Friday, October 31, 2008

Well If I Don't Post Something...

my mom is going to wonder what's wrong - so here is a post to let her know we are all well - just nothing to write about.

Going to take the kids swimming (indoors of course!) in a few minutes. In the fall and winter we try to go once a week on Fridays. It's nice b/c if we go right when the pool opens - there is almost no one else in the pool for the hour we are there. Sometimes there will be an elderly man or an elderly lady - sometimes both! But never a crowd.

Having the pool to ourselves means I don't have to watch the kids as closely (there is a lifeguard) and don't have to worry about them accidentally splashing some old lady's hair, causing said old lady to turn and glare.

Question - why go to the pool if you don't want your hair to get wet? Why go to the pool if you are only going to stand in the water the whole time talking to one of the lifeguards (as some of the elderly seem to do)?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sometimes I Climb Up Onto My Soapbox

And then climb back on down.

Good thing that there is a delete button.

Japanese Sweet Potato - Sasumaimo

My daughter hasn't yet met a sweet potato she didn't like, so of course she enjoyed the Japanese sweet potato. I'm kind of iffy on sweet potatoes - but I thought this one was quite yummy.

We were surprised to find the inside a pretty yellow.

"Satsumaimo potatoes are mainly harvested in fall. Satsumaimo have dark-pink skin and are slightly sweet. The taste is similar to yams. It originally came from south America through China. Satsumaimo are sold fresh at grocery stores and are also used to make shochu (distilled liquor) in Japan."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GroovyGirl Cooks Macaroni & Cheese

Today I let my girl begin cooking using my old Junior High cookbook. I chose the recipe - but I let her do the work - and I just hung around for supervisory purposes.

The recipe was a simple baked macaroni and cheese. Might have been the first time my kids ever tried real mac and cheese. They are pretty content to and actually prefer to, eat plain pasta. Gag.

They do like Kraft Dinner type mac and cheese as well - but an actual baked mac and cheese was something new.

The girl told me later that as she was preparing the dish, she got to thinking that she probably wasn't going to like it.

It was delicious! Well - at least I thought so. The kids were wishing for their plain noodles.

For a school cooking cookbook - one problem, well actually two problems I found with the recipe were: no indication of what size casserole dish to use (easy for an adult to figure out - but not for a beginner cook) and no even approximate cooking time - just "brown in a hot oven". Well how brown is brown and again - for a beginner cook - not so easy to just guess.

Mac & Cheese (revised a bit)

1 c cooked macaroni
1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T flour
1 c fat-free milk
1 c grated cheese
bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
f.g. pepper

Melt butter - blend in flour, salt & pepper. Add milk and stir over low heat until thick. Add cheese - stir til melted. Add macaroni to sauce, dump into a greased casserole dish - sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for about 15 min at 400 degrees.

I'm sure the kids would have enjoyed it more if there was more cheese in it - and if we had used a sharp cheese instead of mild...but I wanted to stay as close as possible to the original recipe and I also didn't want to turn it into something unhealthy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cucumber & Spearmint Water

I've never been a big fan of bottled water. To me there is always a slight bitter aftertaste that I've never become used to. I usually only use bottled water when we are on a long car trip or picnic.

I do enjoy carbonated flavored water - whether it's sweetened with real sugar or fake sugar - not as good as soda mind you - but it'll do in a pinch.

At Target recently, I came across a couple of flavored waters - cucumber and spearmint. I think each bottle was about a dollar. This morning we tasted them both.

Cucumber results:

Dd - "Tastes like water after a cucumber has been dipped in it - pretty good!"
Ds - "Tastes nasty!"
Me - "NASTY!" Sure I like cucumbers - especially soaked in vinegar with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top - but this water was unpleasant and it had the bitter water taste.

Spearmint results:

Ds - "MMmmm - yum...great! Tastes just like spearmint gum!"
Ds - "I like the cucumber better."
Me - "NASTY!"

I think I'll stick with my ordinary tap-water.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Laumeier Sculpture Park

This weekend we went on a hike and then visited Laumeier Sculpture Park. Seems like we usually end up at the LS Park when it is beastly cold outside - so it was nice to be there when we did not have to wear winter jackets, hats and mitts.

The kids really enjoy the park - they only wish they were allowed to climb all over the sculptures.

My favorite sculptures are - the giant eyeball at the top (pic taken last yr when we were there), the giant orange/red barrels below...

And the photo below (I think it is called "Birds Fly Through Us". It's kind of creepy looking, reminds me of a little cemetery...but I like it)...

Here is another view:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Simple Cookery for Kids

I still have the cookbook that I received when I was taking "Home Ec" classes in Junior High School.

One recipe that I remember making was fruit salad...not too sure why that stands out in my mind. I think we also made pizza...probably the Piece de resistance at the end of the year. I remember during one class in "Home Ec" everyone was talking about how many children they would like to have when they "grew up". I said 10. I have two.

The book has been coverless for many years - wish it was still on as I'd like to know what it was called. The recipes are pretty simple and the directions are written well - so I figured it might be something my daughter could use.

I don't use cookbooks very often - if I'm wanting a recipe I search on-line. But I have made a few of the recipes in this the muffins :)

At the back of the book there are helpful instructions on canning fruits and vegetables and doing laundry. It would probably do me some good to review the section on ironing. Ironing is probably one of my least favorite household tasks - unless I'm just ironing something flat and short like a tea-towel. And no, I don't usually iron my tea-towels, but I do sometimes. And actually they are good things for kids to practice ironing tricky collars and sleeves and if the iron scorches a bit - no harm.

Here are a few of the recipes that I think would be good for my daughter to try:

Baked Apples
Egg In A Nest
Never-Fail Souffle... (I don't think I ever made a souffle - so maybe my dd can make one so she won't have to say she is 40 and never attempted to make one)
Welsh Rabbit...just love the way it sounds
Chili Con Carne... is that any different than just regular chili? The recipe sounds like a regular chili recipe...I almost never use a recipe for my chili so if it turns out great - I won't be able to repeat it.
Bread Pudding...I've had some good bread pudding and some lousy bread pudding - but I've never attempted to make it myself.
Queen Elizabeth Cake...Hey it was a Canadian school...I think this cake sounds elegant!
Butter Tarts...if you've never had them you don't know what you are missing out on!! My girl hates raisins though so she might not be too thrilled about making these - but it's definitely an old family favorite from when I was a girl - so I'd like my girl to at least learn how to make them.

Recipes I don't know if I could stomach:

Shirred eggs...just the word shirred sounds unpleasant - like something that is jiggly and not quite cooked.
Creole Franks on Rice...I like hot dogs - but I don't like wieners in any other fashion...they are pretty much one of the most unhealthy meat "substances" on earth so they rarely make an appearance in our home. The idea of eating wieners for a meal other than a hot-dog gives me the same feelings as the word shirred does (though if I'm really hungry I probably won't turn my nose up at beans and wieners).
Tuna Bake...I love seafood in general but I don't do tuna casseroles. If I make it myself - I can eat a tuna sandwich - but if someone else makes it - I will avoid it at all costs. I do make tuna patties (similar to salmon patties) and the kids love them - but not a favorite of mine. One recipe using tuna that I do like and haven't thought of in years, but loved it as a child, is creamed tuna on toast. YUM!
Liver Creole...I do not eat organ meats.
Crispy Liver Steaks...same as above.
Cream of Celery Soup...never been big on celery and did you know that celery is one of those foods that some people are highly allergic too??

There are many more good, simple recipes in here - and maybe my girl (and the boy) and I will just try working through the cookbook systematically...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Matches & Machetes

I have a younger sister that lives in Papua New Guinea with her husband and 4 children.

The other day I received this email from her:

"We are starting into rainy season, but thankfully the mornings are still mostly bright and sunny. Starts raining about noon. So feel like we need to take advantage of the nice morning weather more. K just came in looking for matches. Her and B and usually a village friend or 2, make a fire almost every day :-) Must seem weird to you for a 3 year old to be asking for matches....and even weirder for her mom to give her some :-) but hey, that’s life here. Nothing to burn down outside, plus all the kids grow up around open fires in their huts and playing with fire. My kids do know they can’t play with matches in the house or without permission."

Well at least if they are playing with matches it means that they are not playing with their machetes - yes, they also play with machetes.

Awhile back I got this email:

"B almost got 2 toes chopped off a couple weeks ago. Him and his village friend were digging a ditch in the backyard and his friend accidentally hit B’s toes. My shovels are kept very sharp….we always told our kids to wear boots if using a machete, but now I guess that will need to include shovels as well."

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's Up With Mr. Dryer???

This morning I began my Friday load of laundry - put it through the wash cycle - popped it in the dryer and let it time out. The clothes were not dry at the end of the time period - so I turned the dryer back on and it wouldn't turn on.

Now I've had this problem before - one time it was due to some type of belt needing to be replaced. My Mr. Fix-It (he can pretty much fix everything except the economy) took the whole thing apart single-handedly, replaced the belt and made it go.

Then it seems like in the past yr another part broke and had to be replaced - no problem. Mr. Fix-It researches the probable cause, orders the part on eBay or some on-line store and fixes it again.

I'm not too sure how old Mr. Dryer is - he's aged pretty well. The dryer was here when we moved in about 12 years ago and it was somewhat old at that time.

So anywhoo - not sure what's going on. I went out shopping, prayed about Mr. Dryer - came home and it worked...for awhile. I think it's fever related. I'll guess it's a thermocoupler problem...not sure what a thermocoupler is - a heat sensor?? I think Mr. Fix-It replaced that on our furnace in the past year. Anyway - my theory is some kind of heat thingy isn't working like it should or it's overheating. The dryer will work for about 10 minutes and then shut off. But when I put the clothes in the dryer on "air dry" - it ran for about 30 min.

Hot Chilli Pepper Chocolate???

We were at Target this morning and came across an unusual candy (chocolate) bar - Hot Chilli Pepper. It had been marked down a couple of times and was now .98 cents for a 3.5 oz bar, so I snagged it.

The girl wasn't too sure she'd want to try it - but the boy, who isn't afraid of a little heat - was all up for it. "I want the first piece!" he exclaimed.

I am not a big fan of dark chocolate - but hey it's supposed to be good for you - so I'll exchange a little health for a little taste.

The bar is "extra fine dark chocolate with chilli" - there are actual little bits of chilli pepper flakes in the bar. At first it just tastes like a regular dark chocolate candy bar - pretty mediocre in my opinion. Then your mouth starts to warm up. It got pretty hot. The girl didn't want to finish hers but the boy was wanting second and thirds.

Overall it was OK - better than just "plain" dark chocolate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Was Once An Apple Pie

"A was once an apple pie,
Nice insidy
Apple Pie!"

"A Was Once An Apple Pie" by Edward Lear, is one of my favorite books for kids. In one sense the book is a typical alphabet book - a picture and a word for each letter of the alphabet - but in another sense it's nonsense. Actually the subtitle of it is "a nonsense alphabet".

There are not many alphabet books that I could stand reading to a young child over and over - except this one. I love the rhythmic-ness of it all.

Yesterday my dd made an apple pie all by herself. She belongs to a girls' club where you earn badges for various things and right now she is working on her cooking badge.

Thinking of her and apple pie reminded me of the Edward Lear poem, because when she was about 4 - she read the book aloud to our extended family, during a Thanksgiving family reunion talent show :)

We used this recipe - a bit different method than I'm used to...the butter/sugar mixture is boiled on the stove and then poured over the top crust before baking. It's wonderful!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Yesterday we made a trek out to Pumpkinland. Each year, a local farm & greenhouse sets up a " play area. Children can enjoy activities such as: cable gliders, slides, tunnels, obstacle courses, a suspended bridge, petting zoos, and a corn field maze."

Pumpkinland also has pony rides for $4 - we were disappointed to find out that the rides were only in the afternoon during the weekdays - so we missed out.

We did go on a hay ride though - and overall the kids enjoyed the time.

I appreciated the fact that Pumpkinland is "family friendly" and is not decorated in a ghoulish manner. The decorations are more like scarecrows and pirates and giant spiders rather than witches and monsters and gruesome creatures designed to frighten.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Books Without Pictures Are Not Necessarily Pictureless

My 6 yr old loves to read. His love of reading has been cultivated by keeping on hand a lot of books that are geared towards his favorite subjects.

It seems like, at least in our limited experience with one girl and one boy, that the girl is willing to read just about anything, whereas the boy particularly likes things that are "boyish" (frontiersmen, soldiers, wars, weaponry).

At a garage sale the other day I came upon a couple of Landmark books - one on Lewis and Clarke and one on D-Day. I began reading the D-Day book to the children and they enjoyed it. There are some actual photos in the book which I'm sure helped enforce the fact that it all really happened.

My dh and I seemed to remember an old black & white movie on D-Day...I searched the library and found it - The Longest Day. I reserved it.

While going through some books on my desk later I found another D-Day book "G.I. Joe at D-Day". An easy reader chapter book with almost no pictures.

It's hard for kids to read books without many pictures - at least that is the way I always felt. Even now if I'm reading a non-fiction book I want pictures. Don't write your autobiography or a biography and then skimp on photos!

Anyway - ds was able to finish his D-Day book in almost one sitting and afterwards he said to me... "It's OK if there are not many pictures - because even if there are no pictures you can still see it in your head." Ahhhh - imagination! A good writer can put pictures in your mind without including them in the book.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mini Beef Pot Pies

The other day I wanted to make some individual beef pot pies and came up with the idea to bake them in a giant muffin tin pan.

I love pot-pies but have avoided purchasing them from the store since I found out that one little pie has at least 500 calories and at least half of that is fat (might as well just have a lard sandwich!). I figured surely I could do a little better than those numbers.

I liked the look of the little pies - but something happened that I wasn't quite expecting. Removing the pies from the muffin tin was not an easy task. They tended to stick a lot - so once out of the tin - they didn't look quite so nice :(

I would like to try again - any tips for easy removal from the pan??

Friday, October 17, 2008

Birthday Cake

Just wanted to show the cute birthday cake my dd baked all by herself. You know you are getting old when all the candles overload the cake and the cake starts falling apart!

On Wed I had decided to take a nap - not an unusual event by any stretch - but the nap did stretch out longer than normal (hey I've been sick). When I awoke there were some strange noises coming from the kitchen. I checked it out. My girl had just finished layer one of a heart shaped cake. This was dd's first solo oven-baking attempt and it worked out just fine. On the table there was a ruler (so she could measure her pan) and a very long metal kabob thingy that she used as a cake tester :)

What was especially special about the cake baking was the fact that dd was feeling sick and feverful that day but she really wanted to surprise me with the cake..."I thought I ought to sacrifice something" she replied when I asked why she made the cake if she was feeling so poorly.

Note the sliced almonds arranged in a 40 :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chinese Celery

I've never been a big fan of celery. You won't find me making those little peanut butter filled celery slices sprinkled with raisins - just wastes some good peanut butter and raisins.

But on occasion I do purchase celery and use very small amounts of very finely diced celery in certain recipes.

I came across some Chinese Celery recently and decided to give it a try. The stalks are very long and very thin. Because of the thin stalks I was able to dice it all up nice and small - which I liked.

Problem is the Chinese Celery is actually more potent that regular celery. I mixed a small amount into the mini beef pot pies I made - and didn't like it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Time Vs Quality and Creativity

Someone noted that making pumpkin pie filling from scratch was a lot of work and wondered if the taste difference was worth it.

I believe in time vs quality~ usually.

For the most part I am in favor of convenience if all other factors are equal or not significantly better (ie. the work of growing green beans, harvesting them, cleaning/canning - compared to Aldi frozen green beans). The difference in taste is not great enough, nor the cost difference (b/c time is $) enough to make me grow and can my own beans.

Bread on the other hand...I prefer the taste and quality and texture of homemade bread better than the overly-soft-chew-it-and-it-tastes-like-glue, store bought bread. More work - but better taste. I enjoy the creative aspect of bread baking and like trying new bread recipes, especially different breads from around the world. Baking bread takes a lot of time and once you begin baking it you are kind of "hostage" to the bread until you are finished and that might take 3 or 4 hours. You can't leave the bread to rise and take off for 5 hours or you'll come home to an overflowing bowl of bread. Thus, I also like the convenience of store bought bread...if you pay about double or triple the cost of the lame white sandwich bread you can get a heartier loaf that is fine for sandwiches. Sometimes I'm willing to spend the extra $ so I don't have to spend the extra time.

I feel the same way about sewing clothes vs buying them already made. Maybe I'd feel different if I was talented in that area but I'm not. I can't sew a stitch - except by hand. The cost of fabric can be expensive...then you have the cost of the pattern, thread, trim pieces etc. A new handmade dress could cost $30 or more. A dress in a mall store might cost $50 and up. A dress at a resale shop might cost $10...found at a garage sale it might cost $5. It may take hours and hours to make a dress - though it may also take hours and hours to find the right dress at the store.

The benefit of a handmade dress would again be the creative an artist painting a picture or an architect designing a house. As well being able to make something specifically to fit yourself or someone else (instead of having to alter a store bought item) is a bonus. Recycling fabric could mean less cost to make the clothing.

Everyone has their own thinking about what is worth the extra effort and what isn't - and that is fine. Homeschooling for us, is another item that fits into that category of "worth the extra effort".

It is a lot of work to make my own pumpkin pie filling - much easier to open a can of pumpkin pie filling (already seasoned) or a can of cooked pumpkin. I'd say the homemade pumpkin vs the canned pumpkin - not a great difference in flavor. The difference is in the "creative" act of baking the pie from scratch (minus the store bought crust) - and personal "pride" in accomplishing something that not everyone attempts to do. Also the educational aspect - for the kids to watch and be aware of how things were done in the old days and to realize that there is another way to get food besides the grocery store.

I'd be curious to know what others have on their list of "worth the extra effort" - leave a comment and let me know!

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

Well my kids got their wish...we bought a pumpkin pie pumpkin last week and then yesterday we butchered it and turned it into some yummy goodness, in part, in honor of it being Canadian Thanksgiving.

First I removed the pumpkin's face (the kids had some paper cutout face pieces taped to Ronald...actually I don't know if he had a name - but Ronald seemed to fit).

Then I began the cutting and "butchering". Always a difficult process...the outer shell is so hard you practically need a saw to cut through it...I was a bit worried the knife would slip and I would end up with a little butchering myself.

I cut the pumpkin into large chunks - leaving on the outer shell - and popped them into my "new" PRESSURE COOKER. I was a little scared trying it out on my own - but it worked out fine. The pumpkin came out harder than I would have liked, but I'm not ready to blame the pressure cooker - I think I should have cut the chunks into smaller pieces. To remedy this - I just put the too hard pieces into a glass dish and popped them in the microwave.

When I removed the pumpkin from the pressure cooker the shell had fallen off most pieces or a gentle tug was all it took to remove the rest.

I used my ricer to mash up the pumpkin...a very messy job!

Then I drained the excess liquid, letting the pumpkin mash sit in a colander for about 15 minutes.

Here is the recipe I used (makes enough for 2 pies)

2 c mashed cooked pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
2 beaten eggs
3/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 ready made pie crust

Mix all ingredients together - dump into the pie pan - bake at 425 degrees for 15 min then reduce to 350 and bake for 45 min.

I thought it tasted wonderful BUT I would have liked it to be more spicy - I think next time I'd experiment with a heavier hand on the spices. There is a slight difference in taste from a canned pumpkin pie.

When I got ready to serve the pumpkin pie, dd informed me that she hates pumpkin pie. This is the same girl that wanted me to buy the pumpkin to make the pie..."I said I wanted to help make the pie, not eat it" she informed me. "I have never liked pumpkin pie!" What! She's pretty picky when it comes to pie...she'll eat apple pie (as long as it's eaten and made the same day)...she'll eat peanut butter pie (which isn't really a pie)...and she'll eat cranapple pie. She's missing out! I did "coax" her to eat a sliver of the pie - and I mean a sliver. The boy enthusiastically ate his pie.

His method is a bit unorthodox....first he likes a huge amount of whipped topping on it. Not unusual. But he will first eat all the whipped topping off...then he moves on to the next layer eating all the pumpkin pie filling...then lastly he eats the crust.

I should note that a smallish sized pumpkin pie pumpkin produces about 4 packed cups of cooked pumpkin.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cooking Under Pressure

This weekend I bought a pressure cooker.

I was out riding my bike early Saturday morning when I came upon a large garage sale. The pressure cooker was listed for $3 - I asked if she would take $2 - she would, so I bought it.

I've always been afraid of pressure cookers. I think I remember my paternal grandmother cooking with one, and my mother-in-law uses one...and they have always seemed a bit scary.

The jiggling weight on top spewing hot steam...thoughts of exploding pots....

Maybe my fear comes from a teenaged memory. My mom was not home and I decided to do a little cooking...making fudge or some kind of candy and I was using a double boiler - but I think it was a homomada just putting a couple of pots together...the pots stuck together and then at some point there was a bit of an explosion...don't remember the details too much - probably so psychologically scaring that I have erased them from my memory.

Well anyway - the pressure cooker I bought was red (my favorite color so that influenced my purchase) and it came with the original instruction booklet.

I read through the instruction book (which includes some yummy recipes for thinks like beef heart and tongue) and it all sounds pretty complicated.

Anyway - I know today is Monday, but Tammy's Recipes is doing her Tuesday Kitchen Tips today....and I know tips means I should be leaving a tip - but instead I'm asking for advice.

Do people (other than my mil) still use pressure cookers? Any helpful tips you can give me on using mine? Any words of warning? Tasty recipes (that don't include tongue or organ meats).

For some kitchen tips - please visit Tammy's Recipes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Introducing Yoda - Pet of the Day

Yoda was acquired last evening. Rather ironically, this praying mantis was found outside our church (good to know that he's a Baptist!).

Yoda was so named due to the fact that he was "small and green".

You can tell he loves having his picture taken - he's got a great big grin!

He sure loves riding around in his Playmobil police car.

Licorette Candy

I was won over by the cute little box and the fact that the box read "sugar free". I'm not a big fan of black licorice but I bought it anyway. The Licorette candy is made in Australia.

The little candies are mildly black licorice-ful, chewy and tasty. No hint of the nasty flavor you sometimes get when something is sugar-free.

This little pack cost about $2. My black licorice hating girl didn't even lower her standards for a taste, but my black licorice loving boy - loved them!

Here is what I like about the box - when you flip the top up and down it "catches" and makes a clicking sound and it feels like there is a magnetic tab - but there isn't.

Book Review - The Unthinkable

I'm reading a fairly interesting book right now - "The Unthinkable - Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why" by Amanda Ripley.

The author "offers a compelling look at instinct and disaster response as she explores the psychology of fear and how it can save or destroy us."

It's interesting to read about what causes some people to survive and others to perish. Panic and fear can turn a "simple" problem into disaster. One story that proves this airplane was getting ready to land and the light that goes on to indicate that the landing gear was safely down - did not light up. They abandoned the landing and flew around trying to figure out the problem. They tried to get a visual check on the landing gear but that didn't work.

While they are trying to figure out the problem an alarm goes off every couple of seconds warning of a change in altitude. According to the investigators listening to tapes from the flight later - no one in the cockpit acknowledges or questions the alarm. Finally someone notices a problem and the investigators hear "did we do something to the altitude?" About 3 seconds later the airplane crashed into a mountain.

They found out later that there was no problem with the landing gear - only a light bulb had burned out, but the pilots were so focused on the problem (tunnel vision) that they ignored a much greater problem...flying off track and at a lower altitude.

Let's hope that our government leaders do not become so focused on one issue - that they ignore the warning bells for an even more serious situation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sometimes Reality is Scarier Than The Giant Barn Swing Ride

Giant Barn Swing - Silver Dollar City (check out this YouTube vid showing the ride in action)

Some people enjoy being scared. And they ride the biggest, scariest rides in the park. They enjoy the feeling of falling or flying or not knowing what is going to happen next. And they even pay MONEY to scare themselves - CRAZY!

I don't like big, scary rides. At Silver Dollar City I only went on three rides that, other than the kiddie rides, were probably the mildest in the park.

Both my kids went on this ride and lived to tell about it (my dh and 2 kids are in the last 3 seats in the front on the right). "Something can be scary and fun at the same time" said the boy after he got off the ride proclaiming it the best ride ever.

If you really want a big scare, that doesn't cost anything - just check out our economy...hmmm, I better rephrase the "doesn't cost anything" part.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Silver Dollar City - Skillet Sausage Medley

When you walk around Silver Dollar City, you see these HUGE frying pans/skillets cooking delicious one pan meals.

Every time we went to SDC I'd remark about how cool the giant skillets were and wondered what the various meals tasted like, but would end up ordering something like a hamburger. Back home, due to my love for kielbasa, I'd try coming up with my own SDC like skillet dinners (minus the giant skillet). Potato/cheese pierogies with kielbasa, onion and peppers was a nice combination.

Well this weekend I finally tasted my first (and second) Silver Dollar City skillet meals. They were yummy!

The first skillet dinner was called Calico Potatoes...sliced red potatoes, sliced sweet potatoes, kielbasa (or some similar sausage) and (supposedly) onion and peppers. It tasted good but I was disappointed b/c you could barely see or taste the onions and peppers.

The next day I tried a different skillet vendor and it was just what I was looking for. Skillet Sausage Medley - Sliced red potatoes, kielbasa, corn, and large chunks of onion and peppers - delicious!

I asked the vendor what kind of seasoning they use but he said he "didn't know" as the potatoes and peppers come to him pre-seasoned.

So if anyone knows the appropriate seasonings for the skillet medley - please let me know~thanks.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

The face of the boy looking very excited as he recounted his adventures after our first day at Silver Dollar City. He was laying in bed. About 15 minutes later he was back up telling me how terrible he felt - "like my stomach keeps jumping"...I gave him a very small dose of motion sickness medicine and within about 5 seconds of swallowing it he said he felt much better and went off to sleep :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bake-A-Thon and I'm Gonna Be Gone

I began baking around 6:30 AM... cinnamon buns, blueberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin gingerbread and pig sugar cookies.

We leave this afternoon for a long weekend trip with all of my dh's family (about 16 of us). We'll be staying in a huge house in Branson, MO...the baking is my food contribution.

I'm feeling kind of gluggy right now from all the food it all smells good - but after awhile you're just ready for that baking smell to diminish.

I think it all turned out OK...I've made the pumpkin gingerbread before (just before serving you pour on some caramel syrup and serve with a bit of whipped cream) and it is very yummy. The pigs were from a mix and I don't particularly like the taste - maybe it's the overwhelming amount of sugar sprinkles on top. When dh was growing up his parents raised hogs - thus the reason for the pig cookies.

We plan on spending a couple of days at Silver Dollar City and then the rest of the time we'll just be hanging out together. We have been to SDC before so the kids know what to expect and are pretty excited.

We plan to be home Monday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happiness in a Bottle

Sounds like a line from a hair dye advertisement or for a bottle of wine :)

Did you know that you can buy happiness in a bottle? I know you can because I bought some!

Yesterday we tried some "Young Coconut Juice" (jugo de coco) with coconut meat - in a bottle. The lid is stamped "Happiness in a bottle".

The ingredients listed are: coconut juice, coconut meat, natural cane sugar....

The jugo de coco is a product of Thailand.

Tried it get a photo of the coconut pieces inside.

My daughter and I both thought it had a sweet, mild coconut flavor and loved it! The boy didn't. I like the thinly shaved pieces of real coconut inside the liquid.