Monday, June 30, 2008


It is hot, and here in the Northwest we find 72 degrees F. just right and anything above that TOO HOT. We are on our 4th day of 90 plus degree weather and I think now is the time to write the Hot blog. I spent 13 years in California wine country and I learned all the issues with heat. It is from this I draw my helps for you.

#1 Today we took the neighbor girls to the movies. Car seats get wickedly hot. Baby seats left in the car likewise. Keep a towel by the door you go in and out of and carry a towel for each child to put on their seat. They will burn their bare legs so easily. Another help if you have over 100 degrees like we did in Ukiah. Keep a towel in the freezer, or fridge and lay it on the seat long enough to cool it off. My sister made little lemon water wipes she kept in Tupperware in the fridge. Made the car seats smell good and cooled them down too.

#2 Food. You can make everyone very sick with food that isn't treated correctly in the heat. Many people don't understand how this works. Simply bacteria loves starches and warmth. It can grow to a dangerous level very quickly.

So with this in mind foods that cause the biggest issues are: potatoes, rice, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk. Now this doesn't mean other things won't make you ill, these are just the fastest feeders for germs.

I know all this because I kept a food handlers license for 10 years, 5 of it cooking for the schools and the rest running a little catering business. From that experience I know that germs won't grow when the temperature of food is colder than 45 degrees F (7 C)

DANGER ZONE: 45 degrees F. to 140 degrees F. so this is how the danger zone works, outside of those temperatures things are safe, once you hit the above 45 all the way to the 140 degrees F. germs grow fast!

The food can smell OK, look OK but you eat it and YIKES.

How can you keep the food safe? Don't trust yourself to know how long it has been out at the picnic. keep food in the ice chest (full of ice) and let people serve themselves from there. You can put ice under the food of concern, a big bowl of ice with a smaller bowl sitting on top is great. I like to carry stacking containers to put ice under things then when the picnic is over I toss the ice and stack the pans.

If food has been hot and you are home, put it in a shallow container and cool it quickly. Ice underneath helps Put the food right into the fridge and keep it uncovered until completely cool. Many people are made ill by hot food stored incorrectly. Once it is cold you can put the food in what ever container you wish and cover it.

Your other choice when you are on a picnic is to keep the food hot. We have a traveling refrigerator that plugs into the car and can keep things hot or cold. It wasn't very expensive and we have used it tons! For the birthdays at the lake we took a travel battery and plugged the fridge into that. It lasted the whole party and food was kept cold.

One more point on the food for summer HEAT. If you are taking it home and plan to eat leftovers you must keep it on ice or you will have no idea how much germ growth there has been and if you put it in the fridge when you get home and eat it the next day it has had a lot of grow time.

There is so much to talk about on safe serving of food but this is just about those HOT days.

#3 Cooking at home in the heat. Here are two of my favorite griddle cookie recipes. DON'T TURN ON THAT OVEN. You will keep your home cooler if you cook in the microwave. But for cookies the grill is the best. (frying pan if you can keep an medium temperate consistent)

And keep your butter in the fridge in the heat it goes racid very fast.

Raisin griddle cookies (recipe from an old "county journal cookbook")

3 1/2 cups sifted flour 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 cup shortening (try butter or oil I haven't tested this but need to) 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1 1/4 cups raisins

sift all dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is mealy Beat egg, add milk and blend together Add egg mixture and Raisin mixture to flour Stir lightly until just moistened and dough holds together. Roll on lightly floured board to 1/4"thick Cut with 2 inch round cutter Heat griddle until a few drops of water dance on it. (don't over heat) Oil griddle lightly and place cookies on it. As bottoms brown the tops become puffy. Turn and brown on the other side. Serve warm makes about 4 dozen cookies

If you want you can roll with a sprinkle of sugar in the flour and it makes a nice crust on the cookie These can be cut and frozen so you can take them out and cook what you need I like to add sunflower seeds

Lemon Griddle cookies

make as in Raisin griddle cookies but omit the raisins and add 1 tsp of grated lemon peel. This is very refreshing. I also add a bit of lemon flavoring to the milk before mixing it in.

More HOT Hints in future summer blogs

This is for you Wendy and anyone with scrap fabric

Snip in the center of the curve (see below)
See where my scissors are? That is the snip you take at the center
If you know a quilter or you are a quilter then you know where to get the scraps you need for this project!
Here is a wonderful fabric ball. It is very good for little kids who want to be able to hold on and drag those toys with them. I enjoyed making this for Max who turned one on Sat. I plan to make more. There is a bit of hand sewing which I don't mind. Be careful not to over stuff the pieces. You can see in the photo in my last blog that the fabric pulls a bit. I would firmly stuff the petal area and lighten up in the back so it is easier to sew together.
Here goes!
you need the pattern which you can make with the directions or see if printing them gets the correct size from my card board patterns. Be sure the patterns match the measurements on the diagram. If you want me to e-mail you just a PDF for printing I'm happy to do so, just send your e-mail address and I will keep it off the blog.
Cut 12 half circles from a solid color fabric or gingham. I'd keep them all on the same grain.
cut 12 petal pieces in bright prints, something with a smaller print looks better. I kept the long part of the petal at the grain. (lost about grain? do you need a blog on grain?) ( fabric weave direction not stuff you eat!)
Fold the half circles in half with edges matching and clip the curve on the fold 1/4" to mark the center. This is the turning point when sewing on the petal. (see my note by photo)
Pin a petal shaped piece to a half circle matching seam lines (broken lines) stitch together up to the center clip, stop the machine,make sure the needle is down, lift presser foot, swivel the fabric and pin the petal to the opposite side of the half circle. Sew, This will make a little pocket.
Clip curves (important) and turn right side out.
Press well and stuff.
To hem: Fold the two open edge into a hem, sew them closed by hand on the long side of the piece. See my photo of finished pieces before sewing cluster
Repeat for all twelve pieces.
Now for the fun.
Sew three units together. first sew #2 to #1 stitching all the way up the long edge you just sewed closed or opposite that. I held the two long edges together and whip stitched it.
Add #2 to #1 & #2 (see my photo of a finished cluster)
Do this with all 12 segments and you will have 4 clusters of 3.
Now finally match up two clusters and sew them together on the long edges. Do this until the final cluster and just sew it in by sewing the bottom with a good amount of tacking stitches and then tack stitch the top of the petals to the one next to it.
Because I over stuff I had to put my clusters together by tacking the top and bottoms together on all the clusters addition. I did 6 times with double thread and did a great knot and then pulled it deep inside and cut off the thread.
Have fun

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Things to come.....HOT

This has been a busy week-end and to add to it I was suddenly asked to speak in church. For those of you with paid ministry you have no idea how it feels to speak in church! I have been assigned a topic and I will do my best to give a good message, but that will keep me from putting in my fun blog on HOT or heat and how to deal with it. I have some things to keep you safe and let you have fun and cook and do. I will type it out when the stressful talk is over. So check back on Monday, I hope our heat is gone by then but I'm sure some of you have heat all summer!
I will also put in the pattern for the little fabric ball I made for my grandson Max. His party was fun and the weather, in the shade, was lovely and I gave him a 12 segmented fabric ball. Wait for the blog on how to make this fun toy for babies.
I know, Promises promises!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Max

Lilly and Max cousins

Max is the 6th child in his family, his mom is our 2nd child. He always seems so happy, and I am amazed at how early he began walking. Hates the new summer sandals however, keeps crying and pulling them off. Because his birthday is just a week after Lilly's birthday I have put a photo of the two of them that was taken at Lilly's party last week. You'll see he's not his usual happy self and it's all about those sandals!

Tomorrow is a party for Max's first birthday. At another lake this time. Itshould be in the 80's and everyone will be at the lakes this week-end. I've made him something perfect for a one year old but I don't want to spoil the surprise! Tell you about it later.

Have a nice day

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chart for Seeds, what seed does what.

Click on chart to print or make larger

I taught some gardening classes a few years back and this chart really helps you see what the different types of seeds are. Seeds are one of the main ways we keep eating.

Commercial growing does not allow for the diversity that might be needed for the future. We all know about the potato famine in mid 1800 Ireland. The reason for that horrible event was lack of diversity in the type of potatoes they grew. If you have three types of squash and you grow them and one can't take a cold spring you still have the other two types. Lets say a beetle likes on of the types of squash and you only get just a few eatable squash from that plant. BUT the last plant is hearty and makes it through. You will then have squash to eat and store seed from. My little example is no where near good enough to explain plant diversity to you but it's a start.

World wide there are plants that could make a difference in many lives. Many of these plants are no longer being grown with our large farm growing methods. Surprising but if you don't grow a seed every year or so it may not grow. So when an industry as farming goes to hybrid and only uses one kind of plant the other plants will soon disappear if someone doesn't grow the seeds and keep the plant going.

There are groups who collect and save seeds all over the world. Bless them all for their concern and care. There are seeds stored in carefully prepared conditions in hopes of saving this diversity. I heard one was in Iran and is lost. Typhoon Xangsane destroyed another important collection. Sad, many plants we won't have now. A new one in Norway has been set up and it is a dandy. If you want to know more about this you can check.... go to the bottom of the page for a nice article on Seed savers efforts for the Norway vault.

You will learn a lot about seeds from my chart above. Ask questions, I can answer them.
This is a serious site on the saving of seeds and a nice video of the Norway vault.

Sustainable living

That string bean seed is the one that got away!

Have you ever heard the term "Sustainable living"? If you haven't you will soon begin to hear this more and more. The important thing is it is not a new idea, it is the oldest idea humans have ever shared. It means to live in a way that lasts and will keep you alive and well. You need to be able to pass your sustainable living along to the next generation.
There are some fun shows on the PBS stations that encourage Sustainable living. One show gets farmers, cheese makers, bread bakers, animal folks and fisherman or what ever people in a community who supply food, together. They make a great meal and invite people in the area to dinner to show them what it is to eat from their own community. Think about it, go for a drive, what is in your own area that allows you to eat? I'm so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest! Food and farmers abound.
In light of this fast changing world, the growing fuel prices, the changes in where your food and supplies come from, you need to learn about sustainable living. You can contribute, you can help your own community learn to sustain that community. If you are interested I will go into this idea much further on in another blog.
I got a shock yesterday when I went to my seed cabinet. Long ago I became very interested in growing and saving sustainable foods. My daughter Cheryl and I loved the subject of Heirloom plants and we studied what we could find. There are groups of seed savers all over the world and seed storage chambers in some very interesting places around the world. I began growing foods in three 6 X 10 foot boxes. I grew a wide variety of heirloom plants which I would save seed for each year.
What is important about heirloom seeds is if planted the next year you will get the same food you had last year. Most seeds sold are Hybrid. Yes and on a yearly basis of buying seeds in town this is fine. If I want to have Sustainable food I need to save seeds from heirloom plants only. Hybrids can not reproduce to a plant like they came from. They may not even reproduce a food at all. You may be surprised to learn this. Another important point to heirloom plants is they can be bug and disease resistant and hearty in ways hybrid seeds do not. (more later)
So from my heirloom plants I saved a lot of different kinds of seeds. They were in envelopes sealed and in zip lock bags and in shoe boxes in a locked metal cabinet. I loved to use and add to and look at my collection.
SHOCK. When I went to the cabinet yesterday the seeds had all been eaten by a rodent. How he got in I don't know. Twenty-three years in this cabinet never once was there a problem. Because of the children in my house (long ago) I didn't put the seeds in glass jars as I had wished to. If it is even possible to restore my collection I WILL be putting the seeds in glass jars for the future.
After the BIG Shock and a bit of drama for bleach boy's notice I found my fury friend gave me some humor in his attack. He loved the pumpkin seeds (so did I), all the squash, but hated the herbs, the broccoli, the onions and leeks. He bit into the envelopes but left the seeds. I have planted all that was left and cross my fingers, and a prayer, that they will grow.
Having been un-employed since February I find this years garden most important. Grow seeds grow!
In humor I say we will have no pumpkins or squash to save for our winter dinners, we shared those with Mr. mouse.
I hope you check out the food growers in your community. Visit them, buy from them, encourage them to grow with the idea that the food should be healthy and safe. If we support the people closest to us who can feed us we will never have to wait months to find out where a tomato that made us ill came from! If you buy from local growers you will help keep them in business.
And for you who want to garden, even if it is just in a pot, please find heirloom seeds to start with. Seeds of change and Territorial seeds are what I use here in the Pacific northwest but my favorite way of getting seeds is from friends who share.
I plan to give you more on these plants and these ideas. I think they are so important to keeping us alive.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

fast toys for kids

Bleach boy and I noticed long ago that children will usually take the most unusual things as toys and rarely have as much fun with the store bought toys. Our first refrigerator box was an amazing toy. They made tanks and houses, and caves and untold fun things from that box. So today we will work on some fast easy toys made from anything but toy materials!
The flying straw
Carry the materials in your purse and you will always have something to amuse.
A drinking straw a paper Clip a 1/2" wide stiff paper that is about 4 to 6 inches long. This should be shoe box cardboard, or card stock, I have cardboard that my kitty food comes in that works.
1. put paperclip in the center of the cardboard piece
2. put both ends of the paperclip into the straw
3 This sounds tricky but look at the photo above. The cardboard propeller needs some "pitch" so it can spin through the air. To do this grasp one side of the paper clip between your thumb and pointer finger and give the strip a clockwise twist until it is almost flat but pointing slightly up to the right. Twist the other side of the cardboard the same way, and the same direction.
Now rub that straw between you palms and let it fly. The faster you can rub the straw the higher and faster the little helicopter flies. You might need to try a different pitch on the cardboard to keep it flying.
OK another flying toy.
Once again plastic drinking straw 2 paper clips notebook size sheet of heavy paper (magazine cover type paper)
1. Cut one strip of the paper 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long
Cut another strip of paper half this size wide but 11 inches long
2. Put one paper clip into an end of the straw so that the big end is inside the straw and the small end is outside the straw. Put the other paper clip into the other end of the straw the same way. align the two smaller loops of the paper clip so that they are facing each other as best as possible.
3. Take the narrow paper strip and fold in half and make a double strip into a loop with the end over lapping. Attach the paper loop at the overlap to one of the paper clips. See photo above
4. The wider paper strip is used to make a loop for the other paper clip on the straw.
Now be sure both circles of paper are both up and aligned. Hold the straw in the center, be sure the smaller circle is in the front. Don't throw this glider, just give it a firm push forward.
When I did this with my cub Scouts (long ago) they flew these for long distances.
Hope you have good weather to go flying! This and many other activities for kids can be found in Steven Caney's KIDS AMERICA a book printed in 1978. Yes a long time ago.

June Birthday #4 Happy Birthday Liam

Here we are in June with another birthday. It has been a busy month. Liam is 4 years old now. I hope his birthday was fun. Turning four is very neat. Liam is the third child of six. Four which are boys. Now you can understand why I couldn't find a normal photo of Liam. he he
For his present I made a fun pirate ship pattern fabric pillow case. Hope he enjoys sleeping on his new pillow!
Happy Birthday Liam

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First Birthday Cake

I just have to share this fun photo of our granddaughter at her birthday party. She is now one year old. A lot of family and a few friends came to celebrate with her. It was held at the lake on a day threatening rain.
Gifts were opened and now it was time for cake. Her mom quickly removed the pretty blue party dress (that matched her eyes) and put her in the high chair. The prepared piece of cake, from the middle, was suddenly gone. Everyone scattered to find it, no luck, more looking, and with everyone hunting another piece was cut.
I caught Lilly in this look, as she waited, wondering why she was dress less and what all the fuss was about. Isn't it sweet?
I'm also happy to report the rain held off, there was lots of tasty food to eat and very nice people to visit with. The lake had a boat race of little speedy remote power boats so we even enjoyed a bit of entertainment. They even had a boat that herded the little baby ducks gently out of race track.
It sure is wonderful to turn one year old in June!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Step by Step Yogurt making

I had dinner with friends this week and I brought up how good yogurt was on chili. We got to talking about how high priced everything is and I mentioned I made my own yogurt. If you have my basic Cd you have my yogurt recipe but here it is step by step. You can do amazing things with a jar of yogurt in the fridge. Tonight I'll tell you my favorite yogurt uses. But now it's time to go step by step
1) Everything must be clean. I rinse any bowls that have been in my cupboard. I pride myself in doing things quickly. Even rinse the Temperature gauge in hot water, any spoons you stir with. This is to make sure we only grow the correct culture and not something on our bowl or spoon.
Measure 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of yogurt into a small bowl. This needs to come to room temperature so just let it sit. This can be yogurt you save from your last batch which is what I do. You may buy plain cultured yogurt. Nancy's has natural yogurt that is perfect. Read the label and make sure it has live culture. Many brands no longer do. Amazing a cultured milk without the culture! we can cover this in another blog. My Nancy's plain carton says it has milk, L. Acidophilius, S. Thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. caset, L. rhamnosus, and Bbifidum cultures. Sounds like lots of culture going on. Aim for L. Acidophilius when you buy you plain yogurt.
STEP 2 Measure 1 quart of milk. This is 2% but you may use whole milk, 1%, half and half, cream, non-fat (my least favorite texture) or powdered milk which you will need additional directions for.
I heat the milk in my microwave oven. It never scorches the milk.
If you use powdered milk heat the water to 210 degrees F. Then add your powder. Continue with directions below at the cool down point.
You have your choice of Temperature gauges. They need to be able to go as high a 210 degrees F (99C) and as low as 110 degrees F (43C)
I have a K-tel 1 quart size yogurt maker but use any yogurt maker you have. This is about keeping the temperature of 110 degrees F. for 4-10 hours. In the 1980's we had a heated water bed that worked perfectly. A quart canning jar works perfect. If you have a heating pad test to see what temperature it keeps. Turn it on and test after 30 min. If it doesn't go above 120 degrees you are good to go.
Heat the milk to 190 degrees F to 210 degrees F. It takes a while to do this even in a microwave. Last time it took me 14 minutes to get to temperature.
let the temperature drop to between 110 degrees F and 115 degrees F.
at the high end of the temperature the yogurt will be tarter, at the cooler end the yogurt will be sweeter.
Remove the skin that forms. Try lifting it with the Temperature gauge.
all in one scoop. Or catch it with a fork.
Pour 1/2 cup of the milk into the yogurt starter (you brought it to room Temp.)
whisk this gently until the yogurt and milk are thoroughly mixed
Add the yogurt culture, you just diluted with milk, back into the milk.
Stir and Stir. It's so important to really make sure the culture is all through the milk. Don't make bubbles with that whisk. Use a clean fork.
Pour into your yogurt maker or into a quart jar.
Keep the mixture at 105 degrees F to 120 Degrees F. Never go above 120 degrees F or you will kill the poor thing. You get less separation of the yogurt if you use 110 degrees F.
If the temperature is under 105 degrees it will not culture.
My K-tel yogurt maker (bought in the 1970's) takes 5 to 6 hours to culture!
When you can tap the edge of the container and the milk is like soft pudding it is ready for the fridge.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Birthday walk with papa (bleached boy)
Cheryl (mom) and lilly
Last father's day I sat in the waiting room as Lillian Pearl was born. Today she turns one years old. How fast that year went! I get to spend two days a week watching Lilly so have enjoyed those little changes children go through. Wish I could know each grandchild in this way. I'd be pretty busy I guess with ten grandchildren!
My thoughts are with Lilly today. Yes it's my day to watch her, we have the house decorated and lilly is in a party outfit for summer. (sorry no summer here!) We have a cute gift for her and lots of singing of happy birthday which she hums along to. A picnic at the one of the lakes will be on Sat so everyone can celebrate.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Lilly, Happy Birthday to you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to clean up or what to do if you miss your dig out day!

Monday is my dig out day. I like a day at home to re-group from last week and the week-end. Today was not a normal Monday. Other demands, sick cat, fair ribbon drop off, etc. made it impossible to have my dig out day. What to do?
We all have times when we look at dread upon a bedroom or whole house of unsettled "stuff". Today had me thinking about this problem. I like the fast approach on this also. Don't tell anyone, cuz they won't believe you anyway, but I am a lazy person. I just don't give into lazy, I work fast. I have techniques for things that I don't like to do or things that must be done.
If you don't have a plan you can sit and stare at a messy room all day long and it will still be there to haunt and make you miserable. I think kids would benefit from this blog today as it was in my teens I began to apply my techniques. I needed to get to the beach or off to the all day movies or anywhere but my messy bedroom. So once again this is about not thinking too deeply about the job.
Yes attack the job with lightening speed. I had neat children and I had messy children. I liked clean bedrooms and so at times that meant cleaning out the messy rooms. I hated the job but it had to be done.
MY PLAN: I used a few boxes, lined them up and went to work. That's it. No fancy plan just practical fast work. Remember the beach is calling! One box is for everything that goes in another room.
1) Look around the room and put stuff in it fast. It's a race. Another box is for trash, you won't throw away enough if you just use the waste basket that's in the room and you will waste time emptying it when it's full.
2) Look around what is trash, quickly toss it. What we are doing is working in layers. You won't always get all the trash in the first round, or all the stuff that goes in other rooms etc. Another box is for things that don't have a place to go, something I just bought, mail I'm not sure of, etc.
3) Now look around the room, what is still there? Well hopefully it is the stuff that has a place to go and a bit of mixed items we haven't seen yet. So quickly put away the stuff that has a place.
4) Do a trash round again. Do a round of stuff that goes in other rooms again. So what's left you simply don't need or want any more, can it be put in the trash, go to the D.I or the Goodwill?
Some people can do better if they divide the area up and clean one area and have it encourage the next area. Use what works best for you.
THINKING A HEAD: My experience with cleaning house, or your bedroom is that "It will get messy again!" If it is a horrible experience every time you do and it takes you hours, days, or weeks to do it how can you ever face this kind of task? You must learn to do these chores fast, and with a plan. Look ahead to the fun you will have when it is done. Don't labor over every item, if it was important it would be in a special place or it will be soon right.
I'm sure some of you are wondering about this advise because you have seen my house. Well I can do a chore fast and keep up with things, what I suffer from is clutter. My depression era parents and grandparents taught me never to toss anything you might need it. I am learning that sometimes you will and sometimes you won't. I know what each clutter area is, sadly I can find anything. I just wish the clutter had never gotten in a pile. So I am in process of cleaning out the places that have things stored in them. Maybe this stuff needs to be passed along so my hobbies and life of today can go into the cleaned out spaces. Wish me luck 23 years in a house can leave a lot of layers.
So today I'll grab just one bag and go collect all the stuff out of place and put it away and I'll mop the floors, clean the bathrooms and the laundry is in motion now. And a shortened dig-out day is happening, quickly. I have a clean up basket in each bath room, but if I have a bleach cloth in hand I can walk from bathroom to bathroom, yes I have three, and can wipe down the counters the light switch anything that needs a little bleach. Next I go to each room and scrub toilets, then to each room and sweep. I find if I do one motion over and over it gets faster. This doesn't work in all places but it's great for the water areas.
Good-luck fellow workers!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Adoption and dear friends

So today I want to tell you about Steve and Christine. They are adoptive parents. Belle their little doll of a girl came to visit a few weeks ago. My has she grown. Happy little girl, had fun feeding maple leaves to my goat Gracie.
Steve and Christine are trying to adopt another child, they have been aproved by L.D.S family services since Sept 2007. I remember the 9 month plus wait for the birth of my 5 babies and it was horrible wondering and waiting. Just think what it is for an adoptive parent who has no delivery date. Oh how slow time must go.
If you know of a birthmother looking at parents for her child take a look at their profiles on and search adoption profiles then typing "SteveandChristine (no spaces) in the search box.
These are great parents with a lot of talent and drive. I've seen the warmth of their first home, which they re-did themselves. I've enjoyed their fun quilt they entered at the fair. I've seen the happy friendship they have had with our youngest daughter. These are good solid people, always there with a smile.
Happy to help them out!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

calorie burning chart......
click on chart to enlarge

1/2 cup chicken salad
1/2 cup of chicken salad spread out a bit
I've been thinking for a while about how to loose this weight. I see these advertisements for stomach bands. Way too scary for me, but I like scientific evidence and these surgeries have them. Seems when an over weight diabetic person has their tummy shortened they suddenly are no longer diabetic. I mean within a week their blood sugar goes back to normal. Now that is a shock. Just by having a smaller tummy they are given a new start. So I began thinking about this. No way I'm doing this kind of surgery but why couldn't I eat like they have to with that tiny stomach?
It's not hard to find how much we should be eating. At the simplest is the labels of products, they all tell how many servings are in the package. You will be shocked how small a serving really can be. If you want a more through way to know how much you should eat there is a fairly new chart that tells you calories by how active you are. Now this is important for me. Here in the Northwest we can be wildly active in the good times and very sedate in the dark cold times.
Since I moved here 23 years ago I have watched my hobbies swing from outside hobbies to inside activities. I think this may be why I gained weight to begin with. None of those 5 children added weight to me, and age hasn't done it. No it's been the adjustment I so easily made to quiet, still hobbies. Not good! So using this chart I can see to loose weight I must change my calorie intake during those slow times. Despite the believe that Northwesterners don't melt (yes it rains a lot) I do melt (born and raised in Los Angeles) so with that in mind you won't find me out on long walks in the rain. I'm smiling at the thought. Not this girl!
I don't suggest that you measure, and weigh everything you eat. You would loose weight but you won't last long I'm sure. I do suggest we all measure a few of our meals after we have them dished up. Am I eating two or maybe more servings of a food per meal? For the last year I've read the cans, and boxes for what a serving is. I've tried to start eating just one serving. It's a lot less food and I'm growing used to seeing less on my plate.
Now that brings me to another thought. How about we eat on a lovely looking small plate and only eat what fits on it. You'd have to be honest about it, I've seen my husband pile that Mongolian plate higher than the Andes! What we need is to find a way to eat small, shrink that stomach so that we know when we over eat in the future.
The photo is of 1/2 cup of chicken salad. It doesn't look like much in a cup shape but see what it does spread out on my plate. A 1/2 cup is a lot of chicken salad. If you read my other blog you know that to be healthy we need a lot of different foods. If I eat a half cup of everything I'm going to be over eating. So here is another chart just as an example of some basic serving sizes. It may be OK for my swimming every other day, husky bleached boy to have two servings of something but for me it would be too much food.
common one serving size of some basic foods:
1 cup milk or yogurt
3/4 cup Fruit or veggie juice
1 medium sized piece of fruit
1/2 cup berries
1/2 cup raw non-leafy veggies
1 cup raw, leafy veggies
1 small potato
1 1/2 ounce of cheese
meat servings the thickness and size of a deck of cards
So don't go on a diet, don't change all your foods for just salad. Try my pretend Stomach band, eat what you will burn and use a small plate and let's all see what this does for us. If you are at a happy weight do tell us how it feels and how you eat?
my next weight blog will finally be the one I started writing first "how we think where weight is concerned"
If you got a Wii-fit for Mothers day please tell us your favorite game and favorite features. I hear it's great for getting Fit!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My connection to food

I wasn't even a year old when they introduced me to picking the grapes that grew at Grandmothers. I can remember picking those grapes even as an adult. And what luck to have these two photos of me milking our cow. Who ever had time to eat, seems it took a lot just to collect the food!

chart I planned my meals from long ago

Quality and Quanity

Now that is a big bake set. How happy I was to see a photo. I have one medium sized envelope of my childhood photos.
My history with food is long and broad. I started as a child with a giant bake set full of box mixes. I thought it was the best Christmas ever. In High school I took cooking in the summer because it was such a fun program.
When I got married in the early 1970’s we settled in Northern California wine and pear region. It was the “Back to Nature” period of the hippy movement. I met and enjoyed many a cooking spree with these back to nature folks. Our closet city center was San Francisco and when Laurel was just working on her kitchen book we were eating at the wonderful natural foods café’s in the bay area. I learned to cook any and everything. A group of us formed a natural foods club and had food shipped up from SF which we weighed out and shared with the members of the group. This was early on, long before the organic title on foods. This let me use so many ingredients I would never have known about.
Then I read “Diet for a small planet’ and I was changed. I began to eat in combinations. I’ll put the chart above and you will see. As time has passed since the 1970’s we have learned so much more. I now know we didn’t need to be as exacting as the chart above. But the plan still works and it makes meal planning so much easier. You feel good when you eat. I do know that this is how my grandmother did eat without even knowing that whole wheat bread and milk and walnuts were really good for us and made a great protein balance.
My grandmother would make bread, by hand, in a big galvanized tub. I don’t even know how many loaves she made each time. I did know that there were 5 boys in that house. I was the oldest grandchild and my mother the only girl in that family. On bread day we always went to grandmothers for lunch, dark whole wheat bread broken into pieces in a bowl. A drizzle of honey, some chopped onions and a handful of nuts on the side of the bowl were added. If the cows had just been milked we had warm milk on the bread but mostly it was cold milk. I loved this lunch. Yummy as ever.
As we think over our weight loss plans we can get more by eating less and choosing better foods. We need to get in touch with food as it comes to us when we pull a carrot or harvest a nut. I remember helping harvest the walnuts. About 3 very large trees in the front of my grandmother’s house. A walnut has a heavy green husk on the outside. It has to be removed so the walnut shell on the inside can dry to what you know as walnuts. You don’t want to eat a walnut that isn’t nice and dry…..Yucky. If your hands touched the outside covering they would be dyed black for a very long time. After the green was off the brown shells would be spread on tarps to dry and everyone would keep their eyes on the squirrels who love walnuts too. My point in this story is to remind myself how much work would go into the food I ate as a child. Nothing just hopped on my plate. The cows had to be milked, the eggs collected and the vegetables planted. You might be surprised to know this was in a suburb of Los Angeles also. I doubt very much that we over ate during this time. Food was carefully used. I’m guessing if I want to loose weight I need to return to the food of my youth. Return to my connection to food.
Maybe you never have enjoyed growing and harvesting as I have so learn from me what a wonderful thing it is to know your food.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

200 wedding dresses

If you live in the Seattle area and know someone that needs a wedding dress send them to the Women's Assistance league in Everett. It's on Evergreen way. They just had a donation of over 200 dresses. There are also shoes, gloves, veils, and brides maid dresses. Pass around the word The Women's Assistance League of Everett on Evergreen way.

What can I say, I'm overweight and need to correct some things!

This is part two on weight loss. Or healthy eating really. Part one has been so hard to write. You can have it when I have it cleaned up and made it easy to read. This however is easy to write and you will be happy to have this to think about.
I have a cook I watch on PBS, his program is called Mexico: One Plate at a Time. The cook is Rick Bayless. I have so enjoyed his program which now comes on very late at night sadly. I have become a much better cook because of his cook books. I still have the smells of Mexico in my head from childhood and I'm sure it helped me buy his cook book "Mexican everyday". The real gift in this book is his introduction at the beginning of the book. He didn't want to be a heavy weight famous cook like so many gifted cooks are. He didn't want to sacrifice his health to his love of cooking. So Rick began to look at his life and his choices and he came up with some essential learning points to control his weight. I will list them here. He writes a lot about each point and you should check your library or local book store if you want to read more.
Essential learning #1 My weight reflects a mental picture I have of myself.
Essential learning #2 No matter what weight-loss diet plans promise, monitoring the quality of food is essential to maintaining healthy weight. The real truth is: I need monitor the quantity of calories I consume....
Essential Learning #3 Eating a wide variety of food ingredients is fundamental to nutritional fitness.
Essential Learning #4 Processed foods, many prepared foods and most fast foods have no place in everyday eating.
Essential learning #5 The world's most time-honored cuisine's illustrate that: 1) everyday eating is best kept to deliciously seasoned simple preparations of natural ingredients (mostly unrefined and balanced among a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and meat) served in moderate portions, and 2) fabulous feasts-once a week, or, for special occasions, more often-are an essential part of our healthy nourishment.
Essential Learning #6 For us to be able to enjoy great food without gaining weight, our bodies need to burn as much fuel as possible.......
I list these essentials because I think Rick Bayless has found some of the truths I have been collecting. The truths that Steven Gurgevich has in his Medical Hypnosis tapes I suggested you listen to. The truths that Mireille Guiliano shares in her book 'French Women Don't Get Fat. And more recently people like Michael Pollan, as in his interview with Night line, are voicing my thoughts about food and eating.
(read his interview at ) I remember how my grandmother ate and it's not even close to how we eat now!
So to get us started let's think about #5 from above. If we develop a simple daily eating style and save our bigger, richer meals for special occasion will we be happier? I can come up with 6 simple meals a week. I can cook up some grains and have them ready in my fridge. I can prepare some healthy meals based on just the ingredients. We could ask my #4 child what was in the fridge, most days, when she was on her mission in the way south end of California and I'll bet she'd say Menudo , a tripe soup that is a mainstay in Mexican kitchens. In Japan it's Miso soup, in Mireille's books it's leek soup, can you think of other cultures where there is a basic food everyone depends on for daily life? This week I'm going to work on a list of simple meals based on variety and freshness. Will you look at your meals, do they fall into the fast food, the middle of the grocery isles, in a box style of eating? Let's look at our food, what we eat. Maybe at the end of each day we could think about what that days eating was to us. As you look at this I will start a list of foods that can be prepared once for the basis of several daily meals.
Food is going to be fun to talk about weight is going to be hard and self image even harder but talk about all these I will.
This is just a beginning....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Discoveries come in interesting ways

Discoveries today offer some fun ideas for you. A friend called asking about my little rototiller. Wondered how it was at removing moss. So bleach boy and I went out to test it on live moss. We've used it many times on dead moss with great success. We tested, it removed the moss and we called the friend back. So now is the time for the discovery. In that brief moment the two of us set out to do the whole lawn. We worked fast, we both had been working on other projects, we had the lawn done in 45 minutes and an hour to haul it all back to the compost. What a feeling of accomplishment!
I think half of what keeps us from getting things done is thinking about it. Sure it will be a stress. Hunting for what we need to feel we can do a project. Not sure we are in the mood. I understand all this, I do this all! But in no time at all we did a big job. What was the key to this success? Just doing! NOT Thinking. Doing.
Back in the early 90's my sister gave me a gift. It was a see through bag, colorful and bright, it was full of small folded papers. At the bottom of the bag was a little round hole to extract the papers from. She said when I didn't know what to do to pull a paper out. This concept seems useful in today's discoveries. I need one of those bags and I need to fill it with projects that I avoid and know I could do fast if I didn't think about it. No collecting of materials, grab as you go and get it done. I think one a week would be a good start. Can you make a list of jobs you avoid when you think too much?
And if you search your mind for these ideas it will lead into my weight loss blogs. The first one will be on what your mind is doing to your weight. If you want to get a head of me a bit, go to the basic cd. Go to the Health folder, now to What's a diet, now to hypnotherpy. Listen to 1-5 don't be put off by the discussion of how to be hypnotized, keep listening as he talks about what your mind does to your body. It's very good.
See you in the next blog

Need a chocolate fix?

I hear that we are all trying to loose weight. I have been collecting some success stories to share with you and the hints they include. BUT tonight is about a chocolate fix and fast! Isn't Friday date night? Well we can't afford the gas or the dinner out for date night so it was 'Master and commander' and Easy Pots de Cre'me. My Bleached boy (new name for husband who has been swimming in the pool a bit much) thought it was chocolate pudding. It is ever so much more than that. Of course the chocolate you use will make a difference. Semi-sweet chocolate chips makes it taste one way and those rich 60%, 70%, and 80% chocolate bars make it taste completely different. How rich, or dark do you like your Pots de Cre'me?
This is fast to make, a little goes a long way so it serves a lot and it will satisfy your need for a chocolate fix.
3/4 cup milk plus 2 tablespoons (I used 2%)
6 ounces of chocolate pieces your choice (1 cup)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla or any flavor you wish I hear orange is good (use less)
In a bowl or saucepan heat milk until small beads form on the edge. (bowl for the microwave (saves energy) saucepan for the stove top) Do not boil. In a blender combine chocolate in little pieces, eggs and vanilla. Blend until just smooth. Add hot milk and blend again. I had to stop the blender and take a spoon and pull the chocolate up into the hot milk twice to get it to blend the milk in.(I fixed this problem by putting eggs and vanilla in and blending until smooth and then adding chocolate.) Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into 6 little cups. Chill. Top with anything you like or nothing. This is really rich. It chills really quickly too.
If you have the Basic's Cd you will find this recipe under treats. I have adjusted this one slightly.
Hope you find this week-end treat chocolaty good and that you can put a stop on the goodness on Monday and get back to healthy eating.
Have a nice week-end

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wash their hands and BAKE

We made these many times in the early years. Everyone likes to make food with their hands. Hopefully you have a little hand brush and along with soap you can do a fast scrub job on little hands before starting. Let's make Aggression Cookies Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a very large bowl (I had one of those plastic Tupperware bowls big enough to put your youngest in) put: 6 cups of oatmeal 3 cups brown sugar 3 cups butter (yikes I know, it's a pound and a half) 3 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking soda
I cut the butter into a bit smaller pieces but you don't have to if they are at room temperature. MASH, KNEAD, and SQUEEZE this mixture until your aggression is under control. Or until there are no more lumps of butter and the flour is all mixed in. Once it is all holding together, aggression is gone you can form it into balls the size of walnuts. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Butter the bottom of a small glass, have your child dip it in sugar and flatten each ball of cookie dough. These cookies spread so give them space on the cookie sheet to do so. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool until crisp. They are very tasty and good. Store in air tight container to keep them crisp. The dough keeps in the refrigerator nicely in a Ziploc bag. Your children can not mess up these cookies and nothing is better than playing in your food! If you make these, take a photo and send it to me for a blog of everyone making aggression cookies.
(Recipe comes from my favorite book "The Mother's Almanac" but Marguertie Kelly and Elia Parsons. I still haven't mastered why this program takes every space I put in the recipes and mashes them all together in a mess (aggression I guess) so to help you read this I put every other paragraph in a darker text. One day I figure out how to fix this!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

1978 That was a good year!

We have three family members who were born in 1978. Yes count it up, they will all turn 30 years old this year. The first spent her birthday in Prague. A fitting start to her 30th year for her. Our son-in-law, husband of our youngest has his birthday today. He is Daddy to two very cute kids. I know plans have changed for his birthday. A new baby for one must be keeping them at home. Congratulations on this Special day. Look at the beautiful family you have! What is more wonderful to note as you start this 30th year of life. Let's all think good wishes for Jared's birthday today! You can leave a comment for him here if you wish! Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you! *************************************************************************
So what else happened in 1978?
The first ever radio episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams is transmitted on BBC Radio 4. The Blues Brothers make their first appearance on Saturday Night Live. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens the priesthood to "all worthy men,". The first so-called test-tube baby, Louise Brown, is born. Odie makes his first appearance in the cartoon strip Garfield. Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, members of the Swedish pop group ABBA, are married. The sitcom Diff'rent Strokes premieres on NBC. Jonestown mass suicide. In San Francisco, California, city mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former supervisor Dan White. He claims eating Twinkies made him crazy! Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship. A renovated Hollywood Sign is unveiled, replacing the older version that was built in 1923. US President Jimmy Carter signs a bill into law that authorizes the minting of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Muhammad Ali beats Leon Spinks for the world heavyweight boxing title. Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine. The Solomon Islands become independent from the United Kingdom. Czech Vladimír Remek becomes the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space, when he is launched aboard Soyuz 28. The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois). Laureen, Jared and Eden are born. Their parents are all thrilled!

Paper dolls

Hope that title didn't put you off. This is really fun stuff. A young child will be amazed and want you to do it over and over. An older child will take the paper and scissors and start on their own connected dolls.
So grab some paper, a pencil and scissors.
Fold the paper in some nice wide accordion folds. You can see my fold lines in the dolls above. One fold in (Valley fold) and one fold out ( Mountain fold) You can draw your figure in full at this point and cut it out but it is easier to fold the accordion fold in half now and only draw half a person. It is important to leave parts attached to the fold. A bit of pony tail, the hands, a foot. If you forget and don't keep some of the folds attached you will get dolls apart. That is fun too.
Don't limit this adventure to just people, some great monsters come from this kind of play. You can use colorful construction paper, printer paper or the news paper for a nice long line of dolls.
Have fun. This takes no planning at all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Children loved music games. Yours will too!

remember you can click to make larger and print from
Also I'm having problems with keeping spacing in my blog hope it doesn't make it too hard to read the songs.
Have you done motor boat motor boat with those 4-10 year olds? My how they laugh and laugh. There is a music game for every age. We start with 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed and ring a round the rosie and London Bridges. I'll put them below. We move up to wheels on the bus, and here we go round the Mulberry bush. You need several children for motor boat and a hunting we will go. As kids get older they can enjoy the talking rhymes like Betty botter and Peter Piper Picked a Peck.
The beauty of music games is you need nothing but your memory. Good for all of us to stretch. No you can't do this in a long church meeting but I will share my hand games this week for those moments. And find yourself a handkerchief and I can teach you three great things to make in church or quiet places for child play.
London Bridge
London bridge is falling down falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down, My fair lady O.
Chorus: 1) Take the key and lock her up......etc
2) Build it up with iron bars......etc
3) iron bars will bend and break..........etc
4) build it up with silver and gold............etc.
You can do this with just you and one other. Hold hands both of them and lift and lower them to match the song. You have the child go around you and under your bridge and when you get to "My fair lady O" drop your hands down and catch the child. Sway back and forth. To get free you can ask "do you want to pay with silver or gold? let them free once they state what they will pay with. You can have them pay with imaginary cake or marbles, or stones, etc.
Pop goes the Weasel.
My nearly one year old grand daughter Lillian love this and we can sing it all day long and she loves the POP!
All around the cob-bler's bench, the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought t'was all in fun.........POP! goes the weasel. A penny for a spool of thread a penny for a needle that's the way the money goes .....POP! goes the weasel.
Where is Thumbkin? ( sing to "are you sleeping")
Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin? Place your thumbs behind your back
Here I am, Here I am. (show thumbs one each phrase)
How are you today sir? How are you today sir? (have your thumb bow)
Very well I thank-you, Very well I thank-you. (bend the other thumb back)
Run away, run away.....(wiggle those thumbs away).
2. Pointer
3. Tall man
4. ring man
5. baby
6. all men
I was just remembering all the baby songs I know. If you'd like a baby song blog just let me know. My sister and I made a tape of all the songs we knew. Not sure it still works but I think I remember them all...
Five little monkeys
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed one fell off and bumped his head
mama called the Dr. The doctor said "no more monkeys jumping on the bed.
use your open hand to be the bed. Take your other and and let the fingers be the monkeys.
grab your head on both sides and swing back and forth.
Shake your finger like the Dr. saying no more monkeys jumping on the bed.
Here is the Church
Here is the church (fingers interlaced upside down, finger inside)
here is the steeple (put your two pointer fingers up into a steeple)
open the doors and see all the people (Your two thumbs are the doors, close and open them)
close the doors,
Listen to them pray (put your ear to the hand church)
Open the doors and they all run away! (open the thumbs and have the fingers run away)
So I'm out of breath now from singing all these fun game songs. There are plenty more we can add to after we learn what we don't know of these. Don't worry about your voice. Your child doesn't care, he loves that you sing to him/her. They want to be noticed in this special way. Your voice will be beautiful. Just sing!
Enjoy, little ones!

Thinking of things to come

Yes a real Zen garden. We visited it in Japan and so do thousands of visitors each year. This is a very famous one and people sit there all day and just look at it. I understand the Zen master did it until he didn't need his arms so they fell off. And he didn't need his legs so they fell off. Any way the story gets worse as we go so I'll leave it here. This month is a sit at the Zen garden and study it month. Can you believe we have 5 family birthdays in June? I didn't believe until I looked at my wonderful calendar made by my youngest. We didn't have any children in June but we do have two son-in-laws born in June and three grandchildren. Two of those grandchildren will have their first birthday this month. So to honor them this week I will put in fun games and activities for children. One a day so check back. I know I'll have fun collecting them for you to use. But for now.......................... Guess I'll go back to the Zen Garden and think on this a bit! Hope nothing falls off, I need every thing I've got! Smiles Grammie