Tuesday, May 22, 2012

But Wait, How Are the Bees?

 Doing great!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Aid Messenger Bags

While cleaning out the play room for a transformation to homeschool room, I realized that we needed some storage for all our doctor and nurse accessories.  So rather than clean any more I headed to the sewing machine (why is this playroom project taking so long!?)

J had been begging for a messenger bag.  When she saw his, Sweet P. (who is actually the doctor with the most developed bedside manner) needed one too.

When bandaging Poppa the other night Sweet P was sorry to inform him he had Hepatitis D.  (We've been talking about germs and famous doctors like Louis Pasteur.  Hepatitis D sounds much more serious than any of the other Hepatitis you could get, doesn't it.) 

(she leaned in and whispered for emphasis,
palpitating his stomach)

...you swallowed a shoe.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Domino 0; Skunk 1

So this recipe (found online) really worked:  1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 C baking soda, 1 Qt 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (find it in the first aid section).  Holding Domino on my lap I massaged the liquid in all over.  I should have used more right around her face (where she was directly hit) since that is the only part that still has a slight whiff o'skunk.  Then for extra measure we put a little scented conditioner on her, I don't know that it was necessary, but she mostly smelled better after this adventure than she did before.  Then we dunked her in clear water in the tub (I got in with her to get her all rinsed off).  She was surprisingly docile for all this, once we got started she seemed to just resign herself to it.  And a ton of shedding hair came off, so maybe she needed a bath all along.  Toweled her off and she slept in the laundry room to dry.  I put everything - my clothes, towel, etc in the washing machine and it all came out OK by morning.
Did she learn her lesson?  One can only hope.  Our neighbor tells us skunks won't necessarily come where there are cats to bother them.  And we got a new composter that has a critter-proof latch too.  Skunks-b-gone!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bawled Peanuts

I found bags of raw peanuts - "green in the shell" - at the grocery store yesterday and thought I would try to make boiled peanuts for Mr. Sycamore.  As they say here, you used to could find them at the Eastern Market in DC when we lived there, boiling in a big barrel and dipped out for you into a newspaper cone.  You sometimes can find cans of them at the store, but not regularly.  When my husband was growing up in Alabama you could find them along side the road in season.

I looked online and called my mother-in-law from Montgomery.  Here's what you do.

To start, you need raw peanuts.  The package I got included a warning "as with all raw agricultural products it is recommended that you cook these before consuming."  Just as a side note, I read somewhere that among peanut-eating peoples in Africa and Asia, it is much more common to boil or make peanut flour than to dry roast them, and that dry roast is the most difficult to digest.  Peanuts are full of fiber and nutrients, yum.

For 1lb of peanuts (one package) put 8C water in a stockpot with at least 1/4C kosher salt, more to taste (they are supposed to be quite salty).  This is about twice the standard amount of water I found in recipes online, but I trusted Memaw that there should be plenty of water to cover the peanuts and not boil off in the 2-3 hours they need to cook.    When the water is at a rolling boil, add the peanuts.  They will float and there should be enough water for them to boil with some free room.  Bring back to a boil, turn down to medium low, cover, and stir every 20-30 min for at least 2 hours.  Now, Memaw says that you don't need to cover them, and you don't want them to boil over.  For me, I was afraid the water would boil off too fast, so I covered them.  According to Memaw, you don't want them to just simmer, you want to see low boiling - though I suppose if you simmered them you could leave them on longer.  For softer peanuts, boil 3 hours.  Taste them for softness and when they are how you like them or almost, turn the heat off and let them set in the salty water until cool.  The peanuts need a chance to soak in the salt, otherwise it will stay on the shell and in the brine.

You can consume them hot right away, or wait until cool.  If they are too salty for you, rinse and/or soak them in fresh water, but that is not necessary and I hate to mention it because Memaw says not to rinse them (but she is a woman who salted her pizza growing up, so you know she loves her some salt).

If you don't eat them all right away, pack them in an air-tight jar with or without some brine and you can keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  In our house they won't last that long!

The Southern method to eat them is pop them with your teeth so you get the interior brine, preferably on a porch step if possible, and let the juice and shells fall where they may.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Footprint Painting

This was an utterly fun activity on a hot day.  One package of fingerpaints (~$5 for 4 tubes) and a long roll of scratch paper from Ikea (also $5)  I didn't intend for the fingerpaints to disappear so quickly, I think in future I'd try the various recipes out there for fingerpaints to be more frugal.

Just dip your feet in the paint and you're off.  I tried to control running as the paints were slippery, we had no major wipeouts (hooray) then it was off to the carwash (sprinkler) and inside for a bath before dinner.  Sometimes a break in the routine just makes everything special -
we then had extra time for a board game before bed.

Whenever I see our stray footprinted sidewalk I smile.  We'll have to do it again soon.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!
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Friday, May 4, 2012

Construction Site Ice Cream Cake

 After I found the ice cream cakes for sale locally were super expensive (its just ICE CREAM, people!) and that many of them had regular butter cream frosting, I looked online and found several recipes that looked easy enough. 

Here's what we did:  crush a package of oreos (and fruit loops, but they made a kind of funny texture) and let your ice cream soften for 10-15 minutes.  If you are making whipped cream from scratch do that now (I did and added ovaltine for chocolate-y goodness).  You can also use any whipped topping like cool whip - if frozen, you need to let soften the same as the ice cream.  You want a spreadable softness, not melted.

Layers:  bottom crust: oreos.  Some recipes recommend stirring in melted butter to make it more of a graham cracker crust, but I couldn't believe that was really necessary, and the cookie layer worked fine for us without butter.

Pint or 1/2 a large package of softened ice cream

thin layer of oreos

pint of ice cream (we used vanilla on the bottom and chocolate on the top.  One recipe I saw was for peppermint ice cream cake for Christmas, may need to put that on our list this year, it sounded so good!)

Top with a layer of whipped cream and crumbled topping or decoration.  We made our tiny construction trucks (the party favors)  move the oreos around.

This made a 9x12 pan of ice cream cake, plenty for 10 adults and 8 kids, with plenty left over.  You know, for recovering from the party.

Knowing how easy this is to make - there isn't any cooking, just spreading and freezing - I won't ever buy one again.  After all, it is just ice cream.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Collossal Squid

A birthday present from the fabulous Auntie G.  Bigger than a 5 year old, and twice as squishy.
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