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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.
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Poetic birding, summer plans, and a million trips to the potty

  • There are Lesser Nighthawks all over my neighborhood, mostly in the summer.   They wheel in the air close to the streetlights, and rest on the road (!), camouflaged on the asphalt, frequently rising in a flurry of feathers as a car drives by.  I went for a walk with my youngest daughter around sunset last night, and heard what seemed to be two different Lessers calling to each other, but I didn’t see them.  (I’m on a birding listserv, and a guy posted about seeing a Lesser Nighthawk last night.  I replied with this, and after I had written it, I re-read it, and it sounded poetic.)
  • I am very excited to have booked at least part of our summer

    At Limekiln, you get THIS...

    vacation!!  I have wanted to go to California’s Limekiln State Park for a good five years, and this summer it appears that I’m going to get my wish!  My dear hubby is a very linear thinker, and wants to have A, B, and C done and tied neatly with a bow before moving on to D, E, and F.  In other words,he does NOT like to plan ahead, because then there are a million half-done, tentative things hanging around in his brain, and it drives him batty. Additionally,being that we live in the scenic and wonderful state of Arizona, he sees little need to venture out of our borders, with the possible exception of Colorado, since his brother lives there.

    ...only a few hundred feet from THIS.

    He’s NOT into driving long distances.  So, my planning has been made with extra thankfulness for him agreeing — well in advance — to plan for and book a trip that he’s not all that sure is going to be worth the tedium of driving for two days…

  • Fiala, my 26 month old, is potty-training.  She’s doing well!  Mostly, that is.  She even went to church yesterday without a diaper, and stayed dry all day.  She still has to be taken to the potty every 30 minutes or so, though.  When she says, “I fuh-uhgot to go potty!” that means, “I’m wet!”  This morning, I was doing a school with Wesley, and didn’t want to be interrupted to take yet another trip to the bathroom.  So, on a whim, I asked my four-year-old, Audrey, if she would take her.  A few minutes later, they came back, flushed and grinning with triumph, and both very aware of the novelty.  Next up:  Audrey makes dinner for our family of seven and runs a few loads of laundry.  😛
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