Don't ask me why, but this is what we did at our Christmas get together! These are all the girls in our family...me, my sister, sister-in-law, 4 daughters, 2 daughters-in-law and one grandchild. And we do have fun together!!!
I saw some homemade marshmallows on foodgawker the other day and I thought to myself, this is my next project! But I looked through the recipe and it looked rather difficult, or so I thought. So I googled good old Martha Stewart and watched a tutorial of how to make them and it looked easy...but then, I'm a visual learner. So I tried them. I decided to add crunched up candy canes to the fluff stuff in the last minute of whipping the fluff. See how you can see the little bits of red in the marshmallows? I loved how they turned out. Warren came home and I informed him that I had made marshmallows. He said, "why would you do that when you can just go buy them?" Well, I said, "just because I can." Actually, I like a challenge, I like to try new things and there's a nice little feeling of accomplishment I feel when I can do it! I've had my share of flops, but it's still fun to try (cake pops for instance). And when I make something from "scratch" at least I know what's in it. Granted, these are not the top of the line nutritionally, but they are very good. Now I tend to think "rubbery" when I think of the store bought jet puffed ones...what does that mean anyways???
So here is my marshmallow with a hint of peppermint in my fair trade dark hot chocolate that I dearly love. It was oh, so good!
Here's the recipe if you're interested. You need 3 pkg. unflavored gelatin (not to be confused with jello gelatin) (If you buy it in bulk, each pkg. = 3/4 T) Pour 1/2 C cold water in your mixing bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over it, let set 10 min. In a saucepan, mix 2 C sugar 2/3 C light Karo 1/4 C water Slowly bring to a boil, stirring, let it boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and carefully pour over the gelatin mixture in bowl. Add 1/4 t. kosher salt. Immediately start beating it with the whisk attachment on high speed for 12 minutes. If you have a Kitchen Aid, you can just walk away for 11 minutes. If you want to add finely chopped candy canes, add them in the last minute, along with a bit of vanilla. You could probably use strawberry flavoring or whatever, I guess.
By the time the 12 min. is up, you have a big fluffy mass of white stuff. You then pour it into a 9x9 pan that has had saran wrap lined both ways in the pan, with a 2 in. overhang on each side. And it needs to be sprayed with Pam. (Get this pan thing done ahead of time!) So then you pour the fluff stuff on the saran in the pan. Spread as good as you can, then take another piece of saran, spray with Pam again and lay it on top of the marshmallows, Pam side touching the marshmallows. You can kind of smooth them this way. Let them cool 2-3 hours or overnight. To cut, lift them out of the pan onto a cutting board by lifting the saran wrap. Get a large knife, spray with Pam. Cut down the middle first, you should end up with 36 squares. The last step is to roll them in some sifted powder sugar and they're ready to eat. I went right for the hot chocolate myself...I also dipped a couple in melted chocolate for fun. Oh, and you can put them in a freezer bag and freeze them.
If you try these, I would be curious to know if you did and if you like them!
Yesterday I had a follow up clinic appointment AND my O2 sat was 96% AND (drum roll)...my FEV1 was 52%, up from 41% two weeks ago AND I was at 1.28L, up from 1.11L. My best PFT's in a long while! Can I have a little applause please??!!! Bring on the holidays!!
The gingerbread house that I threw together last week out of a kit. The little boys love touching it and would love to lick it!
These are one of my favorite Christmas time cookies, thumbprints. They are a bit of work, because you have to roll the dough into tiny balls, then into egg whites and then chopped pecans. You bake them 5 minutes, then press your thumb in the middle and bake 5 more minutes. Then buttercream icing in the middle!! I could easily eat 10 of those buttery little things at once!
Kayden and I made gingerbread cookies one evening.
He was a little concerned that they would jump out of the oven when I opened the door!
Steph and the boys came over last Monday afternoon to help with the cutout cookies. I tried to show Perrin how to put the sprinkles on the frosting, but he was just interested in eating them!
Well, basically, so was Kayden!
The cookie cutouts are another favorites that my mom always made. They are not the soft kind. They are more crispy and a little soft in the middle. And again, very buttery tasting...yum! I do love butter!!!
He did get some sprinkles on before he started licking his fingers and eating!
These are cookies that I took home from a cookie exchange that our church had. It was fun and interesting to see all the different kinds of cookies!
Saturday evening Warren and I went to hear Tiffany sing in the Messiah. It was wonderful with the live orchestra!! Then last night at church was the kids Christmas program. It was really cute and well done!! Now I'm officially in the Christmas spirit!!!
Wednesday morning we got up at 4:15 (which was almost the worst part!) to get ready to leave for my bronchoscopy. We had to drive to Cleveland and it was scheduled for 7:30. Everything went smoothly and on time and we were able to leave a little before 10 and were home by noon. I was light headed and slept on the way home and then crawled into bed and slept much of the afternoon. The doctor did some tissue biopsies and cultures and then "washed" out my lung. He only went in on one side, the side that I'd had the pneumothorax on several years ago. He said that that side would be less likely to collapse again because it would have built up scar tissue where the tube had been put in to reinflate. At any rate, I had no side effects other than coughing up some blood, which he said was normal. At any rate, I'm glad it's over! I'm hoping to hear back from the doctor by Mon. I have an appointment at clinic on Tues. morning.
I had a clinic appointment yesterday, which was good timing, since I had just been sick. I was definately a little nervous about doing PFT's, I was afraid they would've dropped a LOT. I did lots of praying as I was driving there!! Well, I was very surprised to find out that my FEV1 was just the same as 2 months ago at 42% and 1.11 L. My O2 level was 94%. So, yes, I was relieved! Dr. M. did say that overall I met the criteria for doing IV's for a week or two, but after she and Dr. S talked, they decided to keep me on oral cipro for two more weeks instead. So I am a happy camper!! There is only one issue left...I am supposed to have a bronchoscopy next Wednesday (9th), since I haven't cultured any bugs for a year, just aspergillus, they want to see if any are hiding down deep. They are just surprised that I haven't had any more pseudomonas for over a year...so not sure why I keep having flare ups. But since I've been on the cipro and will continue, I may have to cancel and do it later. So I'll call that doctor on Monday to see if I'll be doing it or not. And that's the end of my rather boring little post!
finally, I feel like I'm starting to emerge into a real person again! After 10 days of feeling yuck, I was able to be up a good part of the day and actually get some things done!! I'm still on antibiotics for several days yet, but feeling SO much better! The tree is decorated and the Christmas music was playing today!
Kayden had his third birthday a few weeks ago and I made these rainbow cupcakes. They turned out cute, so I thought I'd post pictures. I found the recipe online. It was a white cake recipe, but I just used a Betty Crocker white mix. You divide the batter up equally into 5 smaller containers or cups. Then use food coloring, red, orange, yellow, green and blue into each. I made mine pretty bright. Then put about 1 T of each batter into a cupcake paper, first blue, then green, yellow, orange and last red. Don't try to spread out the batter, just let it sort of go together. I did bake them in cupcake pans. Kayden and Aila thought they were cool! They were fun to eat!!
I've been in bed since Saturday evening. I was coughing, chilling and started a fever of 101. Sunday was miserable, my chest was really aching and the fever made me ache all over. Monday morning I called clinic...their thoughts were that it was either H1N1 or a lung exacerbation. I did have the H1N1 flu shot a month ago. They are treating me for both, so I'm taking tamiflu for a week and cipro for two weeks. My gut feeling is that it's an exacerbation. My fever finally was normal last night. I've lost 5 pounds and this is the worst I've felt in a long time!! Today my goal is to take a bath and wash my hair...it's so GROSS, I'll probably have to suds it up several times!! And I'm going to try to change my sheets if I can. Not sure what all I'll be able to do for Thanksgiving tomorrow. BUT, I can tell I'm starting to feel a little better...whatever this was, it hit me hard. I have a pain in my chest and am SOB (means short of breath!) I am very very thankful right now for doctors and medicines! Also, Stephanie (my DIL) broke her toe this week. I'm feeling bad that I can't be of help to her :(
Changing the subject, here is a good easy recipe for Thanksgiving. It's called Peter's Pumpkin Delight and it's from my mom. I was going to make a pumpkin pie, but since I have been sick, I didn't have time to make any pie crusts and I had none in the freezer, so this is what I'm making instead, it's so easy: 1 large can Libby's pumpkin (29 oz) 3 eggs, beaten 1 can evaporated milk (13 oz) 2/3 C white sugar 2/3 C brown sugar 3/4 t. salt 3 t. pumpkin pie spice Mix all of this together really well and pour into an oblong cake pan. Sprinkle 1 yellow or white cake mix on top. Drizzle 1 stick of melted butter over top. If you like nuts, use 1/2 C pecans Bake at 350 for 50 min. Serve with whipped topping
Luckily I also have a frozen pumpkin ice cream pie in the freezer that I made last week and also some cinnamon rolls. I'll just need to pull them out, let them rise and then bake. My mom used to make cinnamon rolls and bake them right before Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (no frosting) and we'd have them warm. Soooo good!
Yes, I have abandoned my poor little blog for a month!! I am guilty. So here are a few things that I have been doing in the past month...I enjoyed the week in Florida with Mary Beth and Karen immensely!! Here are a few pictures...Above is the view we enjoyed every morning from our little screened in porch. The condo looks out over Siesta Key drawbridge, it's fun to watch it go up for large sailboats several times a day.
A gorgeous sunset on the beach...
Whose toes are whose???
This was just a cool display in the grocery store there...cases of orange crush, Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew. I thought it worthy of a picture.
OK, so every night we went to Sweet Berries and got ice cream. It's a frozen custard place and so yummy! My favorite was a snickerdoodle concrete, like a flurry or blizzard with lots of snickers in it. At first I got small ones, then began upgrading to mediums!! Oh well, it was vacation!!
This was the view out the back of the condo.
We went on a dinner cruise one evening and had way too much fun!!
At the bow of the boat...Titanic girl...
The condo, poolside.
Our view when we were relaxing out by the pool.
These tall red-headed dudes were just strolling around outside of the mall...really strange to see!
Yeah, it was just a great time, great weather, great friends, great food...could've stayed longer!
Since I've been back:
I've lost my little bit of tan
I took my dad to the airport so he can head to the condo for the winter
I've gone with Cindy to two dr. appointments
I've weeded around my house to get ready for cold weather
I've done some Christmas shopping
I've had my left ear suctioned and a tube put in it
I 've gotten my H1N1 shot
I've had a consultation in Cleveland for an upcoming bronchoscopy
I've attended my high school reunion
I've celebrated my grandson's 3rd birthday, as well as my daughter-in-law's
I've learned how to make artisan bread in 5 minutes
I've gone to Katelyn's basketball scrimmages
I've done stuff with my grandkids
And that's why my poor blog was abandoned for so long!
These two pictures are just part of the view out of my back windows.
These two are looking out my front windows.
We are pretty much surrounded by trees, so I have a wonderful view with every window!
Fall is such a beautiful time! I'm truly amazed every single year at the beauty of the trees. Last week was cold, damp and yucky, but the trees were still beautiful. This week has been a little warmer and sunny. There are a couple of trees out the back that are so bright, they are almost irridescent!
Tomorrow I'm leaving for Florida for a week! I know, I know, I'll be missing a few more days of beauty, but I also need a vacation!! I wanted Warren to go, but he couldn't take off work right now because someone retired and they're extra busy. So my sister quickly volunteered to go with me. And we asked my friend Karen too. Mary Beth and I are flying for free because Michael and Lindsay got bumped coming back from their honeymoon in June and since they are both busy in dental school, they gave it to us. Usually they are non-transferrable, but these were!! So that was fun! I'm going to work outside this afternoon and enjoy the colored leaves...tomorrow I'll be enjoying palm trees!
What, you might ask, is THIS??? Yes, you might think I'm nuts, but I tried making my own laundry detergent! It all started, because I'm sensitive to cleaning items. I just have a hard time breathing them. I've tried the Seventh Generation stuff, but it's expensive. So I've been looking into ways of using simple ingredients I have on hand to clean with and also found a recipe for laundry detergent, which comes out to about 1 to 2 cents a load! I just had to try it and it was very easy to make. It uses the items in the first picture, all found in the laundry section. It cost less than $7.00 and I used one bar of the Fels Naptha, and had tons of the other left for more. The Fels bars are $1.19. IF you want to try it, here's the recipe:
1 Fels Naptha bar 3/4 C washing soda (NOT baking soda) 3/4 C borax You can hand grate the bar, but I thought that was too much work, so I ground it up in my food processor. It looked like shredded cheese, so I kept running it with the blade in the bottom and it kept getting finer. It took only a few minutes to do the whole thing. You use 2 T per load. I put it in and fill the washer before I add the clothes. I've washed several loads, they get very clean. It also takes up VERY little space. You can also make this into a liquid, but to me it seemed like it would take up more space and you have to stir it every time you use it. Plus it seemed like it would be slimy??
For fabric softener, you can just add some white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Here are a couple more cleaning ideas...
Pure dish soap cleans about anything.
Warm water with some white vinegar in it is a great disinfectant for counter tops.
All purpose cleaner: 1 t borax 1/2 T washing soda 2 T lemon juice Combine ingredients in spray bottle with 1 C hot water and shake.
Drain cleaner: Pour 1 C white vinegar and 1 C baking soda in drain. Let stand a few minutes. It bubbles. Flush with several cups of hot water. This freshens the drain or garbage disposal.
Sink cleaner: Combine equal amounts of baking soda and salt to scrub sinks, tubs and stainless steel. Rinse well.
Windows: Warm water, a couple T of white vinegar and a little dish soap. This doesn't streak!
Toilet bowl: Sprinkle some baking soda and lemon juice in toilet and wait awhile. Later scrub with toilet brush.
Ink stain remover: 1 T white vinegar 1 T milk 1 t borax 1 t lemon juice Mix together, then apply to ink stain. Let on for 10 minutes. Dampen sponge with cool water and dab till gone.
Furniture polish: Mix 1 C olive oil 1/2 C lemon juice Shake well and apply small amount to cloth.
There you have it...cheap basic stuff and easier to breathe it!
This morning the calendar page gets turned to October. It has been really chilly this week, kind of like skipping from summer to winter overnight. I've been drinking hot chocolate instead of my smoothie! I had to wear socks, shoes, long sleeve shirt and jeans! Felt so weird! And I was freezing when picking my raspberries, so I changed from my jacket to my winter coat! This picture was from yesterday...I was going to lay down and rest for a bit in the afternoon. I turned the heating pad on, but Meg and Mickey beat me to it! Meg LOVES my heating pad, if I'm on it, she will paw at me to move over and share...and I usually do! We had frost this morning, but at least the sun is out again. If it warms up this afternoon, I'm going to pull out my annual flowers. I was going to take Cindy to a doctor appointment, but it was cancelled, so I have extra time. On Thursdays, I have Jeremy's family over for supper. I will see if dad and Cindy can come too. We are having chicken enchiladas, chips and salsa. I also made pumpkin bars for dessert and Warren can take the leftover ones to work tomorrow. Tomorrow I have a clinic appointment at Akron.
During October Killbuck Savings Bank, where Jeremy works, is selling pumpkins and all the proceeds will go to the CF foundation. I'm going to go check it out this afternoon.
It's been a long time since I've blogged! There are times during the week when I think of something blog worthy and create it in my mind, then when I sit down at the computer during my treatment time, I just check other blogs or recipes and don't feel like blogging myself. Also, I can't even remember what I had wanted to blog about!! I am on facebook a lot too. September seems to be flying by... I love September. The mornings and evenings have a crisp feel and the afternoons are still warm and hanging on to summer. I'm not quite ready to get pumpkins and gourds yet, just not ready to let go of summer. I still have lots of flowers blooming, my raspberries are still bearing, although they are slowing down a little.
Cindy is at home and doing well. She still can't drive, so I've been taking her to some of her dr. appointments and we went to pick up her two dachshunds last week, which was an emotional reunion for her, as they are her babies.
I've been feeling pretty well and have been keeping busy with Cindy, grandkids and just general "stuff". This afternoon I'm going with my sister to Columbus where Michael and Lindsay will participate in a "white coat ceremony". They just moved to their apartment last weekend and will be starting dental school on Wednesday. So this will signify the beginning of that journey.
There is nothing like starting off a summer day, sitting on my patio drinking a smoothie!! I'm not really a coffee drinker in the morning like my hubby is. I'm a smoothie girl!! My freezer has a ton of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. I still have to pick more raspberries to freeze yet. I have a vitamix, which blends all this frozen stuff really quickly and smoothly. I usually make enough for two and then freeze one for the next day in my insulated Tervis tumblers, that I also dearly love. When I was teaching, I'd take a frozen one to school in the fall or spring and in a couple of hours it would be ready to drink. Here's how I make it. I don't measure though...I throw in all of these frozen fruits... strawberries, raspberries and then I go heavy on the blueberries (antioxidants!), plus 1/2 to one banana. I add some yogurt (whatever flavor I have) and just a little sugar, honey or splenda. Lately, I've been adding 1/2 can of Slimfast low carb drink just for the protein. Then I add milk to the top of the fruit and then blend. I don't use ice cubes, since the fruit is frozen and that makes it thick. I might have to add more milk to get the consistency I want. If I HAD to write down a recipe, it might be this:
1 C frozen blueberries 1/2 C frozen raspberries 1/2 C frozen strawberries 1/2 banana 1 T honey or sugar 1/2 of a 6 oz. container of yogurt milk to cover the fruit (or more)
I'm going to pick up my SIL Cindy from the hospital today after a very long stay and many many surgeries, procedures, struggles. We didn't think she was going to make it a few times and we really weren't sure if she would ever be able to come back home. We thought she would maybe have to go to a nursing home. The original two day surgery, putting a rod in her leg on April 28 turned into four long months. BUT she is coming home to her apartment. And we are amazed at how well she is doing. She has lost 50 pounds and she's walking really well with a walker. She will always struggle with the bone disease that she has, and I doubt that it will get any better, but for now we're just glad she'll be home in her own bed. She will need some help with things and will need to go to rehab 2-3 days a week, but we'll work it all out. Keep praying for her as she adjusts to trying to be as independent as she can. We are thanking the Lord that she has come this far! There's no place like home....
Our family usually gets together over at my dad's on Sunday evenings for family night...my sister, brother and our families. Normally, we all bring something for a meal, usually pretty casual. But tonight we had chicken enchiladas made by Missy Herrera(whose husband is Mexican) and they were yummy! We also made rice and beans, taco salad, chips and salsa and brownies. Dad got a golf cart this week, handy for him to ride uptown, take out the trash, putter around... whatever. The kids loved riding around in it tonight. Here Katelyn and I are taking Kayden and Perrin for a ride. Perrin wasn't too sure, but then liked it the second time around. On Saturday we did some weeding there and it was handy to load up the weeds in the back part and Katelyn dumped them. She loved her job!! I got my camera charger this week and now I can take PICTURES again!!
Aila ready for a turn!
Aila and Kayden decided that the grape harbor was their secret hideout and they had fun there. They pretended to cook, using berries they picked and had a brownie party. It was cute!
Aila (pronounced AY-la) just got her hair straighted last week. She is excited to start kindergarten this week and didn't want to have her "dumb curls", which personally, I love. But I think this looks really cute too. I think she looks like Pocohontas, don't you think??
Great Grandpa also started a fire, to burn a stump, and right away Kayden wanted to roast marshmallows, so we did. They both had fun with this, although Aila wanted to burn hers to a crisp...yuck!
It was just a great evening!! Kayden was a sticky, dirty mess, so I gave him a quick bath (Jeremy and Steph had gone home earlier to put Perrin to bed), so I gave him a quick bath and took him home naked, because I had no clothes...luckily, it's only about 3 minutes to take him home. He had a blast tonight and hopefully fell right into bed. I'm hoping he sleeps past 6:00 tomorrow morning (usual wake up time).
News flash!!! Cindy is planning to come home on Friday. We thought she was probably going to go to a nursing home for a bit first, but she is coming straight home. I am going to the hospital tomorrow morning to learn how to change her dressing, which will have to be done on a daily basis. She will come home with a walker and will need to go to outpatient rehab (hopefully here in town) 3 times a week. She has a tub shower and they are going to show me how to help her get her in and out. We are going to tear that out and put in a regular shower, but it won't be put in for a few weeks. I'm hoping things go well, it's going to be some work and we'll need some help. And medicare won't pay for a nurse, since she's not completely housebound. She can get in a car and be taken places. So I'll see what all is involved tomorrow. If she does come home Friday, it will be four months to the day that she's been in the hospital...the rehab people at Wooster have been just great with her, she considers them "family". I can't even imagine being in the hospital that long!!!