Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Feels Like the Dog Days of Summer

With the temperatures in the 90's and so humid it feels like the tropics, even man's best friend needs some TLC. We have a border collie Trixie and a bichon named Mandy, neither one wants to even venture out the door. With the family in the process of moving they seem to be under foot and in the way from morning until night.
   Here is a post from a blog I like to visit about her pet shampoo.  I mut say her soaps are wonderful!

Friday, July 15, 2011

In the Process

  After living in our little near lake cottage for about 15 years we are moving. Not very far, in the same school district and closer to town.  Yet, this is all very hard for me, I am not good at change, and all the commotion and overwhelming work has me a bit frazzled.  The house has much more room, a beautiful view and is just what we needed, but between the boys stays, filling the Etsy shop, getting orders ready and shipped I haven't had a lot of time. What I really need is an afternoon to sit and catch up with my friend Jean who own the Teapot Quilt Cottage and Garden Center in Montello. She has a knack for getting all the craziness calmed down and things put in perspective.   DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. 
   Now with all this going on in my life I feel the need to make bread...I better do it today because the weatherman has a brutal next seven days mapped out for us.  I like 70's during the day and 50's at night. If I could find such a place year round I would give a kidney to move there. Now with much of the kitchen packed, any serious baking will be a project so I found this recipe

No Knead Bread Recipe

Servings: One 1-pound loaf Prep Time: Cook Time:

No Knead Bread Recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman of NY Times who got it from Sullivan Street Bakery. When the recipe first came out, it was the blogging community who took the bread to new heights, especially Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Bread Bible. I followed Rose's experiments through the weeks and learned from her recipe adjustments and the why's of how this bread works.

3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour)

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon fine table salt (or 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt)

1 1/2 cups warm water
Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.
2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you've got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.
3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Holding towel, turn over and dump wobbly dough into pot, using your hands to get the dough off the towel. Doesn't matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes.  check out this site for great directions along with photos as well as more recipes.
   Before I can get to the bread though I need to pacge two hats to go to the post office. One skunk and a new hat ...the rhino, I must say he is adorable.

This hat was a suggestion for a customer on Etsy, I love when they ask for new hats, it keeps things fun!

Boxes to pack, directions to give.....I like to position of supervisor, I hate packing LOL  LIKE us on facebook and see new items as they are ready for the shop!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Internalizing Stress

  It has been a rough week or so!  To fully explain this I should give you some background.  As a kid I stressed out at holidays a gatherings until I had a stomach ache. Was my hair ok, did I look ok. All put upon myself but real non the less. Then I am the oldest a doctors visit for stomach pain he asked...are you the oldest child?  I answered yes, WHY?  You have big sister try to make sure everyone else is ok and it is killing you!  I also think I am a control freak in order to make sure I can keep everyone ok and things going smoothly. So, lately with finances in a mess, 3 teen, one going off to college, one just getting her license and one dating, a grandson who has gotten a divorce , is back and we now share custody of his two little guys two and three. Living with two grown daughters and a thirteen year old grandson  three dogs, two cats and a husband.  
    So last week I had a blinding headache for three days then I lost my voice ( no pain just no sound ) for a couple more. I don't sleep well and I am gaining weight not losing it. My husband is oblivious to all the stress factors around and to top it off STRESS is the number one trigger to my Myastenia Gravis so after a week like this I am lucky to be able to dress myself.
  I have taken to listening to hypnosis on my MP3 player to fall asleep, positive thinking messages, weight loss and chronic pain relief. So far I am still upright and able to get my daily stuff done so I guess I will get through this.   Husband says  " It is all self inflicted, just don't worry! " If only I could!
   Last week before the heat and I had a great day out with my oldest daughter and the two little guys. We went to Wisconsin Dells to revisit some of the places we took her as a kid. I don't know who had more fun, her or the boys!

We started out our day at The Ducks, I had a coupon in the mail so adults were only $10.00 and the boys were free. JJ the biggest sat serious to whole ride, but Carsen made a noise for each bump, turn and splash.  Trice my daughter snapped away with her camera trying to catch all the funny faces Carsen made and the beautiful scenery.
Then off to Deer Park, I hadn't been here since the boys Dad was about four. Nothing has changed much and the boys were amazed at the deer. Carsen lost the need to feed them after a goat took his whole cracker.  
Trice at this point has put the ice cream cone full of food into her camera case to get a few shots of JJ and comfort Carsen who is not happy with the friendly deer. So, this deer decides to self feed and she is laughing so hard she can't move, Carsen is clinging to her for dear life and trying to hide from the deer.

JJ is kindly removing a bug from this deer leg. It almost looks like the deer is thanking him!
Before leaving we got this cute shot, Carsen did not mind these deer.

A quick stop to cool off and get lunch at Mc Donald's. This was not here back then but this sure makes a cute tourist photo. We live about thirty minutes from the Dells.
Our last stop was the Indian Trading Post. Yes, it is full of all the same stuff each shop in the Dells has but it has a cement tee pee.   The attraction was I have photos of my kids as toddlers in this same tee pee. Trice says nothing has changed inside, as she poses with the boys!  We bought a hatchet and Indian flute, yes I am the Grandma I can buy noisy toys!  We left for home with two tired boys, one happy Grandma (Trice) and one exhausted Grandma   ME!
    In the following days the headache etc. would take over so I finally got around to finishing some things for the Etsy shop and Christmas in July Sale that starts Saturday.

Be sure to stop by the shop and use the coupon code christmasin07 to save 15% on your whole order. This includes custom orders! 
This Little Piggy Diaper Cover and Hat
Well, Carsen is up and the day is getting warmer I am off to water the tomatoes and get laundry started. Have a great weekend!