Friday, June 17, 2011

Guinea Pig Grooming Day (And Other Random Talk)

Since my kids are on summer vacation, I have been getting up early to get some writing time in. Once they are awake, it’s on to other things.

Yesterday, we got our piggies together and shuffled them off to the pet grooming salon to have their nails trimmed.

After a squeak-filled pedicure, next stop was the pet store to pick up some supplies. When we got there, my daughter opened her pig, Megan’s, carrier so she could get a look at the boy guinea pigs, who by the way, thought she was pretty cute.

When my daughter peeked inside her carrier though, she saw blood. Not just a little blood, but quite a bit of it on the towel she was sitting on. It turns out her nails had been cut too far down. The groomers at the pet store told us to apply Styptic Powder to stop the bleeding. First, we had to get the poor girl cleaned of all the blood on her belly. So into the bath she went.

We filled a tub with lukewarm water and gently placed Megan into the water. Squeaks and serenity filled every strand of her furry being. She even enjoyed it when we lathered her.

Once out of the water, Megan sat wrapped in a towel, swaddled like a baby until she was dry. While in the water, the bleeding had stopped. However, by this time, it started dripping again.

With the help of a moistened cotton ball, I dipped it into the Styptic Powder and gently squeezed her toenail with it. After about 10 seconds, the bleeding stopped. Whew!

When Megan was dry, back into her clean cage she went. And then it was Bambe’s turn for a bath, which was not as much of a joyful experience for her.

She was ecstatic to be cuddled in my arms while she dried though.

Then my son headed off for a sleep-over, so my daughter and I worked on finishing another sock doll. We also got our June Fundraising Auction up and running! Half of the selling price will go towards Arthritis Research. Here's a photo of the doll we're auctioning...

I'm sorry to admit that I still haven’t tried that vegan homemade ice cream because I got a horrible craving for chocolate covered strawberries. Fifteen minutes in the kitchen and voila, my longing was satisfied.

And they are even better when dipped in whipping cream. Mmmmm ... I'll be back later. I think there are a couple of strawberries left calling my name...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream Without a Machine

I love to cook. And during the school year, we wind up going out to eat a lot because of our busy schedules. So when summer vacation arrives, I get the urge to try out all of those recipes I haven’t had time to experiment with the rest of the year.

Yesterday, it was homemade ice cream. I was determined to figure out how to make it even though we don’t have an ice cream maker.

First I started with buying the ingredients. For the first batch, I used this recipe:

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream


• 1 Can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
• 2 Cups Whipping Cream, Whipped
• 1/3 Cup Chocolate Syrup
• 1 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bag
• 1 Quart Sized Ziploc Bag
• 6 Tablespoons Rock Salt
• Ice


Mix sweetened, condensed milk together with chocolate syrup.
Whip the whipping cream and then fold it in.
Place into quart sized Ziploc bag.
Place ice and salt in gallon sized bag.
Place smaller bag inside larger bag.
Shake for at least 10 minutes.

At this point, we got tired of shaking, so I put it into the freezer, taking it out every 30 minutes to shake it. We had some left over, so I put the rest into a plastic box - with the ice and salt in a larger sized plastic box. It was much easier to scoop out.

When ice cream is freezing, ice crystals form. The mixture of shaking the ingredients along with the salt, prevent these crystals from forming.

I also wanted to make a vegan version, so I took 1 2/3 cup of coconut milk along with 1/3 cup of Agave Nectar, and 2 tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa, mixed it all together, and then followed the rest of the process.

While that was all freezing, my daughter and I worked on her sock doll business. You can order one if you like at Sock Doll Surprise.

Finished with dolls, we went back and checked on the ice cream. The dairy version was oh, so creamy and delicious. The vegan version has not yet been tasted. I will keep you posted.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Truth or Fiction (Reality Check)

Just how many activities can I juggle?

I often tell my kids that I don’t have octopus arms --and I need to remind myself of that now.

It’s been a bad habit of mine, scattering my energies. There are just so many cool things to learn about in life. I want to take it all in! But that’s how I got to where I am today, which is … **ahem** … not an expert in any one subject.

Instead, I know a little about a lot of things.

So as I monitor myself and my natural tendencies, I may be cutting things out here and there (or at least cutting down on them). For now though, I am going to step beyond what I’ve just promised myself and write a long overdue blog post.

You all know how much I love the subject of perception.

At my daughter’s volleyball game the other day, her team was having a little trouble. The ball would fly into the middle of all four girls, and they would all dash over to it, and then stop, letting (or expecting) one of the other girls get it. Since they were all doing it though, the ball would continue onwards to the ground.

A lady sitting next to me said, “They’re afraid of crashing into each other.”

Then another lady, a relative of someone on the opposing team, commented, “They just don’t want the ball.”

Each woman re-stated their belief and then the subject was dropped.

So really, what were those girls doing?

Only they know.

Or do they?

While they might be able to state what they were doing, those impulses may have stemmed from something or somewhere else, even something they are not aware of (for instance, muscle memory from an old injury?).

While I sit and listen to people upholding the righteousness of their opinions, I will be taking it all in and wondering what the reality … um … really is.

Does anyone really know?