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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today's gingybread obsession...

I just took a series of pics of the gingybread house with candles inside... I have no idea why I love it so much.

Here it is in total darkness, which probably suits it best. It is the world's homeliest, but it's mine, all MINE!

The creepy eyes in the second photo are what Ted (or Elisheva, I forget) is referring to as the gingerbread zombies.

Naomi and I made them this morning and gave them white-choco chip eyes... I didn't realize they would then look as though they arepossessed. Sigh... it's meant to be our family. :-)))

I do love the fourth one here, with the light pouring out the door, even though you can see a bit of the candle, so it sort of ruins the effect...

Supper:

~ Superstore chicken
~ Ted-tinned potatoes
~ Veg on the side (corn - yay!)

Bad timing: Ted's sister Cheryl sent two packs of yummy chocolates and Elisheva is now begging me to have one because she can't after supper, because we'll be fleishik. She is sitting behind me on the sofa muttering "I'm having a Guylian..."

I have been charged with selecting her birthday present from Grandma online. Will have to do it tonight after her bedtime, because there is no privacy around here.

<3 J
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Naked Gingerbread

Here, just slightly out of order, are "before" pictures of the gingerbread house, undecorated. Super-easy to make using this recipe.

Won't be posting "before" or "after" photos to RecipeZaar this time around. The 17 photos people have uploaded of houses and cookies made with this recipe all look stupendous and professional.

Mine, meanwhile, has a definite homemade, "smash & eat me SOON" pleading look about it. I do wish I'd made the windows bigger, though I love the way they look from the inside in this shot:

Anyway, this is just a first attempt - and last, for this year, though I may use the recipe again for cookies. It's super-easy and rolls out nicely: thin and strong.

Though it calls for butter, you can't really taste the butter because of the spices, so you could probably sub margarine or shortening pretty easily...

G'nite, with lots of gingery hugs and teethy baby kisses!

<3 J


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Yay!

I am so relieved: the actual, ORIGINAL divorce judgment is on its way from Calgary. In my single-minded quest to obtain a copy because my original was lost, I forgot: there was a second original, sent straight from the judge to my ex. Signature and all. Just lurking in a drawer waiting for me to mention it so my mother-in-law could fish it out. As she already did for the death certificate - this whole passport process must be killing her. Note to self: send her something lovely, immediately. I have no clue what.

This literally just happened, a few minutes ago, after a rotten cold stuck-inside day phoning everybody (my MP,to speed up the passport office, my MPP, to get the original divorce paper) and otherwise neglecting my children.

And then Sara wasn't sufficiently motivated to professionally decorate the lousy gingerbread house I made last night, so I had to do it myself tonight... pretty crummy job, but at least we won't feel bad smashing & eating it!!! (gaah)

While we're on the topic of Depressing & Sad Papers, we do have Happy Papers around here as well. Elisheva's new Alberta birth certificate is literally the most beautiful government document I have ever seen. Soft and flexible lightweight and plasticky with holograms and a see-through spot, it reminds me of a butterfly.

Supper:

After last night's extravaganza, tonight was an Easy Supper night because Ted was working late.
~ Perogies
~ Broccoli soup (actually fabulous, I made it with both mozzarella and cream cheese)
~ Creamed corn

More photos of the gingerbread house:






Apparently, I have to go put my 14-year-old son to bed. Gaah.

<3 J
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Fwd: Tonight's supper

Monday supper:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Teddy G <>
Date: 2008/12/29
Subject: Tonights supper
To: "Jennifer" <>


Tonight, we had:
- those bread things that I rolled out (Chapatti)
- white rice
- the cottage cheese in red sauce?  Mattar Paneer
- the potatoes in a greenish curry sauce - I made this myself, just curried vegs in yogurt
- I had some pomegranate/blueberry juice with it that was a nice complement to the food
 
T

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Card from Ted & famille


So here's what we all look like, in all our cartoonish glory.
I especially love all that hair on the baby. I really must find clips or something to hold it all back!!!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

No, it's not a shofar!

It is the BEST bagel I have ever, EVER made!

They turned out so yummy, so easy - though a little more kneading than when I just made them as pretzels.
Latkes were also delicious and homemade. You can see here that I added a bit of carrot... I figure it sweetens them up a bit, and adds a touch of flavour.

And here's Ted shovelling yesterday, before the rain came and washed all the snow away and turned the world into a skating rink.

We phoned my father's aunt & uncle in Israel today... now they're expecting us, or something. With the state of my fractured Hebrew, who knows who or what or when they're expecting?? :-)))

Family fun day at the BJCC was a hit, once again. Took all 4 kids by myself, stayed for lunch. Baby slept in the stroller through lunch but is now wide awake. And now, both littles are in bed but nobody is sleeping. Gaah.

Supper tonight is supposed to be me ordering pizza to eat at my parents' house. I am somewhat dreading it. We were supposed to be going to a movie because Sara was supposed to be babysitting, but now Sara's not coming, so who knows what's happening on that front either...?
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And now, from the Bad-Mama Dept...


I have been scoffing at the "dangers of the Internet" forces in the frum community because we have only one computer and it's very centrally located in our tiny house, so I figured nobody could access anything without our knowing.

Until last night when I discovered that somebody had used my YouTube account to download not only fifty Hannah Montana video clips, but also a whole bunch of pretty nasty "hot teens" videos. :-o
And no, it was not Ted. It was a teenager who had some sort of crazy story that I will not share here, but who claimed to be as innocent as the driven snow.

Oh - I also never realized that YouTube has a "history" feature. Oops. I guess I have nothing to hide, but still: good to know.


Gavriel Zev swallowed a Chanukah sticker today in the car, at least, I think that's what happened.

When I buckled the kids in, I gave them stickers from a roll my mother gave me - little shiny metallic ones. Then, from the front seat, I passed back a pair of rice cakes. Well, next thing I looked back, GZ's sticker had vanished and he was choking. At first, it looked like he couldn't breathe, but then it was more like gagging, like he couldn't swallow.

I unbuckled and reached back to see if I could remove whatever it was from his mouth, but I couldn't find anything in there. He spit up a bunch of the rice cake and started crying and choking a bit more, but then I guess he swallowed whatever it was that was bothering him and in a couple of minutes was perfectly normal.

Ted, of course, said "I never give him stickers." I rarely give him stickers, and only when he's closely supervised. But I also occasionally let him have grocery-store stickers in the car, because they're made of paper and I figure they'd dissolve easily enough if they get swallowed (they fall apart easily enough when you pull them off your groceries).

I was just so distracted with rushing around today... we had rushed to the library because they're going to be closed for four days, so this was our last chance to pick up books before Shabbos. And then we were in a hurry to get Ted to work (he was 10 minutes late).

Must go make dough for the bagels now.
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From the Organized-Mama Dept...

I just washed Ted's kittel.  A few wine stains, but still.  Pesach?  Bring it ON!!!
 
Suppers:
 
Tuesday (yesterday) - Ted made lentil soup (from a mix), hamburgers (fried in a pan), roasted tinned potatoes, succulent delicious frozen corn on the side (no idea what he did that made it taste so good.
 
Wednesday (today) - Using my amazing soft-pretzel recipe (see 2 days ago), I will make Montreal-style "bagels" and serve them with soup and latkes.  Yay!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I love this picture...

Camping at Awenda, July 2008:

(I had this blown up to 8x10 & framed them in clip frames, one copy for each person in the canoe)

I hate this picture...

But I guess that's understandable.
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photo from the mall

YM took this with a demonstration iPhone on Saturday night while we were downtown seeing the lights (and ducking into the Eaton Centre because the lights were outside in the bloody cold weather)... took him 10-15 minutes to set up his gmail account on there, take the picture, email himself the picture, delete his gmail account so nobody else could use it after he left.  The whole thing while I was pestering him to go, go, go because we had five people waiting for him.
 
But it's just a fabulous shot - just about the best photo of my sister I've ever seen.  The kids, whatever, but she looks like a model who's just dropped in from Above to uplift their spirits at this holiday season.  The juxtaposition is a little weird, but still... fabulous photo!
 
Makes me regret pestering him, but it was quite obnoxious standing around while he fiddled with the insufficient iPhone keyboard.
Maybe if I use the keyword iPhone a few more times, my blog will suddenly receive a ton of hits.
I'll become famous.
Famous enough to afford an iPhone to call all my other famous friends.
 
Oh, but wait.  I HATE using the phone.  So maybe I'll just pawn the iPhone and buy another filofax.
Or wristlet.  This thing (mine's Purple Paisley) has quickly become one of my all-time favourite things ever - it has made my life so compact and versatile, just as long as I don't lose it.
 
Did I mention I was off to do laundry?  Well, Sara called and interrupted my good intentions.  But now I have to go.
 
Oy... My mother said something about Sara today that she then turned around and said, "maybe I wasn't supposed to tell you that."  Because it was clear that I hadn't known until she told me; maybe I sounded surprised or something.  It isn't a terrible thing.  But now I have this heavy burden of knowing when I talk to Sara that I think, "she doesn't want me to know."  And I want to tell her I know just so she doesn't have to hide it.  But what if she isn't hiding anything?  Like I said, it isn't a terrible thing, or even maybe a BIG thing, and maybe she just didn't mention it because, well, we were talking about other stuff?
 
I definitely need more real-life friends to take my mind off my family.
Maybe then I'd have someone to call when I finally buy my iPhone.
 
<3 J

Why is this pepper flowering - INDOORS?

Here's the bell pepper I brought inside to overwinter. Sure, there are nibble marks all over the leaves, but she's also - in December! - flowering like crazy. I wonder if it's going to start making little peppers? It only produced three tiny stunted peppers in an entire summer in my nutritionally-deficient square foot garden... and now it's going crazy.

I think (but am not 100% sure) that this is one of the peppers I started from seed last March (?)... or whenever I started peppers from seed.

Here we all are lighting candles - second night. Less chaos and spanking tonight, thank goodness. But then Ted had to go out to his work Chanukah party, leaving us all alone to eat...

Supper!

~ Tuna patties (no eggs, so I used mayo and a seasoning pack that came from the egg marketing people and bread crumbs and the juice of half a lemon) - quite yum!
~ Multi-Veggie soup. Mostly frozen veg.
~ Bulgur "risotto" - stir 1 c bulgur in pan with 4 garlic cloves until it starts to smell fragrant (ie before it burns), add 2 1/4 c water, 2 tsp onion soupmix, bring to boil, turn down & simmer 20 minutes. Toss in some parmesan before serving and mix well; serve immediately, ie before the cheese makes it clumpy like it is here.
~ Frozen peas

After supper, for a treat (for me!) I made (well, Elisheva did the initial mix, then wandered off to take a bath) the soft pretzels referred to in my last (?) post (recipe here). They were way easier than any other yeast dough I've ever made - four ingredients, 20 minutes' rise, quick dip and done!

No kneading; no boiling water like for bagels. In fact, I may use this as a "cheat" bagel recipe... loaded with poppy seeds after the dip, they'd probably pass for chewy Montreal bagels in a second.

Mmm... there were eight, but two got eaten before I could take a picture. :-)))

Right now I'm supposed to be folding laundry, but the laundry is downstairs and Ted is out. The thought of carrying it up hurts - the baby was diddling with the scar during nummies before I noticed, just kind of scraping it back and forth with his fingers, and now it stings. I should probably rinse it with peroxide or something; who knows where his chubby little nailbeds have been?

This is me, getting up to schlep laundry. That way, I can sit on the bed and watch E.R. until Ted comes home. Fun, fun, fun!

Oh - we're going to a movie on Thursday (xmas) night. Sara's coming to babysit because she has 2 weeks off work. She seems sad. I was hoping she'd have a happy busy time at work preparing for xmas, then a couple of quiet weeks until she went back. But no, it seems like it's depressing before and maybe just no money coming in afterwards. Drat.

G'nite!

<3 J
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mental Note

MUST TRY these
homemade soft pretzels... Elisheva would love these when she came home from
school one day... waiting for her with a mug of hot chocolate...


I love having someone here who is so easy to
please. The rest of us seem so much more complex. I hope this means
she will have many of her wishes fulfilled in life. :-)))


Chanukah party was absolutely exhausting... but a
generally good time had by all. Except YM, who didn't want to be there
because his friends were supposed to go paintballing, even though in the end,
they didn't go. ECH kind of didn't want to be there, but then once she got
started she spent an hour trying to get the stacking singing dreidl to
spin. That's not exactly fair. She just wasn't having her favourite
kind of leisurely Sunday: she'd gone from babysitting to laundry to
babysitting again and running to my parents' house for eggs, etc. It was a
lot of work for her, and overall, she held up very nicely.


We have rented an apartment in Yerushalayim!
(just for the 2 weeks we're there)


STILL NO PASSPORTS FOR THE BIG KIDS. Got
their father's death certificate last Wednesday, so I took it on Thursday
to the Passport office in Mississauga, but they say I still need a copy of the
Divorce Judgment... and guess what I could not find anywhere in the
house??? So I had to shlep downtown on Thursday morning with Naomi in the
stroller to the Family Court office at 393 University to order a copy of the
divorce file. And it apparently takes 5-7 business days, even if with a
rush.


Turns out this Thursday's a holiday, too, so
they're closed. And this Friday.


SO, if I'm lucky (have I been lucky at all
lately???), 5 business days brings us to Monday, December 29th. At which
point, I run downtown, pay $19 for a certified copy, run with that plus all the
original documents PLUS a printed copy of our e-tickets as proof that we're in a
rush (duh!) out to Mississauga... pay for the passports and pay extra (with
e-tickets as proof) to RUSH the passports (which will also mean a return trip
the following week to Mississauga to pick them up).


Gaah.

My father seemed to be enjoying the Chanukah
party. He looks gaunt - there is no other word for it. His cheeks
are actually sunken now. And pale. To me, when we first arrived, he
looked a bit jaundiced, too, but my mother hasn't mentioned liver problems, so
maybe just my imagination, or the yellowish lighting and paint in the living
room. :-)



I like how relaxed Abigail's boyfriend,
Peter, looks in this photo (no, it's really NOT a Jewish name). That's what my family does to
people, especially when we're partying. :-)))




<3>
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A new Chanukah tradition??? Churros!

Well, here's how they turned out... I'm pretty proud, actually.

Here's the recipe I started with. However, I doubled the original recipe, then added 1/4 cup of sugar to the boiling water to make the choux paste. Had only a tiny bit of trouble with the piping bag at first, and then Sara showed me how to refill it properly and no more problems!

I do wish I'd had a larger star tip, because I was hoping for a puffy donut-like centre, and these turned out looking more like sweetened french fries. Next time, especially if I have some notice, I'll definitely invest in a cookie press. As it was, I was happy I'd spent more money on a REAL piping bag, because the dollar store ones tend to fall apart and/or burst open if you have a thickish batter going through the tip.

Instead of the traditional mexican-chocolate dip, we are doing a fondue of Cocoa Camino 71% melted with condensed milk. Mmmm....

The rest of supper, which is the Chanukah party at my parents' house:

Party sandwiches (yum!) from Dairy Treats
Latkes (from a mix) by meeeee
Baby oranges - oops, forgot to send them over with Sara when she went a few minutes ago! :-o
Churros & dip
Who knows what else?! :-)))

Off to enjoy it all!!!

<3 J
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Not Going My Way Day, Part 2

Oh...
 
15.  While in line at the post office (see Step 2 in my previous post), Naomi looked tired, so I sat her down in the corner (yes, on the floor) and gave her an elastic band to play with, because there was really nothing for her to see and do and I didn't want her wandering around the store getting in trouble.  When I was finished with the post office lady tallying the amounts (see Step 4, previous), I went to take Naomi's hand and noticed that three of her fingers were dark, dark cyanotic purple.  I quickly pulled off the elastic band and pocketed it, with a warning that she must NEVER do that again.  I think another couple of minutes and those fingers would have been in real trouble - I have never seen such an ugly colour.  And it didn't seem to be hurting or bothering her in any way.  :-o
 
16.  Just went to make the latkes (from a mix, no problem!), only to discover that there are only 5 eggs in the house... each packet of latke mix (there are 7) requires one egg, plus the churros will need at least 4.  Usually, I ask Ted to buy two dozen eggs.  This is week we only got one.  Gaaah.
 
17.  As I pulled up at home, at last, after the ordeal outlined in Steps 5-13 in the previous post, noticed a sidewalk snow plow parked across the driveway.  The driver had a SMOKE BREAK look about him - actually, as I turned the corner and noticed the plow, I saw him put it in park, pull out a cigarette and stick it in his mouth.  I beeped at him and he rolled down his window.  I shouted "driveway!" and he shook his head.  Then he got out and I shouted "that's my driveway!"  He said, "oh, I thought you wanted me to plow the driveway."  Gaah and Gaah again.  Actually, that one was just kind of dumb and funny.  :-)
 
Have made up 5 packets of latke mix and sent Elisheva to my parents to pick up 8 more eggs.  She went graciously, for a change.  When I told her (I left out the "for a change" part) she said I didn't have to lie just so she would do it.  But it's true:  I expected an argument, and all she said was "I'm not going!" and then went and got changed.  I love her so much sometimes.  :-)))
 
<3 J

Things NOT going my way today

1.  Having to take Ted to work at 8 am this morning.  Nothing but Xmas music on every single station.  Gaah.
 
A few things were okay after that, and I went out at 10 to go to the post office to take the xmas parcels I didn't get a chance to take because of the snowstorm on Friday.
 
Found a decent parking spot on the street behind Dollarama.  It was easy to get into because it was the first space.  There was a ton of snow on the street, but none behind me so I figured I could get out okay because behind me was a no parking zone.
 
2.  Waiting for a long time in line at the post office.  It was only one family ahead of us but they were SLOWWWW as they pondered all their options.  Canada Post should really simplify its pricing.  Gaaah.  I was about to strangle them.
 
3.  Got to the counter and the lady said the debit machine was down.  Gaah.  I made her write a sign then and there so others wouldn't be duped as I had been into waiting in line.
 
4.  Waited while the post office lady tallied the amounts it would cost, adding just a bit extra for each package, of course, because I didn't get to the post office on Friday because of the snowstorm, and now everything has to go express to get there by Thursday (xmas).  It came to almost $70  :-o
 
4.  The Shoppers Drug Mart store manager said they gave cash back at the front, so once the post office lady gave me my total, I went and selected a token pack of sippy cups and went to the front to pay for them.  Cashier said there was a maximum of $40 cash back for each transaction.  Paid for the sippy cups, got $40.  Paid for an impulse-purchase overpriced Godiva chocolate bar, got $30.  Gaah.
 
Went back and paid for the parcels and sent them off.  That part went okay.
 
5.  Walked back with Naomi, noticed that someone had pulled into the No Parking zone behind our car, blocking me in between it and a wall of snow higher than the front of the car.
 
6.  Asked nasty shovelling Asian dragon lady shopkeeper across the street. to borrow her shovel - she said no.
 
6.5  Told Naomi NOT TO SPEAK.  Because I just felt SO frustrated.
 
7.  Started car, tried to pull back and forth to get out but this is the WORST car in snow and plus it has this "feature" where it won't go into Reverse if it senses that you are stressed in some way.  I have no clue how it knows; it's psychic or something.  So going back and forth turned into an ordeal like "go FORWARD, shift into neutral, try to shift into reverse, SCREAM, go forward, spin wheels, shift into neutral, try reverse, SCREAM, turn off car, turn on car, spin steering wheel like a magic pinwheel, SCREAM, go forward, shift into neutral, shift into REVERSE (yay!  it worked), pull back, spin wheels, pull forward, shift into neutral, try reverse, SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM."
 
Pull out car manual to see what the heck kind of feature that reverse problem is.  Curse Ted because we always blame Ted if something goes wrong.  Vow to have the service people look at the shifter and tell us why it is so cranky.
 
8.  Dragon lady went in, slightlier friendlier dragon man with snow blower across the street does not offer to help.  Dragon lady comes out and leaves shovel for dragon man.  Ask dragon man to borrow shovel.  He says yes.  Semi-bow to him gratefully.
 
9.  Man walks back with Dollarama shopping bag back to his car which is blocking me in (remember, he's in the NO PARKING zone).  Tell him I've been stuck for 20 minutes waiting for him to get his car out of my way because I'm stuck.  "I'm here, I'm leaving." he says, leaving me fuming.  I shovel around the car anyway while he starts his car and begins backing up. 
 
10.  Finally, I have to say something.  Go knock on his window, which he rolls down, and I say - VERY nicely, I promise - "you could say sorry."  He nods and I think he does look slightly humbled, but does NOT say sorry.
 
Return shovel.
 
11.  Pull car back and forth, back and forth, back and forth - again, it's tough because (see Step 7) the shifter gets stuck practically every time due to my psychic stress.
 
FINALLY, get out, give a jaunty wave to dragon man as I pull onto Dufferin and prepare to turn left onto the first street.
 
12.  Overdo the turn and plow straight into a snowbank.  SCREAM.
 
Back and forth a couple of times.  This time, it's relatively easy to get out of the snow.
 
13.  Drove home silently.  This counts as a "thing not going my way" because we love our happy driving car chats, usually.  And it is so unnatural for any of my kids to be so very, very quiet.
 
14.  Got home.  Sara just woke up after a very late night and will not be here until maybe 2:30.  Gaah.  And I promised I'd pick up the sandwiches for my mother, plus make latkes (luckily from a mix), plus make churros (NOT from a mix).
 
Maybe I'll ask Elisheva to make the latkes, if she's in a good enough mood... we'll see.
 
What a day.  I'm exhausted, and the real work hasn't even started, and I sense that the baby is already awake and lying in wait to begin screaming...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mango Sprouting How-To, Part 3

OK... so we're back with Mango Sprouting for Garden Dummies.

Have you read Part 1?
How about Part 2?

After however-long the seed has sat in its paper-towel mummification, you can see (I hope) that it has sprouted a little tail. I have no idea which bit this is, the root or the shoot. I also still have no idea which side of the seed is supposed to go up.

So now I take a pot - this is actually a Bio-Pot of some sort made of pressed miscanthus grass, but it was the only one I had in the house and I didn't feel like running outside. That means it will start to biodegrade in a couple of months and I'll have to place the pot inside a real plastic pot if I don't want the bottom to start collapsing where it gets wet regularly.

I dumped in some bone-dry potting soil and rewet it with warmish water, stirring it around a bit to break up the icky clumps (it was nice, fresh potting soil but I let it dry out in the coleus greenhouse as the coleus stumps in it died right away).

Then, I lay the seed in, flat, and covered it with half an inch or so of potting soil. At this point, I'm just finding my way blindly, so we'll see if anything happens.

In a fit of optimism, I custom-made a "tag" out of a half popsicle stick I found sitting around (how pathetic is it that I couldn't find a whole one? I know there must be millions here - we're always tripping over them, well, not literally).

So here it is... the Mango Sprouting Experiment.

To Be Continued...

{EDITED MAY 11:  okay, I hate to spoil things here, but this experiment was an awful failure and the stupid biopot eventually fell apart.  However, I finally did get a (different) mango seed to sprout leaves in this post, so the mango torture experiments will live on…}

Suppers!

Monday: Superstore chicken, sweet potatoes & beets

Tuesday: My chicken made over asian rice with leftover soup & frozen peas/corn

Tonight (Wednesday): Maple-Mustard Salmon, Ace Bakery Bread, Broccoli Soup, Tinned Carrots

I am not doing overwhelmingly well in the suppers department, but at least I'm back to cooking...

I took the bandage off on Monday and so far, so good. I have no idea what's holding my scar together, as I can't see any stitches or anything. Were two days of staples really enough???

<3 J

Mango Sprouting How-To, Part 2

OK, so you'll remember that in Part 1 (just a second ago, in my time!), we used a butter knife to crack open the husk of a mango PIT to reveal the soft SEED within.

Here's a close-up of the seed itself. I have read that one side is officially "up" and one side is officially "down." I couldn't tell the difference, myself... sorry I can't be more helpful on that score.

Anyway, what you want to do at this point with the seed is "wet it and forget it." Because it takes bloody forever for it to do anything - at least for me.

Dampen a paper towel - I like it to feel wet but not drippy. Wrap it all around the seed; there's no special knack to it.

Here, I've encased the mummified mango seed in a little plastic container sarcophagus - that's because I was trying to do away with baggies at the time - or at least, trying to use fewer of them than we had been; we are SOooo addicted to baggies.

However, the mango shown in the picture (#1, 3 and 4) got pretty mouldy due to neglect and had to be thrown away, so this time, for the "real" attempt, I sprouted the seed shown in picture #2 above in a paper towel, in a baggie. So there you go - sue me. Either method - baggie or container - should work fine as long as it holds in most of the moisture, ie the paper towel can't dry out.

From this point, I'd give it a week, at least.

I personally tend to forget about these things and come back after a ridiculously long time. I forgot the seed for a week, then had my belly-button surgery, then recuperated for a week, so I opened mine up today after two and a half or three weeks. It was fine - a bit mouldy on the paper, but the seed itself was okay.

Read on to Part Three here.

Mango Sprouting How-To, Part 1

OK... here's how to sprout your very own authentic mango tree!

No, I have never done this before. And yes, the last one I tried failed miserably.
But here we go again.

First, ignore my huge zit. Ew. I am finding it difficult. Let's move on, shall we!

Here's the pit of a mango, scraped sort-of clean and left for a couple of days in a well-ventilated place to dry out a bit. This is the PIT of the fruit, but not the SEED of the plant. The seed is inside the HUSK of the pit. All these technical terms - aren't I brilliant?

Look all around the edge of the pit to find the ideal spot to work in a butter knife - NOT a sharp pointy knife, or you could hurt yourself or the seed, which is actually kind of soft. I'm told this bit is like shucking oysters. Basically, you find a small gappish bit where the knife almost sort of kind of wants to go in. Then, you wiggle the knife a bit to enlarge the opening, until you feel the husk ready to crack open.

...And there it is, CRAAAAaack!

The seed will just slip out of the husk once it's open. Notice the seed itself is surrounded by a papery coating. You can safely remove the coating.

Now, here are all three components: husk, seed, papery coating. You can compost everything but the seed at this point.

Fascinating, right?

Read on in Part Two here.