Winter 2014

Winter 2014

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Date Night At A Peter Yarrow Concert

I graduated from high school way back in 1965.  Yes, that was fifty years ago.  I am a child of the 60's.  When I first met my husband he wore a corduroy sport coat with his jeans and smoked a pipe.  Just a regular pipe, none of that other stuff associated with pipes and the 1960's.  He listened to folk music especially Peter, Paul and Mary.  He kind of resembled Paul and Peter with his facial hair.  In all these years of marriage I have never seen him without facial hair of some sort.  Always a mustache and almost always a beard.

My husband in 1971 with our first daughter.
See the resemblance either by design or that's how guys
looked back then.

It is hard for young people to imagine that we actually purchased and played records of our favorite artists.  I really liked Gene Pitney and some of the mood music, but learned to love Peter, Paul and Mary as well.  Whenever we could afford it, we would buy one of their new albums.  It was difficult back then.  A new teacher in 1969 made $5000 a year.  With the help of the teachers union negotiating for wages things did improve gradually.  Imagine what it would have been otherwise.  It's too bad some feel these unions aren't necessary.

1971 with a dog, a child, a mortgage and the beginning of a great life.

A few weeks ago we noticed a sign as we were leaving our granddaughter's Missoula Children's Theatre performance.  The billboard said that Peter Yarrow was going to be playing at the Green Lake Thrasher Opera House.  I mentioned it and never gave it another thought.  Then Valentine's Day arrived.  We aren't very romantic people.  My idea of romance is having my husband do the dishes or throw in a load of laundry.  I would prefer that over a bunch of flowers that die in a few days.  So that being said, imagine my surprise (rather shock) when I got a Valentine card and two tickets to see the Peter Yarrow concert.  My dad and my husband conspired to get them.  It is very rare that something gets past me without me noticing it.  This totally caught me by surprise.  A wonderful surprise for sure.

The performance was last night.  Mike even arranged for our daughter Heather to come over to stay with my dad.   Since dad just got out of the hospital, we couldn't leave him alone.  We were able to relax for the first time in a long time.

Heather in 1976.  She was a
darling then and still is.

Dad kept referring to it as our romantic date night.  I wouldn't go that far, but it was a wonderful evening.

Peter was and still is a social activist.  He is for equal rights, peace, gender equality, dealing with homelessness, the environment and his latest project called Operation Respect: "Don't Laugh At Me".  Along with Paul and Mary, Peter participated in the Civil Rights Movement and the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965.  He has been invited back for the 50th anniversary of that march and is looking forward to it.  The venue in the opera house is very small and personal.   His son Christopher performed along with Peter.  He played a wash tub bass using a wash tub, broom handle and clothesline.  It sounded just like a Stringed Bass.  After every song they would fist bump or hug and Peter would kiss his son on the cheek.  He called him his beloved son which was very touching.  Most of the audience were over 60 years old except for a half a dozen children.  He called them up on stage to sing Puff the Magic Dragon.  Then he talked to them and hugged and kissed each of them before exiting the stage.  Throughout the concert he took time to interact with the audience.  He explained the meaning of his songs and of course encouraged audience participation as we all sang along.  My only regret is I don't have good pictures.  I didn't take my camera because I didn't think they would allow pictures.  I was so wrong.  People took photos through the entire performance.  I grabbed a few with my phone but they didn't turn out very well.

As you can see Peter is a lot older.  He is 76 years old but his voice is as strong as it ever was.  We are older too, but for a couple of hours last night we felt young again.  It was a great time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Laundry Detergent Recipe

For those who read my blog regularly, you are going to roll your eyes at this one.  Yes, I have another method for making natural laundry detergent with no chemicals or harmful additives.  There are so many laundry detergent combinations that each person can easily choose what is the best for them.  Some people like powdered soap and some like liquid detergent.  Most recipes use Borax and Washing Soda in combination with a soap.  For reasons I don't completely understand, some groups believe using Borax is not being completely green.  Those people use baking soda in place of the Borax.  I don't agree.  Borax is a naturally occurring mineral.  I have heard of people eating it to get the mineral Boron to treat a Boron deficiency.  

I have written about using Soap Nuts and using bar soap such as Zote

I like both of these but last week I was out of soap nuts, and I didn't have any Zote soap or Fels Naptha soap on hand.  I always have Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile soap on hand.  I even wash my hair with it, so it is always available for my use.  I did a little research and found a recipe for liquid laundry soap that uses Dr. Bronner's.

The orange citrus is my favorite.

Liquid Laundry Soap

Makes 1 gallon

¼ cup Borax
¼ cup Washing Soda
½ cup Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap
1 Gallon of water

In a large bucket or large pan put a small amount of the water.

To the water add ¼ cup of Borax and ¼ cup of Washing Soda.  Mix together well to dissolve the powders in the water.  Add more water if necessary.    Be sure to mix completely.  I used an immersion blender to make sure it was mixed completely.  Add the rest of the water and stir in the liquid soap whatever scent you choose.   I love the Orange Citrus but Dr. Bronner's comes in many scents.  You can add a few drops of essential oil if you want a stronger smell.

The detergent is ready to use.  ⅓ cup is all you need for a load and it's safe for HE washers.  This gallon of soap can be made for pennies per load.  For bad stains some pre-treating may be necessary.  If you feel Dr. Bronner's is too expensive, they have inexpensive bars of castile soap in the grocery store.  Just cut or grate a bar in some water and melt it over the stove.  Use that for the soap portion of the recipe.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Home Made Electrolyte Drink

We are back in the hospital with my dad.  Last week was a very long week.  It started out with my husband.  He began having symptoms of the stomach flu a week ago.  He was miserable and didn't feel better for four days.  Just as he was getting better, my dad came down with it.  He was quite sick last Tuesday, but seemed better the next day.  I was relieved.  Then Thursday he got sick again.  I didn't feel well that day either but I wasn't as bad as the other two.  Our house was quite the infirmary.  I got better, my husband was better but dad had his ups and downs.  By Saturday he seemed to be on the mend.  Then Sunday morning he took a big turn for the worse.  He was nauseated again but also had a 101.8 fever and a racing pulse.  We quickly made the decision to take him into the ER.  We are very glad we did.  One month ago he had a gangrenous gall bladder.  I don't know exactly what happened, but it appears that fluid accumulated in that area and it became infected.  His white blood count was very high.  They ended up doing another surgery to drain the area.  Today we sit in the hospital with him, but things are much better.  After a course of strong antibiotics, his numbers are looking better.  Whether the flu caused it to happen or if it would have happened anyway, we have no way of knowing.

I think the reason I came out of this so well, is that I drank Peppermint water from the beginning and later drank the electrolyte drink I made from scratch.  It worked so well.  It was better than Gatorade to regulate my electrolytes.  There are some warnings with this recipe.  I don't think it is good for little kids who can't have honey or adults who are allergic to unfiltered raw honey.  My sister can't tolerate all the pollen contained in unfiltered honey.  Just be aware and use some other sweetener if needed.

All you need is:

Juice of 2 or 3 lemons (or in a pinch ⅓ cup of bottled lemon juice)
½ teaspoon sea salt (sea salt contains necessary minerals)
⅓ cup raw unfiltered honey
1 quart of water

In a quart jar, dissolve sea salt and honey in a little warm water.  Stir until completely dissolved.  Add the lemon juice and water.

There are many different recipes for home made electrolyte drinks.  I read that using Coconut water adds many beneficial minerals.   This one works very well to replace minerals and salts lost through illness or exercise.

It looks like lemonade but has it's own unique taste.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ding Dong Bell

Measles have made a comeback in this country recently.  There is a big debate about whether children should be vaccinated or not.   Apparently back in the days of the Brady Bunch, the measles were not a big deal.  Remember the episode where all the kids are sent home from school with the measles.  I vaguely remember it, but my daughter reminded me of this episode.  I think it originally aired in 1969 well before she was born, but the reruns played forever.  The episode was titled "Is There A Doctor In The House".  It was about the girls wanting a woman doctor and the boys wanting a man doctor, but that isn't what my daughter remembered.  She remembered all the kids ordering their parents and Alice around.  Each kid had a different way to get attention because they were sick.  One had a whistle, one a cow bell and so on.  Whenever they wanted something, they would use the noisy gadget.  Alice and the Brady parents were running themselves ragged, and then Mr. Brady and Alice got the measles too.  Here's the link if you want to refresh your memory.

I found a Public Domain photo of the Brady Bunch.

Now to the point of this background story.  As I have mentioned before, my 90 year old dad has had some health issues recently.  He has pretty much recovered from an infected gall bladder, sepsis, atrial fibrillation, and aspiration into his lungs.  He did have the stomach flu the past few days, but he is feeling better from that as well.  The first few nights after he came home from the hospital, I slept in a chair near his room so I would hear him during the night.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well.  I am the type of person who needs all conditions to be perfect before I can sleep well.  Since I needed to sleep in my bed, we came up with a variety of things to get my attention if he needed me, just like the Brady kids.  We tried a soda can with pennies inside, we tried a small bell, we even tried knocking on the wall.  I really couldn't hear any of these methods very well.  Then it dawned on us that perhaps a wireless doorbell would work.  I found one with the chime for $7.96.  It was much less expensive than a baby monitor, and I could put the chime portion in my room.  We have not needed it, but we tested it to make sure it worked.  I can hear it loud and clear, giving me peace of mind.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quick and Easy English Muffin Bread

It's Fat Tuesday again.  Last year I made Paczki's which were not a complete success.  I think I will pass on it this year.  Maybe I can find a bakery to buy some.

I won't even attempt to make a King Cake.  The thought of it is not appealing to me.  Who wants to find a plastic baby Jesus inside a piece of cake.  Actually it isn't really a cake, it's more like a bread with colored frosting and sugar on top.  The colors of the frosting are purple, green and yellow which represent royalty.   It is also draped with Mardi Gras beads in a similar color.

Today my Fat Tuesday recipe has nothing to do with Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.  It is another recipe for English Muffin bread.  This is the third time I have posted recipes for this.  Each are slightly different but equally delicious.  The first time was when I started this blog.

Then I posted my recipe for making traditional English Muffins.  I like this recipe very much, but it does take more time than most people want to spend.  Recently I found another recipe for English Muffin bread on  It is quick, easy and has the same texture as a real English Muffin.

English Muffin bread raising in the pans.

Easy English Muffin Bread Recipe
What You Need:
  • 5 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups warm Milk
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • Cornmeal
In a large bowl, mix half of the flour with the yeast, sugar, salt, milk, and water. Make sure the water and the milk are warm so they help to activate the yeast. Mix together for a few minutes to give the yeast a chance to activate.
Add in the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer but you can simply mix the dough together by hand.  The dough is sticky.  Don't add more flour to make it look like regular bread dough, it is supposed to be sticky.   Make sure you do not overmix.
Grease 2 loaf pans and sprinkle cornmeal in the bottom of each pan. Divide the batter into the pans, sprinkle more cornmeal on the top, and let it rise in a warm place until doubles in size.

Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes.

This bread is best toasted but it is moist enough to eat plain.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February School Concert

Today is President's Day.  In honor of February and President's Day two of our grandsons participated in a school concert.  Sam is in 5th grade and Jack is in 1st grade.   My husband stayed home with dad who is recovering from a serious illness, so I was able to go.  The gymnasium was full of parents, grandparents, friends and all the children.  The theme was America and all the songs reflected that theme.

Jack singing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

They even had the Statue of Liberty.

Sam had a speaking part and did a great job.

I was happy I was able to attend.  These kids are growing up so fast, and I don't want to miss these special times.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pinecone Bird Feeder

I try to write about our grandchildren equally.  All five of them are special and mean the world to us.  Ewan is the youngest.  He will be five at the end of March.  He is a very lucky boy and is loved by so many.  We are a little boring and not nearly as fun as his other grandparents.  They provide him with a lot of exciting experiences.

They let him paint.

They go hiking.

Grandpa Wayne and Ewan playing cowboys.

They relax and watch TV.

At Christmas, Ewan made gifts with his other Grandma Beth.  They did a great job choosing a gift they knew we would like.  Ewan knows we love to feed the birds.

They made pinecone bird feeders.  They spread peanut butter on pinecones and rolled them in birdseed.  I hung them out in the tree right away.

It took a while for the birds to discover them because I hung them away from the area we usually use for feeding the birds.  Birds are amazing, if there is food, they will find it.

A Junco.

A Sparrow.

A Chickadee.

Thank you Grandma Beth and Ewan.