Friday, October 29, 2010

"Whoa - too many moms!!"

That, my friends, is what you hear during a science lesson when you hand one of your kids a lens that is supposed to mimic an insect's eye.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Differences in Pumpkin

All that pumpkin is finally done and in the freezer.
We got a total of 27 packages of pumpkin puree; each package roughly equaling one can of pumpkin.
Almost all of it was the type I'm most familiar with;
dull orange outside,
bright orange inside.
But then there was the mammoth pumpkin hubby bought this year.
Grandma's in the background, scraping the other pumpkin
off it's skin.
The inside isn't as bright an orange and not as
stringy. It was more of a spongy consistancy.
I did the mammoth and the smaller of the two really big
 ones hubby bought on the same day. On the outside
they were about the same size. If anything, the mammoth
was slightly larger. You can compare the size in this picture:
The other one I was working on is just behind the mammoth on the left.
This was the puree from the dull orange one - before draining.
And this was the puree from the mammoth - also before draining.
It's kind of hard to tell from these photos, but the puree from the
mammoth is a little paler than the other.  It's not as big a difference
 as I would have expected though, given the color of the flesh.
These are the seeds. The mammoth seeds are on the left.
We haven't tried to roast the mammoth seeds yet.
After draining, this is what we ended up with.
The two on the left are from the mammoth.
There are five on the right from the dull one. 
The one at the top is a mix of both.
Obviously a big difference in yeild.
So, pros and cons of the mammoth.
1)The skin is considerably thinner which made it MUCH easier to cut up. I do suspect that the thinner skin would mean it wouldn't keep as long in cold storage, but since I don't keep them that way it didn't matter.
2)The interior, around the seeds, was spongy, not stringy which made it quite a bit easier to clean out.
3)The puree was a silkier consistency. The puree on the others is very fine and I never have strings in anything I cook, but this was even finer.
1)The thinner skin actually made it a little harder to deal with once it was cooked. Little bits of skin kept tearing off and ending up in with the flesh.
2)There were small, hard bits mixed all in the flesh that didn't cook down and had to be removed by hand before draining.
3)It was much harder to get the seeds out of the spongy mass of "guts" than it is to get seeds out of the stringy kind.  Since my hubby likes roasted pumpkin seeds this is definately a down side.
4)And the biggest con of all, the yeild.  All that work only resulted in two and a half packages of pumpkin puree.
Any time I may have saved on the cutting and scraping was more than nullified by the time I spent picking hard spots and bits of skin out of the puree. I could have run it through a fine mesh sieve, but that is just about as time consuming.  Then there was all the additional time I spent separating out the seeds.  There wasn't much difference in the taste of the two, and I can't imagine there will be much difference in how they cook up, but hubby wants me to bake a pie with each just to see.  He doesn't really care for pumpkin pie, he prefers sweet potato, so he wondered if the mammoth would make a pie that was more like sweet potato. I told him I'd make some for him to try, but I would rather bake a sweet potato or two than mess with one of those pumpkins again.
I'm willing to bet we won't buy another mammoth pumpkin, but I am interested in trying one of those gray ones.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

"The Power of a Skirt" by Megan J.

Megan, at A Blossoming Homestead, wrote this article a couple of days ago.  I particularly liked the story she mentions about Arthur Bremer.  You'll have to go to her site and check it out.

I agree that there is something about wearing dresses and skirts that causes people to treat you differently.  Actually, the biggest difference is that men tend treat you with more respect.  I've had some, usually older women, say how nice it is to see women/girls all in dresses or skirts, but far and away, the most obvious difference is with men, young and old alike. I commented on her blog that I had a couple of young men, who were not watching their language despite the other women in the store, stop using bad language and apologize to me once they saw me in line for the cashier.  We've had numerous such incidences over the last several years, so I know that there truly is power in wearing a skirt and comporting yourself in a ladylike manner.
We've only had a few negative encounters, and interestingly enough, they have all been with other women. One of these happened to the older girls a few years ago (they were about 15 and 17 at the time) when I sent them into the grocery store to grab a couple of items we needed. A woman made an unkind comment to the girls about wearing dresses and a man in line behind them stepped out and defended the girls before they could utter a word. According to the girls, he soundly rebuked the woman for her remark. They were still pretty flabbergasted when they got to the car. They said it was all they could do to remember to thank the man for his support.
And the best of all - my husband constantly thanks me for how the girls and I dress.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have been tagged!

Ruby, over at Mumma's Place has tagged me.
I've never had my blog tagged before, but I have had a blog award that required answering questions and I kind of enjoy that.  As with the awards, I'll not really pass the tag on (after all, a lot of my readers are my daughters and their friends and they are currently passing around their own tag) but I do enjoy it when people have a session where they answer questions about themselves, so if any of you feel so inclined, you may consider yourself tagged and can answer these questions on your own blog. It's kind of like a little peek into someone else's life, and we all love that.

So, without further ado:

1)Where were you born?
In central North Carolina, USA. Less than 50 miles from where we are currently living.
2)What is your favorite guilty treat?
Do I have to pick just one? Oh let's see...anything with chocolate, or maybe caramel, or better yet, something that combines those two lovely confections. Ooohh, and what about cheesecake? Or cheesecake with pralines and caramel, or.....You see - so many guilty treats, so little time.
3)Do you have a phobia?
An irrational fear? Not really. I don't like going down stairs, but since I've fallen down stairs twice (once when I was pregnant-thankfully the baby was fine, and once when Bree was a baby and I was carrying her down-I kept her from getting hurt, but I wasn't so fortunate) I wouldn't really call that irrational.  It doesn't keep me from going down them, I just don't like it.
4)What is your earliest childhood memory?
A house we lived in for a short time when my parents said I would have only been about 18mos. old. I can remember the layout of the house and I have a brief memory of going into the bedroom my brother and I shared, but somone must have been carrying me because I was looking down into the cribs.
5)If you were president or prime minister for a day, what changes would you make?
I don't know. I don't really think you can make significant changes in one day. I'd love for abortion to be outlawed, and for people to quit having to make everything so "politically correct".  There are a lot of things I think could be handled better, mostly if people would just try to treat other people correctly and use common sense, but you can't really govern common sense or decency.
6)You can have any pampering treatment at a classy salon. What do you choose?
I don't even know what all they do at a classy, or any other type of salon.  I don't ever even have my nails done. I'm not sure I could just lay there and let people mess with me.  If they offered up a service where someone would spend and hour brushing your hair I would like that. I love having my hair brushed.
7)In retirement, where would you like to travel if money was no object?
I don't know about this one either. I've always thought it would be neat to see certain places in the world, but I also REALLY like staying at home. I think Ireland, England, and Italy might make it on my list. Maybe Hawaii, and I'd kind of like to see the giant sequoia trees. If only they could invent some method of travel that could get me where I want to go that day but have me back so I could sleep in my own bed (or chair, or the sofa...For someone who can sleep all those places you wouldn't think a hotel would bother me, would you? Oh well.).
Okay. There are a few more tid-bits about me. I hope you've enjoyed this peek into my head - which kind of seems like a highly indecisive area if you go by all the "I don't know." answers.  :D
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Shortage?

I never knew.
I came across a link to this article on another blog site not too long ago (sorry, I can't remember which blog it was since it's not one I usually read).  She was ecstatic because a couple of people she knew had managed to track down some canned pumpkin for her to use in a recipe.
In fact, according to this article, the shortage may extend to this year's supply of canned pumpkin as well.
I didn't know there was a shortage because I made my own pumpkin puree last year. I had more than enough pumpkin for anything I wanted to make.
As far as this year goes, well, I doubt very seriously there will be a shortage at my house.
You see, I went and bought a few pumpkins a couple of weeks ago. 
There are six pumpkins here - one is peeking out from around
the side of the box and one is still in it. I just wanted to show
the range of sizes and added the apple for comparison.
But, I didn't think that would be enough. I had five last year and they were a little bigger than these. Add to that the fact that I wanted to try 2 or 3 new pumpkin recipes this year (and will make them again if I like them) and I decided that I would need a couple more.
So.....I sent my hubby pumpkin shopping.  Actually, he was going to visit his cousin and would pass right by the stand I bought my pumpkins from last year so I thought it would just be easiest for him to stop in and get a couple more. He ended up going to a different stand and I got a call from him asking about the pumpkins I wanted. He couldn't remember what type I used, and the lady there had three varieties she said were for cooking.
He was trying to describe the varieties there.  
I was trying to describe the ones I usually use.
It all ended in more than a little confusion, with me telling him that it was okay for him to get one of the "mammoth" pumpkins to try out, but PLEASE get two of the dull orange ones since his description sounded like the ones I usually buy.
Oh my...
This is the mammoth pumpkin. 
 I've never known anyone to use a bright orange pumpkin
for cooking. Usually they use dull ones, or types that are
unusually colored.  This one is smooth, and it is large, but...
this one is huge!
This is one of the two dull colored  pumpkins he bought
The other one is smaller, but still much bigger than the others.
See?  No shortage of pumpkin here.
Now compare one of last year's biggest pumpkins with
the one my hubby just brought home.
This one doesn't look all that large, but remember, my sink
is pretty big. Here's the one Ri is holding in the other picture:
It took me forever to hack that thing apart.
I began work on the pumpkins yesterday. I cut up and started cooking three of the ones I bought and was going to work on some of the others while the first batch was cooking.  My hand was so tired after cutting up the large one that I decided the others would wait for Saturday - at least - they may not all be done 'til Monday.
It looks as though I'll need to find a bunch of new, exciting, and hopefully tasty pumpkin recipes to try out.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Stoping to admire the beauty

One of the blogs I follow recently wrote a post that reminded me to stop an enjoy some of the beauty along life's journey.  I get so busy that I forget to look at, let alone really enjoy all the beauty around me. We are currently trying to get some projects, along with a bunch of cleaning, and some decorating done for a huge 90th birthday party for Grandma next month. (Of course, this doesn't include all the regular chores, errands, and schooling. :D) I do enjoy putting up fall decorations, more so than any other.  In fact, except for Christmas, I guess I don't really decorate any other time of the year; unless you count picking flowers for the table as they grow. There's just something about fall though. I love all the pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and acorns used in fall decor. Maybe it's just because fall is my favorite time of the year. 
I hope I'll be able to remember to put up some photos of the decorations the girls and I will put out.

But enough about work!  This post is about beauty!  Focus!! (Don't you talk to yourself? Please say yes - if only to help me believe I'm not crazy.)
You may remember this photo I posted awhile back, showing
the climbing black-eyed susan, vining up my shepherds crook.
I thought it was so cute.  I guess I haven't been paying much
attention to it lately, because.....
this is what it looks like now.  I know that hummingbird
is still in there somewhere.
The tomato plant that I thought was so pretty as it started
growing over onto the deck has also gotten quite a bit larger.
It's under the swing now, but still producing tomatoes
A lone marigold blossom is lovely in it's simplicity.
One of the climbing black-eyed susan blossoms.
The pinapple sage has also started blooming; adding one last touch
of color to a garden that's finishing up for the year.
Hummingbirds love these little flowers.

Then there's all the beauty you can't really get a picture of.
One of your children singing a song just for you, or climbing on your lap to cuddle; making your favorite breakfast, or trying to keep their siblings quite because they know you need a nap. It's hearing one of your older children sitting down to read a story to their younger sisters, or having one of them come up with a "great idea" and watching all the others get excited and join in on the action. It's hearing the children go in to read, or talk to their great-grandmother; watch a movie or TV, or just take some project they're working on in the room with her, just to be with her for a little while.
Sometimes the beauty we really need to pay attention to along life's path is the love we express toward one another. 
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Saturday, October 9, 2010