Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - Is It Winter Yet?

We woke up to a chilly 55 degrees this morning.  Considering that our temperatures have been in the low 80's for the past couple of weeks, this is cold.  Compared to the rest of Florida, however, this is a heatwave.  Temperatures in the 30's and 40's for Central and North Florida, and we're only in the 50's?  That's kind of weird.  Or, as my kids would say, unfair.  My windows have been open all day and a cool breeze has made our home pleasant, except for the allergies.  My youngest son was sneezing up a storm this morning.  He's doing better now, praise the Lord, but I almost wondered if we'd be able to get any schoolwork done.

We actually accomplished a good chunk of work, meaning algebra.  That's what we worked on most of the day, reviewing and completing his unit 5 exam which was in 2 parts.  He actually did really well on the multiple choice: he has a 91% so far, and there's one answer the teacher has to check which could potentially give him a slightly higher grade.  Part 2 was emailed to the teacher so he's gonna have to wait till she grades it, but I think he did well on that too.  The only other thing he worked on was studying for his Hope DBA.  Hope is his physical education class; DBA's are discussion based assessments.  It's where the teacher calls him directly and asks him questions about what he's learned during the course.  He called in and left his teacher a message, but she didn't call back, probably because there are so many kids calling in for their DBA's.  I had him send an email with his phone number as well, in case she didn't understand his phone message since he tends to mumble (all my kids do; wonder where they got that from?).  He has his online Hope lesson tomorrow, plus he has to finish his English thesis and send it in.  It's actually complete, but he's waiting for his sister to review it and make any recommendations before he submits it.  It's one of the perks of having a sister who's an English tutor :-).

I took out some country-style ribs last night and put them in the crock pot this morning.  In case I've never mentioned it before, the crock pot is my favorite appliance of life.  Whoever came up with the crock pot is an absolute genius and should be president.  I mean, can it get any easier and more cost efficient?  I fill up my crock pot in the morning with most or all of the ingredients for the meal we're gonna eat in no more than 15 minutes.  I then set it, and walk away.  I can do whatever else needs to get done, even leave the house to run errands, and be assured that our meal will be perfect every time.  I've even set it at night (like a pot roast for instance) and in the morning the house smells divine.  And how much electricity does a crock pot use?  About the same as a standard light bulb.  I guarantee the oven isn't that energy efficient.  I've made chicken, turkey, beef, and pork in my crock pot, but it isn't just for meats and stews.  We made apple butter in the crock pot and it turned out amazing.  We also used it for hot chocolate on my daughter's birthday; it stayed warm all night and everyone enjoyed going back to it.  Country style ribs are so incredibly easy it's almost embarrassing.  Take 4 - 6 pounds of country style ribs (with or without bone, either works).  Salt and pepper them liberally, and place them in the crock pot.  Then in a bowl combine 1 bottle of chili sauce (I like Heinz but any will do; the bottle is about 12 ounces), 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce and half a cup of water.  Mix well and pour over the ribs.  Set it on low for 5-6 hours, then prepare yourself for tender deliciousness.  I served these with roasted potatoes and carrots.  They disappeared pretty quickly.

My son woke up feeling a bit better today.  I think he has a sinus cold because he says his chest isn't congested, just his head and nose.  Tylenol Sinus seems to be working for him, and I'm glad.  He's working from 5:00 till midnight tonight and there's nothing worse than working when you're sick.  

My daughter shared a story she read online.  She found it on Facebook.  Granted, it's from The Daily Mail, a tabloid from the UK that's notorious for printing not-so-true stories, but I think the information is pretty spot on.  I'd mentioned how I was trying different moisturizers because my skin is dry and the wrinkles under and around my eyes have been more pronounced lately.  Yes, I'm 51 years old and I should expect it.  But hey, I can also try to prevent it, right?  Well, the story is about a 42 year old woman who went to see her doctor about headaches and poor digestion.  Both her neurologist and nutritionist recommended the same thing:  drink more water.  According to the article, she started drinking 3 liters of water per day, and in 4 weeks she not only felt physically better (no more headaches and better digestion), but her wrinkles were gone, as were the dark circles under her eyes.  The pictures show a dramatic difference that could easily be photo-shopped, but the article does make sense.  All too often women think about moisturizing to hydrate the skin from the outside, but what about hydrating from the inside?  I have to admit, I don't drink nearly as much water as I should.  It's not that I don't like water; as a matter of fact it's my drink of choice.  I have one cup of coffee in the morning with my breakfast, then drink water anytime I'm thirsty.  Even when we go out to eat I have water with my meal instead of soda (though I do occasionally indulge in my favorite sugary drink, sweet tea).  My problem is the amount of water I drink, which usually is about 32 ounces a day.  That's half of what is recommended, and frankly, the recommendation falls short.  Why don't I drink more water?  I forget.  Plain and simple, I forget to drink water.  That's a lame excuse, I know.  So I've made it a point to keep a cup with me and try to drink 48 ounces in the morning and another 48 ounces at night.  I started building up my water intake a couple of days ago and already I'm seeing the effects:  I spend more time eliminating toxins from my body (read: I'm peeing more).  I do feel like my skin feels somewhat more hydrated but it's too soon to say how much.  I don't expect the results the woman in the Daily Mail article claims, but if I do get them that would be awesome!

At 5:00 I remembered that tomorrow is trash day, and there was lots of debris in the yard that needed to be picked up - specifically, palm fronds.  We have lots of palm trees in our yard.  Too many, in my opinion.  I like palm trees, they're beautiful and all, but the branches are enormous and have to be cut down to fit them into the trash can.  When I had the SUV I could pack them into the trunk and take them to the dump myself, but there's no way I'm gonna fill up my sedan with branches, twigs and dried up coconuts.  So I grabbed my gloves, my machete and the trash can and went to work cutting up and throwing away about 5 branches.  There's still 7 in the yard that didn't fit.  As I was working my son R came out to tell me he was leaving for work, and that E was on the phone with his teacher!  She'd called him just minutes after I went outside.  He says he did well, was able to answer the questions she asked, and that she didn't even ask all of the questions on the questionnaire, meaning he answered satisfactorily.  I was so glad that he could cross that off his list!  He'll be able to relax the rest of this week, but next week...that's a different story.  He's got semester finals for 5 classes next week, and no, he's not looking forward to them.  We'll probably be studying over the weekend to be sure he's up to speed on everything.  The good thing is, after next week he'll be off the 19th, 22nd and 23rd, so he'll have time to recuperate before the new semester starts on the 26th.  Mom will get some rest too.

I'm going to assume that's all the excitement for today (at least I hope it is!).  I'm gonna snack on some chocolate covered cookies, then shower and relax before bed.  Good night and God bless.

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