27 August 2008

08-27-2008 This Date 1859 1st Oil Well Drilled

On August 27, 1859 The 1st successful oil well was drilled, near Titusville, Pennsylvania by Edwin Drake. Thus began the oil rush and what ultimately became the world's dependence on this natural resource. Go to this PBS page to read more about this event http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/theymadeamerica/whomade/drake_hi.html.

24 August 2008

08-24-2008 On this date in 1963 I Have a Sister!

On this date in 1963, I have a sister! Hurray, it's a girl! In those days, you just didn't know what the gender of a child was going to be before it was born. I remember a "trick" I heard of as a child that would tell you what the sex was of an unborn child. The mom should be lying down. Someone else should hold a piece of thread with a needle attached to it over the mom's tummy. If the needle moves in a circular motion then a girl will be born. If the needle goes up and down or side to side then it will be a boy! Interesting but not too scientific. Has anyone tried this?

20 August 2008

08-20-2008 Some Old Family Photos from My Cousin

A very nice cousin of mine has sent me a few of these pictures and I thought I would share them with my family members who stop in and visit my blog. A couple of them (the "newer ones" I had but the ones he sent I didn't) and I am soooo happy! Enjoy!

19 August 2008

08-19-2008 Household Hints

I received this list in an email. If anyone has tried any of these things let me know what you found out.


  • Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.

  • Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

  • Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

  • Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking. I've done this for years and it really works. I usually do it when I don't defrost the ground beef and I toss it in the skillet to brown.

  • To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

  • For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

  • Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic. I have heard that this works the same for all spices.

  • Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm! Let's be honest here, who has left over Snickers???

  • Reheat Pizza Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

  • Easy Deviled Eggs Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

  • Expanding Frosting When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

  • Reheating refrigerated bread To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

  • Newspaper weeds away Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and for- get about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

  • Broken Glass Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

  • No More Mosquitoes Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

  • Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

  • Flexible vacuum To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

  • Reducing Static Cling Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and .... ta da! ... static is gone. Fabric softener works good too. Another trick I've used is spraying a little hairspray on the offending garment and it works too.

  • Measuring Cups Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

  • Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car . When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! I don't know about this one. Seems like it's just another item to cram into a too small glove box.

  • Reopening envelope If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

  • Conditioner Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

  • Goodbye Fruit Flies To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2 with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever! Tried this without any luck. Left it out for a couple of days when I saw some fruit flies in the kitchen and this solution did not attract even 1 fruit fly.

  • Get Rid of Ants Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

18 August 2008

08-18-2008 On this Day in 1587 The Dares Have a Baby! Plus Save Money!

On this date in 1587 the 1st English child, Virginia Dare, was born in the New World. An article that deals with the facts and legend about her is found at http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/1647. A mystery surrounds the colony that the Dares resided in. All the settlers, including the young Virginia disappeared! To read more about this visit the about.com page at http://usparks.about.com/cs/parkhistory/a/virginiadare.htm.
Money saving tips: Many of the dollar-type stores offer great bargains. Be alert though because not everything is a good deal. I have found good deals on yarn there. Some of the yarn has a suggested retail value of $6 or more! Another good deal is razors. I would rather spend a buck for a pack of eight than three or four dollars! Not everything is a good deal. I don't go along with the designer shampoos and I can usually purchase my shampoo for under a dollar at other stores. Food items are another iffy deal at these dollar-type stores. Coffee creamer is a good deal but a can of corn is not. It pays to shop around and make notes about prices of commonly used items in your household.

17 August 2008

08-17-2008 This Day in 1790 U.S. Capital Moved & I Have Peaches!

On 17 August 1790:
The capital city of the U.S. moves to Philadelphia from New York City. So you always thought the capital of the United States has always been Washington, D.C.--nope, that's not true. Congress had met in numerous cities including New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, Baltimore, Annapolis, Trenton and York before settling in the newly formed Washington, D.C. You can read more about this at http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/washington-dc/history.php . The picture is of the President's house in Philadelphia where George Washington lived.

Here's an update for you on my food preservation. For the first time, I was able to harvest peaches from our dwarf peach tree! I raced the squirrels for the fruit and I mostly won! I used splenda instead of sugar in the syrup for them. The "syrup" is rather thin and watery though. I was able to bag 4 quarts. I should be able to use the peaches and make a delicious peach cobbler. Warm peach cobbler with sugar-free ice cream on top--YUMMY!

15 August 2008

08-15-2008 On this day in 1096 the First Crusaders Head for Jerusalem

On 15 August 1096 the armies of the First Crusade set out from Europe to deliver Jerusalem from the occupying forces of Islamic Turks. Championed by Peter the Hermit in 1093, Pope Urban II had sanctioned the crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095. An interesting article about the First Crusade is found at http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru2.htm. Many historical sources credit Peter the Hermit as the originator of the First Crusade. However, The New Advent Online Catholic Encyclopedia disputes this. You may read this article at http://home.newadvent.org/cathen/11775b.htm.

13 August 2008

08-13-2008 On This Day 1792 French Royals Captured

On this day in history, 13 August 1792--Revolutionaries imprison the French royals. To read more about this deed and the eventual execution of Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette then go to the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity website of the French Revolution at http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap6a.html.

12 August 2008

08-12-2008 1ST Day Back Subbing and Money Saving Tips from the Past

Today was my first day back subbing this year. Day started out on the wrong foot--I was 1 sub in a classroom that normally has 2 teachers and a teaching assistant. In the morning, it was just me! Everyone thought the other teacher was supposed to be there and I never did get the story about where the teaching assistant was. Anyway, that wasn't all that was going on or I should say wasn't going on. I didn't have class rosters, nor did I have lesson plans. One of the regular teachers ran around like crazy and got together some plans and BOOKS for the class so about 1/2 way into the first period we were on track! She was fantastic and deserves a bravo zulu for all the work she did so quickly. Anyway, I'm not mentioning specifics here because I don't want to step on toes if you know what I mean. The day was actually progressing very well and about 1/2 way through the day I did get a TA in the room--another great big help! Surprisingly, today ended up being a very good day at the school.

Something else I want to talk about today are a few of the little hints my mom used to pinch pennies. Some of these little tricks will work for us today. She did not buy little covered plastic dishes to put leftovers in; she utilized used jars from peanut butter, mayo, pickles and that sort of thing. She also wrapped our lunch sandwiches in waxed paper. Buy bags to throw out with the trash???? No siree...we lined our kitchen trash cans with grocery sacks and in those days the sacks were all made of paper. Sodas (or "pop") were a special treat maybe once a week. Usually our drink of choice (besides milk) was kool-aid or other similar powdered drink mix and she bought the unsweetened kind and added her own sugar because it was less expensive that way. She and my dad drank ice tea brewed from tea bags. I started thinking about these things when I was reading the "I remember when..." thread on crochetville.org http://www.crochetville.org/forum/showthread.php?t=57673 . You may want to check it out and see what others have been reminiscing about.
Take care and have fun!

09 August 2008

08-09-2008 This Day in 1910 Electric Washers Patented, Canning Update

August 9th, 1910 Alva Fisher patents electric washing machine. Throw out the scrub board and stop beating your laundry on the rocks by the stream! Yippppeeee a washing machine! With my overflowing closet and my procrastination about doing laundry, I would spend a month of Sundays at the ol' river washing my clothes if it wasn't for Mr. Fisher. Go to this url to check out a little bit about the history of washing machines http://inventors.about.com/od/wstartinventions/a/washingmachines.htm.

Check out the picture I have posted here of a concept washing machine that may even clean itself every time you flush it. It is a washing machine-toilet that flushes with the washer water! Go here to this link to read a little bit about it http://www.envirogadget.com/recycling/combined-washing-machine-and-toilet/.

Pickles are all pickled! What a time-consuming job and recipe I used. I was getting really frustrated trying to use my big stockpot to sterile jars and do the hotbath of the canned pickles in. When I splashed myself twice with boiling water because I didn't have the whatchacallit to move the jars in and out of the boiling water with I stopped what I was doing and dashed over to the local discount store to buy a big canning pot with the basket in it and the canning tongs (I guess that's what they're called). I had about a 1/2 dozen tomatoes and a small bowl of cherry tomatoes that we weren't going to use before they went bad so I made tomato sauce and canned it. I only got 2 small jars but hey, at least it didn't get wasted.

07 August 2008

08-07-2008 Update on My Food Preserving

Corn is done! About 1 dozen ears of corn I processed and froze on the cob. The rest, I cut from the cob and froze in packets of about 1 3/4 - 2 cups sizes. What a lot of work! I asked my son to come over and help me. He shucked the corn for me and I cut it from the cob, cooked and bagged it! I'm glad that's over with. I never realized before that corn had a smell. When my husband got home from work, he thought I was eating raw corn because it was stuck to my face and in my hair! What a vision of domestic loveliness to come home too!

My ds sliced the cucumbers for pickles. I must have selected the most detail orientated recipe to make. I soaked the cucumbers in a lime solution overnight. In the morning I had to rinse them 3 times. Then I had to soak them in ice water for 3 1/2 hours. The next step was to make the pickling solution. That's done and the part I'm at now is to let the pickles soak in this solution overnight. In the morning I have to boil them and then do the actual canning thingie. I may get them done yet! Stay tuned...

05 August 2008

08-05-2008 Canning and Freezing Vegetables--Money Saving Tip

Today I am freezing corn and making pickles. The cucumbers came from our very first garden! The corn came from a farmer. Today's money saving tip is about buying produce. What you must do is SHOP AROUND!!! In order to conserve gas, you and a friend or 2 should go around to different farmers' markets and produce stands and carry cell phones with you. Then, while at the stands, call each other and compare prices. Then, either the proprieter of the stand you are at will lower his price or your friend can buy for you at the cheaper price! We relied on word-of-mouth. Corn was going for $40 a bushel at the farmers' market by our house. A neighbor found a place to get corn for $16 a bushel so guess who we went with??? Anyway, I'll keep you posted with my first time canning and freezing produce! Later...

08-05-2008 USS Houston CA30 Sunk During WWII

I was honored to meet and correspond with some of the survivors from the USS Houston back in 2002. I wrote my college thesis on the heroes of this ship wreck. The ones I met were humble men and surprisingly did not hold a grudge against their captors. Back in 2002, the survivors received back pay from the advancements they were eligible for during their captivity. These pay raises were in WWII dollars without interest being paid. I have a cousin (once removed) and her half-brother was killed in the Battle of Makassar Strait the previous month. Anyway, before you watch this video, scan over to the music player and turn the music off so that you can hear this video without interference.

For more information


03 August 2008

08-03-2008 History: Gas Rationing Starts This Day in 1941

On 03 August 1941, gas rationing begins in the eastern states. A nation-wide rationing of gas began in December 1942. This is an interesting topic to read about with modern day gas prices becoming more and more expensive. A short, interesting article about gas-rationing during WWII can be found at http://www.bookrags.com/research/gas-rationing-ahwt-01/. A good online article about WWII rationing with lots of photos is at http://www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm . Enjoy!

08-03-2008--Preserving Vegetables from Garden

Hi, I thought that I would share with you today one of the things I'm doing to conserve on my food bill for this winter. We grew our first garden this year! It's pretty small because we didn't know if we had what it takes to maintain one. Next year it will be bigger! Anyway, we are up to our ears in cucumbers and I've been giving many of them away. My best crop is the green beans. Every Saturday for the past few weeks I go and harvest my little crop then I bring the beans in and process them for freezing. I was able to get one of those whatchacallit machines at Big Lots that vacuum packs food items. So, for the past several weekends I've been able to put 2-7 packs of beans in the freezer. It's just dh and me so that will go a long way. Anyway, I've been scouring the Internet looking for a basic tomato sauce recipe and I found on at a New Mexico State University web page http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/. I only have a few tomato plants because I don't care for tomatos but I do enjoy dishes that have tomato sauce in them. The recipe sounds like a lot of work but it's worth it when you look at how high food prices are now and financial experts predict even higher prices this winter. Here's a few more places to visit for tips on freezing and canning food

I have some onions coming in and I want to chop them up and dehydrate them to use in cooking. I would like to buy a couple bushels of corn to process and freeze but the going price at farmers' markets is $40 a bushel! Between the summer storms, higher transportation costs and the increased use of corn to make ethanol corn prices have soared! Anyway, if anyone has some more hints, recipes or comments please write me.

For more information, go to your favorite search engine and type in "preserving foods," "canning foods" or "freezing foods." Good luck and have fun!

Take care...Sharon

02 August 2008

08-02-2008 On this day 1943 Pt-109 and JFK sunk

On this day, 02 August 1943 - The U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, sank after being attacked by a Japanese destroyer. The boat was under the command of Lt. John F. Kennedy. National Geographic has an online article about the discovery of what is believed to be the wreckage of this vessel. Go to http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0709_020710_kennedyPT109.html to read this article. A good article about the sinking of PT-109 is located at http://www.orwelltoday.com/jfkpt109.shtml . To learn more about President Kennedy, you can visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum at http://www.jfklibrary.org/ .

01 August 2008

08-02-2008 My Crochet Project Update

This is the same pattern that I used to make the slippers I posted pictures of July 29th. I used a larger hook with these. They now fit my big feet! I didn't put the motif on because these are just for me to wear in the house.

Anyway, I'm back to work on the coat for the fur baby of my good friend in California. This pattern is very frustrating. It is very poorly written, the counts don't come out correctly. UGH! This is the 2nd pattern I'm using so I hope it starts working out. If it doesn't, I'm going to BUY a sweater for the fur baby and use the yarn and some of my yarn stash and make an afghan or throw for them--lol! The pattern is at this link http://www.bernat.com/pattern.php?PID=194 .

The other project I'm working on is a baby blanket that is NOT a round ripple. It is a ripple pattern that is made of baby yarn and is worked in panels. It is very easy but is slow going because the yarn is finer and the hook is smaller. The pattern I'm using is a solutia pattern at http://web.archive.org/web/20050227234845/www.thesmartyarns.com/patterns/march03/babyripple.html

08-01-2008 This Day in 1794--Whiskey Rebellion Starts

01 August 1794--Whiskey Rebellion begins. This rebellion was instituted by farmers, angry over taxes on whiskey because this virtually wiped out the farmers profits. President George Washington called out the militia to suppress these farmers. If you click on http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/whiskey/page1.html you will see a copy of President Washington's original proclamation on this rebellion.

08-01-2008 List of Links Updated

I just finished bringing my list of links from Yahoo 360 to this blog. I "checked" those that I do not use very often so you should not have problems using any of them. If you see that one of my links doesn't work, please let me know and I'll be glad to fix it or delete it. Keep on hooking!