Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap and melt in 6 cups hot water in your pasta pot / stock pot on the stove top (medium high heat makes this work quickly). Once soap is melted add 1/2 cup Borax powder (20 Mule Team Borax - anyone else remember that?) and 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Stir until dissolved. Gradually add 15 cups hot water. Remove from heat and let cool completely before pouring into detergent bottles. Don't fill them up completely, because once this mixture cools it's, well, I think the scientific term is "gloppy". You need room to shake the bottle up before you pour it each time. The entire prep time is about 15 minutes, grating included, and would probably be even faster if you used a food processor. This recipe makes enough to fill three 100 oz. detergent bottles, but could easily be doubled if you have a pot large enough. The concentration is just right for using the cap on the laundry bottle for measuring (one capful per load). It is unscented, but I sometimes add about ten drops of lavender essential oil after I remove it from the heat just because I love the light scent it gives towels and sheets. This cleans just as well as commercial laundry detergents and you will be AMAZED at the amount of money you save.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
OK, this one's multipurpose. It can be lunch, it can be breakfast, it can be an afternoon snack. It's banana muffins with peanut butter centers. This recipe originally had cream cheese frosting on top and no peanut butter in the middle, but as wild as things are around my house right now I think less sugar and more protein is the way to go.
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
3 large ripe bananas
1 3/4 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pour into muffin tins. Fill about 1/3 full (Pampered Chef large scoop), add a little scoop of peanut butter (Pampered Chef small scoop), and fill to 2/3 full with batter (another PC large scoop). Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. I think chopped nuts in the batter would be great, or chunky peanut butter in the middle, but I got out-voted. For those with peanut butter allergies, I bet a little strawberry jam would be yummy instead.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tissue paper and a thank-you note - I sure haven't gotten that kind of customer service when I've ordered scrubs online before. And when I unwrapped them I was even more impressed. The tag says they are a cotton-polyester blend, but this fabric is like no other I'm familiar with. It's lightweight, but not too thin, and soft, but not clingy-staticy soft (yes, I'm picky about my fabrics). These are VERY comfortable scrubs. I especially like the top, which looks like a regular tunic-style scrub top on the website, but has a slightly shorter and tapered cut that is comfortable and flattering.
Not so short that you're flashing skin when you bend or reach, though, and the sleeves are a relaxed cut, not the short, tight fit that so many of the "fashion scrubs" have right now. Who buys those things? Are there 12-year-olds wearing them to school or what? Now here's my favorite thing about these scrubs: this "miracle fabric" that hangs so nicely also seems to repel stains AND dries in seconds - literally! I can't believe they don't mention this on their website, because I know I'm not the only nurse who splashes water on the front of her scrubs when she washes her hands or who drops her late lunch in her lap trying to drive and eat at the same time. I can't wait for their line of labcoats to go on sale, 'cause I will be all over those! Of course there are some drawbacks, but they are few. There are only two styles of women's scrubs for
sale on the site, the Simple Scrubs (what I ordered) and their Original Scrubs, which have a lot of contrasting decorative stitching on them that I thought looked a bit too Western. And there are very few color choices for the Simple Scrubs: ceil blue, black, navy, or light gray. I got the light gray and it's a very nice color, not boring at all. The Original Scrubs have a much wider variety of colors available, so I'm hoping the Simple Scrubs line will expand. The prices are mid-range, and for the quality and customer service you get, it's a steal. I'm certainly going to be ordering from them again!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
My Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop inspiration for this week: What's the message you would craft?
What perfect timing! While I can't claim to compare to the inspiration post, I was so inspired the other day in carpool by what was going on around me that I put aside my light mystery novel to grab some scrap paper and start listing the Top Ten Things Not To Do In Carpool Line. So this is longer than just a message, more of a memo really, and please feel free to copy and paste to create your own memo for distribution in your own carpool line. This is appropriate for both public and private schools, since items were inspired equally by my experiences as a parent at both. Don't think you can always pick which is which, 'cause, honey, you would be shocked! It's hard to decide which offenses are more irritating, so I've listed them in order of occurrence from the moment I pull into carpool line until the moment I leave it.
10) Do not leave your car running while you are parked in carpool for 20 minutes just so you can run your AC. You are blowing hot, foul exhaust fumes at all the cars around you whose occupants are following the rules and sweltering with engines off and windows open. You have an exception if you have an infant in the car, but that's the only valid excuse.
9) Do not park your car in carpool line and then prance around from car to car in your tennis skirt, especially if you haven't played tennis that day. Really - we can tell from the hair. And if you are too deeply involved with your conversation three rows over to move your car when it's your turn to go I think the patrol kids should be allowed to take a cattle prod to your ass to get you moving.
8) If you really must smoke in carpool line (can you really not go 20 minutes without one? really?) do not blow the smoke into the car parked next to you. As my grandmother would say, it's "common". You Southern girls know what I'm saying here.
7) Do not play "Name That Tune" with songs on the radio. That's Queen, honey, and there is no one else who sounds like Freddy Mercury. You probably can't name the Beatles, either, so I have no use for you.
6) Do not sing along with any song on the radio. I don't care how well you think you sing - this is not karaoke carpool. And especially don't sing the profane lyrics to the rap song you're listening to. I prefer the driving bass that shakes my fillings loose 'cause then I can't hear the words as well.
5) Do not stand around in carpool on a pretty early April day bragging about how you've never received a W-2. This makes us frumpy-looking, exhausted working women want to run down your bleached-blonde, laser-whitened, surgically augmented bodies with our old, dirty cars. And we don't worry about the prison time either, sugar, 'cause eight hours sleep every night and three meals a day cooked by someone else sounds pretty damn good about now.
4) Being old is no excuse. I think it's wonderful that some grandparents pick up their grandchildren at carpool - really I do - they can even pick up mine if they want to. But they have to follow the rules. It's a carpool LINE. This means there is a beginning and an end. First in is first out. Being over 55 does not mean you can drive across the cones, pick up your grandkids, and dodge all the other sobbing kindergartners while you race out of the parking lot. Bring in those patrol kids with the cattle prods and set them to "stun".
3) Do not share True Confessions teenage sex stories in a loud voice. This applies whether you are talking to you friend in the passenger seat or your friend on the cell phone. And most especially don't do it while the carpool line's moving, 'cause it's like a train wreck - we just can't look away. And the kiddo we smoosh just might be your own (hopefully not conceived during that story, 'cause that was way too icky).
2) Do not scream at your child as soon as they get to the car. Or if you are a butthead and really must, then roll your window up. I do not want to hear, "What the hell were you thinking? How many damn times do I have to tell you to turn that f#$%in' altar server form in?" Oh, yeah, honey, that was a dad in a parochial school carpool.
1) I'm assuming you can read. That sign says "Right Turn Only". Do not attempt to turn left. This is not all about you. Rear-ending your Lexus seems like a reasonable option right about now.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
OK, this one's all about me! I can't even get the guys to try a bite of this, although I did try. None of them could get past the sight of sweet potatoes ("Are those carrots or what?") and spinach ("What's that green stuff?"). That's just fine, though - leaves more for me. I'm taking this for lunch every day this week and they can have boring sandwiches unless they decide to get brave and try some of this delicious salad. I found it in a Family Circle magazine and altered it to fit what I had around the house. Here goes:
- 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup (I used plain old pancake syrup)
- 3 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chucks
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 8 oz ham, diced (I used deli ham, but I bet thick chunks would be even yummier)
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I tried it with and without, and it's great either way)
- Heat oven to 400. Stir together vinegar, syrup, and mustard. Whisk in 2 Tbsp oil and set aside.
- Mix potatoes, onions, ham, 1 Tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and thyme and bake for 45 minutes.
- Add spinach, walnuts, and vinegar mixture. YUM!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This week's lunch plan involves writing a check to the cafeteria at school and hitting a drive-thru or having leftovers from supper the night before. Maybe I'll feel more creative next week - right now Sam and I need a nap.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
There are so many thing I love about days off. The first, of course, is not getting up at 3am. Today I lounged in bed until six, and I still have plenty of quiet time before anyone else gets up. They all look like this
and will until noon if I don't wake them up. I get to eat leftovers from last night's dinner for breakfast, play on Facebook, blog, and drink sweet tea in the backyard swing - AHHH! Sam lies at my feet when I'm on the computer, gazes longingly at my plate while I'm eating, and joins me on the swing, although from the look of that yawn she'd really rather be back in bed. What a good dog!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Click here to play along!
This week I selected prompt #4: "The first day of . . ."
"The First Day of My Ten-Year-Old's New Identity" No, this isn't some touchy-feeling post about how he's discovered his true self in some philosophical sense. He's a ten-year-old boy. He's changed his name. Without consulting me. I found out in carpool when the patrol girl said, "Have a good evening, John!" He's at a new school, remember, and is less than a month in, so I didn't think much of it.
"Haven't you told everyone to call you Jack? I put on all your paperwork that you prefer "Jack" and we told your teacher that at meet-the-teacher night."
"No, I decided I like being called John."
"But no one has ever called you John. You've always been Jack."
"Yeah, but now I like John."
He came home and finished up his first big project of the year, and what's the name on the front of the tri-fold? John. Here's something he did in computer class today:
HMMM . . .if John's going to be organized, I just may like this new kid ('cause Jack sure wasn't). Evidently John likes Spongebob as much as Jack did, and tries to sneak snacks before dinner just like Jack does. Oh, great, he just handed me a notice from school - a kid in his class has lice and I need to check his head for nits every day for the next couple of weeks. None of Jack's classmates ever had lice - SIGH! Well, if John cleans his room I'm all for it. I'd let him change his name to Spongebob if he'd clean his room.