Thursday, September 29, 2016

bits of cold

It was very cold at the bus stop this morning.  And the bus didn't come, because no one informed us of the policy, or the phone number to call, to call the bus garage early in the morning to tell them the child who was absent will be back to school that day.  The school didn't know anything about that policy when I went to drop her off.  But, now the number is pasted up on our bulletin board.  And I hope they come get her tomorrow.  It was cold enough to need a blanket just to hide under from the wind.

Esme's backpack came, she wore it today.  It didn't fit her lunchbag up front, but I let her take hot lunch today anyway because she had been sick and it was something she said she could eat.  My Oolong tea came - I'll make a cup of that later.  Mark is quite happy because we found pork roast AND orange juice on sale and made good on both offers.  He now has lots of pork and orange juice (which he eats and drinks anwyay). 

We've been using coupons and following the sales for a few months.  I think we've about broke even moneywise, because we end up buying some other things we would go without when we can save some on other things.  We'll see if that trend continues.  I also need to start carrying the coupons in my bag all of the time, because we've bought at least three things that I had good dollar off or more coupons for and we didn't have the coupon with us because I didn't think we would buy it that day.  So, there is some to be learned there.  I would really like to find more shampoo deals with how much Esme uses.  I will just have to jump on any real deal we can use to the fullest extent and stock them in the cupboard.

We're still waiting on the things I ordered for Esme's birthday.  I'm still holding off on the t-shirt I was going to buy her.  And I have no idea what we are going to do for the actual day of (Friday) or the Saturday afterwards.  Well, not NO idea.. I've got a few ideas... but I'm not sure if we'll do them.  G's birthday party and Esme being sick afterwards has just made me tired and a little drained.

It's past noon and I hope that means everything was okay for her at school today.  She was so tired and floppy for a few days there, and about half-power yesterday.  She played outside in the sawed down tree top for a while with the dogs.  They love the tree Mark cut down by the fence.  He pushed it over into their area for them to play and chew on for a while before we cut it up into smaller pieces.  When I read Esme some book last night (Still on Sword in the Grotto) she laid perfectly still in her bed, no rolling, no getting up and jumping around.  Really under normal circumstances I'd wish for that.. but it made me realize how much the sickness had taken out of her.  Hoping for better tonight and that picking her work up yesterday will lead to not a huge load of homework tonight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

moving forward bits

Moving Forward Goals:
I received another fifty pictures to put in our family photo album, then Esme requested another one based on those... and I put another fourteen in the queue.  She saw pictures of her admiring a fish Daddy caught when she was two, and then she wanted the picture of the fish she caught last summer in there, too.  Mark says having a paper printed copy is kind of old-fashioned, definitely will be by the time Esme is older.. but it did feel nice to flip through pages and show her how the time has passed.  A lot of the pictures are natural 'pairs' as well, where two pictures tell a story of what happened that day.  ie: Me and Esme walking in the woods when she was one.. her barely at my knee level, and the next picture Daddy carrying her over his shoulder over a big log.

Esme's new backpack came.  She is considering it part of her birthday but she broke the zipper on her old one's front pocket last week so it came just in time.  It is dark grey with bright pictures of foxes and owls all over it.

Rolling from the Weekend:
Esme is still poorly, but eating and drinking and watching her TV standing up like usual (instead of sleeping or slumped in a chair).  She still can't go to school tomorrow, either.. because she was running 101.5 this morning and had a headache when I woke her up.  Hopefully the antibiotic and the tylenol will start knocking it out.  She had chicken soup and honey lemon tea this morning and ate all of it.  Seeing her attitude improve (she was cracking jokes and wanted to play ball in the hallway) is a good sign.

I have tonight at work and then two days off... so hopefully we can get her well then.

Whatever you Call what was on NPR last night at 8:
We listened to the presidential debate on the radio last night, while Esme watched cartoons in bed.  I've never consumed more than a bottle (MAB) in a single night*, but I had one and a half (Mark finished the other half) listening to those two argue audio-only for an hour and a half.  I can't in good faith vote for either of them...   Hillary might have seemed to hold her 'poise' more, but also sounded so much more scripted.  We looked at each other several times saying 'Does she even believe what she just said, or is she just reading it off of something?'  Trump was on bad behavior and huffing and bluffing through it all, barely able to keep himself from shouting like a kid in an elementary school debate.  All in all, he sounded like he was going off note cards, too... badly written ones he glanced at now and then but kept him hitting the important points to dig the other side about before he was done.  Neither of them stayed close to the topics - verging off far and wide and then finding places to argue with each other over that were closer to what they really wanted to say and weren't being asked about.  Mark said they both sounded like sideshow clowns hitting each other with rubber hammers, or chickens, whichever you like.  And most of America is going to pick between these two on the ballot, if they vote at all.

*Honestly, most of the time I can't even finish a single one, with food.  Mark was absolutely certain he had never ever seen me open a second.

Monday, September 26, 2016

bit of Monday

Esme came back from her sleepover/party really really tired... asleep most of the way home, staggered to bed after a drink and went to sleep some more.  The birthday girl's mom said she hardly ate anything there - which isn't that unusual, and she hadn't slept much that night (none of the girls had).  But, she was much more tired than usual.  I asked her if she wanted a special drink at the store and she barely lifted her head out of the cart.  She perked up after a nap but hardly ate any of a favorite supper and then didn't complain when I said we should go to bed early.  Then Saturday she started running a temperature, which we were watching out for, considering the normally bouncy child was sleeping and her eyes looked 'funny'...Moms see that sort of thing.  Mark isn't sure what I mean when I say that, but it usually pans out that if her eyes have that sheen and squinch to them she's about to get sick  Her temp rose to 103 overnight.  She also complains her legs and head hurt.  The temp kept coming back after a dose of tylenol.  So, this morning we are off to the doctor. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

An Eggy Toast or...?

I'm not sure what others call this.  I grew up calling it an Eggy Toast, which is different than French Toast (as it has no milk) and is more of  a timing trick than it really is a recipe.  Mark says it can't be that unique, people have obviously done this before - but what did they call it?  I'm sure the name changes from region to that lovely hamburger and milk gravy with peas on toast thing we were served without ever knowing the *ahem* colorful name for it.  It probably was a complete accident of being a kid and having the toast part ready but having to wait for the eggs to be delivered to your plate. But once you've gotten used to eating something a certain way it does have a comfort factor to serve it up for yourself once in a while.

The first part is, of course, to fry an egg or two.  Fry them sunny side up in a little butter and get it almost to the point where the whites have cooked but the yolks are still runny inside.

The timing trick comes if you are doing this alone.  You're watching the eggs... and unless you put the toast in the oven rack directly beneath you in the stove, you might burn it.  Several blackened pieces of toast can attest to this!  Once the toast has gotten dry but not burnt, pull it out and put it on a plate.  Chop up some cold butter from the fridge and put it in the center of the warm toast, as much as you would like.

Do a careful flip with a pancake flipper and place the eggs sunny-side DOWN on top of the cold butter and toast.  Let the runny egg yolk run through the toast and melt the butter.  Salt and pepper as desired.  Chop it up slowly and savor the buttery egg and bread.

It's not great to look at, but it tastes wonderful.

This is a great meal for 'I just got home from work and it's really late and I'm hungry', or for puttering around on a weekend morning etc.  It is not a lot of food (unless you want it to be, in that case, just increase all quantities) and it pairs besides a lot of things.  There are a maximum of three dishes to wash - although that egg pan might be something to soak.

 Do you have another name for this dish?  Leave it in the comments.

//Esme is going for a sleepover tonight and a birthday party tomorrow. It will be a busy weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I've had my application accepted for doing stock photography on the side.  We'll see which images I send get approved.  Still doing the other receipt programs and entering in information on that other site and racking up small amounts to be redeemed later.   And I've finally gotten Esme's birthday presents ordered.  She has a birthday sleepover and party to go to this weekend.

I've been cooking brown rice every few days and putting it in my meals for work.  Now the pants that were too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time are just fine.  It's not a big change, but it's a good one. 

I'm in the fifth book of Outlander still, Amanda has been born.  Esme and I are on the second book of the Araminta Spookie set.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

At the Fair

At the fair with Grandma, G and her mom.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

At the Hollow Rock

Esme had never been to the Hollow Rock our nearby city of Hollow Rock, TN is named for.  In fact, Mark lived near the city when he was young and said he had never actually been to the rock, either.  I went to see it not long after I moved here.  But this was much more fun today, because Esme was quite thrilled by the place.  (Even though it is covered in graffiti and has lots of very old trash in the water below).  She simply saw it with the wonder of some chance occurrence of Nature that people had found before her, and was still there for her to see today.

She said climbing up the rock made her feel like a monkey at the zoo...

If you are small enough, you can fit inside the hollow in the rock and crawl through to the other side.

This is the old but only slightly rickety metal bridge that crosses the tiny creek.
She insisted on dropping a handful of leaves into the water to see them float away downstream.

After this we drove on down past the Bruceton Yard train yard, seeing the trains from the road as we went around and through Bruceton, TN - and on to the local gas station where we used to buy chicken on a regular basis back when Esme was very young.  She used to have to pet their stone chickens every time she went there!  I reminded her of that today and it took her a moment to remember it.

She said today was a very fun Sunday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

pumpkin flavored everything.. not quite

I have tomorrow off and it is already planned with pumpkin and other activities...

I really do like canned pumpkin, which the news pointed out yesterday is really a type of winter squash canned up and labelled 'pumpkin.'  I've known that for years.  I used to buy 'winter squash' in cans in the vegetable aisle in Minnesota.  It was one of my staples.  I could not find it here in the South at all.  Then I stumbled upon canned pumpkin in the pastry shell section.  And I knew it for what it was.  And it was good.

So I have several cans of this in my cupboard at all times.  Mark even has presented me with several cans for Christmas and anniversaries and birthdays.. along with various other canned vegetables.  It's a thing in our household and it does work out well.

I put pumpkin and rice and cottage cheese together in a container for work today, and pumpkin and avocado and rice yesterday.  There is still a pint jar's worth left from the one can that I opened.  I also saw that it is a decent thing to feed to dogs who are having digestive issues - like our Columbus.  So, tomorrow I'm going to make another big pot of rice and then look toward saving him out some of the pumpkin and chicken broth that I will be using for the pumpkin and black bean soup recipe I found.  There are lots of recipes in this vein.  Some require coconut milk, others heavy cream.  But I was looking for something that was much more simple...preferably with chicken broth in it instead of vegetable broth (we keep chicken broth as a staple in the cupboard)  .This Recipe by The Pearl Team Room in Johnson City, TX fit the bill.  I think I'll make up some tomorrow if we have time.

On the weight loss front I'm finding that the 'feel full' part of the pumpkin is working.   Yesterday I did not eat the pudding I brought with until 8 o clock at night (lunch at 5).  And today I didn't eat the other half of my lunch itself until several hours after lunch.  I stared at the vending machine and remembered those two tablespoons full of pumpkin and cottage cheese left in my container.  And it was good.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Genmaicha tea or Why are you heating dry rice in a pan at 10 o clock at night?

I remember years and years ago at the little health food store in Grand Rapids (the one on the street across from Janicke Bakery) buying something called Genmaicha tea.  It was green tea with toasted brown rice in it.  Here is the Wikipedia link to Genmaicha tea.    I bought it at the Asian grocery in Fargo, too.. but have not found it or any good source for it here in Tennessee where I live now. 

I've been craving some for a few years now, but it is always expensive to try to find it and ship it in.

So last night, by some half-awake 'Eureka' of the mind, I thought 'Hey, I could toast some rice of my OWN... and get at least halfway to the idea.'  Well.  Let's just say Mark saw me come home with a bag of rice from the store at 10 o clock that night after work and I was stirring dry rice in the pan when he wandered downstairs to wonder what that smell was.   I had to convince him that no, I wasn't sleepwalking yet and yes, I did know there was no water in my fried rice. *heh*   When he heard my story about the tea as usual he just chalked it up to 'weird things Rhe does sometimes with food.'   I think it worked though.  Several of the little pieces of rice popped during the toasting, which is supposed to happen.

I have a small container of cooled toasted brown rice (that I might toast darker in the oven this morning) and it does make the green tea taste different when soaked with it.  It's been more than twenty years since I drank this on a regular basis...I'm not sure if I've got it right.  But, it was worth 80 cents and a few minutes to give it a try.  I threw some Oolong tea in my Amazon cart, as I really like having a large array of teas to choose from and was reading the benefits of oolong vs. 'regular' green tea.

I also had brown rice on the mind because I had been looking up some work lunch ideas.  One of the ideas was brown 'sticky rice', which was an intriguing idea.  I'm not sure if I can get that to happen.  I'm not sure if I want to buy a rice cooker next month (half the recipes seem to think it helps a lot).  I found this recipe How to Cook Brown Rice from Japan Centre.  It mentions sushi vinegar, which is vinegar with salt and sugar in it.  I may have my cooking ideas occupied for a week or more.  I'll note that I found this cooking lesson from a much more feasible recipe alternative to the one where you let it sit for 2 to 3 hours in the water before you cook it.

Today I just want to make some plain brown rice and add a bit of avocado to it on the side, with my red curry paste.  I had the last of my Greek Yogurt this morning with almond butter and honey roasted sunflower seeds in it.  Only one dog thought that bowl was fit to lick - and that was the bluetick.  It's odd, as she hardly likes anything.  When I made the red cabbage the other day all of the dogs were huddled around me anytime they smelled it.  So my cooking has fans, but not the two most people would suspect in the household.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


My goal on the task site is to make about 1.30 or more a day for the month, on average, and that would equal around 40 dollars for the month (in gift cards, which must be spent on that site).  I've been averaging a little more than that, and am getting close to my second gift card for the month.  Mark said not to treat it as a second job, but it feels like a good thing to do with extra time - and it really doesn't take that much time... it isn't like I'm devoting even an hour to it usually, and if it is an hour the return is a lot greater than 1.30.  I have to say I feel kind of excited to watch that card balance grow and know we can get something extra I wouldn't normally buy with our bank account dollars.  But there are extra things we can use here and there, birthday gifts and home items being the firstmost category.  Esme has pointed out a color of sheet for her bed that she would like in the future (I asked her) and we talked about colors of tshirts in case I throw one of those for her on an order.  Those seem like useful 'stock up' things to throw in the cart because we'll always get to needing them.

Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste  This is what I was talking about yesterday.  I could probably eat the entire jar with a spoon.  It isn't spicy to me, only savory sweet and citrus tasting.  I put a good tablespoon of it right out of the jar on a sliced boiled egg yesterday.

Esme had some complications with a girl at school who had bamboozled her out of money this week - now she doesn't want to be her friend because Esme found out that the taking of the money was not cool and that her 'friend' tricked her.  She would have better chances of having a true friend with someone else, I told her.  Live and learn.  Esme's PTC is next Monday and now I have it organized at work so I can go to it.

I've been in late the last two days - which has given me time in the morning to do things at home.  We went to the store yesterday morning and by the time I got home it felt like I had lived two days instead of one.  Seriously, as I was driving home I had to think hard - 'Was that this morning?  It seems like a whole different day now, like yesterday...'

Esme would like to play with a friend Sunday but I also want her to go out and take photos of a local landmark to send to a pen pal request from Australia.  It is the only day I get 'off' this week so I was hoping she would want to go do that with me.  I keep thinking about her standing trying to hide under my coat on a cold day earlier this week - looking up at me through her eyelashes... I'm going to miss that when she gets taller than me.

Her new backpack should be coming sometime soon... another week or two maybe.  Her old one is quite sticky inside (even though we rinsed it out!) from repeated spills of drinks and the exploded banana.

How will you spend it?
We've also enacted a weekly 'snack fund' for her, ten dollars maximum (no rollover) to spend on SNACK items we would normally not buy as food OR to spend on buying school lunch or breakfast instead of what she would normally take from home.  She has to plan it out, make choices, and understand that if she takes the money to school and gets it tricked away from her.. well... we can't do anything by the school rules.  So, she'd better pack something in the morning.  We will keep all of our regular 'food' items stocked as always.  Sugary drinks and snacks she wants outside of our usual fare she would have to ask for and decide if that is her choice for the week.  She also has to choose does she want that kind of ice cream bar and then eat half of them immediately after we get them home?  Well... that was $ off your snack account and we won't go automatically buy another box tomorrow.  ETC.  (Can you tell we're not fans of LOTS of sugary drinks and snacks in general?  We keep maybe one or two cookie items on the table in bags and neither of us drink soda).  She always has Kool-Aid in the fridge, yogurt, cereal bars and free reign of anything she can make by herself as long as she isn't wasting it.  We make dinner or 'graze collectively' every night depending on what the leftover situation is from the night before.

Her original request yesterday was that she would like to have us pay a full month of breakfast and lunch at school in addition to the snack items she already purchased this week at the grocery.  Someone else at school told her that all breakfast and lunch are 'free' for them, because their parents pay it.  Hmm.. that's not free kid. I showed her the math, and then told her how much that was compared to what we spent for the entire week for the family groceries. I reminded her that she had decided at the beginning of the year that she wanted to pack her lunch and that we had made our grocery decisions all the way up to now based on that.   

She listened to our snack account proposal and decided that it sounded fair and she could be responsible to make those choices.  She looked at the lunch menu for today and tomorrow and decided that she didn't care for the food served today but did want tomorrows.. so she will get hot lunch tomorrow (but still pack a drink and a snack on the side just in case).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On Daddy's shoulders, and bits

This was the picture I had been looking for awhile for the album... and I finally found it.  
Esme was just about two in this picture.

I feel like I'm getting 'the hang of' the sites I signed up for when Esme went  back to public school.  I consider them time-fillers, not time-wasters, as they do take time but they return with savings on our groceries, or gift cards from retailers etc.  

I packed my lunch today with a boiled egg, red curry paste, a tomato, cheese and salad.  The curry paste was a treat for myself -as no one else eats it.  I like it and probably use way too much because I like curry!  Mark made the boiled eggs from an extra dozen from our chickens.  We have all been enjoying the eggs.. it is just we take some time to get to them once in a while and have to make a big scrambled egg dinner to make sure they are being used well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Some goals

I'm making progress on a few goals, the family photo album for one.  I found some of the pictures I really wanted copies of from the blog and ordered them to be shipped to me.  There are also the bits and pieces I am ordering for the house (through the Amazon program), plans for packing lunchboxes and so forth.  I have some idea what I will get Esme for her birthday... although I'm not sure what I will do at the school.  I did ask for the day off as vacation.  It is a Friday so she will have school.  School Parent Teacher conferences are coming up next week.  I have to arrange somehow for that already-scheduled day to be moved about, if possible...  I really wish they would have given us more notice than one week.

Esme said her lunch bag keeps getting smashed and the softer things in it completely bashed to bits.  She doesn't say how this is happening... denies she has done it or anyone she saw, but the things are smashed anyways.  Maybe a hard lunchbox is in order.  An exploded banana is behind the reason her lunchbag is wet, dripping and hung upside down for the night.  She has a plastic tupperware to take with her if it can't be used tomorrow.

One of the things I wanted to order for the bathroom is a bamboo floor mat to replace the laminate sheet we have down.  It looks like it has good reviews and is the same size.  They make one for the kitchen size (in non-slip) that we could look at if the bath one is a win.

I think between yesterday and today I moved well over a thousand pounds at work... it's all in the physics, angles and leverage. An eighty pound vanity becomes much less effort to move when you move it horizontally along a line at the same height for the shelf it goes on.  And if you can do that times three from the pallet it is on (by making a conveyer belt of other boxes between it and the shelf) it is possible to expend much less energy than yanking it down only to have to lift it back up again.  And toilets pushed up onto a lift at an angle and then pivoted on the edge are much less actual work done than trying to lift it straight up from the floor etc etc... 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

bits over a weekend off

Minion putting on her best dark attitude.

Esme has been in school for more than a month now.  Her report card came back with all A's.  And she is happy and liking school.  We took her and her friend out to the dog park today with Lucy and their dog (Shiva), and they had a good time. Lucy did very well meeting several other dogs besides Shiva she had never met before.  We stayed a little over an hour, then everyone headed home.  On the way home Lucy and Esme each had a separate corn dog!

I'm still branching out and trying other ways to bring little updates and income into the house.  It is using up some of the energy I put previously into maniacally cleaning the house.  So, maybe the house isn't becoming as spotless as it might be.. but my stress levels are better.  And we have a few new things from the Amazon work I was doing last month.... a handheld vacuum cleaner, some clothing storage bags and a new shower hose.  I'm working on another card and wondering what I might get Esme for her birthday from it.  The only bad thing is that it takes so long for them to ship it we couldn't use any of that for a birthday present for Esme's friend.  The party was more than two weeks away, but they wouldn't ship for a month.  But.. I have a little under two months for Esme's bday.

I knitted some dishcloths, and read a little bit more of my book (book 5 Outlander).  We watched the first disk of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson from Netflix, Mark and I did, while Esme was at Grandma's house yesterday evening.  It was better than I expected, yet it did respect the original.  Esme and I watched the original series first few episodes for homeschool last year.  I wonder how/when I'd have her watch this.  Maybe on a school break.

Esme and I talked about September 11th briefly today, as well.  She knows it was horrible, and where it happened - but she doesn't quite sink in what it meant for the nation.  I saw some nice tributes today but generally everyone I met was upbeat and having a nice Sunday with their families and friends.

That was my weekend off... a long week of all-on work now and then come up for air next Sunday again.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Red Cabbage

I made this today, three pint jars worth from one medium red cabbage head.  I've been avoiding the cabbage for a while because I didn't know what to do with so much.  But, today Mark pointed out how pretty it was in the store and I decided to do SOMETHING.  I had a Granny Smith apple at home, too.  So, this was almost perfect.

 I got the recipe here:
German Red Cabbage
The only thing I changed was I threw in a handful of frozen chopped onion I had in the freezer, and a dash of cinnamon with the cloves.  I also added more water.

Then I made my favorite packet chicken flavored rice to bring to work this week.  I think a little of this and a  bit of rice would pair nicely this week.  I've still got some other greens and a head of broccoli to make it a little different each day.

I tried the TAZO Vanilla Caramel Chai and found that I really like the Classic flavor much better.  I mixed the other a bag at a time with a scoop of coffee and that made it drinkable.  It has licorice in it, which gives it an unexpected taste.

Bits:  Esme is still doing very well in school - getting good marks on all of her papers she is bringing home.  She says she gets interrupted too much by other kids to eat lunch, but she eats her snack and drinks her drink.  She has always been a very slow eater.. no matter what we've done to try to fix that.  Since we can't do a lot about that I just make sure she HAS food in her lunch that she can eat if she has time and non-distractions.  And we have set up for her to be able to get some decent (not entirely junk food) but quick food as soon as she gets home from school.

We're in the middle of Araminta Spookie 'My Haunted House.'  I'm in the middle of the fifth Outlander book - Marsali has just had her fourth child, who is a dwarf.  I've also started planning for what to get Esme for her birthday... will probably use my next Turk gift card towards that.  One thing she asked for is already on the way in the mail, but probably will take a few weeks to come.  We also told her we would hang her TV on the wall in her room (instead of in the kitchen) after she had been in school for two months at the very least.... she's been counting those days!

PROJECTS: (stuff  I've done...mentioned to keep myself rolling)
Still working on the purple shawl, bit by bit.
Patched a pair of Esme's pants that had been sitting on my sewing table for three days.
Cleaned out some magazines.
General upkeep... it still feels good to grab the broom, sponge etc as needed.

 TO DO :
Go through the blog and get some important pictures ready to be printed to put in our little album and one for the school days page of her Through the Years book.  I remember just the right picture I want to put on the front of the album :)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Purple WIP

The knitting work in progress...a triangle purple shawl.   I'm only averaging a few rows here and there.

I'm increasing on both sides now as I go up and also the one in the zigzag pattern in the middle.  It should get a lot wider and lose the pointy triangle look and become more 'batwing'.