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Fruit Fly Invasion Update

5 Sep

In case you don’t know the first part of this story I’ll put a linkย hereย so you can read about the fruit fly invasion I was dealing with.

I say “dealing” like it is all in the past but it isn’t. sigh.

I thought I won the war, but I got smug and complacent and that was the fruit flies opening to re-invade my apartment. Wiley little things!

As I mentioned in my original post I had a battle plan and I did my best to not only kill the fruit flies that were hanging around but remove anything that would entice them to stay, or entice new ones to move in. This meant I did everything I could to remove their food sources, down to the last crumb, I laid traps, I squashed as many of them as I could. Whatever I could think of I did.

The combination of doing almost no food prep or cooking for days, taking compost items out immediately instead of having a little compost container in my kitchen, scrubbing everything down way more often, and good eye hand co-ordination got the fruit fly numbers way down. Then I went out of town and that was what put me on the winning side of the war, or so I thought! With me out of town for two and a half days there was no new production of crumbs, no new food brought in to the apartment, basically the kitchen became way less hospitable and by the time I got back from my weekend away I couldn’t find any fruit flies.

It was my little summer miracle.

I didn’t trust it though so I kept looking around for them, waiting for one to fly in front of my face and mock me for thinking they had all left.

But that didn’t happen.

So I got complacent in my battle plan and started keeping compost items in the little compost bowl I have instead of immediately taking them out to the larger compost. And that my friends was all it took for the little brats to return.

There isn’t even good stuff in my compost! It still is comprised of tea bags, banana peels and egg shells. You’d think they’d at least set up their home base in the kitchen of someone who has more variety in their compost. *rolls eyes*

The compost got cleared out, my eye hand co-ordination was tested again, and their numbers did not decrease. Crap.

I decided to lay traps early this time, mostly because I was eating a banana and a bit of it fell and when I picked it up I realized I could smoosh it and use it as bait. I put the smooshed banana in the bottom of a glass, put saran wrap on top, used a toothpick to poke about 6 holes, and went to work. I didn’t really expect it to work since my other traps failed miserably, but I felt better for at least trying.

To my happy surprise when I got home that night there were 4 fruit flies trapped in the glass!

There were still other ones flying around, and they didn’t seem inclined to go in the glass so I made a second trap, following the same steps, and placed it in the same area.

New problem though, all these posts online about how to make the trap, none say how to get the fruit flies and the banana out without the flies getting loose. So I left them in there. But they were quite determinedly trying to find a way out and I worried one of them would eventually figure out the holes in the saran wrap work both ways. Not knowing what to do, only knowing I really really don’t want any of them to escape, I put another layer of saran wrap over top. So called experts say suffocating is kind of like going to sleep, and is painless, and I thought if I block the holes they will suffocate and not feel pain while they die.

Listen, I know its weird but I feel bad about this whole prolonged death thing. If I kill a bug I kill it quickly, I don’t draw out the process, give them a chance to feel fear and pain. I’m not cruel. Well…except for the whole deciding to kill them part…but I mean the actual death isn’t done in a cruel way…does that make sense? So having this glass with fruit flies on my counter where I am basically just waiting for them to die, it’s not going over so well with me.

I figured by the next morning they would be dead and then I could just put them and the smooshed banana in the compost. Turns out fruit flies need very little oxygen. As in, teeny tiny amounts of oxygen, because they have been trapped in there for days and none of them are dead. In fact, there were originally four of them in there and now there are five! So not only are they not dead, they are procreating. I don’t know if I’m impressed with their determination to live life to the fullest, or pissed I’m still dealing with them.

On top of that, the ones that are flying about have not taken the bait of the second trap. I’m worried this means the ones that didn’t go in the trap are the smart fruit flies, and if only the smart fruit flies are left flying around than that means smart fruit flies are mating with smart fruit flies and what if this results in the next generation being super smart and having special skills, like flying faster, or even better eye sight? I’ll never be able to kill them then!

fruit fly 3

Stupid freakin super smart fruit flies. Some days I hate survival of the fittest. Grr. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yesterday I took things up a notch, I still have the trap out and I did a full apartment cleaning, walls, ceiling, floors, and everything in between. Hopefully the combination of every surface being cleaned, me still managing to squish some of them, traps being out, and no compost to hang out in, will have me back on the winning side of this war soon.

fruit fly 4

#truth

 

 

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Oatmeal Squares

2 Sep

Do you have a recipe that you have always wanted to try but are sure it is too complicated and too much effort to be worth it? My mom’s Oatmeal Square recipe is that recipe to me. I have asked her for it I don’t know how many times, and each time she has emailed it to me, and then I don’t print it out, I lose it in the dark void that is my Inbox, and I never attempt to make the squares. Which is ridiculous because I love them, but there ya have it.

Every Sunday evening I talk with my parents on the phone, it is a habit we got in to when I moved a province over and it has stuck.ย My parents are currently in Europe, lucky so-and-so’s (I can’t call them lucky bastards, they are my parents! lol), so no Sunday evening phone call tonight, or for a couple more weeks to come. I was thinking about them this evening, hoping they are having a kick ass time, and for some reason my neurons fired and boom! Oatmeal Squares are forefront of my mind.

oatmeal squares 4

Figuring it was a sign I braved the dark void of my Inbox with a well worded search and found the recipe. I then wanted to hit my head against the wall because oh man is it an easy one.

I can’t believe I haven’t made them all this time because I thought they were hard when they have only 4 ingredients and a child could make them. smh.

The ingredients are:

1/2 Cup butter or margarine

1 Cup brown sugar

2 Cups oats

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ready for the directions? Brace yourself!

(1) melt the butter in a sauce pan

(2) once butter is melted take it off the heat, mix in the brown sugar, oats, and vanilla extract

(3) put mixture in to an 8×8 baking pan

(4) put in oven for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees

(5) cool for 5 minutes before cutting

That’s it.

That is all there is to it. I can’t believe I put off for years making these! Note to self, and all of you, before deciding a recipe is too hard maybe take a couple minutes to ya know, read it. *rolls eyes*

Mom’s notes did mention that sometimes the mix stays cohesive, sometimes not. That is something I remember, that they are crumbly and messy, but also delicious and worth cleaning up every crumb you make.

I put them in a circle cake pan because my square pan is 9×9 and I worried the extra space would make the mixture too thin. I timed them for 12 minutes since I didn’t know how long this oven would need on the above mentioned 10-15 minute range and I have no idea how to tell if an oatmeal square is cooked. I still don’t know so if anyone wants to share their tricks feel free to leave a comment!

oatmeal squares 1

Started cutting before I took a picture, I’m such a bad food blogger lol

I left the squares a little longer than five minutes before cutting but even with that extra time they ended up looking like this when I tried plating them…

oatmeal squares 2

oops?

After that disaster (visual disaster only, the taste was perfect) I let the rest sit in the pan longer before plating in the hopes a longer cooling time would help the squares become more solid and less granola-esque.

My plan worked! I left them in the pan for a couple hours, and the remainder of the squares came out much better. I didn’t want to risk trying to cut them smaller and making another mess so I cut the remainder in to two large triangles. When I cut them in to the large triangles they were fine, when I tried cutting them smaller they tended to crumble so they are staying large…for now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

oatmeal squares 4

Final product!

I know the recipe is simple, only 4 ingredients and barely any time in the oven, but I think that is what makes them great. You probably have the ingredients lying around the kitchen, it is quick and easy, and most importantly they tasted like home…er, I mean delicious. They tasted delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

I Sometimes Listen

31 Aug

Do you listen to what your body wants? I sometimes do, I’m kinda working on it, some days…

trust my body

I find that I often tell myself I have to do this, or my responsibility is to that, when really, my decisions should be based more on what cues my body is giving me, what it is saying it needs, than what pressures I feel from others or myself to fulfill certain obligations or duties.

That is harder for me to do when the activity is something I usually enjoy, and in general, look forward to.

Like my Friday night workouts.

I work two jobs on Fridays, after job number 2 I head to the gym, usually start my work out around 10pm and depending on what muscle groups I am working end up home around 11:30pm or midnight. Midnight is more because I’m trying some new moves or took extra long stretching, or maybe fit in some extra cardio, generally I aim to be there an hour and a half.

My personal rule is that I go every Friday, the only exceptions being if I race the next day, have picked up an early morning shift the next day, or am sick or injured. Otherwise, rain or shine (or snow!), feeling energized or kinda sleepy, I go. I’ve never regretted going, never regretted a workout, even if some of them are definitely not me at my peak, lol. I figure a workout, any workout, is better than none, and to not go is me giving in to my lazy side, which fyi, my lazy side is loud and demanding and must be reigned in often lol.

Tonight however, even though I had my gym bag with me and was planning on going to the gym after work, I was tired, and kind of didn’t want to. Ok, no “kind of” about it, I really wasn’t feeling the idea of going to the gym. I tried convincing myself that once I was there I’d be fine, even better than fine. I told myself to just go through the motions of getting changed, follow the routine, get in that gym and everything will fall in to place and I’ll have a good workout.

Nothing I said made a dent in the yawning, or the tiredness that I was feeling. Hell, the person who replaced me at work even mentioned I looked really tired.ย There was no good reason for me to be so tired, I slept my normal amount last night, I always work two jobs on Fridays, today was my normal routine, but today it was hitting me harder than usual.

I told myself I would aim for home but when I was passing the gym if I felt like it I’d stop. Then, when walking to my car it was so nice out I thought that if I didn’t stop at the gym the least I could do would be to go for a walk. I like walking at night, and I feel I should take advantage of the warm weather while I can since fall is sneaking up on us and soon I’ll need another layer *rolls eyes*.

Confession time, I did neither. I drove past the gym, got home, hopped in the shower, felt like I could have dozed off in the warm spray, got cozy in my pj’s, and curled up with my book, a cup of tea, and the cat. Aaaaand that is pretty much where I have stayed since I got home.

My body was sending me all these signals that working out, even if it is my normal Friday night routine, was not at all what it wanted to do this evening. Normally I would have ignored it, had a not so great workout where I most likely would have put myself at a higher risk of injury because of being less focused while working out, or I would have just drawn a blank when at the gym for what to do because my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity, and what is the point in that?

Where is the harm in listening to the signals my body is sending, paying attention when it says it is tired and needs a break, and then giving it that break?

Admittedly, a big part of me feels like I’ve failed in some way, failed because I always work out on a Friday and my not working out tonight wasn’t because of any of my previously mentioned reasons. But…it isn’t a failure to take care of myself. If anything I think I might count it as some sort of personal growth. Imagine that, personal growth! How adult of me lol

can not adult

I think a lot of people stop listening to what their bodies are telling them. We get in to our routines, we go on auto pilot and hit the gym or the hiking trail or the running path or the whatever, not when our bodies are wanting to go but when it fits in our schedule. I get that, I do, not like I can skip out of work half way through my shift to have a workout because that is when my energy peaks. So we make sacrifices, we go after work, or fit it in early morning, or do extra on our days off, and probably, for the most part, that is ok. Our bodies are adaptable, which is a handy perk, but even an adaptable body needs a break every now and then. Needs an early night curled up on a comfy chair resting.

I’m working on feeling comfort in my quiet evening, not guilt for a missed workout. Feeling glad that I could understand what my body was saying it needed, not worry this will be the beginning of a trend of missed workouts. I’m reminding myself the gym will always be there, there will always be another chance to work out, and one night off won’t be the end of my workout plan, or my active-ish lifestyle.

Basically, I’m working on listening to my body, following through to give it what it needs, and accept that is the right choice. Friday night gym session be damned! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

28 Aug

dear amy book

I just finished this book and wanted to chat about it, while trying to not give away any spoilers…let’s see how well I do! lol

If you just want a quick yes or no, I vote yes. Is it the best book I have ever read? Well, no, but it was good, an easy read, bit of a mystery to solve. I enjoyed the main character, her name is Margot. She is a bit of a spazz, due to her history, which I can’t get in to without giving things away, but trust me, she is the way she is because of legitimate reasons.

In some ways it is a very stereotypical story. Margot is going through a big life change she doesn’t want at the beginning of the story, something happens to her which gives her the choice of action or inaction, she takes a deep breath and chooses action, meets a guy she likes but for many reasons she doesn’t approach in that way, people doubt her, she doubts herself, personal life trouble rears its ugly head to complicate things, her resolve eventually strengthens but perhaps a tad too late to solve the big story arc problem…or maybe not!

There was a twist, isn’t there always? Only thing was, I figured out the twist before it was revealed. Either I’m especially intuitive or just cynical and well read enough to see where the story was going. Figuring it out first didn’t ruin it for me though, and probably won’t ruin it for you if you figure it out first, because it is well executed.

Something I didn’t realize when I borrowed the book from a friend is it is set in England, which doesn’t actually matter, I’m just so used to books being set in the States that when I clued in where the story was happening it took me a page or two to adjust my thinking and give all the characters appropriate accents in my head…am I the only one who does that?

This was a book that took a while to read, not because it was hard or boring or I didn’t want to read it, but because it is so perfect for carrying around and whipping out of my bag when I am in a waiting room, or have a couple minutes to kill because I got somewhere early, that I kept not reading it at home so I would have it for various outings. Life being what it is though, whenever I remembered to take it I ended up not having the waiting time I anticipated having so I never pulled the book out. Figures right? In the end I decided I wanted to finish the book more than I wanted to save it for the next time I was going somewhere so I sat and finished it at home, comfy in the living room, cup of tea at my elbow and the cat on my lap. Which for me is a fairly perfect way to spend some time…the cat doesn’t seem to mind either! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

23 Aug

A classic is a classic for a reason, and sometimes, when you feel like baking you don’t want to fiddle with some annoying recipe but you want a forgiving one, that yields an almost guaranteed tasty treat. A classic.

I really wanted to bake oatmeal cookies, just plain, nothing fancy, old school, soft oatmeal cookies. Thing is, I don’t have a recipe for that. I have oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I have cranberry oatmeal, chocolate chip oatmeal, walnut oatmeal, and more. Many of those also come with the option of drizzling melted chocolate on top, or melted peanut butter, or melted whatever you think sounds good.

But none of those were what I wanted to bake. So I did what anybody in need of a new recipe would do, I googled. A lot of the oatmeal cookie recipes I found included other things, mostly chocolate or nuts, but eventually I found a soft oatmeal cookie recipe that wasn’t plain sounding, but also not a fidgety annoying recipe I would regret trying.

They turned out great!

IMG_2149

The Recipe:

  • 1 Cup butter, room temp
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cups quick cooking oats

In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this mixture in to the creamed mixture.

Mix in oats.

Cover and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, place two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Dip a large fork in to white sugar and use to flatten each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before lifting them off and placing on a cooling rack.

This is the recipe I found, and I would provide you a link to it but I found this recipe when searching on another computer and I can’t seem to find it again. If I find the original I’ll add a link to it in an edit on the bottom of this post.

Some things I noted when I was trying this recipe out: My oven took 8 minutes for all but the last sheet of cookies I put in the oven (that last sheet took 10 minutes). You don’t need to grease the cookie sheet after each batch. On one cookie sheet I used a silicone mat so I didn’t need to grease that, on the other sheet I greased once and after that each batch lifted off just fine. Don’t flatten the cookies too much, you still want them a bit thick. The flatter the cookie the less chewy / soft it will be.

Oh, and it makes a lot of cookies! I don’t have an exact count because as soon as they were cooled I packaged the majority of the cookies up and gifted them to my landlords as a thank you present (they took care of my cat while I was away a couple weekends ago). The original recipe says it makes 24 cookies, I used a cookie scoop, like an ice cream scoop only smaller and meant for scooping cookie dough, and I got a heck of a lot more than 24 cookies. Next time I’ll count them.

So there we have it, a good ol’ fashioned soft oatmeal cookie recipe. A definite keeper!

IMG_2152

Human vs. Fruit Flies

9 Aug

You know its summer when the fruit fly invasion happens. It starts off subtly, you almost don’t realize they are there. A random little fruit fly flies past your head while you’re making a cup of tea, maybe you try to kill it, maybe you don’t, it is just one fly after all, what’s the big deal?

Then all of a sudden you realize they have vastly outnumbered you and you wouldn’t be able to kill them all if you dedicated your next three days to bringing about their demise. Not without a battle plan anyways.

So you plot, and you plan, and in the midst of this you squish as many of the little brats as you can, and you wonder if you shouldn’t admit defeat and move.

Fruit flies. The bane of my summer existence.

I admit, their ability to flourish in my apartment this year is my fault, I forgot that when the weather heats up I need to take out my compost more frequently. In winter I can get away with dumping my little compost bin in to the larger one outside once a week. In summer it must be done much more often, sigh. I’m so lazy though, and forgetful, a horrible combination! Before I knew it the fruit flies had made my compost bin their holiday retreat and my kitchen was their all you can eat buffet.

Step one of my plan was to clear out the compost bin, obviously. Gave the bin a good wash, and have kept it empty (and outside my front door) for days. Instead of using it I am using a small plastic bowl that I can cover with a lid and I dump the contents of my compost bowl in to the large bin outside daily. Through this I have discovered my compost largely consists of tea bags, banana peels, and some egg shells. Who knew!

Step two was make sure no dish sits in the sink, even for the length of time it takes to eat the meal I just cooked. As soon as food I have cooked is plated all the cooking implements are cleaned. As soon as the food is eaten my dish and utensils are cleaned. Its not that I didn’t wash my dishes before, I just used to wait and do them all at the end of the day.

Step three was to remove all my recycling. I usually take it out to the larger recycle bins once a week but anything that might have even a trace of food particles was removed. Yes I wash all the containers but not perfectly and those fruit flies seem to be able to find even the tiniest trace amounts of food to feed off of.

Step four was to kill as many of them as I could. I have decent hand eye co-ordination so I managed to squish quite a lot of them. I learned to be careful of where I tried to squish them though, on one occasion, when I brought my hands apart after squishing one of the fruit flies I couldn’t find the fly, then I looked down and saw it had fallen into my tea cup. That’s right, the carcass was at the bottom of my cup. You’ve never seen a person apply as much elbow grease in to cleaning a cup as I did after discovering the dead fruit fly in mine. *shudder*

I seem to have hit an impasse though. I have removed the food sources, am more diligent in my cleaning, and yet, I still have fruit flies. They have also decided the kitchen isn’t enough space for them and I now have a small grouping of them hanging out in my bathroom. I imagine they felt the kitchen was over crowded and they wanted some privacy so a small contingent decided to go exploring and see what new digs they could come across. I have no clue what there is in my bathroom that is making them think it is a good place to settle in, but settle they have. So now I have two areas where I am frequently interrupting whatever I am doing so I can kill flying bugs.

I was reluctant to put out traps for fear that they would manage to eat whatever the lure was and fly away, instead of get trapped in the honey, or maple syrup, or wine (though who would waste wine on fruit flies I do not know).

fruit fly 2fruit fly

Instead I bought that sticky paper stuff that you hang so flying bugs get trapped on it, I also bought these sunflower decals that can be applied on windows, mirrors, walls, pretty much anywhere, and they are somehow supposed to trap the bugs. Before I could use either of those two of the fruit flies accidentally got caught in my laundry detergent, which made me think a trap might not be so bad after all, so I put out some honey and all that seems to have happened is their numbers have increased while absolutely zero of them have gotten caught in the honey. Out of sheer impatience to be done with all this I have now put out a small amount of laundry detergent, since that worked so well the other day.

I can’t be sure if I am winning this war or not…I’m scared to cook in my own place for fear of accidentally providing a food source if I spill something, or crumbs fall, or even just from being in the middle of cutting something up and they grab a bite before I can shoo them away. There seem to always be about two to four of them hanging around, which admittedly, is way better than it was days ago. But shouldn’t they all be dead by now? Their life span is not long, I thought the final eggs that may have been somewhere other than the compost bin, would have hatched, let out annoying fruit flies, that would then have not been able to find food, or would have been squished by me, and not had enough time to create eggs of their own before dying or moving on to a new home. Apparently not though, since, as I write this, a highly persistent fruit fly keeps coming around, arg! And I know if I go in to the kitchen a couple more will make their presence known.

Oh geez, I just googled the life span of a fruit fly and they can live up to 50 days and the females can lay multiple batches of eggs.

The cat and I are doomed!

doomed

The Bread Conspiracy

29 Jul

A while ago in the news there was a story about a grocery chain that messed with the price of bread, and got busted, and so we had all, for years, been paying more for bread than we needed to because this company rigged the system.

bread

Bread, one of my favourite foods. Yum!

Oh the drama we have over here in first world countries. *rolls eyes*

As a way to make it up to the people, and probably because they were forced, you could go sign-up for a free gift card, valued at $25, that would be the company’s way of making it up to you.

I remember thinking it was a false promise, but being the sucker that I am I signed up anyways.

Never got anything, and frankly, kinda forgot about it.

Then I heard about it again, because this time the story was about how time was running out to claim your gift card. Since I apparently don’t learn lessons easily I decided to try again to get a gift card.

By “try” I mean I went to a website and filled in some info. Real taxing work over here! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Again, wasn’t going to hold my breath, and again, I forgot about it. I swear, it’s like I have the attention span of a gnat some days…

So imagine my surprise when yesterday in the mail I got a $25 gift card!

I have to activate it, and it came with the longest page of what I suppose is important information, not like I’ve read it. It is the cardholders agreement and I’m betting somewhere on there it says the card balance starts to decrease after a certain amount of time. Not that I’m un-trusting or anything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, it also comes with a list of places I can spend the gift card at. There are 21 stores in total but only three of them are near me, well, one of them is near-near me, the others are a bit farther of a drive but do-able if I really wanted to go there. The other stores are locations found across the country.

I suppose the lesson here would be to not be quite so un-trusting, when you hear of a company making good it just might be true. Or I suppose the lesson could be don’t scam people and over charge for bread because you will eventually get caught, shamed, and forced to compensate people by giving them $25 worth of product that you can probably find a way to write off…huh…look at that…seems I’m still a tad cynical that the large corporation learned it’s lesson. Ah well, someone has to be cynical and I wear it so well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

cynical

He was always my favourite.ย 

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