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Archive for August, 2009

Injury ūüė¶¬† However, I am not giving up.

I am pretty sure it happened at work.¬† At least, it didn’t hurt until the morning after my last shift and has hurt since.¬† I slipped that night at the dishwashing station in some standing water, but I won’t get into that as I will get grumpy.¬† Regardless, I am at a bit of a standstill trying to decide what to do with the whole Couch to 5K.¬† I am pretty sure it is plantar fasciitis and I am trying to treat it at home with stretches.

I did start C25K week four a few weeks¬†back¬†and it was harder than I thought it would be.¬† I did two runs.¬† The first one I couldn’t complete one of the 5 minute intervals.¬† The second one I completed the entire thing and was quite proud.¬† Then this foot thing started happening.¬† Since then I have taken a couple easy runs.¬† Two week one runs with my older two girls, they are so funny to run with.¬† A couple week two on my own purely to work on form and keep in the habit, then another run with my sister (can’t remember which week it was.)¬† That one was my favorite though.¬† I forgot my music, but she had hers.¬† During the run we would concentrate, then during the walk we could talk.¬† She is out in Vegas now on an internship with Cirque du Soleil so it was really nice to have a bit of one on one time before she went.¬† Plus, it was in my parent’s neighborhood.¬† No traffic, quiet, nobody staring at you like your crazy, and part of it was even a bit like being in the country with fields on both sides.¬† I might run there more often, suppose the parents would mind watching the kids for 30 or 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, I read up on what to do about my foot.  We have a health savings plan (which I love.)  It really makes you think before heading out to the doctor because even though it is all paid for (100% of what the insurance bargains for you) it does come out of your account.  We are a bit more frugal about when we go to the doctor and what for because when that account is empty (which we have never ran it down to worry) there is a bridge that we pay 100% before going to a stardard 80-20 plan.  All that to say, if I can treat this at home I am going to.

AND, I am going to be much more careful around the dishwasher area at work as I am pretty sure that slip is when this happened.¬† I didn’t fall, just skidded a bit and every since the inside of my lower heel hurts first thing in the morning if I have been on my feet a lot.¬† With all the canning and preserving I have been working on¬†I have been on my feet quite a bit.

So if anyone out there has tips for plantar fasciitis I would love to know what worked for you!

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Steel Cut Oats

Mmmm, I love steel cut oats!¬† Unfortunately, my family eats breakfast at all different times.¬† Forest is out the door by 6:30 so his breakfast is usually on the go and I have a bit of guilt about that.¬† I would love to have a hot breakfast for my husband, but the thought of cooking twice (plus lunch and dinner) has me a bit meh.¬† He doesn’t seem to mind, prefers peace and quiet in the morning, but it looks like I may have found a way.

Here is a quick tip on how to make them in a crock pot without all the mess and time standing at the stove stirring.   You need a large crock-pot, a dish that holds at least 6 cups of liquid and is heat safe that will fit inside your crock-pot.  Put 5 cups of water in the smaller bowl with 1 1/2 cups of steel cut oats.  (For those that soak their grains, here is where you insert time for soaking for your preferred amount of time.) Put this entire bowl down in your crock-pot and add water up to the same level as the oats/water mix.  Salt it if you prefer and turn on low right before going to bed. 

In the morning, stir in anything that floats your boat.  Liz likes bananas and cinnamon, Forest goes plain, I prefer butter and brown sugar, the twins like butter and honey, and Jane always changes what she likes.  Dried fruits and nuts are a good choice as well.

There you have it.  A simple, pleasing breakfast for everyone.  My husband eats it at 6 A.M., I eat it at 7 A.M., and the girls enjoy it at 8 A.M.  It tastes great to everyone, makes the kids feel good to have a choice in how theirs is prepared, and the clean-up is on the easier side.

Finally feeling like I have something to say, thank you for all who stuck around during my blank-out.  Hopefully I will have much to write about and pictures as well!

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Tomato Juice

I have never canned much.  A bit of tomato sauce last year, some bread and butter pickles a few years back.  The process is daunting to say the least, but a grocery budget for 6 is even more daunting.

I had decided this summer that in the fall I would try my hand at serious canning with the thought that next year the girls and I will grow certain produce with the specific purpose of canning.  I still will put some back in the freezer, but we need to purchase beef soon and the freezer will quickly fill. 

I’ve started with things that I do not like frozen.¬† Green beans and tomatoes.¬† We go through quite a bit of both and the freezer really alters the texture of both.¬† The photo above is my first attempt at tomato juice.¬† It turned out fairly well, though I have much to learn.¬† Apparently there is a finer screen for my strainer to get a smoother juice, need to look into that.¬† Also, my biggest kettle nearly full¬†made just 5 quarts of juice.¬† I figure we go through¬†a quart a week easy.¬† I would love¬†to have a quart a week,¬†plus a quart of whole or quartered tomatoes a week.¬† That would be over 100 jars of tomato product.¬† For some reason, I don’t see that¬†happening this year.

Enlisted to help me in this venture are my grandmother, the queen of bread and butter pickles, the master of zucchini relish, and reigning champ of pickled beets.  Oh how I love pickled beets!  She has an entire walk in closet dedicated to canned goods that is kept dark and cool.  For many years they had a garden specifically to fill this closet and to share with others.  They would also stock a freezer.  I need to learn and am so grateful to have her in my life to help me out!

Also, they don’t even know it, but the local Amish have been a huge help.¬† Rumor¬†has it, a guy came through last fall/early spring (depending on who you talk to) and asked the Amish to grow extra produce that he would in turn buy and sell at a market in a big city up north.¬† According to the story, the guy never showed up and the Amish have more than they are able to consume and can.¬†¬† Not sure if it is true, but I have been getting huge candy onions for $.50 each, green beans at $.50 a lb, broccoli 2 huge heads for $1.25, and more beets than I could dream of.¬† If I ruin a batch or bust a jar (happened) I don’t feel so bad knowing I didn’t pay top dollar for it, though I always hate to see good food go to waste.¬† The goal next year will be to grow as much as I can, though, to cut the cost factor even more.¬† These girls are growing and can really put back the food!

Anyhow, all this to say here is my initial attempts after going out to grandmas to do a couple jars of tomatoes:

  • 4 quarts of green beans- we ate one jar already, there is no way I was going to put all that work into something if the family wasn’t going to eat them
  • 5 quarts of tomato juice- yum, stirred in some thyme from my garden and a couple onions, it’s tasty to drink and will make very good soup…wish I had more
  • 7 pints of pickled beets with onions- replaced half the sugar with honey
  • 4 half-pints of pepper jelly- used Pomona’s Universal Pectin and it turned out great

That is it, wish I could put a zero behing¬†the number of beans and tomato juice¬†ūüôā

Yesterday, my dear mother-in-law took pity on me and showed up at my door with a water-bath canner.¬† She had seen the “set-up” I was using and probably thought I would poison her son and grand-daughters.¬† Just kidding,¬† my mother-in-law is an amazing woman that blesses us in big and small ways when we are least expecting it.¬† I sent her home with many spoken thank you’s, some pepper jelly, beets, and the promise of more to come!

Today, I am going out to my grandma’s to do more tomatoes.¬† She has a 5-gallon bucket of tomatoes that need to be processed and I have a bag full to add to it.¬† The twins are spending time at my mom’s (so add her to the list of people helping out in this venture) and the older girls are bringing their school with us (what we do not get done this morning.)¬†¬†

I loved spending time at my Grandparent’s as a child.¬† Their garden was always so exciting to me as a kid (okay, even last year I enjoyed picking beans and snapping them.)¬† My grandparent’s always had a huge garden.¬† Shoot, their garden this year seems huge to me, but it is pretty small compared to year’s past.¬† Grandpa just can’t keep up with it like he used to and he isn’t very pleased about it.¬† I really hope we get most of the schooling done with morning so the girls can be out exploring like I would have done on a late summer day when I was a kid.¬† School started so early this year, but that is another post all of it’s own.

So, I will return home later with tomato all over me, I am sure, and tomorrow I do my green beans at home…by myself.¬† I guess with all these little girls running around I am never on my own.¬† Liz and Jane will help me with the cleaning and snapping of 12 lbs of beans. I wonder how many quarts I will end up with?¬† My guess is 6.¬† I will report back and let you know how it all goes.¬† The new canner holds 7 jars, perhaps I should stop at the Amish and buy a couple more pounds on my way home from Grandma’s.

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lost my write

I feel bad for any readers still hanging around.¬† I forget my camera all the time so I have no photos to dictate a direction.¬† I feel like I have nothing to say…those who know me in real life are probably shocked.

Running: With the exception of missing two runs last week, I am still at it.¬† I want to keep doing it and am proud to say that I can run 1/4 mile now without being so out of breath I can’t talk.¬†¬† Little steps in the right direction.

School: It’s looking to be a good year.¬† New teachers for us this year, that has me a bit nervous.¬† Other than that, the books look to be right up my girls’ interests and I am actually looking forward to starting full-time next week.

Summer: we finally have had a few days that are nice and hot…love it!¬† Perfect for drying laundry, swimming, and a good excuse for the A/C since I am not drying in the dryer so much.¬†¬† Also, grilling out.¬† To help keep the house cool, we have been grilling steaks from the freezer, chicken, fish, veggies, even our pizza’s (Thanks for the idea Jenny!)¬†

Hopefully this week I get my “write” back, if¬† not…well, then I suppose I will continue in bullet point fashion for family and friends.¬† I have been keeping this journal way too long to just stop…over 3 years now, actually.

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Twins turn 3

Okay, so it was over a week ago, but I have to put a few photos up:

I just can not believe they are three already, slow down girls and let momma catch up!

I just can not believe they are three already, slow down girls and let momma catch up!

Brie has developed a love for all things Panda so most of her gifts had a panda on them...the cake was just a butter cake with vanilla and chocolate frosting dyed black

Brie has developed a love for all things Panda so most of her gifts had a panda on them...the cake was just a butter cake with vanilla and chocolate frosting dyed black

it is supposed to be a soft pink bunny, the twins knew what it was so that is what counts, right?  Lemon cake, strawberry filling, and a light vanilla cooked frosting, yum!

it is supposed to be a soft pink bunny, the twins knew what it was so that is what counts, right? Lemon cake, strawberry filling, and a light vanilla cooked frosting, yum!

One got a scooter, the other a tricylce, as well as a stuffed animal each, bubble makers, new blankies, books, cash, and some clothes

One got a scooter, the other a tricylce, as well as a stuffed animal each, bubble makers, new blankies, books, cash, and some clothes

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still here

Sorry for the unannounced blog vacation.¬† Lots to do, too much really, but it can’t be helped.¬†

I was able to spend some time with my sister before she heads out to Vegas for her internship with Cirque Du Soleil.¬† Wish I could go out and visit her while she is there as well, though finances aren’t looking like that is going to happen.¬† She recently was working with a light opera company and I had the opportunity to go see A Night in Venice and also to bring the girls to see Fiddler on the Roof.¬† I liked Venice, the costuming was great and the humor unexpected (not sure what I expected, really.)¬† Fiddler, though, was the best I have ever seen.¬† I’ve seen community theatre and traveling company versions of Fiddler and this was so very good!¬†

Painting.¬† I love to paint but have no money to do it.¬† I painted some at my sisters and she gave me her leftover gallon of brown to pain a wall in my kitchen (or bedroom…can’t decide.)¬† I have more to do at her place next week.¬† Then I helped my Grandma paint a bit of her¬†dining/sitting ¬†room, was supposed to be more, but kids did¬† not cooperate with nap time etc.¬† I’m hoping to help her paint her bedroom here soon, after Grandpa settles down a bit from the fuss of painting the dining/sitting room.¬† Grandpa used to do all this stuff on his own, he was the one helping everyone to anything and everything.¬† Once our addition (4 rooms) was framed and covered, he did at least half of the remaining work (electrical, drywall, etc.)¬† The man can do it all.¬† Unfortunately, while I was in Vietnam he had a stroke and hasn’t been able to do it all since.¬† I know it is hard for him.¬† When we went out the other day, he was outside trimming from his motorized chair ūüôā¬† Love how that man just won’t give up on what he wants to do!

Let’s see, what else:

  • The school supplies are here and almost organized.¬† The girls have to read four novels this year and have chosen: Sarah Plain and Tall, Henry Huggins, Charlotte’s Web, Little House on the Prairie,¬†and A Lion to Guard Us.¬† They have already finished one book each and are working on the lessons.¬† If only every¬†month could start so smooth and with such excitement.¬† If only February could start with such excitement…best not dwell on things not yet here, though.
  • My parents business is sold, cleared of personal items, and all said and done.¬† It’s been hard on them and harder on me than I thought.¬† Much of my childhood was spent in that place.¬† The new people are not so bad, but aren’t keeping to their word on a few things.¬† I still work off and on, but it won’t last long as school starts and so on.
  • My mother-in-law has sold her old farm house.¬† It makes me sad as I always thought I would like to buy the place, but it just isn’t in our budget.¬† It was built in the 1800’s, has old beautiful woodwork and nice sized rooms.¬† Needs a new kitchen and bath though…nearly 2 acres of land, two garages, apple trees, on a quiet road.¬† Sigh.
  • Then there is everything that is summer: trips to the zoo, geocaching, farm markets, picnics, family reunions, bike rides, long runs, camps, etc.

The one thing we haven’t done this summer that I really wanted to do was go camping.¬† Forest and I went last year with good friends of ours and we had so much fun and were¬† able to relax.¬† It just hasn’t worked out this year thought or babysitters.¬† I love to camp, him not so much.¬† Marriage is about give and take, right?¬† So the girls and I are planning a staycation.¬† We have a small fire-ring out in our back yard.¬† We are going to camp for two nights, make all our food from the cooler or fire and pretend that we do not have a kitchen, tv’s or computers.¬† We will geo-cache, go to parks, take bike rides, and in general enjoy what there is to do locally.¬†¬† Hopefully, it will not cost us a thing.¬† The only supply I really need is something for the older two to sleep on in their tent, but I am hoping to borrow some foam or an air mattress for them to sleep on.¬†

Now we just have to convince daddy that it is the thing to do ūüôā

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