Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!!

Be smart, if you're going to drink, don't drive, and don't do anything stupid.

If you're not drinking, how about throwing a good thought in the direction of those who are out tonight patrolling the roads to keep you and yours safe.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Little Trooper

My youngest, only 7 months old, is a real trooper. She apparently had an ear infection that we didn't know about, because she didn't complain all that much. She was a little fussy, but what 7 month old isn't? We didn't find out about it until Christmas Eve, when we noticed fluid leaking out of her right ear, indicating that her ear drum had ruptured. We called our pediatrician, and got a call back from the on-call nurse. She assured us there was nothing to worry about, but we would need to take her to see a doctor within 24 hours, so that she could be started on an antibiotic. Of course, no Doctor's offices are open on Christmas Day, ditto for the Urgent Care facilities in our area. So we got to spend about 4-5 hours of Christmas Day in the Emergency Room of the only hospital in the area with a pediatrician on staff on Christmas Day. About an hours drive or so from the house. Luckily, it happens to be fairly near my parents house, so we were able to drop my oldest off with them, and not have to condemn her to a day in the ER as well.

So, we get there, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and finally have a real doctor, confirm for us what the Nurse told us the night before, she has an ear infection, and her ear drum has ruptured, we'll need an antibiotic. Not just any antibiotic, but a strong one, that will take care of any 'resistant' bacteria that might be in there. So we get her home, and started on the medicine, and everything is going fine. Until we notice that 2 days later, she's running a fever. Not a high fever, only about 101 degrees or so, but enough for concern, so that when it still comes and goes the next day, we arrange for a visit to our pediatrician on Monday. So we get there, and guess what, she has another ear infection, in the other ear. I had absolutely no idea that they could make ear-specific oral antibiotics. It's simply amazing. But seriously, how do you get another infection, when you're already on a course of antibiotics that is allegedly stronger, and more broad spectrum than what would normally be prescribed?

Anyway, my little trooper just carries on. She's been a bit fussier, which was to be expected since she was running a fever, but I'll pick up the new antibiotics, supposedly even better and stronger, on the way home from work, and go to meet my smiley trooper when I get home.


PS- If you don't have kids, you're really missing out. I'm not saying you can't have a full life without them, but they really are amazing.

The True Spirit of Christmas

I had a little epiphany this Christmas season, all about the true spirit of Christmas. I don't know why, but I don't get terribly excited about Christmas anymore. I guess that I'm old enough that I have a general idea of what I might get, and while I look forward to it, I don't really get excited about it.

I was thinking about this, and how Christmas is supposed to be the season of giving. It all came together when I was wrapping presents for my wife. I was imagining the expression on her face when she opened a present, and how excited she would be. At just that moment, I got a little shiver of excitement/anticipation just thinking about how happy she would be on Christmas morning. That's when it all made sense. It's the season of giving, and we really should derive joy from the giving of gifts. Not to say we shouldn't enjoy any and all gifts we receive, but we should enjoy bringing joy to someone else.

Now I just can't hardly wait for the girls to get old enough to really understand, and get excited about Christmas. I look forward to surprising them Christmas morning, and getting that same little thrill as I watch them open gifts, as I get when I watch their mother open her presents.

Hope you had a Happy Christmas...


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pride and Horror

So, it's quite normal to take pride in the advancements of your offspring. My oldest, 2 years and 3 months or so, has just discovered how to turn a door knob. She's been working at it for a while, but today she actually managed to get it turned and the door open. That's kind of a good/bad thing there. Yes, it's good that she's advancing, but now she knows how to open the door, she will require a little closer supervision when it comes to doors now, lest she give us full on heart attacks.

Now for the horror part. My little darling, discovered she could open the door to the bathroom. While I'm in there, trying to relax with an issue of American Rifleman. I tell you, a 2 year old staring you in the face is just not conducive to relaxation, if you get my drift.....

Take it from me, lock the door when you go into the bathroom, and if you don't have a lock on your bathroom door, get one...


Pumpkin Bread

OK, so I'm a little lazy, and haven't taken any pictures, I did however, just bake twelve loaves of pumpkin bread to give as presents to the day care staff who helps take care of my girls. The recipe comes out of an older(1968 edition) Betty Crocker cookbook, in their Quick Breads section. I mostly followed the recipe. I'm usually pretty good at following a recipe exactly the first time I make it, to see how they think it should turn out, and then waiting until subsequent forays to make my own twists to the recipe. Wasn't able to do that this time around though, as I was lacking certain of the ingredients, and had to adapt on the fly.

The recipe calls for 2/3 cup of shortening. You just know something is good when it calls for shortening, it may not be good for you, but you know it's going to taste delicious. I've got a recipe for waffles out of that same cookbook that calls for shortening in the batter, and they're just the best waffles ever :) Anyway, back to the story. So the recipe calls for shortening, I go to the pantry looking for my Crisco, and fail to find it :( My wife asks me what I'm all in a tizzy over not being able to find, and when I point out the distinct lack of shortening in the pantry, she recalls that she used it in a recipe last week that she took for her co-workers.

So, luckily, I've got butter. Not margarine, or whipped yogurt, but honest to goodness Land-O-Lakes butter with sweet cream, (lightly salted of course). So do the conversion, and I need a stick and a third or so of butter. Pause for a moment, and start drooling thinking how good this has to taste with a stick of butter starting off :)

For the pumpkin part of the bread, they recommend using a can of pumpkin. I don't know what really goes into the canned pumpkin in the store, can't be much different than the spiced pumpkin we put up every year using the pumpkins we get from the orchard where we go apple picking. However, the home made stuff, roasted in the oven, and cooked down in the crock pot, spiced to taste and then canned, always tastes so much better than the market stuff. We always get raves from our pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheese cakes, and I always figure it the home made pumpkin that does it.

Those are the only real changes to the recipe, though I added nutmeg instead of cloves, and didn't add raisins or nuts, mainly because I didn't have any to hand. The results, in my not so humble opinion, are outstanding. The hard part now, is going to be not eating anymore of the bread before I deliver them to day care on Monday :)

Take care all,


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy....

Well, here I am thinking I'm going to be able to commit more time to getting the odd post up, and I'm actually ending up with a lot less time. Things have just really gotten crazy. I'm guessing that because of all the madness that comes with the holiday season. I know we attended the local Christmas parade last weekend. Add to that a visit from a 'stager', who's helping us figure out what to change to make our house more appealing to prospective buyers, a black-tie charity fund raiser for the Church, several hours of yard work, mostly cleaning up leaves, and the never ending job of riding herd on the kids, and it all makes for a busy weekend.

It's looking like this weekend won't be any less hectic either. There will once again be several hours in the yard trying to take care of dead leaves, my oldest is attending a birthday party for a classmate at daycare, her first such event, I have to get started baking the miniature loaves of sweet breads that we traditionally give out as Christmas presents, and now my wife tells me we'll also be getting a Christmas tree this weekend, and getting it set up and decorated. That also means lights and various things to set up outside the house as well. Oh joy...

I'm beginning to wonder what I ever did with myself before we had kids. I still manage to get in a good bit of reading, not so much on the computer games, but still, can't seem to figure out what I did with all my time before the girls arrived. We run flat out every day from about 5:30-6:00 AM when either we, or one of the girls gets up, until about 8:00PM when they're both down for the night. That whole time is just wide open. It's funny, that during the week, it's almost relaxing to go to work. At work, I'm in charge of myself, and do things on my schedule. I can make other people work around me and my time. At home, I'm not even sure I get a vote anymore about who the world is revolving around. I spend all of my time trying to keep everyone happy. Well, maybe not happy, how about just preventing melt-downs, or at least heading them off before they turn into body-wracking sobs and wails of despair that would rend the hardest heart, much less the old push-over here.

Oh well, I'm already planning on what types of sweet, holiday-type breads to get going this weekend to compliment the Apple Jelly and Apple Butter we made this past fall. If I get a chance, maybe I'll even get a picture up. Brigid always posts pictures of her culinary creations that make me start drooling on the keyboard from even the most cursory glance. Maybe I'll try to return the favor this time.

Sadly, it doesn't look like I'm going to squeeze in any range time this month, though I do have plans to sneak out for one last hunt for whitetail next week. If I get lucky, I'll post some photos of that, and then start digging up some good venison recipes.

Take care all, and enjoy the holiday madness....