Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Scenic Ride

My son nodded off in the car the other day. So I decided to take a ride through a surrounding town while listening to holiday tunes. 

Lots of people, thanks to television and movies, think New Jersey is an armpit and lacks any beauty. I beg to differ, but when all you see is the New Jersey Turnpike, I understand. 

As I drove along a particular road it struck me how serene and tranquil the area was at that moment. I decided I had to try and get some photos. The road was not conducive to just pulling over nonstop. Too windy and narrow in some points. When I was certain there was no one coming and going, I stopped, rolled down my window and took a picture. I was only able to take two and they are of the Lamington River. The area is really beautiful and there are a few houses here and there. I loved the tranquility of it all as my little guy slept and I hummed along to "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

Hope your weekend was wonderful.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Whatcha got?

A sense of humor thank God.

Yesterday I commented on a blog post by Ben Hewitt about how some people read homesteading blogs and feel inadequate. I think it happens to the best of us. You will read that someone has cut their debt to almost nil or grew three acres of perfect vegetables. Why is it the cabbage worms have ignored their planted heads while mine had been decimated to the point where I will no longer attempt to grow said veggie??Anyway, I wanted to reassure the person who made gotten that conversation started. She apologized and I felt she did not have to. Some homesteaders don't share the rough times only they good, but I prefer when they share it all in that type of world as it makes it much more interesting.

That being said, it looks like my reply inspired Mr. Hewitt to write a parody based off my reply.

Here is the original post and you can scroll down to my comment.

Here is the parody.

I am fodder for the masses, I think, in a good way. Seriously though, Portlandia should take every word he has written and turn it into an episode.

Social media, especially blogging, is an interesting monster. We let complete strangers into our lives and share things that even some of our own family are unaware of. Or at least until we see them. :) We comment on how other people chose to do things or ask them questions about it. I appreciate when someone like Rhonda from Down to Earth shares because it is a passing on of knowledge that one may not receive in their every day interactions.

That aside, social media also distorts things. We read about how a blogger is building their dream kitchen with their own two hands or how someone's chickens are just bountiful with egg production or how their children are just so independent and talented and some folks just crumble trying to live up to that ideal . They and we forget that whatever blog we are reading, that person has bad days happen too. It is just that some bloggers prefer not to share that part of their world. They don't want you to know that the fox ate half their flock or that their little crafty genius threw a major tantrum at the Farmer's Market or ate soap and that is fine. When you choose to make your life public, you get to choose what you share. Readers need to remember this and not try to live up to some ideal Pinterest styled dream. Again, this is why I prefer people who share the shit slogging in their days. You can learn a thing or two from someone when they keep it real. It doesn't mean the ones who don't share aren't being real, but they are projecting a certain lifestyle that is not always attainable and the average reader, if having a crappy day, week or month, may forget that and start to compare themselves and feel horribly inadequate. None of us should, but sometimes it just creeps in and you just need to get a grip and breathe.

Now that I have entertained the homesteading masses, I hope I entertained you all as well.

And the mice are gone. AMEN! Seems they came in from under the porch as they ate most of the bait from the box put under that area. I admit I was a little excited because that means they probably died under there so I won't smell disintegrating carcasses. WHOOO HOOO!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Little "Tree"

I bought this gold, wired tree, which most likely now be considered 'hipster',  quite a few years ago at Crate and Barrel. After some good natured teasing by some loving friends who asked where we would put our child's presents since he must learn the "deception of Santa", I figured it was a safe idea to put up our little tree. Last year I had done it but it was a constant ornament chase festival and this year he seemed even more obsessed with the ornaments on our friends tree. In the end I figured if he breaks something, so what? Most of it is unbreakable and while there are one or two sentimental ornaments, it is not the end of the world if we lost them to excited little hands.

Behold our little beauty.

It was the best shot I could get and yes it sort of reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and I love that. Your eyes are not playing games, that is a batman ornament and a menorah up front next to a snow globe. We are multicultural in these digs okay?

Our son loves the snow globe as it plays music and lights up. He also has a snow globe ornament that is silent, but changes color and it is very pretty.

I cannot hook lights up because the outlet near by is pretty loose so no lights for this year. Once the contractor comes back to do the upstairs bathroom, I will probably ask him to fix that outlet and make it more secure and then look out next year!!

Hope you all had a good weekend.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Teacher From Tokyo - Children Full of Life Documentary

Mr. Kanamori, a teacher in Japan, believes school should make you happy. Yeah, get the box of tissues.

If you cannot view it via YouTube try this link.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Change in Eating

I have begun eating homemade oatmeal for breakfast once again. See, when I got pregnant the taste of oatmeal made me want to toss my cookies so I had ceased to eat it. I tried it after I had our son, but it still grossed me out.

Recently I had a really bad episode of a sugar crash. I had only eaten two chocolate chip scones and was out with my son who decided to pitch a fit in a store so I carried him out. I ended up tripping over a curb and we both crashed down. (My son hit his head on sidewalk. That was nice and terrifying for him and me. We took him to the doctor and all was well.) As I stood up to make sure he was okay since he hit his head, I became light headed, my heart started to race and I thought I would pass out. I somehow got us to our car and sat in the driver seat. holding him and called my husband telling him I could not drive. I shoved a chocolate croissant in my mouth, yeah not to smart but it was all I had, and met my hubby at dr's office because after a few minutes I was fine, more sugar, and wanted to get my son there ASAP.

This whole experience and a conversation with a friend who is a medical professional made me sit back and realize that I have not been treating my body as well as I should have. Sure I don't exercise as much as I used to and need to get that back on track, but eating wise? Holy carb/sugar overload!! My only really good meal had been at dinner and sorry, just having vegetables once a day is pretty bad. Especially when you consider I am a pescetarian!! On an aside, my favorite snack is a handful of walnuts and some cheese. I figured because I did that I was outweighing the crappy breakfast choice. Denial. A beautiful thing.

That same day I decided it was time to finally cut back as much sugar intake as possible. I have avoided eating any sweets, which is a miracle if you know me at all, and I am careful to either have rice or bread not both when say, we eat an Indian meal.

This is actually a good thing.

I have had high cholesterol for years and no matter how much I cut out cheese per doctor's orders, the numbers would not go down too significantly. There have been studies down to suggest that sugar causes an inflammatory response in some people. I am betting I am one of those folks. I am usually very bloated and that has begin to subside and my quick temper has also. I am curious to see what happens when I do go for a blood test again. If the numbers are high, that will confirm it is strictly genetic. That sucks because then I will need to go on meds which I keep trying to avoid. But if numbers go down, well then, sugar it was.

Now, back to my oatmeal. I add ground flax seed, cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey. I find I enjoy this very much now and am happy that I can have a more filling breakfast instead of eating two scones and maybe a piece of toast.

I am concerned about the holidays, though I was a small party the other night and avoided eating any displayed sweets and ended up devouring a bunch of bell pepper slices. (Who am I???)

Also, I am not one of those people who believes carbs are evil. Please, I am Italian. But moderation with food has never been my norm. A few years back I had consulted a nutritionist to help with my cholesterol problem and she hammered into my head that portions are a big deal. No, you don't need two helpings, just one. You can have a scone, but only one, etc. I have seriously strayed from that, but have come back in the last few days. Lifestyle changes are usually not easy, but this time around I feel like this is it. I had been wanting to cut down to the point of cutting out sugar and thanks to a sugar crash, I have. Our bodies talk to us, we just need to listen. How hippy dippy is that?! But it is true and we all know it. Now go forth and eat.

For tonight's dinner, I will be making: White Bean Chili from GirlMakesFood.


Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm So Glad We've Had This Time Together

Seems our furry friends have gone and met their maker. Not a one of them was caught in the snap traps which means they ate their fill of the bait boxes, which also means I have little mice carcasses in my walls. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I hope they decompose and don't smell, but I am sure one a warm spring day I may know just where they are. Now that is all kinds of awesome.
My husband already knows if I smell it, he will have to cut the drywall and remove it. I can only hope they perished outside, but what are the chances?
The exterminator comes back on the 17th for a follow up so I guess I can bombard him with any questions I have then.

I thought I would share a few articles I have read and found interesting, infuriating or just outright enjoyed.

Ireland's "New Poor" Need Food Banks to Eat - Wouldn't be nice if people made enough money so food banks became obsolete? Sadly, this is not the case.

Being an 'Elephant Mom' in the Time of the Tiger Mother - I agree with some of the author's points. I like letting our little guy just be a kid, but I still think they need to learn "no" before age 5. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you though,

The World's Most Stunning Sea Caves

The Not Naturally Organized Parent's Guide to the Holidays - This article does not just apply to parents. It is for anyone who gets immensely stressed over the holidays. Perhaps it is time to break with "tradition" and do something you and your family will enjoy and remember as opposed to doing it just because. Some people may be shocked to learn that kids don't find presents the best thing about Christmas.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Charity and Frugality

We are on the tail ends of our colds here, my son faring better than us, but I would still love to lie down and nap for about three hours. Also, the exterminator will be here in a bit and I honestly cannot wait to get this process going. I am so sick of mice poop at this point and I am sorry, but they must find elsewhere to live.

I have been reading a lot of interesting articles and blog posts in regards to charitable giving and reeling in the holiday spending. Do I think you can be frugal and still give? Absolutely. I just think you need to be wise as to where and how you give. Mindfulness is key, even in being charitable.

There is a great article in December's Money Magazine that discusses how one should decide to give to charities. It is also in Time Magazine, see the link below.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Charitable Giving Buck

It is interesting how money is more helpful than dropping off a bag of clothes in some cases, but it makes sense. The charity itself knows where it's biggest needs lie. Some have wish lists on Amazon which you can go to and order from and have it shipped directly to the charity. This is something I think I would like to take part in more often, especially for women's shelters and animal shelters.

On a different end of the charity spectrum, Frugal Queen is doing a reverse advent project which I is a great idea. Have books you no longer read? Donate to the library or to a shelter's thrift shop. Made a cake? Bring it to a sick friend or to the office to share. I look at it as little acts of kindness that go a long way during this hectic season. I like spending time with people I care about at this time of year. I like spending time with them whenever I can really, but the holidays add a nice touch of festiveness and if I can bake or cook for them that is nice as well.

Hope all is fabulous in your corner of the world.


Monday, December 1, 2014


Once again, my son has caught a cold. He had a fever on Saturday. Now he is just a snotty, coughing mess. Add to this that I have begun having sneezing fits and we all know this means I will soon be joining him in veritable snot land. Tissues for everyone!
The cough he has troubles me because there is not much one can do for it. No OTC meds for any child under the age of 6 if I am correct so that sucks. I tried to give him honey and he acted as if I offered him arsenic on a stick. Mommy will try the honey again later. My favorite thing he does is use his sleeves or beloved bear as a tissue. He even likes to run over and hug me, burying his face in my just washed hair. Parenting is not for germaphobes.

Now good news. Wednesday, at 1pm, John from PermaKill will be here to begin the process of mice elimination.


After cleaning my silverware drawer early this morning due to mouse droppings in there, well, these little buggers can kiss my grits. All our forks, knives and spoons are now in mason jars in the cabinet. I would like to thank John Landis Mason for creating the mason jar as we know it and bow in reverence. The poor man died penniless. That is very sad.

For dinner last night I made a Tyler Florence recipe - Shrimp and Egg Fried Rice with Napa Cabbage. It was absolutely delicious. For the rice I cooked it in the rice cooker with turmeric and cumin which gave it a very nice flavor. I did not have shallots so I used leeks and instead of peanuts used cashews. I also did not have peanut oil so I used coconut oil instead. My house smelled lovely and you will have leftovers for lunch which is always a plus.