Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Answer to Word for Wednesday

Answer: Agrophile is something which lives or thrives in cultivated soil.

Word for Wednesday

Word: Agrophile

Take a guess - what do you think it means?

Put your guess in the "comments" section and come back around 3:00 to see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tip for Tuesday - Writing Related - Thanks to John Potter

Quotation Marks and Punctuation: Commas and periods always go inside the closing quotation mark in Standard American English form. All other forms of punctuation not actually part of the quoted material go outside the closing quotation mark.

For Example:

I found the passage, "Always do right!"
Please review Exhibit "A."
I don't agree with "computers are useless"; however, this could be the case.
"Witty," "clever," "amusing," and "hilarious" are her favorite adjectives.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Movie

I went and saw Ingredients the Movie here in Portland over the weekend.

It's a documentary about the dying art of farming and how some people have forgotten that they're growing food instead concentrating on mass production of commodities with little to no regard for how the quality effects mankind. Ingredients makes people think. We can pay more for food now or pay the doctors later.

One of the sponsors was Burgerville and I hate to even classify this company as a fast-food chain because it's really not. It's a company that provides medical and dental benefits to its part-time employees and provides healthy nutritious food - fast.

Ingredients reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called Fast-Food Nation.

I think we all need to remember what we put inside our bodies is going to effect our health and happiness in the long run. So, if Ingredients comes to your town, check it out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Starbucks . . . ? Falling In Love

Here's a fun song. We don't have any people singing like this at our local Starbucks.

Check it out here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Earth-Friendly Friday

Fall has arrived on the wings of the wind. Here in Portland the breezes have been blowing and the drafts are finding their way under the doors, through the cracks and crevices, and into our house.

Every year, I make a simple "Draft Buster". It's my own little version of left over fabric sewed into a skinny, worm-like, bean-bag. I put the bag by the doorstops and it keeps the drafts from wiggling their way into the room.

All you need to do is take a long piece of left over fabric, it could even be an old towel. Sew up a seam, then fill the bag with seeds, rice, popcorn kernels, whatever you have in your cupboard. No need to go out and buy anything. My motto, "Use what you have".

Good luck and remember a little preparation will keep you warm and toasty this winter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Answer to Thought for Thursday

Answer: Paul

Thought for Thursday

Thought: Joe DiMaggio and his brothers all shared the same middle name. What middle name was it?

Take a guess - put it in the comments and then come back at 3:00 to see.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Answer to Word for Wednesday

Answer: Of or pertaining to gems. If you want to see it for yourself, check it out here.

Thanks for playing.

Word for Wednesday

Word: Gemmary

Take a guess, what do you think it means?

Put your answer in the comments - please.

Come back at 3:00 to see.

Thanks for playing along with me. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

GNOMES, TROLLS, AND NOT-SO HIDDEN PERSONALITIES


Fall is finally here.

Have you ever wondered what you might have hiding outside in your yard?

Just look around your garden. You might be surprised what you find. I'm sure you'll find a few hidden (or, not-so-hidden personalities) lurking about.

Sometimes, when I'm outside, I get that funny feeling. The frog-fur on the nape of my neck stands up. A chill runs down my spine. And I have that sixth sense - somebody's watching me.

I turn around. Someone is peeking at me from out of the bushes. I'll pull back a leaf and find a pumpkin, hopefully, with a friendly face.

This little guy made his way into my house. He's a Hubbard squash I had sitting on the table. A couple of artichokes were keeping him company on the platter.

I don't know why but I kept getting that funny feeling that someone was watching me. Then I looked closer and had to laugh-a little, then a lot.

I had the last laugh too 'cause I baked that little guy.

I have to share the recipe. It's quick, EZ and oh so yummy.

Slice the squash into sections.

Pour a little (microwave) melted butter over the "meat" of the squash and sprinkle with brown sugar - maybe, even add a little maple syrup.

Bake in the oven at 450 for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of the squash). It will be soft, sweet and oh so tasty. Nothing could be easier and as yummy as this little garden guy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

MONDAY MEMORIES

My husband and I have shared a lot over the years. We even share our birthdays. Maybe that's why we've been so happy together for so many years.

Here's a tribute to the years we've spent together and the memories . . .




Multnomah Falls
Grand Canyon
Washington DC
Family Photo
Boys in Bed
Fun Cycles
Jacob getting school award
Lars helping Jake tie his first tie
Lars, Luke and Jake
Photobucket
Snowman
Top of the Twin Tower
Photobucket
Wedding Weekend
Kids in the pool

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SUMMER HAS FINALLY SIZZLED OUT


Okay, I know most kids go back to school after Labor Day. My daughter even started her junior year at Warner Pacific College back in August. But my son went back to the University of Oregon just yesterday. School doesn't start at UofO until September 28th but he has a job and an orientation meeting for the new staff. Plus, he has to get his apartment ready for the new year.

So we helped Luke move back into his apartment, which is right across the street from Hayward field, a pretty prime location for the University of Oregon. I should know because I lived in Douglas dorm my freshman year (you can see the dorm I lived in, 30 years ago, in the first picture). That was before Hayward looked so fancy. But it seems like life repeats itself. Here's to Luke's senior year at UofO!!! Hope he'll have loads of fun 'cause we're going to miss him.

So that's my official END to summer and it's raining :(

I know it's Portland, Oregon and there's a reason we're called The Ducks - webfeet and rain go hand-in-hand but I just wasn't ready for the rain - yet. Guess it's time to get ready for fall and accept the fact that the kids are back at school :(

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun Quiz - WHAT EUROPEAN CITY DO YOU BELONG IN

What European City do you Belong In? Is it cosmopolitan Paris, Friendly Dublin, or . . . Let me know after you take the quiz.

I found it over at Meredith Teagarden's blog, who got it at Holding Patterns, who got it at . . . well, you get the point.

Fun, short, quiz:. Post which one you belong in, in "comments" so I can see.

I was Dublin.

"Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.

You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town."

Weekend Writing Tips

Here are a few word usages that I got from John Potter. He's a word-whiz.

lead/led
: As a noun, lead is a kind of metal. As a verb, lead means "to conduct." A guide will lead a tour of the ruins. Led is the past tense of the verb "to lead"; He led the company for twenty years.

loose/lose: Lose is a verb whose past tense is lost: Did you lose your elevator card, again? Loose is generally an adjective for "not tight"; I have a few loose screws.

maybe/may be: Maybe is an adverb: Maybe the negotiators will succeed this time. May and be are verbs: The rumor may be true.

Hope these little tips come in handy. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Earth-Friendly Friday

Mom raised nine kids when her budget could only feed a family of four. How’d she do it? She was a super-sustainer; I just wish I would have known that she wasn’t being cheap and mean – she was just progressive and being green.

Here are some simple, money-saving, tricks and sustainable hints Moms can use to help save money and protect the planet at the same time:

• Soak a washcloth in water, place it in a baggie and put it in the freezer, when it’s slightly frozen, it will be a crunchy, soothing teething toy for baby to munch on without any worries about worn-out teething rings.

• Instead of using baby powder, which is talcum powder, use cornstarch. It’s cheaper, earth-friendly and totally organic.

• Extend the life of disposable diapers—at least at night—by using a cloth diaper, folded length wise and placed in the center from belly to butt. This will double the absorbency of the diaper, help you get a better night’s rest and cut down on waste in the landfills.

• Hang cloth diapers outside in the sun, at least in the summer. Saving energy one-third of the year is better than not at all and you’ll be letting the sunshine bleach your diapers rather than harsh chemicals.

• Mash up fruit and veggies for baby, rather than buying jars of food. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. It’s cheap, organic and great for baby.

• Wash baby blankets, diapers and clothing in vinegar and baking soda rather than harsh chemicals. Use ¼ cup white distilled vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda.

• If baby is congested, put 1 tablespoon Baby Vick’s Vaporub in a humidifier and let it run in the baby’s room overnight. The adult Vick’s has Camphor which you don’t want to use for baby.

• Instead of buying specialty toast for baby to chew on, make your own toast and let it sit out for an hour or two, until it stiffens. Cut it into fourths and let baby chew on homemade toast.

• Always use rechargeable batteries rather than the one-use variety.

• Take digital pictures rather than one-use cameras, even on vacations. They don’t take up that much space and it’s so easy to email photos to family and friends.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Answer to Thought for Thursday

Answer: They can store fat in their tails - kinda like people and storing fat in our derriere

Not so many differences in the animal world ;)

Thought for Thursday

This is one of those questions that makes you say, Hum.

QUESTION/THOUGHT: How can crocodiles go without food for such long periods of time?

Play along with me
then come back about 3:00
to see

If you guessed right,
You're probably super bright

(put your guess in the "comments" so I know you were willing to play along - thanks)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Answer to Word for Wednesday

Word: "Extant" means in existence, still existing. If you want to read more, check it out here.

Word for Wednesday

Word for Wednesday: Extant

Take a guess what does it mean? Put your answer in comments and then come back and see around 3:00.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TERRIFYING TUESDAY - UNDEAD Series

Okay, if you’ve looked over at my sidebar under “Books I’ve Read in 2009” you know I have a thing for Vampire stories. Can’t help it. Always have.

Stephen King introduced me to Salem’s Lot and I’ve been hooked ever since. Shame on Stephen.

I read the Twilight series in no time, followed it with the Sookie Stackhouse True Blood novels, so much fun!

Now, I’m onto the UNDEAD series by Mary Janice Davidson and, believe me, she is a hoot. Anyone who can mix death with romance and make me laugh along the way is a horrifically talented author. I just love some of her phrases in the books. In fact, I had to read a couple of them OUT-LOUD to my husband because I thought they were so funny.

He is definitely not a FANpire like me, but even he smiled.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read on, if you are going to pick up the books and read them yourself. Oh…these aren’t big spoilers so you could still pick up the books and read them—and you won’t be disappointed. REALLY.

I love that the Spawn of Satan is a goody-good ‘cuz she wants to rebel against her parent. How funny is that? Pretty funny, if you ask me or if you're the parent of a teenager.

I love that “Elizabeth Taylor” is the Queen of the vampires – no relation to the movie star. ;)

I love that she (ET - no connection with the alien) gives us makeup advice – and she’s an undead woman. You'd think she'd have other things on her mind, I mean who cares that “you shouldn’t wear true black mascara because it makes your eyes look small and squinty.”

Maybe most women--that's all. And, now we know, even the undead care about makeup.

Or the fact that she talks about “…the holy grail of footgear.”

She even considers selling her soul for a pair.

She says, “Would I sell my soul for shoes? Of course not. The very idea was absurd. And the gleam of the garnets didn’t call to me, the very idea of selling my teeny little soul wasn’t a bargain at any . . . no!”

Now, I’ve never been a girl who was ever interested in clothing, handbags or footwear (maybe I was meant to be a boy—who knows, I mean give me a fast wakeboarding boat or…but I digress from the story) so I have to use my imagination a little—okay, maybe a lot, but I thought the idea of selling your soul for a pair of shoes, even if they were garnet heeled shoes, was hilarious.

Okay, I’m a little sick, I know. But, I thought this line was so funny:

“And a real”—the corners of his mouth turned down, as if he was contemplating a fresh dog turd instead of getting married—“wedding…would help you feel it?”

Maybe I thought that was so funny because when my husband asked me to get married—I got a little sick to my stomach. I had to lie down. Right there. On the floor. He was so excited. He wanted to call everyone and tell them. I said, “Hold on. I think I’m going to throw up.”

Okay, we’ve been VERY happily married for well over 26 years—so don’t make any assumptions here. I’m just saying it made me sick. The idea of getting married. It was just the commitment—I think. It Freaked me out—with a capital “F”.

I also loved the line:

“But I—I—” I managed to wrench it out. God, this was hard! “I love you.”

“Of course you do,” he said, totally unsurprised.

“What? I finally tell you my deepest, most personal feelings and you’re all, “Yeah, I already got that memo’? This, this is why you drive me nuts! This is why it’s hard to tell you things! I take it back.”

“You can’t take it back,” he said smugly.

“I do, too, take it back! And don’t you dare kiss me again!” I cried when he leaned forward. “Why do you have to be so annoying and smug all the time?”

“Because with you by my side, I can do anything.”

(I think these books are so funny—well apart from the vampire killings, those aren’t the funny parts)

But you should read them. They are page-turners for sure.

Here's a list of the one's I've already read:

Undead and Unwed

Undead and Unemployed

Undead and Unappreciated


So many books :) so little time :(

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pints to Pasta - Fundraiser RUN


It was an early run, which might be a good thing because it wasn't hot-yet. I had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to meet up with my sister and Melissa to head to the starting point.

It was Sunday, September 13, 2009 and this was the second time I've done the run to help raise money for a couple good causes. It's the Pints to Pasta. The bad thing was I wasn't prepared. I hadn't run for a loooooooooooong time. Luckily I made it to the finish. Of course it was only a 10K run or 6.2 miles. But. . . there's always next year.

I am going to be so much more prepared for this run, next time. No. REALLY.

The run helps raise money for The Raphael House of Portland and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's TEAM IN TRAINING. A huge thanks is owed to the sponsors: Adidas, Widmer, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Jamba Juice and Portland Running Company for making this event happen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lost Lake - Mt Hood




Jake and Luke went camping up on Mt. Hood. They went to one of the Lakes. There are so many beautiful places up on Hood and they even had the birds eating out of their hands.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Word Usage - (John Potter Strikes Again)

Here are a couple helpful hints:

among/between: Among is used for three or more entities: Many local runners are among those training for this weekend's race. Between is used when two entities are involved: There is an intense rivalry between the two schools.

fewer/less: Fewer refers to people or objects that can be counted; less refers to general amounts: Fewer technicians means less work will be done today.

its/it's: Its is the possessive form: The board forwarded its recommendations. It's is a contraction of it is: It's time for a party.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Earth-Friendly Friday WIND FARMS

Photo thanks to OregonLive
If you're interested in wind farms, you might be interested in this article.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Answer to Thought for Thursday

Answer: Catherine Zeta-Zones and Michael Douglas share September 25th as their birthday. She was born in 1969 and he was born in 1944.

BTW: My husband and I share the same birthday - only one year apart though: September 21st.

Thought for Thursday

Question: What Hollywood wife and husband share the same birthday - 25 years apart?

Take a guess then come back at 3:00 for the answer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SONIC and MARIO BROTHERS - Fan Art

FAN ART-FLIP ART: here's one example from start to finish.

My son, Jake, has a friend who needed some art for his design shop. He bought 120 plain blocks of wood and asked his friends to supply the rest.

Jake wanted to come up with a fun design.

So, first my husband and Jake had to use a router to get the angles cut into the flat block of wood. It was a fun father/son project.

Then Jake had to come up with the art. This is an example of fan art because Jake loves video games and Sonic and Mario Brothers are two of his favs.
This is a Sonic/Mario block. At first glance it doesn't look like much of anything. But, when you look at it one way, it’s Sonic and when you look at it the other way, it’s Mario. I think, it came out pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fondant Frosting - FAIL

I had visions of something like this: But I failed miserably.

Have you ever attempted something, wanting it to be extra-special and then failed miserably? Well, I have. Guess it's really time to sign up for that cake decorating class I've always wanted to take and never made the time for.

Here's the story: September 7th was my daughter's and my son's birthday. Kara turned 21 and Jake turned 25. So, I wanted to try something new and exciting. I picked fondant frosting. And my cake wasn't professional - I mean I'm a Mom for heavens sake, not a chef. But my cake was definitely worthy of Cake Wreck status.

I spent the evening of September 6th baking and preparing the cakes and the frosting. Then the next morning I got up and started rolling out the frosting to decorate the cake. Unfortunately, the frosting was not easy to work with. I had to grease my hands in Crisco shortening just to keep the marshmallow fondant from sticking to my hands.


I really wanted to make a Superman cake but, as you can see, this was a terrible attempt that didn't get anywhere close to what I had envisioned.
Luckily, I had a backup cake. So, even though it wasn't a Superman cake at least Kara's friend made her a sucker bouquet, which turned out SUPER-cute!

And the funny thing is, the kids didn't even care. They ate their cake - okay they peeled off the fondant frosting - but cake and ice cream can't be all bad...right?

Then they opened their presents. It was a good day even if my frosting was a complete failure. So there's hope for anyone who wants to be adventurous and try fondant frosting. My advice, though, is don't attempt fondant for the first time on a special occasion or you might be in for a disasterous dessert.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Writing is Like Painting a Room


So how is writing like painting a room?

Well, painters have to combine many colors to make a breathtaking sunburst. And writers have to combine great characters, plot and conflict to make a reader care enough to turn the page, sacrifice their time, and move on through chapter after chapter to make it to the end of the book.

I thought about these elements and how we combine them to make a vivid story when I went to visit my niece. She painted her room this weekend. It was a very unusual combination of colors and techniques she used to bring out her personality in her room. She combined blackboard paint and then let friends and family start to add quotes, pictures and over all make their own impact on her design. (This is like letting critique partners interject their opinions on to our pages)
She also added vivid stripes
and then topped it all off with a sunburst on one side of the room.

It all worked well together and perfectly pictured Serena's personality.

I asked her, “How did you come up with all these different ideas?”

She said, “It just came to her.”

It made me think about how writers come up with stories and how we combine different elements to make a story come together.

One person might paint a room completely white, which would serve the purpose. But—at least in my opinion—it would be boring. Kind of like reading a newspaper story that said the Fermented Festival would be on August 28th. The details are there and it would serve the purpose of getting out the information—but it would be boring. There is so much more to tell.

That’s the trick for writers. We have to look for the angle or element that makes a story interesting.

Writers paint with words. So, we need to add vivid colors (characters) then layer the elements (conflict/romance/humor) with different techniques (dialogue and scene setting) to make the story come to life.

There’s no one way to paint a room and there’s no one way to tell a story. Paint your story with your own personality and it won’t be like any other story and definitely won’t read like a white room.

Oh yeah, HAPPY LABOR DAY!!! And Happy 21st Birthday to Kara - and Happy 25th Birthday to Jake!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wonderful Holiday Weekend

Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday in September. And, it was first celebrated in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882.

So, what are we celebrating?

We are celebrating the working class and the day was picked because it falls mid-way between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving but really it is a great weekend to spend with the kids before they all head back to school.

My daughter is already back at Warner Pacific but my son doesn't start classes until the end of September. This will be one of the last weekends we'll all be together to - of course - EAT and enjoy our time together.

Tomorrow my baby turns 21 - YIKES - what does that say about me? Guess I'm getting old. But, it sure beats the alternative. ;-)

My oldest will be 25 - yep they share the same birthday. September 7th. The odds are strange. My husband and I share the same birthday too.

I guess the stars all aligned for us to share so much together.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend too.

PRELUDE TO NEW MOON

The fifth of September, we were invited to a Twilight party - a costume party.
My husband went as Dr. Cullen. I was a baseball player from the Vampire Baseball game.
The party started at Twilight and we all had a little vampire venom or a Bloody Bella or two
and for those who didn't want any vampire venom, they could choose between Type A, Type B, or Type O blood to drink (have you ever noticed how much red wine looks like blood?...)
It was a roaring good time. With loads of good food and even a pin the tail on the werewolf game hanging on the wall then Team Jacob/Team Edward Jeopardy,
it was a wonderful weekend party.
With werewolf cupcakes

A fountain dripping with blood chocolate - okay it was only pink but pretty cool



Even the candles were dripping with blood.


All-in-all a heart-wrenching good time was had by all.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Danish Origami


Okay maybe the Danes are famous for their Viking Ships and Shakespeare's story of the Danish Prince, Hamlet, and not their Origami. But, the truth is, the Danes do a lot of paper art, which is kind of strange since they don't have that many trees in their country. Sweden is the Scandinavian country with acre after acre of timber resources.

But, no matter, because we have spent many nights and holiday weekends enjoying the arts: the paper arts.

These are CHRISTMAS STARS.

After we've finished them, we sew a string on one tip and hang them from the tree. Sometimes we also complete only one side of the star, and then use them on gifts, to top packages, and even as homemade presents (okay, we're cheap) - but only if they turn out fancy enough for us to pass them off as homemade Christmas ornaments.

We usually use red and white paper - the colors of the Danish flag. But, I bought this pretty ribbon to try. You can see my family wasn't too happy with my innovative idea.

And you can see what a hot date my boys can be. Invite a girl over for dinner and teach her how to fold - the Kasch family way. I guess it's better than folding clothes.

Call them wild and crazy. video
But you'd better be careful because this paper-folding can quickly seem very therapeutic. It can even get addicting. It's hard to put down a project once you start it--okay, maybe not.



My husband taught us all how to make these Danish Christmas Stars long ago. Now, he's working on the youngin's who come to visit.

My daughter does these projects with us - but she was too busy with basketball to break away and spend an evening bending paper with us.

So you've been forewarned. If you come for a visit, you never know what thrilling activities we might have in store.

Well, we have to make sure we pass on these old family traditions. Talk about an exciting family.