Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How to Make Cooked Pumpkin Seeds, And Make Pumpkin Bread

My two boys (now 14 and 17) still look forward to these every year. They are a low calorie, tasty treat, and very easy for kids to make. If they are cooked until golden brown, they become crunchy enough to just pop in your mouth and chew them up.

Cooked Pumpkin Seeds

Cut into tops of fresh pumpkins and pull out seeds. Separate membranes from seeds as best you can, then rinse in colander under cold running water to remove last shreds. Toss in colander to shake off water and blot with paper towels to dry seeds.

Melt approx. 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a pan on the stove
Pour cleaned pumpkin seeds in pan.
Sprinkle with amount of salt desired.
Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
Dump onto paper towels to let cool.

If you prefer you can place them in the oven.
Heat oven to 350 degrees

• 1½ cups of fresh pumpkin seeds.
• Melted butter or olive oil (around 1 tablespoon)
• Salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Spread seeds evenly on sheet. Drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, tossing to coat evenly. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown, stirring from time to time.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• ½ tsp ground cloves
• 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup flour
• 2 tsps ground cinnamon
• ½ cup raisins
• 2 1/3 cups Bisquick
• pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan. Mix all ingredients together with wooden spoon. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Test with knife, if the knife comes out clean the bread is done. If it is not done put back in oven for 10 minutes. Cool before removing from pan. Store in plastic bag.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Pic of my ONE-WEEK-OLD Puppies

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Well here is one pic...I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why do we love puppies?

Why is it that those who don’t like dogs still like puppies?

Walking a large Lab/Pit Bull mixed dog is an interesting experience. I have two that I often walk through my neighborhood, and no matter how nice and friendly they are to me, most people see them as something to be feared. People are scared by pit bulls, some by large dogs, and others by all dogs. However, all that fear vanishes when they see you walking two 12-week-old puppies. The little happy-go-lucky guys suddenly become the center of attention. Apparently most people can’t help but love little puppies, even the type of dogs people tend to fear when they get bigger.

It seems our brains are what make us attracted to the little, innocent, creatures. After all, their large foreheads, and big, round eyes are reminiscent of human babies. Clearly, we’re predisposed to care for babies. We’re just a nurturing species. Our babies require a great deal of care for many years. When we see these cues, we can’t help but respond with a rush of a hormone called oxytocin. We generalize our feelings to other species--including dogs.

Unbelievably, that generalization in scientific parlance is called the ‘aw’ factor. We respond with lots of smiles, a softer and higher voice, and we tend to actually say ‘aw.’

Sometimes this same generalized attraction occurs when we see adult animals. With their big eyes, large, roundish heads, pronounced foreheads and fairly short snouts. Adult pandas elicit the same response that babies do. After all, they look like cuddly teddy bears.

It’s no coincidence that dogs look like they do. For thousands of years, we’ve played a role in their selection, and naturally, we select features that are most appealing to us. Many dogs were bred for a function such a herding sheep or to retrieve waterfowl, and their features reflect their jobs. However, other dogs were simply bred for our pleasure, and human baby-like features seem to be more evident in these breeds.

The King Charles spaniel as an example has many puppy features, even as adults. There is the soft expression and those big eyes. Many adult dogs of many breeds have a perpetual look of innocence, and that’s what’s most appealing.

For the most part, we have bred all dogs to retain puppy characteristics, like playfulness, throughout their lives. Dogs are one of an only few neotenous (retaining many child-like characteristics as adults) species on the planet. We find puppies so appealing that we want them to be puppies forever.

Still, there is more that is appealing about pups. Aside for those visual cues, they actually smell fresh, some of their whimpering sounds remind us of baby sounds, and that’s endearing to us. Also, puppies make us laugh – and of course laughter naturally feels good. We are all drawn to what makes us feel good.

However, if puppies do all these things for us and trigger an oxytocin burst that can’t be avoided, then why do some cultures treat puppies unkindly? I don’t think anyone knows. Biology is the same in everyone, so it must be that the culture around them can be a powerful force. Just as people who are afraid of adult dogs are unlikely to fear puppies, I would bet that young children not exposed to the cultural norms of those places not as friendly toward dogs, would find that puppies naturally charm them, but there’s no research on this area as far as I know.

Puppies certainly do charm us. It’s no coincidence that they are often used on TV and print ads. A cute puppy may help sell your product. In addition, of course puppies can do no wrong… well until they piddle on your carpet.


I was going to be posting pictures of my one-week-old puppies with this post, but it won't let my unload them for some reasons, so I'll try posting them later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Getting Drunk Joke

From the county where drunk driving is considered a sport, comes this true story. Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma after last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so apparently intoxicated that he could barely walk.

The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other
patrons left the bar and drove off.

Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off--it was a fine, dry summer night--,flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left. At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over, and administered a breathalyzer test. To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all!

Dumbfounded, the officer said, I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the sheriffs office. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the truly proud non-drinker. "Tonight I'm the designated decoy."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

10 Things to Do with All that Halloween Candy

The best thing about Halloween for most kids can be summed up in one word: Candy.

Every family has its own methods of getting through the post-Halloween mounds of joy. Some let their kids gorge themselves for a day or two. Others dole it out a little at a time. Some parents even ban the candy bars altogether. For some nutritionists (and dentists!), Halloween candy is downright scary.
Whatever candy camp your family falls in –– there’s more to do with candy than eat it. Check out these ideas of what to do with leftovers:

1. Recycle it. Practice instant recycling. Screen the candy your kids bring home. After throwing away any unwrapped goodies, take out any candy your children don’t like or you don’t want them to have and then send that candy back out the door with other trick-or-treaters.

2. Freeze it. Put the chocolate bars right in the freezer to save them for later. Frozen chocolate takes longer to eat, so children can’t wolf it down so quickly.

3. Bake it. You don’t have to freeze the candy to keep it fresh. Kept in an airtight container, it will last long after Halloween. Later, you can bake surprise cupcakes. Push a soft candy into the middle of the batter in each cup before baking. Decorate the icing with more candies. You can also substitute bits of chocolate bars in your favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe.

4. Melt it. Save chocolate to bring a taste of summer into your home long after you’ve put away the sunscreen. Melt chocolate for s’mores any time of year. Place a chocolate bar and a marshmallow between two graham crackers on top of a paper towel. Microwave for about 20 seconds.

5. Stuff it. Gather the leftover goodies and stuff them into a (homemade or store-bought) piñata. Crack the piñata open at Thanksgiving or wait until your child’s birthday.

6. Create it. Professional artists create sculptures from candy, why not kids? Make mosaics with hard candy. Cover sturdy cardboard with wax paper, aluminum foil or paper. Then instead of tiles, use candy to create a design and “grout” it with stiff icing. To make sculptures, stick soft candy, apples and marshmallows together with toothpicks.

7. House it. After Halloween, kids can’t wait for Christmas. Save Halloween candy for gingerbread houses.

8. Wear it. Make a candy necklace. You’ll need an assortment of lollipops and colorful candies with twist-wrap ends to make this idea from the National Confectioners Association. Cut a 14-inch strand of thin twine or fabric ribbon. Tie one end of a wrapper of candy or lollipop stick tightly to one end of ribbon or twine (leave about two inches of ribbon free for tying at the end). Attach candy by knotting the ribbon around the wrapper ends or lollipop sticks until the necklace is complete. Leave two inches at the end. Tie the ends together and wear the latest in edible jewelry.

9. Decorate it. Create Christmas ornaments from candy. To make a train, take a long pack of gum and glue on round candy for wheels, a square piece for a smokestack, and something round for the bell on top. Attach a loop of gold thread or ribbon for hanging. Look at simple geometric illustrations (such as are in coloring books) for other ideas. Coat your ornament with an acrylic sealer so it won’t deteriorate and you don’t draw bugs.

10. Share it. Take your leftover candy to the office. Even if your co-workers who are parents are sick of the stuff, chances are your younger colleagues will relish childhood memories as they reach for another Mary Jane or Butterfinger.
Or better yet, fill a coffee can with candy and bring it to your local nursing home, homeless shelter or a charity for the staff to enjoy. Add a note that says, “Thanks for all the good work you do.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poem I Understand

I Understand

I don't know why some people feel they suffer unique pain.
As if, they are the only ones who've lost or ceased to gain.
I don't know why they hide their pain and clutch it ever tighter.
It seems to me that all should know - a burden shared gets lighter.

If you think that, you can't share because I won't understand.
At least just, give me half a chance to lend a helping hand.
For I know that you're hurting and I know a place to start.
Perhaps if you could realize - Your pain burns in my heart.

Maybe I can help a bit to get you through today.
And maybe by tomorrow you won’t need help anymore.
But if you should - Don't be ashamed -For that's what friends are for.

After all is said and done - The trials ceased - You're whole.
Perhaps you'll know just what to do to help another soul.
Being crushed by hurt and pain - be it woman or a man
I won't have to hear them say, "You just don’t understand."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Twenty fun things to do on Halloween

1. Give away something other than candy. (Toothpicks, golf balls, bags of sand, etc.)

2. Wait behind the door until some people come. When they get near the door, jump out, wearing a costume, and holding a bag, and yell, "Trick or Treat!" Look at them, scratch your head and act confused.

3. Fill a briefcase with marbles and crackers. Write on it, "Top Secret" in big letters. When trick-or-treaters come, look around suspiciously, say, "It's about time you got here," give them the briefcase, and quickly shut the door.

4. Get about 30 people to wait in your living room. When trick-or-treaters come to the door, say, "Come in." When they do, have everyone yell, "Surprise!!!" Act like it's a surprise party.

5. Get everyone who comes to the door to come in and see if they can figure out what's wrong with your dishwasher. Insist that it makes an unnatural "whirring" sound.

6. After you give them candy, hand the trick-or-treaters a bill.

7. Open the door dressed as a giant fish. Immediately collapse, and don't move or say anything until the trick-or-treaters go away.

8. When you answer the door, hold up one candy bar, throw it out into the street, and yell, "Crawl for it!"

9. When you answer the door, look at the trick-or-treaters, act shocked and scared, and start screaming your head off. Slam the door and runaround the house, screaming until they go away.

10. Insist that the trick-or-treaters each do ten push-ups before you give them any candy.

11. Hand out menus to the trick-or-treaters and let them order their candy. Keep asking if anyone wants to see the wine list.

12. Get a catapult. Sit on your porch and catapult pumpkins at anyone who comes within 50 yards of your house. That could be fun!

13. When people come to the door, jump out a nearby window, crashing through the glass, and run as far away from your house as you can.

14. Answer the door dressed as a pilgrim. Stare at the trick-or-treaters for a moment, pretend to be confused, and start flipping through a calendar.

15. Instead of candy, give away colored eggs. If anyone protests, explain that the eggs are the only thing you had left over from Easter.

16. Answer the door dressed as a dentist. Angrily give the trick-or-treaters a two-hour lecture on tooth decay.

17. Answer the door with a mouthful of M & M's and several half-eaten candy bars in your hands. Act surprised, and close the door. Open it again in a few seconds, and insist that you don't have any candy.

18. Hand out cigarettes and bottles of aspirin. Highly unrecommended.

19. Put a crown on a pumpkin and put the pumpkin on a throne on your porch. Insist that all of the trick-or-treaters bow before the pumpkin.

20. Dress up like a bunny rabbit. Yell and curse from the moment you open the door, and angrily throw the candy at the trick-or-treaters. Slam the door when you're finished

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Silence Brings on the Pain

Silence Brings on the Pain

I’m depressed enough to write again,
The gun is against my head,
Will I pill the trigger?
Should I let the blood drip like tears from my eyes?

There is so much pain,
Will I die in vain?
Do you understand?
Why I hold this gun in my hand?

I hear the floor creaking
With footsteps in the night.
Through the crevices
The lustful eyes peep.
I remember someone being there.
Will he be there tonight?

Another sleepless night,
Another pill,
Another drink,
A puff of smoke
Anything to make me not have to think.

A person that I thought cared,
Was really my enemy.
Unable to sleep.
Unable to close my eyes.
I lie awake, and silently weep.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sheriff's Deputy Kills Six in Rampage

CRANDON, Wis. (Oct. 7) - An off-duty sheriff's deputy went on a shooting rampage early Sunday at a home where seven young people had gathered for pizza and movies, killing six and critically injuring the other before authorities took him down, officials said.

The gunman, Tyler Peterson, was 20 years old and worked full-time as a Forest County deputy sheriff and part-time as a Crandon police officer, said Police Chief John Dennee. Three of the victims were students at the small town's high school, and three were recent graduates, a school official said.

The gunman may have graduated from the same high school. Peterson was not working at the time of the shooting, Sheriff Keith Van Cleve said. The survivor was hospitalized in nearby Marshfield, Dennee said. A Crandon police officer who fired back was treated for minor injuries and released.

Gary Bradley, mayor of the city of about 2,000, said earlier Sunday that the suspect had been brought down by a sniper, but Van Cleve would not confirm that officers shot the suspect. It wasn't immediately clear what the gunman's motive was, but the mother of a 14-year-old victim said the suspect may have been a jealous boyfriend.

The shooting occurred in a white, two-story duplex about a block from downtown Crandon. "It was a pizza and movie party," Dennee said. Three of the victims were Crandon High School students, said schools Superintendent Richard Peters, and the other three had graduated within the past three years.

"There is probably nobody in Crandon who is not affected by this," Peters said, adding that students would be especially affected. "They are going to wake up in shock and disbelief and a lot of pain." Peters did not know whether Peterson had also graduated from the 300-student high school. But Crandon resident Karly Johnson, 16, said that she knew the gunman and that he had helped her in a tech education class.

"He graduated with my brother," she said. "He was nice. He was an average guy. Normal. You wouldn't think he could do that."

One of the dead was 14-year-old Lindsey Stahl, said her mother, Jenny Stahl, 39. She said her daughter called her Saturday night and asked whether she could sleep over at a friend's house. Jenny Stahl agreed.

"I'm waiting for somebody to wake me up right now. This is a bad, bad dream," the weeping mother said. "All I heard it was a jealous boyfriend and he went berserk. He took them all out."

Marci Franz, 35, who lives two houses south of the duplex, said gunshots awoke her. "I heard probably five or six shots, a short pause and then five or six more," she said. "I wasn't sure if it was gunfire initially. I thought some kids were messing around and hitting a nearby metal building." Then she heard eight louder shots and tires squealing, she said. "I was just about to get up and call it in, and I heard sirens," she said. "There's never been a tragedy like this here.

There's been individual incidents, but nothing of this magnitude." Her husband, David Franz, 36, said it was hard to accept that someone in law enforcement committed such an act. "The first statement we said to each other was, how did he get through the system?" David Franz said. "How do they know somebody's background, especially that young? It is disturbing, to say the least."

The sheriff said he would meet with state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Monday morning to discuss the case. Dennee said the state Department of Criminal Investigation will handle the case because the suspect was a deputy and officer. The Crandon School District called off classes Monday.

The community, about 225 miles north of Milwaukee in an area known for logging and outdoor activities, is facing a trying time but is pulling together, Bradley said. "We are a strong community. We always have been," he said. "This is agonizing, but we will prevail."

Full story and pictures ....