Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Iced Tea in My New Pitcher

Arm Update: At 148 days I was officially released by both my orthopedist and physical therapist. I am still doing PT on my own for about 45 minutes a day, but the improvement is amazing. The real game changer was when my doctor prescribed trigger point microcurrent stimulation (like acupuncture with electricity instead of needles). I was totally sure that it was hocus pocus, especially since all I heard was buzzing and I felt absolutely nothing. But I was wrong. I can raise my arm to do the physical therapy which makes life easier and the pain has decreased to a dull ache. After the second session I was able to sleep for eleven hours straight. My therapist did a total of six sessions and I feel like a new woman. 

It's a warm, humid summer in Northern Ohio and dreams of iced tea run through my brain.  I had an elaborate way to keep my supply going and it was a little challenging with one arm.  I would heat 8 cups of water to boiling in my microwave, measure adequate teaspoons of loose tea into strainers, retrieve water (this was the tricky part), submerge the strainers, brew the tea and pour it into a collection of 16 ounce glass bottles with lids  I have accumulated over the years (think Snapple).  It would take 3 go rounds with the water, strainers and bottles to fill them all and I would be good for a few days.  My family called it "making mom's moonshine". 

Then, because the internet knows more about you than you do yourself, this advertisement from the Harney and  Sons Fine Teas popped up.  And once you click on it once, it just keeps a poppin'. 
Well, since all I can really do in this heat, sheltered at home, is play on the internet and spend money, I finally pulled the trigger. I was pretty excited when it arrived!
The reviews made it sound easy and it was. You measure about 7 teaspoons of loose tea (or two large iced tea bags) and place in the glass pitcher. Add 3 cups of boiling water and let the tea steep. I think the directions say 5 minutes, but I leave it at least 10 minutes. I am using up all my various loose teas in the backs of my cupboards. This one is "pecan tart" which I received as a gift. 
The stopper/lid has a built in strainer! The hardest choice to make with the purchase was the color of the top. I chose the aqua.  The lid is not dishwasher safe.
Fill the pitcher with cold water. And don't judge the snowflake tablecloth. 
And place in the refrigerator. The pitcher is as tall as a gallon of milk, so you will need to find a place to squeeze it in. 
The strainer works perfectly and the tea is so clear.  I did realize that my aqua lid matches the Dollar Tree glasses I bought in February when I did my early pandemic shopping, so after this they will be my new iced tea glasses. EWWW - trust me - what looks like insects are actually the tea leaves. This was the only photo I have. 

I received no compensation from Harney and Sons; it was a total fluke I saw the ad pop up. Two sample teas were included with the pitcher, but I haven't tried them yet. I also added a sampler in a really cool tea box to qualify for free shipping and I haven't opened that yet because I haven't decided if it will be a gift or I will just keep it for myself! 

Actually I am considering another pitcher so that I don't run out of tea while the glass pitcher is in the dishwasher.  I think this pitcher would make a marvelous gift, too. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Once A Month Blog Post: July

I am totally in awe of all of you that post weekly or even daily. 

Arm Update: Last evaluation was 80% mobility. That was enough for me. I am over it. I thought I was resigning from Physical Therapy. My doctor had written orders for my newest complication, tennis elbow from too much therapy, so I thought they would throw in some exercises. Instead, I am now doing a few weeks of electric current therapy at acupuncture points. Or in others words, shocking the nerves in my arm and elbow with electric current.  I don't want to speak too loudly, but I have had two sessions and I think my pain level is much better. I have two more weeks to go.

Meanwhile, we celebrated my youngest grandson's first birthday with a small, 
socially distanced minimal family outdoor picnic. 
Socially appropriate individually servings of picnic food. 
I usually take ALL TEN of my grandchildren (well, nine up to now) for a week in the summer for Gramma Mimi's Cousin Camp. Between a global pandemic and a broken humerous, plans for this year have changed. My out-of-town grandchildren are remaining safely out-of-town. I do childcare for 2 of my local grandchildren, part time childcare for 2 more local grandchildren and 3 more grandchildren's mom is taking an online class. So all seven of the youngest came for a day camp the first of July. We are calling it Gramma Mimi's America Camp. 
Some of the campers. Usually I go all out, matching t-shirts, themed activities, themed food. Lots of field trips. Well, that can't happen. 
I think the humidity and 100 degree temperatures got this one. I had bought what I thought were bubble wands for camp last year. I got them out this year and they were water shooters. 
This kept the sunscreened campers busy for hours. 
And lots of time in the shade or on the porch with popsicles.

After two weeks to recuperate, we tried it again with
 Gramma Mimi's Cooking School!

The Chefs!  Too hot to be outside, we started with frosting cupcakes that I baked the night before.  Each chef had their own frosting in a cup and their own utensils. I think you can see why. 
Next we made yeast bread dough in ziplock bags and formed them into loaves.  
You mix the dough by squeezing.
While the dough rose, we baked some cut out cookies
 (that I had in the freezer). 

They cooled while we ate lunch, then we frosted the cookies and ate them while we put our loaves of bread in the oven.  While the bread was baking, we colored some spaghetti noodles I had cooked the day before. 

It worked pretty slick! Just add 1 tablespoon of water and a few drops of food coloring, 
seal and shake! 
Everyone got to pick a color! We made rainbow pasta!
We put together spaghetti pies with tomato sauce and meatballs, covered with cheese and baked so they could take dinner home to their parents. 
Junior Chefs eating lunch because they can't cook while I have a camera in my hand. 

So- what else have I been doing?
Well, I edit our local genealogy group's newsletter and wrote a 12 page issue about the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic in our county.  I only covered from October 1, 1918 to November 1, 1918 so I know what the fall issue will be. . .  Thank goodness (a) that I have use of two arms for much easier typing than the spring issue (b) access to two different newspaper archives on line so I don't have to leave my house for research. 

We have also been participating in Virtual Vacation Bible School. 
It is a whole new world, folks. 
It seems like I retired to become a home school teacher.  
Luckily it means I get to keep them with me a little longer. 
 And we practiced wearing masks for class on Thursday in case we get to attend school this year. 

Well, I guess that is it for July.  Maybe I will come up with something else from my living room for another post this month or maybe I will have to wait until August. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fourth of July Birthday Garland

Broken Arm Update: I had my evaluation for physical therapy. I have progressed from about 20% range of motion to about 60% range of motion which is terrific! But not terrific enough to graduate from physical therapy. We scheduled another four weeks. 

Last year we welcomed our very own firecracker! 
My youngest grandson, Louis, was born during our city's Fourth of July parade. He and his mommy were able to watch the fireworks from the top floor of the hospital. He looks very impressed. 
Mom wanted a Fourth of July fabric garland to put behind Louis for his first birthday pictures.  Since I can't go shopping, I went to the fabric closet. This was quite the experience because I have more fabric than a fabric store and it is piled on shelves from floor to ceiling. I considered the pulling, shifting, piling, falling and re-piling of fabric to be my physical therapy for the day. It did take one day just to corral all my fabric. Day two began with ironing (even though it doesn't look like there was any pressing in this photo), folding and cutting with my rotary cutter. I had search several pinterest pages looking for suggested measurements. I ended up going with 12" long and between 1 1/2 inches and 3 inches wide. 
Something I did learn on Pinterest was to tie my clothesline between two chairs so I could sit on the couch and tie them together. I was so happy to finally part with the red checked fabric. It was from my mother's stash and now I feel like she is with Louis for his birthday. 
My daughter wanted a vintage Fourth of July baseball theme and these are just some of the fabrics I had in that color family. To knot the strips, I just made a loop in the middle and pull both ends through. It only took me an afternoon to make the 7 foot garland. 
This is the "teaser" from Louis's birthday session! I think it came out pretty darn good. 
Mom isn't sure if Louis is actually hosting a birthday party for the Fourth of July. The original plan was a pool party and picnic at their house! Instead of the primitive colors, she wanted to go with more primary red, white and blue. As long as I did not have grandchildren to babysit and since I had the rotary cutter and mat on the table, I set to work on a garland for the party. 
More tying on to a clothesline.  I decided not to use the red stripe. I have the white high chair that was mine as a baby. It does not have a strap to belt in a child (so they can slide out under the tray. The tray lifts up to release the child or for the child to flip and throw food around the room. But it does look nice in pictures. 

For the party I will staple the garland to the high chair. I am trying to decide if the chair needs a good cleaning or I should try to repaint it. 

I ended up cutting enough of both color families to make at least one more garland from each.  I haven't decided if I am keeping them all or giving them away. The photographer and my daughters and daughter in laws have all expressed interest.  As my daughter told our photographer, only my mom would have a closet full of fabric in just the right colors to make a last minute garland. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Summer Wreath

Broken Arm Update: Physical Therapy is kicking me in the rear. I am back to sleeping in my recliner. I was up most of the night and my plan was to sleep all day until I was woken by a 5 year old. His dad had a curbside pickup at a home improvement store in the next town and there is no room in the pickup for a booster seat. I do have a greater range of motion and am starting to actually accomplish a few things. 

Earlier this spring, there was a great wreath going around social media having something to do with a bicycle. I lost the inspiration photo, but I did order some plastic bicycles from Ebay that arrived about three months later from China. 

We are, of course, social distancing and, of course, our local craft stores are not requiring masks. I had to make due with what I had. 
It took six spools of 9 yard ribbon with a slight wire edge.
Searched the internet and anywhere with curb side pickup for these. Thought I would have to use an old grapevine wreath and then found two in my sewing closet. (Two pictured)
Took another day to find a spool of floral wire, then I cut the ribbon and wound wire around the loops. 
I then wired the loops to the frame using some kind of pattern that I lost track of. I am not sure this was the easiest method of doing this. 

But it looks better from the front. Kinda

Then I wired my Chinese plastic bike to the front. 
Unfortunately the colors don't really pop on the door. The bicycle was totally lost in the door color, so I ended up backing it with a white foam paper plate for now.  I have two bicycles left and one more frame, so I may offer this to my daughter who has a white front door and try to come up with some ribbon colors that contrast more with the door. I think if I fill in the middle with a contrasting color of ribbon loops, the bicycle will still show. 

But now I have to move on to the next project with a six day deadline. My youngest grandson will turn one year old on the Fourth of July and mom needs a red, white and blue fabric banner for his one year photo shoot. Fortunately I had practically a shelf of fabric in these colors in the sewing closet so off to fabric cutting I go! 

Miss Merry