Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kids Cook Too

My kids like to cook from time to time.  Reid seems to like to cook the most, and frequently asks to help make dinner, or to make brownies (his specialty).  Several times, we have made recipes from children's books.  I have even blogged a few before, but it has been a while.

I picked this book up at a thrift store.  It's pretty interesting, and contains a number of recipes from Colonial times. 

Reid decided he wanted to make a recipe from it.  He chose peanut soup.  This is a Virginia delicacy of sorts, although it has never been my favorite.  We learned from the book how it would have been made years ago - the peanuts smashed with mortar and pestle instead of blender, and roasted over a fire.
Everybody tried the peanut soup.  Reid was proud for making it.  Some of us liked it better than others.  Regardless, it was fun to try something new.  Maybe we'll make another recipe from the book soon!

Readers, do you like peanut soup?  I confess it isn't my favorite...

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Must-Have Supplements

I've always liked taking supplements.  I eat fairly healthy, and I exercise a lot, but I also push myself to the limit on a daily basis with trying to juggle jobs and family. 

I have some supplements I've been taking for a while, and thought I'd share them.  This is not a sponsored post.  I just have a few products I really like and would recommend.

I love the Vitamin Shoppe's Energy Formula multivitamin.  I've been taking it for about 15 years!  I have tried switching a few times, but always feel like I'm dragging when I do.  The Energy Formula has goodies like royal jelly and ginsing in it that really seem to help me function better through the day.

I like taking probiotics, which help my stomach issues.  Not all probiotics are created equal.  You want to make sure you get one that needs to be refrigerated after opening, and that has millions of
active cultures.  The one I have been using lately has 1 billion active cultures.  I've been hearing a lot lately about probiotics assisting in weight loss - which might be an added bonus if you are looking for that. 

I like to take Omega 3s.  I have been using these Coromega 3 packs - they are easy because they are individual servings, and they taste good with no fishy taste.  I like Barlean's too though. 

I also take calcium, extra B-12 (I have a history of deficiency, which was very difficult to get rid of, so I always take extra), and Vitamin D in the winter months.  When I have joint pain, I supplement with glucosamine chondroitin, but I try not to stay on that for longer than 6-8 weeks, as it tends to raise my blood pressure.

These are the things that help keep me going, day after day, run after run, rush after rush.  How about you, readers?  Have you found any supplements that you really love?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fake Poop and Binary Code

1.  I have a little area on the side of the house that I have planted with more things than I can remember.  Most of them don't take.  But this year I read some articles about shade gardens, so I tried to make smarter choices as far as plants go.  This picture is just a small corner of the area.  You can see tulips (from years previous), plus a new plant (I forget what it is, ha!) and an azalea in the back corner.  Hopefully some of the new plants I put in will thrive - I planted about 15 new things!

2.  Pierce has been emailing my youngest brother binary code.  This is how he spent part of his Spring Break.

3.  On April Fool's Day I bought fake poop.  It was placed on the couch.  At early o'clock the twins came running in my bedroom saying, "Mom! Dad!  Something has happened!  But WE didn't do it!  There is POOP!  On the couch!!"  The fake poop has made many interesting reappearances since then.  It was a dollar well spent.

4.  Baxter (our tuxedo cat we adopted through a rescue program 2 1/2 years ago) recently had to have a dentistry done.  I had noticed inflammation around one of his incisors.  Sadly, he came back with SEVEN less teeth.  He looks pretty goofy - he only has one incisor left.  Poor kitty.  I am not sure why his teeth were in such bad shape.  I only feed dry food, but it's hard to tell what he was eating in the 5 years prior to us adopting him.

5.  I'm sad over the glitch where people on gmail no longer get my blog comments because they are not being emailed due to my aol email address.  It's pretty crappy they are doing that.  Shame on gmail.  I refuse to switch emails over this, but I do miss the commentary from some of my bloggy friends.  I still leave the comments - but I guess they don't know it because I never hear from them anymore :-(

Linked up with Nancy and Tanya

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Majestic Find in the Woods

We've found a lot of interesting things in the woods around our place.  An old carriage, for one.  Paul discovered something new the other day though, when we were hanging out by the creek.  Can you see it, to the right?

Walk a little closer.  What could it be?  How did it get here, under this tree, just hanging out for who knows how long?

From the looks of things, it's been sitting here a long time.  Perhaps the rest of it just eroded away over time.  Or maybe it was separated from it's original pieces years ago.

How about now, readers?  Any idea about what this was for?  I'll give you a hint.  It's from the 1920s. 

If you guessed a radio, you would be right.  Wonder what happened to the rest of it?  Here is a google image of what it used to look like.

Readers, have you ever found anything really neat in the woods?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lentil and Apple Salad

I like to use apple cider vinegar a lot in salad dressings, because it has so many health benefits.  Here is a super speedy but flavorful side salad you can whip up to go with things like roast chicken or burgers. 

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 14 oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained
1 crisp apple, cored and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Toss with lentils, apples, and celery.  Serve immediately.

This recipe was from a Woman's Day magazine a few months ago, and I modified it just slightly. 

Readers, have you tried any new recipes lately?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Favorite Podcasts

Here is a picture of Pierce with our foster dog, Ramona.  She and her puppies are doing very well, and will be available for adoption in about two weeks.  The boys have been a huge help in their care and socialization.

It's Random Friday, so I am listing 5 podcasts that I have enjoyed listening to when I run:

1.  Serial Podcast.  You have to start at the first episode, because each episode builds on the last.  This is a fantastic and true murder story.  It is story telling at it's best.  I can't wait until the second Serial comes out.

2.  The Brain Podcast.  It is kind of technical (neuroscience), but very interesting, and I have been listening to these for years.

3.  The Jillian Michaels Show.  I liked her show better when Janice was on it, but they had some sort of falling out in February.  The replacement hosts aren't as funny.  But the show still makes me laugh, and has good tidbits about exercise and fitness.

4.  Defected in the House.  European dance music.  If you went to a club in Ibiza at 2 am, this is what you might hear.

5.  Survivalist Prepper Podcast - Where Preparing is Surviving.  What can I say?  There's great information here for being self-sufficient, even if you aren't a prepper.  It's not all doomsday or anything like that - but it has a lot of tips on a variety of subjects.

Linked today with Random Friday and Willy Nilly Friday

Readers, got any podcasts to recommend to me?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happier Hips and IT band

A couple of months ago, Runners World had an article with a hip strengthening program that goes through four phases, over the course of sixteen weeks.  It mentioned that something like 80% of people are pain free after the first 6 weeks.  And it also said that it specifically helps IT band syndrome.  Which you might know, if you are a long time reader of my blog, that I have struggled with for years. 

I started the program.  Indeed, by the six week point, I was able to stop using my foam roller on my IT band after runs.  I didn't miss it a bit.

Then one day I saw muscles in my legs that had never been there before.

I felt stronger.  Faster.

I'm now in Phase 3, and I haven't missed a single day.  Each phase is tough the first week - in Phase 2 I had sore hamstrings for days.  In Phase 3 I've had sore glutes.  But by the end of each phase, I am no longer wobbly on the exercises - I have a new strength.

In March I ran 162 miles.  I haven't seen mileage that high since 2008.  And I had no complications from it. 

I might....just might....even consider running a race again.  It's been 2 1/2 years.  Do you think I've forgotten how?

Runners World says this program is also very helpful for knee problems and plantar faschitis.  .  Even if you are not a runner, you might think about looking into it if you have aches and pains in your legs and feet.  I've had such great results that I wanted to share with my readers, in case you are looking for something like this too!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hunting for 900 Eggs

I had an opening in my schedule recently, and I filled it with some volunteering at the boys' school - hiding Easter eggs for the twins' spring party.  We had 900 eggs to hide, and not many places to hide them, so they were pretty much in plain sight.  You can't tell from the picture, but the grass was just full of eggs!

Cort and Reid had a fantastic time hunting for eggs.  And afterwards there was a big ice cream sundae party in the cafeteria.
Perfect weather for it too!  The twins even shared their Reeses cups with me from the eggs - they know those are my weakness. 

Readers, do you have a favorite candy?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Honey Bun Sheet Cake Recipe

This is one of those recipes that has been in my index card file for about 15 years, and that every once in a while I have to make.  It sort of melts in your mouth.  I got it from a secretary at a college I worked at years ago.  She brought it to a potluck, and I just HAD to have the recipe.  She was kind enough to share.

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup oil (okay to substitute applesauce for half the oil, I always do)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
3 tsp. milk

Combine cake mix, oil, buttermilk, sugar and eggs.  Pour into a greased sheet cake pan.  Mix together the brown sugar, pecans, raisins and cinnamon.  "Swirl" into cake.  Bake at 300* for 1 hour. 

Mix confectioners sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Drizzle over cake while still hot. 

This is also a great recipe for a brunch!  Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


In the Spring we like to foster kittens.  The local shelter I like to work with often needs help as kittens explode across the region.  But recently I got an email about a puppy mill seizure in Alabama.  Some folks from our local shelter went down to help, and brought back some of the dogs.  I saw pictures of the conditions.  They looked DREADFUL.  We decided we could help.  So we are fostering a mother Pomeranian dog and her four 3 week old puppies.  Here is Cort with the mother, Ramona.  We've found her to be very sweet.  The boys call her the "licker" dog.

Here is Reid with one of the puppies, Rusty.  This is Reid's favorite puppy out of the litter. 

There is also Riley.  He has unusual markings - they called him a merle male. 

And then there are Reba and River, the two tan puppies.  Can you stand the cuteness?

I am pretty sure there will be more puppy pictures in a future blog post.  We will take care of them for a month or so, until they are ready for adoption.  Luckily, I am not a 'small' dog person (except for my weakness for pugs and Welsh Corgis), so there won't be any temptation to keep them.  We will, however, enjoy them during the time they stay with us.  If you are local and interested in adopting one of the puppies (or the mom) seen here, please email me and I can help you get in touch with the shelter.

Readers, do you have any rescued animals at your house?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Odyssey of the Mind - The Runaway Train Problem

This was Pierce's second year of participating in Odyssey of the Mind.  Kids choose a problem, and then spend months trying to solve it with creativity and outside-the-box thinking.  This year his team did a problem where they had to build a runaway train, with obstacles, that propelled through a course.  It was very technical.

Pierce really wanted to be the conductor in their skit.  He practiced really hard for the part.  He was thrilled when he got it!  Here is a sign he made as one of their props:

Pierce doesn't seem to have any stage fright.  He spoke loud and clear as he scooted his train around the edge of the track (there was a second, smaller train that you can see along him that actually went along the track). 

Afterwards, the kids took the coaches around and explained how they built everything.  Pierce talked to the coaches for a long time. He likes to explain things.
Unfortunately, they did not place this year.  It was hard seeing all those crestfallen faces after they worked so hard.  But they did a great job, and it was all excellent practice for next year!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Restaurants in Roanoke Just Don't Serve Snake

Here's a picture of Pierce, with the pyramid he built for an Egyptian unit he did at school.

Some randoms:

1.  My boys love the movie Big Hero 6.  LOVE.  I confess it's pretty cute.  They quote it all day long.

2.  I currently have an obsession with horseradish.  I really hated it when I was younger.  Now I'm putting it on every sandwich.  Guess my taste buds have changed.

3.  Reid wants to try eating snake (he is specifically interested in boa constrictor) and alligator.  We actually found a Cajun restaurant here that offers alligator.  But I don't think there's any snake to be found in town.  Too bad we're not in Texas - I could totally hook him up with some rattlesnake (which, when I tried it, tasted a lot like scallops). 

4.  The other night I got into bed and things felt very....sandy.  Turns out one of the boys had gotten into my bed for some reason after playing in the sandbox.  Not a pleasant feeling.  I had to change the sheets. 

5.  Pierce has started collecting watches.  One day he tried to wear 8 watches to school.  He looked like one of those guys that stands on the street corner selling watches.  We've limited him to only wearing 2 to school from here on out.

Linking with Tanya and Nancy today. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Blank Slate - The 2015 Garden

A couple of weeks ago Paul tilled the garden for me.  The soil looks the best it has ever looked.  So I'm hopeful it'll be a good year for the garden.  At the corner post, you can see some of my kale from last year that survived the winter.

I sat around eating bon bons in a lawn chair while the boys went to work.  Okay, so there was no lawn chair.  Or bon bons, sadly.  Maybe on Mother's Day? 

I am hoping my asparagus will return this year.  I fertilized the bed this winter, courtesy of the horses.  I planted the seeds pictured below, along with some rhubarb.
In a few more weeks, I'll add more goodies, like squash and cucumber and perhaps some melon.  And tomatoes, of course!

Readers, what are you planting this year?