Monday, August 29, 2011

Makeover Monday: Putting my money where my mouth is...

A few weeks ago I came home from the dentist in tears. I found out that I have a whole mess of work that needs to be done. Thankfully my teeth are fine... it is my gums that I am worried about. My six year old patted me on the back and told me not to worry. She had a plan...she knew what to do. "Just rinse your mouth with salt water, mommy. That will fix it." I stopped crying and gave her a big hug. I had whipped up that home remedy only the week before for her when she had lost her 3rd tooth. If only it were that simple.

Well maybe it is not that simple, but maybe a little simplicity is what I really need. So I'm looking around at natural options for my ailing gums and I'll see if they help. It won't be enough on it's own. I'll still need to get some work done. But perhaps I can avoid oral surgery for a while with a little TLC.

This week I'm going to try out a rinse that uses Chamomile tea, vanilla extract and lemon juice. I'll also do salt water rinses(per my daughter's orders) and look into other options as well. I'll continue to brush and floss like a maniac, and do all the gum massage that my dentist recommended.

I need to do this so that I feel good about myself. To me beauty is not about makeup or a fancy hair style. Beauty is about feeling good about yourself and taking care of your body. I need to stop neglecting myself and take the care that I deserve.

Wish me luck!


Does anyone else know of any homemade mouth care remedies? Leave a comment and share them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There'll Be Some Changes Made and the Happiness Project.

I skipped my Makeover Monday post yesterday. It was the first day of school for my oldest daughter and I was busy in the morning helping her prepare for school and soothing my jealous little one. I took it easy on the writing this summer as well, and I gotta say that I'm happier for it.

So I've made a decision. I'm going to cease all the pointless networking that I've done to get this blog going and just make it what it is destine to be... a blog about my adventures in cooking and eating. I'm still going to participate occasionally in the hops that I enjoy (52 weeks of happiness and what I love Wednesdays), and I'm still going to post my Makeover Monday posts when I feel inspired, but I'm not going to scramble around looking for followers who probably never visit again after they push that follow button. I'm also going to slim down my reading list to include only the blogs that I really read. My feed is so full of clutter that I have missed out on a lot of interesting stuff.

This may sound like a lot, but the truth is that it is not going to change what I write or even what I like to read. It is only going to change the amount of energy that I put into it. I would like to put all my energy into writing and stop worrying about the stats altogether. I'm also going to start concentrating more on my other blog... Worth a Knit. I am in the process of getting my Etsy business going again, and my worth a knit blog is more connected with that pursuit. While foodlore and food writing are my passions my crafts of crochet, knitting and weaving are something that have more promise for turning into a future profession.

But enough with the idle chit chat... and on to the meat of the post... Happiness.

This weekend my older daughter's last "official" weekend of summer. So we decided to have as much fun as possible. We started out by having a fun Friday night. We visited friends, ate home style Mexican cooking, and took an evening dip in the pool.

Handmade tortillas with lots of wonderful toppings and fillings.

Inspiration in the kitchen... A friend from Mexico made these wonderful tortillas and I need to try my hand at it more often. They were so wonderful and fresh that my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We stayed up a little late having fun in the pool before returning home. The kids had a blast and so did we.

After a fun Friday we decided to go geocaching on Saturday. On our run we discovered a really cool pirate cache for the kids. It was the complete package... the key, the treasure chest and even a pirate flag.
My little pirate's discover the loot.

A quick salute as they raise the pirate flag.

On the way home my little scientist had to stop to check out these huge bails of cotton.

So what did you do this weekend?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Yaki Soba

After my birthday visit to Kobe Steak House where my daughters had Yakisoba... my oldest daughter has wanted to prepare noodles this way. So while at the store she picked out here favorite veggies and we grabbed a bag of soba noodles and gave it a try. It turned out wonderfully.
First we gathered together our ingredients. We had a 6oz bag of noodles, celery, carrots, scallions, and broccoli.
My daughter peeled and grated the carrots while I washed and chopped the rest of the vegetables.
While the noodles cooked we stir fried the vegetables in a little sesame oil. Once they were beginning to get tender... but still crisp we added the cooked noodles to the mix. Then we seasoned the noodles with our version of yakisoba sauce by adding some ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. It seemed a little odd... but I combined several recipes based on what I had. I just added a little of this and a little of that and it tastes surprisingly similar to what we had at the restaurant.

We served it with dumplings and edamame and it was wonderful. It was a meal that both the kids and the adults loved and it was vegetarian as well. We will make this one again for certain.



I'm late this week in posting anything. I had a pretty busy week. More about that later. I hope everyone is having a great week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Makeover Monday: Poison Ivy.... a rash decision...

Sorry this post comes late this AM... I was awake most of the night struggling not to scratch this poison ivy that has been plaguing me. So this morning I have been hanging out with a paste of baking soda and water (is there anything this combination of ingredients doesn't do?) smeared on my itchy areas searching the web for pictures of rashes, but the truth is most rashes look pretty much the same to the untrained eye. So I followed it all with a LONG soak in an oatmeal bath while I prayed that the kids wouldn't destroy the house. Now I'm dry and wearing cotton clothing and I'm hoping that it'll will go away soon.

I've never had poison ivy before... I didn't even think that I was allergic, but since that is about the only thing that will grow in the drought and I've been exposed on numerous occasions it seems pretty likely. Wish me luck dear readers and be sure to hop on over to the Zany Housewife's Blog for a hilarious story about back waxing.


Friday, August 12, 2011

My Busy Summer

My writing has been much more sporadic lately. I just seems like I don't have enough hours in the day to keep up with all my projects. I haven't been cooking as much either... it is just too hot for that. We have been trying to keep dinner as simple as possible.

So what have I been up to? Well the typical summer fun... swimming, playing in the river, grilling on the patio, and in the mornings when it's cool enough we try to venture out for a walk or some geocaching... but we have also done a lot of arts and crafts and hanging out inside.

I have also been keeping myself busy with my various crafts. I'm teaching a basketry class tomorrow at the public library and I'll be teaching two more in September for TPWD. I've also been working on designing some new toys and games so that I can get my Etsy shop up and running again. Previously my husband and I just sold greeting card, but we decided to branch out. I'm going to be making small toys and games, and I plan on getting it all up and running again early next week. I'll be posting more about that later along with photos from my basketry class... but until then here are some examples of what I've been working on.

I haven't stayed out of the kitchen entirely. I did manage to whip up this last night with Italian sausage and tomatoes from the farmers market.

For anyone interested in basketry I will have a free tutorial available on my other blog... Worth a Knit... sometime next week.

What has been keeping you busy this summer? Leave a comment and tell me about it.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Makeover Monday: Out of toothpaste and terribly unprepared edition

This weekend I got an unexpected break from my children after being stuck at home with them for almost 2 weeks with a mysterious illness. First one and then the other got a fever that lasted for 5 days. I had about 12 hours of fever free time between to run a few errands... they didn't even have the manners to get sick at the same time... so while I was nursing one sick kid the other was driving me crazy by running in circles and climbing the walls.

Thankfully by Saturday both kids were fever free and we got a chance to do a few fun weekend activities. We did a little geocaching and went to a friends birthday party. On Sunday we headed up to Austin to buy a new fish and have lunch with my folks... and that is where the unexpected break comes in. We had the wonderful pleasure of leaving both kids at my parents house overnight. It was nice to come home to a quiet kid-free evening.

The last thing I wanted to do with my free time was whip up a beauty treatment, so when I woke up this morning I had no idea what to write about. Then it came to me... I was out of toothpaste. So I went to my kitchen in search of the remedy. I had read one of the Zany Housewife's blog entries about how disgusting baking soda was... so I should have know better... but I was armed with a recipe and desperate after an evening of garlic rich foods, 1/2 bottle of wine, and then a cup of morning coffee.

I mixed together 1t. of cinnamon, with 2 t. of baking soda, and 2 t. of water to make a thick paste. I smeared some of this "oh-so-appealing" brown gunk on my toothpaste and brushed my teeth for as long as I could stand it. YUCK! My husband ventured into the bathroom to give it a try, but upon seeing it decided instead to to cut open the toothpaste tube and scrape out the last little bit of Crest.

Sure it tasted bad... but did it work? I got my answer with the quick, tight-lipped kiss my husband planted on me on his way out the door. Sure you can make your own toothpaste... but why? Now... Where is that mouthwash?


Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me about your own homemade toothpaste experiments... and don't forget to visit the Zany Housewife.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Love Making Soup.

I don't usually make soup in the summer. It is too hot this time of year to have a pot simmering on the stove for hours at a time. This week I was desperate, however. There has been a nasty bug going through my house. Both of my kids have run fevers for days on end and I need something to boost the ol' immune system... so I made chicken noodle soup.

I started out by making chicken stock from scratch. We had picked up a rotisserie the night before for a quick easy dinner... so the next day I pulled all the extra meat of the bones and put the bones and some vegetables in a stock pot with water, salt, pepper and a couple of bay leaves. I cooked that down for 3-4 hours and then strained out the big bits leaving behind just the broth.
After that I just added the leftover chicken, 3 chopped carrots, 3 ribs of celery, 4 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/2 a diced onion. I cooked it until the veggies were soft and then added in some fresh basil from the garden and 1/2 a package of noodles. I then seasoned it with salt an pepper. Once the noodles were cooked it was ready to go.

I love making soup. It is a great way to be intuitive in the kitchen. You just throw in a bit of this and a bit of that... The hell with measuring cups or spoons.

My oldest daughter is done with this nasty illness... but today I am stuck at home with the little one. Hopefully this illness will clear up before the weekend. I have plans to go camping and I'm itching to get out of the house. Perhaps it is time to make some more soup.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness: New Discoveries

On a geocaching outing we discovered this little BBQ trailer in a small community called Lytton Springs. It was an odd day out. There was suppose to be a cache near this trailer, but all we found was the lid... so we stopped and had a bite to eat instead.
The kids weren't terribly fond of the food... but I thought it was pretty good... and the folks that ran the trailer were very nice. They sat and chatted with us for a long time.
The kids got chopped beef on a bun, which I liked very much... and my husband and I ordered the brisket sandwich. I would have liked it a lot more on a good whole grain bread... but that'll never happen at a BBQ joint. White bread is sacred at such times.
We stopped at the near by general store to get some drinks to go with our meal. This place was the real deal right down to the old lady manning the register with curlers in her hair. I loved the old bench with the Buttercrust bread sign for a back. It looked like something you'd pay a lot for at an antique store... but I have a feeling this thing had been here since it was new.

The best thing about this outing was that when we set out that morning we had no idea our day would be filled with new discoveries. You never know where the back roads will take you. I think our oddest (and certainly creepiest) discovery of the day was a box full of coconut shells and real chicken feet that we found at the gate of a nearby cemetery. I don't know what that was about and I don't think I want to... It was an odd morning for sure... but you never know where geocaching will take you next.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Makeover Monday: I'm feelin' Just Peachy.

Who doesn't love a peach? Even if you don't like the taste... they smell so wonderful and they are soft and fuzzy. They are the cute and cuddly stuffed animal of the produce isle. Not only are they cute, but peaches are good for your skin. They contain fruit acids that exfoliate, plus Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which are both excellent for your complexion.

I woke up this morning with nothing for my Makeover Monday post. All I had was some watermelon and a peach that I had set aside for possible face masks. I planned to try one last night, but I never got around to it...frankly I was exhausted. My older daughter has been sick since Wednesday and while we tried to still have a bit of fun... most of the weekend was spent trying to entertain a whiny, bored kid. Poor thing... 5 days with a fever really sucks!

But back to my makeover post...The watermelon facial that I read about sounded super messy due to the watery nature of the fruit and it was something I was going to have to remain still for... and with two kids wanting breakfast and 6 year old whose fever had finally broken I couldn't imagine sitting around for 20 minutes... So I reached for the peach... and here I sit with a mashed up mixture of peaches and egg whites on my face writing about a beauty treatment I haven't even finished yet. In a moment I will pause, save my work, and head to the shower to find out just how well this peachy little face mask fares.

Thirty minutes have elapsed since I typed those last words. I have emerged from the shower... clean and peachy fresh. I'm dressed and ready to attack the day thanks to my morning peachy makeover. It is amazing how much better I feel. My pores are tight from the egg white, and my skin is shiny (but not in a greasy way) and bright.

The mask I used was made from one peeled and mashed peach and the white of one egg. I mashed it by hand... but it was still a little lumpy so I pulsed it in the blender for a few seconds. After that all I did was smear some on my face and then I went about my normal morning routine. My six year old even told me that it didn't look "that bad." Now that I'm rinsed and ready to roll I feel great! Thank you Makeover Monday!



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