Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tuna Salad

I made my own tuna salad recipe. It's nothing terribly special, but considering that I've eaten my fair share of tuna over my childhood (since it was inexpensive) I find that a variation on the theme is helpful!

First the ingredients: Tuna, Mayonnaise, Ranch Dressing, Pickles or relish, celery seed and Muskego Avenue Chicken and Fish Seasoning (Penzey's) .

Put a spoonful of mayo in the bowl, and use the same spoon to remove the drained tuna from the can (to eliminate extra dishes).  Add pickle relish with another spoon. (Note: I bought pickle relish in hopes of eliminating the step of cutting up a couple of sandwich pickle slices, the long ones. I have found that, yes, it is easier, but I like the taste of the dill pickles better than the sweet pickle relish. So, dicing dill pickles is perfectly fine and a better taste in my opinion.) 
Add a squirt of ranch dressing.
Add a dash of celery seed.
Add a dash of Muskego Ave (or salt, pepper, lemon peel or juice, and a small sprinkle of garlic.)

 Mix together.

Serve on bread or crackers. 
I have discovered that I really like the rosemary and olive oil flavored woven wheat crackers, but I also like the round wheat crackers (commonly known as Ritz, but I buy generic brands and save the money).

The kids really like these too. 

I have been making terryaki stir fry mix to go with my tuna salad. The kids haven't developed a taste for it yet, but I enjoy it, and it makes an easy and nutritious lunch.

 I need to make bread pudding with these leftover bagels. Maybe I'll post that next time. Or maybe my attempt at making granola breakfast cereal.

Enjoy the tuna salad!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lemonade Makin' Mama 

Check out this blog today.

Simple Pleasures

A child napping 
A cup of camp coffee and a bar of chocolate.
White lace curtains blowing in the breeze.
Fresh basil and parsley growing by the window.
The Beautiful Blue Danube playing gently in the background.

A good book on a quiet afternoon.

Clean laundry on the clothesline.

The shadows of the clothes blowing sleepily in the breeze.

The smell of the pine trees baking in the sun.
 Fresh sheets from the line just waiting to be slid between at the end of the day.

Mmm. The simple pleasures make up so much of life and they are so easy to miss!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Volunteering Idea for Homeschoolers

One good opportunity to keep in mind for homeschool volunteering ideas is your local historical society or museums. When I was in college I interned at the local historical society museum, and I guided tours and assisted with Boy Scout/Girl Scout and summer camp events, and school group activities. They were short on volunteers so I told my high-school-age homeschool sister about the opportunity, so she volunteered to guide tours and help with scout and summer events (which counted as both community service and history). This may be a better opportunity for older students, but it never hurts to ask if there are volunteering opportunities for younger ages too. Often not for profit organizations are understaffed as far as volunteers go, and are looking for people to fill those roles. Keep in mind too, that if recognition is important to you, some not for profit organizations will have a recognition event, often at the end of the year, for volunteers who have served a certain number of hours. (Of course, that’s not the main reason for doing it, but it is a side perk.) This can also be a good way of networking for future job opportunities. Best wishes! 

Coffee Sipper

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Would I Like Me if I Met Me?

This is a weird idea, but I wonder what I would think of me if I met me.

Now, I'm not hung up on first impressions and I really only care about them if I'm in a job interview, and I'm not all about trying to please other people. I do understand thinking about how I come off to other people just to have some social graciousness. Beyond that I don't really care what people think about me. I don't care about being like other people--I'm a unique individual so I shouldn't try to be someone else. I don't really care if people like my ideas--I tend to think in terms of I'll say things like it is, or the way I understand things to be and if someone doesn't like what I say it's not my problem. Let the chips fall where they may. There are things to be gained from this idea: people who act this way will be respected for who they are or for sticking to their beliefs even if others don't agree with the ideas necessarily, assuming others know how to give you this kind of respect. George Washington said "If you try to please everybody you will please nobody", and I firmly believe this.

But all the same, I don't know if I would like me if I met me. I would probably like my ideas and feel like I met someone who thinks just like me. I think the biggest thing I don't know if I would like about me is my idiosyncrasies, things I can't really change about myself but possess whether I like it or not. Oh well, I can't waste too much energy on this idea. I guess I'll let the people I know decide whether I'm "likable" or not and what to like about me and what is peripheral that doesn't really matter. It's a strange idea that I think about from time to time.

Adding Simple Tasks to Other Routines to Minimize Chores

Somehow when I was younger I thought that cleaning was such a chore. Certainly it can be. But I have learned that there are simple things that can make cleaning easier and can be done in the course of one's daily routine in such a way that it hardly seems like time has to be taken to clean. Just a few of these ideas follow:

When you finish eating breakfast, unload the dishwasher and put the dishes away and load the breakfast dishes. Throughout the day add any other dishes that get dirty. This will minimize having to stack dishes and having to "load the dishwasher." When the dishwasher is full, run it.

When getting ready for the day, take an extra minute to do a little bit of cleaning. For instance, Monday, Wednesday and Friday you could spray and wipe down the sink, counter and mirror, and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you can wipe down the toilet, and spray the shower; also put some toilet cleaner in the bowl at the beginning of your routine and it will be ready to scrub and flush by the end of your routine.
Then all that's left is to sweep and mop the floor which can be done easily enough at any time.

Start your supper preparations when you are preparing breakfast or finished eating breakfast and it will be easier to have supper ready when suppertime rolls around. Also, by starting early, it gives you the chance to make a run to the store for any ingredients you have run out of, or time to think of any simple additions to the meals. For instance, if you put chicken and gravy in the crock pot in the morning, you may think of making biscuits later in the day and still have time to have it ready when dinner is served.

Keep an accordion file for mail to be filed or for bills to be paid. For bills to be paid, put dates on the tabs to tickle your memory to pay them in time. Even simpler is to file mail as it comes in if there are no other actions required. This will keep you from having to handle the same papers twice.

Just a few tips. There are certainly many others that are helpful. Use the library or internet for cleaning, storing and organizing tips. You will be amazed at the number of helpful ideas you come across that you may have never thought of before.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Finished a Book Today!

Today was one of my "lazy days." By "lazy day" by no means to I mean that I was lazy. But I do mean that I got to do something I enjoy--I got to sit down and read a book, or at least part of one. Actually, I finished the book. For some people, sitting down and reading a book is no big deal. But with cooking, cleaning and caring for two toddlers, sitting down to read is a luxury. I am fortunate to live in an age of audio books because this allows me to read and still do the active duties around the house.

Today I just finished a book called Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax. I would highly recommend it to anybody who is considering homeschooling or has the honest questions about homeschooling that many individuals do who have little familiarity with the idea. I found it to be helpful in some of the practical ideas of how to make learning a part of every day without it being a chore, and in the lists of recommended reading material/resources. Some of the dictionaries listed would be very interesting. (Why didn't I know about these sooner?!)

I recently read The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. Another great book! I think this book puts marriage into perspective even for single people in a way that is helpful in our modern society that doesn't really know how to look at marriage and why.

I am reading for the third time The Count of Monte Cristo. I am listening to this in audio form. For a book with 119 chapters, I really can't sit down and read it through at this point in my life very easily, although I keep meaning to purchase an unabridged hard copy for reference, especially where the spellings of words or names are foreign and where there are footnotes to other great authors! I have enjoyed the majority of the works of Robert Louis Stevenson since I was 12, and always pointed to his books as my favorites. They still are in my top favorites, but I have to say, The Count of Monte Cristo seems to top them by at least a little bit. The plot is so thick and all the characters are so tangled into a web of cross-interaction that I can't help but enjoy it, along with the life story of Edmond Dantes. I think Dumas is making some comparisons to Dante's Inferno because he mentions Dante several times (and I think more than any of the other authors he mentions, but I want to double check to be sure.) and because poetic justice is one of the primary themes of the book.

Well, okay, time to check the crock pot. I love cooking in the crock pot because it saves on time, but I have one problem: getting motivated to put food in it early enough to cook it in time for supper, so I don't use it nearly as often as I would like to. I think I will put crock pot meals as my theme for next week's grocery list and actually write out the menus so I have a plan to follow and see if it improves my kitchen experience in the short term.