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Peeking. . .

Peeking out of hiatus, because I want to post links to recipes that I don't want to forget.

Pumpkin Seeds / Buttered and Salted

Butternut Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

We went to Detwiler Farms (where we usually buy our produce) for pumpkins yesterday. We were going to buy one, ended up buying two, but took home five! The lady selling the pumpkins gave us several for pumpkin shakes and pumpkin seeds when she found out we like pumpkin seeds. They were still good but had a tiny soft spot and couldn't be sold. So we have pumpkin baking in the oven (and then off to the freezer for Thanksgiving pies!

My folks are coming for Thanksgiving! I'm so excited. My sister and her kidlets are flying out, too. I've e-mailed my brother an invitation, but haven't heard from him. (He's not big on e-mail, but I don't have a current phone number. . .) The last time we were all together was a year and a half ago, for my brother's college graduation.

This is our second Thanksgiving back in the States, and it makes me happy that it's become "tradition" for my parents and sister to come spend this holiday with us. Okay, so it's not a huge, long-standing tradition, but after two years, it feels like one.

Speaking of seeing family, we're going to New Orleans soon. We'll see my grandparents, my other brother and his family, and maybe even some family on my Dad's side. I'm kinda scared, to be honest. I have so many memories of childhood set in New Orleans, and I know things are different, but I don't want it to change my memories, you know?


October 29, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On Hiatus

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Well, I'm getting older too

So, take this love, take it down
If you climb a mountain and turn around
And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will brought it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

Well maybe ... the landslide will bring it down

--Stevie Nicks

Yes, I feel lame quoting the Dixie Chicks. With the classic Stevie Nicks refrain of Children get older I'm getting older too echoing in my head, TulipGirl is going on hiatus.

Grace and peace,
To you and yours,
Wherever you are in the world.


October 17, 2006  |  Comments (22)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Getting Better. . .

Thursday night Hubby came home early and called in sick to his Theory class, because of food poisoning. Second time in his life it was related to beef jerky. He's never eating that again. (And he never misses class unless he's on his deathbed.)

Friday my right eye was hyper-photosensitive. It got progressively worse throughout the morning, culminating in me being overly-cautious and a bit fearful of driving home from J10's orthodontic appointment. I crawled in bed next to Hubby (still sick, but a bit better) and closed my eyes. And slept most of the day.

Saturday I felt great, ran errands, got things done. About 3 am Sunday morning Hubby woke me up and told me C5 had been throwing up for the past couple of hours. In the morning, I awoke feeling nauseated. Yup. Sure enough, the "food poisoning" was likely a virus that swept through the whole family.

Sunday afternoon I was feeling (a bit) better, so Hubby started off for the Uni library an hour away. He was almost there when I called and said the boys were throwing up more and I really needed him home. (He wouldn't have left if I wasn't feeling better earlier. . .) So he came home to care for us, picking up blue powerade, that miracle anti-dehydration potion.

Today we're all up and about. Still feeling pretty lousy, but mobile and no one is vomiting. We're sticking to the BRAT diet, so I made applesauce.

Of the 15 lbs/$5 of apples I bought Saturday, we have about a dozen left. I think the boys have been practicing their juggling again. So I used the bruised ones to make the applesauce. Reminded me of Columbine's story of Good Potato, Bad Potato in Ukraine.

I've been feeling nostalgic and homesick for Ukraine lately. Likely because we've been looking at pics and feel "settled" enough here to miss things there. I've been looking at the pics and reading these blogs (which aren't in Ukraine) but are reminding me of so much of when we were in Kyiv.

The boys and I have been taking turns vegging out on the computer. Andrea introduced us to LineRider and Homeschool Hacks, which led us to these puzzle maps of the US and Europe.

The boys also spent several hours outside today, and I kept the doors open to air out the "sick rooms." I think they needed the fresh air and sunshine.

And I'm feeling better. Humming these hymns.

Update: R7 just started throwing up. *sigh* I thought he had been spared.


October 16, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Variations on a Bean

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice
(Andouille or Kielbasa Sausage Optional)
Served with French Bread and Butter

Cuban Black Beans
(Cooked with Bacon, Optional)

Stormy Black Bean Soup (Vegan)
With Cornbread

Pinto Beans
(Cooked with Bacon, Optional)
Served with Cornbread or Tortillas

Substitute Black Beans for Ground Beef
Or add beans to sauteed ground beef and mix together.

Southwest Casserole
Combine roughly equal parts of beans, rice, canned corn, and canned tomatoes (with peppers is best.) Heat and serve. Melting cheese on top is optional.

Split-Pea Soup
(With ham, optional)
Served with hot rolls and butter

White Bean Chili
Served with cornbread and butter

Hummus and Dipping Veggies
Served with toasted pita
(Hummus Recipe 2, Recipe 3)

Most of these recipes can be modified easily for the vegan and vegetarian amongst us. However, I've found that cooking beans with just a little bit of meat makes it yummier.

Hint: Make a full pot of beans or a double batch, and freeze the leftovers in smallish ziplock bags. Lots of recipes call for canned black beans--having your own in your freezer is quick and inexpensive, and doesn't have the metallic taste some canned beans have. I do the same with rice.

Addendum: Read The Bean Report for good info on cooking beans and minimizing their oftimes unpleasant side effects.


October 16, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys Love Books

Amy, who loves books, loves us.


October 14, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys' Sizes

So I don't lose it. . .

8/10, 10/12 Dress Shirt
M Polo Shirt
10 Pants (?)

S Dress Shirt (??? Medium may be better)
S/M (Size 8) Polo Shirt
10 Pants
6/8 Shorts (?)

XS Dress Shirt
XS Polo
7 Slim Jeans

XS Dress Shirt
XS Polo
4T Jeans


October 14, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Wheatie's Easy Coq au Vin


1 3 lb fryer (cut up) or 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 slices bacon
6 sm. onions, diced
1/2 lb. mushrooms, washed, trimmed and quartered
4 carrots, halved and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. red burgundy wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 shallots, minced
1 tsp. each of rosemary, thyme and parsley
1 TBS olive oil

Dredge chicken in mixture of salt, pepper and flour. Brown chicken on all sides in olive oil. Place in crockpot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook all day on low. Enjoy !

Wheatie says, "This is the easiest recipe for Coq au Vin, even if it's not the most authentic."

TulipGirl's Notes: This is delish! Great for guests and easy to double. If making it for guests, I usually used chicken breasts cut into thirds, rather than cutting up a chicken. In Ukraine, I usually cooked it on low in the oven for sevearl hours instead of in a crockpot.


October 12, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Father's Heart

A father I know and respect shares some personal thoughts. . . and they are just too moving to stay hidden away on a small message board.

"Man-oh-man, is this painful reading this stuff over at that link. [referring to http://www.askdrsears.com/] Lots and lots of great advice, some of the stories and warnings are bringing back so many terrible memories of my childhood, and of my own parenting for far too long.

"My father loved me, and he provided a strict upbringing, with very strict rules and lots of encouragement to excel. But he also could not control his temper, and of the four children, I was the most trouble, behavior-wise. I was precocious, hyperactive, and VERY loud. My father's response was to beat me. Not constantly... not even regularly... but often enough. And he left bruises.

"His regular spankings were horrendously painful, and occasionally he lost control and beat me with his fists. I was the only one he treated like this. Thank God, he never lifted his hand against my mother. Amazingly, my father and I got along very well when I became an adult. I never talked to him about what he had done, and he never brought it up, either.

"I remember vividly the last beating I endured. I was fifteen years old and already much larger than my father. But I respected him too much to do anything to defend myself. I do not harbor a grudge about it, either -- but I do remember the pain and the fear.

"All that is water under the bridge -- but -- and here I must pause, because the tears are running now -- I continued the abuse with my first son. He was born in 1984, and he was a lot like I was as a child -- precocious, hyperactive, and loud -- and he was also extremely stubborn and defiant. As hard as I was to discipline, I had never been defiant.

"My behavior toward my son exacerbated all these traits. I tried to provide sound discipline, but I would often lose my temper and shout at him abusively. And occasionally, I slapped him upside the head. I did not beat him as my father had beaten me, and I never slapped his face, but I did spank him WAY too hard, WAY too often, and I did smack him in fierce anger occasionally.

"I tried and tried to control it, but it continued for fourteen years. Then I started reading Dr. Sears. And the more I read, the more I saw what I had been doing wrong, and what I could do to make it right. I wept for weeks over what I saw. Then I tried to talk to my fourteen-year-old son, and to ask his forgiveness. He was by then extremely angry and resentful. I really thought our relationship was entirely broken. My wife told me he once asked her, "How can you tell me to respect someone I hate?" I also remember how he would glare at me in defiance, no matter how hard or how much I "spanked" him.

"When I tried to talk to him to ask his forgiveness, all I could do was weep. He forgave me readily, but he probably didn't quite believe me. But I believe he has seen a big change. He is now 22, a senior in college -- ambitious and with a strong moral code. He and I are now quite close, although I believe it will never be as it could have been.

"As I said, this is causing more bitter tears as I relate it. But I hope there is one person reading this who may be helped. I did change -- with God's help and with Dr. Sears's advice. Thank God, I only spanked my sweet daughter twice in her life, and she seems to harbor no resentment at me for being too strict.

"I have a late last child -- eleven years younger than my daughter. He is now eight years old. I am "Mr. Mom" now, because of my disability, and that means I am his "homeschool" teacher. And we are having the time of our lives. My wife was the main teacher for our first two, while they were young; I took over when they were teens. But now I get to teach my little guy from the beginning!

"I confess I have spanked him maybe three times in eight years -- and every time I have regretted it. I am strict with him, but I am no longer abusive. I guess it helps that, while he is also precocious and hyperactive, he is much more compliant than his older brother. He and I are so close it's amazing -- and it shows me what it could have been like with my first son, if I had been different.

"Well -- sorry to unload on y'all like this, but when I started reading all that stuff from Dr. Sears this evening, it all came rushing back, and it really surprised me how strong the emotional reaction was. I love Dr. Sears and I will forever be grateful for his help in overcoming my abusive tendencies.

"I highly recommend his suggestions to you all. They will help you be a better parent.

I'm in tears.

(Originally posted at AwareParent.Net)


October 10, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Losses from Katrina

I had the L----- family history album in my possession before the storm. It may have been one of the things that washed away in the storm surge, but I won't know for sure until I can haul things out of the 5 storage areas from Miss to Baton Rouge and see what survived. I thought her name (great-grandmother) was Addie Brown, but I'll see what I can find. We hope to begin moving into the Mississippi house by the end of October, but it may be Christmas before I have time to unpack boxes.

Mom always said that of all the children, M--- E---- was the most like her mother. She spoke of her as very soft-spoken; Mom had never heard her raise her voice. Her favorite song was "Pretty Little Red-Wing." That's all I remember. I do hope that album is still intact---it traces the family history way back, with pictures.

We're on an e-mail list with my Dad's side of the family. His family is from New Orleans, though only a few of us still live there.

I started crying when I read this today. It's so small compared to what some have lost, but felt so big today. . .


October 10, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



If I Were In A Movie

If I were in the movie, even LOTR, and they made me kiss. . . I'd seriously quit. Or at least think about quitting. --my boys, after watching "Making of LOTR"

I'm glad they still think kissing is gross.


October 07, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Granola Recipes To Try

I usually make variations of Chunky Granola or Mollie Katzen's Dry Roasted Granola. One of my Saturday projects is to make several batches of granola to stock up for the next several weeks.

I googled granola recipes because I wanted to introduce variety beyond my usual experimentations, and I'm posting them here both to share to add to my Computer Cookbook.

Maple Granola

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees:

Dump into a big bowl, and stir until the oats are evenly coated:

10 cups rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup real maple syrup

As with the other granolas I posted about, spread it all out on a
large cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, taking it out every five
minutes to stir it around, and keep it in an airtight container
shortly after taking it out of the oven, so it stays very crunchy.

You wouldn't believe how good this was! If you're reading this and
thinking "that sounds too sweet for cereal", well, think of it as a
snack then -- it's very crispy and when you're crunching it up in your mouth it really does taste like you're eating some kind of fancy maple cookie.

TulipGirl's Notes: I added wheatgerm and flax seed to the oats, and used a little less maple syrup, because I didn't want to run out for our next pancake day.

Gingersnap Granola Recipe

Serves/Makes: 6 cups

3 cups oat bran
2 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons light or dark molasses
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon-
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet with no-stick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine oat bran and oats; mix well and set aside.

Put margarine in 2-cup microwavable bowl. Microwave on high (1 00 percent power) 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Drizzle over combined cereals, stirring until evenly coated; spread evenly in pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool granola in pan on wire rack. Store tightly covered.

TulipGirl's Note: I added chopped candied ginger to this recipe, too.

Homespun Granola

1 1/2 cups Old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup raisins or dried fruit

Mix oats, nuts, coconut & cinnamon in ungreased baking pan. Combine melted butter, honey and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients. Bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes. When evenly golden-colored, remove from pan, add raisins. Store tightly.

TulipGirl's Notes: Did variations on this including Almond/Blueberry and Coconut/Soy Nut/Pineapple.

I like to shop at Bulk-N-Natural, a store in the Mennonite section of the city. They have a natropath on hand, which is nice for getting "Yes, that's really nothing to worry about" answers when I have obscure questions about the boys. I sometimes get organic oats, but usually my pocketbook wins and I simply get the bulk oats or bulk quick oats. I also buy my almonds, dried fruits, wheatgerm and other granola ingredients there. I want to support local businesses and be careful with our budget.


October 07, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pinecone Babies

C and PineCone Babies.jpg

Pinecone Baby Sling.jpg


October 07, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Where I Grew Up

I could spend hours at maps.google.com. I probably have. The below links are satellite images of where I grew up, with our homes near the center of the image.

Birth to 5:
The Pontalba Apartments
Metairie, LA
Waveland, MS

San Diego

1st-2nd Grades:
Adak, AK

3rd Grade:
Bisbee, AZ

4th-5th Grades:
The Building, Bisbee

6th-8th Grades:

8th-9th Grades:
Great Lakes, IL

10th Grade:
Waukegan, IL

11th-12th Grades:
Live Oak, TX

Early College:
Brooks AFB, TX

Before Marriage:
Gurnee, IL(Our house is gone.)

Our Newlywed Home:
Greenfield, MA

When J10 Was Born:
Myakka City, FL

When T8 Was Born:
Monterrey, CA

Where R7 Was Born:
San Angelo, TX

Middle of Nowhere:
Midland, TX

Cross-Cultural Training:
Florissant, CO

Where C5 Was Born:
Columbia, SC

Preparing for Ukraine:
St. Pete, FL

In Kyiv:
In the Center of the City

In Kyiv:
In Kharkovskyia Region

Now, Florida Gulf Coast

(Not finished yet. . .)


October 05, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Kyiv Memories: Pysanky Tank

Boys on the "Pysanky Tank," Fall 2002

I've been looking through old digital photos, and realized how many memories I have from Ukraine that I want to document here and share with y'all. I think I'll try to do it each Wednesday, but we'll see. . .

This photo was taken in the park across from Rodina Mat. The tanks are painted as a mark of peace, but always reminded me of pysanky eggs. This was when my Mom and Ben were visiting us in the fall of 2002.


October 01, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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