Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hot, hot hot!

We received a hot cocoa kit for Christmas from Brad's aunt and family. The warning on the outside back of the box says, "Keep away from heat." So how am I supposed to use this kit, exactly? MMM, cold cocoa!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad!

In honor of my daddy:

In my stocking was a bottle of vanilla creme room spray. I'm a little scared to use it. On one side of the bottle it says, "This product is environmentally friendly and does not contain propellants." Below that reads, "Caution: Keep out of reach of children and pets. Non-toxic product. Not for human consumption."

And on the other side, the label says, "
FOR CHEMICAL EMERGENCYSpill, leak, fire, exposure, or accident, call Infotrac day or night." Ok, so if I knock the bottle over at 3 am and spill it, I should call Infotrac?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I wanna win...

So go here: December Scrap Bribing give-away and leave a comment and let her know you got to her by way of me so you can have an entry and I can have another entry! And then post about it in your blog so you can have more entries! :-)

I wanna win...

so go here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lose 4 pounds in 24 hours!

Just get a nasty stomach bug! Thankfully I am feeling better today, but Sunday evening and yesterday were MISERABLE.

The good news (?) is that I'm now 3 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. My original goal was to be there by the time Nyssa turned one (next Wednesday). Woo hoo, except I'm sure once I start eating normally again I'll gain it all back! Oh, well.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Why I'm baking from scratch

I thought I'd let my readers (all two of you) know why I'm baking pizza crust from scratch.

In two words: food allergies.

We found out early on that Nyssa is sensitive to dairy, so I cut all dairy out of my diet. It was very challenging at first, but I learned how to surround myself with yes foods (Oreo cookies are dairy-free!) and eventually find proper substitutes for my dairy cravings.

And then Brad had allergy testing done. Besides being allergic to 16 types of trees, all molds, grasses, and weeds (hello, lawn service), he is also allergic to shellfish, peanuts, eggs, corn, and soy. Take a look at the ingredients of just a few of the processed foods in your pantry, and chances are ALL of them will have some form of corn and/or soy. Pretty much any chocolate will have soy lecithin (an emulsifier) in it. I did find an organic chocolate bar at Target that does NOT contain the soy lecithin, so I've been buying those for him. Oh, and Breyer's ice cream is the purest stuff out there - all of the other brands at the local Kroger had corn syrup in them.

He's being a great trooper - he's finished two weeks of a four-week elimination diet (eating a LOT of grilled chicken and rice and salad with olive oil and vinegar) and has lost 6 pounds just doing that. After the four weeks are up, we will start testing the allergens one at a time in the purest form possible to see if he reacts. Based on the type of reaction, it'll be up to him to decide what foods to allow back in his diet and what to avoid completely.

So anyway, the reason I was making pizza dough from scratch is because all of the pre-packaged stuff contains either corn, soy, or dairy!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Or, how I managed to ruin two batches of homemade pizza dough this evening.

The recipe is as follows:
1 (.25 oz) package active yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar

2.5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add flour, salt, and olive oil and mix until smooth. Let rest 5 minutes.

Turn out on pizza stone, roll into a circle, top with toppings, bake at 450 degrees for ? 20 minutes? I don't recall, as I didn't get that far.

I put two cups of water in the microwave to heat it to the 110 degrees. I added the yeast and the sugar and let it sit. Then I added the flour, salt, and olive oil and let my Kitchenaid do the mixing. After a few minutes I realized something was wrong. I thought maybe I had mismeasured the flour, since I was counting 10 quarter cups of flour instead of washing my one-cup measuring cup. I added another half-cup of flour and the dough was still not the consistency so I dumped it and started over.

Once again, after reviewing the recipe, I warmed two cups of water in the microwave. I repeated the exact same steps, but used a one-cup measuring cup this time to make sure I got the right amount of flour. I started mixing, and guess what? It looked the same. After wasting another half-cup of flour, I gave up.

Then I went to the recipe and looked at it, trying to figure out what I had done wrong.

ONE FREAKING CUPS OF WATER RUINED MY DOUGH!!! I used twice as much water in the yeast, TWICE! UGH. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? *sigh*

I would have tried a third time, but I was out of yeast.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Use Your Ruler

Or, objects in mirror may be smaller than they appear.

I thought it would be nice to get Nyssa her first baby doll for Christmas. I found this Waldorf doll and thought it would be a nice doll.

The website describes the doll as being 8 inches in length. Apparently my mind thinks 8 inches is twice as big as it actually is.

My order arrived today. That doll, while really cute, is about the size of a Beanie Baby and fits in the palm of my hand. It's not at all what I had in mind for her first dollie! And it was $20!!! To say I'm disappointed is an understatement.

Next time I will be pulling out the ruler to get a visual of just how big eight inches is!

Remembering Daddy

The first thought on my mind today about today's date was not, "Daddy died 6 years ago today." No, it was, "Hey, it's Michelle's birthday!" I am happy that I am finally at a point where I think of my friend's birthday before thinking of the day my dad passed away.

I'm really sad that he never met Brad or Nyssa, even though I know they'll all meet some day (hopefully FAR FAR FAR in the future).

My dad had a knack for a mean chess game and could play anything on the guitar. My two favorites were "Gentle Breeze" from the Music Machine record, and "You Can Close Your Eyes" by James Taylor and remade by lots of people - Carly Simon, Kate Taylor, Linda Ronstat, Richie Havens, Maureen McGovern, and probably others that aren't listed on the website that came up when I Googled it to find out who originally wrote it. I know there's a recent version that gets played on easy listening stations, as it'll come on sometimes when Brad and I have gone out to eat. It always, ALWAYS results with me in tears after picking up just a note or two of it. I tried to sing it to Nyssa once, and didn't even get through the second line without choking up. Fortunately, she was asleep by then and didn't notice (that, and she was 6 weeks old so she probably didn't care anyway).

Speaking of chess, Daddy taught us to play when we were really young. He showed us how to win a chess game in four moves, but unfortunately it only works with a novice chess player - any seasoned player will see it coming and thwart it immediately.

We always went roller skating as a family on Sunday afternoons. I was skating about the time I started walking, or shortly thereafter (or so I'm told anyway!).

We'd spend the weekends with him after my parents split up. Sometimes he'd take us to Crystal's Pizza and we'd sit in the cartoon room and watch Little Rascals or Pink Panther and then get to play skee ball and other video games. Sometimes we would just order pizza from there and have it delivered, and play Nintendo games at his house.

He would pick us up after school and take us to Baskin Robbins. I always got either pralines and cream, daquari ice, or on the rare occasion, bubble gum. I'm sad that they have changed the way they make the daquari ice and it no longer looks or tastes like it did.

My dad spent a TON of time teaching me things when I was very small. He read to me constantly and as a result of the time he spent with me, I was reading when I was three years old. I knew the Greek alphabet when I was 4 (I did not retain that knowledge, however!). Dad was insistent on us not only memorizing the Lord's Prayer, but also the Apostles' Creed (which I also do not remember - the Creed, that is...I will never forget the Lord's Prayer!).

My mom has a Christmas decoration that is a train where the cars spell "N-O-E-L." We would always find that train saying, "L-E-O-N," after Dad had visited.

My friends from my childhood most likely know that my dad was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. He spent a lot of time in the VA hospital in Big Springs. He would function pretty well when he was taking his meds, but when he stopped, he'd have a breakdown and have to go back to Big Springs.

He called my brother once requesting that he send him a post card. With a horse on it. It was just like my dad to make goofy requests such as that.

The last conversation I had with him was out on my mom's front porch on Thanksgiving day. He talked about how he considered his cigarettes prayer sticks and as he smoked them, he prayed for his brothers and sisters (he had 14 of them). I don't remember much more from that conversation other than in the last 2 minutes it turned ugly and I had to walk away from him and go into the house. A week later my mom called to let me know he had died suddenly (and quite unexpectedly). I felt awful that the last conversation we were to have on this earth had ended so poorly, but was thankful for the first 43 minutes that had gone well.

My dad was a very giving person, to a fault at times. His "friends" knew it and often took advantage of it. He was always wanting to help out anyone in need. He always tipped the Sonic car hops (and now I do it in memory of Dad). When he would take us to the Sonic on North 1st in Abilene, he would always park his car so that the big neon COKE/Coca Cola sign was visible from the parking spot.

There's a street just on the south side that has a significant dip in it - he was always willing to give us kids a thrill by driving as fast as he could down the road (within reason, of course). I wish I could remember the name of that street - I wonder if they've fixed it or if you still get air time if you go over it fast enough.

My absolute favorite memories of my dad are of him playing his guitar and us singing together. I have a recording of my dad and me singing when I was a very young child. It used to be on a cassette tape, but now it's on a CD (which is packed in a box somewhere at the moment). If I knew where it was, I'd share it, but I am not sure right now where it is.

I can't believe I almost forgot to mention that we shared a birthday. He was exactly 24 years older than I, right down to the day. He always said I was the best birthday present ever. We came up with a secret little handshake when I was little that we continued to do even after I was an adult. There were times as a teenager that I would roll my eyes in my mind, but as I got older I enjoyed our little 1-2-3-4 pinkie shake. Silly, yes, but it was special to us. He always signed his letters with "1,2,3,4."

When I moved to Santa Barbara, he would send me $21 a week so I'd have $3 a day to eat on. I never asked for it, but was always glad to get it as money was pretty tight then!

He was a faithful letter writer. Somewhere upstairs I have a box and an envelope with letters from him.

He was an MP in the Army. He was in Korea during the Vietnam war. He was a 100% disabled Veteran. I seem to recall him working for the post office at some point, but need to verify that information with my mother. He hung sheetrock in the Abilene Mall when it was being constructed. I know he probably had other odd jobs at different times, but most of the time he didn't work because he couldn't. He'd think he could, so he would get a job and his VA benefits would stop. Then the stress of the job would take its toll and he'd end up back in the hospital, and it would take some time for the VA benefits to kick back in again. I know he always felt guilty for taking money without working for it.

It's hard to believe he's been gone for six years already. Daddy, I miss you.