Friday, June 25, 2010

Holy Guacamole

Hang in there with me. Don't leave. Just get thru the next paragraph and you'll see where I'm going with all this.

I was reading that avocados are very good for women. It has been shown that if a woman eats just one avocado a week, it can help balance hormones. At this stage of my life, I'm all for balancing the hormones. It also helps prevent some cervical cancers and helps you shed unwanted pounds. That being said, I just like avocados.

They are relatively cheap at our organic co-op. They are nutritious and delicious. I like them in salads, on sandwiches, sliced up on a plate, and as guacamole. I make a really good guacamole. I have been taking it to the park and sharing it with my friends. Even my hubby, the guacamole shunner that he is, really likes it. That makes me feel better. Here's the way I do it:

2 ripe avocados
2 green onions, chopped, including greens
1/2 medium tomato or 1 small tomato, diced small, seeds removed
2 tsp cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt
cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Half avocados and remove the pit. Scoop green goodness out of skin with a spoon. Dice avocado then place in bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add juice of lemon. Start to mash avocado with back of spoon or with a fork. Add lime juice and continue to mash until as smooth as you like it or as smooth as you can get it. Add spices, tomatoes, and onions. Mix well. Serve with chips, on tacos, or with a spoon.

Your avocados must be ripe. I keep mine in the frig to keep them from ripening too soon. I take them out and let them sit on my kitchen counter for about 3-4 days. When the skin is black and the fruit is soft, they're ready. The lemon juice is to keep it green, the lime juice is for flavor. The measurements for the cumin and cayenne are guesstimates. I don't measure. Easy does it, though. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor. It may taste a little bland at first. Start by adding a little more salt and pepper. Then a little cumin, but the cayenne will blow you away if you add too much. If you don't have tomatoes and onions, use salsa. It doesn't matter what kind. Start with about a tablespoon and go from there. Add a tablespoon at a time until it is the consistency you like. I like mine a little thick.
It really is super easy. I could show you quicker than it took to write this out. And it's good for you. You can't beat that with a stick. Well, you could, but then you would have really smooth guacamole. Enjoy!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading List

Part of homeschooling in our state is that you have to keep a list of books that have been read by each child. There are several ways to do this. I just keep a sheet of paper for each child and as they finish a book, they write it down with the author's name. My friend L does something really neat. She keeps the receipts from the library and highlights the books as her kids finish them. One thing that has been very beneficial about this is that we have discovered some really good series that we probably wouldn't have known about. We get recommendations from our friends, from other families, and from the librarians. The big girl is in a book club that runs during the school year. There are three series of books that come to mind that we really enjoyed or are enjoying as the case may be.

The first series that comes to mind is Geronimo Stilton. My aforementioned friend L is the one that recommended this series. We read some out loud, but did some as books on CD. The books are cute and funny and easy to read. They go pretty quickly and we sometimes take turns reading them. I like books on CD because the readers usually do voices. I'm not usually good at character voices. This is a series about a mouse named Geronimo Stilton. I have blogged about them before. We always enjoy a good GS book. I would say they are more appropriate for elementary age, but even I get a good giggle when we read them.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians has been one of our recent series. We are actually finishing the last book. We have two CDs left. The kids wanted to read this because of the movie. They would see the trailers on TV and then the poster at the theater. I requested the first book and we loved it. They are action filled. They are clean. They are appropriate for my kids. They have introduced us to the Greek gods in a way that is fun for my kids. They have made us interested in something that we have just barely scratched the surface of previously. The writer, Rick Riordan, has a new series about the Egyptian gods. It's waiting for us at the library as we speak, or read I guess.

Because of Rick Riordan we have discovered another series. The 39 Clues has been alot of fun and has been our dinner book for quite awhile now. We are on book five. Each book is written by a different author. Each one lends their own specialty and style to the series. It also introduces us to places that we probably wouldn't find out much about without reading these. We are going to look up The Road of Bones in Siberia to see if it's real or not. Just cool stuff that makes you wonder and makes you root for two kids that are competeing against people, relatives, that have more money and more resources. And once again, they are clean, they are interesting, and they are fun. Good books to read with my kids.

We try to read as much as we can. My girls had at least two full sheets, front and back, of books they read last school year. We have already started a list for the upcoming year. We are also doing the summer reading camp at the library again. A friend of mine and I were thinking about starting a book club for our boys. The one that the big girl does is for girls, and we think our boys need an outlet. Any excuse to get them to pick up a book is good. They will read, they just prefer to do something else. If you have a good book, or even a good series, we'd love to know about it.

Have a great day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


There is a study out that says kids lose a certain percentage of the things they learned during the school year over the summer. I believe that's partially true. After all, if you aren't using the Pythagorean Theory every day, well it could become a moot point. Not that we are at that level yet. That comes next year. We are, however, unofficially doing just a bit of school. Not much, and most of it has to do more with reading and PE, but school is school after all.

We are involved once again in the summer reading program at our local library. There are several branches around us, but I choose to go to the one that we are most familiar with. We walk in and they know us. Love that. The kids must check out at least 5 things to read every week. They can be books, magazines, audio books, whatever. They turn in their receipt and they are entered into a drawing for a prize. I have a teacher friend that believes audio books shouldn't count as reading. I think it does. Reading out loud, reading silently to yourself, and having books read to you all stimulate different parts of your brain. But there I go again-soapbox. Five books a week isn't a big deal for my girls, but the boy could use some help. To help him, I am setting aside 30 minutes a day for reading. Check off reading.

We are also doing the free month of membership at the Y. June has cost us nothing and we have been there so much, they know our names. Love that, too. We have done Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, and the exercise equipment. I would like to do the shallow water fitness or water aerobics, but that will come. We are going to join for the summer. It's actually cheaper than dancing, so we are even saving a little. We have gotten to spend time with friends that we normally wouldn't see very much during the summer. We are getting fit. And my tan is rocking. There's a bonus.

And last, but not least, we are going to some of the $1 movies at the local theater. There is another chain doing free movies, but by the time we got to the closest one, it would cost me $10 in gas. We saw Shrek the Third and are going to get to see Monsters v. Aliens if I'm really good. And since we get free refills on large drinks and large popcorns, if anyone wants to split a package, I'm up for that. The package of one large popcorn and two large drinks is $17.50. But with refills, that's like getting two large popcorns and four large drinks. That breaks down to $8.75 for half of the pack. Just throwing that out there. We aren't going to see all the movies. Some I have no desire to see again. Some we never got to see in the first place, and this is a much cheaper way to do it.

There's our plans for the summer. We are reading, exercising, and getting our popcorn on. That seems like it should be enough to keep me out of trouble. We'll see anyway.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I need to tell you about Kyle. I don't usually use full names and have code words for my family. You will hardly ever see any reference to friends' names except initials. I delete comments that use names. But I need to let you know what joy is and can be.

Kyle is one of the youth in our group at church. He is there almost every Sunday. He smiles and is happy almost all the time. But he is also a little different. I'm not sure of the diagnosis, but I think autism, or even Aspergers would be appropriate. What I do know, is that Kyle makes me happy.

He needs a little extra help, but is actually very self suficient. We do ask if he wants a snack. I can tell he does when he starts to wander over to the snack table and stands there a minute. Although we have told him he can get his own, he usually waits for us to help him with his plate. If you ask him if he wants this or that, he'll tell you yes or no. And the boy can eat, let me tell you what.

He plays piano. He is very good. He played for us one night. He didn't like the noise of the cheers and clapping, but he liked the praise. His smile was ear to ear. Of course, he was covering those ears, but he was still smiling.

I tell you about Kyle because we had our youth party tonight. We had a water slide, obstacle course, water balloons, pie eating contest, and slime tug of war. We had a bunch of new kids that had been invited by our youth. We had lots going on, lots of noise, and lots of fun. But the highlight of my night was Kyle. He almost would not come off the water slide. Hubby took him up the first time, just to help make him comfortable. It was a two laner, so hubby was in one lane, Kyle in the other. The sound of Kyle's laughter filled the air as he slid and turned and landed in the pool at the bottom. His feet touched the ground and he was up the stairs again. And down the slide again. He did stop to eat, but was right back at it. He even ran the obstacle course with a couple of our teens. And won I might add. Then back to the slide. We stopped at one point to have sundaes. He ate his, and right back on the slide. I have never seen him move so fast. Pure, unadulterated joy shone on his face. He was beautiful.

His mother could not believe that he had gone down the slide. She couldn't believe that he had the best time on it. She was so happy that her son, her special boy, had even gotten on the slide. She radiated as much joy about that news as Kyle did when he was on the slide. Joy in it's simplest form. I am blessed to have been there. I am blessed to know Kyle. I am blessed.

Have a great day.

Monday, June 7, 2010


It is no big surprise that hubby and I are not great at finishing projects. We are great starters and we have great ideas. But we are actually near completion of a couple. I mean, really finishing something we have started. Crazy, I know. But, look, I made a list. Bullet points, please.

  1. The pool: OMG, please do not make me go into detail about the pool. Check the other blog for that rant. But, on the brighter side, the hole is finished and the liner is ordered. When it comes in, we will begin the building stage. Hopefully, all that help that was promised last year that didn't materialize (yes, I just ranted) will actually show up (yes, I ranted again) and we can get it done.
  2. The clothesline: This is something we have talked about for awhile. We had two posts that hubby wants to use that were actually posts for a volleyball net that is no longer there. These are at least 10 feet long that were buried quite deep. We had tried on two occasions to get them out to no avail. But, woot woot, hubby got them out and moved last weekend. We just need to adjust them to become a clothesline and get them reburied and strung.
  3. Erosion control: We had moved some landscape timbers that were lined up where the yard starts to slope up. We couldn't figure what they were for so we moved them. They were used to keep the sand from flowing into the yard from the top of the hill every time it rains good and proper. Where we live, that's once a day in the summer. We had them stacked in a pile in the yard, looking trashy. Most of them are lined up now, back where they came from. The ones we didn't use have rotted beyond use and will go in the burn pile. Well, when we can burn again they will. Until then, they have been stacked as neatly as possible. And, when money permits, a couple more timbers will be bought to replace the ones we couldn't use. But the majority of it is done.
  4. Disassembling of the garden: We had started the garden up on the hill. It's a great place for it. There's lots of room and doesn't interfere with the use of the rest of the yard. Except, that old adage is true. Out of sight was out of mind. If I don't see it and it doesn't ask to be fed, or watered, or fertilized, or weeded, or whatever else the garden may need to ask for, I don't do it. Well I didn't see it and it never asked, so there you go. We have all intentions of moving the garden, but we are moving the compost first. We are going to a bin that is smaller and more manageable for the kids and us. But that's another project we're going to start.

So, yea for us. Some of these have been a long time coming. Our next big inside project is painting the living room. We have the paint, we just need some brushes. And time. And the furniture moved. See why we start but don't finish? It's all the work involved.

Have a great day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Water Logged

June seems to be the month for us to get into a routine for summer. It also seems to be the month for us to swim. Alot. That's Ok, though. It's hot and the water feels good. This week alone we are scheduled to swim 4 days. We also went swimming today after church. No, the pool isn't up and running. The Y is running a special and we have several friends that have pools.

The Y in our area is running a free special for the month of June. You get use of all their facilities for the entire month for $0. That works for us. They have Zumba on Tuesday mornings and Tai Chi on Wednesday evenings. If you sign up for a regular membership during the month of June they will wave the $90 joining fee. We're still not sure about joining, but we are going to take advantage of it as much as we can, that's for sure.

We went swimming today after church. It wasn't very crowded and we were happy about that. Most people don't head to the pool after services, they head for the restaurant. For the kids to be able to swim in the deep water they have to take a swim test. They have to swim the length of the pool in the deep end. The big girl and the boy were all over that. I am so proud of those babies. The boy has turned into quite a swimmer. He got tired about 2/3 of the way and he couldn't touch the bottom to rest. He did what his mama has been telling him to do. He flipped over, floated, caught his breath for a minute, then finished. He was awesome. That big girl just swam her heart out without stopping and made it all the way. She didn't even hesitate when she was told she had to take a swim test. She went straight to the side she had to start on, slid into the pool and took off. For a girl who didn't even like to get her face wet, she has made amazing strides. Hubby swam with them for awhile, and then we switched. He got to watch the baby and swim with her, while I got to have fun with the big kids.

Mondays we are trying to leave open for a play date with friends. They have a community pool and we get together with them and another set of friends and hang out and swim. I am trying to get the baby more comfortable with the pool and with water because she will soon be taking swimming lessons. She has made an effort, but she needs to know how to swim. It is important that if we are going to have a pool in the back yard, that I be confident she can be safe. Well, at least safer. She starts to whine a little when I tell her she needs to take lessons, but I tell her to hush. This isn't something she has a choice about. She stops, so maybe she realizes that I mean business.

And as for our pool, we're getting closer. Hubby got the hole finished. We ordered the liner and it shipped today. So, hopefully, in a few days it'll get here and the frame will go up. The liner will go in. It will get filled with water and we will have a pool. Finally. This entire saga has taken over a year to accomplish. We aren't done yet, but I'm hoping by the 4th of July, we can have a pool party. Wouldn't that be something. After the pool goes up we need to get stairs and a fence. We have partial fencing, so yea for that. We just need to get the rest of it up as soon as we can.

I may have to invest in a couple of extra suits for the girls and me. Hubby and the boy have at least three each. The baby has a couple, but she needs to grow into them. The big girl needs another one, at least. So do I, but I usually have to go to a department store to find one I like and fits right. It figures I can't go cheap for me. Maybe it's my high dollar tastes. Guess I better get to clipping my coupons to pay for it.

Have a great day.