Archive for October, 2007

Richie and I planned a trip up to Eureka Springs and the War Eagle Craft Fair last weekend.  His mom and her friend Judy also came with us.  We spent Friday night at the Matterhorn Towers Hotel in Eureka.  It was old but nice. I was glad because when I called to get reservations back in August everything was already booked!  We lucked into the last two rooms at the Matterhorn.  Saturday morning we got up early and left the hotel by 6:30 AM to drive the 30 minutes to War Eagle Mill where the craft fair was being held.  The weather was cold in the morning! Cold enough for jeans and sweatshirts!  We got there a little early and had breakfast in the Mill. They were really crowded and the food wasn’t really all that good but we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and blame it on the crowd!  Maybe if we go back again it will be much better.  When we finished eating, most of the booths were open and we were able to start looking around.  We spent about 4 hours looking and shopping and eating good food.  I had some awesome roasted corn and Richie had a really good strawberry crepe that he let me have a bit of.  I bought  a few cool things at the craft fair.

Here are some picks of the mill and the general area around it. It sure was pretty.


Here is Richie standing on the bridge.

Here is a cute Turkey thing near the entrance!

Here are the three ornaments I bought. They are all make with real wool from the sheep and Llamas on the womans farm.

Here is the hat I got for my nephew.

Here is the goard I got for my good friend Dee’s son. He paints them and makes birdhouses out of them.

It kind of looks like a potato!

 Richie also got this neat frog thing but he took it to school today so I will have to add a picture tomorrow.  We really had a great time at the War Eagle Craft Fair!

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Tara Wins $100.00!!!!

Tara is one of my students. She won $100.00 last night when she made a half court shot at the HS Boys basketball game! YEAH TARA!

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Under the weather

I stayed home today with Bronchitis!  I have a bad habit of getting bronchitis and not being able to get rid of it.  Sunday morning I felt fine but by Sunday evening I was coughing and had a funny feeling in my throat.  Monday afternoon  I went to the doctor and sure enough I had full blown bronchitis.  I got a shot and a round of antibiotics.  Usually I wait a while before going to the doctor. I stayed home today in hopes of fighting this off better than I normally do.  I already feel loads better.  The nice thing is that I was able to get some sewing projects done while I lay on the couch.

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Today is Blog Action Day. The purpose for Blog Action Day is to see what would happen if every blog published posts on the same topic, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.  The goal is for thousands of people around the world to all blog about the environment on the same day.  I have been trying to become more environmentally concious. My current goal is to become more self-sufficent by growing a garden and raising some of my own animals as a food source.  You can read many of my earlier posts about the environment.  Today I thought I would give you some hints about living greener.  The following article first appeared on http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22355/28177 in April of 2007.  Many of the tips listed below include links to some wonderful resources.  I hope you can find at least one way to live a little greener! 

50 Green Tips for Earth Day and Beyond

By: Kathleen J. King

It doesn’t have to be Earth Day for me to think about how I can make an impact (or less of an impact) on our planet. Here are a few of my favorite tips:

1. Lower your thermostat. Buy a programmable thermostat.

2. Reuse your water bottle. Avoid buying bottled water. In fact, reuse everything at least once, especially plastics.

3. Check out your bathroom. Use low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets.

4. Start a compost in your back yard or on your rooftop.

5. Buy foods locally. Check out Eat Local Challenge and FoodRoutes to get started. Buy locally made products and locally produced services.

6. Buy in season.

7. Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. You’ll find more on energy-efficient products and practices at Energy Star.

8. Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room. Unplug your cell phone charger from the wall when not using it. Turn off energy strips and surge protectors when not in use (especially overnight).

9. Recycle your newspapers.

10. Car pool. Connect with other commuters at eRideShare.

11. Consider a car sharing service like Zipcar.

12. Ride a bike.

13. Walk, jog, or run.

14. Go to your local library instead of buying new books.

15. At holidays and birthdays, give your family and friends the gift of saving the earth. Donate to their favorite environmental group, foundation, or organization.

16. Get off junk mail lists. GreenDimes can get you started. They’ll even plant a tree for you!

17. Buy products that use recyclable materials whenever possible.

18. If you use plastic grocery bags, recycle them for doggie poop bags or for small trashcan liners.

19. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Given a choice between plastic and paper, opt for paper.

20. Buy locally. Find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food near you at LocalHarvest.

21. Consider organic cleaning products like vinegar, borax, and baking soda.

22. If you have a baby, consider using cloth diapers. To sign up for a diaper service to do the dirty work, check out the National Association of Diaper Services.

23. Consider buying a fuel-efficient car or a hybrid.

24. Landscape with native plants. Check out the article on the EPA website.

25. Opt into a clean energy program. Check out the Green Power Network at the US Department of Energy.

26. Go paperless. Consider reading your newspaper and magazine subscriptions online. Switch to electronic banking and credit card payment, too.

27. Teach kids about the environment.

28. Take your batteries to a recycling center. Earth 911 gives you the scoop.

29. Turn your car off if you’re going to be idle for more than one minute.

30. Do full loads of laundry and set the rinse cycle to “cold.”

31. Recycle. If you’re not at home, take the extra steps, (literally), to find that recycling can.

32. Reuse. Plastic food containers make good crayon and marker holders. Use padded envelops more than once. Buy your toddler or preschooler’s clothes from a thrift shop and give away those that don’t fit to friends. Goodwill or the Salvation Army can help.

33. Limit the length of your showers. Even better, take a “navy shower,” shutting off the water while soaping up and shampooing.

34. Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. Learn about water scarcity.

35. Wash towels after several uses.  

36. Purchase one case of water and provide clean water to 24 people (for over twenty years).

37. Give away your goods and find new ones at FreeCycle.

38. Recycle your technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer recycling programs.

39. Go zero! Log on to the Conservation Fund’s Carbon Zero Calculator and in less than five minutes, you can measure and then offset your carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees.

40. Put your money where your mouth is—invest in green investments. Web sites like Co-op America’s National Green Pages™ can help.

41. Learn about threats to ocean life and help Greenpeace take action.

42. Whenever you can, try using green cleaning products. Check out Cheap, Clean, and Green.

43. Find your local watershed and learn how to protect it.

44. Build a greener home.

45. Opt for eco-friendly and holistic health products.

46. Good to the last drop. Switch to fair trade coffee.

47. Go paperless at work. Distribute company information and post company material online.

48. Eliminate junk mail at work. For no fee, the EcoLogical Mail Coalition will eliminate the junk that former employees receive at work.

49. Plant a forest and feed a family while you’re at it.

50. Shop smart. Choose eco-smart products.

To learn more about Blog Action Day visit the following sites:

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What a week!  I have been so busy I haven’t really even had time to think! 

This year I am a Junior Class sponsor at the high school I teach at. That means that we get to plan and pay for the Junior/Senior Prom.  Each year our town has a little festival in October and the Junior class usually does a bake sale as a fundraiser.  Last Saturday was PecanFest!  I spent Thursday and Friday night baking dozens and dozens of cookies.  Friday after school, a bunch of the students came to my classroom and we packaged and priced all of the goodies and got the drinks on ice so they would be ready in the morning.  At 7:30 Saturday morning, Richie and I met the other class sponsor (Pam) at my classroom to load up all the food, coolers and tables.  We drove down to Main Street where we set up a canopy and our booth.  We had lots of kids signed up to work in one hour shifts.  The day went really well. The only bad part was the heat! It was in the 90’s!!!  We ended up raising almost $350.00 so that was really great!

Saturday night our neighbor, Gunner (who is one of our HS students) and his friend Johnny came down to play Halo 3 with Richie.  They were at the house from 6:00 until about 11:00.  I went to bed before they left! They had a really good time though.

Sunday, Richie and I both didn’t feel well and were REALLY tired! (We’re OLD!) We ended up missing church and sleeping til about 11:00.  I took another nap around 3:00 for about 2 hours!

Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal days for us.  Tonight I had 3 of the Junior Girls down for supper.  I made homemade Mac and Cheese, my famous Pretzel Chicken, steamed broccoli and steamed asparagus.  It was SOOOOO yummy.  We played Catch Phrase and hung out in our “outdoor room” after dinner.  It was REALLY fun!

*NOTE: I highly suggest reducing the amount of bread crumbs to 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup! It was too much bread crumb!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

On top of all of this I have been busy starting a new blog!  I am a memeber of the Bees Without Borders Farmgirl Chapter.  We are a virtual chapter of Mary Janes Farm (www.maryjanesfarm.org).  Our main objectives are sewing and charity.  We have kind of informally adopted cancer research as our main outreach.  Anyway I have been busy getting the basics of our blog setup so that we can all post to it.  A few of us have already posted bios and there is some other neat info there. You should check it out!  http://beewswithoutborders.wordpress.com!

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I made some spaghetti sauce in the crockpot on Monday that turned out really good. I used some leftover stuff from the fridge and freezer to fill out the sauce.  Here is a picture that I took with my cell phone. Trust me the sauce tasted WAY better than the picture looks!

 Please understand that I RARELY measure when I cook. I usually just throw random stuff into the pot and see how it turns out.  This recipe can be modified and adjusted to fit your needs and to suit what you have on hand.

1 onion, chopped
1 Shallot, chopped
4 cloved of garlic, chopped (use less if you don’t like a lot)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (you could add in raw)
2 Italian sausage links, chopped (mine weren’t pre-cooked)
2 preformed hamburger patties, chopped
1 28 oz. can of Crushed tomatoes
1 cup of water (you could use leftover broth or wine instead)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Dried parsley, a bunch
Dried oregano, not as much as the parsley
Dried basil, about the same as the oregano
2-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, add leaves and discard the stems
salt and pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Boil noodles until cooked. Pour sauce over noodles and serve.

I also made cheese biscuits and served with a salad.

All of the meat I used was leftovers that were in the freezer.

*********COOKING TIP**********

I like to buy big family packs of chicken breasts with the bone and skin.  There are usually 6 or so in a package depending on the brand and size because they are packed by weight. I place all of the chicken into a roasting pan and cook slowly in the oven.  For dinner that night we each eat a breast and I make a few sides to go with it.  When the chicken has cooled I peel off all of the skins and start removing the cooked meat from the bones.  The cats and dogs get to eat the skins! I chop up the meat and separate it into piles that are just the right size for casseroles and other dishes. Usually 2 large breasts are good for a casserole. 1 breast is usually just the right amount to use for nachos or chicken salad for lunch.  I then use my vacuum sealer to seal up the divided portions. Then I stick them in the freezer so they are ready later that week or the next for other meals.

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