Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Asian Afternoon w/Recipe

I made this friedrice for the event.

Yesterday my agency had their annual Asian Afternoon potluck. All the families who've used Heartsent, no matter how long ago or how new, are welcome. It was at a nice community center and the place was full of happy families, some barely home with their little ones. After eating some very good food, we went into the auditorium and there was a presentation by girls from a local C4 Enrichment Organization, a Chinese dance organization. There was also a 12 year-old who sang two songs in Chinese and she was beautiful and professional. I was very inspired and looking forward to the time when I attend Asian Afternoon with Apple and she gets to sit on the floor in front of the stage and look up to these girls and, later, perhaps join them as a performer.

***Updated 8/31***

I've been asked to share my recipe, but it's one of those not written down. Here's my best at putting it in writing. I use a rice cooker so I don't know how to give rice amounts differently.

Friedrice Recipe:

Cooked Rice: I use 3 cups (the ones that come with the rice cooker) of uncooked rice in a rice cooker. I use brown rice now for good health, but white works just as well.

Olive oil, about 1-2 tbs.

1 cup or so of cooked meat*: I've used canned chicken, canned corned beef, but any cooked meat, fresh, frozen or canned will work.

1 cup cooked peas*

1 large carrot* or the equivalent - grated

1 can whole kernel corn*

1 small onion* - diced

2-3 eggs*

*Any of these ingredients can be substuted or omitted according to taste.

Salt, pepper, soy or shoyu sauce

In a pan over med-high heat, saute meat and onions in the olive oil. Push aside in the pan and add beaten eggs to empty side. Stir eggs only until scrambled. Add peas, carrot and corn. Add rice one scoop at a time, mixing well after each scoop. Hot rice works best because it's not as stuck together. Season to taste.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tree to Table in 3 Mintues!

Apple-Peach sauce a la Vita Mix!
Big hit with my daycare kids.

Harvest Time

Fern, rose, tomatoes, apples, peach, zucchini.

My Garden & Backyard Heaven

My $3 yard sale hammock hung between the apricot tree on the left and first plum tree on the right, against the lilac bushes.
Notice the lush green lawn!

This was the back yard the week of May 14 when I closed escrow and got the keys. The tree with the trunk showing is the first plum tree, the grass has a cement "curb" around it, and beyond the grass was the previous owner's vegetable garden in days long past. It's about 35' wide and 15-20' deep and where the play structure is now.

My play structure, started with a cheap set I bought off craigslist for $200. I then hired someone to clear all the weeds, I laid the brick border, spent a fortune on wood (I was ignorant and could have spent less, had I known), ordered a curved slide, hired an engineer/handyman, and had my deck design built then hauled 4 cubic yards of medium redwood bark from the driveway where it'd been dumped and waiting for a few weeks.

You can see from the different colored wood where some of the original components were used. Once I seal the deck it will be less conspicuous. Under the structure, I'm leaning toward building little kid benches and there will be an A-frame with a canopy on top where the umbrella is. My main design goal was to make this safe for 2 year-olds. I left three openings from the deck, where the slide is, where the rock wall/ladder is and one where the higher of the two platform steps are. I'm going to rebuild the rock wall without any ladder spaces and make it more challenging and safer for the older kids. The deck is about 4' high. I will also order a steering wheel and more handles and probably some type of tire swing or trapeze/ring thing. I have a double baby, half-bucket and full bucket swings to hang also, as needed.



Apples, which have grown large and sweetened up.

The peaches are ripe this week and sweet despite the dire condition of the tree, they are sweet. I hope to treat it and save it after this harvest.

My very first zucchini!

More of many...

Papaya squash, which might be ready next week.
This is a very pretty plant with huge leaves.

Early Girl tomatoes or Mama Mias, either way, they are tasty!

Big Beef, or Beefsteak tomatoes.

Fashion Friday #14

It's been fun to shop again; there are a lot of sales and good things coming into the resale shops. The name brand stripey stuff at the bottom is sizes 18m to size 4 and it was 40% off already reduced clearance prices. The two pairs of shoes are different sizes since I won't know which one will fit Apple best when she wears the outfit. In this group of fun things there is a lot of Gymbor^e, G@p, H@nna Andersson, LeT0p and some European and other local brands. I love getting "the good" stuff so inexpensively! I love the better quality cotton fabric and dyes and how nicely they are cut and sewn. Remember, if you click on the pictures you can see them larger and see the detail. The H@nna A. outfit in the second picture is going to be one of my favorites on Apple, I think (second outfit in from the right).

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Heart Is Fluttering

Referrals came today and Catherine just found out who her daughter is. I've had so much anticipation for her and now that I've read about her referral, I'm all teary. I'm so happy for her; not only did she get her referral, but her daughter is a little baby!

I will be honest and admit it, I am terribly jealous at this moment even though I'm so happy for Catherine. Right now, in this instant, for the first time, my heart is longing and hurting like never before. I will have to make myself suck it up and hold back the pity tears and know that it's just not my turn yet. I need to wait 40 months or more like everything else and it will all be worth it.

I feel for Catherine so much because it's going to be about another week before she sees a picture of her baby. How can that possibly feel for her? She also has to wait two months before travelling? That must be torture.

Congratulations, Catherine, I can't wait to see the pictures when you get them!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Celebrating 28 Months

Except for missing the last step going downstairs this morning and twisting my ankle and preparing all day, my first party was a success! I hosted a singles event for my church, the "mid-singles" (30-45 yrs. old), many of whom are divorced with kids. My play structure was mostly finished yesterday and today I set up my trampoline for the first time and my fire pit. It was a s'mores/trampoline party and it was perfect.

I'll post more on my play structure later. Tonight as I sat by the fire over-looking my backyard, I easily imagined Apple swinging and sliding and running across the grass.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

House Update - Still Chewing...

...because I feel for the past two weeks that I've taken too big of a bite. Remember that saying, "Don't bite off more than you can chew?"

I know it's just because I have the "Still got packing boxes in corners" blues because there are still many things that are not in their final places yet, and the swingset is still not assembled, though the handyman/engineer is returning in the morning, there is still a mountain of bark in my driveway (because it's supposed to go under the swingset) and this means that my trampoline is STILL in the garage in pieces! Why does it matter? Because I'm hosting a singles event this Saturday! I'm having the singles from my church over, with their kids (many are divorced) for a S'mores/Trampoline party.

I keep telling myself I'm making progress, after all, I did prepare the ground for the swingset. I hired a gardener to removed all the weeds and lay the weed barrier then after he left I laid more weed barrier and bought and loaded and unloaded then laid the bricks surrounding the area.

I vacume regularly. I keep up with the dishes pretty well. I've caught up and kept up with the laundry and I'm current on the house cleaning. I made a delicious Apple Crisp from the apples off my very own tree. I've kept Henry alive and now he's actually starting to thrive and grow real cat fur. I tackled the Final Frontier, which is the sewing room and it's almost usable. I also rearranged the daycare playroom, something I do regularly to keep the kids interested in the toys and things that I've got. I swept the attic and didn't wear a mask - I was blowing dirt out my nose for two days! But now I have neat stacks of daycare things in the attic ready for rotating, though the tarps I want to cover everything with are still in my car.

I put out an SOS to a friend and she's coming tomorrow morning for a couple of hours to help me. I hope to run to the store during that time to get the hoses for my bathroom faucet, amoung about ten other things that need doing.

Okay, enough ranting, time to get more stuff up into the attic, it's almost midnight, if I have a snack and sit for a minute, I'll get my second wind.


I have a curse on me and I'd really like to break it. Every time I get something at a home improvement store, never matters which one, the item is ALWAYS defective. Here are some examples:

1: Doorbell. I bought one. It only worked half the time. Went back and got another one, more expensive. It works. Two tries to get it right.

2. Stove. I bought one and waited a week for it to arrive. The day came and the delivery men brought it in and hooked it up. One burner didn't light. Away it went. Another week later, different delivery men came with another stove. I looked at it on the truck and it had a small dent in the side. The side that was going to SHOW! I told them not to bother bringing it in. I phoned the store and complained, mentioned I was ready to get a refund and go to a competitor. They offered to give me back $100 so I gave them another chance. Another week later, I get my stove, and it works. Three tries to get it right.

3. Kitchen faucet. Bought one in the recommended color. Got it home, it was not a good color match despited what the "expert" said. Took it back got the same model in the correct color. I installed it myself and I hated it. It looked great, performed terribly. It had a long neck and I've discovered that long-necked faucets have a flaw... After turning off the faucet, the water keeps running out because the neck is still full of water. I couldn't stand the waste so I took it back and got another one. Three tries to get it right. Oh, and they said they were going to through the returned one away because it had been "used."

4. Bathroom faucet. Thankfully, the old one came right out. I was worried because there wasn't much working room. I bought one after looking at two stores. I had great customer service at the store where I made the purchase, but it's 20 miles away so you can imagine how peeved I was when I got it home and opened the box and saw that it was defective. The metal was bent on the faucet head, leaving a sharp corner sticking out. I went back and exchanged it tonight after looking again at the closer store. So, four trips to the store so far and, guess what? The ends where I have to attach the water hoses are too short so the hoses don't reach so I have to go back a fifth time and see if they have longer hoses or extensions.

Can anyone remember when products in the U.S.A. met a high standard of QUALITY? Now, it's all about being disposable and cheap.

Part two to this post is the lack of professionals or experts, yet they still asked to be paid. I took Poppy and Henry to the vet. Poppy had vomited three times in 24 hours, refused her bottle and barely ate her meat. Henry was doing well and I wanted to know more about possible diagnostics and treatments. The vet examined Poppy, declared her healthy then proceeded to lecture me on her diet.

Number one, he said she should be weaned by 6 weeks, that Americans are the only ones who drink milk in large quantities after infancy and that cats don't need it. Funny, my cat, White, nursed her kittens for a whole YEAR before stoppting the last kitten, Darling. Meow nursed Sunshine for 4 months then Sunshine nursed on White. Bianca showed no signs of weaning when I gave her kittens away at 9 weeks. I do agree that drinking cows milk has certain hazards, but kittens are not humans and Poppy is a total runt and needs the nurishment.

Number two, shame on me for feeding my cats a complete raw diet, and by complete I mean that I make the food according to specific nutritional guidelines for feline consumption. The vet told me I risked giving my cats salmonella and ecoli poisoning. You'd think he'd have leaned in medical school that cats have a VERY short digestive track and the food isn't in them long enough for those organisms to grow under normal conditions. But he didn't stop there. No, he actually told me that my daycare kids are at risk of getting these, too, because I prepare it in my home. By now I was thinking, "I am actually going to pay money for this before I leave here." I did not lecture him, but collected up my kitties and left, though he did agree with me that there was no use diagnosing Henry with ultrasound because he's took small for treatment (surgical) any way.

Remember how he declared Poppy healthy? That night she was so dehydrated that her skin stuck up if I pinched it. I gave her subcutaneous fluids and by morning she was much better and actually ate and has been normal ever since.