Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sheepishly, She Enters the Blog-o-sphere

     I always felt weird when I went away for a while, then came back.  It's that awkward feeling of people staring at you, wondering if you were "really" sick or just faking to go to the mall.

     For the record, I've spent most of February dealing with sick kiddos.  Doc, my youngest, seems to be hit pretty hard with a lot of things at once.  Every time I even thought about sitting down to post, someone would throw up or have an icky diaper that only a Mom can change without losing her lunch.  On the up side, I figured out early that if the kids were asleep, then I probably should be out as well.  The 9 pm bedtime has been a refreshing change of pace for me, allowing me to handle the middle of the night clean-up jobs with a lot more grace and composure.

    I hope to get back to a regular posting schedule soon- I've got so much to talk about: searching for a house, attempting to get a USDA rural home loan, big boy beds, late night reading, home schooling milestones, Boy Scout baking, lots of cooking, organization and craft projects, and tons of things that I've found that just made me think.

    So, I hope I can be back permanently- VERY SOON!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

De-Ick-ifying the Ick... Twice.

     You might have noticed that I've been MIA for a few days.  Ok.  Perhaps a wee bit more than a few days.

     We've had the ick.  Twice.  Last week I had the pleasure of getting a few articles written ahead, patted myself on the back, then came down with the flu.  Then Hubby caught it.  Then the kids caught it.  We were finally back up and running again by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolled around.  Then, on Monday morning, my baby boy collapsed in my arms after being ill all over me.

     He's fine, no worries there, but it was the start of another long week.  One by one, everyone in the house fell under the influence of a mysterious "ick".  I was the last one hit and it hit me very hard.  Today, although I didn't feel great, I was finally able to get up and clean the house a bit- you know, de-ick-ify the place so I didn't have delusional moments of "OH MY GAWDS THE GERMS ARE FIGHTING BACK!!!"

     I'm hoping to be back on track on postings by next week.  Maybe, just maybe, I've seen the last of the ick for a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

12 for 12- February's Changes are for Love

     January flew by at our house.  It seems like every time I turned around there were another three days marked off the calendar!  I managed to do most of my original list.  Some items I had to rethink.  )
     So, here's my goals for February:
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot.  I do this most of the time anyway- I like the walk.  However, in February when the snows are knee deep here, this fibro-mama doesn't like the long walk.  That's going to change.  I'm going to park at the far end of the lot and get some exercise and waste less gasoline searching for a spot to park.
  • Keep a pitcher of water handy.  When I was in the Navy, after several fainting spells, the doctors determined that I needed 12 glasses of water each day- not the usual 8.  At the moment, I think I drink 6 or so on the average day.  I'm going to begin making a nice large pitcher of iced water and keep it near me throughout the day so I can drink as needed.  By having it readily available, I'll be less tempted to just grab a soda.
  • Prepare school work the day before.  If my son sees that I'm not prepared for his home schooling day, it's a stress-filled morning of him hemming and hawing about doing anything.  If I have the work ready, he's all about doing it, getting it done, and going back to play time.  So, being prepared = less stress.
  • Stop being a night owl.  Fibromyalgia often means a lot of insomnia.  I rarely go to sleep before 2 am.  I'm going to pull that back to midnight this month.  
  • Write a letters each week.  I used to be an avid pen-pal writer.  I've gotten a bit lazy on sending notes which is sad since it used to make me very happy to practice penmanship and send a bit of love out.  So, I'm going to write a letter each week and send them out.
  • Schedule in shopping.  I go shopping at the moment for exercise.  The funny thing is that I rarely spend anything.  But, I am wasting gas and stressing myself out over things I can't afford.  So, no shopping for fun and "just because".
  • Plan for a treat.  I stress because I spend money on a small treat every now and then.  I'm not saying I spend $40 on a hair cut or anything like that.  I'm talking about spending $1 on a cup of coffee while I'm having "me time" at a coffee shop working on my writing.  Spending anything on myself stresses me out to no end.  So, I'm going to start giving myself an allowance again- I can save it up for big things or dole it out, penny by penny, on little treats.
  • Invest in my son's education.  There are a ton of things that Chaos can do in his spare time- but they all cost money.  I'm going to start setting aside a little cash to pay towards things like music lessons or art classes.
  • Double prep.  I have a huge deep freezer.  I should put it to better use.  I already do a lot of freezer cooking, but I'm thinking to myself, why chop twice when two meals need onions?  So, if I can do it, I'll double prep my common ingredients- onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc...
  • Stock cookie dough.  For the first time in years, I've gotten out of the habit of having pre-portioned cookie dough in the freezer.  I usually have several batches of dough balls waiting patiently for their turn in the oven.  So, I need to restock.
  • Eat more popcorn.  Popcorn is an amazing whole grain food.  Even large volumes of air-popped popcorn have very few calories (as long as you don't toss it in a ton of butter!)  We aren't buttered popcorn people in our house, but we do like it with a tablespoon of grated Asiago or a little Veg-it and Brewer's Yeast sprinkled on.  We also like to make our own snack mix using popcorn, cereal, and graham crackers.  
  • Meditate.  I've gotten out of the habit of meditating.  This leaves me feeling very disjointed most days.  I'm going to set aside 15 minutes to meditate each day.

Tutorial Tuesdays: How to Peel a Pineapple

It's here! It's here!  I finally had time to start my Tutorial Tuesday series.

Today I'll show you how to peel a pineapple.  Please bear in mind that when I first learned this, I had to learn to do it with a machete!  I'm glad the knives I get to use have gotten less rustic.

Supplies: Cutting board on a secure surface (place a towel under it if it slides on the counter)
              Fresh Pineapple
              Large flexible serrated knife (a bread knife works well)
              A paring knife

Basic terminology: The spiky green leaves are the "crown".  The scales are the "eyes".  The "stem" end is the area where the pineapple was cut away from the plant.  The "core" is a fibrous center stalk that runs through the pineapple.

Step 1: Lay the pineapple on its side, with the crown facing the right.  If you are left-handed, you might find it easier to place the crown to the left.

Step 2: Using the serrated knife, cut across the pineapple, a half an inch below the crown. 

Step 3: Cut the bottom off the pineapple, approximately 1/2 inch above the stem end.

Step 4: Turn pineapple upright onto the stem end.  Begin slicing the peel off the pineapple from top to bottom. This is where having a flexible knife comes in handy, allowing you to follow the curve of the fruit.  Turn the fruit as you continue peeling the skin off.

Step 5: Lay the pineapple on it's side.  Those brown spots are the "eyes" and where where the scales grew out of the fruit.  They are edible, although the texture leaves a lot to be desired.  If you don't mind the texture of the eyes, you can skip ahead to Step 7.

Step 6:  Begin slicing the "eyes" off with a paring knife..  Hint- "eyes" grow in a diagonal line on a pineapple.  Rather than slicing each eye off individually, slide your knife under multiple eyes at a diagonal angle.

A pineapple that has had all the "eyes" removed.  Notice the diagonal slicing.

Step 7: Slice the pineapple in half.  (You may have some trouble slicing through the core.)

Step 8: Slice the fruit into spears.  Slice around the core to do this.  (The core is edible and contains a lot of juice.  However, I don't eat my cores.  I freeze them for juicing later.)  In this picture, the core are the two pieces on the bottom and the spears are the top pieces.

Step 9: Slice fruit into chunks.

Step 10: Move to storage vessel of choice and eat happily.