Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday is all about me discovering something that is different. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. It could be from another country, someone singing from the streets of NY, and more.

I was in a blues mood this week. I wasn't sad. It's just easy to work to blues.

I ran into a band called Blackstratblues. It's a solo project of Warren Mendonsa. He's a composer, guitarist, and record producer. Warren Mendonsa is from India. He is the nephew of Indian musician and celebrated Bollywood composer Loy Mendonsa of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy fame. Mendonsa first picked up the guitar when he was 5, and has played ever since.


Simply the Blues - Live

Here's a video from Mahindra Blues Festival. They set out to explore the reach of blues music in India.

Like Blackstratblues on Facebook.
Follow Blackstratblues on Twitter.
Check out Warren Mendonsa's Interview.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Highs and Lows of School for Isaak

My boys started school on the 11th of August. Everything seemed to be going well.

Isaak likes his teacher. Both teachers in Isaak's grade are good it seems. No complaints as far as the teachers go. I've heard Isaak's teacher keeps things in line. I think Isaak needs that.

Isaak doesn't start homework for a month; if it's the same as when Mica was in first grade.

Isaak has gotten good reports from his teacher. He brought a paper apple home that said, "Isaak had a great day today." I guess not all kids got an apple. Isaak was pretty proud of having an apple that day.

Isaak so far has only 2 issues since he started school.

1. He has trouble finishing his lunch. He's taken a cold lunch twice, and hasn't drank any of his milk. The food he can eat as an after school snack, but the milk goes sour. I don't even know what his hot lunches look like. I could be spending money on lunches that he 1/2 eats. I hate when food gets wasted. He goes all school day drinking nothing.

 2. He has developed an attitude that he didn't have before school started. This has happened in the past with Mica. It seems like friends that they are around influence them both positively, and negatively. No I'm not saying my child is perfect, and that it's all the friend's fault for him acting out. I just noticed this behavior started happening right after he started back up at school.

Me: Isaak you need to drink throughout the day. If you don't drink, I'm giving you water. I'm not wasting money on milk; only to have it go sour. Your food you can finish as an after school snack. You won't get anything special in your lunches if you can't finish them.

Isaak: Mom drop it.

Me: Don't talk to me that way Mr.

A little more sass comes from his 6 year old mouth.

Me: That's it, you're going to bed at 7 tonight. I'm not putting up with you talking to me that way.

Off to the store we went. He saw Halloween candy was out, and wanted it. Now if you lived in our house you'd know that we just don't buy candy for our kids.  They get enough when the special holidays arrive.

Isaak: Get me some of this. (Holding up Candy Corn.)

Me: Not when you can't even finish your lunches at school.

Isaak: Mom you were supposed to drop that. Plus I've been good at school. I even got an apple yesterday.

I suppose I should give him points he's getting smart in his manipulation. I of course didn't show him that I thought he was smart, nor did I give in.

When we got home I told Isaak to brush his teeth, get his pjs on, and go to bed.

Isaak: But it's not even dark yet, and Mica's up.

Me: It's time to go to bed for you.

In the morning his throat hurt. Allergy season is among us in Nebraska. 

Me: Drink these things. Your throat wouldn't get this bad if you'd drink something throughout the day.

He drank water, juice, and a kid's Emergen-C drink. He probably had to pee 5 times that morning.

The Highs and Lows of School for Mica

My boys started school on the 11th of August. Everything seemed to be going well.

Both boys like their teachers. I'm really glad Mica got the teacher he did.

The only things that have changed in the school is that they got new carpet, an upgrade of a library because a grant came through, and they have a new Librarian. Mica says, "The Librarian is nice, but she most certainly likes us to all stay quiet." Libraries should be quiet, so people can read, and pick out which books they want. Mica's also up a grade, the Librarian may expect more out of the older kids.

The first week there was only homework for the parents. You know the usual: Paperwork, and the writing 1 Million or Less Words About Your Child from Mica's teacher. I actually enjoyed writing about Mica. I feel better knowing that the teacher knows my kid. I just wish I would have put in there that Mica's better with reading than math.

This week Mica got homework. All week Mica got it done fast. It's supposed to take him 30 minutes. I knew he'd get it done quickly. He's much smarter than I was at his age. Then last night happened. Mica got introduced to rounding up, and down to the closest number by 100s. He can count by 100s to a 1,000, but for some reason the concept of rounding numbers up and down was foreign to him. Daddy worked with him for nearly 2 1/2 hours.

I could tell Daddy was getting frustrated.

I was out with Isaak the whole time. Isaak was supposed to have Jiu-Jitsu, but it got canceled due to them refinishing the floors. Daddy kindly asked me to go run errands with Isaak, so Mica wouldn't get distracted.

I didn't tell this to Daddy just yet, but how Mica was with math the other night, I was like every single night when I was a kid. I simply didn't get very much of anything. I'm not saying I am stupid, but my brain thinks differently. I make things harder than they appear. I test horribly. I did so low in my standardized tests they wanted to put me in the dummy English classes. I taught a Russian girl how to write in that class. I didn't belong in there, I knew it, and my teacher knew it. My teacher bumped me up, and in the regular English class I still got an A+. Don't talk about ACT scores with me. You may just piss me off. I had to beg my councilor to take them un-timed to see if I could do better. That councilor used my scores as an example as to how time matters for 5, or more years. How do I know? My sister is 5 years younger than me - she told me. Anyhow I got my BFA, then my Masters, so I'm not stupid. I just think differently.

The next day for homework Mica did perfectly on rounding up and down. I think he just didn't get it, and now he does.

On the flip side he's gotten good reports from his teacher. He doesn't even bring his library books home to read because he gets them read in school.

I'm pretty sure Mica will get better with math. Some concepts in school take awhile to get.

Random Tid Bits

  1. Every year we get a few students that go by something totally different than their name. This year we have a Samuel that goes by Mason and a Maria that goes by Gabbie. I could see Samuel going by Sam, or Sammy, but Mason? There's nothing wrong with Gabbie, or Mason it's just so different from their given names. Maybe Gabbie and Mason are their middle names.

    My cousin married a guy named Ryan. She didn't know up until they got engaged that his name was actually David Ryan. She didn't have a clue what to put on the invites, and programs. I said, "Just put his whole name on there. People will figure it out."

    Why not name them what you want them to be called?

  2. I always have 1 or 2 students that look so similar to past students we've had. I have to do a double take.

  3. Our garden did very well this year. Every night some processing needs to be done.

    Did you grow anything this year? We have tomatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, collard greens, snap peas, beets, and some spices. 

  4. We decided to do away with the friend birthday party this year. If you remember Isaak only had 1 friend show up to his party. We do so much at the family party anyhow. Instead Mica got to choose two friends to go to a special place.

    He chose to go to a movie. They they are coming over for cake and ice cream. I told the parents that gifts are not necessary. It's more about doing something special, than getting things.

  5. My nephew Emerson got a new big boy bed. I'm steeling this picture from my sister's FB page.


I'm sure some of you have never seen a bed for a special needs child before. It's made to keep him safe.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dual Julienne and Vegetable Peeler Review

Most of our meals are home cooked. Daddy's peels veggies to steam on one counter, and I peel veggies on the other counter to make a salad. We use peelers a lot in our kitchen.

Either both peelers are in use, or both peelers are dirty.

I just got a fancy peeler to review. It's Dual Julienne and Vegetable Peeler made by: Priority Chef.

I've never used such a fancy peeler. All the peelers I've ever used have been a side peeler. It did take me a minute to get used to something that has different sides, and peels from the front. Once I got the hang of it, it was handy. I know I wouldn't let Mica or Isaak use it. Mica peels his own veggies sometimes. We haven't attempted this step with Isaak. It's very sharp. Certainly an adult utensil.
  • One side of the kitchen tool has a vegetable peeler that can peel in both directions. 
  • The other side has a julienne tool that create julienned vegetables in seconds.

You can peel in thin slices, big slices, and it has a little thing on the side that will remove eyes out of potatoes.

The Priority Chef dual julienne and vegetable peeler has ultra sharp blades and can peel vegetables quicker than ever.

  • The tool is made of stainless steel.
  • Is dishwasher safe, although it will last longer if it is washed by hand. I did think it was a little difficult to wash. Peelings were stuck in the sharp blades.
  • Included with the purchase is an eBook that gives instructions, and a list of recipes to get started.
  • It's $19.95, but on sale for $9.95 on Amazon.
So far we've used it to peel potatoes, and make potato ribbons.

Then I've used it to peel, and make carrot ribbons for a stir fry. I'm big into throwing carrots, onion, snap peas, and pepper in a pan with a little oil, adding raw cashews, and a little ginger for a quick side. It's good, and takes little time to do it.

What kind of peeler do you have?

A) A Front One - Like the one shown with different capabilities

B) A Side One - With only peeling as an option

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Stainless Steel Veggie Steamer Review

We've had a steamer for about 12 years now. It was looking run down. It's been accidentally left in the water too many times. We have another steamer that came to fit inside a big pot. We often times use more than one steamer when it's breakfast time. One to boil some eggs, and another to steam some greens. It seems like one, or both steamers are always in use.

I've been wanting to replace the smaller steamer that we've had for 12 years. It's served it's purpose.

Luckily I got a new Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer to review. 

It folds up smaller than my other one. I love that it's more compact, and expands to fit a lot of different sized pots. The diameter 5.3" - 9.25", and the height range (legs included) 2" - 3.35".

Things You Can Make in a Steamer:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits 
  • Eggs
  • Seafood (fish, mussels, crabs, and clams)
  • Dumplings
  • Meat and Chicken   
  • Some Desersts
  • Making Baby Food
  • More...

About Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer
  • It's 100% high-grade stainless steel. That includes the legs.
  • It wont rust like the cheaper aluminum versions. 
  • The center post and legs are attached. No assembly is required.
  • It's easy to remove from many sizes of pans with a custom designed central ring. The ring on our old one was not as nice as this one.   
  • Your veggies stay tender, and have a perfect crunch at the same time. 
  • It's $24 and it's marked down to $11.99 on Amazon. That really is a steel in my book; for how much we use a steamer in our house.
What We Thought 

I thought it worked great! I used it to make broccoli, and hard boiled eggs. I want to use it to make gluten free chicken and dumplings soon. Will it just sit in our kitchen and not get used? Nope! We'll used it a lot. The only difficulty I had was getting pictures for my readers - you. The broccoli kept steaming up my lens. I just waited a bit, and got a photo.

Do you use a steamer in your kitchen? What do you use it for?

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WW: Indie Birthday Party {Linky}

My son Mica loves Indiana Jones. For his 9th birthday party along with the other birthdays close to his, I made an Indie poster. Mica is Indie, my sister Terra is Willie Scott, and my husband Travis is Short Round.

Mica got all in character. He was dressed to look just like Indiana Jones at 7 AM, when the party didn't start until 12 PM. It took a few test shots (his words) to make sure his hat was just right.

Mica was a little irritated that his Dad wouldn't dress up like Short Round, and his Aunt wouldn't dress up like Willie Scott.

He put the movie in just to have the intro play in a loop. You could say I was sick of hearing that after 30 minutes. It did make me smile though.

As soon as my parent's got there Mica posed at the door. My Dad opened up his trap and said, "Who are you a cowboy." He just about crushed Indie's little heart.

The kids were of course playing Indiana Jones in the backyard. They were pretending Natzi's were after them.

My Aunt Becky got him an Indiana Jones book, and activity book. She was excited that she found them for a $1 each. Then she put money in the pages. Mica said, "I really am rich now." They were dollar bills. He got a few Lego sets, and some books he wanted.

Here's part of the family:

I couldn't even fit them all in the shot. My small house + 19 people = fun and chaos. It's a good thing it was warm outside. The kids ate outside, and played on the Slip n Slide.

Usually I decorate an elaborate cake with the kid's theme on it. Not this year. Mica wanted Cheese Cake. Hey less work for me. :)

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Please enter this low entry giveaway a DVD giveaway for Nebraska Land and Sky.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Made in Nature Review

Awhile ago I won a box of healthy snacks from Made in Nature on Facebook!

Sometimes when I win something I'm excited about, I ask if the company would like for me to review their products on my blog?

They wanted me to feature their products.

Last week I got the box of snacks on my doorstep.

I'm the dried fruit lover in our house. It's not something I get often. I think Organic Apple Cinnamon Fusion is really good!

The box comes with individual serving sizes. I like when snacks are broken up this way because I don't eat more than I should. When a full box, or bag is sitting there with a snack in it, I eat more than I should. It isn't until I'm done snacking that I think about how many calories I just ate.

One thing I've been really good about at work is eating nothing from the vending machine. Carbs that people bring in as treats are a no no to. Organic Apple Cinnamon Fusion is a great snack that I can have on days when I'm at work. It seems like 3:30 rolls around, and I'm just ready for something to snack on.

About Organic Apple Cinnamon Fusion: 

Made in Nature also sent me two kinds of Purely Elizabeth Granola.

I've been serving a small ramekin with Purely Elizabeth for each of us at breakfast.

The first time I served it Daddy rolled his eyes. All three boys were complaining that I had granola at their spots.

The next thing I heard was, "WOW this is really good!" from all 3 of them. It is really good. 

I got Cranberry Pecan and Purely Elizabeth's Original granola.

About Purely Elizabeth Granola:

It's great alone, or on top of yogurt, or ice cream. I've only had it alone, and on top of rice milk ice cream.
  • Quinoa is an ancient grain that is in the ingredients. It's a grain loaded with protein
  • Amaranth is high in b vitamins
  • Chia Seeds have omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber
  • Raw Virgin Coconut Oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that get used as energy rather than stored as fat. Plus it's anti-viral and has anti-microbial properties
  • Gluten Free Certified
  • Vegan Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Free of Refined Sugar
  • Soy Free
  • Organic Ingredients When Possible - Made with Over 70% Organic Ingredients - Certified Orgaic Through Organic Certifiers
  • Good for you Fats
  • Sweetened with Organic Coconut Sugar, a Low-Glycemic, Nutrient Rich Sweetener
  • No Artificial Colors or Flavors
  • Hand Baked with Artisan Love
  • 12 oz is $7.99/bag, and one case: Six 12 ounce bags is $40.00

Check out Made in Nature:
 They have healthy recipes posted on their blog. You have to check it out.

Thank you Made in Nature for the products!

Disclaimer: The opinions on the post are my personal take on the product. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review. I did get products to help with this review. 

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The opinions on this blog are my personal take on products and topics relating to motherhood. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.

I am not compensated to provide opinions on a variety of topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. If I claim to show knowledge of certain topic or product I will only endorse products or services that I feel, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

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