Thursday, July 10, 2014

A very nice "shop locally" promotion

We almost always get out of the house on Thursdays because my mother's house cleaners come that day and I need to get the girls out of their way.  Today I took them to 4th Avenue, which is a fun and funky street near the university.  I thought we would window shop up and down the street, which entails about 6 blocks, then go home.  Instead we found announcements for a "Where Is Waldo?" promotion.

The girls got a "passport" at one of the sponsoring stores, then set out to find a 6" cardboard cut out of Waldo in the stores listed.  We found 15 of them!  Some of the store clerks were helpful and some weren't.  I did notice about half the clerks' eyes darted to the approximate location when I told them we were looking for Waldo.  LOL.

Holding the passports in our hands kind of gave us permission to walk all over various stores and even restaurants while we looked for Waldo.  It was fun.  And of course it got us into more than a dozen stores we never would have gone into.

When it was all over we did not stop at one of the interesting restaurants that dotted the street because they were a little more than my budget would allow, but we did stop at a Dairy Queen in the district, which was actually a very rare event for my girls.  No inside seating, only outside.  Two Blizzards and a large sundae, please.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer party!

Our ward (church congregation) has parties . . . just because, and plenty of them.  This was the first time we've ever had a large water feature for a party and it was a huge hit with all the kids and some of the adults as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We love our zoo!

This trip certainly seemed to be for the birds . . . .

There were a couple of good looking girls in the same area and you can see one of them in the background above.

This was another peacock.  Such beautiful feathers!  The bird below let me get that close to it (no telephoto lens).  It does not have an aviary but flies free.  However, I've seen it there many times, so it knows the zoo is a good home.

This crane got spooked by something and gave a really loud squawk that startled us!

There were a number of duck with their teenagers.

The girls wore their swim suits in hopes of playing in the water area, but it was closed due to an infestation of bees.  Water + heat, of course the bees like it!

And of course we always take a picture by the sculpture.  It's almost as good for watching growth as the marks on the back of the kitchen door.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What my mechanic has been working on this morning

It's only about 7:30 in the morning and my mechanic has already been working on the Suburban.

The radiator needs some TLC before a trip and my mechanic is taking advantage of the cool, pleasant morning to remove it to take it to a radiator shop.  Lucky me--my mechanic is Bill.

Several years ago "someone" (not Bill or me) wrecked the front end of the Suburban.  The body parts were replaced and the vehicle looks fine, but the radiator and the air cooling unit in front of it both got pushed in and both are shaped like a saggy mattress on edge.  Both cooling units have continued to function until now.

We are hoping the old radiator can be repaired because a new one won't fit into the slot the old one came out of.  The front cooling unit impinges on the space for a new radiator.  Unless we can get the shop to put a nice curve into the flat unit so it matches the old one's curve . . . .

Barring that, Bill is going to have to do some frame work to straighten it to accept a new radiator.

If you give a mouse a cookie . . . .

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What if everyone thinks this is what apricots are supposed to be?

I picked up some apricots yesterday at Sprouts because I really like this fruit and the price is usually so high I can't justify buying them. The ones I chose have a very pretty color and are a nice size.

But!  I was really disappointed when I bit into the first one!  It was firm, sour, and almost tasteless.  This morning as I ate another one out of a feeling of obligation I realized lots of people think this is how apricots are supposed to taste.  If they've never picked some from a backyard tree and eaten them soft and warm, with the juice pooling in the hand cupped below the holding hand, they might think grocery store apricots are all there are.

Apricots are (supposed to be) soft with a thin skin, not exactly what can be easily transported to the grocery store.  When I was pregnant with my second son 23 years ago I was staying with my parents.  My dad knew an apricot orchard being torn out and replanted.  The reason?  The old orchard was planted in wonderful, delicious Blenheim apricots that simply couldn't make it to market out of the region so it was being replaced with a hearty variety with looks and little taste.

The farmer told my dad to help himself to all the apricots he could pick before the trees were pulled out.  He brought home a dozen or so lugs of perfect, aromatic fruit which we ate by the baleful, then I turned into jars and jars and jars of sweet jam.

I'm thinking I need to look into apricot varieties that grow in my area.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bon Voyage!

Today Caroline and Elizabeth are leaving on a trip they have been anticipating ALL SCHOOL YEAR!

They'll fly to Washington D.C. tonight and start touring just about as soon as they get there tomorrow morning.  They have had hours and hours of extra classes to learn about the history of Washington D.C., and by extension, about American history.  When they arrive for a tour of the White House or the Washington Monument or the Holocaust Museum, they will know why it's important to our history and to them personally.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What do you notice about this breakfast of mine?

Here it is:

Does it look SWEET? 

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Good Morning America and Katie Couric was on talking about her new documentary movie which talks about the evils of sugars, as I understand it.  I don't think sugar is evil, but I have been working to reduce it in my diet and that of my family.  Katie Couric invited viewers to join her in a ten day "sugar fast" starting the next Monday and I decided to do it.  No sugar, no artificial sweeteners.

This is what I found:  there is sugar in a lot of things I like to eat.  I didn't go hard-core and scrutinize every.single.label for sugars, but if something obviously had sugar in it, such as cold breakfast cereal or commercial yogurt, it was off my menu.  No desserts, no adding a sprinkle of sugar to my oatmeal, or jam to my peanut butter sandwich.  It was quite an adjustment.

This is what changed:  I ate more carbs and fat than I usually do.  I substituted a bowl of muesli (minus the chocolate chips I love) for a bowl of ice cream.  Instead of a drizzle of syrup on my waffle, I spread on some butter.  No sugar on hot five-grain cereal?  Who cares when you can pour a bit of cream over it instead?

What didn't change:  I still feel the same.  I can't say eliminating sugar magically made my back pain go away or made my hair thick and luxurious.  However, got some new ideas for expanding my diet and how to eat things with less sugar.

So for breakfast today I'm having a chocolate chocolate chunk cookie Sophia made last night, a donut hole she bought in a package two days ago and saved one for me, and a marshmallow crispy treat I made from a Pioneer Woman recipe and saved in the freezer, waiting for the ten day fast to be completed.

You'd do the same, right?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A hidden treasure?

Bill had to do some plumbing yesterday and opened a wall to access the pipes.  I was watching for water drips and noticed there was something hidden in the wall.  In the picture below you can see the cavity on the left.  It looked like a paper bag and had some weight to it.  I hoped it might be something like old magazines or artifacts.

Here it is after I pulled it out and took it outside.  Interesting stuff, huh?  Bill and I usually put something in the wall when we do any remodeling project, even just names and dates because WE would like to uncover something like that.

And it turned out to be . . .

. . . a chunk of drywall mud, hardened for 43 years.   LOL  What a disappointment!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Does your pet make you breakfast?

You can find that saying on T-shirts and such with the implication that chickens lay eggs for you, so they "make you breakfast."  Today I decided to let my pets and my solar protection make my breakfast.
 That beautiful purple egg is actually light brown.  Doesn't it look pretty in purple though?

The grapefruit tree was probably planted when the house was new over forty years ago.  It shades most of the bedrooms from the hot southern sun--our passive solar protector.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Zippered pouches for take-home gifts

For several days I've been trying to think of what to give the children at Caroline and Elizabeth's birthday party as a little take-home gift.  I usually try to have the gift be somewhat different than what is usually given at parties.

At 5:10 this morning I woke up knowing what to make.  I went online to youtube to find a video to remind me how to make little zippered pouches.  I've seen pictures of the ones both Leigh and Marcella have made, but it's been awhile and I needed a little refresher.

I dug through my stash, trying to find fabric that could be either feminine or masculine, since we have both boys and girls coming to the party.  Also, since tomorrow is Mother's Day, I figured even if the item seemed feminine, a boy could give it to a female family member tomorrow if he wanted to.

Years ago I inherited a bunch of zippers from my grandma's house, so I knew I could find zippers for all the bags I wanted to make.  Oops, this one from 1947 (it said so on the package) isn't actually a zipper.  It's a "slide fastener."

I made eight pouches in all.  Most of them are different from each other with different linings and zippers.  All but one zipper is metal, so they were a bit of a challenge when it came to turning the ends.  It already looks like the leopard print one with the orange zipper is the hot one.