Friday bullets, Aug. 4, 2017
It has not been the most eventful of weeks, which can be very nice, or not, it kind of depends.
- Everywhere A. takes Olive, someone will ask her what kind of dog she is. When A. answers, "Great Dane," the inevitable reply is, "Do you know she is going to get very big?" A. is wearying of the interchange.
- Olive has discovered cat tails. No, not the plant, the waving, curling things on the ends of actual cats. She loves them. She thinks they are the best puppy toy ever invented. The cats do not seem to share her enthusiasm about her playing with their tails. Even Midnight, who is normally a very laid back cat, has turned around and swatted Olive's nose with his claws. Nefertiti prefers to hiss whenever Olive gets within hearing distance of her. Since Nefertiti does this with just about every creature of the house except the chosen few, it's not out of character. Given how large Olive will become, I'm all for her gaining a healthy respect for the cats now when they're all about the same size.
- Can you stand one more item about Olive? She really is growing a lot, and possibly a pound a day as promised. I swear she can take a nap, and when she wakes up, she looks bigger. Here is a picture as a reward for reading through all the Olive news.
- There is really nothing better than to overhear K. reading out loud from one of his books to his sisters during lunch.
- I miss TM and P., and will be happy to see them when they return this weekend.
- I was correct. For the past two days, most of the pretend play has involved police officers and fire trucks. And this is not just from K., but the other players as well.
- Earlier this week, I had a brief slump when I realized there was nothing on the calendar. Nothing. Normally, I would live for weeks like this, but because I didn't feel as though I had anyone to call and enjoy my nothing with, it felt lonely. As a result, I introduced myself to a homeschooling group I just joined, and have quite a few new friends to meet. I think we will be heading to a park to meet in person next week. I liked having something fun, that involved people, on my calendar. This is saying something from an extreme introvert.
- Today I decided that I needed to make the most of my empty calendar... well, other than wallowing in self-pity. I new if I didn't, I would look back, when life had returned to more normal and usual levels of chaos and kick myself that I wasted those glorious weeks with no obligations. So, today I decided to check-off a to-do item that has been on my list forever. I finally took the piles of scrap fabric (you know, the fabric that feels too big to throw away, yet too small to actually make something with), and cut it all into quilt squares. I now have 12 bags of different colored quite squares, in 5", 3", and 1" sizes, just waiting to be made into something. And I have no pile (a pile I actually moved) of scrap fabric sitting there, taunting me to pay attention to it. When I get a way to hang my new, organized bags, I'll share a picture.
- The weaning of seizure medicine continues. Last week, R.'s anxiety was super high. I know that she has been taking this medicine for a very long time, and taking medicine is very important to her. She likes to take medicine, and often asks for it. When she began to noticeably take less, it made her very nervous. She is now taking a multi-vitamin which we have told her is very strong medicine, and once we started doing that, her anxiety went back down to normal (well, for her) levels. It is still too soon to tell if the lower doses of medicine will allow for better brain function, but today, she asked me in as complete a sentence as she can manage, if the food I was eating was from my dinner last night. This was far more complex thought and verbal abilities than we have ever seen. We had an actual (if brief) conversation about it. My fingers are still crossed.
- We found out yesterday that a dear friend passed away. That would be the friend whom I visited when in Chicago last week. I am so very sad for his widow, a very, very dear friend, and I hate that I am not close enough to jump in the car and give her a hug immediately when I heard the news. Death stinks.
- I am still looking for piano students. Starting over from scratch is hard.
- My children are suffering from craft withdrawal. For the first few weeks, no crafting happened at all, because everything was still packed in boxes. This week, I am slowly sorting and putting away all the craft supplies, and seeing them all out is proving to be a bit too tantalizing. I finally relented a few times this week and allowed them to take a box downstairs and make stuff. Today was polymer clay, and it did buy me a couple of hours of contented and engaged children. Of course, now I have quite a few items that need baking.
- Finally, on to the daily vegetable month entry. Last night we had spinach risotto. We had risotto last week as well, though it was sausage, as more than a couple of my children pointed out. This is mainly because I really like it, but P. really, really does not, so if I can avoid making her suffer through it, I will. Plus, it's a great way to use up vegetables. Have you tried risotto? It's really easy, and a great way to use up leftovers. Probably the most difficult thing about it is finding the arborio rice that you must use. Here are my generic risotto instructions. I make a lot at a time, so if you are not feeding the same amount of people I am, you'll probably want to cut it in half.
Risotto - basic recipe
Serves ~12, as long as you also have some bread or a salad or something
Prepare the broth. You'll need 12 cups. It can be any type of broth... chicken, beef, vegetable. I usually put in some red or white wine as well. Heat it to a boil, and then turn down the heat to low to keep it warm. Do this first before you begin the rice.
Once it's keeping warm on the stove, move along to the actual rice. You will need a big pan for this, if you are making as much as I do. Chop some onions. You'll want about a cup or so. Saute them in some olive oil. Once they are translucent, add 3 C. of arborio (short grain) rice. Stir it around for a couple of minutes. Now add the broth to the rice, about a cup at a time. After each cup, you want to stir the rice until the liquid is absorbed, then add more. Yes, this rice really will absorb all that liquid. Keep stirring and adding liquid, a cup or so at a time, until the rice has absorbed it all. Serve immediately, with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Now, I don't recommend eating risotto without anything in it. You can add just about anything... leftover meat, whatever vegetables you have, mushrooms, etc. If you are cooking the meat, such as with the sausage risotto I made last week, you'll want to do that first, before you cook the onion. When the meat is done, take it out and set it aside. Add it back in when the broth is almost gone. For the spinach risotto we had tonight, I added the spinach in when I still had a cup or two of broth left. Stirred until the spinach wilted, and then went back to adding the broth.
That's it. Super easy, and the vast majority of my children love it.
Finally, our vegetable tally so far, we had a green salad tonight as well, if you're wondering where some of those vegetables came from:
Avocado (yes, it's really a fruit, but I'm putting it in anyway) - 1
Beans (navy) - 1
Cucumber - 1
Edamame - 1
Escarole - 1
Lettuce (romaine) - 1
Onion - 2
Spinach - 1