Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frozen Lemonade Pie

When you have hot summers like we do here, it is really nice to serve desserts that are cool and delicious.  

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
  • 1   6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate (do not thaw)

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes; cool completely.
Make the filling: In a cold medium bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, stir together the condensed milk and frozen lemonade. Gently fold the lemonade mixture into the whipped cream. Pour the filling into the crust; freeze overnight.
About an hour before you serve the pie, make the topping: Toss the berries in a medium bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Set aside until ready to serve.
Let the pie come to room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting. Top each slice with berries.
Note:  You can use any combination of berries that you like; instead of two kinds of berries, you can always just use 2 cups of your favorite berries.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Finned Friends

We have a 30 gallon aquarium that is just awesome.  Besides being very calming to watch the fish, it is also very beautiful.  We have learned a lot about fish since our anniversary two years ago, when my husband and I found an aquarium and stocked it with some really cool fish.

We knew nothing about fish varieties as we were amateur enthusiasts (and I stress the word enthusiasts) and didn't know anything about cycling the tank and choosing the very best type of fish for our tank.  Needless to say, some of our fish didn't make it.  We finally had the water where it needed to be and our fish were healthy at that point.  Our big mistake was letting someone talk us into getting mystery snails (their real name) to clean algae and waste in the tank.  The snails were fine for a while and then they would turn this weird bubble gum color and in 1-2 days, they were dead.  Our fish were starting to die again, little-by-little, so I decided to do some research.

Our snails had flukes, which we found out were using the snails as hosts.  There are two types of flukes; the egg laying (oviparous) gill fluke and the live bearing (viviparous) body (or skin)  fluke.  Skin and gill flukes are caused by parasitic flatworms known as trematodes.  They are called "flukes" because they have the same flattened body shape as a flounder (the old Saxon name for flounder was fluke).  Skin flukes have been found to have more than 4 generations inside a single fluke.  A healthy fish will be better equipped to withstand a small fluke attack, but a large fluke infestation can be very deadly.  They can cause severe tissue damage and lesions and can be the reason behind hyperplasia of  both skin and gill epithelium (Hyperplasia is increased cell production in a normal tissue or organ).   When the skin and gills are damaged by the trematodes (flukes), it is even easier for new trematodes to attack the fish.  Some symptoms of flukes are:  sluggishness, flashing (rubbing against rocks or decorations and sometimes "bouncing"), reddened fins, drooping fins, fin damage, loss of appetite, isolation and there may also be excessive mucus production.

There are several methods of treating flukes, however, some medications are not effective in their treatment.  Prazi is a great medication and is safe to use with even the most sensitive of fish; if it is used as directed, it almost guarantees elimination of the flukes (according to  Prazi doesn't affect your filter bacteria, which a lot of treatments do, and it lasts a long time.  Prazi can be hard to find, but there are several online retailers that carry it including:  Amazon, Rocky Mountain Discus Care Products, Doctors Foster and Smith, and Bonnie's Plants.  This is not an inexpensive treatment; it is offered on Amazon for between $5 and $35.

We lost all of our fish, but we have learned a lot.  We cleaned the tank and the gravel, decorative rocks, etc. with vinegar (works best, in my opinion to clean with and also is good to put on your hands and arms when having to place your hands inside the tank for whatever reason) just make sure to rinse well and when using on your hands/arms, rinse well and dry on paper towels to avoid transfer of any soap or laundry softener to the tank.

Make sure to cycle your tank; we use filtered water and a water conditioner (used to remove any chlorine, other chemicals, etc.), a good filter, an air strip with variable water pressure (to incorporate oxygen into the tank and also provide a current for your fish whose natural habitat is in a body of water with a current (whether strong or mild).  It is good to add live plants to your tank, such as myriophyllum, varieties of water lily (lilies are good for fish that like a dimmer light in the tank) and crypt plants to help keep ammonia levels down and provide a nice hiding place for your fish also.  We put beneficial bacteria in the tank (biozyme is the brand we used) to help cycle the water.  You will get an initial "bloom" of  bacteria that will turn the water a cloudy whitish hue; this is actually what it is supposed to do.  You can add about 5 drops of a pure ammonia liquid (no scents, no added ingredients) to every 10 gallons get your ammonia level to .5, which helps kill the bad bacteria and algae.  Cycle it for about 2 weeks and check the ammonia level to make sure it is appropriate for the fish and if all looks good, add about 2-4 fish initially and then another 4-6 in about 2 weeks (if getting tetras or other small varieties, you may add 6-8 because they are schooling fish and do better in a larger group).

We now have 12 cardinal tetras, 3 chinese algae eaters, 2 reticulated hillside loaches (they look like little manta rays and are so cool), 5 calico platies (we now have 4 little platie babies - awww!), 5 dwarf rainbows and a lot of brine shrimp that just appeared one day and are excellent for baby fish (fry) and fish who like live  food.  If you would like to find out more about fish diseases, symptoms and treatment, click here.

Good luck and make sure to do your homework; it will prove to be a lifesaver - literally!      

Monday, August 20, 2012

Text Message Codes that Kids Don't Want Their Parents to Know

We see our children texting at 90 mph and wonder how they can be doing that while watching television and talking on the phone at the same time; well, there is more to it than just saying "What's up"?  There are codes that the kids use for when their parents are in the room (or even standing over their shoulder), so the sender doesn't share anything the parent would disapprove of.  Here are some of the "codes" they use:

2H2H         Too hot to handle
2M2H        Too much to handle
99              Parent has left
420            Let's get high/marijuana
A3             Anytime, anywhere, any place
ACE          Marijuana cigarette
AITR          Adult in the room
ASL           Age/sex/location
ASLP        Age/sex/location/picture
AWT         At what time
B/G           Background (personal information request)
BGWM      Be gentle with me
BIH           Burn in H***
BTYCL      Booty call
CD9          Code 9 meaning "parents are around"
CICYHW   Can I copy your homework
CT            Can't talk
CTN          Can't talk now
CUIMD      See you in my dreams
D46?         Down for s_x?
DM            Do me
DOC          Drug of choice
DYFM        Dude, you fascinate me
E               Ecstasy (the drug)
ED             Erase display
ES             Erase screen
ESAD        Eat s... and die
EZ             Easy
FB             Facebook
FBFR         Facebook friend
FML         "F" my life
FOAD       "F" off and die
FU            "F" you
FWB          Friend with benefits
FYEO        For your eyes only
GGOH       Gotta get outta here
GGMSOT  Gotta get me some of that
GIRL         Guy in real life
GTFO        Get the "F" out
HUYA        Head up your butt
ICEDI         I can't even discuss it
IMEZRU     I am easy, are you?
IWAWO     I want a way out
IGHT          I got high tonight
IWSN         I want s_x now
JDI            Just do it
KFY           Kiss for you
KMA          Kiss my ...
KPC          Keeping parents clueless
LGH           Let's get high
LH6            Let's have s_x!
LHSX         "
LIK             meaning "liquor"
LMIRL        Let's meet in real life
MBS          Mom behind shoulder
MLM          meaning give the middle finger
MOS          Mom over shoulder
NIFOC        Naked in front of computer
NWO          No way out
OB             Oh baby!
P911          Parents coming into room alert
PA             Parent alert
PAQ          Parents are watching
PBB          Parent behind back
PIR            Parent in room
POS          Parent over shoulder
PRON        meaning pornography
PRT           Party
PRW          People/parents are watching
PSOS        Parents standing over shoulder
RYO          Roll your own
S2R          Send to receive
SOS          Someone over shoulder
SOWM      Someone is with me
SPST        Same place, same time
TD2M        Talk dirty to me
TDTM         "
URH          You are hot
WAN2       Want to?
WYCM      Will you call me?
YBS          You'll be sorry!
YHBW       You have been warned!

There are a lot more of these, parents, and these are the ones that I could actually put on my site without getting really graphic.  There are more codes out there that you need to know; some of these are extremely graphic and touch on many different aspects of human relationships (that's the nicest way I can put it).  

If you want to find out more about the other codes, click here  to go to the Better Parenting Institute's site.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hanging in There

Just when I think that my flare-ups of the fibromyalgia are getting better - wham!  I have had a lot of swelling along with more and more pain - I am so over this right now.  I am just really thankful that the Lord gives me strength to deal with what I am going through.  I still get upset sometimes and wish that I could be the active person that I once was, but I know that I am going through this for a reason.

The worst thing I could have done was take Lyrica; which, unfortunately, I did.  I didn't want to take this medication, but basically let my doctor talk me into it.  I went from 105 lbs. to 120 lbs. in one month's time.  I was eating less due to the pain and nausea that accompanies it, but my weight went up anyway.   My doctor told me that it was largely due to inflammation and fluid retention.  I am back to about 112 lbs. now and can fit in some of my smaller clothes again, but I still have things that I cannot fit into that I really miss wearing.  I can fit in something one day and not be able to get it together enough to zip it the next.  We are talking about anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches difference in one day.  I'm sure you ladies know how frustrating that would be.

I know that Lyrica has helped some people, but I would not hesitate one bit to discourage anyone I come in contact with, from taking Lyrica.  I was one of the lucky ones to have about 60% of the side effects.  I have heart palpitations, PVC's (premature ventricular contractions where your heart skips beats), some chest pain, extremely bad swelling of my feet and legs (much worse if I am on them for very long at a time) and also my abdomen.  These are just a few of the side effects that I have from the Lyrica (these are permanent by-the-way).

I can tell you one thing, though - the Lord blessed me with a very sincere, loving, understanding husband who tells me every single day, how beautiful I am and how much he loves me.  I have a daughter who says that I am the best mommy in the whole world and the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.  With fans like that, how could you not feel a little better.  Believe me, I know how blessed I am; all I have to do is look around me and I see my greatest blessings.  Love abounds in our home in all directions, and that is what's important.