Monday, April 25, 2005

Busy Day

Wow, what a whirlwind day this was. Started out by doing twenty go problems before even getting out of bed :-) Then the normal morning rush, breakfast, two loads of laundry, starting bread, dishwasher, and such. While doing that, I looked at my kitchen, and decided to make it my project for the day. It was in desperate need of a cleaning. Then I looked at the floor, and decided to offer an incentive to make those the kids project for the day.

We all got started on our stuff, I was going to reward myself after doing part of the kitchen, by playing some go. But the kids weren't ready yet with their things, and I thought I shouldn't sit down at the computer while they were busy working still. So I kept going, and going. And going, and going, and going. Till suddenly, the kitchen was clean! What a miracle! Not only that, but the kids were about ready with the floors, so I could run a vacuum over them and they looked great.

Now I was going to reward myself with go, but who calls, but one of my geocaching friends. She didn't have much trouble convincing me that it would be way more fun to go out geocaching with them. She was right :-) Was still in the middle of making bread, so just shaped it and put it in the basement to slowly rise.

Off we went to go caching! Nice hike into the woods, a bit muddy. We saw mallards, and very recent beaver activity. It was so nice to be out in the sunny spring weather. Sylvia loved watching the water in the river next to it, she kept making the 'water' sign.

Did another cache, and then suddenly realized how late it was, so we hightailed it back home. My friend was driving the van, so I could be in the back with Sylvia. She misjudged something on our driveway, and managed to get the van stuck in the mud next to it. Really stuck...

We tried cardboard, didn't work. We tried bricks, didn't work. We tried sand, didn't work. We tried about 5,000 other things, nothing worked. So eventually called AAA and had a tow truck show up at 10pm on Sunday night... They did manage to get it out, phew. What an excitement, more than we really needed.

Got the kids to bed, and then suddenly realized that I never baked that bread. Walked into the basement, having visions of the bread dough haven risen so much that it would be crawling up the stairs. Luckily, it wasn't that bad, just a bit overrisen, but it's fine! Finally finished baking it at 1:30am or so :-)

So a nice productive day, with a bit too much excitement in the end. Oh, and the electrical system on Sander's van seems to have died, looks like there will be yet another nice big car repair bill...

Friday, April 22, 2005


Spring is finally here! That's one thing about living in New England. The winter is too long and bitterly cold, but the spring just is so magnificent. Bird songs every where. Robins hopping around on our lawn. Hiking for hours and hours. The first cockroaches, I mean crocuses blooming in the front yard. Forsythia blooming every where. The first frog in our pond. The wonderful sounds of peepers at the beaver pond. Start of gardening season. Yes, I love it.

Yesterday, we went hiking for a few hours. The trails still are a bit muddy (spring is also called mud season around here), but we still had a great time. Erik wanted to know whether the hike was going to be freaky. 'Ummmm, no, it won't.' I was a bit puzzled. That is, till he went on with 'So it isn't Freaky Gorge?' LOL! That explains it. Our caching was at Quechee Gorge, so he must have misheard that :-)

Saw a wonderful rainbow today, just in the middle of the day, no rain to be seen everywhere. It was straight up, just sitting there, such an amazing sight. Another amazing sight yesterday, was seeing an air plane being refueled in the sky over our house. I had never seen that before. Heck, I hadn't even thought about the possibility of in flight refueling. It looked like a big air plane was pushing a little air plane. The little air plane was doing the fueling.

Today was clean up day with our homeschool group. We picked up all the litter around the church that we use for our support meetings. It was mind boggling how much litter there was to be found!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

First To Find!!!

Yesterday, I happily discovered that one of our local cachers had hid a new cache. Not only that, but it was pretty close by, and we didn't have any other commitments for the day. So it was an easy decision to go for it.

Still, by the time we got our act together, it was afternoon. So I thought somebody else might have been there before us. The terrain was supposed to be 2 (out of 1 to 5, 1 being easiest), so I figured it would be an easy walk. Hmmmmm, not as easy as we thought. We ended up bushwhacking, climbing, sliding, and there was some whining and gnashing of teeth. But eventually, we made it to the cache location.

This was next to a rapid river, Sylvia loved seeing the water and kept excitedly signing the water sign. The other kids just liked the rocks and the river, and were partly looking for the cache, partly just goofing around. We looked, and we looked, and we looked. We looked some more. But still no cache. Cees was asking me whether we finally could go home, and asking me that again and again. But finally, I heard Tara's voice exclaim excitedly 'I found it!!!!!!!!!' And yes, there it was!!!!

Not only that, but we were the very first ones to find it! Always fun to have a first to find. Especially since about an hour later, another local family came to find it, and found out that they were the tenth person there (We were 8 + my friend Iliana). Serves them right for being so unorganized that they couldn't come out sooner :-) :-)

Had a wonderful dinner last night, something that same friend gave me the recipe for last week. We found 'beef' TSP strips in one of our local veggie places, and she made up this recipe with it. I made it last week, and I liked it so much that I decided to make it again. Here's her recipe.

I took a cup of the TSP and poured a cup of boiling water mixed with 2-3
T of regular ketchup on it, set it aside.

After four weeks worth of dish-doing, I drained the few tablespoons of
hydrating liquid out of the bowl of TSP, and I added the following marinade:

1-2 T Kecap Manis (instead of the listed Dark Soy Sauce)
2 t crushed/pressed garlic
1 t cornstarch
1/4 t baking soda
a drizzle of olive oil (peanut or sesame prolly much more authentic)
pinch of salt

Then I made 3/4 of a large onion into long rough shreds (next time I'd
use the whole onion) and then I julienned, roughly, those teensy baby
carrots I got yesterday. I also chopped 3 fattish scallions, and I set
all that aside.

I heated wok on pretty damn high, and when it was well hot I added a
tablespoon or so of peanut oil. I put the marinated TSP & associated
juicy bits in the wok and tossed for a minute, tops --just until heated
and barely carmelized.

Then I added another tablespoon of peanut oil and the carrots & onions.
I cooked them for maybe 4-5 minutes, pressing them with my wok tool
thingie against the side of the wok in an attempt to get the onions,
especially, nice and carmelized while still crispy. Next time, I'd do
the onions solo, and then add the carrots toward the end of this bit.

Then I added the TSP back in along with the scallions & a generous
tablespoon of pepper. I tell you right now, it was a bit much pepper
:-) Next time, I'll try 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. This was good, just a
WEE bit more peppery than I wanted.

I tossed it around a bit, and voila! It was really pretty magnificent
over some brown basmati rice, but I think it would be even a tiny bit
nicer over fried noodles.

Last week, we had it over brown rice too, this week I made pad thai noodles to go with it. It was good!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Purple Cockroaches

Yes, purple cockraches! Bet you had never heard of them, had you? I hadn't either, till, about a week ago, Jane ran into the house excitedly. 'Mama, mama!! I found some purple cockroaces!!!'. Now I might not be the world's greatest housekeeper, but I am not that bad that cockroaches usually are an issue. So I was kind of puzzled, thinking she might have seen a purpish beetle or so.

We went outside, I figured the beetle might have long flown away by now. But no, she led me to this patch of flowers, and, happily pointing to the crocuses 'See!!! Purple cockroaches!!!' :-)

Things have been a bit hectic here, lots of stuff going on. Sylvia is growing up way too fast, walking, signing, climbing, and just a joy to be around. I had a birthday party with my very own birthday cache, Kate had her birthday party with a store bought easter egg cakes and bunny ice cream cake. We cut Kate's hair, we went caching, we did all kinds of wonderful things. Oh, I played go too.

I will try to keep up a little better, I did need some time to myself, to process some stuff that was going on. Hope to be back now.