect for teachers, homeschoolers, or just parents or grandparents that want to reinforce basic math skills with a little friendly competition.

Each winner will receive a full set of all three of the following:
Each brightly colored card displays fractions, along with eye catching graphics, to ensure reinforcement. Players will quickly identify the fractions on their cards and calculate their way to fun and learning! Fractazmic teaches fractions, numbers and measurement.

You can play the basic primes game or many other games with the rules all available at primebomb.com. One thing for sure - you will be reinforcing basic math skills that will ensure the success of your child.

Each brightly colored card displays four basic mathematical symbols on the back, and the number along with English, Spanish, Chinese, Roman, French and Arabic translations and symbols on the front. Players quickly identify the numbers on their cards and add, subtract, multiply and divide to finish their pyramid first ! Whoever is the first to finish their pyramid by using their mathematical knowledge wins !

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to Enter
Please leave an email address in at least one of your entries!
MANDATORY ENTRY- MUST BE COMPLETED OR ALL OTHER ENTRIES ARE INVALID.
  • Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite subject at school was.  That's all.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
  • Follow my blog and leave a comment.  If you're already a follower, just leave a comment telling me so. (1 entry)
  • Follow me on Twitter (seemorganacook). Come back and leave another comment telling me that you're a twitter follower. (1 entry)
  • Go like Pyramath on Facebook, then come back and tell me you did so.  (1 entry)
Two winners will be drawn on April 30th.  Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.  (Sorry international folks!)  Please allow 2-3 weeks for prizes to ship after deadline.

Purex Complete Crystals Giveaway Winners!



I loaded the numbers into the ever so handy random.org and pulled the following winners:

GardenGirl505
Mary B
and Beth

Congratulations to all winners- I'll get your product certificates out to you as soon as I get addresses and stamps.
You have 48 hours to respond to this post.  Please email your address to me at seemorganacook@gmail.com!

I hope you like this new product as much as I do!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

D is for Disgusting




     There's a running joke in my house- I'll try any food three times... unless it's disgusting.  Oddly enough, there are very few foods I find "disgusting" enough to forgo.  However, these items have made the list- and while I cook them for others, I don't make them for myself very often.
Oddly, my disgust ONLY extends to the extra firm variety.  I LOVE soft, fresh tofu more than words can express.  But Extra Firm, regardless of brand name (this picture is to be used a generalization- not a specific brand designation) ends up feeling too spongy and odd as a texture in my mouth.  So, I'll make it for the Husbeastie- it's one of his favorite dishes- but I rarely eat the stuff.

I know, I know, what did mushrooms do to be considered disgusting?  Again, it's the texture of the item- I can't get past the sponginess... even for the awesome flavor they lend to a dish.  So, while I'll cook with them- I usually end up dishing out any recognizable pieces and putting them on Husbeastie's plate.

Are you noticing a trend in spongy foods?  I don't care who makes them- heck, I was a line cook at a breakfast place and made hundreds of orders of scrambled eggs each day- and I can't stand the texture.  Oddly enough, I don't mind the Japanese version, tamago, because the technique used to make it results in finely textured and creamy eggs.

Ah, yes, Mountain Dew- the bane of my existence- the third love of my Husbeastie's life (after myself and the cat.)  I seriously buy enough of these citrusy pops to build a house out of the cans and bottles- but I won't take a sip unless there is no water around... at all... (including the mud puddle outside.)  I don't know why, but I'm just not a fan of the flavor.  I've tried it often enough to know that it has nothing on a Chocolate Dr. Pepper.


Note: I'm neither bashing nor endorsing any of the products shown above- merely offering my opinion that I personally find these items a bit challenging for my tastebuds.  I'm open to the notion that someday, somewhere I might find these items in a preparation I'll love and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

B is for Boxes



     I am fairly certain the boxes are taking over my life.  If you've missed the hints I've been dropping in my last few posts, our lease is up and we're moving on.  Where?  Who knows?  We're pretty flexible.  We'll be staying in the region, just haven't put pen to paper anywhere yet.

But the boxes- ACK!  They're taking my usually tidy (ok, not super tidy, but still clean enough) house and making a mockery of everything decent and orderly about my life.

The following photos are NOT for the faint at heart-
Pretty bad, isn't it?  What you aren't seeing s that the side of the room to the right of the photo is covered floor to ceiling in stacked boxes.  The large pile of laundry was sorted and either put into boxes or placed into baskets.  See the crutch in the floor in front of the ottoman?  My kids are fascinated with this remnant of me spraining my ankle.  I DID have the room cleared out of most of the insanity yesterday afternoon- then, this morning, I pulled out even more, larger boxes.  I haven't found a place for them yet.

This is the view to the left of the first photo and goes straight into the dining room.  Note the OTHER giant pile of laundry in the chair.  It's been demolished as well.  The lawn chairs are back on the porch for now- I got tired of hitting my toes on them.  The table isn't too bad- there's about 5 bottles of laundry detergent, 4 bottles of shampoo, at least 2 body washes, and the giant stack of boxes waiting to be put together shown here.  As for the stuff on the mantle- UGH.  It's there so that Doc doesn't decide to put anything in his mouth while I'm waiting for a box to open up in the appropriate classification.  This room looks a LOT better today- the table is cleared off of most the stuff and piled high with new, more interesting stuff.

     Don't worry, this will all be taken care of in the next five days.  The table and dining room will most likely be stripped to the bare minimal furniture tomorrow.  The living room, being the staging area, will take a bit longer to clean, but since I should also have the back hallway cleared out tomorrow, I will have somewhere to place all the boxes as they get filled.

     It sounds odd, but I do have a method to this madness.  I've started in the attic and now that it's emptied, I'll go clean it tomorrow.  Then that door will be shut for good and I'll work on another rarely used room.  I'm also shredding paperwork as I go- after all, do I really need the electric bill that I paid 12 months ago?  The kitchen is being stripped to the bare minimum to cook dinner.  And, little by little, the laundry pile is shrinking and things are getting sorted, given away, or tossed.

     But the boxes- they win this round.  But tomorrow is another day and I'm armed with a lot of tape.

C is for Chocolate Yogurt!



Can you guess who will be getting a bath next?

     Doc had some sensory issues from day 1.  He likes to sleep in certain positions.  He would only use certain blankets.  He wouldn't eat certain textures.

     So, despite the fact that I despise messy food, when his OT suggested I let him try something with a sticky texture I agreed.  Mentally, I KNEW it would end well... messy.  But, I brought out the chocolate yogurt and he managed to actually get some inside him.  Even better, when he happily went into his little bath tub, I knew we'd crossed a serious moment in his therapy.

    To this day, he's still making a mess- you should have seen him attack the rice with chopsticks last night!- but he is a far neater diner than his older brother.  And, if I have to wipe a chin every now and then- well, that's ok by me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Milestone!

Today I hit 25 followers!

As promised, starting tomorrow, I'll begin using twitter.  So, feel free to add seemorganacook to your twitter list!

(Tonight, however, I'm going to take a crash course in "Tweeting for Dummies!")

A is for Aqua

 I love a good challenge and I thought I'd jump in.  Seeing as how I'm a few days late to the party, I'll forgo the skipping Sundays and just post straight through for the next 26 days.





     I love the color aqua.  It's one of those colors that just screams sunshine and cheerfulness to me.  Unfortunately, it also has a way of making a room feel like there's an angsty teen living there if you over do it.  In moderation, however, it provides a great pop of color against nearly every backdrop.

This picture frame from Pier 1 caught my eye because the color is so simple, but it's elegant at the same time.

The seat cushion on this chair (both from Crate and Barrel) really illustrates how far a simple pop of color can go.

I can just picture a row of these hooks lining my coat closet.  (From Pier 1)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's a Pretty Little Party- And It's Getting Bigger!

     If it's Spring, that means it's time for the Ultimate Blog Party!  It's a hopping good time of a blog-hop and linky fest and I'm so excited to be able to take part in it this year!


     So, welcome to new readers that are visiting from Blog-Land (and, as always, a warm hello to my regular readers!)

"Who is this Morgana person anyway? "
     I suppose, just maybe, I could go ahead and tell folks a bit more about myself.  I know, I know, I have an "about me" section up at the top... but it really doesn't go into a ton of details.  I'm not horridly comfy talking about myself all that much.

This is me.  If I look distracted, it's because I was a little loopy at that moment.  After all, this was taken less than an hour after Doc was born.  I think I'd just been permitted to stand up and walk around finally.

     I'm a wife and Mom.  I'm married to a smoking hot guy that makes me crack up non-stop.  Everyday since we've met I've felt like I was "home"- no matter where we've lived.  (And oh, MY!  Have we lived in a lot of places!)

Our wedding photo- taken back in the days when 1 megapixel cameras were high-tech and I was blond.  I think I prefer the brunette me.

     I adore my Husbeastie.  He's scruffy and warm.  And, he's domestically helpless.  That man can't fold a towel to save his life and has no clue how to check the oil in the car.  (I gave up trying to teach him after he left the cap off the brake fluid once.)  Drying dishes and running a broom across the floor is about as far as he's permitted to go with cleaning- any further and something will most likely explode.  No, I'm not joking.  We've lost more than one washing machine to his equivalent to a domestic black thumb.  Hand the man a computer and some random components and he's magical- his brain is just not wired for domesticity.  Don't get me wrong, he can cook (NOW, after years and years of lessons.) and can change a wet diaper.  He can play zombies versus ninjas with the kids and he is a total geek.
Rawr!  He's so cute and scruffy!


I'm also a Mom.  I have four kids- two girls and two boys.  And yes, they're all horribly geeky.  I'm one of those Moms that is NOT my child's friend- I'm their parent.  I'm nice to my kids, and I give them tons of hugs and kisses and cuddles.  But, I also have a deep sense of humor when it comes to my children.
I believe in chores- ok, this is greatly exaggerated.  Napoleon actually begged to learn to use the lawnmower.  Since mowing the lawn is one of my FAVORITE domestic tasks, I was a bit jealous of my time away from the lawn mower.

I believe in introducing my children to royalty.  Oddly enough, it's the grown men I know that express jealousy over Chaos's chance meeting of Miss West Virginia.

I believe that my kids need quality outside time without a TV.  After all, we watch enough Firefly, Star Wars, SG-1, and Dune to keep us entertained for weeks.  You'd never know he was wearing a prosthetic under that jacket- look at Doc run!

I'm a frugal crunchy Mama.  I'm very pragmatic- I like to actually DO things rather than talk about them.  I'm not political.  I dislike judging people for religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or handicaps.  I think all people have value.  (However, I do make an exception for stupid people- not mentally handicapped, but I'm talking about down- right stupid people: the kind of people that complain about something without having the facts, complain about being stereotyped when they go out of their way to act like a stereotype, or just plain old don't think things through.)  I consider myself a feminist- I simply enforced my right to become a domestic diva.  I fully support those women who choose differently- you go girl!  I refuse to be restricted to one type of music- I listen to almost anything from spoofs to punk to funk to classical- I even have some country and rap on my playlists.  I'm into almost everything craft-wise as well.  I can sew, knit, scrapbook, paint, sculpt, and do photography.  But, I LOVE to cook.


What is See Morgana Blog about?

     I started this blog as an attempt to find my own voice.  Initially, I was going to stick to my cooking hobby, but I realized quickly that my voice was far bigger than just food.  I'm interested in so many things-
Bento!

I'm interested in geekery:  Bento, sushi, anime and all things Japanese, sci-fi, fantasy, video games, RPGs, mythology.  I'm interested in finding awesome deals- I hate shopping, but LOVE saving money.  I'm interested in trying new products.  (Yes, I'm slowly becoming a review and giveaway blog.)  I'm interested in home decor and cooking, crafting and DIY.  I'm interested in cleaning and organization.  And it's all here.

So, welcome to everyone!

Happening Around the Blog
Here are just a few things I've got happening around the blog.
  • I'm hosting a giveaway for Purex Complete Crystals over HERE.  Feel free to join in!
  • This is my recipe for the world's best sandwich spread.
  • Here's a free PRINTABLE to teach kids about insects.