Saturday, February 26, 2011

What did you say?

Sometimes between the wonderland of 4-year-old-dom and lisping preschool chatter you get some priceless stories.

We were driving home one evening with our two children in the the back of the van when our 4 year old announced, "There'z a hell!  We're going straight to hell!  Woohoo!"

My husband and I looked at each other with shock and horror.  Thoughts of- What movie has she seen lately?  Who could have taught her that?  all rushed through my mind until my husband said,  "Wait a minute, I think it's hill."

"Izzy!"  I said,  "How do you say hill?"

"Hell!"  She proudly announced.  After relief passed over us we had a good laugh at that one.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring is in the air!

This cheery mug reminds me of spring, and yes it is in the air!  That's what I love about S. Carolina, the winters are very short here.  I actually saw buds on the trees yesterday, and Monday it was 78 degrees, so I quickly donned capris and flip-flops for the day!  I contradict myself with the love of skiing and the love of warm weather, but it's true, so what am I to do.

Here's a great breakfast recipe to start your day- it's a slightly healthier version of the McDonald's egg Mcmuffin.

1/2 Eng. muffin (100% whole wheat)
1 egg
Canadian bacon
1 slice American cheese

Using non-stick pan sprayed with oil, cook egg to preference.  I do mine sunnyside down, leaving yolk runny.  Toast the muffin, then add bacon and cheese and microwave for 20 seconds to melt cheese and warm bacon.  Add egg and sprinkle with pepper (optional), no salt needed as the bacon and cheese have enough already.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ski Trip!

We just arrived home today from our ski trip to Boone, N. Carolina, and I'm tired, but in a good way.

 This is the chair lift all the way to the summit of Sugar Mountain, my new favorite ski resort.  It's fantastic!

This is the view from the summit, and that drop off is the black diamond, which I did for the second time this year!  I could have spent all day on it, but my partner/daughter is an intermediate skier, so I had to wait patiently for my turn to challenge myself.  It was thrilling!

Skiing is bittersweet for me now, because it was such a passion, and now I live in S. Carolina and my husband doesn't want to ski anymore.  I love him for coming and supporting me still at least once a year, and this year I saw my daughter really start to love it too, but every time I ski I remember what I'm missing.

I never was anything more than a member of ski patrol in Wisconsin, but I was REALLY good at skiing, and it defined me for many years before I went to S. America.  I'm not bragging- because if you passed me on the street with my little brood in tow, you would never guess that about me.  So many of you bloggers have that special talent, like jewelry-making, poetry, art, photography, etc., but my little secret talent is skiing.

Here's my little ski partner!

And here's to the wind whistling in my hair as I fly down the mountain!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meet Mocha!

This is Mocha, our pet bunny.  When we first got him I could hold him like this in the palm of my hand.

He's half lop-eared bunny and half regular as you can see.  One ear is up, the other down.  All the time.  His favorite hobbies are digging when he's outside and eating carrots!

An update on little Annie, the puppy we fostered.  She is doing fine now, and she is in another foster home until she goes to a rescue up north.  Unfortunately, her brother, who was looking good, didn't make it.  But that is the tragedy of  these tiny puppies at the shelter; they just don't have the immune system to survive when an illness passes through. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

3rd edition- Favorite Things

Originally from Wisconsin, our family was relocated to S. Carolina, which means no snow in the winter, at least not normally.   (This year we actually had TWO significant snow falls and the snow lasted for a few days.)  So we have been going every year to North Carolina for my snow fix, and downhill skiing of course.

Downhill skiing is definately in my favorite things category.  Prior to downhill, I did cross country with my family, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.  We would go out at night, in the moonlight, and ski through the woods.  It brings back memories of gentle snowflakes and hot chocolate afterwards.

I started downhill for the first time when I was 16, and I hated it because I didn't get it, and none of my lovely friends stuck around to help.  But after dating someone on ski patrol over the summer, and being convinced by others to give it another shot, my dad and I went skiing together and he paid for lessons for me.  It was one of those -30 degree wind chill days and we were the only crazy enough people out there, but my instructor, a middle aged lady, taught me the basics and the rest is history.  I not only got it, but I LOVED it!

Since then I've skied Sugarloaf in Maine, Killington in Vermont, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, and now the Appalachian area in Boone, N.C.  I also did a few years of ski patrol myself.  Now I've passed on the ski genes to my 10 year old, who has been skiing since she was five, and next year I'll start teaching my youngest.

So next week we'll be heading north for our annual ski trip, and I'm getting excited!  It's my favorite trip of the year, and it always gets me wishing I still lived close to a ski area, but then summer comes and we have the beach, so it's the best of both worlds I guess, since we only have a four hour drive to Boone.

I had originally started this blog to chronicle my experiences with volunteering at the animal shelter, but last week took a turn for the worse there.  Seeing some very depressing things, plus little Annie the puppie was terribly sick so I took her out of there, kept her overnight, and then brought her to the vet in the morning, where she's been since.  I guess she's doing better but she got our other foster dog sick, and then we had a scare with exposing our kids to the sick animals, which I felt horribly guilty about, but all's well now and I think we will be okay.  I promised my husband no more fostering animals, after he was stuck cleaning up the mess while I was at work.  It was a bad week, and sad too.  Our shelter is overwhelmed and underfunded, and the community doesn't care.  The mentality down here about animals is different then up north as most of the pets are kept outside all the time, and so it's common to see them abused and neglected or roaming loose, especially cats.  I'm still passionate about these abandoned animals, but I will be more careful in the future, as my children come first.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mermaids and Mexican Rice

What a way to combine things hey!  But that's what I've been up to.  I've been reading this great book called "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson and there was a line describing what it's like backpacking the Appalachian Trail, but I thought it kind of fit with how I go through life.  It said, "you exist in a kind of mobile Zen mode, your brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below."  I think that after being mostly at home with small children for the past ten years, I carry out the home tasks automatically but my mind is often far away :)

So, first the mermaid thing-  We saw this mermaid painting in a shop in Beaufort, S.C. and my daughter went nuts over it, but it cost $150.  I looked it over and told her I thought I could do it myself, so here's my first attempt.  I haven't painted since high school, and it's far from perfect, but with some more coats of paint it might do!

It's not finished, but this is the start-  what do you think?  Especially you artists out there, any suggestions?  It is in acrylic and the total cost of supplies was $30, so it wasn't the best quality-  Well, my 10 year old loves it and that's what counts right?

Next, onto Mexican Rice-  we all love it right?  Well, after some lessons from my Mexican friends, here's how to make it yourself:

Take the amount of rice you wish to cook,  (I use a rice cooker but just follow the measurements from the package if you don't have one)
Add 2 Tbsp canola oil to frying pan over med. heat and toast uncooked rice until golden brown.
You must stir constantly to keep it from burning, about 5 minutes.  Add to rice cooker or pot and set aside.

The base to a lot of Hispanic dishes is something the Mexicans call Sofrito, which varies slightly from cook to cook, but you use it in the rice too.

You need:
1 onion
1 tomato
canola oil

Sautee the coarsely chopped onion until soft, add minced garlic, cook 2 minutes more.  Add tomatoes, chopped into chunks (I do seeds and all).  While cooking I add Goya brand Adobo seasoning and salt.  After 4-5 minutes more, throw all of it into blender, add a little water if necessary and blend.

For the water to cook the rice in, use the measurements given but substitute chicken broth for the water with the sofrito you just made as part of the liquid.  For example, if two cups of water is required, use 1 1/2 cups chicken broth with 1/2 cup sofrito.  Then add one packet of SazonGoya seasoning, (Con culantro y achiote).  It's found in a small box in the Mexican food section of any grocery store.  Goya is the brand and the seasoning is spelled in Spanish.

You can also add frozen veggies like the peas and carrots prior to cooking.  Hope this makes sense!  But it's really good.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sun, oh Sun. . Where Are You?

This is my Claude Monet mug, which I usually use in winter months because this is pretty much what it looks like outside.  Even so, Monet makes it look dreamy and appealing, and for that ability he is my favorite artist.  I love impressionistic art;  because it takes what's real and blurs it into this beautiful, hazy world.

Honestly, I don't get modern art, just like I struggle with appreciating poetry.  I don't want to guess what the artist/writer meant, I want to KNOW what he/she meant.  Plus, with art, I want to see that the artist actually has the ability to draw before I believe that they are truly an artist.  It shouldn't be questionable.  Not that I'm an expert, but I do know what I like and what I don't like.

Anyway, I noticed my recipe seemed to be a hit, so I thought you might enjoy this addition.  Taking the same recipe for pico de gallo, you can make guacamole that I've even had Mexicans rave over.

Recipe for guacamole

1 small Hass avocado to 1 heaping Tbsp of pico de gallo
salt to taste
(sometimes I add a splash of lemon juice if it needs it)

The trick with picking the best avocados is the squish test.  If it's too soft, it's no good.  It should give just slightly under your squeeze, but if there are none like that, buy the rock hard ones and leave them on the counter for a day or two and they will be perfect!  Enjoy!