Wednesday, June 27, 2012

to coaster or not to coaster, that is the question

Yesterday, I posted about the video of the kids making the bus monitor cry.  That was kind of heavy for me, so I thought I needed to lighten things up a bit.

Today, I bring you the video of a dad who agrees to ride an amusement park ride with his young daughter.

I think the best part is at the end when he agrees to do it again.

What a dad.

AND....that video was taken at Dollywood.

I hate roller coasters and thrill rides.  I wish I was not afraid, but I am.

I like Busch Gardens b/c they have good shows and nice scenery for non-coaster lovers like myself.  I also enjoyed Dollywood because they have the Scrambler, which is my favorite ride.  Here's a picture of me on the Scrambler at Dollywood.  Not only did I ride alone, but I put my hands up in the air like I was riding some giant super-coaster.  I told you I was a dork.

So what's your favorite amusement park and/or ride and why?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

crying bus monitor and respect

Have you seen or heard about the video of the middle school kids making their bus monitor cry?

If you haven't, you can watch it here.  Although I would not recommend watching it because it's terrible.

I made it through about 47 seconds and then I stopped it.  It goes on for about 10 minutes.  From what I can gather, what those children say to this lady is horrid.

It almost made me cry.  What are we teaching our children?

I wonder if those kids are the exception to the rule or if they are more common than you'd think.

SFD & I have this conversation often.  Why are kids so disrespectful "nowadays"?

I think the answer is because we allow them to be.  As a parent, I know this is true.  Superfrykid is awesome.  She really is a great kid.  But there are times when she is very disrespectful and she seems to think that when I put her in check that I am a horrible person.  Guess what?  I don't care.  I'm not here to be her friend.  I'm here to be her mother.

That's my rant for the day.

PS - More than $600,000 has been raised for the bus monitor, Karen.  That's kind of awesome. On the other hand, respect is priceless.  But if I had to choose, I choose respect AND the $600,000.

Monday, June 25, 2012

how NOT to can green beans

I know, I know.  I keep saying I'm not going to post anything else about animals and cooking.  It's kind of like when someone tells you not to laugh & you just can't help yourself - you must laugh.  I keep telling myself to stop with the animals and the food, but it just keeps happening.

Think of this as less of a cooking tutorial and more of a public service announcement.  It could save your life.  Canning with a pressure cooker can be dangerous.

My sister in law gave me some green beans from her garden.  They were already snapped and ready to go, bless her heart.

Canning green beans is not that hard, but for some reason, I get nervous about it.  The pressure cooker makes me jumpy.

Superfrydad asked if he could help & since he is great at making jelly, I took him up on his offer.

Basically, you put the beans in the jars, add a tsp. of salt, fill up with hot water & put the lids on.

I filled the jars, added the salt & the water & SFD wiped the tops and put the lids on.

However, I forgot to nag  tell him to not tighten the lids like He-Man.  I had already had to stop him because he was putting the lids on before I filled them up with water.....that should have been my clue to send him out of the kitchen.

But I was just glad that he was there helping trying to help, so I kept my bossiness to a minimum and tried to just let him do it without telling him what to do.  How hard is it to wipe off the rim and put the lid on, right?

SFD must have wanted us to have to crack open the glass jar to get to the beans because he tightened the lids so much that after they came out, some of the lids buckled.

If the lid buckles, that's not good.  6 out of 14 quarts had buckled lids.

That would normally make me go into a bit of a tilt-o-angry-whirl.  However, I've been working on trying not to get mad over things that don't matter, so I decided to chalk it up to experience and today I am canning green beans all by myself.  Without anger.  Nobody wants beans canned with anger.  Beans canned with love are much better.  They probably don't give you gas, know you were doing it!  Anytime you hear the word beans, you sing "beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat 'em, the more you toot" OR "beans, beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat 'em, the more you fart, the more you fart, the better you feel, so let's have beans for every meal!"

Sunday, June 24, 2012

a big moth and a book recommendation

So I posted this picture of a Luna Moth on my facebook wall.
 Here is a closer shot where you can see it's hairy neck and weird, feathery antennae.

A couple of people commented that they had never seen one of these.  We get them kind of a lot.  I checked online and it seems they like walnut trees, which we have several of close by, which must be why we have them at our house.

Whenever I see a moth, I think about this book I read called "The Sister" by Poppy Adams.  It's not really about moths, but it has a lot of moth stuff in it that blew my mind.  Like, moths turn into pupal soup and then turn into a moth again.  Did you know that?  I did not and it is something that sticks in my brain like a popcorn kernel that never goes away.

Here is a little snippet I stole found on another blog:
Pupal soup is the liquid, living matter that you will find in the cocoon of a moth during metamorphosis. The caterpillar totally dissolves into liquid DNA and can remain dormant, or even frozen for long periods of time. Eventually this soup coalesces into a new animal and a moth emerges.

WHAT?????  That is the weirdest thing I have ever heard.  

And also, according to Wikipedia , they only live as a moth for one week and they do not eat, therefore they do not have a mouth.  Or maybe it's they don't have a mouth, therefore they don't eat.  Whatever.  

You have to admit, these moths are pretty cool.  However, between The Silence of the Lambs, no mouth, and their freakish size, their creepy factor is pretty high.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

the annual shaving of the beast

Today was the annual shaving of the beast.

Also known as giving our dog his summer hair cut.

I was informed by my only KWTF reader one of my readers that for an animal un-lover, I sure do post a lot about animals.  Yes,  yes, I do.  I don't know why.  I don't like to cook, but I've been posting some recipe tutorials.  I don't really like animals, but I blogged about giraffes and donkeys.  What can I say?  I am a hypocrite, I guess.  Whatever.  It's my blog and I will post what I want.  Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo. this is about Woodrow, who is our kind of old and very stinky dog.  He looks like a bear and his hair is really thick.  He gets one haircut a year, which usually takes about 2 hours to do.  We've taken him to groomers before but we don't do that anymore because:

      a.  One time, Woodrow jumped out of the back of Superfrydad's truck on a main road.
      b.  After that, SFD decided to let him ride up front in the truck and Woodrow puked.  SFD grabbed a handful of napkins, scooped up the blob of puke and tried to throw it out the window.  I say "tried" because his window was up so he splattered the puke blob all over his window.
      c.  Groomers are expensive and we are kind of poor.  Or cheap.  Some of both, really.

I did not get a "before" picture....this is side one being shaved.  
I personally think he should have given him a doggie mohawk all the way down his back.  

This is the pile of hair from side one.

A close up of the pile of hair from side one.
If there was a "Locks of Love for Dogs", Woodrow would be their best donor.

 After.  Nice and cool for summer.

And, for the record, last year I posted this about my dog, and it spent a brief time on the list of most popular posts at KWTFs.  I'm sure there are only 1 or 2 people out there who will understand that this totally irritated the you-know-what out of me.   But here I am again, posting about my dog's haircut.  I think I've come undone, people.  This is my life.  Posting about a giant pile of dog hair.  Someone.  please.  help.  me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

black raspberry jelly

I don't know why I keep writing posts about  how to cook things.

First, there was Strawberry Jam.

Then, there was how to cook the perfect Crayfish.

Now KWTF presents to you.......Black Raspberry Jelly.

Please note that this is not an official recipe.  These directions are partly from the Sure-Jell package and partly from my mother-in-law.  Don't complain to me if you try this at home and it doesn't work.

Step One:
Get some black raspberries.  These were picked by my nephew, who is not afraid of snakes and does not get poison.
Next, add some water to the berries, heat and mash with a potato masher.
Remove from heat and remove the seeds using a mesh strainer.
Add water if needed to make 4 1/2 cups of juice.
Pour the juice into a big pot.  Yes, I have cankle wrists.
Add a tiny bit of butter.  Butter in jelly, you say?  Yes.  Paula Deen probably makes butter jelly, but this is not butter jelly.  The little pat of butter keeps it from foaming too much.  Or so I'm told.
Add one box of Sure Jell, which is made by Kraft.  No, Kraft did not pay me to say that.  It's just what I use.  I tried to use Ball's brand of pectin & when I opened the package, the directions told me to buy something else in order to make the kind of jelly I make.  Yes, that is really true.  I should have known that Ball is not a good brand.  Just look at their name.  Ball makes you think of testicle, and testicles and canning don't really go together.  Unless you are canning Rocky Mountain Oysters, which I don't think anyone does. Anyway....back to the Black Raspberry Jelly.
Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Yes, my wrist is still a cankle.  
Stir in 6 1/2 cups of sugar.  Yep.  More sugar than juice.  I didn't say it was healthy black raspberry jelly.
After you add the sugar, bring it back up to a rolling boil & set a timer for one minute, stirring constantly.  If you want to see a picture of my cankle wrist stirring, just scroll up a little because I'm not posting a picture of that again.  Skim off any foam and then ladle into jars and put the lids on.
The directions tell you to place them in a water bath in a canner but I live on the edge & just let them sit on the counter.  They will make little popping noises as they seal.  

I made 4 batches today & got 29 half pint jars and 9 teeny weeny cute baby jars.

I feel like it's bragging to say that, but oh well, it's pretty good jelly & you should be jealous.

This will hopefully be the last food related post at KWTF.  I'm sure I'm getting on everyone's nerves trying to pretend that I am the Pioneer Woman.  Just imagine if I really WAS the Pioneer Woman.  Then I would REALLY get on your nerves because I would post things about my bassett hound all the time, and homeschooling, and how handsome my husband is.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

scary clowns

These clowns were given to my daughter by a well-meaning person.  A very nice person.  A generous and loving person.  A person who does not read my blog nor knows anyone who does.  (hopefully)

They are marionettes, no less.

Clowns are scary enough.

Marionette clowns?

Those are super scary.

They're probably what Satan uses as his Elf on the Shelf at Christmastime. 

And yes, that picture was taken in my kitchen.  You can see the utensils sticking up from behind the red one's head.  I made sure there were no knives within their reach before I snapped the picture.

After I took the picture, I put them into the garbage.  My garbage can is one of those rolling ones that go inside of a cabinet.  I shoved the clowns in face down, rolled the trash can back in, and slammed the cabinet door.  

Then I heard a giggle.  

Then I felt bad because this nice person had given them to my daughter.  It's hard for me to get rid of things that people have given me as a gift.  That's why my house  looks like a wannabe Hoarders House is kind of cluttered, I guess.

So now I have these 2 clown murderers marionettes and I don't know what to do with them.

Superfrykid doesn't want them in her room.

I don't want them in my room.

If I put them down in the basement, they might multiply or something.  
Or dance.  
I'm sure if I put them down in the basement, I will hear a noise while getting my last load of laundry out of the dryer tonight.  Then I won't be able to sleep because all I will be able to think about is those clowns down there river-dancing the night away.

Maybe I could re-gift them?  Not sure anyone I hate is having a birthday soon or not.

I really need to decide what to do with them.  I would like to sleep with both eyes closed tonight.

Suggestions?  What would you do with these Clown Murderers  Marionettes?

Monday, June 11, 2012

who's your crawdaddy?

My grandmother, aka "The Don", owns and operates a little campground in the country.  There's a creek, which we pronounce "crick" here where we live, and lots of fresh air.

We received her permission to go down with some friends and their kids & have a little campfire.  She does not allow day use, but for her favorite granddaughter  me, she makes the exception.  .

My friend whittled wood into the world's best marshmallow roaster.  I watched.  I'm not much of a whittler.  She carries a little knife on her keychain.  I bet she'd cut you if she had to.  Just kidding.  She's probably one of the quietest people I know.  But sometimes you have to watch the quiet ones.  Just sayin.  Anyway, she did make a great marshmallow stick.

We went down to the creek (say crick) and caught some crayfish.  Or crawfish.  Or crawdads.  Whatever you prefer is fine with me.  As long as you say crick.

 This is a crayfish.  I know, it kind of looks like a turd.  But it's not.
They tried to make a crayfish "jail" out of rocks.  Here they are guarding their prisoner, shown below.

We caught several.  And by "we", I mean Superfrydad & the kids.  I wasn't touching them.  They make your hands stink.  The kids decided they wanted to roast one and eat it.

Here's how you roast a crayfish.

1.  Put the crayfish onto a stick while it is still alive.  That's gross, but it's not like you can twist their necks and kill them first.  Not that twisting their necks is better and I don't even think they have necks.  Superfrydad did the honors.  Please ignore the fact that it looks like he is wearing jean underwear.  He is the only man I know who still wears jean shorts.  I love him anyway.

2.  Roast the crayfish over an open fire until they turn red and crispy.  They will wiggle a little at first, but then they will stop and they will turn bright red like a lobster.  Roasting marshmallows and crayfish at the same time seems like something only contestants on Food Network's "Chopped" would have to do.

3.  Peel the crayfish and pull the meat out of the tail.  Doesn't Superfrydad have nice legs under those jean shorts?  Side note:  If you are a Pioneer Woman fan, note the disparity between Marlboro Man and Superfrydad.  Marlboro Man wears chaps.  Superfrydad wears jean shorts.  That pretty much sums up the difference between our lives.  Anyway.......

4.  Now it's time for tasting.

All of the kids were brave and ate them except for one.  That's right.  Superfrykid refused.  Look at her expression in the background of the picture above.  She is holding on to the arm of her chair for support while watching.  Maybe she's a chicken.  Maybe she just doesn't want to have diarrhea tonight.  Who's to say?

So that's how you roast crayfish.  I feel like after my post about making Strawberry Jam and now this Crayfish Tutorial, that maybe I should turn KWTF into a cooking blog.  Or not.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Strawberry Jam Forever

Hint:  For those who don't know, you should sing the title of this post a la "Strawberry Fields Forever".  If you still don't know what I'm talking about, just never mind.

So yesterday was Strawberry Jelly making day.  It's technically Strawberry Freezer Jam, but whatever.

I'm not Pioneer Woman, nor am I Martha Stewart.  I am domestically challenged, some might say.

But I have a secret weapon.

His name is Superfrydad.

Superfrydad is a jelly making fool.  He is the driving force behind the hundreds   tens of jars we make.  We made almost 60 half pints this year.  We eat most of it & sell the rest on the black market.  Just kidding.  There's not that much of a demand for jelly on the black market.  So I hear.

Wanna know how to make Strawberry Freezer Jam (aka Strawberry Freezer Jam)?

First, you get a lot of strawberries.

Then you cut the tops off.

Be careful not to cut yourself.

Just kidding.  That is not blood.  It's pureed strawberries.  Which is the next step.
Puree the strawberries.

Then you mix in the pectin and the sugar and stir until   your hand falls off   for 3 minutes.

Pour into jars and put on lids.  Don't you hate when directions tell you stuff that you don't need to be instructed on?  Who needs to be told to put a lid on it?  Really?  Oh, I thought I'd just leave the jars open with no lid.

That's it.  Easy-peasy.

Note for food nerds:  Normally we use Sure-Jell, which comes in a box and is made by Kraft.  This year I could not find it at Wal-Mart or Food Lion.  So I was forced to use the pectin made by Ball and the directions were different.  Sure-Jell had a freezer jam recipe that required you to cook the pectin first, but you did not have to cook the fruit.  Ball's non-instant formula only gave directions for cooking the pectin AND cooking the fruit, so I used the instant because I'm lazy like that.  I missed my Sure-Jell this year & I hope this instant  crap   stuff from Ball works ok.  We do cook the fruit when we make black-raspberry and grape, but we do not freeze those like we do the strawberry.

Oh, and I forgot....the other secret weapon I have is Superfrykid, who was the official dish washer of the whole outfit.

Here's a final picture, taken by Superfrykid, in which Superfrydad looks awful and I do too, but it's the only one I have.  The bandannas were SFD's idea.  I think he secretly wants to be in a biker gang.  I'm not sure if biker gangs allow professional jelly chefs to join their ranks.  And you probably have to own a motorcycle.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

my blog is the bad mom version of 19 kids and counting

So after I discovered that something I wrote was posted on another blog (Rage Against the Minivan), I was immediately seized with a feeling that my blog was not ready for such a large (relatively speaking) amount of traffic.

Usually I don't have much activity, which is ok, because I don't always have time to comb my blog's hair, if you know what I mean. But having a couple hundred visitors pop over without prior knowledge kind of made me feel like someone accidently opened the door while I was using the bathroom.  (Do I ever shy away from a poop reference?  No, I don't think I do.)

You know how usually your house is fairly clean and orderly and you live in the boondocks so you don't really have neighbors but every now and then someone will knock on your door and you will answer wearing mismatched pajamas and no bra?  And if that someone is a friend and they come inside and then you realize that your generally neat house looks like you have 19 kids and counting, only the bad-mom version?

That's how I felt when I saw that I had lots of extra blog traffic with no prior warning.

I would have tried to at least thrown the dirty dishes into the bath tub.  Or lit a candle to cover up the stench of the cooked broccoli I left in the garbage can overnight. Or had a decent post waiting to be discovered by the masses     the hoardes   the extra people who visited my blog.

Oh well.  It is what it is.  The ketchup here at KWTF might be a little crusty from time to time.  It might be a little runny or even generic.  But it's ketchup, nonetheless, and everything is better with ketchup.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Me and Rage Against the Minivan

I'm so excited.  I can barely type a coherent sentence.  My hands are sweating & drippy & I hope I don't electrocute myself before I finish this post.


There's this blog called Rage Against the Minivan.

It features a series called "What I Want You to Know", where readers can submit posts about a topic that is personal to them.

I can't remember when I did this, but I'm sure it was a late night and I was reading blogs one after the other & stumbled onto this one.  For some reason I felt the need to submit a post to this series & guess what? It's on there!!!!

Most of my 20 odd readers know this, but if you don't know me personally & lurk about KWTF, you might not know that Superfrykid is not my only child.  We had another daughter, our first child, who died when she was 3 months old.  It devastated me, obviously.  It's been 9 years now and even though life does go on, time does not heal.

Which is basically what I submitted.

You can read the post I submitted here.

Thanks, Rage Against the Minivan!  It's nice to see what others have to say & the other stories you feature really do give insight to what others go through.

dogs schmogs

Remember we talked about how I don't really like animals but it's annoying that people hate me judge me because of this?

I think I found my kindred spirit.

Her name is Jen and she writes the blog known as "People I Want to Punch in the Throat"

She wrote the post that I wanted to write about how I feel about dogs.

Why would anyone want to have to clean up poop that doesn't belong to you (or any of your children)?  I prefer poop that goes directly into the toilet with no scooping involved.

Why would anyone want to smell dog breath while "snuggling" with a hairy beast?  Just get a gross husband and he'll at least mow the yard for you.

Why would anyone want to have an emotional relationship with a dog?  "My dog is always there for me," people say.  Capacity for real friends, anyone?

Shout out to Jen at People I Want to Punch in the Throat.  She may be a total stranger, but it's nice to know I'm not alone.