Housework! Summer soup! Beef jerky! Computer viruses!

  • Fourteen upper cabinets.  Twelve lowers.  Fifteen drawers.  All cleaned, inside and out, sorted and re-organized.  Plus, as they don’t go all the way to the kitchen ceiling, the tops are cleaned off, as well as all the decorative items that reside up there.  ~sigh~  That is a sigh of exhaustion.  And relief.  In our nearly six years of living here, I have never done all of the kitchen cabinets in one fell swoop.  It had been nagging at the back of my brain daily, each time I took something out of a cabinet and saw an accumulation of crumbs, dust, and/or greasy grime.  Note:  Gel Gloss looks fabulous for about ten minutes, but then that gleaming shine washes off super-easily with soap and water!  Not great for quartz countertops in a kitchen that gets regular abuse use.  Bummer.  Anyone have a favorite stone countertop product they love??
  • Have you ever tried my Thai Chicken Noodle Soup?  I just updated the recipe.  I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since I originally posted the recipe.   The soup —  more of a meal-in-a-bowl than an actual soup — is a staple in our home, even in summer.  Lots of fresh veggies, tasty and fun.  Mmmm…
  • I turned seven pounds of London Broil into beef jerky the other day.  Smoky-garlic and soy-garlic.  It’s in preparation for our vacation.  Jerky comes in handy for snacks and meals-while-driving, as well as made into various recipes (which I learned from this fabulous cookbook for hikers/campers — it’s a shame it’s out of print!  One review says “Invaluable!  Wore out library copy — had to buy my own.”  That is exactly what I did!!)…  Anyway.  What wasn’t fit for jerky got put into a pot of what was supposed to be red chile stew.  Which it was, sort of.  But, I got enticed by a Really Big package of dried chile de arbol at the grocery store last week, and thought, “Oooh, those are the chiles in Cholula [my fave hot sauce],” and I bought it, really knowing nothing about them.  Well, it turns out they are REALLY HOT.  I removed the stems, seeds, and… pith (or whatever it’s called), and my hands burned for hours, even though I think I only used five chiles.  Also, the broth was SO HOT that I had to scoop out all the beef chunks and — sadly — drain the broth, which seemed like such a waste, but I knew if I kept it as it was, it would be inedible for my kids.  I added water to cover the remaining beef (to which some crushed chile still clung), added a chopped onion, sea salt, and about eight cloves of chopped garlic.  After it had simmered for nearly three hours, I thickened the cooked-down broth with some corn starch, and served it with some Spanish rice (which I had made earlier in the week) and some refried beans (from Trader Joe’s — my favorite).  It was good.  Still, lesson learned:  very judicious use of chile de arbol in the future.
  • My computer contracted a nasty virus, somehow, a few weeks ago.  It died.  Actually, it would power up, but Windows wouldn’t start.  The virus was called Windows Repair Module, which — obviously — was a fake.  How insidious.  I kept getting warnings from Windows, and it turns out that each time I clicked the “OK” button, I was unknowingly activating the .exe file associated with various aspects of the virus.  A friend of my husband’s took my hard drive home with him and worked on it every night for four nights.  He was able to pull most of my documents and pictures (THANK GOD!  I cried when I thought they were unretrievable), and save them to an external hard drive.  Then, he reformatted my hard drive.  Now, I just have to load a bunch of software that got wiped out… but that’s OK.  I then thanked my oldest son, Ethan, who will be 14 later this week.  Why?  Because “…with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Ethan worked a hot and hard day at the home of a friend, laying tile and cleaning…  and with that measure of service and giving, it was returned to us, in the form of a repaired computer.
  • If you’re still reading… today is my birthday.  I am 38.  🙂  The only thing I really love about growing older is the history, the perspective that it brings to my life.  I freak out less, because I can say, “Look.  We had that really rough patch five years ago, and God brought us through.”  When I was younger, everything was new and untested, and every challenge threatened to topple me.  Now, I’ve had years of tasting God’s goodness, and seeing His faithfulness first-hand.  To me, that’s a really, really valuable birthday present.

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on June 20, 2011, in Books I'm Reading, Character Development, Christian Living, Christianity, Cloth Diapering, Clothes, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Groceries, Housework, Interesting Websites, Summer Plans, Sweet stories, The Kids, Travelling, TV, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Happy birthday! I love your initiative and go-getter spirit!

  2. Happy Birthday!!! So glad you were able to save everything off your computer. I hate computer viruses!

  3. Happy Birthday Karen!!

  4. Happy birthday!!

    We fried our computer last fall by not cleaning out the dust… We have to locate a certain component in order to access a few pictures and a bunch of videos off of it (the videos made me the saddest). Hopefully we will be able to do it.

    Oh man, isn’t the chili burn on your hands the worst? I was making salsa with my mom a few years ago and I cut up about 15 or 20 jalapenos (so not even that hot), and my hands burned SO bad for like 8 or 9 hours. It kept me up late into the night. I did everything I could to make them feel better, including putting them into icy water for long periods of time, which seemed to help at the time, but then I realized that part of the burning sensation was because of my hands being frozen, haha… Next time I handle hot peppers, I will definitely be wearing gloves!

  5. Happy Birthday!!!!

    Tips for chiles: oil your hands before you handle them so they won’t burn. If you forget the oil and it starts to burn, soak or rinse your hands in some milk or yogurt. Dairy takes the sting out of chiles. That’s why cultures that eat really hot chiles do so along with some dairy. Like sour cream on your tacos. Or yogurt with your curry. Even coconut milk in Thai food. Spicy food is almost always served with a milk product to soothe the burn.

    It’s helpful, too, if you make your food too spicy and need to tone it down: mix in some cream or some milk or serve with a healthy serving of sour cream. It will help alot.



    • Thanks for the tip. Next time I chop up chiles, I will definitely try oiling my hands. I tried to cool the burn on my hands last time with buttermilk, but it did no good.

  6. Happy Birthday! I just had a birthday shortly before yours. When I get ready to register for my 5k I realized I had to move up an age bracket! boo!

    On the peppers. A friend had their little girl get ahold of some jalapenos they were cutting up and went into some kind of shock. Be very careful with the peppers and bare hands. She just touched them, not even eat them. She was at the er for quite some time!

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