Friday, August 31, 2007

Back From Insanity

Well, I'm back from the edge of insanity, and I brought something with me. If I could compose music, these words would be sung Evanescence-style, or a little like Kelly Clarkson's song "Behind These Hazel Eyes." Or perhaps Barlow Girls' song "Never Alone."

When the waves are kind,
and the water is shallow,
Then you answer me
when I call you.

But when I'm drowning
in the crushing tide,
I see you running away--
away from my side.

Help me
Hear me
Heal me
Save me-- save me

I know I am dangerous
You don't dare get too close
I know I can hurt you, wound you, drown you,
but even so, I need you to

Help me
Hear me
Heal me
Save me-- save me

I see what I've done
I know what I've said
I've hurt you, accused you
Now your heart is far from me

I pound
I scream
I plead
Is there anyone at home?

When I cry
When I bleed
Is there anyone at home?

Help me
Hear me
Heal me
Save me-- save me.

I even know what the music video should look like.

Black and white film, rocky beach, family playing. The mother is enjoying the shallow surf, but gets pulled farther and farther out to sea, till she is frantically fighting for her life. She calls for help, the family sees, and waves to her, all friendly-like. Then, as she begins to panic, the family becomes afraid and backs away farther up the beach so they can't hear her cries. They are afraid of her fear and her panic. She looks for her husband to help, but apparently he is too preoccupied to notice her.

At last she finds herself spit out by the sea, onto the sand with the water lapping around her gently. She is exhausted and crying. Suddenly her husband is there to rescue her. She looks confused, and then we see the whirlpool that her husband had been caught in himself when she thought he was ignoring her.

This can be interspersed with various scenes of her locked out of a house on a stormy night, and being in a fight with her husband, pounding on his chest, and being an injured victim of an accident with no one stopping to help her. Maybe even a few scenes of a little girl being abandoned or neglected.

I have learned a couple of things. One is, to be watchful of the lies that get told to me when I'm hurting. Not lies from people, but lies from who-knows-where that alternately whisper and shout in my head. It's just not true that "when you really need him, he will let you down." The truth is, people around me really do care, and if they seem to be un-helpful, it's not because they don't care, it's because they are not able. Two drowning people cannot rescue each other. Which brings me to the second thing I've learned: when I'm drowning, call the lifeguard, not a fellow swimmer.

These verses from Psalm 27 (KJV) helped me:

When my father and my mother forsake me,
then the Lord will take me up.

Teach me thy way, O Lord,
and lead me in a plain path
because of mine enemies.

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies
For false witnesses are risen up against me,
and such as breathe out cruelty.

I had fainted,
unless I believed to see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
be of good courage
and He shall strengthen thine heart.
Wait, I say, on the Lord.

I'm not sure what exactly "waiting on the Lord" entails, but when I prayed these verses as my own, the Lord began to strengthen my heart, and last night I could feel myself floating to the top, so to speak. I felt like a swimmer deep underwater feeling myself floating slowly upwards to the air and the light, and this morning I feel almost completely myself again. I find myself literally taking deep breaths of thankfulness and relief.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Silence Is...Duct Tape

I saw a t-shirt the other day that said

Silence is Golden;
Duct Tape is Silver

This has been a duct tape week.

Hormones + Headache + Unreasonable Irritability + General "I-can't-handle-life" = Duct tape across the mouth, as in, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I did not literally use duct tape, just mentally; although once, years ago, I tied a bandanna over my mouth, just to remind myself to think first, and speak later, perhaps next week.

I feel I've done pretty well; and the family agrees with me, which is heartwarming and encouraging. One would hate to find that one's perceptions were wrong and, in fact, one had behaved miserably.

Of course, I have "cheated." This means simply that I have not kept my mouth shut merely by dint of super-human self-effort. Rather, it means I have taken naps, ingested homeopathic PMS tablets and headache tablets and ibuprofen, and my vitamins, and have read a lot to keep my mind off of how I feel, and myself out of everyone's way. And prayed a lot. Hubby and daughter helped me, with a head rub and a foot rub. Aren't they wonderful?

I feel like I should have a punch line, or some sort of insightful comment to tie up this comment with a nice bow. But all I have is duct tape.

P.S. I wonder if I can win something for a new creative use for duct tape:

Save your marriage-- use duct tape!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Three Poems

This poem tickles my funny bone.

Guy Wetmore Carryl

Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet
(Which never occurred to the rest of us)
And, as ‘twas a June day, and just about noonday,
She wanted to eat—like the best of us:
Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say
It is wholesome and people grow fat on it.
The spot being lonely, the lady not only
Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it.

A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled,
As rivulets always are thought to do.
And dragon flies sported around and cavorted,
As poets say dragon flies ought to do;
When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied
A horrible sight that brought fear to her,
A hideous spider was sitting beside her,
And most unavoidably near her!

Albeit unsightly, this creature politely
Said: “Madam, I earnestly vow to you,
I’m penitent that I did not bring my hat. I
Should otherwise certainly bow to you.”
Though anxious to please, he was so ill at ease
That he lost all sense of propriety,
And grew so inept that he clumsily stept
In her plate—which is barred in Society.

This curious error completed her terror;
She shuddered, and growing much paler, not
Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet
Which doubled him up in a sailor knot.
It should be explained that at this he was pained:
He cried: “I have vexed you, no doubt of it!
Your fist’s like a truncheon.” “You’re still in my luncheon,”
Was all that she answered. “Get out of it!”

And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss
To whom you have something to say,
You are only absurd when you get in the curd
But you’re rude when you get in the whey!

The next poem is one that the kids learned for their grandpa-- it's his favorite.

Bryan Waller Proctor

Belshazzar is king! Belshazzar is lord!
And a thousand dark nobles all bend at his board;
Fruits glisten, flowers bloom, meats steam, and a flood
Of the wine that man loveth runs redder than blood:
Wild dancers are there, and a riot of mirth,
And the beauty that maddens the passion of earth;
And the crowds all shout,
Till the vast roofs ring,
"All praise to Belshazzar, Belshazzar the king!"

"Bring forth," cries the monarch, "the vessels of gold,
Which my father tore down from the temple of old;
Bring forth, and we'll drink, while the trumpets are blown,
To the gods of bright silver, of gold and of stone:
Bring forth!" - and before him the vessels all shine.
And he bows unto Baal, and he drinks the dark wine;
Whilst the trumpets bray,
And the cymbals ring,
"Praise, praise to Belshazzar, Belshazzar the king!"

What cometh? - look, look! Without menace or call?
who writes, with the lightning's bright hand, on the wall?
What pierceth the king, like the point of a dart?
What drives the cold blood from his cheek to his heart?
"Chaldeans! Magicians! the letters expound!"
They are read - and Belshazzar is dead on the ground!
Hark! the Persian is come,
On a conqueror's wing;
And a Mede's on the throne of Belshazzar the king!

And finally, a poem that expresses my feelings better than I can say them, in particular, the phrase "saying words I mean but cannot feel." This is by Ruth Bell Graham.

in the morning
I make our bed,
pulling his sheets
and covers tight,
I know the tears
I shouldn't shed
will fall unbidden
as the rain:
and I would kneel,
praying again
words I mean
but cannot feel,
not my will
but Thine
be done."
The doubts dissolving
one by one.
For I realize,
as I pray,
that's why it happened
and this way.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Places I've Been (and a couple other things)

Here's an interesting visual of all the states I've visited. Sorry the whole map doesn't show. The eastern half of the U.S. is completely unvisited.

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Now I see where I'd like to go in the future. How about Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia? Or the whole "South"?

Here's another tidbit, this time showing what kind of English I speak.

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

10% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

0% Yankee

And one more: Assuming I answered the questions correctly-- and if the results are worth anything-- if I were a donut this is what I'd be. (These quizzes are sometimes pretty silly, but I love having a picture of a donut on my blog.)

You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

If you know me, what do you think? Is this what I'm like?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thirteen Favorite Homeschool Resources

Thirteen Things about mom huebert

Since I'm at the tail end of my homeschooling years, I'd like to list here my 13 most favorite resources I used over the years.

1. Miquon Math-- wonderful right-brain approach to math. After my daughter got bogged down half way through her algebra, I put her through this program, even though ostensibly it's for first, second and third grades, and it helped her immensely. (I learned a lot, too!)

2. Rod and Staff readers-- great re-telling of the entire bible for K-5 grade.

3. Animal Exercise Fun-- fun exercises for young children. You pretend to be animals, and stretch down to drink like a giraffe, or gallop around like a monkey. (I can't find a source to actually buy this book, but a link to the website is here.)

4. Ruth Beechick materials--a set of three guides to reading, writing and arithmetic and also a book called "You Can Teach Your Child Successfully."

5. Hundred Chart-- wow, I wish I had had this when I was young. It helped me see the relationship between numbers.

6. Sonlight materials, especially the history.

7. Grammar Songs-- well, I loved it, but the boys thought it was corny, singing "I'm a verb, verb, verb, I'm an action word."

8. Home School Family Fitness-- another great phys ed book, this time for older children. We had great fun with some of the games in this book.

9. Preschool A-B-C series from Rod & Staff-- absolutely wonderful set of workbooks with learning activities for preschoolers.

10. Bob Books-- we loved using these for reading practice.

11. Considering God's Creation-- kids enjoyed making their science notebooks. We still have them!

12. Moody Science series-- we have watched these multiple times.

13. The McGuffey Readersand Ray's Primary Arithmetic-- We actually used the first, I think, three readers in the McGuffey Readers, and the Parent/Teacher guide that Ruth Beechick wrote is wonderful. Also, the very first in the Ray's Arithmetic series was really useful. The others were not so much for us.

Well, now I feel very nostalgic. Those were the good old days. *sigh* Three of my homeschool students are graduated, and one is still home. Ah well, to quote Grandmum from 3-2-1 Penguins: "Good memories, all that matters."
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Versatile BBQ Sauce

This recipe for barbecue sauce makes the best sloppy joes or baked beans.

Versatile BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB brown sugar

To make sloppy joes:
Brown hamburger with chopped onion; also garlic if desired. Drain; add pepper to taste. Add one recipe of Versatile BBQ sauce.

To make baked beans:
Fry several slices of bacon; break into bits. Saute half an onion (chopped) in the bacon drippings. Drain off fat. Add to the bacon and onion one can each of three different kinds of beans, drained: pinto, navy and butterbeans are good. You could also use red beans or black beans. Just be sure to use three different kinds. Dump in one recipe of Versatile BBQ sauce (add a little water if too sticky) and heat till bubbly.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Here we are again, another week for which to plan what in the world we're going to eat. You know, Jesus said not to worry about "what you shall eat, or what you shall put on," but I tell you what-- doesn't it seem like a woman's life is mostly concerned with these very things? I think I need help...

Dinner-- Spaghetti (leftover from Saturday)
Supper-- Grilled Steak, Pepper, and Mushroom Kabobs with grilled potatoes

Dinner-- Cheeseburger Soup
Supper-- Grilled Salisbury Steak and potatoes

Dinner--Macaroni and Tuna Delite
Supper-- Minestrone

Dinner-- Spinach Frittata with Parmesan Sauce
Supper-- No Fuss Chicken with rice

Dinner-- Linguine With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Supper-- Magnificent Steak, rice

Dinner-- Minestrone or leftovers
Supper-- baked ham and sweet potatoes

Dinner-- sandwiches and lunch fixin's
Supper-- same as dinner

On another note, I made a discovery today. I found out why I hate cleaning. It's this: I don't like getting dirty and having my hands in yuck. But when you clean, you have your hands in the dirt and hair and mildew and garbage and dust and cobwebs and grease and who-knows-what-else. And then it's usually on my clothes too. Yuck. Maybe I should clean before stuff gets dirty. Is that possible? Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thirteen Things I Like About My Husband

Thirteen Things about momhuebert

Here's my list of things I like about Hubby. quick, first things I thought of with no proper punctuation or grammar. Better writing style next time...

1. He's tall. At 6 feet, 1 inch, he's almost a foot taller than I am!
2. his beard and moustache-- he has a huggable beard, and it's much softer than the sandpaper he has when he shaves.
3. his feet. strong feet.
4. his tender heart.
5. the way he loves me.
6. the way he loves our daughter (and our sons too, but my heart is especially warmed by the father-daughter thing.)
7. his creative abilities: like, he designed and built our log-splitter, he makes useful things on the turning lathe.
8. when he's gentle and understanding.
9. his smile.
10. his commitment to God.
11. when he listens to me talk, and talk.
12. the way he rubs my back and neck and feet when I'm tired.
13. how good he is at trimming and felling trees.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens
Nancy J. Bond
Indiana Amy
So Lost

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday...)

I love the idea of posting menus weekly, but Mondays are a crazy day to post, for me.

Nevertheless, here are my menus for this week. You may notice they bear a startling resemblance to last week's menus. That's because, when I was struggling with coming up with a new set of meals to cook for hot weather Hubby said, "You made menus last week, right? What's wrong with doing the same thing again?."

So, with a few minimal changes, here we go again:


Dinner-- Beef-Broccoli-Noodle Stir-fry; peaches, strawberries and bananas; italian bread
Supper-- Party Beef Sandwich, Veggie Slaw

Dinner-- Sunburst Potatoes, Vegetables, and Cheese; ham; sliced peaches
Supper-- BLT's; corn on the cob; strawberry yogurt

Dinner-- Cheesy Ham Frittata; Tossed Salad
Supper-- Sloppy Joes, Kidney Bean-Macaroni Salad, Mud-from-the-Crik

Dinner-- Mom's Macaroni & Cheese, sauteed brocooli w/onions
Supper-- Grilled Ginger Pork, cheesy cauliflower

Dinner-- leftovers
Supper-- Salsa Peach Chicken, rice, Russian Veggies

Dinner-- taco salad, fresh fruit
Supper-- spaghetti, salad

Dinner-- hamburgers, chips, baked beans, fruit salad
Supper-- sandwiches, grilled vegetable kabobs, ice cream

If this heat wave breaks, I want to have pizza one day. Pizza day kills two birds, as they say, because I make up a huge batch of bread dough and use it for pizza and for bread, so I get a meal and a batch of bread at the same time. However, in this hot weather I hate to heat up the house like that.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fruity Yogurt and Minty Lime Fizzler

I have two recipes today, both of which are wonderful for these hot, humid days. According to the online weather maps I've been perusing, our weather in Nebraska this year is pretty close to the weather in Louisiana. I've always wondered what it was like to live in the swamplands. Now I know: HOT and HUMID with clouds of mosquitoes and biting flies. I'm praying for Fall.

But until then, we refresh ourselves as best we can.


32 oz. plain yogurt (whole milk yogurt is the best, if you can get it)
3/4 cup sugar
Fresh fruit: 1 lb fresh strawberries, cut up. Or 2 small cans of mandarin oranges, drained. Or 3 bananas, sliced. Or 3 or 4 fresh peaches, sliced. Or any combination of the above.
Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla (especially good with bananas)

Stir the sugar and yogurt till the yogurt is creamy and the sugar is no longer gritty. Then add the fruit. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Serves 6.

This next recipe is SO refreshing. Even the aroma of it is enough to send me on a mini-vacation. It all depends on getting fresh mint leaves, which is no problem for us-- we have a mint plant next to the porch...!


1 12-oz can ginger ale
6-8 mint leaves
3 lime slices
1 tsp. sugar
Crushed ice

Put the mint leaves in two pretty glasses. Squeeze one slice of lime, dividing it between the two glasses. Fill glasses with ice. Put one whole lime slice into each glass. Pour ginger ale over the ice. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of sugar over each glass. Serve immediately. Makes 2.

You can refill your ginger ale once or twice, using the same mint and lime, and it's still good.

Happy Summer!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Fiver

Friday Fiver
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys

1. What is your local lake/river/sea? The Platte River. It's a wide shallow, sandy river that is fun to play in.

2. Do you believe in dragons and unicorns? I don't know about unicorns, but I definitely believe there used to be dragons. Listen to this from the book of Job in the bible: (referring to "leviathan") "His sneezings flash forth light,...out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of flame shoot out, smoke goes out of his nostrils...his breath kindles coals and a flame goes out of his mouth. His undersides are like sharp potsherds; he spreads pointed marks in the mire." If that's not a dragon....

3. What is your favorite fruit? Hmmm. strawberries with vanilla ice cream. oranges and grapefruit all cut up together. fresh peaches with biscuits and whipped cream.

4. Do you smoke? No. Never have.

5. Friday fill-in:
Together they would _____ .
work and grow and live.

Go to Friday Fiver to join the fun, and to read other people's answers.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thirteen Things about momhuebert

Thirteen books that I have read more than once, in no particular order, except as I happen to think of them.

1. The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitall Smith. I learned that happiness in the christian life comes from just believing what God says; and He's said some incredible things.

2. Surprised by the Power of God, by Jack Deere. God is still doing wonderful things today, and still communicating with us.

3. Anointed For Burial, by Todd Burke. Wooo-eee! God did some amazing stuff in the revival in Cambodia in the 70s.

4. The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill. I love the humor, and the voices of the characters.

5. The Moving Finger, by Agatha Christie. There's a love story hidden in the murder mystery, and now that I know whodunnit, I enjoy the book for the love story.

6. Miss Marple, The Complete Stories, by Agatha Christie. I enjoy Miss Marple's logic, and Miss Marple herself.

7. Anne of Green Gables series, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. One thing I like about these books is watching Anne grow up and change, and then seeing her as a wife and mother. I especially enjoy the story at the end of the book "Anne of Ingleside" where Ann is afraid Gilbert has stopped loving her-- sort of a marriage mid-life crisis. Of course it all turns out well.

8. Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. I think these are the only fantasy stories I like. I'm not much into mythological creatures and strange new worlds. But Lewis's writing style and story telling are very readable and interesting. I love to re-read these, just to go back and visit the places and characters.

9. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. The first time I read this, I read it for the content; and the content is wonderful. Every time after that I find myself reading it for his clear, understandable style. If I could write that well, I'd consider myself to have arrived as a writer.

10. All of the James Herriot books. I know nothing about veterinary stuff-- well, now I know some, from reading the books-- but I love Herriot's narrating and the stories he tells.

11. The Fields of Home, by Ralph Moody. This is just one of a whole autobiographical series, but I think this one is my favorite. Teenaged Ralph has to spend a year living with his grandfather, and they are both hard-headed and stubborn as mules. Reading the story of how they learn to live with each other and how they both change leaves you with a wry grin and shaking your head in near disbelief. Truth is sometimes as good as fiction!

12. The Toothpaste Millionare, by Jean Merrill. I wish life were this easy. I like to read the story of the twelve-year-old who becomes a toothpaste tycoon and pretend it really could happen.

13. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Of course, I have read the entire Little House series umpteen times over the last thirty years, but this one has become my favorite, I think. I'm amazed by the incident where Pa negotiates with the opportunistic store owner and the starving townspeople about the sale of wheat. Wish I had that kind of wisdom and diplomacy.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
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Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Corn Soup

You may have seen on my menu plan that we had corn-on-the-cob for supper last night. Well, it happened that we had leftovers, so I decided to make corn soup for dinner today. It's a wonderful way to use up leftover corn-on-the-cob, and it's a great comfort food.

Thinking about corn soup reminded me of going to visit my great-grandma years ago. I was nine years old, and my parents put me on a bus (probably Continental Trailways) in Kansas City and I ended up in Osceola, Missouri. I can't imagine doing that to my own kids, but at the time I guess I just took it in stride. My "Grandma Millie" would meet me and take me to her house up on the hill overlooking the town and the railroad tracks. She had a big garden and we usually ate things out of it: peas, beans, corn. I can remember her snapping beans on the porch.

When I grew up and began canning vegetables I learned to cut my beans with a knife on a cutting board-- it was more efficient because you could cut many more beans at a time. Sitting in a rocker or porch swing and breaking individual beans into bite-size pieces by hand seems to embody a much more relaxed world view. Sittin' on the porch, fixin' beans for supper....

Of course, we didn't just have beans.

"What flavor of ice cream do you like?" she asked me on my first day.

"Chocolate!" I said.

And after supper she presented me with a half gallon of chocolate ice cream, all mine, to eat over the course of the week. She didn't care for it herself, she said, so it was mine. I still remember the awe I felt. She bought chocolate ice cream for me, just because I liked it!

This is the same grandma who, one year for Christmas, gave me a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies-- all for me. I know I ate more cookies than I should have that day (how do you play with a box of cookies?), but after that I portioned them out for myself to last as long as possible. I think I remember the last ones being kind of stale, unlike my memories of that unusual gift.

One dish Grandma Millie introduced me to was Corn Soup. It was totally new to me, and I loved it, and still do, and now my family loves it too. And it doesn't hardly sound like a recipe. Here it is:


Take several cooked ears of corn and cut off the kernels.
Put them in a sauce pan and generously cover with milk.
Add a large lump of butter, too much pepper, and plenty of salt.
Heat to boiling and then turn off the burner.

There's just something about this combination of flavors-- the sweetness of the corn, the butter, the salt and pepper, the warm milk-- that is wholesome, filling, and comforting.

Grandma Millie has been gone for several years now-- she lived till well over ninety-- but her corn soup is still alive, and so are my wonderful memories of "chocolate after supper."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Menu Plan Monday and Chocolate Sauce

I am happy to have found this "game" online, where bloggers share their menus. You know, I used to plan menus and shopping lists, but over the last year I have become slack, and cooking meals has been pretty chaotic in consequence. However, with the encouragement of knowing that there are many others doing the same thing I think I can become organized again. So here is my tentative menu plan for this week. (Since we homeschool and therefore have the family home all day, I am cooking two meals a day.)

Monday dinner has already happened at this writing and it was good. The peanut mole' was a new thing for me, and though I had my doubts about the peanut butter, it was actually good, and our guests asked for the recipe!

Dinner-- (birthday celebration meal) Grilled Pork Loin with Peanut Mole', marinated potato chunks, salad, coffee cake and ice cream
Supper-- Salsa Pizza, oranges & grapefruit, leftover cake

Dinner-- Sunburst Potatoes, Vegetables & Cheese; sauteed ham slices, sliced peaches
Supper-- grilled hamburgers with mushroom sauce, corn-on-the-cob, tomato mozzarella salad

Dinner-- Cheesy Ham Frittata, Veggie Slaw
Supper-- Sloppy Joes, Kidney Bean-Macaroni Salad, Mud-From-The-Crik

Dinner-- Mom's Macaroni & Cheese, sauteed broccoli w/onions
Supper-- Grilled Ginger Pork, Cheesy Cauliflower, salad

Dinner-- Leftovers
Supper-- Salsa Peach Chicken with rice, yellow squash & zucchini, fruit yogurt

Dinner-- taco salad, fresh strawberries with Reddi-Whip
Supper-- spaghetti, salad, bread sticks

Dinner-- sandwiches, chips, fruit
Supper-- fast food

And here's the recipe for today. It's not original with me-- it comes from an old Mennonite cookbook-- but I would have invented it if I hadn't found it! This is a family favorite.


Stir together:
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 TB cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups water

Cook till thick, stirring.

Stir in:
1 1/2 TB butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Use to make chocolate milk, or to top ice cream; or pour it over unfrosted cake or brownies. It's good any time, but especially when it's warm.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sweet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs

This recipe was a hit with the boys, so I'm going to share it here. I learned afterwards that sugar in a sauce for grilling makes meat burn, but I didn't see a problem at all here, perhaps because the grilling time was pretty short.

Sweet Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thighs

8 chicken thighs
8 slices bacon (about 10 oz)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Marinade ingredients, below

Coat chicken thighs with the following mixture:

2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 TB white wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Let stand for at least five minutes.
Roll the chicken pieces in brown sugar, covering well. Wrap one bacon slice around each thigh.
Grill, covered, for 15 minutes on high. Turn pieces over, turn temperature to low, and grill for another 10-15 minutes, for a total of 20-30 minutes, or till done.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Best Dishwasher Detergent

An update to this post is here. Scroll to the bottom of that post to read about my new dishwasher miracle.

Two years ago, my life in the kitchen took a dramatic turn: we bought a dishwasher. Except for a brief respite of a year or so (when I was sick and we had been given a used dishwasher which we used till it died) I have done dishes the old-fashioned way: make the kids do'em.

Of course, many times it ended up to be my turn as well, and with four growing children, and homeschooling, and cooking from scratch, our whole kitchen seemed to be dishes. Dirty dishes on the counter waiting to be washed. More dirty dishes in the sink being washed. Clean dishes in the drainer waiting to be dried. More clean dishes on a towel waiting to be put away.

With the advent of the dishwasher that all changed. It became a fun game for me to load up the dishwasher and then clean up the rest of the kitchen while my happy Bosch maid washed the dishes for me. As time went on, it degenerated to dirty dishes on the counter waiting to be loaded, and clean dishes in the dishwasher waiting to be put away, but it was still much better than B.D. (before dishwasher)

And then I tried a new detergent. I had been using a gel, even though the people at the appliance store- and even the sticker on the dishwasher- recommended powder, because it made more sense to me. It was already wet, so it didn't need to dissolve; it should work great-- and it did. But then my conscience began squirming and said maybe I needed to use what the experts said to use. I bought a big box of powdered detergent and it was a disaster! The powder got into every cranny of my dishwasher and hardened there into a cross between cement and putty.

My dishwasher was no longer a happy little maid, but a surly slave. "You want clean dishes, I'll give you clean dishes....NOT!" It seemed to delight in spraying most of the soil from the dishes up inside the glasses and drying it there. Oh joy. There's nothing more frustrating than putting a relatively clean glass into the dishwasher (it just had iced tea in it) and taking it out completely coated with unidentifiable gook that must be scrubbed off.

I also was having trouble with a white coating on all the glassware, and the troubleshooting guide that came with my dishwasher was not exactly helpful. If my glassware has white streaks, it means I used too much rinse-aid. If my glassware has white deposits, it means I used too little rinse-aid. The problem was, I couldn't tell the difference between a deposit and a streak. In fact, it looked like I had both. So that meant I was using too much and too little rinse-aid?

We spent nearly a year fighting with this mess, but I won't bore you with the myriad of possible causes and solutions, or recount to you how many times I ran the dishwasher empty of dishes with some new something that might-- this time-- clear everything up. I'll jump straight to the happy ending.

We decided the problem was twofold: hard water, and soap scum. And the solution entails two parts as well. The first is a product called LemiShine, which I found at our local grocery store. I followed the instructions on their website and then ran the dishwasher empty one more time, and Wa-La! that took took care of all the residual soap scum and hard water deposits.

Next, we needed something to keep it that way while getting the dishes clean. And that something is a recipe I found for homemade powdered dishwasher detergent that works wonderfully. No scum, no hard water deposits, and no concrete buildup-- in short, clean dishwasher and clean dishes.

So here's the recipe, as I made it:

Dishwasher Powder

1 cup Borax
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup LemiShine

Use a tablespoon per load, a little more, a little less, depending on how dirty the dishes are and how hard your water is.

I am just thrilled. I have my dishwasher back. And my dishwasher is a happy little maid again.

Check out this blog: and search under Labels for "homemade" to find interesting homemade stuff, like liquid detergent and toothpaste and shaving gel and cat food.]