Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vroom Vroom

One thing that many people ask me is "what do you kids play with in the hotel?". Well I have to admit its made me more creative! But you would be surprised how easy everyday items can be used to entertain a child. My go to item... painter's tape. This stuff is amazing for traveling. Here is one of the examples of how I use it... I make race tracks! I also took one of the thick paper bags with handles that is in the room and cut up to make a little parking garage, ramp and car wash. I used the handles of the bag for the sponges. I normally let London decorate the outer part with crayons/markers but he didn't want to today so we have a little more bland of a look.

Thanks to the help of the kleenex box for the ramp support and a couple cars/trains we bring with us you have a car table that entertains for hours!

Friday, October 28, 2011


If you haven't heard of it you need to! is hands down my best motivator and idea maker.  Pinterest is a site that basically lets you "pin" things on to "cork board". I have several boards ranging from kids activities, fashion, food, house ideas, travel, etc. You can make as many boards as you want. Next you add the "pin it" button onto your web-browser so when ever you see something you like or may want to do or even want to show someone you can just pin it to a board. You can search for anything you want and find other people's boards/ideas pinned on that topic. You can add friends and follow what they are pinning. Many people just re-pin other peoples finds. I have a ton of other mommy friends linked so I get many wonderful and creative ideas from what they are pinning. Currently the only thing I do not like about pinterest is the fact you can't make a board private. I have a Gift board for ideas of things I would like to get friends/family and I don't want them seeing it. Hopefully that will get resolved soon.
Yes its just like making a bookmark on your computer, but this one I can log into anywhere in the world, plus its WAY more organized than my bookmark list is. 

Here is my pinterest page-

From here on out on my blog if I got the idea from a blogger/pinterest/etc I will make sure to link where/whom I got the idea from. But some I just come up with on my own, and those will have no link.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Great Cloth Diaper Change-Guinness book of World Records!

This one was in the making. On April 23rd, 2011 9AM PST London and I set a world record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time! Well us and 5,025 other people that is. The event was five countries and 127 locations around the world all trying to bring awareness of reusable cloth diapers. We went to the host site of All Things Diapers in Blaine, MN which is a great store and has everything a new mom needs. 2011 was just the first try though...looks like they are going to try to break it again in 2012. Good thing I just had a new baby so I will have one in diapers still. Want to join in? Check out Great Cloth Diaper Change FB Page here and their website here.
Besides talking about fluffy butt with a bunch of people I got one of my bucket list items crossed off, To be in the Guinness Book of World Records! And just a couple weeks ago I got my official certificate...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Toys for the imagination: Painter's tape

I'm always on the lookout for great toys or games that travel well, have multiple ways of playing/use of them and most importantly sparks my child's imagination and creativity. One of our must "toys" is currently good old fashion blue painter's tape. I love the Scotch Blue Painter's Tape, unfortunately they never seem to have coupons and since I'm not a regular to Home Depot or Lowes I never can find a good sale on it. If you happen to know of any please share with me so I can stock up.  I signed up for their facebook special of a free sample but haven't received it and its not looking good at this point.

What I love about this tape is that it can be put on about any surface and not leave marks/residue. And as a bonus I use this stuff to help baby proof our locations....maybe someday when I live somewhere for more than a few weeks/months I can try the stuff out with its "real" uses like painting!

Below is a list of games I have thought of that children can play using painter's tape, some are for older children than my son, but I wanted to have a running list for when we do get there. Right now his favorite "game" with this tape is to stick it to something/anything and then pull it off....he can do this forever. Painter's tape is a must when flying because of its endless uses and portability not to mention its quiet! Must have in the air plane carry-on if you ask me. Many of the games can be made and torn down quickly so for layovers it can get a group of kids together to burn off some energy. We have had a few successful spontaneous playgroups thanks to it!

Painter's tape game/ideas:
-Homemade stickers. I just cut off pieces and draw on the tape with a marker.
-Match game. Since my son loves to match things and play with stickers I combined these two activities and used some tape to make pairs of things (stars, flowers, etc) and put them on the wall or table top. Then I rip off one and have him find the other.
-Tic Tac Toe (I use rolled up tape balls for O's and small torn pieces for X's). How to play.
-Hopscotch. How to play.
-Place the tape in side by side lines on the carpet to use as a road for their cars/trucks or even large enough for a "lap" circle they can run in.
-Place just a single strip of tap with "center line" marks on it and its the perfect size for Hotwheel cars.
-Use the tape to make big squares on the floor. Challenge your child to jump, hop, crawl into the squares. Make small squares and you can teach the child to toss rice bags/beanbags into them.
-Use the tape to make wall sayings, build a scene on the wall with tape (house), ABC's or 123's.
-Bottle cap Shuffleboard. (will need bottle caps also). How to play.

    Some other Blogs with additional ideas for painters tape:

    Did I miss some ideas? If so please share!!!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Italian Sausage vodka sauce pasta (Ben R's Recipe)

    While in New Orleans last year Troy's trainee cooked us a great dinner! So I got the recipe and recreated it....well close to it that is. You can't find pre-made vodka sauce that I made from scratch. We gave it a 4/5 stars.... Pretty good and I think would be perfect if I did the spicy Italian Sausage and added pepper flakes.

    Ben R's Italian Sausage Pasta:
    "1 box of rigatoni  pasta, 1 lb of hot italian sausage, 1 jar of Vodka Sauce (paul newman, barilla, classico), frozen peas - cut sausage into small pieces, boil the pasta, add ingredients together. If you want to get fancy, after you add the sausage into the sauce, keep the pan hot, add a half a cup of some red wine to the pan, then add that to the sauce. boom."
    Here is the vodka sauce recipe I made fro
    • 1 cup vodka
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (didn't have these but will add next time!)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3/4 pound prosciutto, chopped (I used the Italian sausage instead)
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced (used 3 because you really can't have to much garlic!)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 (28 ounce) can roma tomatoes, with juice
    • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • 1 cup heavy cream


    1. In a small bowl, combine vodka and red pepper flakes. Set aside for 1 hour.
    2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute prosciutto, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper until prosciutto is evenly brown. Pour in vodka mixture, and simmer 10 minutes. Crush tomatoes, and stir in with 2 cans of tomato sauce, and 1 (8 ounce) can water. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and cook 2 minutes. 

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Elimination Communication

    "As featured on Good Morning America..... London and Angela!"
    That right people London and I got our "15 min" of youtube fame today. (ok more like 20 seconds but we will take it). The video clip that I posted on youtube when London was 5 weeks old was used as an example on Good Morning America for a segment they did on Pressures to Potty. Now as much as I love that they didn't make Elimination Communication look bad, I really didn't care for the fact that they made it sound like potty training. They didn't ask me but I don't feel any pressure at all to have him potty trained, I didn't start using elimination communication to get him potty trained. I did use cloth diapers in hopes he would get there sooner though. :)

    Elimination Communication, EC, isn't about potty training, its not about catching pee/poop, its a natural, non-coercive, its goal is not to be potty trained....its goal is to successfully have communication between baby and parent about baby's elimination needs.  Noticing your child is trying to tell you something they want and you are helping fulfill that need. Its the same as noticing a kid making a licking their lips or rooting as communicating with you they are hungry. Yawning or rubbing their  eyes to communicate to you they are sleeping. EC is just noticing your kid is grunting/doing the wiggle circular butt move/curling their legs a certain way as telling you their need to eliminate. Then just like you give them food, putting them down for nap, you take them to the potty....they don't HAVE to drink/sleep or go potty....but often times they do.These are things a child is born to communicate with their caregivers from day one. But not one that western cultures teach caregivers to look for. I myself  found it strange at first when I was told about it while on my travels in Asia. I thought people were trying to make their kids grow up to fast and expecting way to much from them or simply it was impossible for a newborn to do, or you had to hover over you child all day/night. However once I saw it in practice and realized how that a newborn was clearly "telling" their mom they needed to go.... well once you know the cues its hard to ignore. I don't think we give newborns enough credit.

    Now I consider myself to have an EC graduate. What this means is that London successfully communicates with me when he needs to eliminate. He uses the "toilet" sign-language motion to tell me. He is working on saying potty/pee/poop as well.  This does not mean he is potty trained. A potty training graduate can remove their pants/underwear, get themselves on their potty, use the potty, wipe themselves and then get their bottoms back up. London isn't close to doing this yet. Right now he tells me he has to go and I do the rest. I'm in no rush to get him potty trained either. We just show him what we do and he tries to copy that. He can get lose underwear off by himself, he can get on his little potty chair almost correctly, he tries to wipe but usually falls when he does since he wipes from the front. He can't get his pants up  or on at all. He physically can't do some of that right now, its getting closer but we aren't there yet. 

    Here is a great website for more information if you interested- Diaper Free Baby.
    And we only did EC part-time. Never diaper free! London was in cloth diapers till he became a graduate!

    Here is the full video that got GMA attention!-

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011


    All ready to go!
     Per wiki- "Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System(GPS) to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (tupperware or similar) can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek," or I like to call it "adult treasure hunting".
    Here is a little video explaining it:

    The Cache
    It was briefly mentioned in my Day In The Life Of post. But I wanted to talk about it a touch more since its one of my new things in feb! The official Geocaching website is where I got started. I entered in my local info and found 9 caches in the area. I wanted an easy one for my first try.
    This one was in a park that I have been to before and really liked. My coordinates were S 19° 51.230 W 043° 59.769. I plugged this info into my GPS and off we went! I do need to add here that I have never used the walking GPS guide before. When we got to the park I was doing the guiding and I got us lost. Troy then took over and realized I never hit the "start" button so thats why it wasn't telling us where to go but only showing me a distant map. Oh well at least we figured it out! So with Troy's guidence we came to the area. I saw the box first (or troy let me think I did!). 
     Unfortunately this cache is not maintained well and I'm pretty sure people are stealing the trinkets. :( I found a very weathered/tattered log book and that was it. No pen, no "gift", the log book wasn't even in a weather proof container. There was a piece of trash..... a bottle lid-which I took because hey I wanted SOMETHING! LOL The log book was just laying in a water valve box.

    Me signing the log book
    It was so very disappointing that was all to be found. I logged my info in to the book and we left a pen and a "gift" for the next person. I hope no one steals it. And I'm not sharing what it was.....if you want to know come and find it!
    As much of a disappointment this cache was it was really fun looking for it and i'm not letting one bad one put a bad taste in my mouth. The rest in this area seem difficult to find (location hard to get to with a child). We will have to wait till we move/travel to do it again, but we will keep this up!
    View of the park from the cache. (not the pretty part)

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Day in the life of...

    Did a little project for some online friends and wanted to share with you all. Two days here actually. A weekend day with daddy home and a normal everyday with just london and I.


    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Fried chicken....not like grandma's.

    So I tried to make Grandma B's fried chicken..... FAIL! I burned my hands so bad from oil while flipping the chicken I'm not cooking till they heal. No pictures because it was that bad and my hands hurt to bad to take photos. :(
    I tried to do it from memory, maybe that was the problem. Here is what I did.... (PLEASE help me out on what I did wrong).
    Bought whole chicken with skin cut up (I need to learn how to do this myself I think!). Rolled chicken pieces in a salt/pepper/flour combo till coated. Heated up frying pan with 1/2 inch thick canola oil. Places chicken in pan. Waited about 10 min till skin was brown then flipped..... pour oil on my hands in the process! Cooked another 10 min then put chicken on papertowels to dry off a touch. They LOOKED fine but when I cut into it they were still pink and undercooked. But I would have been burning them if I let them cook longer. So the skin tasted great but the chicken was bad. My ideas of why it may not have been as good--
    Maybe the pan was to hot?
    How long do you let it cook for?
    Next time vegetable oil not canola oil?
    Tongs not spatula to flip with!
    I would LOVE to learn to make Grandma B's gravy also but I can't remember how she did it and i'm sure in true grandma form she has no idea on measurements. UGH! Alice if you read this---HELP!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Valentine's Day.

    I <3 you!

    A cute simple way to spruce up a meal with love....
    Cut strawberry hearts! I put them on london's oatmeal today.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    What is a VPN and how to get it

    What is a VPN?
    Per Wikipedia a VPN is-
    "A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure such as the Internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network. It aims to avoid an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can be used by only one organization.
    It encapsulates data transfers using a secure cryptographic method between two or more networked devices which are not on the same private network so as to keep the transferred data private from other devices on one or more intervening local or wide area networks. There are many different classifications, implementations, and uses for VPNs."

    In other words-----a VPN make the internet think your computer is really located in the "host" my case I have it located in the USA.

    Why do you need a VPN?
    Well if you travel/live overseas you have noticed when you get online that many of the USA sites block other countries from viewing. Or in China and some other countries who monitor and block what their citizen's can view it gets you around that also. So when I log into my VPN it allows me to view ABC/Fox/Hulu/etc so I can watch all my American tv without having download it. It also lets me use my Pandora and my Swagbucks! (more to come on those sites later). Plus if you want to hide yourself while looking at other's blogs it will tag you in the VPN's city not the one your in.... now I sound all stalker like don't I? :D

    What do you use?
    I have been using for my VPN for many months now. I simply sent them an email (from the one you want linked-and I have never gotten spam from them once) to: promotions at vpnod dot com and in the subject line entered VPNod. I got my password info in a matter of minutes. To learn how to set it up follow these very simple directions that even come with pictures (yes its dummy proof!)
    And there are some other operating systems it also works for but I'm not linking them all- just go here-

    What don't you like about it?
    The only thing so far that I don't like about it is that sometimes it take about 2-3 sign in attempts to get on to the VPN. But thats well worth it to watch Grey's Anatomy and get my swagbucks! :)

    Is it legal?
    The use of VPN is legal in all countries EXCEPT: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.....but its not like I was planning on visiting those warm/fuzzy feeling locations any time soon.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Troy's Favorite meal

    This is the recipe that troy begs me to make. I think its fine but not on my favorite list. Either way I found the ingredients (or at least what I think they are) at the store so he is getting it for dinner tonight. What is this cooking masterpiece you ask?

    Tator Tot Hotdish (or casserole to you non-SD people).
    1 lb browned hamburger
    1 can of cream of mushroom soup
    1 can of corn
    Mix the above and put on the bottom of a 6x6 casserole dish.
    Top with frozen tator tots. (or here I found what translate into "Balls of mashed potato pre-fried frozen")
    Bake at 350 degree for 45 minutes.

    Yep thats it! Good thing his favorite is so easy....makes it simple to spoil him!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Old Fashion Pancakes

    Perfect Pancakes
     I need to start this by stating I have never once tried making pancakes....even from the box!

    I was in the kitchen and followed this recipe to a tee:

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon white sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups milk
    • 1 egg
    • WAY to thick batter.
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
    2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

     1st and 2nd tries---way gooey in middle.

    Then I got my frying pan ready and started making them.....well I oiled the pan with canola oil (mistake!). So my first pancake was black, left the oil off for the following. Then my next pancake got burnt on the outsides but was still gooey in the I thought my temp was to high. I decreased the temp and again...burnt outside gooey inside. Hmmmmm, I knew I was suppose to wait for bubbles to form and edges to turn light brown then flip, I studied up online before trying these! Then troy walked into the kitchen (and pretty much saved the pancakes). Turns out my batter was VERY thick and that was the issue. So I poured some milk in until Troy ok'd it for being the proper constancy. Then Troy demonstrated how to cook one for me. Ahhhhh, NOW I get the bubbles thing. Apparently overly thick batter doesn't bubble. If you haven't ever tried this before you flip the pancake when the top looks like the back of my thighs
    Time to flipping!
    (slightly bumpy and crater like, so imagine some cottage cheese :D ).
    Once I figured it out I was a pancake making fool and they turned out
    great......golden brown cooked through! Once done eating and after a long talk with Troy, and thanks to facebook friends, I realized that *I* eat mine weird. I like peanut butter and maple syrup on my pancakes, Troy is a butter and syrup guy......turns out so is London. But Troy did agree that this was the best recipe and best tasting pancakes he had ever at least I got that! :) 

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Drinking Games: Three Man (dice game)

    And next on "educating' the Polish with our American drinking games......Three man!
    You need two dice.

    Game rules:
    + Take turns rolling once (normally clockwise) to determine who will be three man fist. The last person to roll a 3 or a total of three is it. You may need to go around more than once if no one gets it.

    + After the initial three man has been chosen, any time a player rolls a three on either die, the three man must take a drink.

    + If the player rolls two 3's, the three man takes two drinks.

    + If a total of 5 is rolled the player behind them must drink.

    + If a total of 7 is rolled the player in front of them must drink.

    + If doubles are rolled than there is a "roll off" (excluding 3's).  The person who rolled has to choose two other players and hand them each one of the dice. Then those players must both roll their dice at the same time. The player with the lower number must "drink the difference". So if one players rolls a 1 and the other player rolls a 3. Than the player who rolled the 1 must drink 2 drinks (3-1=2).
         ** HOWEVER if both players roll the same number than the original roller gets both dice back and has to drink the TOTAL in what they roll.  So if they get the dice back and roll a 3 plus a 5 they get 8 drinks (3+5=8).

     + If the player rolls any of these options, the player is granted another turn. Other rolls expire the turn and pass the dice to the next player.

    + If the player rolls one or both the dice off the table than they are automatic new three man and lose their turn.

    + If three man rolls double 3's they can give away three man to whomever they would like.

    No real way to end or win the game...its mainly just played till no one can/wants to play more. 

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    How to revive Play-Doh

    I went out to buy some new Play-Doh and you would be shocked on how much they want ($10 for 2 jars). So instead I decided to try to revive our Play-Doh. We get tons of Play-Doh time at our house so we really can't go without! :)  I looked up ways to just make some but a couple of the ingredients are one's I have access that post will have to come another day. Instead I got my hands wet and just started kneading the doh (you could also just put a couple drops of water on the doh and knead). I had to do this about 3-4 times for it to soften back up into its former glory. However when you do this be warned the color does bleed out some, it doesn't lose its color, but your hands gain some (didn't stain luckily it just washed off). But I bought us some more Play-Doh time!
    I am also told that if you wrap it in a wet paper towel then put it back in its container for the night it works. Just make sure that its only for one night because Play-Doh will grow on you....not in the good way ;) Also if you know your child will not play with it for a long time put a drop or two of water in the container before tightly sealing it and storing it.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Drinking Games (cards): President and Asshole (also known as P&A or just asshole)

    So I'm teaching the American drinking games to our co-workers who are originally from Poland. And having some fun doing so! We taught them how to play Spades and Yahtzee last week, and everyone (well not the pregnant girl of course) just socially drank. Now its time for the drunk games. So tonights game was P&A. I'm going to go over how *I* used to play it....or at least how I remember to! LOL

    General Rules:
    - 2 is low....Ace is high. No one cares what suite it is.

    - Deal out the entire deck of cards to the players....if more than 6 players 2 decks is needed. (don't play with more than 13 confusing LOL)

    - 10 card is the "clear" card. This single card can be played on anything to wipe out the pile. Playing a clear card does not forfeit a player's turn, as he/she is responsible for starting the next pile.

    - You must play an equal or higher card than what has been laid. So if there is a single 5 played you need a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10*,  J, Q, K, A to beat it. OR equal or great number of cards.

    - If there is a pair you must play at least a pair. You may play a higher pair,  a 3-of-a-kind or 4-of-a-kind if you wish but you may NOT through a single card. (With the exception of a 10 which is the clear card).

    - If a player passes because they can't not play, he or she must drink. If the same hand gets back to the person who layed down that hand it is cleared and they get to start again.

     - If the player matches the previous players laid down cards the next player is skipped and must drink.  For instance, if a 3 is played on top of another 3, the next player is skipped and must drink. If a three is then played by the player after the skipped player, the player after him/her is skipped and drinks. However if a 3 is played and the next person lays double 3's this does NOT skip, you must match the exact hand laid.

    -Another 'clear' can occur when a player is able to complete a four of a kind on the board by 'jumping in' out of turn. For example, if 2 Jacks have just been laid down, and you have the other 2 Jacks, then you can just 'jump in', regardless of your position, and lay down your 2 Jacks to complete a running 4 of a kind. The result would be the social, where everyone drinks, AND the cards are actually cleared to the player who 'jumped in'. So they get to start it off again (if they have any cards left of course). This is why it's important to pay attention, because this is a great way to lose a ton of cards fast. This type of social only applies if you're able to compete the 4 card set in time... if the next player laid down a card, it's already too late.

    - Last Card - when a player has only one card remaining in his hand, he must alert the table by declaring "Last Card". If a player fails to declare last card, he is the automatic Asshole for the next round.

    - First person out has highest rank in next game, and it goes in order by going out. So second player out is vice-president, etc, etc. (for the following games its best to sit in order of rank).

    Roles for the players:

    President- Can make any player drink at any time, no-one may make the President drink. The President starts each round.

    Vice President- Can make any player drink at any time (except Pres), the only the Pres or self can make the VP drink. The VP goes second in each round.

    Normal People- Can make the players who finished AFTER them in the previous round drink.  This is why sitting in rank is best.

    Asshole- Deal the cards, starting with THEMSELF and proceeding in order of player hierarchy from low to high until all cards are dealt. This ensures that the President begins with the fewest number of cards if the hands are uneven. While dealing, the Asshole may order anyone to drink (unlike during play, where they can not make anyone drink). Similarly, no one may make the Asshole drink while he/she is dealing. Only the Asshole may clear the cards. If anyone else attempts to clear the cards, he can be made to "drink for Asshole tendencies"....including president. They are beer-bitch for the game, so if anyone needs a drink refill asshole gets it for them.

    Special rules:
     If the President remains President for three consecutive rounds can create a new rule. The new rule can be any of the above rules not in use already, or any other bonus rule, like the following...

    + Before the hand starts, President gives the asshole his lowest card, and asshole gives the President his highest card (10 clear card trumps ace). If either is caught not giving his absolute lowest or highest card (this means breaking up a pair of threes if you are the President) they are automatic asshole for the next hand. If eight or more are playing, President and asshole exchange their *two* highest and low- est cards, and VP and vice-asshole exchange their *one* highest and lowest card.

    + You can't say the words "drink/drank/drunk" or you have to drink.

    + Changing the 10 from a "clear" card to a "wild card".

    + Presidents can call a 'board meeting' (like a waterfall). Everyone starts drinking and is not allowed to stop drinking until the person above them in rank stops drinking (ie - the VP cannot stop until the President stops, the Treasurer can't stop until the VP stops, etc). Only the President can call a board meeting.

    + Little green man rule: You pretend to have a little green man sitting on the rim of your cup. You must remove the little man from your cup before you drink. And replace him to the rim of your cup after you drink.

    I will add more suggestions on other games....feel free to borrow special rules from/for any game that has it as an option.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Ok Ok I give already....

    I have been trying to figure out how to use my new(ish) camera now for a bit. I don't really like to read to learn things, so I have been using youtube and just messing with it. But thats starting to get time consuming so I gave up and thanks to OnlineFreePDF I was able to find my operating instructions for my camera and I'm going to read it. Mark this down in history people! I, Angela, am READING the instructions!

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Getting Wordpress on a Mac for Newbies.

    1. Download Wordpress and unzip it.

    2. Download MAMP.  Don't need MAMP pro from what I can tell so far...but you do have the option to upgrade later. Leave the Apache port at 8888 and the MySQL at 8889 (some instructions will tell you to change them...DON'T listen!).
    3. Once you have your MAMP installed on your computer (placed in the app section). Open your Wordpress folder and copy and drag everything in it to the folder in your MAMP folder called htdocs and drop in there.
    4. Next you will rename a file in that folder (so your still in the htdocs folder where all your wp stuff should be at). Rename file wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php  Pretty simple step there!

    5. Now open your wp-config.php file. Scroll down a little and you will find the below wording...the four things in BOLD and Red are the things you need to it will say something else there but you need to replace it EXACTLY like it is here:

    // ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
    /** The name of the database for WordPress */
    define('DB_NAME', 'WordPress');

    /** MySQL database username */
    define('DB_USER', 'root');

    /** MySQL database password */
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'root');

    /** MySQL hostname */
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

    /** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
    define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

    /** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
    define('DB_COLLATE', '');

    6. Then follow this link's section of "using phpMyAdmin", ONLY follow this section of the page! To open the page of the MAMP they are refering to you need to open your MAMP app and click on the "open start page" on the front of the pop up.  This goes over how to set up your MAMP database. Use "wordpress" for your phpMyAdmin "create new database name". (this HAS to match your DB_NAME that is in your wp-config.php file!)

    7. Finally click on THIS link:  http://localhost:8888/  (this is your local host setting you entered above and since you listened to me and didn't change you MAMP port it is still 8888) and it should take you the the enter user name/email/sign up for wordpress!

    Now how to use Wordpress itself.....not even close to understanding that yet. Just this step took me days sine I couldn't find one location for the entire step by step process in terms a newbie could understand. But I feel very accomplished just figuring this out!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    I have a name.

    Well I have a domain name that is! After asking around it seemed like everyone likes GoDaddy. Then I also noticed that my uPromise account has Godaddy on it for 8% towards college...that was a no-brainer for me.
    So I went with that and got myself my first domain name. A domain name is the So once I figure out hosting/template stuff and move everything over I will share, but not till then. I have a feeling this will be a bit though so don't hold your breath. And this blog will be moved into the new website, so don't worry you will not lose this oh so valuable info! Also if your annoyed with how many blogs I have...don't worry they are all going to be one nice pretty package when I'm all done.

    How to Cook Black Beans (or Turtle Beans)

    Raw bean, Soaked bean, Cooked bean.
     Here are the step by steps to cooking black beans (also known as Turtle beans):
     First step is to soak your beans over night. Rinse off your beans in cold water, picking out anything that isn't a black bean) and put in a medium size container. Your going to add 3 times the water as you do beans. So I added one cup of black beans to 3 cups of cold water...keep in fridge overnight (6-8hrs minimum, I couldn't find a maximum).
    In the morning take all the beans that floated to the top and discard them, rinse the rest of the beans well.
    Get a pot and bring the beans to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Check periodically and make sure you always have 1/4 inch of water above your beans. Since you did the overnight soak the cooking will be much "faster"....and by that I mean it took me only 1.5 hrs to get them soft. I threw in some garlic for extra flavor because I just love garlic on everything.

    Some tips I read online but didn't try:
    Don't add salt till they are cooked.
    There are some spices that help decrease gas issues with the beans.
    Also the fresher the beans the faster they cook, but I couldn't find a "born on" date with mine :)

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Breakfast for dinner

    My normal fried potatoes involved me getting a 1/4 a stick of butter and melting it down with a whole small-medium onion.....sauteed, then add a can of sliced potatoes. When all warmed and brown I dump a ton of garlic salt and Lawry's on it. Here I have no garlic salt, Lawry's and no canned sliced potatoes. So I have to go old school and learn how to make good old fashion fried potatoes. I followed this recipe for breakfast potatoes. Well I used it for a base that is.
    I boiled 5 potatoes (I think they were white or brown, not red) then cut them up....wondering if next time I could cut them THEN boil them...seems it would be easier than cutting a hot potato and maybe faster cooking time. Then I used some bacon grease and some oil and threw in my onion and since I had no garlic salt I threw in some minced garlic cloves. Got the onions and garlic nice and light brown before adding my cut up potatoes. Next time I think I need to let them set longer or try the flour trick she mentions because they were cooked but they didn't get that crispy I like. I would have loved some Lawyr's on there but ...again I'm in Brazil where they just don't like any flavor but salt, so I added salt. :)
    I made some scrambled eggs and the for mentioned bacon....and TADA! breakfast for dinner! At first when I made the potatoes we thought it would be to much...turns out we really like potatoes and had NO problems finishing them all.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

    Book #1 (goal is 5) for the year was "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I got the book on loan (love that kindle lets us share now!) from a friend. I heard that Reese Witherspoon is going to be staring in the movie version of this book and its due out in April '11. Since I love Reese and I try to see all her movies I wanted to read the book, because I can't read a book after I see the movie. One good thing about the kindle loaning program is that once you accept the book you have 14 days to read it. At first I thought this was a horrible idea....however it motivated me to keep reading at times this pregnant girl would rather have been napping.
    The book was very well written and I'm excited to see how the movie does it. I usually think the movies drop the ball but this is a pretty basic plot and I can't see how they couldn't do the whole thing in 2hrs. The book being a very solid story so I was never really bored reading it.... I found predictable and lacking any real suspense to get that 5/5 star rating from me. I gave it 4/5 stars on my goodreads page though.
    If you don't know goodreads is a great little website that helps you keep track of what you have read and want to read. If your like me you end up buying books only to realize you have already read them. Plus once you get a few like minded friends you can get great book reviews from them, which helps me pick what I should read next.

    Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

    My entire life I was always so impressed by people who made their own noodles. I thought for sure this was a couple day process! LOL Also my mom makes a pretty good chicken noodle soup, so I thought I would try doing both.
    I followed this recipe for the noodles. I found making noodles was way easier than I thought. Ok my arms hurt a touch but that could be because of my t-rex stature. The only thing I wondered about was when to tell your dough is smooth.... I did some searching and found pics and went by those. Turns out about 7 min of kneading got me the smooth dough I needed. I was unable to find a rolling pin so instead I cleaned off a red wine bottle, because everyone has one of those at home. :) It worked really well actually. I also had no pizza cutter and so I had to use a knife to cut the noodles with....the knife isn't very sharp and so this took longer than I'm sure it takes most people. But the final results were great!

    For the soup I asked my mom what she did, and her response was:
    1. Boil a whole chicken in a pot for 45 min.
    2. Pull out chicken and shreed the meat off of it.
    3. Fill up pot with water and add a CAN OF BOUILLON (yeah I'm not kidding, I felt my heart throb when she said that!)
    4. Bring it to a boil and then add a bag of egg noodles.
    5. Once noodles are done add chicken.

    Well since Troy had highblood pressure and the idea of enough sodium to kill a horse didn't sound that appealing to me I changed it up a little. This may be the first time I didn't follow a recipe and kind of winged it!
     Here is what I ended up doing:
    1. Got a big pot and threw in a whole chicken with water and brought it to a boil. I boiled it till the juice was no longer pink. Took about an hour.
    2. During that hour I made the noodles using the above recipe I linked.
    3. Cut up 2 carrots and 1 medium yellow onion.
    4. Pulled the chicken out of the pot and filled up the pot with more water to make it 3/4 full. And added 6 chicken bouillon cubes.
    5. Shredded the chicken and added it to the pot while waiting for the water to boil again.
    6. Once boiling I threw in the homemade noodles and let them cook.

    It was even better than mom's! (sorry mom). 

    **Things I would do different next time...

    I would add a couple more carrots and I would skimmed the fat off the top of the water once taking out the chicken.
    Edited to add: this makes about 12 bowls of soup.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Stove Top Oatmeal

    I'm sure many of you are laughing that so many of my firsts this month are cooking things on a stove top! :) But growing up we always used the microwave for everything (popcorn, instant oatmeal, warming beans--which came precooked in a can). I rarely get a microwave now a days. Before having a child that wasn't a problem because good old McDonalds is everywhere (well NOT Trinidad--weird country). But since I would like London to eat well that is no longer an option for us. And unlike me, London likes to eat more than one meal a day. He is kind of forcing me to make better food choices for the family---which is never a bad thing. The cooking part without a microwave or common pre-cooked items has become a challenge for this girl. Growing up I really didn't have anyone to teach me how to cook, let alone cook without a microwave. My father owned a restaurant and we ate there a ton. Heck I worked there and could make side salads (in sizes to feed 100 people though). Luckily it was good food so I didn't have a WAY horrible diet growing up, ok it was bad but I have seen worse! My mom could cook a few things but only about a dozen...and I can cook all of those! :) I have been hitting my Grandma Betty up for cooking help over the last couple month I think I'm going to try her fried chicken and gravy on bread!
    So oatmeal is another staple food that most Americans use the microwave for. I wonder how many of my friends actually buy the non-instant stuff?! Oatmeal is also one of those things pretty much all countries have so I can find it easily. So it is making my new things list (and completion for Jan! resolution).
    Good old internet searching taught me that you should do a 2:1 ratio with the oatmeal (rolled not steel, 4:1 for steel). Then bring to a boil and cook. I should have paid more attention to how long to cook once boiling. Also it seems you either use water or milk and that either works.
    So I made 1/2 cup rolled oats to 1 cup box shelf milk. Brought to a boil and then let it boil (stirring the whole time) until it looked like the instant stuff I ate...i'm thinking this was about 3 min. I didn't look at a clock. The outcome.... Not bad. Its very boring on its own. But I wanted it plain for my first time so I knew what my base was. I think maybe I could have boiled it a touch longer but overall its good. Next time i'm going to find some apples, raisins and either cinnamon or maple syrup. I don't think it tastes any better than the instant stuff, but the texture is a touch better. However it took me maybe 5 min to make the rolled oats and it takes about 3 min for the instant....and the instant has added salt and sugar and is more processed. For the nutritional value I will still with old fashion rolled oats! Now I hear the steel oats are even better for you but take about 30 min to cook....they didn't look THAT much better than the rolled oats so unless there is a big texture/taste difference I don't see the value in it. But I will of course give them a try....first I need to finish off this box of rolled though. :)

    Carambola (aka Starfruit)

    I'm always lost when I get into the produce section of a store.... I rarely know what anything is. And I even less of the time know how to prepare it. Well today I tried a Carambola (starfruit).
    According to the website if unripe it should taste like a green apple. The description as says that mine is ripe. I can see the green apple flavor...but its also citrus citrus apple would be my best description. I took out the seeds, but some people just eat them. They are about like the white seeds in a watermelon for size/shape/crunchy-ness.  I first tried it after brushing my teeth---NOT a good idea. LOL I waited a bit then tried again...much better. I would buy it again and eat them. Not my favorite but not bad...and for me anything healthy thats not bad is worth buying! LOL
    London wasn't a fan of it plain, he doesn't like citrus flavor much. However when I put it in yogurt he ate almost the whole thing! So he can't hate it that much.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Stove Top Popcorn

    I have always thought that making popcorn on the stove was a very difficult thing to do.... you can thank my mother who ruined a good pot by burning the oil/popcorn so bad on the bottom it was black for years....and it was one of those old thick pots with the yellow outside! Our house smelled like burnt popcorn for weeks... I can remember it as if it was yesterday.
    Well we have no microwave here in Brazil so I decided I needed to learn how to do this. It would be so much easier while traveling. I don't ever recall actually eating stove top popcorn in my life!
    So I did some searching and read a few "recipes" for doing this. After some talking with friends (yes it takes a village to raise this cook!), I decided to go with plain old butter and yellow corn.
    What I did:
    1/4 cup butter
    1 cup yellow popcorn

    I started up my gas stove top on high . This alone still freaks me out... I really need to by one of those point and click lighters because I feel I'm going to burn myself every time I use the match...and the fire extinguisher is on the first floor- we are on the 15th! Got a 2 qt pot and put my 1/4 cup of butter in it and 3 kernels and just kind of moved the pot over the flame. I watched my butter get a little brown and wondered if I was already screwing up. But then one of my kernels popped...and I might add scared the crap out of me! Then I added the 1 cup corn, put on the lid and continued to shake pot. I was so excited when it started popping. I'm such a little kid. After a couple moments I realized my 2 qt pan wasn't big enough because popcorn started pouring out (and then starting on fire since the flame was still going). I quickly dumped some on to a near by cookie sheet and continued to pop. I have no idea how your suppose to tell when the kernels are all done. I had plenty of popcorn so I decided that was good. After eating most of it I realized I had about 1/4 cup of kernels still at the bottom  of the pot but the bottom was also dry. So if your reading I need to put more butter in next time and keep the bottom with butter to get that last bit to pop? Or do I need to just pop longer? I was nervous of burning it. I think my 3/4 cups of kernels that did pop probably made about 8 cups of popcorn. Next time I need to only do 1/2 cup of kernels. Luckily London LOVES plain he got a little pot of it. I love I heated up some more butter and then covered mine in salt. Oh yummy goodness! I don't think I can go back to microwave ever again.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    The old iPod

    After 5 yrs of having my product {red} iPod and a couple computers later.... I figured out today how to get the music OFF my iPod and into my iTunes so I could use it with my new iPods!!!! Old red has been on her way out since she feel in the tub in the Philippines. I was practicing hypnobabies in the tub and she got pulled in....shows true character that she was able to still play though!
    I got online and did a search and found this site- Once I had the program downloaded I found I had to do things a touch different. Once I got the music on to my desktop I wasn't able to do the normal "add to library" function in iTunes. Instead I had to copy and paste the music into my iTunes music folder. But even after I did that it wouldn't show up IN my iTunes....then I found out I had to click on each song (4GB worth) and it then saved it properly. Took a long time and there is probably an easier way to do it.....however I got to listen to my wedding music again!
    "Some Where Over the Rainbow" by IZ and "I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth has been listened to most of the night <3

    Sunday, January 2, 2011


    Acai is a local fruit that is pronounced a-sigh-EE, emphasis on the EE not the sigh (so I have been saying it wrong!). I have heard TONS about this fruit from people in the USA on all its amazing health properties. And I know the juice is CRAZY expensive state-side. Since its dirt cheap here I thought I would give it a try. I'm not 100% sure what the fruit itself tastes like because I haven't found that yet. What I did find was Acai na tigel. This seems to be how most of the Brazilians eat the fruit. They take the pulp of the Acai and then mix it with a touch of soy milk or syrup and ice then blend. This makes it into a sorbet texture. They then add sliced banana and sprinkle with granola. To make this little dessert there are a variety of ways apparently.
    If you add orange juice to the pulp that seems to be the popular way to drink it. We tried both ways. Not bad, not wonderful either. But i'm told that the location we went to was just ok and that we needed to try more places because its amazing. So I will keep trying.
    I forgot my camera in the car when we hit up this stand so here is a picture thanks to Wiki-
    And a video thanks to youtube!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    My new years resolutions for 2011

    1. To do 5 new things (or more) every month of 2011.
    2. Two days a month wireless....well no internet or tv that is. Music is ok.
    3. Read 5 books by end of the year.

    There you have it. Sounds pretty easy I think. I'm going to use this blog to track my progress and show what I did new, on my wireless days and what books I read. :) After all my life of nothing but traveling has changed up some, so if this blog is going to continue it needs to follow the life I have. Don't worry my plan is to keep traveling so there will be fun travel posts still!