Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We CAN Stop

At the risk of giving a certain young lady more unnecessary publicity, as a mom it's hard not to comment on her recent escapades and wonder what happened to a girl who seemed to have a promising career as a singer.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google the word "twerking".)  I think much of the answer can be found in the lyrics of her song:

It's our party we can do what we want
It's our party we can say what we want 
It's our party we can love who we want 
We can kiss who we want

There are no boundaries - no restrictions - no respect.  Maybe I sound like a nagging mother, but she sounds like a petulant child in her own version of "Home Alone." She seems bent on rejecting anything remotely related to restraint:

This is our house 
This is our rules 
And we can't stop
And we won't stop 
We run things, things don't run we 
We don't take nothing from nobody.

I really don't care if she is determined to throw her life and her body around like they are things, but  I don't want my kids to think this is acceptable, mature or smart.

Last night I sat down with my 10 and 12 year old and confirmed they had not seen the video.  However, my daughter did find a still photograph on Instagram and my son saw the video for the song.  I reminded them that their bodies and lives are not things that they own and can do with what they want.  They were created in the image and likeness of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit.  

I held up a pencil.  I explained that a pencil is a thing you can own - you can do whatever you want with it.  You can snap the lead, stick it in an ant hill, break it in half, throw it in the trash.  I then asked them if their bodies were pencils.  If so, you can do what you want, say what you want, love who you want, kiss who you want.  It doesn't matter, your body and your life are things you own.  Problem is, bodies aren't pencils or things to be owned or thrown about.

I think my kids got the message.  I wish Ms. Cyrus would too.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hot and Cold

I'm still wearing my fashion-statement boot and sporting crutches.  If you don't know what this is all about, you can read the whole story here.  My ankle is taking longer to heal than either I or my doctor anticipated.  

In addition to physical therapy, which hasn't started yet, he asked me to do "hot and cold." This is a form of medieval torture.

It starts with two buckets of water, one hot and one cold.  I mean REALLY hot and ICE cold.  Pretend you are water boarding your foot and plunge it first into the hot water.

Keep it in there for 3 minutes as you watch it turn a beautiful shade of hot pink.  Then the real fun begins.  Plunge your foot into the bucket of ice water.

This is an entirely new level of pain.  Cramping, to be more precise.  Kent was timing my 3 minute intervals and I asked if it was almost over 30 seconds in.  Yes, it was time for mind over matter, except I did mind and it definitely mattered.

Finally, the torture ended after one minute.  Wait, no, it continued for 3 more CYCLES of 30 second intervals in each bucket.  Yikes!

Seriously, I have to admit that it does get the blood flowing through my foot.  I think that promotes healing (at least that's what the doctor said).  If it means I can get out of the boot sooner, I'm all for that.

Next form of torture - physical therapy manipulation.  Stay tuned.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Try It Tuesday - Rainbow Popcorn

Try it Tuesday is my opportunity to try a recipe or project, especially one I found on Pinterest.  This is one Mackenzie found on YouTube.  She was looking for "Bibble" which I still don't think we have ever found.  We did find Rainbow Popcorn.  If you like carmel corn, this is similar.

You need 2-4 cups of plain popcorn (no butter or seasonings) for each color (depending on how much color you want).  We used about 4 cups per color.  You can also add nuts (or other add-ins after the baking is complete).  You also need Jello, Caro syrup, granulated or brown sugar and butter.

Grease or spray non-stick spray into the bottom of a shallow dish, preferably a glass dish.  You can also line a pan with parchment paper, which will definitely be my preference next time.  Spread the popcorn in the pan and set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add 1/4 cup granulated or brown sugar and half of a 3 oz package of Jello, your choice of flavor (color).  Stir until caramelized, being careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and immediately drizzle over popcorn.  (Don't be slow, this stuff clumps very fast.)  You can toss it a little to coat as much as you can.

Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 12-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times during baking.  Pour onto wax paper, spread out and let it cool.

The Jello flavors make it really fruity.  I liked combining the flavors - it was like Skittles.  You can store it in Ziploc bags and it will last about a week.

I think the first time you try a recipe it's a good idea to keep some notes about what you would do differently:
1.  I would use less popcorn for each color so you get more coated.
2.  Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar
3.  Use parchment paper to line the pan for baking.  You can then move the parchment paper around to stir the popcorn during baking.
4.  Important clean up tip - pour boiling water to rinse/clean pans and spoons.  You will never be able to scrub this stuff from the bottom of your pans, but pouring boiling water into the pans will work very nicely.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Kenzie Does Crafts - DIY Finger Paints

Kenzie found this "recipe" on  We tried it out and have some "comments" of our own.

You  need 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of salt in a mixing bowl.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of cold water in and mix THOROUGHLY.  It will take a while, but you need to get the clumps out.  Mix until smooth.

 Boil 2 cups of water in pan

Pour the flour mixture SLOWLY into the boiling water (so it doesn't clump).  Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick (like Cream-o-Wheat).  (It might take a little while)

Pour the mixture into multiple containers.  Glass works best because the mixture is so hot.  You will have enough to make A LOT of paint.  Use food coloring, but use very little.  If your package describes how much to use for dyeing eggs, use half that amount.  We probably used too much.  The colors were vivid, but I was a little concerned about getting the dye thoroughly mixed.

I didn't have lids to all of these containers, so I spooned each color into a Ziploc bag.  That actually works very well because you can squeeze out only as much as your little artist needs.  Make sure, however, that you wait until these paints are completely cooled, because I may have put ours in too soon.  The bags didn't melt, but there is a bit of a "chemical" smell on the bags after one day.

One word of caution - these finger paints are food based (flour, salt and food coloring) which makes them great for even little ones.  However, food coloring can stain.  Also, and most importantly, because these are food based, they will "spoil" in less than a week.  Don't keep them too long because we learned the hard way - they will STINK.

Have fun painting!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Luscious Lemon Cake

I'm hardly a foodie and don't do too many recipes here, but I've been on a roll lately so you might just see more food here for a little while.  This weekend I tried something a little different, something I made up by combining a bunch of ideas from Pinterest and all those recipes that are populating Facebook these days.  This is a lemon poke cake with raspberry cream filling and lemon cream cheese frosting.  Interested in this yummy summer cake?  Read on.

You need:
1 box lemon cake mix                             eggs, water and oil (to make box cake)
1 package Jello lemon pudding mix        milk (to make pudding)
1/2 container Cool Whip                         raspberry preserves (jelly is fine too)
1 container lemon frosting                      1 container whipped cream cheese frosting

Make the cake according to directions in two round (8 or 9") pans.  When cake comes out of oven, poke each round multiple times with straw (or other hole-making implement) and pour prepared lemon pudding over the holes.  Smooth and remove excess pudding.  Refrigerate (because I like cold cake when I apply frosting).

Mix Cool Whip and raspberry preserves to taste.  I used about half a regular size container of Cool Whip and about 1/2 a cup of preserves.  I honestly can't give exact measurements because I mixed until I had the taste and consistency I wanted.  You want the raspberry taste, but not too strong.  Smooth liberally over one of the rounds.

Mix the lemon and whipped cream cheese frostings.  Note that I used "whipped" cream cheese frosting which you can find in the prepared tubs.  Unfortunately for me, I had to make add real whipped cream cheese (not frosting) because I didn't have enough frosting after my growing son ate most of it!  Mix the frostings, again to taste.  I would use more cream cheese frosting than lemon because the consistency is better with whipped cream cheese frosting and it cuts the strong lemon taste a bit.

Put the other round on top and frost the cake.  Voila!

I wanted to show a cross section so you can see the filling.  Note the frosting is clumpy because I had to mix in real cream cheese to make enough frosting.  It still tastes great, just isn't quite as pretty.  You can also heat the frosting and drizzle it over the top.

I'm pretty proud of this one so I think it's a keeper.  If you like a flavorful lemon cake, give it a try.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

All About Arizona - Monsoon Season

Summer in Arizona - thunderstorms, dust, humidity and hopefully, rain.  Monsoon season adds humidity to already sizzling temperatures, which in turns causes nasty dust and thunderstorms.  It's probably the worst time of year to visit.  105 degrees can be bearable in early June, but in monsoon season it's downright miserable.

Most of Arizona's precipitation comes during monsoon season, which is officially between June 15 and September 30.  Sudden heavy precipitation results in our dry "washes" (think creek bed) running like raging rivers in less than a half hour.  If you are fooling enough to enter one of these in your car, you can violate Arizona's Stupid Motorist Law, which requires a person to pay for the costs of rescue assuming you aren't drowned in the meantime.  This recently became national news when a bus driver near Kingman decided to cross a running wash.

During monsoon season Arizona also experiences haboubs.  What's a haboub?  It's pronounced "ha-boob" and it's a sand storm.  If you want to see lots of video, you can easily find it on YouTube, but these are pictures from my backyard:

To the west - extending nearly 60 miles
A haboub looks like a large, slow moving cloud that rolls in a blanket of dust and turns dusk to pitch black in less than five minutes.  It leaves an annoying layer of dust on everything outside.  

Yes, monsoon season (when the "dry heat" isn't so dry) can be brutal to endure, but for someone who loves the desert, it's just another example of the enigmatic beauty of the southwest.  I love the smell of creosote on the desert floor, the beautiful purple Texas sage that blooms after a storm and of course, the rainbows after the rain.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

No Good Doggone Deed Goes Unpunished

I have a soft spot for dogs.  I especially have a thing for dogs who are in the wrong places.   When I was 4, I spotted the neighbor's puppy in our backyard.  I bolted for the back door and ran my entire left forearm through the glass door.  Twenty five stitches later, I think the puppy found its way back to its yard.

On Tuesday my kids and I noticed a dog in the street in front of our house as we left for the day.  I opened the car door and an English setter jumped in on my lap.  We went door to door on our block looking for the dog's owners.  Leaving one of the houses, I missed the single step off their porch.  My right foot twisted and I went down hard on my left knee.  OUCH!

7 hours and a lot of crazy limping later, I went to urgent care.  I came home with crutches, a short boot, and hydrocodone.  The diagnosis was an acute sprain and a fracture of my fifth metatarsal, although it was not clear that the broken bone was caused by the fall.

On the drive back home, I found good news - fliers all over the neighborhood looking for our furry house guest.  I called the number on the flyer and SURPRISE!  The dog belonged to our new neighbors ACROSS THE STREET.  The dog, Beau, jumped the fence minutes before we found him.  They were frantically looking for Beau all day, and he was enjoying a play date with my dogs in the backyard pool.  I felt bad for them worrying, and they felt bad about my foot.

After visiting the orthopedic surgeon the next day, I had a revised diagnosis - ligament tearing but no broken bones, just a bone spur.  I also had a bigger boot to wear with my crutches.


Here's what I learned:

1.  Watch where you step
2.  Introduce yourself to new neighbors
3.  Leave the dog in the street.