Sunday, September 26, 2010

Visit to the Transportation Museum - Spencer, NC

We enjoyed a wonderful excursion to the Transportation Museum in Spencer NC.  If only it had not been so scorching hot.  This first week of fall is unlike any I remember.  Taite and Caleb were super excited to ride on board Thomas.

While Caleb, Taite and Travis enjoyed the train ride, Andrea cools off with a slushy.

Owen was a super trooper....considering how hot it was.  The temperature rose in the mid 90's.  This was one of the hottest fall days I can remember.

Owen was all smiles.....and LOVE.  At 6 months he is a joy in every sense of the word.

Taite on the other hand confided he did not like one bit the magician.

The Vintage car exhibit was neat...Gas was once that cheap in the 60's.

The Pretty Sights around University City Regional Library

I have been exploring some places around the University City Regional Library and the best discovery so far is the beautiful lake. It's the perfect place to go for a walk. In order to walk a couple of miles, I do have to plan and leave home earlier.
My first walk was refreshing  invigorating...   I did end up sweaty...and had to stand in front of one of a fan at work. 

 I loved seeing the ducks and there really was not much of a mess on the walking paths. The ducks are used to people.  I was able to get really close to this one.
 Feeding is not allowed.
My goal is to walk on the days I'm not able to go to the gym due to my new work schedule at UC.
Looking forward to more walks......The full circuit around the lake is more than two miles.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Charleston Tea Plantation

I learned a few things about tea during our visit to America's only tea garden located in Wadmalaw Island.  The tea grown in these fields is processed to make black tea, oolong and green tea.  We went inside the tea factory and watched a very nice presentation and saw the equipment used in the different stages of tea production.  At the end of the 15 minute presentation there was tea for sampling.  Truly delicious indeed, just a little pricey at around .80 per tea bag.

The tea  is dormant during the winter months but once the warm spring temperatures arrive the bushes take off and thrive in the hot and humid Charleston weather.  The bushes are pest free so there is no need to  treat using chemicals making this wonderful product organic.

We skipped the trolley ride which mainly took people around the tea farm.

 I could not get enough of the majestic large oaks. 
Took some pictures nearby the Tea plantation.  The grass in the water is everywhere.  I'm guessing the reeds is what the locals use to make the beautiful reed baskets.
This boat landing is also in the same area.  The quiet and serene conditions and landscape of South Carolina Low country is something we both loved.  A boat ride would have been perfect.  Cliff said that he'd have to own a boat if we lived in this area.
I'm so thankful we were able to get away and I have no doubt...we'll come back.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Isle of Palms - Charleston South Carolina

The Isle of Palms is the perfect place to celebrate a wedding anniversary.  This year we celebrate our 30 th.  Time flies and it's hard to believe we arrived together to this important date.  I'm thankful to the Lord for these many years of marriage to my loving Cliff.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

We are staying at the Sea Side Inn a very nice ocean front motel.  We explored the surroundings and took a walk along the beach.

The tide was super low so we walked along the pier.

Palms are everywhere a delight for Cliff who knows all the scientific names.  He said this one could be at least 100 years.
I have no idea what this beautiful white flower is called.  I called them afternoon glories; they grow in the sand.

Sago Palm beauties

This beautiful bridge is truly a magnificent wonder.  We crossed it on our way to historic downtown Charleston.

We took a walk in downtown Charleston.  We are planning a visit to the market tomorrow, plus a boat ride.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not Quite like My Grandmother's

One of my favorite things to eat when I was growing up in Panama was "tortillas de maiz". My grandmother made tortillas from scratch like no one else could.  These are not to be mistaken with the Mexican corn tortillas.  Tortillas de maiz are thicker.  The procedure to make from scratch involved cooking the corn (but not from the corn in the cob we get in the US). The kernel looks more like an uncooked popcorn kernel.  After boiling the corn she would use a grinder to turn the corn into a dough.  The dough was kneaded and then shaped into patties about just under 1/4 inches thick.

In some central american countries they call the tortillas by the name arepas.  I found this instant corn flour to make them at Compare Foods.  This product produces a pretty tasty corn  tortilla in my opinion.  I did add some shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup) and about a tablespoon of butter to the dough.

The procedure to make the dough is very accurate and you can mix it adding warm water or warm diluted milk.  Do add some salt too.
Just like my grandmother did, I kneaded the dough slightly with the cheese and butter incorporated.
The tortillas are ready to be cooked.  I got 6 patties from 1 cup of the mix.
I cooked on a very hot frying pan with a very small amount of  vegetable oil.  You can use any oil, (such as canola  or safflower) except olive oil.  Cover the pan as they cook.  These corn tortillas can be deep fried but I'm trying to  cut back on the fat so I don't use this method.  They are delicious though as anything deep fried.
Cook the tortillas first around 5 minutes on the first side, then turn an cook around 3 minutes on the second side.  After doing this your tortillas will have a golden crust.  For more internal cooking of the masa (dough), I like to continue the cooking process in the toaster oven.  Bake at 400  for 8 minutes.
Sprinkle some sea salt if desired and more shredded cheese.  I love eating the tortillas for breakfast with eggs accompanied by cafe con leche. (Latte)  Any left over  uncooked tortillas can be wrapped in wax paper and refrigerated.  I have not tried freezing them but I bet it would work.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bethany a Crochet Ballerina Doll

This is Bethany and she is my first crochet ballerina doll.  She was lots of fun to make.  The most challenging part was sandwiching the pipe cleaners for the legs and arms.  The pipe cleaners allow Bethany to pose as a ballerina.  She is so cute.  I made Bethany from a pattern I found on the Dolly Donations Facebook Page.  Dolly Donations also has a blog with  information about their mission of providing dolls for children in need.  This site also provides the patterns and tutorials for making the sewn dolls.  Since I crochet and knit I thought I would start with Bethany.  I have downloaded the pattern for the sewn dolls which look very simple and easy to make. 
Dolly's long and slender ballerina legs.
Dolly's pretty face.  I just made french knots for the eyes and sewed eyelashes using DMC floss.
The mouth was also made using DMC floss.
Dolly's yarn hair.
Dolly was made using Vanna's worsted weight yarn.
Since Bethany is on the small side, she would be perfect to include in the Operations Christmas Child boxes.  Now, I'm starting to get a little anxious....Will I be able to complete all these projects....????keeping in mind that I have a 40 hour job.  So many neat projects to make...and so little time.
I know my friend Larissa has made the sewn dolls so I'm sure she'll be able to tell me approximately how long the sewn dolls take to make.  I'm this is it.  Good night.  Just now heading to read Larissa's latest post about doll making.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

For some time I have had the desire to make my own laundry detergent. I have purchased home made laundry detergent and loved using it. Doing some searches online, I found many helpful sites.

I made the basic powder detergent which requires only three ingredients.  Fels-Naptha bar soap which claims to be ideal for pre-treating stains, Arm & Hammer all Natural Super Washing Soda and borax.  I found all three ingredients in my Harris Teeter Grocery store. The washing soda is good for removing odors and treating greasy dirt stains such as perspiration and collar and cuff stains, plus food stains (mustard, chocolate, blueberry, meat, grease spatters) and many more stains.  The borax is also good to remove stains, deodorizing and it's an alternative to color safe bleach.

For this basic recipe you will use:

One 5-1/2 oz Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap (strange little name, don't you think?)
One cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
One cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
A grater to grate the laundry bar soap
A wooden spoon
A Food processor (to pulverize the mix)

Using the grater, grate the laundry bar soap.

After grating, this is how the flakes look.
Add the washing soda and the borax to the soap flakes.  At this point you can use your wooden spoon to mix and mix until the flakes become smaller.  I decided to use my small food processor to speed up this process and it worked well.
Store the detergent in a jar.  You will only need to use 2 tablespoons according to this recipe.  This is a very economical way to wash your clothes.  Somewhere else I read  that one load will cost approximately a nickel. 
The next thing I want to try is to add a scent to the mix.  I need to do some more research and reading.  Check out this site  for even more homemade laundry detergent recipes.