Saturday, February 28, 2009

Homemade Ricotta, part 2................................

Life gets hectic and I haven't had time to post my success with the homemade ricotta.

Ready to go into the oven.............
Things got rushed, this was supposed to be two seperate loaves.

Fresh from the oven...........
And the final production, homemade ricotta in the stuffed shells, homemade french bread, lettuce straight from the garden and homemade croutons.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh My Aching Adrenalin...............

This post will probably be incredibly long so either turn off your computer and do something more meaningful or grab a coke and some popcorn and kick back and get comfy.

Where to start, where to start. Well how about the beginning of the day (Thursday).

Things looked pretty good first thing in the morning. My son who has had an extremely bad case of bronchitis this week and has already missed three days of school is up and showered and headed out the door to school, very medicated of course. So the highschoolers are out the door and off to their bus. I need to run an errand to the grocery store this morning so I offer to take youngest daughter to school which she kindly accepts. The word kindly is used very tongue in cheek because youngest daughter is eleven and a pile of grouchy, confused hormones.

So youngest has been dropped off at school, grocery store trip has been completed and I am now back home ready to start work for the day. It is a beautifully warm day here today, probably about 83 F so I crack a few windows and door and turn on the ceiling fans. Within a few moments I hear the booming, blaring, extremely foul music coming from across the street at a neighbor's house. Sadly our neighbor has taken up this hobby of trying to irritate the living daylights out of me with his music over the last couple weeks. I do have another post coming later with more on this subject. I had began writing this post earlier but had an emergency and unfortunately the post was lost (more on the emergency in just a bit too).

But back to the blasting music. I have become very distraught about this music, there are no words to describe how foul the language is in the music this man plays and we have often seen a baby sitting in a car seat right next to the vehicle the music is coming from. I can't even begin to imagine how much damage has been done to that poor babies ears (not from the foul words but the very high volume of course). In retrospect my next steps were probably not the wisest and I should have handled things a bit differently but too late to change things now. I honestly did try closing my windows and doors but I could still hear the booming and could even make out the words. Today was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had just simply had enough. I was sitting here practically in tears in my own home. I paused my work on my computer, grabbed my shoes (to put on my feet, not to throw at the neighbor) and headed out the door. The man across the street was standing at his vehicle leaning in and didn't see me coming. As I got close to the house across the street I kept shouting "excuse me sir". I must have said that about 10 times as I walked closer to the man. I was probably about 4 feet from him before he finally heard me. Immediately I could tell by his stance that this wasn't going to go well. And it wasn't the fact that he was standing there half naked in his very flimsy boxer shorts (ooh gross), nope it was just the defensive way he was standing that clued me in. In a very polite but maybe just a bit frantic tone I spoke to him "sir I have been trying to be a good neighbor and tolerate this music, but will you PLEASE, PLEASE turn it down". Well the man looked at me like I was insane, spat on the ground, and said "this is my yard I will do what I want". Okee Dokee then.............. I simply said "fine I will just call the sherriff". His reply was "go ahead". I turned and left his yard. As I walked away I could here his female step out of the house and yell at him asking what I had said to him. I could then hear her shout at me to get over there and talk to her face. She used a few choice words in there but I just kept on walking home.

I did make a quick call to the non-emergency sheriffs line to ask them about the noise ordinance. The person I first spoke to didn't have any answers for me but a very nice officer called me back within about fifteen minutes. He stated that they don't take noise violations lightly and any time there was a problem to call them. Neighbors would get a warning and if they don't comply they will get a citation. Something tells me these people will be getting a lot of citations. He did direct me to the exact spot on their website where I can read all the rules about noise, decibals, the distance the music can be heard etc. The noise my neighbors are making is definitely a violation. I thanked the officer for his time and let him know how much I appreciated him calling me back and told him I would call with any further concerns. You might ask, well why wasn't I concerned right now. Well because within five minutes of my speaking to my neighbor the music had been turned off and he had gone inside his house. Hmmmm, wonder if he has something to hide and doesn't care to have a sheriff's officer on his property.

First adrenalin pumping experience of the day ....... over.

Finally I had calmed down a bit and got back to work. A couple hours later my cell phone rings again. Honestly it is never a good thing when my cell phone rings. It is my oldest calling from school. His medicine has warn off and he is starting to feel pretty bad and can I come get him. I had fully expected this to happen so I had made sure that I had decent 'leaving the house' clothes on this day so I told him sure I was on my way, grabbed my purse and hopped in the car to get him. Nothing majorly about this of course except for a small amount of stress, trying to get to the school and back as quickly as possible so as not to miss too much work. I hate having to rush.

On the way back home who did we pass stranded on the road with a broken down vehicle......... none other than music blasting, spitting, rude, nasty neighbor. Kharma baby, Kharma!

Second very minor adrenalin pumping experience of the day...... over.

Well the day progresses and all is looking good. I have a nice dinner in the oven and I have moved to the bedroom computer to work as the kids are arriving home from school and hubby is home from work. The youngest gets home and quickly finishes her homework and asks if she can go bike riding with her friends. I give her a few quick chores to do and allow her to go. Oldest daughter has now finished her homework and heads down the road to visit her friends. Hubby, son and I grab dinner and I set some plates aside for the girls so that they can eat when they get home. And then of course I head to my computer for a few more shifts of work for the evening. The girls call me a couple times to check in, one of mommy's strict rules. At 6:13 PM my phone rings again, this time it is my oldest daughter and she is frantic. Her little Sis has been bit by a dog again (yes this isn't her first experience) but this time is bad. I pause my computer again and fly out the front door, a few steps behind hubby and son. We are all headed out to find youngest. Luckily she is headed home on her bike so I don't have to run far or we would have an entirely different medical emergency. We get to lil Sis and yep it is a dog bite, her calf is very, very bruised and there are several punctures and blood. I make the immediate decision that we are going to the emergency room.

Before we left for the emergency room I did take a moment to call the sheriff's department to find out if I should call animal control. The officer was so nice and genuinely concerned. He advised us to just go directly to the emergency room and the emergency room would call the correct parties from there. Before leaving the neighborhood I did drive past the dogs home to get the address for the animal control department. Very filthy yard. The owner did step outside her front door to speak to me but didn't seem overly concerned. She states that the dog has all it's shots and tags but who knows.

When we arrived at the emergency room it looked deceptively quiet. There were just a few people in the waiting room. Never be fooled by an emergency rooms waiting room appearance. I think we arrived about 6:45 but within 15 minutes of us arriving there was a steady stream of people checking in. I think a lot of people wait until their doctor's office is closed and head to the emergency room instead. A lot of people seriously didn't belong there, I even had doubts if we should be there, but I always second guess myself when we go to the emergency room. After waiting almost 2 hours in the waiting room we were finally called back. They cleaned daughter's leg up and prescribed antibiotics. Once they got her all cleaned up it really didn't seem as bad as I had thought (see I am second guessing myself again). Since her shots are up to date she didn't need a tetanus shot. They also explained what would happen to the dog. The dog would be picked up by animal control and quarantined for 10 days. Not enough for such an agressive dog in my opinion. We made a quick trip to a pharmacy after leaving the hospital and walked back into our house at 11:00 PM, almost five hours after the incident.

Third adrenalin pumping experience of the day.......... over.

The brown dog in the front in this picture is the culprit. Any suggestions on what kind of dog this is? Not that the type really matters, it is a very agressive dog.

This is after the blood was cleaned up a bit so probably not as bad as I first thought, but she did still need antibiotics.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today's Kitchen Adventure, Homemade Ricotta Cheese.................

When it comes to my kitchen I like to be able to say "I can do that" or at the very least "I have tried that". Last week I made homemade french bread which totally put store bought french bread to shame. After I made the loaf I started thinking about what else I can prepare from scratch for a nice Italian meal. I am not ready to try and conquer homemade pasta so I decided to try homemade Ricotta. I think I have had a success here but I will know for sure tomorrow when I use today's freshly made Ricotta in stuffed shells.

Ricotta Cheese
Ingredients: 1 half gallon of whole milk
2 cups buttermilk

The step by step instructions can be found here

175 Degrees

Cheesecloth prepared

Straining out the curds

Draining out some of the whey

Tied up and allowed to drain for about 1 hour

TADA!!! I have Ricotta

Update tomorrow with results of the Stuffed Shells

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Never a Dull Moment................

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I took the day off to hang out with my kids. The girls and I decided to hop in the car and run a few errands. So we are driving along, headed to wally world, minding our own business.

Off to my left on a side road we hear the chirp of a police siren and we glance over to see a police car attempting to pull over a white SUV. Assuming that the officer had everything under control our attention went back to the road we were traveling on. Moments later we noticed that the white SUV was now traveling behind us. As far as we could tell it was an older woman driving the vehicle and there were no passengers. The officer was flashing his lights and we could now hear the siren going full speed, we were starting to get a little nervous because the lady wasn't pulling over.

At this point we had pulled up to a traffic light, there was a car stopped at the light ahead of me, there was a car that had stopped just to the right of me. There was nowhere for me to go, I had to stop right there at the light and the white SUV stopped right behind me. The officer stopped right behind the SUV and started shouting at the lady to get out of her vehicle. She never turned her head and never made any indication that she was aware he was even there.

All of a sudden three more police cars come whipping in from all directions. One is just to my right , just inches from our front bumper, my daughter in the front passenger seat can surely see the color of his eyes he is that close to us. All of the officers hop out of their cars and draw their weapons and aim at the SUV behind us shouting at the woman to turn off her car, to get out of her car etc etc. The whole time the lady continues to seem oblivious to the action. The whole time my girls and I are sitting there, trapped between the SUV behind us and the car sitting at the light in front of us, sitting there saying OMG OMG OMG. An officer finally approached the ladies window, I am not sure what he said to her but daughter was looking out the back window and could read the ladies lips and she said "I heard you".

The light in front of us finally turned green again and the car in front of us hesitated not knowing what to do but finally decided to pull out. Well heck, I wasn't hesitating, I pulled out of there too!! But curiousity got the better of me, I whipped around to the parking lot of the bank just to our right so I could get a view of what was happening. At that point it appeared the officers had gotten control of the situation and had instructed the lady to pull across the intersection and to the side of the road. Well heck I wouldn't be able to see a thing from this parking lot, so I had to move on to another parking lot for a better view.

The four police vehicles escorted the lady and the officers spoke to the lady for a while before......... a fire truck arrived. The a bit later an ambulance arrived. The lady was loaded up and taken to the hospital.

So our theory now is that maybe something was wrong with the poor lady to begin with. Maybe she was driving erratically and was in a state that she just wasn't aware of the situation around her.

Anyways......... later in the day as we told hubby/daddy our story he asked why we didn't duck down in the car when we saw all the weapons pulled out all around us. Eleven year old daughter tells dad "well we wouldn't have been able to see what was going on around us if we did that" DUH!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Trip to the Zoo..........

On the day when we went on our trip to the mission we were finished much sooner than we planned so we decided to make a quick side trip to the Tucson zoo. Tucson has a very nice zoo. It isn't too large so you don't get exhausted from the walking. It also has beautiful landscaping creating a very nice atmosphere. I took a lot of shots that I am happy with so today's post is picture heavy.
Wait, wait...... let me turn so you get my good side!
The Capybara is the worlds largest rodent. That would take one very big mouse trap.
Just striking a pose.......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Trip to a Mission......................................

Over the weekend we took a trip down past Tucson to take a look at a mission. San Xavier del Bac is a fascinating building. It is over 300 years old and when built was in a very secluded area. Over time Tucson has crept closer to the mission. It is a very eerie feeling to be in a building that old. Your mind comes up with all kinds of thoughts of things that could have happened there. I am pretty sure that as I stood there taking pictures the ghost of a cowboy stumbled past me, blood dripping from his gunshot wound, seeking help from the inhabitants of the mission. Ok, Ok, I have probably read too many western Harlequins, but ya get my drift.

Link to the mission's website...

Link to a lot more of my pictures of the mission...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Storm Damage from Sunday's Hail Storm..........

I just had my first opportunity to get outside to see what damage was done to my garden. I am pretty sad.

Ugh my poor pots
Spinach looks like I placed a heavy blanket over the entire bed

One of my poor broccoli plantsSwiss chard, sections flat to the ground

Very beat up salad greens

Oh my poor beets, they had actually been looking good before this storm

My favorite vegetable, my sugar snap peas, still edible but looking their worst

And a little glimmer of light in the chaos. My hardengergia is beginning to bloom

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Amazing Hail Storm............

This is seriously the heaviest hail I have ever seen here.
A very confused flower bed
Dangerous steps
Piled high on hubby's truck

A pummeled garden
Girls out taking a beating

Son headed home trying to dodge the painful hail
Daughter's makeshift snowman

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Every family has a nut........................

and mine is 16 year old, redheaded, darling daughter. There is never a dull moment with her around. Today she stumbled across a pair of undies that she had forgotten existed and she was quite delighted. So delighted that she popped them on her head. Now dd (darling daughter) is into the hair phase where the girls tease a bit of a bump on the crown of their hair, she actually looks kinda cute with it. Well her undies fit nicely over her hair bump.

Well we all went on to doing other things, I was off to prepare dinner, hubby sat at computer to read the evening news, dd headed off to who knows where. A short while later I stepped outside to grab some lemons from the tree and here comes dd from outside the yard with a beet red face. DD asks..... mom why didn't you tell me I still had underwear on my head?

Apparently a neighbor had driven by, slowed down, backed up and asked dd if she knew she had panties on her head. I am thinking dd will never wear underwear as a hair accessory ever again.