Gun Control

Wait….WAIT!!!! WAIT!!! Before any NRA member goes off on me, read the words I wrote: Gun C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Not B-A-N. Which is usually what 2nd amendment lovers see when they see “control”.

It’s 1:27 am currently and I cannot sleep. I’ve rotated between sleeping in my 3 year old’s bed and going into my almost 2 year old’s room and taking him out of his crib and rocking him and then back to my bed and back into the boys room. Forty parents are not able to do that tonight. Forty. Twenty babies lives were taken today and it has shaken me to the core. The Clackamas Mall shooting happened just mere miles from my house but this tragic event that took place 3000 miles away has hit me harder.

There are a couple of points I want to hit that are just racing around in my head, so hopefully I can actually go to sleep tonight.

1.) If this is not the time to talk about gun control. I’m not sure when a *good* time is??? Since Columbine, there have been 31 mass shootings and I know some were left off the list. So let’s talk about it. Please.

2.) Banning guns is not the answer. If you outlaw them, then only outlaws will have them. Meth, cocaine, crack and heroine are illegal, right? And how many addicts do we have in the country??? Hell, you’d think it was legal! Make guns illegal, criminals can always find them and then regular ol’ citizens have no self defense. Banning is not the answer.

3.) Control: check, manage, inspect. This is what needs to happen. I looked up on the interwebz today what I would need to go and get a concealed weapons license in the state of Washington. Pretty much all I needed was a clean record, be 21 and have $52. That’s it? Really? To buy a WEAPON. Let’s talk about cars because those can also be seen as a weapon, but obviously are not marketed as one, whereas guns only marketplace is as a weapon, I mean it’d be awesome if I could also shave my legs with it or set it as an alarm clock but guns really have no other purpose. Cars are firstly a mode of transportation BUT with the wrong person behind the wheel it MAY be used as a weapon. Could you imagine if at age 16 you just….got your license? Because that’s about how it would be if I got a gun license with no instruction. Holy hell, I could not imagine! Why is that to get your drivers license you need to be educated, pass a test and then hold liability insurance? But for something that is solely a weapon you can just buy? The equivalent to me getting a gun license is -NO JOKE- giving my 3 year old their drivers license. It’s not even an exaggeration. THAT IS SCARY, PEOPLE!!!!

4.) My solution: psychiatric testing. This would be GREAT for two reasons. One being the obvious- you keep guns out of the hands of people that are most likely to be not mentally stable enough to own a gun. Two being the less obvious of if these people fail tests- they now need to seek treatment. This is the REAL issue here. The mental state of America. Let me tie a little motherhood into this post. If 18 months ago, I was sold a gun with PPD, Lord help us all. But I would have been easily diagnosed, denied a gun and sent to treatment. I just finished (about 2 hours ago) the documentary on death row, do you know that they go under a psychiatric test before they are “cleared” for the death chamber? If they fail, this somehow makes them unfit for death??? I don’t get it. But we don’t psychiatric test people before we give them a weapon that -if used inappropriately- would land them on death row….AND THEN we’d get them that psychiatric test. What?!?! How much sense does that make?! NONE! I also have a history of sleep walking and cleaning out the fridge and waking up in the morning and not remembering a damn thing. That right there makes me NOT FIT to own a gun! Denied and send me to treatment. If America wants anything to get any better, we need to take a good look at this country’s mental state for not only gun control but dozens (maybe even hundreds) of other reasons.

5.) “If we control guns, what about knives, bricks and baseball bats” “Today in China, a man stabbed 20 people with a knife”…..AND THEY ALL LIVED!!!! Did you forget that part of the headline????? Isn’t that the most important part of the headline? Let’s compare apples to apples please. Now let’s pretend you are stupid for a minute while I explain something to you. Picture the events in Connecticut today. Now picture what the scene would have looked like if it had been a knife in his hand. We would have had *maybe* one fatality. Maybe. Someone would have taken him down because the only way to kill someone with any of these other objects is from six inches away. In order to kill someone with a knife, bat or brick, they need to be within arms reach. And how many people do you think one could kill with a baseball back in 7 seconds? One…maybe. Let’s change that to a semi-automatic gun, it boils down to how fast they can pull the trigger and how good their aim is. And forget the option of simply outrunning the attacker, you cannot out run a gun. There are just so many reasons why guns stand about against the rest of these potential weapons (see…potential is also another key word….knives are for cooking…bats are for baseball….bricks are for building….guns are for curling my hair but like the others, they can also be used as a weapon when taken out of context….wait….what?) Does anyone else see how foolish those statements are?

If you made it all the way to the end of my rant, congrats. I’m always open to others opinion because I feel that is how you can learn best, so after reading everyone and their brother’s opinions on facebook today, I decided to form my own after much thought, consideration and reading of others opinions. Surely guns are going to be stolen still and used as murder weapons but I guarantee this country would be a lot safer with guns in the hands of mentally stable people AND getting more American’s the mental help they need because that is ultimately the issue here.

I feel it’s hard for people to put themselves in the shoes of the parents that will be planning their baby’s funeral tomorrow. Try, for two seconds, to put yourself in their shoes. You packed your kids lunch (complete with juice box and PB&J) , put their Curious George book in their backpack and kissed them on top of their head because they still only come up to your shoulder and sent them off to school…..and they never came home. Ever again. I’m serious. Think about it. What happened today (and all the other days there have been mass shootings), what happened is not okay. It’s MORE not okay that American’s second amendment rights being more controlled. Wouldn’t you want that safety for your own child? Why wouldn’t you want it safer for other people’s children too? This becomes a whole ‘nother ball game when innocent children are involved. And unless your suggestion is for LL Bean to start incorporating gun holsters on all model’s of their kid backpacks, we need another solution to keep our kids safe at school. Before I even knew that this shooting had occurred, I was at the museum with my boys and I broke out in a cold sweat and thought, “someone could come in here and shoot this place up” to only get back to our car and find a text from my husband that 26 people had been killed at an elementary school earlier this morning.

Thoughts and prayers to the children, adults and families whose lives were forever altered in this horrendous act. No parent should EVER have to bury their child, ever. My heart will be heavy for a long, long time for these families.

 

 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
~ Mister Rogers

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 

Hmmm….what can I say about this book? Well, we picked it (I actually suggested it…not sure if I still stand behind my suggestion) for our bookclub because we wanted something easy, light and not depressing to read. The book is in a narrative form of letters from the weird main character (Charlie) to someone random that he knows but doesn’t want to give away his identity to this person because they might be able to figure out who he is. So the letter writing technique takes a few minutes to get used to.

To be honest, 99% of the book I was wondering if this whole story was going to have a point to it, or if it’s just going to be letters from a teenaged, high school wallflower. It does have a point to it but you’ll have to wait until the last two letters. It ended up being a depressing book once you read those last two letters though….so now I’ll have to apologize to my bookclub tonight, whoops!

It’s a very quick and easy read, took me about 3 nights to finish it and I’m a terrible reader. It’s only 175 pages so it’s a quick book to read if you are waiting for a book on hold at the library but I’m not sure if I’d recommend it as a “Yes! You HAVE to read this book!”.

 

Anyway, I’m already halfway through Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which I’m already thinking I would highly recommend.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Well I needed something to go with all that yogurt I just made, right?? And ’tis the season for making everything pumpkin, right? Well, I got my googling fingers going and came across Healthy Food for Living blog and the recipe I have linked. Granola is something is so cheap to make at home but wicked expensive to buy in the store (pulled out my Mainer there budday).

I followed the recipe word for word, so you can jump over to her blog to see the recipe. I used chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds (raw) for the nuts and raisins for the fruit.

I do, however, I have the nutritional info for you! Granola calories can sometimes make your heart stop when you see how dense they are but this one isn’t too bad!

Serving Size 1/2 cup, makes 12 servings:

Calories: 152

Fat: 6.3 g

Carbs: 24.7 g

Protein: 3.3 g

Homemade Yogurt Continued…

So I had some people ask me if what I made the day before was thick and creamy like Greek yogurt and my answer was no. In order to have thick Greek yogurt, you need to strain it. To do this you just take a mesh strainer and lay either cheese cloth, coffee filters or a paper towel in it and then dump your yogurt on top and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

I happened to have an actual yogurt strainer in my cupboard of appliances….along with an actual yogurt maker.

Just place the strainer in the container and then dump the yogurt in the strainer.

Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

This is what I had in the morning. Greek yogurt on the left and whey on the right. As you might be able to see, there is a little bit of yogurt in the whey, so maybe a coffee filter would be a little better with the strainer than just the strainer alone. I have no idea. I’ve never done this before.

There is the yogurt. I ran my finger through it to see how thick it is.

Here is a comparison between the strained yogurt (on top) and then regular yogurt straight out of the crock pot (on bottom)

Yumm!! Apparently, if you keep letting the yogurt strain you will get cream cheese. Will have to test this some time….

So here is the whey. So I looked online to see what to do with this other than put it in smoothies. One of the things I found was to use it in making bread instead of whatever liquid is in the recipe. So now I have whole wheat herbed pizza dough rising downstairs. As always, a recipe will follow πŸ™‚

 

Added:

If you are looking for the nutritional information of the liquid whey, well you have come to the right place since I looked to the end of the interwebz to find this info:

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 59

Fat: 0.2 g

Carbs: 12.6 g

Protein: 1.9 g

This is what is dripping out of your yogurt (or settling on top if you aren’t straining it on purpose).

 

Now you can use this to calculate nutritional info for stuff when you sub in liquid whey for other things.

Homemade Yogurt

I was always against plain yogurt. Gross. I tried everything to sweeten it from honey to sugar free Torani syrups to stevia drops. I never liked it. Then I started adding a teaspoon of homemade jam to it and then I actually started liking it. Now I’m at the point where I can just eat it plain and eat a lot of it. At Costco I think I pay about $5.99 for a quart of Fage Greek yogurt and I easily eat it within the week. My mom has always bugged me about making my own but it’s always scared me. I’ve randomly googled how to make it in a crockpot since I “overheard” on facebook that you could make it that way but I was still to scared. Once I realized that even if it was a flop, I only wasted about $2, I decided to take the plunge and I’m glad I did! I’ve made it twice now, the first time was a total failure but I figured out what my mistake was and the second time was a total success. I’ll share both things with you so hopefully you can get it right the first time!

So on clearance I found a half gallon of organic milk for $2.99 and 1 cup of organic plain yogurt for $0.49. This will make a half gallon of organic yogurt for $3.48 compared to $3.99 for a quart of organic (so x2 would be $7.98 for a half gallon for a savings of $4.50).

First, get out your crock pot and turn it on low and put the lid on so the stone can warm up. It takes about 30 minutes but it will also take about 30 minutes for the milk to be ready to put in it.

Next, pour however much milk you want to make into yogurt into a saucepan and warm it on medium (stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn) until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F. I just used a digital meat thermometer but word on the street is that you can get candy thermometers for less than $10.

While the milk is warming on the stove, take 1/4 cup of already made yogurt per every quart of milk you are making into yogurt and put it in a medium bowl. It’s best to let this warm up a bit so it doesn’t cool the milk down in the second to last step. So I’m making a half gallon so I used 1/2 cup of yogurt for the 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of milk. Tip: After this batch is done and you are putting it into containers, save however much yogurt you need for the next batch from the batch you just made.

Once the milk in the pan reaches 185 degrees F, turn the stove off, remove pot from burner, cover and place the pot in a few inches of cool water (I just fill my sink up a little). This is where I screwed up the first time. Let the milk cool from 185 degrees down to 115 degrees. First time I let it cool down to 90 because I wasn’t paying attention and the blog I was following said between 90-110 and it would take about 10 minutes. Well after about 5 minutes it cooled way down. The second time I only let it cool to 115 and my yogurt came out perfectly.
After yogurt has cooled to 115, take 1 cup of the warm milk and whisk it with the yogurt in the medium bowl. Take the rest of the milk and pour it into your crockpot. Immediately turn off and unplug your crock pot and remove the stone. Then add the milk and yogurt mixture to the rest of the milk in the crockpot. Whisk together briefly.

Now there are two options of what to do with your crockpot for the next 8-12 hours. I do this at night so it’s ready in the morning. Some just wrap the crockpot in a heavy towel or blanket to keep warm (did this the first time and it wasn’t very warm in the morning) or you can put your crockpot in a TURNED OFF oven with the oven light on. I chose to do that the second time.

Shut the door and leave the light on all night. It needs to be about 70 degrees in your house for this to really stay warm, if it’s colder than that (like our house now), leave it in the oven.

So the next morning this is what I woke up to:

And I ran a spoon through it so you could see how thick it is:

I then put the whole crockpot in the fridge to cool and to thicken more (which is thickened up a little bit more after cooling).

Then I stored in mason jars, since we all know I have about 10 million of these πŸ™‚

I’ll eat the two quarts within the week with pumpkin spice granola (recipe to come) and then the little pint is enough to start my next batch! Perfect! Saved $4.50 a week so that’s $18 a month and on top of that I now have organic yogurt!

Note added: If you want it real thick, like Greek yogurt, you need to strain it as it sits in the fridge. So take some cheesecloth, coffee filters or a paper towel and line a mesh strainer and dump the yogurt into the strainer and put something like a large bowl under it so the liquid (the whey) can drip down. You can either discard the whey or you can drink it or add it to smoothies since it’s good for your digestive system.

 

 

Continue HERE if you want to see how to make Greek yogurt now

Dot Letters

This little print out is from Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s “Letter of the Week” preschool curriculum that I got to do with Peter. You’re supposed to use bingo doppers with watercolors but I didn’t order any with my last big purchase. She said you could paint them in, which is what I was actually going to do until I remembered I bought a package of those color magnet chips and they work PERFECTLY.

 

 

Don’t worry, blue cam in the package but Pman is hoarding them all in his right hand and was refusing to use them. Don’t ask. Boys are weird. And surprise, surprise! He is using his left hand!

The first time we did it, I just let him put the dots on and then I had him put the dots on in order of how he would write it with a pen to become familiar with how to write the letter.

Paper Pumpkins

I’m beginning to think I bought all these art supplies for myself….I probably use just as much as the stuff as the kids do! Why not? It’s raining out, I had three episodes of Dr. Phil to catch up on and all three boys (yes, three. My friend’s two year old joins us 1-3 days a week) were passed out during nap time. I googled “paper pumpkin” and this project was the second image that came up. It’s from The Hostess with the Mostess.

You just need orange, green and brown construction paper (check), scissors (check) and paperclips (check) or stapler (check). It took about 5 minutes to make each of them but it would have been A LOT faster if I had a paper cutter…hmmm…I do have a 40% off coupon for Joanns that expires tomorrow…hmmm…okay, sorry. Anyway, I wanted to hang them but I figured putting two new holes in the wall today was enough so I propped them on top of this huge gold mirror we have in our living room. Maybe I will get one of those 3M hooks to dangle them all from.

 

Anyway, I haven’t done a craft in a long time! Fun and easy! I suggest using the paperclips (happened to have colored ones as well to match) because you’d be putting 3-4 staples at the top because you need to keep adding the stem and leaves.

The Midwife’s Confession

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain is one heck of a messed up book. It’s nothing like sci-fi crazy or anything, it just is really messed up. Pretty much the only thing I can tell you about the book is that the midwife’s name is Noelle. If I told you anything else, I’d either be ruining the book or telling you a lie. And let’s get something straight, she has WAY MORE than one confession!

The book was recommended by a group of friends that all liked the book, probably not for what happens but because it’s a page turner. This is not a feel good book but I’m pretty sure it’s fiction. The book is not about the deliveries or stuff that happens during deliveries, it really has nothing to do with that. The book could have been written, “The Librarian’s Confession” and still had the same storyline so if the “midwife” is keeping you from reading it, don’t let you. It has nothing to do with home birth’s or anything like that either.

I would only recommend this book to select friends or family. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that is paranoid, that’s for sure! It’s a dark storyline so if you are looking for a good pick-me-up book, this isn’t the one. I had it sitting on my book list for a long time but it kept coming up in conversation so I finally pushed it ahead of other books to read. It’s just over 400 pages and I read it in 4-5 nights, of which I don’t start reading until about 9 or 10 at night, so it kept me up pretty late because I couldn’t put it down!

Watercolor Leaf Painting

I ordered some watercolor paper leaves from Discount School Supply with my last order for the kids to color for fall. I bought purple, teal, red and yellow liquid watercolors but I’ve never used them before. The first time I mixed the colors with too much water so that when they painted, it was a really really pale color. So when I did a refill, I did about half water and half color and the colors turned out way more vibrant.

 

When I do watercolors again, I’m going to put a brush in each color so they put it back and pick up a new brush when they want a different color. The first thing Cheech did was mix all of the colors and then Pman copied him, so they quickly had brown paint. I also gave them droppers, which Pman used towards the end and loved using and then was kind of mad when I ran out of leaves. Next time, order two packs. I think there are 24 in a pack.

I mixed the teal and the yellow together to get more of a green. I even ended up giving them purple to use. The leaves turned out pretty but if you are looking for really fall-ish looking leaves, just give your kids red and yellow and it will end up mixed together to make orange. I might end up cutting more leaves out of coffee filters and doing this again….maybe.

The boys also loved wearing their paint smocks for the first time and they washed really well and were less stiff after another washing.

 

There trays were nice to give each kid their own space to work in and also so when the leaf got wet, it didn’t stick to the paper on the table. The trays needed to be wiped off in between each leaf though or else the left over paint would cover 80% of the new leaf you would put down. I just used one of those blue garage towels, it was the closest thing and it worked really well.

 

This weekend I would like to go to IKEA and get the wire hangers with clips so I can hang up their artwork (specifically these leaves right now) and then also hang up birthday and holiday cards when we get them in the mail. Our fridge simply isn’t big enough.

Apple Picking 2012

Saturday we went apple picking at Draper Girls Orchards in Mt. Hood Parkdale, OR.

Hood River is packed with pear and apple orchards and wine vineyards. Must be good soil, eh? This place is really neat and I like how they run business. We made this trip for two reasons, one being so our kids would learn where apples *really* came from…which is NOT the grocery store and two being I have 30 empty quart jars at home that need filling.

Parking is bit hard and be warned: it is really dusty. Parking is probably a bit more available when they lot isn’t filled up with hundreds of crates to ship out their pre-picked apples to stores.

So after you find a parking space, there is a check in desk where one person in your party signs in and then you write down the numbers on the buckets that they give you to pick with. You even leave your phone number on the sign in sheet because I bet they call your butt when a bucket you signed out doesn’t make it back to the desk.

Price for the apples is per bucket. Filled to the rim = $20. Filled just over the rim = $25. Overflowing buckets with you left carrying some in your hands = $30. Here is the other great part, once you sign in and grab your buckets, someone leads you out in the orchard. You better bring your listening ears because his person is going to tell you what all the rows of trees are. If you aren’t good at listening (or remembering) don’t fret, the first tree in each row has a ribbon with the apple name on it. You still waiting for the great part? Okay, here it is. The place is literally a free-for-all. Meaning, you load your buckets with whatever type of apple you want and they even have pears!! They all go in the same bucket! This is PRIME for applesauce or even if you just want a variety of apples. Now, one catch is Honeycrisp apples. I know, I had all my PNW’s thinking they could get Honeycrisp’s for dirt real cheap πŸ™‚ You need to keep a separate bucket for Honeycrisp apples. Prices were $30, $35 and $40 for the fill levels. If you pick and do a good enough job keeping the stems on, these apples will last 2-3 months in a refrigerator. I asked about the pears (because I’m saucing those too) and they are going to take 1-2 months to ripen, so if we move, my friends can come take all these pears!

I’m sorry to report that I have no photos of the actual apple picking because I simply cannot carry a camera, two buckets and keep track of my boys. From the photos I took, you’d think we took them pumpkin picking…whoops! That’s next Tuesday πŸ™‚

If you don’t even want to pick, they have bins upon bins of apples.

They also sell their own unpasteurized pear cider, apple cider and pear/apple cider. They also had gourds and pumpkins.

I totally recommend this place. I’m all about easy instruction and plentiful picking, so this is the place! Maybe this is how all apple orchards work, but I haven’t been to one since fall 2010 and in Maine they don’t have 10 million variety of apples like this place did. I can’t wait to see how my applesauce turns out!