Monthly Archives: January 2016

(Everything but the) Kitchen Sink Drink

I’ve posted about healthy drinks before. This one is loaded with all sorts of nutrients and it tastes really good! Generally I’ll use my Hamilton Beach© “personal blender” when I’m making drinks because the “jar” (it’s plastic) doubles as a drinking cup and it’s easy to clean up after. However, if I’m going to take the trouble to add so many ingredients, I want enough to make drinks for two days so I use the standard blender. Also– I can cram more stuff into the big blender.

 

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The beauty of these drinks is you can use what you have on hand, so it’s not a specific recipe per se. The most recent information I have is that frozen fruits (and vegetables) have comparable nutrients to fresh and sometimes retain even more nutrients, as opposed to fruits & vegetables that have been driven around on trucks for days on end (before arriving shriveled at the grocery store). This drink provided, among others, protein, calcium, carbs, potassium, iron, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D. (Vitamin E, B6, Magnesium, Zinc, Folate from peanuts.)

no fat plain yogurt
water
canned pineapple
frozen strawberries, raspberries & blackberries
frozen mango
frozen cranberries (I bought them fresh on sale in the Fall and froze them)
fresh bananas
canned pumpkin
blackstrap molasses (known for iron & calcium)
brown sesame seeds (more nutritious than white, i.e., hulled ones)
quick oats
peanut butter (with only peanuts, no additives)
cocoa powder
nutritional yeast
flax seed (ground)
unsweetened shredded coconut
vanilla extract
cinnamon
chia seeds*

*A word on chia seeds. Chia seeds have been touted for the last several years as this amazing powerhouse of nutrients. They are shelf stable for a long time and don’t need to be ground before consuming as do flax seed. They have lots of fiber and calcium. That all sounded great to me till I checked out the price. They were expensive! So I pretty much blew off chia seeds – deciding I could just make do with other nutritious but less costly seeds – until recently, when I found a 15oz bag for $3. (I immediately wondered what was wrong with them.) My plan was to eat them every morning so I could get bright eyes and a shiny coat or whatever fantabulous results they offered. Basically, I wanted to go through them fast enough to see measurable results, if there are any.

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I put them in a jar for storage

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Um, let me tell you this. Chia seeds are BORING! I’ve been eating a couple teaspoons each morning and it’s not that they taste bad; they’re just uninteresting. Also, they get stuck in your teeth since they sort of start to melt once they mesh with saliva. I’ve started adding them to baked goods because after two weeks I still have half a bag. After I finish the bag, I’ll revisit this topic to let you know if I can tell any difference (in me that is).

You could certainly add veggies like kale to the drink. Maybe raw spinach. One time I added canned spinach to one of my drinks and it was disgusting.

Some nutritionists would take issue with all the sugar from the fruit, saying sugar is sugar (be it processed or from whole fruits), but I don’t think so. Fruits may have high sugar but they also have so many other things to offer.

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Short Thought 134

After an incident, I heard him tell his girlfriend, the mother of his baby, that he had almost punched her in the face. He said it twice. He did not sound sorry, concerned, or appalled. He sounded like look what you almost made me do.

Finding a spot for the “bird cage thingie”

I think I’m (still) in a show-and-tell mood. Last year I posted about fixing up a bird cage thingie I got dirt cheap (it was a little mangled when I found it so I stood on it in the store aisle to even it out a bit – I don’t need no stinkin’ mangled bird cage thingie). I liked it but just couldn’t find the “right place” for display. Till now. The quirky cat was a present and he too has drifted a bit not having the “right place”. Now this, this works. Ha ha ha.P_20160114_085431

 

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The cat’s resigned expression and pose are now most appropos

 

P.S. After posting this I noticed that I hadn’t painted eyes on my little bird so I got out a magic marker and remedied that.

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Outfit for a cold January day (bargain style)

It’s trickier to look good in winter. And stay warm. Too many winter clothes seem bulky, shapeless, and generally unflattering. I like body-fitting clothes that don’t allow chilly breezes to easily pass through and also let me feel more woman, less abominable snowman.

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I’ve had these Miss Posh (a UK brand) legging pants for several years. I found them discounted at a Ross store. I call them “legging pants” because they have structure and some heft, unlike so many flimsy leggings that soon pill and stretch out (and you wouldn’t dream of wearing without a long, butt-covering top).

A local church thrift store put out its winter stock in 2015 when it was still kinda warm and nobody was looking at sweaters. I happened to be there that day and pounced on the opportunity to look through the clothes before they were too picked-over. That’s how I found this great (International Concepts) sweater for $3. Sweaters usually itch the hell out of me, besides which most second hand ones are stretched out and often pretty hideous. So I don’t own many sweaters. This was a great find. The arms are long enough for me – yay – and it’s non-itchy.

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I made these earrings recently. So festive.

I got the Lauren Conrad boots for a couple bucks at a thrift store. Lace-up boots are fun and sexy. A low-heel and warm, faux-fur lining make these practical as well.

The unstructured hat, which I found in the Fall for $2 at big yard sale featuring many sellers, has a furry feel to the touch (like a soft cat) and compliments the sweater’s fabric. It doesn’t have a brand name on it but the tag says it’s made of nylon & spandex. I have a small collection of pretty pins and add them to my coats and hats. It seems silly to put on jewelry that gets completely covered by hats, coats, scarves, etcetera so I like my outerwear to sport jewelry of its own.

Finally, a woman was selling the Perlina bag on an online yardsale group. She asked $5 but I didn’t want (or need) it that much. I even went home without the purse but then took a chance and offered $3 which the seller accepted to my happy surprise. It’s very shiny.

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I have never referred to a purse as a “bag” before but this one merits the fancy descriptor.

 

January show & tell (mostly of December stuff)

Back in grade school I loved “Show and tell” day. Each kid brought in an item or a story and presented it before the class. I liked to hear the other kids’ stuff and I especially relished the chance to share something of my own. That trait has stuck with me. If you know me, you’ll probably be shown this-or-that interesting object or find semi-regularly. I just want to share my excitement.


A short aside/secondary intro which may or not belong here but I’ve opted to leave in:  The psychology of things, not surprisingly, is a strong interest and one I reference from time to time here; what we own, how we relate to our possessions, and, in this country, how people not only accumulate and hoard, but often rely on belongings both for self-definition and distraction from troubles. I’ve given a lot of thought to my possessions, have pared down considerably, and try to keep those things which I use or find beautiful or meaningful.


One year at holiday time, back in that small grade school I mentioned, a couple of the kids’ mothers made little Christmas stockings for each of the members of my class, even taking the trouble to put our names on them.

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I have kept mine. I wonder if anyone else still has theirs? See, I was so thrilled and touched at the time that someone had made this just for me, totally unexpectedly. The parents could have gone to the store and bought a couple dozen little stockings or given everybody identical ones, without bothering to personalize them, but instead they did something special. I wish I knew or could remember which mothers made them but I’m sad to say I don’t (I’m not certain I knew at the time).

It’s yet another reminder to me how much seemingly small gestures can mean to other people (for reasons we may never know). Too often I forget or misplace this knowledge, essentially how much we can impact others, even when we don’t know it, even with small gestures. It’s as if I can see how much I appreciate the things which have been done for me but often fail to realize how my gestures can impact others. Which isn’t to say that every gesture or kindness I (or you) do for someone else causes wild gratitude – or even should – but that we often don’t know, or maybe underestimate, the possibility of truly touching someone or maybe reaching out at an exact moment it’s needed.


My town never did big holiday decorations in what amounts to “the town square” before this year (they decorated but mostly in another location) and I was delighted for weeks by the results. Charming and tasteful. I caught these shots after a December rain at dusk, with the lights reflecting on wet pavement.

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I’m going to briefly step away from the post-holiday reflections theme to show you something I found a few years ago. (I forever remain a little kid who walks around looking at the ground in hopes of finding money or other treasures. Occasionally it pays off.)

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Now, I always took this to be merely an interesting-shaped rock. However, in the last several days I started to wonder if it might be an arrowhead. I’ve heard people talk about finding arrowheads, but honestly, I never knew what that meant exactly. I wasn’t thinking about the word literally enough, as in “the head of an arrow.” I probably saw artifacts in a museum somewhere along the way that would have included arrowheads, but I don’t remember for sure. Anyway, I googled arrowhead images now and the pictures mostly show a curved bottom, not a flat line like mine has. Two of the sides have a “finished” man-made look. So I don’t know. Either way I have a special rock.

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I found two tantalizing objects tossed out last week. They and a few other items were in a bag by the road (although I admit it’s a risky business examining bags left by the road) and for that reason went unnoticed by other people. I didn’t bother with them the first time I passed since I was out for a fast-paced walk but on another day I stopped when I saw them still sitting there.

The first is a string of magic lights! I wish I could show you a video but having attempted it, I get an “unsupported” message so that’s not happening. Anyway, they can do all these clever things. There’s a small box attached with a button that controls eight light settings. Some are flashy & wild and others more demure and peaceful. Admittedly, I don’t get around much, but I’ve never seen anything like them. There’s no recognizable manufacturer name but it does say “Germany” on the controller. They are so cheering. I just stare & stare as they run through their many colors.

The second item was more amenable to a photo session. This 3″ tall tin tea light holder is so detailed, with all the quintessential Christmas toy scenes. When I was a kid, I’d have been enthralled by it. And now, I still think it’s special.

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Here’s a little girl (or a big doll, your choice) with a bow in her hair, a snazzy doll house and a tea set.

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“Why yes, I would like a cup please.”

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Drum set, trumpet, blocks, and ball. (Somewhere a parent will be warning through gritted teeth, “If you pound that drum or blow that horn one more time, Young Man…”)

 

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Sled, wrapped package

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Of course, a “choo choo” train

This next and final diorama was initially puzzling.

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The teddy bear & spinning top are fine but the tall fellow on the back right gives pause. What the…?

The figure in the back resembles an upright, long-eared dog with muscular thighs. I’ve seen plenty of toy/tin soldiers – and having hit every stereotypical Christmas emblem on this tea light holder, that’s the only missing one – but he didn’t look like any I’ve seen.

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What Christmas is complete without… this guy?

I puzzled over it and then something clicked. The string lights came from Germany, so might that be the origin of the tea light holder too? I’m no history whiz but I got the notion to look up Hessian soldiers. I’m not sure that’s the right one – some images seem close – but it makes sense that the little guy is some kind of German soldier. Funny how everything else was so instantly, universally almost, recognizable, but this one aspect suggested a specific region.