Cooking and cleaning

June 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The boys are at Pioneer Camp this week.

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While they are busy making bricks, digging holes, forging iron, and mostly just getting dirty, I am trying to get the house back in order after termite-ageddon.

Yesterday the screens on our pool cage were repaired.

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See Maggie…that is a pool cage. Or a bird cage around the pool. Or a screened-in pool. Or whatever you want to call it. Apparently not common in California? Very common in Florida. When they tented the house for termites they had to cut all the screens abutting the house. It was so sad. All of the accumulated debris on those screens just fell through onto the pool deck and into the pool.

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It doesn’t look as bad in the pictures as it did in real life. There were branches and leaves and dirt everywhere. It was depressing.

But now…

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no more debris!

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I spent most of the morning sweeping the whole deck. Deck sweeping attire (which I would never wear in public, but apparently I would share with the interwebs…plus, this reflection is nice and blurry, mostly obscuring my squishy parts):

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Next up will be pressure washing the deck with Chad’s new pressure washer. I think it was a pretty nice gift considering labor was included.

Of course as soon as they put up the new screens some more branches fell on them.

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It was quite an ordeal just to find a company to repair the screens. What is it with contractors of all sorts? They don’t return calls. They don’t want to give estimates. I called six companies and was only able to get a written estimate from one of them! Luckily, the guys were great and did a good job, but I have no idea if their bid was competitive because I couldn’t even get a second bid. We went with Reliable Screens and they were nice to work with. They came when they said they were going to and knew what they were doing. It’s crazy how they walk around on those narrow bars on the cage ceiling.

They told me they are a “one call does it all” kind of business, and I am also going to use them to clean out and repair our gutters and clean off the roof. Maybe I can get them to remove all the branches from the top of the pool cage while they are at it.

In addition to cleaning the pool deck today, I also did a bunch of cooking.

I have Chinese five spice pork ribs in the crock pot (recipe from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2).

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I also made cole slaw to have a side dish with dinner (recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain). It is made with my awesome homemade mayo (recipe from Well Fed).

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We’re also going to have cheddar garlic biscuits that I made on Sunday. Everything is #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) of course. I’m almost 10 months NSNG now, and loving it. This is the way to live…for me and my family anyway.

I also have bone broth on the stove, but it’s a 2-day process.

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I am using Wellness Mama’s method for making bone broth. The organic grass-fed beef bones are from Rosas Farms. They are in Ocala, but deliver to St. Pete and other areas twice a month. I pick up my meat in the Home Depot parking lot out of the trunk of some guy’s car…this is normal, right?

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I’m also making a new batch of mayo since I used up all that we had for the cole slaw and we must always have homemade mayo.

Whew. I also did two loads of laundry. I feel like I got a lot accomplished today. The boys will be home soon.

In other random news, I was excited to see the progress on our Trader Joe’s…just a mile or so from my house:

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Since the new Trader Joe’s opened in Tampa in March I haven’t even been over there! I’m not quite as enamored with TJ’s as I used to be, but I’m still psyched to be getting one here in St. Pete. I like options, and I will never run out of coconut cream!

Cya.

Fathers’ Day and Wat Mongkolratanaram

June 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Wat what?

First of all, I was really really missing my dad all day yesterday, of course.

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I think I was brought to tears about 50 times yesterday reading everyone’s outpouring of love for their dads on Facebook. My dad was the best. I’m still not used to the world without him in it.

Our thing for Mothers’ Day and for Fathers’ Day is that the honoree gets to do pretty much nothing all day, unless they want to do something. Chad never gets any time at home alone, so the boys and I got out of the house for a few hours to give him some serenity (so he could play video games that the boys are not allowed to play).

We took a short drive over to Tampa to visit the Buddhist temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram.

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The temple and surrounding grounds are so pretty.

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The sign said to please not enter the temple in shorts, cargo pants, or low-cut shirts…out of respect. We were all wearing shorts, so I just took a photo of the inside from the door.

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Every week Wat Tampa (as they are known) has a Sunday Market featuring all kinds of beautiful and delicious Thai specialties.

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We love Thai food in our family, so the boys and I were psyched.

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The big open-air market made me feel like I was on the streets of Bangkok…except they were happy to take our U.S. dollars.

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Cal and I both got the Basil Chicken.

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Mack got fried chicken wings.

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We also got some red curry chicken and beef skewers to take home to Chad. Everything was amazingly delicious. There were many things that I want to try on our next visit, like the pumpkin curry chicken and the green curry. We lucked into a nice shady table right by the Palm River.

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There were hundreds of people there, but the huge shady area with a gazillion picnic table seemed to accommodate everyone, and we hardly had to wait in a line at all.

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While the boys finished eating I checked out all the plants and vegetables for sale. They had a little of everything.

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Tons of orchids:

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Asian vegetables:

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Asian fruit trees:

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The boys and I can’t wait to go back. I don’t know why it took me so long to check out Wat Tampa!

Later in the day Chad opened his Fathers’ Day gifts.

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He got a pressure washer and a hand-hammered wok. Is getting a pressure washer for Fathers’ Day the equivalent of getting a vacuum cleaner for Mothers’ Day? He liked it.

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For Fathers’ Day dinner we got Ciccio’s (our favorite) and watched Cosmos (our other favorite).

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I hope Chad enjoyed his day.

Cya.