To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shake Your Buttah!

Click on the youtube video below for the soundtrack to this post.

It was raining. We were bored. I was checking out blogs and the munchkin was watching TV. Suddenly, I shouted, "We've GOT to do this!"

I don't think the munchkin even looked up.

"Tell Daddy I'm going to the store, and I'll be back in a minute."

By the time she said, "Huh?" I was gone.

I came back soaking wet but carrying a prize - a pint of heavy cream. And, well...a few more things. I don't know about you, but I've never, ever been able to go to the grocery store and buy only one thing. But, I digress.

"Do you remember reading in Little House In The Big Woods about how the Ingalls family made butter? Well, we're about to make butter."


I found the idea at Houseful of Nicholes. It looked easy, and it was! We decided to try two methods and compare the results. For the record, I used ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream from the grocery store - no special brand. We put about 1/3 of it into a plastic container with a tight sealing lid and a clean marble. I gave it to the munchkin and said, "Shake this 'til you can't hear the marble anymore." She shook it all over the house, and we sang "Shake, shake, shake...shake, shake, shake...shake your BUTTAH! Shake your BUTTAH!"  It wasn't long at all before we couldn't hear the marble anymore. We opened it up and looked inside. We had whipped cream.

"Is that butter?"

"Nope. Now, you have to shake it some more until the buttermilk separates."

So she shook it all over the house for another several minutes until we heard sloshing. When we opened the container, this is what we found.

In case you were wondering, the container's not dirty. It's stained from the soup hubby takes for his lunches. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

We drained the buttermilk off and shook a little more, and drained more buttermilk off. Then we rinsed all of the rest of the buttermilk off and marveled at the miracle of butter!

We put the rest of the cream into the stand mixer. My results were pretty much exactly like the Nicholes'. (Check out her great pictures.) I knew we had reached the goal when the mixer started slinging buttermilk all over the kitchen!

Mix in a little salt, and you're good to go!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Knot So Hard Flip Flops

In some of my internet surfing recently, I turned up a tutorial for these flip-flops at The Mother Huddle. My munchkin loves wearing flip-flops, and I love how cheap they are since they are trashed by the end of the season. What we don't like are the blisters those rubber straps make between her toes. The solution is to cut off those rubber straps and put some cute fabric in their place. It's ridiculously easy! I think I might have to make myself some, too!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Puppy Love

We've been taking care of our neighbors' animals while they're away on vacation. There are 2 guinea pigs, 1 cat, and 2 dogs, a veritable zoo! The dogs are a momma and her puppy and they're foster pets - my neighbor volunteers with a local rescue organization. This adorable little furball named Zeke is up for adoption. If you live in or near Augusta, GA, let me know and I can set you up! As you can see, he's great with kids!

Look at that face! You know you want him!

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Many Bad Words Are There?

The three of us were in the car when the munchkin, out of the blue, asked, "How many bad words are there?"

I looked at Kevin and he looked at me.

"Lots. More than I've ever heard of," I answered.

"George Carlin says there are seven," Kevin offered helpfully.

Knowing that the munchkin's next question would be "What are they?" I thought fast. "How many do you know, MB?"

A LONG silence...

"That many?" asked hubby.

"I think I know five. No, four," she answered.

"Just this once, tell me what they are." I held my breath.

"Stupid, lame, dumb, and idiot."

Thankfully, we both managed to keep a straight face.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We like to cook once, eat twice.

Sunday & Monday
Emeril's Tex-Mex Venison Chili - Being a classical musician doesn't prevent me from eating wild game. I'm a good Southern girl who has no qualms about eating Bambi!

Tuesday & Wednesday
Roasted chicken breasts with pasta, homemade pesto & roasted asparagus. Split, bone-in chicken breasts are on sale this week at Bi-Lo.

Breakfast for supper. Eggs are a dollar for a dozen this week at Bi-Lo.

Friday & Saturday
Cubed steak, rice & gravy, green beans. Cubed steak is on sale at, guess where? Bi-Lo! Now you know where I did this week's shopping!

For more great menu ideas, visit!

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Solo Kitchen Flight: Making Brownies

We were drying out from a trip to the neighborhood pool when the munchkin said, "Let's make brownies!"

"Why don't you make them?"

"Can I?"

"I don't know. CAN you?"

Pour in the water.

Measure the oil.

You have to hold your mouth just right to crack the eggs.

Ooops! Fish out the shell.

Shh...don't tell. The eggs never did get totally mixed in...

Pour it in the pan.


Lick the spoon!

I'd show you the finished product, but they're all gone!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Summer Reading We Won't Be Doing

Reading is not my munchkin's first love. She'd much rather be doing something active like whacking a tennis ball or playing with the Wii, but I know how important it is for her to improve her reading skills over the summer. We've been trying to do some every day. I don't care what she reads, as long as she's reading. We've read recipes, game directions, cereal box labels, you name it. Yesterday, I thought, "Hey, let's look at some news sites on the internet. She'll not only be reading; she'll gain a better understanding of how our society works." I thought I'd better preview them first so I'd be prepared for her questions.

So, off I went to CNN. As I scanned the headlines, I imagined what she'd ask:
"Mommy, who is Anthony Weiner? And why does anybody care that some guy's engagement got called off? I think his name is Hugh Hefner?"
Okay, maybe CNN isn't the best site for an 8 year old. I'll try Fox News. They're conservative.
"Mommy, what's this about a lady named Maria Shriver crying with a mistress? What are they crying about? And there's that Weiner guy again. What does 'sexting' mean?"
I decided to scratch the plan to read the news. I'm not ready for her to know how our society works just yet.

My second EBIIT Hall of Shame Award will be shared by three recipients:  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Anthony Weiner for behaving shamefully while holding public office and the media channels who continue to report every sordid detail when there's plenty of real news to focus on. All three parties need to develop a little more propriety. Shame on all of you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I'm looking forward to a relaxed week with enough time to do a little cooking experimentation. I'll be making good use of the blueberries we picked this weekend! I'm also planning to make some bread. Haven't done that in a while. We'll see how it turns out!

On the list for this week:

London Broil with roasted potatoes and carrots (London Broil is on sale at BiLo this week - buy one, get one)

Chicken leg quarters with rice and broccoli (Chicken leg qtrs are on sale this week at Kroger)

Grilled hamburgers with a new-to-me recipe for Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Milk and Honey Rye Bread - this is also a new recipe! We'll see how it turns out!

Visit orgjunkie for lots of other menu ideas.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blueberry Picking

Today, we picked 2 gallons of fresh, organic blueberries from a U-pick farm near our home! At least, we had 2 gallons on top of the ones in our stomachs! This is a yearly tradition for us, and fortunately, hubby was able to be off work so he could come with us. The munchkin got a little over-heated about halfway through, but actually, it wasn't nearly as hot as it could have been here in Georgia. Oh well, we survived!

So, what do you do with 2 gallons of blueberries? Freeze them, of course!

Spread dry, unwashed blueberries in a single layer on a baking sheet and put 'em in the freezer for 3-4 hours. This is when I pick through to remove the little stems and bad ones. Once they're frozen, put them in freezer bags. You'll be able to remove just the amount you want from the bag and they won't all stick together. Rinse 'em in a colander, and they're good to go!

Bring on the blueberry recipes!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday - The New Monday

My day did not start well.

When I opened the door to the garage this morning, I found this:

Shelf hanging from wall
Contents of shelf - yes, those are paint cans. The ones in the back are swimming in spilled paint.
My Honda Pilot

The pictures don't really show the extent of the mess. There were pinpoint to dime-sized splatters completely all over the front area, the hood, the windshield, the passenger door and window, the side panel, the roof, and some had apparently splashed OVER the roof onto the driver door and window as well.

The good news:  it was latex paint and it all came off, although it took a fair bit of time to get it all off. It had dried. I'm not sure the garage floor will fare so well.

Does Your Child Take Piano Lessons?

Photo by thart2009
Over at my piano teaching blog, The Piano Studio, I've posted several articles that might be interesting to you if your child takes piano lessons. Hope you'll visit! There are more resources to come for parents of piano students, so I'd love to have you follow me there!

What Do Marshmallows Have To Do With Piano Lessons?

What Do Kids Do When They Practice Piano?

How I Became A Tiger Mom And Why

When Should You Let Your Child Quit Piano?

Caring For Your Piano:  A Guide For Piano Parents

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Father's Day Deals At Ebates


There are some great deals for Father's Day through ebates!

Land's End - 30% off all Men's plus 6% cash back

Omaha Steaks - up to 62% off plus 12 free steaks AND 7% cash back

Eddie Bauer - 20% off men's apparel (Code: DAD20) plus 6% cash back

Macy's - 20% off, free shipping AND 5% cash back

There are lots of other stores and deals available at ebates

Monday, June 06, 2011

Camp Superfluous


               For reasons I still can't quite fathom, I am paying good money this week to send my 8-year-old drama queen to...

drama camp.


Next stop, Broadway!

Menu Plan Monday

It's not so much a menu plan as a short list of things I plan to cook sometime this week. For what it's worth, here it is!

Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Wraps

Grecian Pork Tenderloin

Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Layered Chocolate Pudding Dessert

Visit for more menu planning ideas!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Healthy Breakfast Choices

Of these two breakfast menu choices, which do you think has less sugar?

1. a Krispy Kreme glazed donut

2. A bowl of Fruit Loops (1 cup)

If you chose the cereal, you'd be wrong! The donut has 10 gm of sugar and the cereal has 14 gm.

My daughter loves Froot Loops, and not the 1/3 less sugar kind. I've been giving it to her while at the same time denying her requests for donuts because, in my mind donuts are too sugary! I'm not saying donuts are a good breakfast choice, but I have to admit that the cereal I'm giving her hasn't been much better. Healthy breakfasts are definitely something I need to work a little harder on.

There are some good cereal choices out there. Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Kix, and Life have earned good ratings from Consumer Reports for their low sugar content and whole grains. Scrambled eggs are always popular in my house, and I can make them quickly in the microwave. These high-fiber energy muffins are a make-ahead kind of thing, but they're a hit with all of my family. Add some fruit to these choices for a pretty good breakfast. Do you have some healthy breakfast options to suggest? Please share them in the comments!

Tip: Visit Breakfast Cereals Compared to compare the nutritional values of cereal from Kellogg's, General Mills, and Post.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Shop For Father's Day With Ebates!

Father’s Day will be here before you know it! This would be a great weekend to do some online shopping for the men in your life. And, if you shop online through ebates, you can get cash back! I love shopping at my favorite stores through ebates. It doesn’t cost me anything extra, and once in a while I get a check in the mail.

Check out some of the latest cash back offers from the stores below, then click on the ebates graphic here and sign up! Find your store on the ebates page and then shop as usual. There are tons of stores beyond the ones listed here! When you make a purchase, you’ll soon see a little bit of money has accumulated in your ebates account.

Home Depot –       5% Cash back
Brookstone –         7% Cash back
JC Penney -           6% Cash back
Lands End –          6% Cash back
Omaha Steaks –    7% Cash back
Eddie Bauer –        6% Cash back
Golf Outlet USA –  6% Cash back
Shoebuy –             10% Cash back
Borders –               6% Cash back
Snapfish –              8% Cash back

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

EBIIT Hall of Shame: Skechers Shape-Ups for Girls

That's my girl! For you moms who still have girls in the baby/toddler/preschool ages, here's fair warning. The body image hangups start early. "Momma, I don't like that outfit! It makes me look faaaat!"  (I ask you, do you see an ounce of fat on that 8-year-old body?)  She doesn't hear that kind of self-denigrating talk from me. My daughter hears this stuff from her friends, and they all hear it from the overwhelming truckloads of marketing aimed at women and their insecurities. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., agrees with me over at Huffington Post.
The sad truth is, my girls are almost certainly facing a lifetime of advertisements that will be geared to make them feel like their looks are inadequate. They'll regularly be made to feel that their bodies are too fat, their lips insufficiently red, their skin too rough, their hair too frizzy, their breasts too small, and their butts too big. Magazines, TV spots, product placements, celebrity spokespeople -- there will be no shortage of unrealistic expectations to eat away at my babies' self-esteem.
The truth is, she's beautiful just as she is. And that's why I'm disgusted with the latest ad campaign from Skechers.

Yep, Skechers has decided to capitalize on the insecurities of tweens by marketing their Shape-Up shoes to  girls as young as 7. They start at size 2 - the size my munchkin wears. Of course, their excuse is that they're promoting fitness. I might buy that if they made Shape-ups for little boys. They don't. The message to girls? You're never too young to hate your body, and we hope you will be gullible enough to think our silly-looking shoes will tone up your fanny.

Skechers Shape-Ups For Girls

So, for shame, Skechers! I hereby confer upon you the first-ever Everything Beautiful In Its Time Hall of Shame Award! This award will be periodically offered to anyone or anything that I deem to be a bad influence on my tween girl. Now, pick your shoes up off the floor and go stand in the corner.

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop

Making new friends today at the Welcome Wednesday Hop hosted at Take It From Me! Why don't you join us?
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