Friday, April 14, 2017
YouTube is a great media for entertainment and education. My introduction to it was watching videos my husband and children would find. The Nu Ma Nu Ma Guy was the first video I watched. Then there was the The Llama Song which my kids loved. My friends and I ended a dinner party one evening watching Trunk Monkey Videos.
One daughter listens to her favorite music and another watches television shows and Broadway musicals.
After the death of my husband, I had to learn to use tools and fix things. Instead of calling someone in to fix the belt in my dryer, I found a video on how to fix the exact same dryer that I had. That saved me a lot of money! Since then, I have fix toilets and a lawn mower.
You can learn to play an instrument, make crafts, cook any meal, paint, and so much more. Ask the 8 year old boy in Ohio.
The little boy wanted a McDonald's hamburger. Everyone had gone to bed, so instead of waking his parents, he watched a video on YouTube so he could learn to drive a car. He stood on his tiptoes to reach the keys, put his 4 year old sister in the van, and off they went. When the server at the drive-thru window realized that it wasn't a prank, the police were called. The police stated that it was amazing that he did so well. He caused no damage and obeyed all the laws, including stopping at red lights.
I always tell people to look on YouTube if they need to learn something :)
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The library. That was my refuge when I was an insecure kid, going to a new school every few years. I volunteered where I could, and just read and checked out books where I couldn't. I had always felt at home in a library no matter where I lived.
Books are not as popular as they once were. People use other means to read, such as online and book readers. Libraries have had to figure out other ways to serve their communities.
All libraries have different things to offer, but here are some of the things that I have found:
If you have children, find out what is on the calendar for them. Some things I have seen offered are movie nights, authors reading their books, reading circles, craft classes, and games.
There are great varieties of music, movies, and television shows you can check out.
Do you want to learn a different language? See if you local library offers Mango. It is free and you can sit at home instead of a classroom. You can even learn Pirate! If they don't have Mango, they may have Rosetta Stone.
The library offers a place for different clubs to gather. I have seen book clubs, coupon clippers, crafters, for some examples.
If you don't have a computer at home, they have them at the library for you to use. A great way to apply for jobs, do research, or if you have a high school student, they can do their FAFSA.
Most libraries have a genealogy section but you can link in with HeritageQuest online if you have a library card.
Do you need to do work around your home but don't have the tools? Some libraries lend out the tools you need for home improvement and gardening.
With a library card, you can get free passes to local museums and attractions. If you can't get a free pass for the day, there may be a discount. My library system will lend out a backpack for a week. In this backpack there is a free pass to the local state parks, books on birds, plants, or bugs, a Go-Pro and more for your adventure.
Don't have a library card? You might want to get one and open up a new world.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017
My dogs are a large part of my life and I know many people who have pets that are part of their own families. These pets can be dogs, cats, turtles, fish, or even a pig. We love them and our lives are focused on them. No vacation is taken without making arrangements. I have seen a photo of my daughter's fish tank fastened in a set belt while taking it to the "babysitter."
The famous and infamous have also had pets. Some a little odder than others.
President Andrew Jackson was a tough "bird" and had a pet parrot that learned some bad habits from the war hero. Parrot copy sounds and words that they hear often. This bird heard a lot of cuss words, so it seems. During the president's funeral, the bird had to be removed because it let loose a string of cuss words and shocked the attendees.
Re-gifting is okay if the recipient is responsive to it. President John Quincy Adams received a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette that was given to him from a grateful nation, for the help he gave George Washington to achieve American independence. The gift the Marquis decided not to keep was an alligator. The president kept his pet in a bathing tub in the unfinished East Room. Adams used the alligator to pull some pranks on visitors before it was homed elsewhere.
Cambridge University did not allow dogs....so Lord Byron brought his pet bear to university. After Percy Shelly visited his friend in Venice he wrote: "Lord B's establishment consists, besides servants, of 10 horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon....I have just met on the grand staircase five peacocks, two guinea hens and an Egyptian crane." Lord Byron at one time also kept a wolf named Lyon and a dog named Boatswain. Boatswain died of rabies and was memorialized in marble.
I have seen many backyards with ponds full of carp. In ancient Rome, the aristocrats kept moray eels in theirs. It is reported that Lucius Licinius Crassus adorned his favorite pets with jewels and wept when the eels died.
Do you like quiet pets? How about a pet lobster? The French poet, Gerard de Nerval was on the coast one day and rescued a lobster from a net. He named it Thibault and took it back to Paris with him. Lobster can stay out of water for a few days, so Nerval would tie a blue ribbon around Thibault and take him for walks around Paris. "lobsters are peaceful, serious creatures, who know the secrets of the sea."
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Monday, April 10, 2017
Stale bread is one of largest items that cause food waste. When I have stale bread, and remember to grab it, I take it to my brother's house to feed their chickens. There are so many good ways to use stale bread, we should never have to throw it away.
It can be refreshed by putting the bread in a damp paper bag and heating it in a 300F oven for three minutes.
Use it in recipes like grilled cheese, strata, bread pudding, French toast, or French onion soup. You can add bread to a soup to add texture. If you are not ready to use it in a recipe, freeze in a zip-lock freezer bag. Bring it to room temperature before adding new bread.
Make bread crumbs by laying the bread out on a cookie sheet and drying it out on your ovens lowest setting. Grind in a food processor and then dry some more for an hour. Store it in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Add some Italian seasonings if you want to flavor it up.
Make croutons by cubing the bread. You can season it by tossing the bread squares in olive oil and seasonings. Lay out on a cookie sheet and dry at a low oven setting until golden brown. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
I store my brown sugar in a tight covered container and add a slice of stale bread to it to keep it soft. You can add a slice of bread to a container of soft cookies to keep them soft. Also, if a slice of bread is kept with your vegetables in a crisper drawer, it will keep them fresh. Put in new bread every couple of days.
Make a beer or an ale from bread:
Fill a glass jar or other container with pieces of stale bread or crumbs.
Fill container with water or make an herbal tea of your choosing.
Cover with cheese cloth. You want to let air circulate but keep insects out.
Let the mixture sit for 1-2 days.
Strain through cotton flannel, a jelly bag, a pillowcase or other cotton material, to remove the solids.
Measure the amount of liquid that has been drained out.
For each pint of liquid, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. You can choose to use white sugar, barley sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, etc.
Drop in a few raisins.
*I apologize for the next couple of instructions. I have researched and not sure I understand them.
You may or may not need to add yeast or a yeast starter. The bread and the open air may have allowed the yeast to generate or the raisins will carry in yeast. Allowing it to sit for a couple of days will help the process. If not, you can add yeast at this point. Using yeast meant for beer brewing is recommended but you can use any yeast. Add a pinch of yeast for each cup of liquid.
Cover the jar with an airlock.
When the raisins start to float, the beer is ready to drink. I will mildly carbonated and low in alcohol. If you want it to be more alcoholic, add more sugar and brew for longer periods.
This recipe came from the site Wind in the Roses. She has a lot of interesting recipes for home remedies, ideas for frugal living, and more.
There is a brewery called Toast that is based in England. They use surplus bread from bakeries to make their bread. They even share their recipe.
Make French Toast Sticks
4 thick slices white Texas Toast bread (stale is best)
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Remove the crust and cut the bread into 4 sticks.
Using a large bowl, mix milk and eggs and a pinch of salt.
In a flat bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.
Heat the butter over medium heat in a skillet.
Roll the bread sticks into the egg mixture, shaking off the excess and place in the pan.
Turn each side until golden brown.
Once done, transfer immediately into the cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat.
If desired, put syrup in a small container and dip.
Recipe for Austrian Dumplings from Mother Earth News
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