Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ahh what I'd do for some ice cream right about now

I have this late night craving for some ice cream. We haven't bought much ice cream this summer as I am trying to watch what we eat...so I've been trying to be good there, and last summer we almost always had ice cream in our freezer. This summer, I think we've bought maybe 1 quart so far. And it was just vanilla. None of the fancy Tillamook ice cream I crave.

A good alternative is the Healthy Choice Premium Low Fat Fudge bars, with 1.5 grams of total fat per bar and 15 grams of carbohydrates, this is an excellent alternative. I will probably get those sometime- I know Costco sells them in bulk, we've gotten them before. It's a nice treat for you if you're craving ice cream and chocolate.

Other than that, you could always just go the Otter Pop route...although sometimes that just doesn't do it for me.

What other alternatives do you use when you crave ice cream and chocolate?

(And can I say, I can't believe that tomorrow is AUGUST already?? Where did July go?)


Monday, July 30, 2007

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

On Friday night I made MommyChef's Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake and it lasted well over the weekend into today, I am proud to say. It was easy to make and a very delicious cake my family enjoyed. Thank you so much, MommyChef!

I don't have a 9x9 pan so I ended up using a 13x9 (I believe) pan and ended up not having two layers of the delicious crumbly topping. That'll be my next household purchase, for sure. The cake itself was light and not too sweet and the crumbly topping was delicious and full of brown sugar-cinnamon-pecan flavor. I think even walnuts would work fabulously on this cake, but I think pecans bring out a different type of flavor. Even while mixing the cake batter for this, it was airy and light and mixed wonderfully. I have to say this is something I'll have to make the next time my sister and mom come visit, I think they would love it!

Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together sugar, vanilla and butter.
Add eggs & milk, beat well.
Mix flour, baking powder& salt.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients, just until moist.
Grease a 9x9" pan and pour in half of the batter.
Top with half of the nut mixture.
Pour in remaing batter.
Top with remaining nut mixture.
Bake in 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.


NOTE: about yesterday's blog

If it is your wish to send hateful things to me because I expressed myself about poverty, your posts will be promptly rejected. Otherwise I will allow other posts (so long as they are not spam).

If you can't handle one person's outlook on poverty, then the world must be rather small for you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

NFB: Eye-opening poverty

Last night I was up late watching MTV's True Life: I'm Dead Broke which featured three young adults trying to make ends meet in terrible conditions. There was a girl named Alexa living in Missouri who basically dropped out of high school to leave home because she didn't want to burden her mother, who already worked 3 jobs as it was. There was a 22 year-old woman named Sandra living in Oakland, California who was surviving by "hustling" doing people's hair (braiding). Then there was DeMarlon, a 21 year-old young man who lived with his parents and siblings in beyond horrible conditions. The other two I felt sorry for at points, but it was DeMarlon's story that really angered and depressed me.

DeMarlon and his family live in a rural area (Pembroke, Illinois) in this house that I can't even begin to describe to you. It's got no running water (they have to pump their own water), there is raw sewage running out of the side of the house, it's a small 2 bedroom house that can barely fit his two parents and five siblings, and on top of that, there is a cockroach problem they show on the show. The rent is $280/month but DeMarlon and his father stopped paying it because apparently they were trying to put it towards the repairs needed on the house (that is what I understood, anyhow). They are behind $2,800 and only have $100, both DeMarlon and his father go around town looking for odd jobs as his father has a hard time finding steady work. They are served with an eviction notice and DeMarlon starts trying to figure out what to do to help the family avoid being on the streets. He is on probation for having broken into a car to steal stuff (I assume to help his family survive) but he spends his time trying to get ready for a literacy test for the Army, which he plans on enlisting in to help make a better life for his family, as well as attending meetings with his P.O. (Parole Officer), which is 18 miles away from his house. The cameras follow DeMarlon as he starts walking for his 11am appointment at 8am. Luckily, he was able to catch a ride about 3-5 miles into his 18-mile walk.

In the end, the family is evicted but they find another place to live in. It's a run down singlewide trailer but it has running water. DeMarlon states it's not what he would want but he's grateful they have a roof over their heads. In the end, we find out that DeMarlon cannot take the literacy test afterall, because he is on probation. He's got 2 years til he can do so. That ending was so incredibly depressing to me- to knock out someone's dream of trying to make their family's situation better for them just made no sense to me. The update on DeMarlon and his family after this episode was that his father and himself still hadn't found steady work.

So, last night, being curious, I googled DeMarlon and found this- a Hope for Hopkins fund for DeMarlon Martin. This agency is trying to help assist DeMarlon and there was an update posted on the website stating that despite the airing of the program, his situation has gotten worse. He is still in Pembroke, and became a father. He is living with his girlfriend, and both of them are trying to find steady work so they can give their daughter a better life. I was saddened to read this but also hopeful that an organization is trying to help this family out.

It's so easy to judge the situation and say- but the family said they had a satellite dish that cost them $100, the family had a cell phone, the family ate steaks. First off- does living in poverty mean a person has to suffer and not have something they can enjoy in life- be a satellite dish or steaks? Secondly- it didn't look like they even had a landline, and perhaps that cell phone was one of those "pay-as-you-go" type of phones. Third, the steaks- well how do we know the production crew of MTV didn't pay for those? We don't know. We know nothing and yes, while they allowed their lives to be put on air, it's certainly none of our business either. Are we so petty we begrudge a few things in life that can help ease a struggling family's stress levels? Seriously? I'm all for personal responsiblity too- but someone like DeMarlon didn't get negative about the situation, he accepted what was going on and just tried his best to help his family out. When you live in a rural place it's hard to find work when you're cut off from places that may offer more work, especially when you do not have a vehicle (like in DeMarlon's family's case). There was no public transportation as well, and according to a website I found, the per capita income of people in Pembroke, Illinois is $9,642/year versus the U.S.'s average of $21,587. Income for specific ethnic groups was disparaging as well- with Caucasians earning $16,242/year versus African Americans earning $9,390/year. Also, on another website (Family-to-Family), I found out that Pembroke has no police station, no public transportation (as we previously had known) and many houses without running water.

I think it's amazing that we live in this country and whenever we see third-world countries we gasp and say how lucky we are to not live in a situation like that. But it's in our own backyard- Pembroke, Illinois. I'm sure there are many other towns in America who have similar problems. The fact that people living in America don't have running water and have sewage flowing freely from their house?? That is horrific. It's illegal for anyone to live in a situation like that, but the problem is that the people who live in these situations most likely do not know that it's illegal therefore they don't do anything. All I can say is watching this really opened my eyes up. And we've lived in poverty before- we've lived in a place where our roof was leaking and falling apart (but solved by putting a tarp on top of it) in lieu of expensive rent. It had mice problems and many other problems as well, but we dealt with it. However, at least we had running water and working sewage. I just can't even imagine that.


Friday, July 27, 2007

NFB: Youtube clip of the week

(at least in my opinion)...

Does anyone watch the show MXC on Spike TV? It's from a Japanese show called Takeshi's Castle (or something like that) and they dub it with their own script in English. It's pretty funny, but some of the stunts are rather painful.

So I present to you, MXC's Top 25 Most Painful Eliminations!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'll stick with Field Greens, please

I'm a huge fan of pre-packaged salad. I'm so lazy like that, but I love having everything I want and need thrown in the salad, only having to toss in a couple of extra ingredients (bell peppers, cucumbers, etc). In any case, I thought "Butter Greens" was going to be an excellent salad, hence its name. I was wrong. I hated it and thought it was rather smelly (not as in foul/ripe, but there was this odor it gave off that I did not care for).

Typically we buy Field Greens when buying bagged salad, which I love, and sometimes we'll add some spinach to it (raw, of course), cucumbers, and peppers. I'm a texture freak, and if it doesn't crunch I won't touch it. I think that is why I am so picky when it comes to veggies. I prefer them raw and crunchy, uncooked. Besides, isn't it better for you that way? The minerals and vitamins stay in tact?

What is your favorite type of salad (bagged or not bagged)? What kind of salad do you enjoy during the summer? One of these days I will throw some strawberries on my Field Greens and get a Raspberry Vinigrette to compliment it.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


We all are given choices in life, choices on a daily basis. When it comes to food it's no different. How easy would it be to choose to buy something that is so saturated in fat and deep fried so I wouldn't have to cook that night? Then again, it wouldn't be any less easy if I bought a bagged salad and grilled up some chicken breasts to create a healthy and wholesome meal. The past me would have chosen the fast food route. The new me is more conscious about the food I put in our bodies, and even if I decide to go the fast food route as a "treat" now, I realize it's a treat and it's not something we do on a regular basis. Although we never really ate out on a regular basis, we did make worse choices in the past about what we bought at the grocery store.

Oh but it's so easy! Rice or Roni! (Read the amount of sodium, you'll keel over.) It's not that hard to make your own version of Rice or Roni at home! Or how about frozen tater tots full of preservatives and such?? Not anymore. If I want a potato I buy them- you know, the real things. And usually I buy the red potatoes because they are the best when it comes to roasting. What about the storebought coffee cakes?? So easy for breakfast, no? But you could easily make MommyChef's Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake from scratch AND know what is going in your body! (I plan on making this in the next few days!)

I don't know why my mindset has changed. Don't get me wrong, homegirl can still get down on some cake and ice cream, but I'm trying to make healthier choices overall. Cake and ice cream can be left as an every other month treat. Weekends can be saved for pizza or convenience food every so often. There should be a balance of good vs evil, no?

I think what it boils down to is, I'm a step away from Type 2 Diabetes. The excess baggage (weight) I carry I does not help. The fact that my mother has it and it runs on my mom's side does not help. I'm hoping with diet and exercise I can change my destiny and continue to avoid Type 2 Diabetes and learn to live healthy. I lack discipline and what did I say at the beginning of the year? I wanted to change that. I wanted to be healthier. I was great at first, but things happened (an injury, getting busy with life), but realizing that it's not that hard to make easy HEALTHY food and put in at least 10 minutes a day at the beginning of the day for exercise will help one's attitude as well. Sorry if I'm preachy at all, but these are the very things I continue to tell people when they asked me why things changed in my life. I want to be a better role model for my daughter and I want to live longer so I can see her grow up- that is why I do it.

No one told me to do it- no one had to say, "Jennifer, you really need to lose weight" because I already knew that. I've been forced in the past by doctors and even my father at a young age (when I wasn't big to begin with) to lose weight. It's detrimental and until you can realize for yourself that you have to do it because you want to make those changes in your life, it won't work. The worst thing anyone can do is force someone to do something they don't want to do. Yes, it may not be healthy, but you're only asking for trouble by forcing it on someone. It will only backfire in the longrun. The same can be said for quitting smoking. It's not easy to do, and I've fallen off the bandwagon in the past, but committed myself to keeping to being smoke-free for the rest of my life as well. Losing my Grandpa and understanding that he needed oxygen to survive because he used to smoke is what woke me up and made me realize that smoking was a terrible choice and I needed to stop it. I can only hope he's looking down on me and smiling, because he used to beg all of us to quit smoking (many of us have quit as well). It also helps that my husband gave it up before I did. I thought to myself, if I can quit smoking, I can discipline myself to exercise and eat healthy foods as well. And that's where I'm at.

I will happily report that I have seen some progress since I started my exercise program over a month ago- my upper body has much more strength than it used to and my arms are finally started to muscle up. I can see that my "chicken wings" are starting to sag less as well (thank gawd for that, because these exercises I do- T-Tapp exercises- are pretty darned intense!). I have more stamina and energy than before, which is the best part of it all.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Late night blogging: Let's talk Pasta Sauce & Pork

It's almost the end of the month and my supplies are dwindling. I've been craving a good pasta with sauce lately, and watched a show where someone sauteed their veggies and then stuck them in a blender to create a sauce to hide the veggies from her kids. In the end the kids LOVED it. Now that is what I'm talking about. Except I want to roast my veggies. I'm thinking I'll use my last green bell peppers, onion (maybe just a half), and a few cloves of garlic. Unfortunately I do not have fresh tomatoes on hand (when do I ever? Haha!), so I think I'll just use one of my cans of crushed tomatoes and puree that as well. It's just a thought. And I'm thinking it may be a meatless meal as well. I'll try it without the meat.

We've been doing pretty good about conserving meat this month and not eating a lot of red meat (except for the fourth of july when we had burgers). My husband is crying for some steak, but I'm thinking maybe this is something we should continue. Eating only ground turkey, turkey meat and chicken breasts (boneless, skinless). Another thing I will limiting in our diet is pork. My daughter just watched Charlotte's Web and took a stand against pork.

"You're eating his family!" she yelled at me.

I was confused and said, "What are you talking about?"

"You buy bacon Mom! I won't eat it. I won't eat sausage, or pork chops anymore. Nothing with pork in it!" (Said defiantly, mind you!)

Trying to stifle a chuckle thinking it was cute, I composed myself and said, "You don't have to, but I don't think your father will give up his pork."

"That's okay- I just won't eat it then."

Maybe I'll join her. No, not we're not going vegan or vegetarian anytime soon so please don't get your hopes up. Merely trying to eat more healthy and lean cuts of meat. I must admit that sometimes I get icked out by pork, thinking of where it came from...but I do like it (yeah, how silly does that sound?). There's always turkey bacon. Or Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage, which is pretty good, but if I tried to buy it my husband would notice the difference and throw a tantrum. Not gonna work. Truthfully speaking though, we do not eat a lot of bacon or sausage. I usually buy bacon once every 3-6 months in bulk at Costco (comes with 4 packages) and it'll last a good 2-3 months. Sausage? Haven't bought it in about a year and a half now (at least breakfast sausage).

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recipe Review: Easy Sugar Cookies (All Recipes)

This was an easy recipe to follow, I promised a friend of mine that I would bake some cookies to bring to an event I have to attend later today, and decided on this. I didn't have Cream of Tartar so I couldn't make the Snickerdoodles I wanted, so I looked online and found this recipe. I used butter-flavored shortening instead of butter because I love the texture it gives the cookies (although I do not like the idea of trans-fats...but I really didn't want to use what little butter I had left). It was simple but after mixing it, the dough was rather dry, so I had to add a little bit of water to the mix to make the dough cooperate while I was handrolling them into little balls. Instead of using just vanilla extract, I added lemon extract to it as well to give it a bit of a kick, and some Cinnamon as well.

When they came out of the oven and cooled down we tasted them. I am not pleased with how they turned out but my husband said they were fine. They taste a bit...I can't even put it into words. Like it's missing something. I did everything I was supposed to, and put in all the ingredients I was supposed to, so I wasn't missing anything. It just had this funky taste. Or maybe I'm just funky. I don't know. Hopefully the crowd likes them. We shall see. (And I apologize but I did NOT take pictures!)

Easy Sugar Cookies
by Stephanie on All-Recipes


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NFB: Random Thoughts

First off, I want to start out with a congratulations to my cousin Michele and her boyfriend Mike for the birth of their daughter, Marley, who was born on July 11th weighing in at 10 lbs, 9 oz! (Michele had a c-section, no doubt!) She is a gorgeous baby girl and my uterus is aching!

This seems to be the "Year of the Girl" as I put it, my SIL is due in September with a girl, my friend Greg's wife is having a girl, my friend Heather had a girl in early May (I believe?), and I also have a pregnant neighbor who is hoping for a girl (I think she may just get her wish). It's definitely a good year to have a baby! I just can't wait to meet Marley when I go home in August and I can't wait to see my neighbor and my SIL's babies!

This summer has been a bit boring to me, but part of that is due to the fact that now my husband is working a second job. He decided to take it on so he could fix his Ramcharger. He's working 7 days a week and I know he's exhausted, so I try to keep my nagging and bitching to a minimum. I haven't had luck finding a job yet and I'm starting to get a bit anxious and antsy. I love my daughter dearly but I am almost ready for school to start again. I am really anticipating our camping trip on Labor Day more than anything now (along with my trip to California). It's hard to be without him and I can see the effect it's having on my daughter- who is really bummed that he's never around. It's never easy to sacrifice. I know another reason why I am so bored is because I am now out of school and I'm not under the pressure to turn in essays and my mind isn't as stimulated as it was, but I try to keep busy by reading books, exercising, listening to music, etc. Maybe I should take on a harder book?

Speaking of summer, where did our summer go? It's been cloudy and sometimes muggy here, and they are predicting rain for the next 7 days. Well, rain is good, the last thing we need is a drought here, but you know, it's a bit of a bummer, kids can't play outside. At least it's not in the 90s!


Monday, July 16, 2007

There is a difference between baking soda and baking powder

I am convinced of this after making my first dessert in a crockpot (ever). I made a "hot fudge Cake Sundae" and had everything the recipe called for - except for the nuts and the baking powder. I substituted Baking Soda and it gave the cake this weird no flavor flavor- if that makes any sense?

Behold- the new crockpot:

And the Hot Fudge Sundae Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream (which helped it a little):

I had a jar of the Calumet Baking Powder, but it had expired, so I threw it out and forgot to replace it. I do need to pick up some as I'm supposed to bake two dozen cookies for an event I'm going to help with on Thursday.

Word to the wise- always keep BOTH Baking Powder and Baking Soda on hand. *Sigh*

Now, to share my Hot Fudge Sundae Cake recipe with you:

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 T. baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 cups hot water

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 T cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add nuts. Spread batter evenly in slow cooker.

Mix brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa in small bowl. Stir in hot water until smooth. Pour evenly over batter in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 2 -2 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Turn off slow cooker and let cake stand uncovered for 30-40 minutes to cool slightly before serving. Spoon cake into dessert dishes and spoon sauce over top. Can be served with ice cream or whipped cream also.


Friday, July 13, 2007

NFB: Surviving the hottest day in the Pac NW

On Wednesday, July 11th, we set records all over Western Washington state with high 90s all over the place. Up here in Bellingham, we broke the record and it got as hot as 94°F according to the news. Where I live in Whatcom County, it was up to 98°F from what I heard from neighbors. Watching King5 news at 11pm, it was still 91°F at 11:15pm! I did what I could to keep my daughter and myself as cool as possible, so I thought I'd share a couple of pictures from our adventures that day!

Behold- our hot weather gear. Notice the purple bucket to the left? That was filled with cold water we were tossing onto each other. Then we have the essential SPF 30 sunblock by Banana Boat, a bottle of DEET to keep the mosquitoes from biting me, a green sports bottle of water for the active girl (my daughter, not me! HAH!), and a blue cup of ice cold water for myself:

My daughter was insistent on riding her bike, so I let her and I watched while sitting on our porch in the shade. Every 5 minutes I had her drinking from her green bottle:

It was a fine day indeed, but it's not something I'd like to relive anytime soon!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I will be resuming my adventures in Crockpotting again soon

A very special person sent me a gorgeous, brand-new Cuisinart crockpot, and I can barely wait to use it! Right now I do not have any roasts in my freezer, so I am looking for any chicken breast crockpot recipes that may be out there. Or maybe I should make one of those dessert recipes (yummy-ness - is that a word??) that I have been dying to try! I'm not sure, but it WILL be used.

Meanwhile, there will be no cooking in the kitchen, no cleaning of the house, no sex in the Champagne room (hee!). It's just too humid and hot. And yes, to those who deal with high heat indexes, high humidity, 90+ temperatures all summer long, I know I am a big wimp. I know I'm a wimp in the winter and the summer. Now, off to go dump water all over these kidlets again and enjoy a nice warm day outside!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Otter Pops- another low-cal, low-sugar treat

Our local Costco had this box of 200 Otter Pops for $7.69+tax, so I said, what a good way to treat the neighborhood kids and my daughter during the heat, and we bought it. Curious at how much sugar and calories were in each pop, I looked at the nutrition information and saw that each pop (one will suffice per child, in my opinion) was 25 calories and had only 6 grams of sugar. Even as an adult, having 2 Otter Pops isn't a lot to make a dent in your daily caloric and sugar intake (again, in my opinion). Plus it's a classic kid favorite, right?

Now, everyday I am known as the "Otter Pop Lady" around this neighborhood...and we've already gone through about one-third of the box, but it's a nice treat (especially for today and tomorrow- we're looking at 90s with humidity here. Yuck.).


Monday, July 09, 2007

Irony is funny sometimes

Yesterday after writing my post about eating and living healthy I had to run an errand for my husband (who just recently decided to take a weekend job to help put money towards his old school Ramcharger that needs way too much work done to it- plus tires which are not even cheap for his gas guzzler!), so I went into town and took care of business. On my way out of town, I decided to go through the drive-through at Wendy's and get my daughter a Frosty (those are so good, I don't care what anyone says, they taste like an old fashioned soft-serve malt ice cream). I decided to try their Frosty Root Beer Float or whatever it's called. I would say it's ironic, but I haven't really had a treat in a while, so hey...

My thoughts on their Root Beer Float? I liked the ice cream with a little bit of the Root Beer, but overall it was far too sweet for my tastes. I don't know what it is about me lately, but as time goes by I find many things either too rich, too salty or too sweet for my tastes. I can't eat certain foods I used to because of it. Other than the sweetness factor, it was a nice treat, but I think I'll just stick to the Frosty next time. It's not too sweet.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Eating, living healthy

I think my husband is convinced that ground turkey is good, if not, better than ground beef. We have made the switch over. I didn't buy any ground beef this month, just ground turkey. I like it a lot more because it's so lean you don't have a lot of problems with grease. That said, the only problem is it does tend to dry out very fast. However, I have found that adding a little bit of EVOO to it while cooking helps to moisten it a bit.

My stomach isn't aching as much anymore, and overall if we can continue to eat leaner cuts of meat in the end it will be healthy for us (with an occasional red meat thrown in). This month we bought frozen burgers which we used up on the 4th, and chicken breasts and ground turkey. I may never become a vegetarian (I don't aspire to), but I'm learning to live with leaner cuts of meat and even more and more meatless meals to make what meat we do have stretch out.

Now my next item on the agenda is to push more greens and salads on us- I still want to contact a local farming about buying shares in them or at least getting local produce delivered from them, as mentioned before in June. I know my husband will be pleased we're buying local, and it's one less trip to the grocery store for us. It may be more expensive but it sure would be nice.

We have been good for the past couple of months at not buying extra desserty type things, which is something else I had been working on. We generally don't have dessert, so that's not a problem. If we end up with a sweet tooth, we'll have fresh fruit if we have it or a granola bar or a light yogurt.

I've been exercising regularly again (6 days a week) and feeling better as well. My daughter gets enough exercise for all three of us, she's usually outside running around or riding her bike (now without training wheels, yay!) all day long!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Feeding a crowd on a small budget

This fourth of July we invited our neighbors and their three kids over. We are all in the same boat (broke from paying rent), so we both worked with what we had. When we went grocery shopping last week, we picked up frozen burgers at Costco, so we used those and there was just enough for all the kids and the adults. I had a bag of potatoes so the night before I used the Best Foods recipe for potato salad and made that (minus the celery and onion though as I didn't have either). My neighbor made a chocolate cake and I made a cream cheese frosting for it.

My husband manned the grill as I poured iced tea for the adults and juice for the kids and got all the condiments and buns out. Jen (my neighbor) and I started fixing the kids plates with the first batch of burgers, then we made plates for ourselves and our husbands. I was just so relieved that it fed us all and filled our bellies- we used what we had. I still have potato salad in the refridgerator! (And sorry I did not take pictures!)

As I had posted yesterday, my daughter got really sick from heat exhaustion so I spent the most of the evening tending to her. She was able to get out and enjoy the fireworks around 10pm though (it gets dark up here so late!).

Overall, despite my daughter becoming ill, we had a great 4th of July.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

PSA: Make sure you drink water in the heat

Yesterday my little girl ended up with heat exhaustion and I spent the rest of the 4th of July evening tending to her, trying to keep her cool and get fluids into her. We were concerned as she was vomiting up everything she would drink (and what little she ate), but finally, she was able to hold down some Pedialyte and started feeling better towards the end of the night. This morning she was doing a lot better.

Why did this happen? Yesterday we had temperatures in the mid to high 80s with some humidity here, and my daughter was outside, riding her bike with her friends. I thought she was drinking water but apparently she was not, because when she came inside, she told me "I feel nauseous, can I lay down?" I told her yes and asked if she had been drinking water, she said no and asked "Is that why I don't feel good?", I told her that is why I have her drink water all the time.

While I took care of her, I ended up with a bit of heat exhaustion because I realized I wasn't drinking enough water or looking after myself, so I started drinking a large cup of water slowly. In the end, I hope she learned her lesson about the importance of drinking water and keeping hydrated, because yesterday's events were not fun, especially for her!

Despite that, we had a great 4th of July, and a wonderful BBQ on a tiny budget! I'll post about that one tomorrow!

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow American bloggers

Hope you have a safe and fun Fourth!


Monday, July 02, 2007

All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

No, it's not what you think. I'm talking about human beings being a buffet for a wide variety of pests, such as a mosquito. The one thing I dread about summer is being attacked by the swarms of mosquitoes that live around here. Of course with the scare of the West Nile Virus, that's one more thing to worry about, but I hate the itchy feeling and the uncomfortable feeling of being bitten by a mosquito.

I don't know what it is about me- perhaps my body chemistry (that is what I was told by someone else who studied why mosquitoes attack) is the culprit. Since I was a kid I have always been like a magnet for mosquitoes.

Sure, I've tried it all- Avon So Soft, OFF! with Deet, but you have to constantly reapply, and last summer I got DEET poisoning from overusing the OFF! and was sick for a couple of days. I'm thinking of buying some Citronella candles and putting them outside on my porches to keep the buggers away. Even my daughter is itching up a storm. I told her this is how it must feel when a poor puppy gets a nasty case of fleas!


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Food Product Review: Annie's Macaroni and Cheese

I gave into my daughter and said, "Yes, we'll buy Macaroni and Cheese when we go to Costco" last week. Normally they sell Kraft Mac N Cheese, but they had Annie's, which my husband chose, and we bought that instead. Last night I made it and did not follow the directions correctly, so I ended up with chunks of the powdered cheese concoction that I had to stir and stir and stir to get it all incorporated. I made it like I make my Kraft Mac n Cheese- in the pot with the hot pasta, butter and some milk. Annie's calls for mixing the cheese powder mixture with a 1/4 cup of milk and then pouring it on top of the cooked macaroni, butter optional. Doh!

So what are the differences between Kraft and Annie's? According to the Annie's website, the ingredients for the powdered cheese mix are: cultured pasteurized cheese, salt, non-animal enzymes. According to the Kraft website, the ingredients for their powdered cheese mix are: Whey, Granular & Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes). So there are a few glaring differences, but both are good in taste.

Overall I like Annie's a bit more than Kraft. It's not quite as salty as the Kraft is.

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