Black Friday Observations
Friday, November 28, 2008
Today I shopped Black Friday for the first time ever.

I know.
Didn't I just post Advent Conspiracy, aren't I always going on and on about how less is more?

Our Christmas is fairly small this year (well, this is about average for us, actually). I think the kids do better with fewer toys. Two years ago, Mr R's school "adopted" us. They gave us a gift certificate to buy gifts and then called me at home to let me know they had too much stuff in their donation room. When I arrived to pick out a few things, the workers packed my van for me with everything they could find.

But the kids weren't happier (ok, they were for half an hour on Christmas morning, LOL!) By the time we had to move in June, most of the toys were broken. Another pile was donated - toys that were always on the floor but never actually played with. The toys the children love - like these - we hang onto for years and pass down. Almost none of the super giant toy-filled Christmas things are still around.

And so we've budgeted about $25-30 per kid. A shockingly low amount for some, amazingly extravagant for others, just right for us. (Doesn't include stocking stuffers.)

Here's my report of the day's shopping.

Toys R Us was packed, but not out of stock. The parking lot was crazier than the store, and the checkout line stretched back behind the Baby Department. Still, I got everything I went for and people were polite. Total spent on Christmas gifts: $52 (I got some socks for X Man, since they were half off, also.)

Mardel's was virtually a ghost town. The employees were nice, though.

Target wasn't bad, either. Again, found everything I wanted. Spent $45.

Stopped at Walgreens, and got some Webkinz on a buy one, get one free sale. 2/$6.99 - and they are also selling Crayola 64 ct. crayons for .99 this weekend with the store ad.

I hit those early in the morning. We decided to take the kids to the mall, since Sears was having a sale on kid jeans and husband dear needed a tool.

The mall was a total bust. One reason I wanted to go is because the mall is usually a magical place this time of year. Santa, lights, music, decorations... the mall we went to didn't bother with any of those things. There were a few garlands on the ceiling, but that was it. The retailers, too, were having lots of sales but not much Christmas spirit. Sears was out of the pants (or maybe they weren't, there wasn't anyone around to help.) They didn't carry the tool husband needed (he can order it online - and pay shipping.)

We walked the mall, but there weren't any free samples, interesting demonstrations, or kid friendly stores. We finished up with a trip to KB Toys who refused to let us into the store. They have a strict policy against strollers, it seems, and we weren't about to carry two children around the place. They lost business because of a stupid decision - what if someone shows up in a wheelchair?

Still shaking my head actually - a toy store that doesn't welcome babies?

We ended up at Target again, the kids spent their allowance, and now we're home. My conclusion - Black Friday is overblown.

Then again, we pretty much nixed any electronic gadgets so I avoided Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. as well as Wal-Mart. Apparently, in some places a good deal trumped everything else.

Here's my list of kids' gifts where I'll find it and the kids won't. I'm pretty much done except for stockings. I have never been "done" shopping in November before, either! I totally get the Black Friday madness, now! We're saving up this year for a special project, and husband dear is planning to work straight through until Christmas week to earn extra money. This is probably the only shopping day I have left!

1. R- Suction cup bow and arrows $10
2. R- Skateboard $10
3. R- Star Wars dollaction figure $6.50
4. P - Martian Matters craft set - $15
5. P -Bakugan starter set - $10
6. E - Holiday Ballerina Barbie $5
7. E - Webkinz, BOGO 2/$7
8. E- Crayola 64 ct. crayons $1
9. S - Hot Wheels Racing Ramp $10
10. S - Nerf dart guns (2) $13
11. V - Ikea pots and pans set $10
12. V - McDonald's Electronic cash register - $15
13. C - Aquadoodle wall mat - $7.50
14. C - Fisher Price Dr. kit - $5
15. C - Barn Animals in a barrel - $5
16. X - Ikea farm animals - $15

Yes, a lot of things were Made in China, which I hate, but what can I do? (Oh right. This.) I'm hoping that with heightened awareness we won't have any recall problems.

I still need to get one more thing for Miss E and I want to get some MegaBlocks for X.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/28/2008 08:22:00 PM | Permalink | |
Are Teachers Stupid?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
No, I don't think teachers are stupid. Administrators, though...

A 13 year old boy was arrested because he was farting in school and turned off the computers. ARRESTED!

When did detention turn into state custody?


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/25/2008 04:27:00 PM | Permalink | |
Bloggy Name
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I want to move on up to my own domain and I'm kicking around the idea. I'm not real happy with Blogger limitations.

Problem? is taken.

Is "Mama Says" a good name for my blog? Got any ideas?

I'm open to suggestions.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/22/2008 10:00:00 PM | Permalink | |
Things I Learned From My Jacuzzi Tub
Friday, November 21, 2008

  • Jacuzzi tubs require approximately 4,000 gallons of water. Unfortunately, your hot water heater only supplies half that amount.

  • If you're really dirty, take a shower, not a bubble bath. The cleaning aftermath of 10,000 scummy bubbles is not pleasant.

  • This goes double if your children have made mud pies that day.

  • Even though all Jacuzzi tubs on Hollywood sets fit up to three people, don't try to put more than one adult in the tub. Unless you are a contortionist or don't have legs.

  • However, you can easily clean 4 children at once.

  • Reading a book during a nice long soak sounds like a good idea, but apparently takes years of practice. Now I know why fancy houses have TVs mounted on the bathroom wall.

  • Shave your legs after you're done bubbling. Otherwise you'll have hairy bits in places that should be bald.

  • It's really cute when the littles beg you in a lispy voice for a "Coozie Bath."

Art: "Double Duck" by H. Armstrong Roberts, available at

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/21/2008 09:23:00 AM | Permalink | |
Meat Frustrations
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So. I've been thinking about meat lately.

It is a thorn in my side. Specifically, grocery store meat. We've been here 5 months, and my meat suppliers are dropping like flies. I haven't bought meat at WalMart for years. Their prices on meat are not competitive at all, and now they've switched to prepackaged cuts that most likely are infused with carbon monoxide, so it will look fresh when it's long past prime. A carefully aged steak...yum! Sloppily aged pork chop...not so much.

I shop at a store called FoodTown, which seems to be the equivalent of Aldi's. Canned veggies, 3/$1; great cheap produce; strange off brands. I don't buy meat there - the meat department smells bad, and once I showed up eager to snap up 65 cent "fresh" chickens to find them partially thawed (half frozen solid, half mush). No thanks, I'm perfectly capable of giving my family food poisoning all by myself!

Kroger has struck out. I've had to return meat three times last month. The last time, the manager told my husband "Yeah, we've had a lot of that lately..." FiestaMart, another source for great, cheap, hard to find produce (bitter melon? daikon? They have it.) again has a stinky fish section. I chanced it the other day, and ended up returning 50% of my meat purchase which spoiled before the sell-by date. The pork chops appeared to be resting on a bed of algae. Now, that's just nasty!

Currently, my go-to spot for meat is HEB or Sam's Club. Sam's sells a higher grade of meat than WalMart and it's packaged in house. It's more expensive, too.

In Houston, despite having 4 million people and taking hours to cross the city, the health food stores are few and far between. Oh, how I pine for Denver, where there were FOUR major organic health store chains (at least when I lived there - Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Sunflower Markets, and Trader Joe's.) We could afford a free range chicken - if we ate meat once or twice a week.

Kichn linked to an article recently on the cost of meat that made me think, though. Eating meat from the huge slaughterhouses could possibly be a health risk; it also consumes a disproportionate amount of energy and becomes a social justice issue when poorer countries start shoring up our appetite for a juicy steak.

Grain, meat and even energy are roped together in a way that could have dire results. More meat means a corresponding increase in demand for feed, especially corn and soy, which some experts say will contribute to higher prices.

This will be inconvenient for citizens of wealthier nations, but it could have tragic consequences for those of poorer ones, especially if higher prices for feed divert production away from food crops. The demand for ethanol is already pushing up prices, and explains, in part, the 40 percent rise last year in the food price index calculated by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization.

I've had a grudge against ethanol for a while now, because I think it is outrageous to use food crops to fuel our cars in a world where people starve. I have never considered the implications of buying cheap meat.

And that really is the difference. I do have the opportunity to order freshly killed meat raised on local farms by family farmers. I don't because it costs 3-4 times as much as a roasting hen provided by Tyson from the grocer's bin.

Now the dilemma is before us: Eat less meat, but higher quality from sustainable local farms; or eat cheaper meat that comes, ultimately, at a higher cost?

Back to lentil enchiladas, I think.

Where do you buy your meat?

Art: The Butcher's Shop by Annibale Carracci, from

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/20/2008 09:11:00 AM | Permalink | |
Dump the Crock? Works for Me Wednesday
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sooo does not Work For Me Wednesday.

I first heard rumors about lead in Rival brand crockpots a week ago on a homeschooling message board.

Yesterday I read about it on blogs.

I am just mad! Don't manufacturers GET IT? We don't want to eat lead. Lead builds up over time and causes neurological problems. Lead is not easily removed from the body.

We don't want to eat lead!

Gah. I have a slow cooker and TWO crocks (I saved my crock from the Day the Crockpot Died and use it as my bread rising bowl). My old crock was a Rival with a white liner, my current working slow cooker is a Euro-Pro with a black liner. Both Made in China (what choice do we have, anyway?)

Rival says their crockpots do not contain lead, and the glaze is a mix of feldspar, silica flour, clay, and some other non-toxic materials. But lab tests done by investigative reporters did find lead.

Clemson Extension has a safety sheet that specifically mentions lead in slow cookers. The FDA knows that slow cookers have lead, but in their tests found it to contain an acceptable level.

Lead, however, is used in some glazes for slow-cooking pots
(crock-pots). But, in tests done in 1987, FDA found that the amount of lead
that leached into food from these pots did not exceed FDA standards. (See An
Unwanted Souvenir: Lead in Ceramic Ware, in the December 1989-January 1990
issue of FDA Consumer.)

Of course, 1987 was way before lead started showing up in China made toys, food, and dishes on every shelf of the store.

Maybe I'll start buying those plastic slow cooker liners in the interim. Anyone know if they're BPA free?

This blog post has a lot of great comments - many people tested and found lead and arsenic, and others tested and found none.

For some happy tips, check back with Rocks in My Dryer!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/19/2008 10:08:00 AM | Permalink | |
How to Read the Bible
This is good advice: Dos and Don'ts by AggieCatholic.

Selected quote:
Do: Stop reading when you are struck by a word or phrase.
Don’t: Chug right through until you reach the end.
–The first to reach the end of the next chapter doesn’t get a gold medal. If something affects you when reading Scripture, then stop and reflect on why it moved you.

I have also found it's nice to have a notebook to write in. Often I'll jot down something I want to look up later, so I don't end up down a rabbit trail.

For more Works for Me Wednesday, check out Rocks In My Dryer!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/19/2008 07:47:00 AM | Permalink | |
Bread Recipe and Soaking Grains
Monday, November 17, 2008
I have never sprouted my grain, but I do soak my grains (when I remember). We've always loved Blender Batter Waffles. Some readers of my last post asked for my recipe, so here it is!

I just started making soaked grain bread. It's pretty easy, but when you add the other ingredients and knead it it will be cold.

Whole Wheat Bread
6 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. water
a splash of whey or vinegar

Put in bowl, stir a bit, and let sit overnight on the counter.

The next morning, sprinkle 4 tsp. yeast over the dough. I use a mixer, and mix the yeast into the dough a little bit. Then add:
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. vital wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 c. oil
2 tsp. salt.

Knead on low setting for 3-4 minutes, and on a higher setting for about 5 more minutes. Dough should be elastic and smooth, a little sticky but not gooey. Put in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

Punch down, divide in half, and put in greased loaf pans. Let rise in a warm place 30-60 minutes. Bake at 350 until browned (25-30 minutes, depending on your oven). If you thump the top of the bread, it should sound hollow when it is done.

Butter the top, and leave in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto bread board or cooling rack. If you remove it from the pan immediately, the crust will be hard. If you let it cool completely in the pan, the crust will be very soft, almost soggy.

Whole Wheat Rolls
3 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. warm water
splash of whey or vinegar.

Mix and let soak overnight.

The next morning, mix in 3 tsp. yeast, then add:

2 T. soft butter
1 1/2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt

(Note: to make white rolls, use 3 c. bread flour and do not add gluten.)

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down and form into roll shape of your choice (I'm lazy, I just pinch off golfball size pieces). Put in greased pan, not quite touching each other. Let rise again 30-60 minutes. Bake at 350 until golden.

After my bread and rolls come out of the oven, I rub them with butter. I get a cold stick out of the fridge, peel back the wrapper a bit, and use like a glue stick on the hot bread.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/17/2008 05:26:00 PM | Permalink | |
We live in a rental. Our door has two large glass panels in it, which I HATE because, IMO, it's not safe. How hard is it to smash the glass and flip the knob?

Today, my 10 year old son picked the lock on the front door. He's been at it over and over again, convincing my 4 year old to lock him out. She thinks it's great fun.

I think we're going to have to get a security chain, despite our security deposit!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/17/2008 01:02:00 PM | Permalink | |
Bread Baking Breakdown
Our family eats bread. A lot of bread. If we have sandwiches for lunch, we'll use almost the entire loaf (14-16 slices, one sandwich each).

I can find Nature's Own Whole Grain bread at the 99cents Plus store, so I've fallen out of the habit of baking. (Plus, I hate to bake when the AC is on!) I've recently found out that the chain is going out of business, and I've never seen whole grain bread that cheap anywhere else.

My "next best" is Sam's Club, where a two-pack of Nature's Grains is around $3 ($1.50 a loaf).

If I got into the habit, I could easily make my own. I know how. I have a KitchenAid. It's not actually THAT much work, you just have to stick around for the rising/proofing and baking. We only have one vehicle, so when husband dear is at work I pretty much just stay at home, anyway.

Is it worth it? Am I actually saving any money by making my own? Let's find out!

My whole wheat bread recipe makes 2 loaves, and I can get 14 slices out of each loaf if I let it cool before cutting. That's a challenge, though. You know how good fresh baked bread smells!


6 c. whole wheat flour , 95 cents ($2.76 for 5 lbs.; 17 1/2 c. per 5 lb. bag, = 15.77 cents per cup.)
1 T. gluten - 10 cents ($1.98 for 20 T., = 10 cents)
2 T. milk - 4 cents (2 T = 1 oz. Current price for milk- we just switched to organic - $4.99/128 oz. = 4 cents per oz.)
4 T. oil - 8 cents (4 T = 2 oz. Canola oil = $1.88/48 oz, which is about 4 cents per oz.)
1/2 c. sugar (brown or white) - 7 cents white sugar, (.31 cents per pound, 2-1/4 c. per pound = 3.4 cents per 1/4 c.)
2 tsp. salt - negligible
4 tsp. yeast - 9 cents
(32 oz. of yeast for $4= 12.5 cents per ounce; 4 tsp = 2/3 of an ounce = 8.4 cents)
2 c. water - if it comes from the tap, it's free, right? Cost is negligible.

Total cost, 2 loaves of bread: $1.33 or .66 per loaf.

However, there are factors that make things more complicated.

When I bake fresh bread, it tastes better.

There is no waste - the kids don't leave the crusts on the floor and the baby doesn't lick the peanut butter out of the middle and secretly toss the actual bread part of the sandwich.

I also think it's healthier; I often add oat bran to the mix to boost the fiber content. Even without the oat bran, one slice of homemade bread has more than 3 g. of fiber (assuming 14 slices per loaf). (Food data from here.)

I can soak the flour to reduce phytates, increasing nutrition.

The kids beg me for a slice, and I know they are getting a wholesome snack.

I do have to run the oven, and use water to wash the mixing bowl, loaf pan, and cutting board.

It takes time to bake bread. Not a lot, but some and I must be mindful of the kitchen while it's rising, proofing, etc. I can't leave the house, for example.

I never get as many slices out of homemade bread as a store bought loaf; a homemade loaf makes fewer sandwiches (with thicker slices.)

Those add ins add to the cost (but oat bran is so cheap, it's a very small amount.)

We eat more butter. The family would never eat a slice of store bought bread unless it was in a sandwich. Homemade bread? I have to hide it so it will make it until lunch.

My conclusion:
Baking my own bread is cheaper. A comparable loaf of whole wheat bread at the grocery store costs $2.49; even if I buy it for a dollar (while I still can) I'm paying 40 cents for the convenience of not baking it myself. We use about 4 loaves a week, and I will save $9 a week by doing it myself.

As I mentioned before, we just switched to organic milk, for health reasons. I can't buy everything organic, so I am trying to switch to things that will have the most impact on our long-term health. Organic milk costs $1.50-$2.00 more per gallon, and we drink about 4 gallons per week. If I bake my own bread, I can more than make up for the added cost ($6-8/week).

Some additional considerations:
If I used sourdough, my homemade bread might be cheaper.

In winter, having the oven on would make the heater work less.

I buy my yeast in bulk, which makes a huge difference in cost. 4 tsp. of yeast is about 2 of the little packets - which would cost around .66 instead of $.09. I buy 2 lb. packages at Sam's club, and keep it in the fridge.

I think I'll post that $9 number on the fridge as an incentive!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/17/2008 08:35:00 AM | Permalink | |
Ancient Rome: Friday Fun
Friday, November 14, 2008
First, some things that make me happy.

Baby X learned to nod his head, and he blows on his food. Even if you serve him watermelon, he'll blow to make sure it's not too hot.

Mr P does math just like his mama - weird made up shortcuts. I didn't teach it to him (his math book teaches math as a process of addition). For example, for a problem like 6x7, we will take half (3x7) and add it together. Very helpful for larger numbers - 18x9 would, in my mind, actually be 9x9 + 9x9. Mr P does it the same way, and came up with the method on his own. Must be genetic. Can't wait until we get to squares and cubes!

Google Earth lets you download and explore Ancient Rome. You'll have to download the application.

Speaking of Ancient Rome, I love the Dover coloring book and they are having a secret sale on their top gift books! Although we are not studying Rome in History class yet, I use it for our liturgical feasts often. We colored the Colosseum, for example, on St. Agnes' day while the littles glued cotton balls to lambs, and found a Roman soldier to discuss his armor for Martinmas. It's an easy introduction to classical architecture, too.

H/T Melissa Wiley for the Google link.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/14/2008 10:10:00 AM | Permalink | |
Farming. In The City.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday's paper had an interesting article on our food supply, and policies Obama should enact to protect it.

Picture the White House lawn, a 17-acre triumph of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. Now imagine five of those acres plowed into a garden where the first family pulls weeds and harvests snow peas for photo ops — and then eats the peas for dinner.

It worked during World War II, when Eleanor Roosevelt farmed part of the first lawn, launching the Victory Garden movement that supplied 40 percent of the country's produce by the end of the war.

"This is something the next president can do. Imagine the power of that image — CNN doing a stand-up with a farm in the background," author Michael Pollan said recently at Oberlin College's Finney Chapel.

"It will send a powerful message: Ripping out the front yard is OK."

Small, sustainable farms are a part of our national security. A nation that cannot feed itself will be an easy target.

Growing our own food locally has environmental, energy, and health implications as well:

He said that if the next president doesn't make food reform a high priority, he will not be able to make headway on achieving energy independence because food production uses 20 percent of our fossil fuels.

The president will not be able to decrease greenhouse gases, slowing climate change, because food production generates one-third of greenhouse gases. And he will not be able to lower health-care costs because without reforming the food system, Americans will continue to consume cheap, unhealthful food, stay overweight and have myriad diet-related diseases.

"Since 1960, the year of my birth," Pollan said, the amount of personal income spent on food has decreased from 18 percent to 9.5 percent, while health-care costs have increased from 5 percent to 16 percent.

"Healthy calories need to be cheaper than unhealthy calories," Pollan said.

Well, we're doing our part. We're building a square foot garden. The bed is actually built, I just need to get the filling together to put inside it. After much procrastination planning, I've located a source for perlite, the closest thing to the recommended vermiculite that I can get.

It's still in the 70's here in Houston, and we are planting lettuce, spinach, kale, rutabagas, rhubarb, and radishes. We started a compost pile last month for our science class, but that's not ready... yet.

I've successfully grown spinach and lettuce in four different states, but I've never tried the others!

This book is a fascinating look at the animals that do the dirty work of composting. Great pictures of microscopic bugs, plus easy to understand text, made this book perfect for our school of K-3rd graders.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/13/2008 04:18:00 PM | Permalink | |
Google is Watching You...
Google is teaming up with the feds to track internet searches. They've agreed to pinpoint searches for "flu", "muscle aches", and related terms, and to forward it to the CDC along with info about searcher's location.

On a completely, absolutely unrelated note... Anonymouse is a free IP hider that is Haloscan friendly.

H/T Furious Seasons blog.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/13/2008 06:56:00 AM | Permalink | |
Try It! You Might Like It! Works for Me Wednesday
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I blogged recently about weird recipes. There is one recipe that sounded so inedible, I was loathe to try it. But I kept seeing it. Again and again and again. On Foodie blogs.

Roasted Kale. "It's better than potato chips!" commenters raved. "So good I ate the whole batch by myself!"

Yeah, right. I know marketing hype when I see it.

But... kale is good for you. But my kids don't like it (and most especially, my husband hates it.) But it's in season and therefore, cheaper than lettuce or bok choy.

I made it tonight for dinner, and everyone finished it off before the chicken hit the table. "I'd eat that every day if you made it!" husband dear said. And since I'm trying to sneak him back on that anti-inflammatory diet... I just might!

Try it - it really is good. And it's Feingold friendly - Heaven knows how tough it is to find snacks without artificial colors or MSG.

Crispy Kale
Tear a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces, removing the tough stems. Wash and dry. Toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle in some kosher salt.

Put on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Flip 'em over and roast 5-7 minutes longer. You want them crispy, but not brown.

Eat and enjoy!

Even the one year old ate it. That's a ringing endorsement!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, check out Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

And, oh yeah...
Vote for me at the Homeschool Blog Awards! And please, do NOT go to Pioneer Woman Cooks before you vote. Her blog is so much better than mine! ::wink::

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/12/2008 07:47:00 AM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A roundup of links to celebrate Martinmas, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. He's popular with my boys because he was a soldier with a sword!

St. Martin's Story

Shorter version of the story

Celebrating Martinmas, making lanterns

Another lantern making post

Coloring Page by Waltzing Matilda

What Dawn did last year

...And the year before that

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/11/2008 06:59:00 AM | Permalink | |
A Roundup of Mama's Homemaking Advice
Monday, November 10, 2008
Since I'm nominated in the Homemaker/Recipe category of the Homeschool Blogger Awards, I thought I'd post a sampling of my cooking and homekeeping advice.

That way, you can laugh WITH me at the nomination, instead of at me. Okay, we all know you're laughing at me. It's okay.

Clean your house in 20 minutes

Crockpot Lament

Vomit at Midnight? Some Perspective

Cheap, Healthy Meal
when you have no idea what to cook.

Decorate a Cake when you fail to plan ahead.

Five Tips to be a Great Cook

Organize Your Kitchen, Your Way.

Post Christmas Reflections, from 2006. Not poignant at all. My big goal for the year? Putting sheets on the bed.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/10/2008 06:57:00 PM | Permalink | |
Is This A Joke?
The Homeschool Blog Awards are up for voting today, and *I* am nominated!

For Best Homemaking/Recipe blog.

After I stopped laughing, I thought I'd give you all a chance to vote for me. Please don't look at any of the other nominees because they are way better cooks than I am.

BTW- You can find recipes on the left side bar!

Join Us at the HSBA!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/10/2008 10:00:00 AM | Permalink | |
New Recipes?
Friday, November 07, 2008
We are having a friend from the UK over for Thanksgiving, and I thought maybe I'd try a new dish.

I hate that green bean/soup/canned onions casserole and I also detest yams + marshmallows. Mr R can't have marshmallows anyway.

I do know a few recipes I probably won't be trying anytime soon. I signed up to be a Bush's Baked Beans test kitchen. They send you recipes, you make them, fill out a survey on how your family liked it, and then you get coupons for free cans of beans. I chose to test Kid Friendly Recipes.

The recipe selections included Banana and Black Bean Quesadillas, a pinto bean filled energy bar, and Strawberry Smoothies. The smoothie included a can of beans, of course. Blech.

Food Network is usually a good place for recipes. Paula Deen's Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie is awesome. But... beware of any recipe appearing on Iron Chef. You might be tempted to make something out of the ordinary, like Cantaloupe Soup (with lemon!) or Candied Bacon. Meat Candy is not Good Eats, as old AB would say.

Although this bacon lollipop sounds.... strangely delicious.

For your enjoyment:
Gallery of Regrettable Food

What's the worst recipe you've ever tried?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/07/2008 09:41:00 AM | Permalink | |
Procrastination Pays
Thursday, November 06, 2008
...this holiday season, anyway!

I had heard rumors that retailers are going to be having killer sales this season. They ordered all of their merchandise before the economic crisis, and now it looks like customer's aren't going to be buying.

A news story confirms:

WalMart will cut prices every week until Christmas.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/06/2008 02:37:00 PM | Permalink | |
Obama Reactions: Thoughtful Thursday
Something good might come from the new Obama cabinet members. Paulson could get fired. (He should be in jail, IMO).

I don't have much to say about an Obama presidency. I'm glad that there are enough non-Democrats to possibly stymie the passage of FOCA. I hope that he goes back on many of his campaign promises, like he did with his campaign financing pledge. That's not a hope, actually, he's going to have to scale things waaayyy back.

It will be interesting to have a First Lady who looks like Sigourney Weaver. If terrorists attack, just give her a cargo loader and we'll be taken care of.

A brief roundup of thoughts from the web:

Jen's observation
describes why I am sad Obama is the president. The leader of our nation would walk away from a helpless infant who needed care, and thinks that medical professionals should not be mandated to provide medical treatment to the least among us.

Mommylife sees a silver lining.

Some Texas Catholics are keeping their eye on the prize.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/06/2008 09:27:00 AM | Permalink | |
Toys We Love: Works For Me Wednesday
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
There are a few toys in our home that are constantly played with. IMO, they are definitely toys worth buying! I've mislaid my camera, so no nifty pics today.

A few years ago, my children received a set of foam blocks from their aunt and uncle. They are still played with daily by children aged 1-7 (and sometimes the 9 yo, though he'd never admit it!) They are quiet, lightweight, and don't slide off each other easily.
Lincoln Logs, the old classic, is even more fun if you buy a set of plastic farm animals.

My mother worked for a school supply store, and they sold these large rubber animals. The kids still love them. My BP son would sometimes station his hyena at the bedroom door for protection.

Tea Party/Fake Food - again, played with daily.

This jungle gym was purchased last year for $99. Fantastic investment. I have a similar linked on my Amazon sidebar.

Toys that did not work out so well:
  • Domino knockover set.
  • Connect Four (I know! WHY won't the kids play it?)
  • Art sets that require special papers or supplies. (Paint, clay, etc. are always popular, though.)
  • Musical Instrument that son wanted, but that I do not play. It's used... but not properly.
  • JumpStart software (my kids just don't like it.)
For more toy ideas and Works for Me Wednesday fun, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/04/2008 10:46:00 PM | Permalink | |
I Voted

Did you?

Go get your free ice cream! Rumor also has it that Krispy Kreme has free star-shaped donuts and Starbucks is using the honor system to dole out free Tall Coffees to voters.

I actually voted last Friday. There were lots of volunteers there handing out literature for their local candidate of choice.

Unfortunately, they were the most clueless people I've met. I asked what one candidate's stance was on immigration; the brochure girl didn't know, she was just out here "supporting him". I asked another about pro-life views. No clue. I even asked one campaign worker who their candidate was running against. Again, no idea.

Really? The campaigns couldn't even hold a 10 minute information class on the issues? How sad. And annoying.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/04/2008 09:17:00 AM | Permalink | |
Australia, Oppressive PC Regime
Monday, November 03, 2008
Australia is our ally, our friend, the land of the croc hunter. A cheerful place of blokes and mates and crikeys.

The government there is out of control, and Australian "reasonable" policies could creep into our own government.

First, all residents of Australia must use the government Internet filter. Supposedly to block child porn and other illegal content, the filter reportedly is already is blocking information about anorexia and euthanasia.

How far “inappropriate material” may extend was not made clear, for example questioning Government policy where it comes to Aboriginal people could be deemed to be discrimination under Australian law and hence blocked by the censorship regime. Worst still, bloggers or those (such as forum owners) who allow users to comment or post could find themselves blocked under this proposal should someone say or post the wrong thing.

Australia has a government run health care system, and is short on doctors. A doctor from Germany came over to help out and set up a practice, but was denied permanent residency because his son has Down Syndrome.

"A medical officer of the Commonwealth assessed that his son's existing medical condition was likely to result in a significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community," a departmental spokesman said in a statement issued Thursday by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

"This is not discrimination. A disability in itself is not grounds for failing the health requirement — it is a question of the cost implications to the community," the statement said.

How long before Medicare participants in the US are denied coverage to extend life, because it costs too much, but are offered euthanasia instead? Oh wait, that's already happened.

If we don't vigorously defend every life, any life could be forfeit. If we don't vigorously defend our freedom, they'll slip away, too.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/03/2008 08:24:00 AM | Permalink | |
Something Good from the Mortgage Crisis
Saturday, November 01, 2008
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/01/2008 10:34:00 AM | Permalink | |