Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Caramel Dipped Apples: Advice Needed

This post is proof positive that not all things work out for us crafty type people. We suffer set backs. I thought I had this one whipped but I found out otherwise.

This past weekend we had a trunk or treat among friends. It allowed us to make homemade goodies. I attempted to make two of my childhood favorites: Popcorn Balls and Caramel Apples.

The last time I made Caramel Apples, the caramel slid right off the apple. I assumed it had to do with the wax on the apples. So this time I took extra time to soak the apples, wash them twice, and dry them well. I used about everything I found reading other blogs (lemon juice, baking soda, detergent, and  a vegetable brush).

I used good old fashioned Granny Smith apples. I think they are the best for caramel apples. The combination of tart apple and sweet caramel is a home run in my ballpark.


I did not make my own caramel. I unwrapped a lot of caramel cubes and melted them with a little bit of water.

After they were dry, I wrapped them in plastic and attempted to make them cute to hand out.

The next morning, all of the caramel slid off the apple...again!


Maybe it is the plastic bag? Maybe it is the wax on the apple? Maybe it is the caramel?

I would love it if you all dear readers can give me some advice. I aspire to making gorgeous caramel dipped apples.

P.S. The Popcorn Balls turned out way more successful!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Root Beer

Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year.

A few years ago my husband started making homemade root beer. It has "cool man thing" written all over it.

Homemade Root Beer
 4 gallons Water
 4 pounds Sugar
2  fl Oz Root Beer Extract (My Husband likes to use about 3 ounces)
5 lbs Dry Ice

You need  a large container. We have an old orange drink cooler that has a spigot on the bottom. Add the water, the sugar and the root beer extract. Stir it well until sugar is dissolved. When all the kids are gathered around put the dry ice into the sugar/water mixture. It will immediately start bubbling and creating fog {The kids love this part!}

To prolong this excitement The Husband puts  the dry ice in small chunk by small chunk.

We let it bubble for about 20 minutes.

I should provide a warning: dry ice will burn you if you touch it. So make sure you use gloves when handling it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My One {And Only} Political Rant

When I was a little girl, I remember visits with my cousins. We lived in the Midwest, they lived on the West Coast. They always made jokes when they came to visit.

You know the type of jokes they made; 
  • you have running water, 
  • you have electricity,
  •  you don't have cable TV {we did not have cable TV!)
  •  what kind of music do you listen to. 
Of course, these we were young kids poking fun at each other and no harm was intended. But what was clear, was the perception that our live were simpler than theirs. That we were "old fashioned." That maybe we were not quite as "sophisticated" because of where we lived. 

I do not think my cousins are the only people who harbor such beliefs. Several of my friends and I have discussed stereotypes we have encountered when we tell people where we are from. Just because I live in the Midwest does not mean I am not educated, well- read, knowledgeable, well-traveled, or sophisticated.

With this in mind, I absolutely do not understand the US Senate race here in Missouri.

                       

The "polls" show that Incumbent Claire McCaskill is virtually tied with Todd Akin.


I am baffled. I mean seriously baffled. Have you not read the same news articles I have over the past five months? Does it not concern you the things he has said? And Yes, he said them. He keeps saying them.

                 

 He uses terms like legitimate rape, he describes a debate with his opponent as not ladylike, he refers to his opponent as a dog. Does anyone else see a pattern? These comments are not isolated comments. They are insights into how this man thinks of women.

He does not respect women. He does not view us as equal. This is not a person I want representing me or my family anywhere. Let alone in our Nation's Capital.


Normally, I do not talk openly about my political views, those are reserved for my family and close friends. I am usually happy that people just engage in the right to vote and do not get into who they vote for. I honestly try hard to respect the differences that make up life. But not on this.

Am I the only person out there that thinks this man's views are potentially dangerous?

I have to think that those who are supporting him are doing so to be loyal to party lines. When the "legitimate rape" comments went national, even his own party wanted him to back out of the race. For pete's sake, this is not a time or place to think about party affiliation. This is about deciding if you really want this man to represent you and your family.


Does he represent you or your way of thinking? Would you ever call a female a "dog"? Do you believe in legitimate rape and a woman's ability to block conception? Do you think a capable, strong woman can do anything a man can do? Or do you think her behavior is "un-lady like"?


If you do not agree with his statements then why would you vote for him? Are people really going to vote for him just so they can have a majority of votes to push forward or block a Presidential agenda. Then, I have to ask, "Are we smarter than that?"



I have other issues with Todd Akin that would cause me to not vote for him.  Those other issues regard his politics that do not support my values.

  •  I believe in federal student loans. Because of them, I have two degrees. 
  • I believe in school lunches. I do not believe children should pay for the acts of the parent. And without food in their stomachs how can we expect children to learn? If they can't learn, they can't grow up to be productive members of society and pay taxes.
  • I do not believe that I have any say in what goes on in your household. As long as you abide by the laws of this state, then who am I to meddle in your business? With that, I believe a woman who has been impregnated by a rape does not need my opinion to make decisions that are best for her. And I pray that you nor I ever find ourselves in that position. 
Missouri is not an unsophisticated place to live. We are smart, intelligent people. Why would we want to elect someone to office that does not represent us?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pictorial Catch Up

I am not sure where this month has gone.  What I do know is that I have been a very bad blogger this month.

I have been very busy making our Halloween costumes.  I would normally post my progress on here but my friend Meeghan declared our costumes a contest and that makes them top secret. Don't worry I am days away from a big reveal.

I have also battled the crud. Every member of our family has been ill.  So, thankful we are beyond that!

I have also just been feeling...boring lately. I keep hoping it will pass. Like one day I will wake up and feel creative again. But it just has not happened.

While feeling boring, life has continued. This is my attempt at catching you up on our lives!


 

We said good-bye to baseball the beginning of this month. We had a great season!  (Can I admit I already miss the baseball moms!)


First Friday! Finally my co-worker and I were not training on first Friday and we were able to antique over lunch! If you are ever in our part of the country on First Friday/First Weekend, go to Good JuJu! It is in our West Bottoms and is a great time!

We attended our Herring Family Reunion the beginning of this month. It was super great to see extended family. I especially enjoyed visiting with my Aunt and Uncle who drove in from Illinois and my cousin and his wife who flew in from West Texas.  This is a photo of my Great Great Grandparents cabin. My Great Aunt owns it and she invites us all back once a year to visit the farm. So many great memories are still being made here!

My husband and I spent a weekend target practicing with some friends from high school. Good times. I will say I am a better shot than bowler (which we also did that weekend)!

 

This place opened less than 2 miles from my home. Talk about temptation!


Homecoming came and went. This is my son's second homecoming. I was so proud of him. His date was beautiful. He looked sharp.


Sewing. Sewing. Sewing. Let's be honest, that is really all I have done for the past three/four weeks. I think I started sewing on October 2 and I have just finished. We have eaten every meal around the sewing machine for the past month. I am ready to put it away and not see it for a few months!


My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week. He is honestly the love of my life. I am so blessed to have him. When you meet him, you see a big burly biker type man. But when you get to know him you discover a devoted family man with a big heart and a dry sense of humor. We have our moments but I absolutely love my life with him!


Of course, October almost demands a trip to the pumpkin patch! We took The Short Chic to the pumpkin patch today with our dear friend Shannon. It was the most perfect day!

There you have it. A month of craziness. A month of fun. A month of memories!

 Oh and just for fun, one last photo. Of The Boy. He went straight from baseball into basketball conditioning. Every day he leaves the house in the dark looking like this. It totally cracks me up!


On backpack for school work. The other is full of basketball gear.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Annual Presimmon Weather Prediction

I visited my mom last weekend.

 When I walked in her home I noticed she had a bowl full of Presimmons.

 I immediately opened one and started drying out the seeds. An old wives tale is that you can predict the severity of the winter by the shape inside the seed. I did the same prediction  last year. {It was not very accurate.}


I cut open several seeds. They all had the same shape.

A spoon.


According to the wives tale, that means we are going to have lots of snow. Snow!

It is not very scientific.

But it sure is a lot of fun!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weigh-In Wednesday and Link-up Party

I keep telling myself that set backs are common on a weight loss journey. I honestly have no idea if they are or not. But I keep telling myself that they are.
I started a weight loss program in May. I stopped tracking my food and weighing in August. This week, I decided to jump right back on the bandwagon.

Here are my stat's:
Starting Weight:                 203.2 pounds 
Weight at Last Weigh In:    191.0 pounds
Current Weight:                 191.2 pounds
TOTAL LOSS:                    12 pounds

I am pretty excited that I have maintained my weight for the past two months. 

Things that worked this week:

1. I just started being aware and following the program. Just like that. I think we all suffer set backs. How we react to those set backs is what is important. 

2. I increased my water consumption. When I am drinking water on a regular basis I drink less diet soda. Both are good things. 

3. I was once again aware of portion sizes. It is amazing how a little of this and a little of that add up. 

4. I got myself moving again. Probably the coolest thing I did this week was take my family to a corn maze. A dear friend of mine gave me tickets to the corn maze. I have always wanted to go but had never been to one. I had no idea how much walking was involved. The maze we went to had 4 different mazes, they added up to nearly 10 miles of maze.  We actually got pretty good at following the map and finding our check-in stations so I am not sure we actually walked 10 miles. But I do know we walked a solid 4 hours. 

Proof that exercise does not have to occur in a gym, nor does it have to be boring!


Things to improve on for next week:

1. Tracking. I honestly believe if you do one single thing to lose weight, it should be tracking. Tracking your daily intake of food is critical. All of those little bites here and there all add up. I also find I am more accountable to myself if I am tracking. 

2. Planning. I am the kinda person who needs to know what they are going to eat before they get hungry. If I  do not, I become a put-anything-in-my-mouth kinda girl. It is hard to track food when you are eating like that! 

3. Create my healthy environment. Since I have been off the wagon for a few months, we have accumulated a supply of food that is not conducive to weight loss (opened bags of chips, sweets, ice cream, ect). I need to clean out my pantry.

Something new:

I am not the only person that I know on a weight loss journey. So, I have decided to try and open up a link-up party. If you are on a weight loss journey or any other journey that involved long term behavioral changes, link-up. We can support, motivate, and encourage each other!