Friday, January 29, 2010

The New Jell-o

My husband was going through some of his mother's files and found this little recipe booklet dated 1932. That predates my mother-in-law, so I am not sure how it was in her possession. Maybe she found it in her own mother's things and decided to keep it for the same reasons I am keeping it now: because it's a cool little piece of ephemera.

I am especially interested that these are recipes for a New Jell-O that is made with lukewarm water instead of boiling water. I wonder how long lukewarm-water-Jello was around and why it didn't last.

I admit I like a good fluff salad made with Jello powder, cottage cheese, cool whip, and fruit, so I am NOT poking fun of Jello recipes in a food snobby way, but some of the recipes in this booklet are so gross sounding that I can't imagine anyone ever making them. Like this one:

Cheese and pickles in Jello? Blech! I spotted another good one just now for Ham and Celery Loaf, which calls for ham, celery, and onions to be stirred in with Lime Jell-O and molded in a loaf pan. I don't even want to know what that looks like, let alone what it tastes like.

I doubt I'll ever "cook" from this recipe booklet, but it's fun to have.

Monday, January 25, 2010

winter doldrums

This is such a yuck time of year for me. The holidays are over, someone is always home sick, there are too many 3-day weekends... I like having my children home, but these 3-day weekends just kill routine and structure, and I feel like I never get into a good groove because the groove is always being interrupted. Is it spring yet? I need spring.

Oh, well, enough complaining. As evidenced by the photo above, I am making a scrappy heart quilt, which is making me immensely happy. I'm done piecing now, and on to the quilting part. I am so attracted to the heart motif. I try to resist it because I think it may be too cutesy or country or unsophisticated, but then I say to heck with all that. If I like hearts, I like hearts, and if they make me happy, I'm going to have them around.

The opposite of cutesy heart quilts would be a murder scene depicted in Lego.

My son has to make a book jacket for Murder on the Orient Express for a school project, including an illustration of a scene from the book. Instead of drawing, he chose to create a scene with Lego and take a photo of it. It's always nice when he is enthusiastic about homework, and I like how he figured out a way to do his homework and play with Lego at the same time! That's what it's all about.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In which I make a facial goop, and other weekend news

After 7 years of karate training (and achieving 2nd degree black belt rank back in November), my son had his last class today. He is ready to move on to new things, namely baseball. I feel a little sad about the end of karate for him, but he feels excited. We stopped and bought cupcakes after class to mark the occasion. My daughter (who achieved 1st degree black belt rank in November) is continuing her training, so we're still a karate family, but it will be weird that my son won't be involved any more. On the plus side, he can hand all his martial arts weapons down to his sister, so we won't have to buy another set of everything. In my childless daydreams of motherhood, I never imagined my children would be passing weapons on to each other!

Speaking of my daughter, she was home sick all week. It started with a fever, and when that went away the GI stuff started. Ugh. By Friday afternoon she was clearly on the mend, so she and I made a couple of these heart suncatchers with wire and beads. Today her friend came over, and they painted these little bobblehead pets from a Creativity for Kids kit. Those two girls love crafting together. They will sit for hours, drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, and they love to show me what they've made. They are so fun to have around. My daughter loves cats, and her friend loves puppies, so this was the perfect kit for them. The puppy is painted to look like the earth, and the kitty is painted to look like the cat my husband and I had when we were first married.

So, the facial goop, which I put in the title of my post... I'm fairly low maintenance in the skin-care department, but this time of year my face gets really dull and pale, so I need to exfoliate or something. I like to do the occasional facial. I was thinking I needed to head to the drugstore to look at what's available, but then it dawned on me that I could make my own face mask right here at home, with ingredients from the kitchen. I poked around the web and found a bunch of recipes, and I chose to do a simple oatmeal and yogurt concoction.

The recipe said to grind up the oatmeal. I was mentally preparing myself for getting out the blender and having dust fly all over the kitchen when my son asked me if he could take an oatmeal bath. He feels like he's coming down with whatever my daughter had, and when my kids are sick, they like to take oatmeal baths. (Cannot for the life of me remember how that started!) I have packets of Aveeno colloidal oatmeal for this very purpose, and as I dumped a packet into the tub for him, I had a little aha moment, and five minutes later I was in the kitchen, making my facial goop with the Aveeno colloidal oatmeal.

I used 2 T oatmeal, 2 T yogurt (you're supposed to use plain, but all we have on hand is vanilla, so that's what I used), and a couple drops of honey. I smeared it all over my freshly washed face and left it on for 20 minutes. It felt really good, all cool and smooth, and it tightened up nicely. A little too tight, maybe, because when I washed it off (in the kitchen sink--the thought of it going down the bathroom sink grossed me out a little), I ended up having to scrub at it with a washcloth. I never scrub my face--scrubbing is so bad for your skin--so I scrubbed as gently as I could, then rinsed with cool water, and ahhhh, my skin feels so dewy, and it's got this nice glow to it now instead of that dull pasty look.

The smell of the concoction smelled exactly like the homemade muesli I make (which we all refer to as "cold oatmeal"), so of course I had to make some of that as soon as the facial was over.


2 Cups old fashioned oats
1 Cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together, refrigerate overnight. Mix the oatmeal with yogurt, nuts, and/or fruit into individual servings.

That will be Sunday's breakfast!

(Living large on a Saturday night here at House of Hodgepodge...)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scenes of January

I'm taking more pictures these days in my effort to keep up with the 365 groups on flickr (this one, this one, and this one). Some days it's a scramble to get a photo that's worth the effort of posting, but other days, like yesterday, I took some shots I really liked after I'd already posted my 13th photo, so I'll share them here.

Those LED lights really cast some interesting light.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Death by Dumbbell

What is this? Photos of a ceiling fan and a dumbbell? Has the blogger lost her mind?


This morning I was working out with Ellen Barrett's Burn and Firm Pilates, thinking I should blog about how much I love Ellen Barrett, and then thinking nah, no one wants to hear about how I workout, when I lifted my dumbbell over my head and almost killed myself.

By weird and unfortunate positioning, when I put the dumbbell over my head, the pull chain on the ceiling fan somehow slipped between the handle and the weight itself, twisted around, and got stuck.

Here is the reenactment:

Aaaah. Fortunately I was only using 3 lb weights (you're not supposed to use more than 3 lb weights with this workout), but still, I think I could have done some serious damage to my skull had things gone really awry.

So here I am with my cautionary tale. Watch out for low flying ceiling fans when you are exercising.

Since I brought it up, I think I will take this moment to mention how much I enjoy Ellen Barrett's workouts. No one has asked me to mention her, and I have purchased her DVDs with my own money, so there is nothing to disclose about my endorsement. If you are looking for a new way to workout, or trying to ease into getting more exercise, consider checking her out. If you subscribe to Netflix, several of her workouts are available for instant viewing, including Burn and Firm Pilates, so you could check her out for "free".

Monday, January 11, 2010

Out of my comfort zone

I know everyone already knows about Wreck This Journal, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. I gave each of my children a copy for Christmas, and they were immediately intrigued. This gift fascinated them more than any other. "We can really wreck it?" they asked. "Yes, that's the point," I said.

They cautiously flipped through the pages, laughing nervously over some of the suggested things to do. Spill food on it? Take it in the shower? Poke holes in it? Rip out a page? This is crazy!!

I am always so careful of my possessions. I was born this way. I don't like things to show use or age. I am careful with everything, but my books especially remain pristine. I don't write in them or dog ear them. I never leave them opened up, face down. The spines on my paperbacks are not creased. Unless I buy a book used, it will remain looking unread, even if I've read it over and over again. My own mother is afraid to borrow books from me. It's not so much an obsessive-compulsive thing as it is a respect, maybe even a reverence, for all things. My husband displays a similar attitude, and we've taught our children to treat things gently.

Wreck This Journal is a departure for us. My kids began wrecking their journals cautiously, but they quickly got into the spirit of it, and I'll admit, it's been hard for me to watch this happen. I had to hold my breath when my son twisted his in his hands to crack the spine. Later that day I caught them both smearing food and dripping milk on the pages, and I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from telling them to stop, but once that tense moment was past, it felt nice to let it happen. It's good to let yourself out of your comfort zone, even on a small scale.

My daughter took her journal to school for sharing, and her classmates were riveted. Most of them said they'd love to have a journal to wreck. I think we've found our birthday party gifts for 2010!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snowflake Scarf

Presenting my Granny Snowflake Scarf!
I got the idea for a crocheted snowflake scarf when Lucy at Attic 24 posted about her Granny Stars. The pattern she used (and I modified only slightly) is here. I figured one extra point in the Granny would give me a 6-point snowflake instead of a 5-point star, so I modified the pattern simply by making the ring one chain longer and adding one extra group of double crochets (for a total of 6 instead of 5) into the first round. As Lucy would say, Ta Da!

My scarf is crocheted with one 50g ball of Rowan Cashcotton DK 600 in white, using a G hook. I got 10 snowflakes out of one ball. I left long tails when I finished each off so I could sew them together.

This reminds me of my flower scarf (not blogged, but pictured here), but the snowflakes went together much faster.
I think the points are going to curl a lot in this scarf, but it's still lacy and snuggly, and I love it!