Saturday, April 28, 2012

And . . . he's a GREEN belt!!!

Go, Little Dude!!   He tested for his 1st degree green belt . . . AND got it!  Yea, so proud!!

Sparring starts at this level, so he's very excited.  The gear has him on cloud nine.   He's VERY excited about his new cup.  It's the little things.  I'm happy that he's so dedicated to protecting my future grand children. 

I don't think of him as little . . . but he's really little.  It's really apparent at TKD among other boy children near the same age.  Or younger.  There's one little dude that tested with him.  He's 5.  Little is 8.  Five year old boy is a good head and shoulders taller than Little.  Wow.  He might be in middle school before he can ride a real roller coaster.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Giraffe Nails . . .


Mimi has been taking pictures again . . .

I get a kick out of thumbing through the pictures on my phone after Mimi (or any one of the kids) has been there.  It's like a digital fingerprint of things important to them . . . .

Like this:

Me, with no head, of course.  She likes my belt.

Moose, doing that cute thing where he rubs his eyes with his paws. 

Middle, holding the weight of Old Chicago's ceiling with her super-human strength. 

The bird, taking a tour of the backyard on top of Moose's butt . . . . I know, I know, that could be a post of it's own.  We have a weird group of animals. 

Day 17

So, I've been slacking on the challenges.

Forgive me.

I've been busy.

And, I've also been in a dark, twisty, sullen mood and not in the mood.  Not in the mood for much of anything.  Sulk, sulk.  Welcome to my pity party.  I think I'll go eat worms.

Yet again, today dawns anew.  And it is Day 17 of the challenge, mostly because it fits my mood.  So, without further ado . . .  Five RANTS or complaints or things that bug you.  Vent them and let them go.

Huh-huh.  Insert Gargamel, Evil Wizard, Dark Lord Chuckle.

Number 1 iRant. 

It bugs me when I'm driving and I stop for pedestrians to cross in an "optional" place, like a herd of people going into Lowe's, and not a single one of them waves a courtesy thank-you.

Number 2 iRant. 

Merge means MERGE, for the love of God.
Yield means YIELD.

If you are merging, get the job done!  Get your groove on.  Stomp on it and get the *&^% over.  The purpose of the acceleration lane (go ahead, guess) is to ACCELERATE.  Get up to speed.  Do it quickly.  Get your damn signal on and GET OVER.

Any one of these means merge: (I especially love the one spelled out, in case you are really dense.)







Yield.  My friend and yours, wikipedia, says that yielding is that thing you do when you DO NOT have the right away.  As in . . . it's almost a stop.     Really, to yield means, "watch out . . . someone more important is coming though." As in, ALWAYS yield to ambulances and emergency vehicles.

This is yield:

Wow, see how different the signs look?  Amazing. 

Number 3 iRant

Laziness.  Sure, I'm a fan of the occasional day where you choose to be a complete slug and watch reruns of Law and Order all afternoon, or where you choose to ditch yard work and catch up on past episodes of The Voice.  Don't get me wrong.  Everyone gets a day off.  What builds my rant is chronic laziness.  There's no place in MY life (I realize this is my, my iRant . . . so YOU can be lazy all you want) for chronic laziness.  And what really hacks me off is an "oh, I wish I had the energy to . . . . " coming from a chronically lazy personality.  Get up!  Move!  Go. Find a project.  Get going.  Get your thyroid checked.  Take a happy pill.  Do anything.  Do something! 

Number 4 iRant. 

I've initially filled this rant spot up four times over with different things.  I started with judgmental folks.  Added accusers.  Took that out.  Put in a situation.  Took that out.  Put in something else.  Took that out.  Like I said, I've been in a dark and twisty place . . . so I officially replace the whole shooting match with PEOPLE.  

Number 5 iRant. 

Dog poop on the sidewalk.  This is really hacking me off lately.  I think we have a geriatric doggie in the neighborhood that goes for a nightly walk but the owners aren't seeing that it is laying a steady path of butt nuggets all the way up the street.  ON the sidewalk.  I hate dodging dog poop when I'm running, walking or doing ANYTHING where the responsibility of pet ownership has been avoided.  Pick up after your dog.  And because I just bitched about judging . . . I'll qualify that.  IF you want to let your dog poop all over and not pick it up, do that in YOUR backyard . . . not in public places, puh-lease!! 

Oooo-kay . . . Finding my zen moment . . . and . . . . letting . . . go . . . . 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stolen.  And worth every moment.

Confessions of a not-so girly-girl.

I'm sort of a tomboy.  Well, sort of.  I grew up on a farm.  I helped birth puppies when I was a wee-one, maybe three or four.  I mucked shit out of stalls from a really young age.

I cleaned up pretty well for prom and such, but I wasn't really much of a girly girl.

My first year of college, Homestead got a hold of me and a box of clairol and said, "you need to dye your hair . . sit still . . . I'll help."   And I let her.

But I stopped that nonsense when Middle was about two.

Sure, I pluck and preen and groom and brush and polish, but it's more out of necessity than desire.  I really love a stretch of days that require no make-up.  I like those days A LOT.

However,

In recent months-slash-years, I've become a bit of a girly girl about nails.

I like doing nails.  Scratch that.  I LOVE doing nails.  I could probably open a salon.  I already have the Asian thing going.  I'd call it "Beautiful Nail" so all the white folks would wonder if you could get more than one nail done at a time.  Joking.

I'm in the middle of a confession here.

I like doing nails.  My own.  Yes.   The kids.  Yes.  It's like having 60 little tiny blank canvases to practice with and create stuff on.  I love it.  

And as such, I'm posting a few cool ideas.  My likey to share.

This is Sally Hansen InstaDri  #320 with a freehand volleyball done with fine line white & black. 

Best toe-nail color EVER.  Sally Hansen #375, Gone Grey.  Her toes are SO hard to polish . . . they all curl under.  One day on the beam and all but the big guy is rubbed off.  Cute little piggies, though, aren't they? 

Gone Grey with #270 Lacey Lilac.  Thin white belt & flowers. 

Best wearing manicure to date.  Gone Grey with #130 Blue Me Away and #300 White On.  I used a makeup sponge and lines of color on paper to sponge this on in strips.  I put silver glitter over the top.  It wore for almost 10 days. 

Pinterest Experiment #EGG-Hard Baked

Here's the results of a recent Pinterest Experiement:  

Hard Baked, Not Hard Boiled Eggs. 
Sounds genius, right. 
Here is the original source.  Please feel free to reference all you want. 

We are HUGE hard boiled egg fans in this house.  I buy eggs five dozen at a time.  Usually, I hard boil half that load as soon as it hits the door.  Hard boiled eggs are nearly the perfect food.  The texture is always right, there's a wee bit of protein, they are portable and perfect.  

So, I thought this was a novel idea and could see it coming to frequent use in our house. 

Step 1:  Put the eggs in a muffin pan (or that's what I did, because that's what she did). 
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  
I did 350.  Because I do just about everything at 350.  
350 is my safe place.


 Step 2: After 30 minutes, immediately remove the eggs from the pan, with a kitchen tool, of course and plunge them into an ice bath.  This is an important step.  I learned it after the third experiment batch.  So, do this step. 


Step 3:  Let the little darlings swim in icy water for a while, then refrigerate & eat as desired.  
Perfectly easy. 


Results:   These guys are 30 minutes @ 350 eggs.  
For my kiddos, that's too gooey in the middle. 
So, I did a second batch at 350 for 40 minutes, which was just right.
Having a limited number of bowls available to icy swimming pools, I ran cold water over the third batch.  Not so good.


Note:  Your eggies will develop little brown dots in the oven.  I don't know why she swallowed the fly, but I know you'll not die.  They wash off at icy bath time.


Here's the lazy woman method . . . run-cool-water-over-me.  
It didn't work as well.  The eggs cooled slower, and my guess is that they continued to cook for a bit in the shells.  They were rubbery and overdone.  Also, the brown dots on the outside went through the shells, sort of, and stuck to the membrane.  It made peeling them a two horned bitch, so I don't recommend this.  Just ice 'em, baby. 


Peeling was pretty dreamy.  It was easy peasy lemon squeezy, at least with the ice water batches.  The overdone ones . . . not so easy and they were gross.


Conclusion: 
It worked jolly well. 
I prefer the taste, texture and peel-ability of hard boiled eggs with a drop or two of EVOO instead, but it's nice to have an alternative, for sure.  And, if you've already got the oven on, it's nice to be able to throw eggs in with whatever is baking.  

Sure, I'd do it again . . . even though it takes four times as long.  I like having options.

Experiment successful. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cereal Box Offices . . . .

We've had a string of "those-kind-of-mornings" lately.  I think it's short timers syndrome (aka, the kids are ready to be done with school) mixed with the calling of warm weather.  And, in all honesty, MOTH has had a string of mornings where he is home to QUOTE "HELP" UNQUOTE.  Insert sarcastic chuckle here.

So, at night, in addition to setting out stuff for breakfast and clearing spots for each kid out of touching distance from the other and re-assigning seats in the morning, I've built cereal box offices.  As of yesterday, only Mimi still hid behind hers for all of the breakfast routine.  Still, a mood-saver that I'll be happy to recreate and to dangle over her moody little head for many, many years to come . . . .

Photographic evidence:

Three Year Olds & Four Year Olds . . .

Three year old kids and four year old kids are just the right size, don't you think?

This is the size child that fits in my arms the very best.  Don't get me wrong, eight year olds fit well too.  I like to snuggle up with my eight year old and listen to him read.  My ten year old fits fine, too.  She's the snuggliest one and she holds still, so is really fun to cuddle with, watch TV with and she's the best hotel-bed partner ever.  And my twelve, year old, while awfully tall (gee, where did she get that?) gives the best hugs ever and is super affectionate, she has sharp edges and likes her distance.

I love a four-year old bear hug.  Legs wrapped, head cinched.  It's one of my favorite things about little people.

Mmmm!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lady Jags . . . .

Their third game was tonight.

They won it in two.  As they have won the other two games.  They are absolutely hammering the other schools.  It's fun to watch from this perspective, since I've been a parent on the losing team for so, so, so many seasons . . . .

They are amazing.

I'm so proud of my daughter.  She's playing like a champion and acting like a young lady and my buttons are bursting with pride every time I observe her in this social setting.

Go Lady Jags!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bagel Pizzas . . .

Why?

Because I had all the ingredients on hand.  And because a beautiful tossed salad (for me and the garden girls) goes along perfectly with it.  And, because the kids get to make kitchen creations, too.  I'm not wholly responsible for the demise of dinner.


I strongly recommend a piece of canadian bacon to plug the bagel hole as a first step.  Brilliant, right?  No leaking sauce through the hole.  Yes, my mantra  . . . . it's the little things!

This is just cool -- Gigantic Flower



I got this via email and went looking for the truth.  There's a little debate and hair-splitting, when I was internet hunting.  There's a plant with the LARGEST BLOOM  ( the Rafflesia arnoldii,which is not this one).  OR, this flower, which is claimed to be the world's largest flower.
 
This enormous flower found in Indonesia is the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan arum. It is also known as the "corpse flower" for its unpleasant odor. The Titan emits the smell of rotting flesh to attract pollinators. "Technically, the Titan arum is not a single flower. It is a cluster of many tiny flowers, called an inflorescence. The Titan arum has the largest unbranched inflorescence of all flowering plants. The plant can reach heights of 7 to 12 feet and weigh as much as 170 pounds!"


Source:  http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/flower.html


The email claims that this flower is in Mexico & only blooms once every forty years . . . . 

I'm posting for the coolest of the pictures, but can't help but reference this commentary, for the sake of correction . . . 






This email forward claims that an attached photograph depicts a flower growing in mountains near Rio Blanco, Veracruz, Mexico that is the largest in the world and only blooms once every forty years for four days.

However, while the image itself is genuine, the email is inaccurate in its description of the flower. The flower shown in the image - Amorphophallus titanum or Titan Arum - is indeed considered the largest in the world. Also known as the "Corpse Flower" because of its foul smell, Amorphophallus titanum is a prized addition to a number of well-known botanical gardens around the world, including London's Kew Gardens, California's Huntington Botanical Gardens and Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens.

The plants have become quite famous and always attract large crowds when a particular specimen blooms at one of the above locations or at a number of others gardens around the world. One such plant was also featured in Sir David Attenborough's outstanding BBC documentary The Private Life Of Plants.


This excerpt from "The Private Life Of Plants", provides more information about this interesting and unusual plant.
However, while specimens of the Corpse Flower may exist in gardens in Mexico, the plant certainly does not grow wild in that country as implied in the email. In fact, the native habitat of Amorphophallus titanum is the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Moreover, the photograph of the Titan Arum included in the message was not taken in Mexico. The photograph was actually taken at Stuttgart, Germany's Wilhelma Botanical and Zoological Gardens by Lothar Grünz in October 2005.

The same photograph along with details about where, when and by whom the picture was taken, is available on the Wikimedia Commons website. And, another shot published on the Wilhelma website clearly shows the same building in the background as that shown in the above photograph.

While bloomings of the Amorphophallus titanum are certainly rare, and the flowers only last for two or three days, it is not true that they only bloom once every forty years as claimed in the message. The specimens kept in various botanical gardens often go for several years between blooms. However, the plants are not set to a forty year blooming cycle and many specimens have bloomed much more regularly. In "The Private Life Of Plants", David Attenborough suggests that Amorphophallus titanum in the wild bloom about once every 1000 days. 

At any rate, cool, huh?  Can you imagine a flower that gigantic? 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pinterest . . . Want, Want, Want


If you don't know me, this summarizes it all.

Succulents, densely planted in a classic wooden frame.  I love it.  I think this picture is originally from BHG, but it came down a long line of Pinterest pinners.  I love, love, love it.  I won't have, have, have it, though.  It's cost prohibitive.  But I'm thinking of starting something similar with hen & chicks this summer.  I have about, uh, seven million in the yard.  I just need a good location.

I've always had a succulent obsession.  I have several, for the record.  They're just little darling things that I like.  I like them all.  Not to be confused with cacti, which I don't love.

Please enjoy a visual tour of some of my favorites:

Your basic hen & chick.  Sempervivium Tectorum.  Yes, I like the scientific names for things.
Emporer Sedum in full bloom.  Bee magnet, but worth it.  And predictable.  I love it.   I also love this in the purple variety.

This is super popular . . your basic all green stone crop, Johnny Creech.    
I also love the red variety of this and the tri-color. 

Angelicum.  I love it.  It's soft. 

Hispanicum.  I love it. 
Golden creeping. 

Dragon's Blood. 

Red hen & chicks.  Really striking.


Oh, land, I could look at sedum pictures all day.  I also love "Old Man's Bones" .  . it's so fragile.  And Burro Tail.

I realize I'm hopelessly offtrack, so back to the point.  Where can I start a fabulous all sedum garden?  Am I close anywhere in my existing yard?   Hmm.  I need to have a think.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coupons

I'm jazzed about my coupon savings . . . .

Plus, I won a bet with Little about how much money I could save with one shopping trip.  This IS unprecedented for me, so maybe that's why I'm so excited . . . .

Amazing Human Body



It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.

 
One human hair can support 6.6 pounds.

 
The average man's penis is two times the length of his thumb.

 
Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.

 
A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.

 
There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.

 
Women blink twice as often as men.

 
The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.

 
Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

 
If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.

 
Women will be finished reading this by now.  

Men are still busy checking their thumbs.