Sunday, September 28, 2008

Donations, Warning This is a RANT!

I just got off the phone with the American Diabetes Association. Reason for the call was that I had not sent them a new donation which would mean that I would continue to receive their magazine. They have been calling four and five times a day for the last two weeks. Get in line folks, there are several before you.

We don't make large donations to any one cause but I have made various donations for various reasons to several. What thanks did I receive? Let's see, I have more unordered address stickers than anyone could use in a life time. Add to that greeting cards, note pads, and calenders. Why? Because they SOLD our name and address to other fundraising organizations who, thinking they had a sucker on the line, sent their solicitations to us also.

The folks who run the solicitations for the Komen Cancer foundation are one of the worst. We donated to them by sponsoring a co worker at the great white hunter's work place in a Walk for the Cure several years ago. That started multiple mailings from them and the others they sold our address to. Then we sponsored our daughter in a walk for cancer, in the name of a good friend who had lost her battle with breast cancer. So, here comes the flood of mail and phone calls from that direction. The Arizona Lung Association sent me some cards I liked, so I sent a donation to them. Our daughter has asthma and so does Julia, so it felt like the right thing. Oh my, do those folks think we use address labels in HUGE amounts! I finally wrote both the Komen folks and the AZ Lung Association and said, "STOP, I am not sending more money every time you send me something, so please use the money that would be spent to solicit us every six weeks for needed research." It worked but only after I did it several times.

Add the National Wildlife folks who think because I bought wild life magazines for the grands that I have unlimited resources to save every species of endangered animal out there. Then there are the organizations who want to protect the environment and so on and on. All good causes, I know, but we are just average people trying to now and then do the right thing.

My feeling is that the thanks we get for giving is harassment, both through the mail and by phone. Sad thing is, it will make me hesitate before I make a donation next time and chances are, I will decide it is not worth it to have my money used to send more address labels to more folks rather than use it for the research that I thought I was supporting.

OK, got that off my chest and crawled off my soap box. I had a choice, I could rant about the political system in our great country or charity organizations. There is not enough space on Blogger for me to take on the political thing, so I will sit on that one for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy Week

Last week I got a email from "the Mama" (DD) wanting to know if "you are interested in some Utah peaches?" They belong to a fruit and veggie co-op where they go about every three weeks and get a basket of assorted fresh fruit and vegetables for a great price. She often shares with us, so nothing goes to waste. I am thinking maybe a peach pie and sliced peaches for my Special K, so I wrote back and said, "Sure."

Later in the week, she emailed that she had signed up for peaches on Sat. These were a extra that they were offering their members, not part of the regular basket. Then on Friday, she told me she had ordered some tomatoes too. I am thinking BLT sandwiches and salad for next week. Yum!

The kids had a Nana/Papa sleepover on Friday night, so when we took them home on Sat. afternoon, we got our peaches and tomatoes...........a HALF a case of each. She had to take a whole case, so we got half. Quite a few more of each than I had planned on.

So this week will be spent baking peach pie, trying a frozen peach yogurt recipe in my new ice cream maker and preparing the rest of the peaches to freeze, making fresh salsa and spaghetti sauce for the freezer plus dealing with the large amount of apples that are left from the apple picking trip. I think I have enough applesauce so I will make apple pie filling or just freeze sliced apples for pie. I froze corn in the spring. Last week I made a huge batch of chili and froze it for quick meals. I will do the same with stew later this week.

End result will be a freezer full of fresh goodness for the winter! My great white hunter and the great white hunter son #2 are going to Colorado elk hunting next month so we are crosssing our fingers that they will have good luck and we have meat for the freezer. I have the great feeling that my great grandmother's used to have after the crops were in and the food stored for the winter. Now I need to finish a quilt to keep my family warm, finish a rag rug and whatever else needs done to prepare for the hard AZ winter. LOL I feel like a squirrel.

Here is my share of the "good stuff".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Did I Say "BABY"?

I took the picture of my burp cloths, and sat down to write the post. When I turned around, here is what I found. I think she approves.

Add washing to the list of things to do to the cloths before they become gifts!

Baby Boom

Julia came home from school last week with exciting news. Her teacher told the class that she is expecting twins! She told them she was going to find out if she was having boys or girls, or one of each, and would tell them. Julia told DD that was good because then Nana would know what to make for them. Yesterday, the teacher told them she is having a boy and a girl. The Momma is taking Julia to pick out flannel for blankets. I just sew two pieces of flannel together and blanket stitch around them. They are great for Arizona, where a quilt is sometimes too much. We used them a lot with the grands.

Our nephew and his wife are expecting baby number four. This one follows three precious little boys and the entire family is hoping for a girl to round out their family. A co worker of DD is expecting a girl. A close friend of our daughter and son in law is expecting his first, and we are excited. They have all been friends since seventh grade, so he is almost one of the family.

I dug out my stash of flannel, the great white hunter sent me to buy more and the burp cloth marathon is in full swing, to be followed by the two layer flannel blankets and fleece blankets edged in the blanket stitch. I love the finished handmade look that the blanket stitching adds to these simple items. When gift giving time rolls around, we will be ready.

Here is a start, I have more cut out and waiting to be sewn together. The three in front will be ready to go after a light pressing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Apples and Grandma Toot's Biscuits

I have posted the last three years about going outside of Wickenburg, AZ to pick apples from a orchard out in the middle of the desert. We did that on Saturday so I am busy making my Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce that I posted last year. Most of this will be for the freezer. There will be a pie or two plus apple crisp. I love the feeling of using fresh fruit now and having the results mid winter.

There weren't many apples this year. The lady said they had a late frost. Too, a lot of them had worm holes, as these apples are not sprayed in anyway. We did get quite a few though. Colin loves to take Nana's applesauce in his lunchbox so I need to make a extra this year.

My Colin also loves homemade biscuits. So what is a Nana to do but make sure that a little boy has things that show him how much Nana is thinking about him? Julia likes the biscuits too, but it is not as big a thing with her as it is with him. He told the pre-school teacher last year, that his Nana could make anything. That is a high standard he has set for me! I am working hard to live up to it.

I grew up with biscuits made from Bisquick about twice a year. When they put them in a pop open can, we had them more often. I was amazed when the great white hunter told me that his mother made biscuits almost every day. I was even more amazed when I saw how she made them. I thought the main ingredient in biscuits was shortening but these are big and fluffy, and have two ingredients!

She makes them by pouring flour in a bowl, adding enough MOCHA MIX coffee creamer to make a dough, cuts them, and adds them to a pan that she has poured a little vegetable oil in, turns them to coat on both sides and pops them in the oven. I had to stand there and watch several times just to get the feel of the process. Then my kids wanted me to write it down because they said it was no good to them in MY head. I took the time one day to measure and this is the result. I use buttermilk because we don't use coffee creamer. I do use buttermilk in my cornbread so I don't waste what I don't use for biscuits. We also don't have these everyday. They are the big draw for Christmas breakfast with gravy and I have been making them a couple times a month for Colin to take home and have for breakfast.

Grandma Toot's Biscuits

2 to 2 1/2 cups SELF RISING flour (do not use all purpose)

1 to 2 cups buttermilk (today I used about 1 1/2 cups)

Mix about 1 cup buttermilk into flour, keep adding buttermilk a little at a time until you have a dough that is moist but not really sticky.

Flour a surface and place the dough on the flour. Knead dough a few times into flour until it no longer sticks to your fingers. ).

Flatten out and cut into circles. I used a 11" by 7" by 1.5" pan but a 8" square pan works as well. Pour about 1/4 cup oil in the pan, lay each biscuit in oil, then turn over to coat. Bake at 375 until golden brown. (about 40 minutes for my pan today.)

Now for some reason, I sometimes end up with a tough bottom crust, don't know why and I am sure there is someone out there who could tell me, but, I have my own solution. When I take these out of the oven, I immediately cover them with foil. That seals in the steam and it keeps them moist and makes the bottoms soft.

Serve with butter for Colin, butter and honey for my great white hunter and Julia, and gravy for my great white hunter son and my son in law.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wash Out

We worry more about lack of rain in AZ than we do actually rain. It is routine to schedule outdoor weddings, birthday parties, sporting events, festivals and the like without so much as a back up plan for bad weather. Of course this sometimes backfires with Mother Nature being who she is. But, it does rain more in the higher elevations than here in the valley and when it is raining in the valley, it is most likely raining higher up. I know that, my family knows that.

We had planned picnic for a late birthday celebration for me. They had surprised me by us all going out to dinner the weekend after my birthday but we still planned on this trip. I bought hamburgers and brats and all the fixings. We loaded the car and met everyone for breakfast. The sky is full of gray clouds. The sky has been full of gray and sometimes black clouds for the last week. I said it was going to rain, NO one listened. We ate and loaded up for the trip north.

All was well until we got to the planned meeting place before heading for the lake. It was cloudy but the great white hunter assured me that the clouds were heading the other direction. DD and family were at the meeting spot when we got there but great white hunter son #2 was not. We waited awhile and then decided to go back and check to see if we could locate him. He was along side the road with his Jeep hood up, he had a engine light go on and things didn't feel right. Oh, and by this time, it had started to drizzle. My great white hunter helped him check things out and then son headed back to town. It is raining harder so we go to get DD and family. By the time we got back to them, it was raining so hard that you could not see two feet in front of the car. Hmmmm, guess who is doing a slow burn in the passenger seat?

We drove back to Payson, where it was not raining, by the way. We met up again with our son long enough for him to find a auto parts store, then went to the park in the middle of town where they have a great lake for the kids to fish in. All ended well with the kids getting to fish, Julia caught five tiny blue gills that they put right back in. With help from his great white hunter uncle, Colin caught two but he was more into the neat stuff Papa put in his tackle box. The rest of us hung out and enjoyed the lake and the lovely green grass at the park. The trip ended with lunch at our favorite resturant and a very special birthday gift for Nana.

The great white hunter and I had hamburgers yesterday and brats today. And, I never did say "I told you so!" but they knew............LOL

If you look really close, there is a fish there.

Here is a special picture of three of my favorite fishermen.