Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Funny bones…

The funny part about funny bones is nothing. I mean really, who came up with that?

Instead of harping on all that has happened in the last two weeks (earthquake, hurricanes, flooding), I am going to share a few funnies.

Remember Rusty? Our old faithful one eyed Golden Retriever who wouldn’t walk over grates. I love how dogs have quirks. Sammy, our 8 month old pup is not afraid of much. He sat with us on the Fourth of July to watch fireworks – unfazed. He walks over grates or other obstructions without hesitating. Thunder is his friend. However, Sammy will not go up or downstairs at our house. It is not that he dislikes stairs, he has gone up and down plenty of them that are outside… but it is something about the carpet (texture?) that he doesn’t like. He has made it upstairs a few times (when he was little enough to still squeeze himself on the hardwood part of the stairs) and then proceeded to either chew up kids toys or pee… so, I’m fine with the fact that he has a carpet aversion.

another Sammy quirk...

My kids think they are comedians. So much so that both of them can recite entire sets of Brian Regan. In fact, if you were a fly on the wall at our house, you would frequently hear conversations where each person replies with a line or two from a set. Just this morning as husband was leaving for work, the following conversation took place:

Husband: “Bye guys, have a good day.”
Kids: “You too!”
Husband: “Take Luck”
Kids: “Take care of the luck you might have…”

Okay – so it is only funny if you have listened to BR…

What I think is funny is when my little comedians come up with their own material. Whether it is funny or not – it is pretty cute when they think what they said was a winner.

In other news… did I mention that the youngest finally learned how to ride her bike sans training wheels? Hooo Weee, what a day.

husband running with 7 year old…

… and we finally bought a tree to place Rusty under…

goodbye friend...

oh yeah, and the first day of school…

do I really have a 4th and 2nd grader?

and for the fun of it… an easy, yummy recipe that I made up:

White bean and Black bean (or half and half) Soup:

2 cans Cannelli beans
1 clove garlic
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 and 1/2 (about a 1/2 of a cup)

blend, heat

1 can black beans
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 and 1/2 (about 1/2 a cup)

blend, add some sweet corn, heat

Ladle white bean on one side of the bowl and black bean on the other side of the bowl to create the half and half look… eat.

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A walk to remember

There were days, the past four months to be exact, that I loved walking with you. I trained you to heal at my side or at my heal. You were a good little pup that listened well. I decided to start jogging with you, pick up the pace a bit and at first, you were hesitant. You lagged behind a bit, but after many days of encouraging words from me, you started to trot at my side. Then one day last week, you decided to sniff. Something clicked in your little brain that you were now the Alpha and at any passing moment you can stop completely or charge ahead. We will be running a nice pace when all of the sudden you plant all fours in a stand still just to sniff someone’s grass. Then, like nothing happened at all, you will bolt forward, glancing back at me – your eyes saying, “come on human, I thought we were jogging?” Sigh.

yeah, I've got it made


Sour Grapes

I’ve been thinking of starting a book club. I love to read but often felt that if I joined a book club then I’d have to give in to the current book the club was reading and then have to make time to discuss it.  I know, so petty. I am a spur of the moment reader. I see a book that looks good, feels good (yes, sometimes texture matters) and the summary has to grab me.

Anyway, I finally decided that a club that discussed books AND wine was the club choice for me. I am no connoisseur, I just love wine… especially reds. I would love to say that I know the difference of a three year old cabernet sauvignon to a day old pinot noir, but atlas, I digress.

I’ve been playing with some club names that I think are witty… let me know what you think! I’ve picked one, which I will list last…

Reading between the wines

Grapes for thought

Winey women book club

As the page turns

A novel idea

At second glance

The book case

Wine by the book

Chapter One

And… dun, dun, dun –dun: The Book Vine

My 9 year old even designed a logo for me. (She also picked a club name, Wine stop reading? – good eh?)


Sizzled out…

My grill died. I’m pretty bummed. It is my fault, really. I didn’t oil him, clean him properly or cover him. He sat out year after year in the elements, with particles of food rotting below the grates. Sure I brushed him after each use and even wiped down the burner a few times… but alas, it wasn’t enough. The rust became too much for him and now his burner has fallen to pieces. How depressing this moment is, in the heat of the summer – prime grillin’ time. Think of all the burgers that will go un-cooked. The crispy grilled pizzas, the corn still in their husks… the steaks… sigh. Remember all those lazy nights, sizzling a burger while I sipped my wine? I even stood in the rain for you!
Why didn’t I take better care of you? Maybe there is hope. I will search for replacement parts and maybe, just maybe you will burn again for me.

I'm sorry I hurt you...


Cracker Jacks

What’s in the box?

Every day this summer my kids and I are trying to do or try something new, whether it be a new skill learned or a new place to visit locally. Or go on some kind of cheap outing.
School ended on a Tuesday, so Wednesday morning we had a girls day out shopping. We mostly bought birthday presents for friends, but we enjoyed some slow walking around the mall with no real agenda. Thursday we found ourselves at a park with a pond. We fed the ducks and geese, played on the jungle gym and took Sammy for a walk. (He mostly tried to eat goose poop, ew!)

Friday we went over to my sister’s house so that the cousins could play.

baking cookies with cousins!

On Monday, we had  a play date with a new friend and went to the open gym for the kids to jump around.

Yesterday was a day to learn a new skill. I taught the girls how to answer the phone properly. Dun, dun, dun. Up until now, they have only talked to grandparents on the phone. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I call my kids friend’s houses and the child answers with uncertainty… or they call us and I can’t understand who they are and what they want.  Speak in full sentences child, I cannot understand you! We practiced using manners, talking in complete sentences and getting your point across immediately. We also discussed information that should not be given away while on the phone, especially if you don’t know who is on the other end! For example, “She can’t come to the phone right now, can I take a message please?” Instead of, “um, she is not here… or she is on the potty.”  The rest of the day was spent working on the kids scrapbooks.

The other thing that the girls are doing everyday is school work. During breakfast we are doing 4th grade level flash cards for warm ups. The girls are sitting with a notepad while I read the questions. There is one for math and on the other side is a thinking problem for reading. Here is the link (click here!) for the cards. After breakfast, we go downstairs to the white board and table for a math lesson. We are doing Multiplication facts, learning groupings and memorizing by writing… a new fact everyday. The fourth grader is being very patient while we are learning/writing the 2’s facts since she already knows them. Then we do a Language arts/Spelling work sheet and finally the girls read for 15-20 mins. We try to be done by 9:00 AM. So far, so good! I would like to incorporate one or two book reports, science experiments and other subjects… but we will see.

I’m not sure what we are going to do today… maybe bake some cupcakes! Grammy and Grampy should arrive around 3:00 PM, since they are on their way home from their RV vacation.

Cracker Jacks. You never know what the prize in the box will be… (I couldn’t use “life is like a box of chocolates”!)

what's in that big box?

Homemade Cracker Jacks

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 15 min
Level:
Difficult
Serves:
about 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups salted Spanish redskin peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 9 cups popped corn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, pecan halves, cayenne, Essence, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and melted butter, tossing to coat well. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on parchment paper or paper towels. Combine the cooled spiced nuts and popcorn and divide evenly between 2 lightly greased baking sheets with 1/2-inch edges. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining unsalted butter, sugar, and cane syrup over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour hot mixture evenly over both baking sheets of popcorn and nuts. Using a lightly greased spatula, stir the mixture well so that everything is evenly coated.

Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove caramel corn from the baking sheets and cool completely on waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.


Couch Potato

My dog is a couch potato… and he likes his pillows too.

Often it is easy to just lay back and do nothing. In fact, it is my preferred method of exercise relaxation.

I actually love my walks with a walking companion. While the kids were in school and I was only working part time, it was easy to fit a walk/jog in everyday. Now my choices are before husband leaves for work – or when he gets home. I need a little motivation to get going early. While husband gets ready for work, I stretch and play with the puppy. I make lunches, coffee and breakfasts. I have the time for a brisk walk – but that would require actually getting dressed and… moving. Gasp. So… what do I do?

Never give up! It’s very easy to give up when things don’t go your way. We’ve all been in situations where we get discouraged and made it difficult to persevere. Life is full of challenges. Nevertheless, it’s important that you keep trying. So, everyday I will wake up and try to persevere. I will win this challenge, eventually and then hopefully, just maybe, it will become a habit.

I’m calling this challenge “passion for perseverance”…  because I have a passion to succeed. If you remember, this time last summer, I tried the same sort of challenge. I have managed to wake up early, do stretches – etc… but still not the walk or run part early.  I have found the print out of my verses which includes Hebrews 12:11 which says, “11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I am going to re-print this verse in large bold print and stick it on my forehead, so when I rise in the morning, I am blatantly presented with the reminder to get my rear in gear.

The second part of the challenge is to continue my morning devotionals and stretches… and add to it, worship. I’m not sure how I am going to accomplish all of this before 7:00 AM, but that is where you come in. I am going to need some accountability partners – and what better way to stay accountable than to have you do this challenge with me? If you twitter – will you #P4P (#passionforperseverance) and document your mornings with me? That way our accountability will remain on the same thread. Whether you are trying to get exercise in before daily chores and routines start – or you want to do both parts, with devotions and worship too… I hope you can help keep me on track.


The girl and her dog

School’s out. Summer is here.

Number one on the agenda? Clean your room! I told the girls that if they picked up their room this morning, then we’d get a great start to a fun summer. I wonder if they bought it? I’ll go check the room after I write this.

Number two on the agenda? Make lists. Lists of friends they want to hang out with, lists of crafts they want to do and lists of places they want to go this summer.

Remember the rock climber? Somewhere in the midst of cleaning and list making she ended up outside with the dog.

I love that she loves to play with him. They are really good together. You read stories or watch movies about the kid and his dog… and how they bond and know each other so well. I think we have a movie in the making!


In a blink of an eye

I’m wondering if I’ve been in a daze where the days blend to weeks and to months. Somehow another school year is coming to an end. If time flies only when you’re having fun… then I guess you could say this has been an awesome year. Except that I don’t remember half of it.

Every year I try and be more organized, more focused. Every year I try and come up with a system to make the school year go slower. It never works. Thankfully my kids don’t feel that the school year goes to fast. Of course they don’t! I remember the school years… they seemed to drag on forever, until High School. Then time started to speed up. Just for one year I’d like to live on a quaint piece of land, homeschool my children and have no extra activities. I think the running from one activity to the next and always having your weekends full, makes the time fly. It is not often that we get a chance to be still.

So, how will we spend our summer? As always, at the end of July the girls will go to Vacation Bible School. It is the only week that they actually do a planned activity. Otherwise, we will swim, play tennis, have play dates and slumber parties, bake lots of goodies and make lots of silly crafts. I also want to have a time of devotions every morning… and just be still.

Psalm 46:10-11

10 “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Sometimes we don’t take time to just be still. Turn off everything and just sit, listen, breathe in. My favorite place to sit still is outside on a crisp morning. You can hear the breeze through the trees and smell in the flavor of the earth. Having a morning quiet time helps me reflect on the beauty of quietness. Quiet is refreshing, calming and peaceful.

Steven Curtis Chapman \ Be Still And Know

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still oh restless soul of mine
Bow before the prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still


Answers from Island Barbie

Strangely enough, after my last post I received a phone call five days later asking for an interview at a local preschool. I was then offered a job there for the next school year. There are some logistics to work out, but I will probably be accepting the job.

Last weekend the girls and I went camping with the Girl Scouts. The weekend was packed full of fun ranging from s’mores, songs and skits to rock wall climbing, an amazing race and zip lining.

On the way home, the girls were watching Island Barbie in the car. I always imagine what movie action is going on, since I am driving and not watching the movie, but get to hear them often. I have to say that some of the tunes in Island Barbie are pretty catchy. She also has some pretty good advice.

Some lyrics from “I need to know”…

I need to know these answers
I need to find my way
Seize my tomorrow
Learn my yesterday
I need to take these chances
Let all my feelings show
Can’t tell what’s waiting
Still I need to go
I need to know

This song has been repeating over and over again in my head. I guess I was quietly singing it without knowing the other day and the 5 year old I babysit asked me what I was singing. I laughed when I realized it was Barbie. Maybe she does have some answers…


When I grow up

Adults tend to ask children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Some are serious with their replies, like my daughters have had the same answer for 2 or 3 years. One wants to be a builder/architect and the other wants to be a teacher. Both career choices are accurate with their personalities, so it will be interesting to see if they stick with their plans. We always joke with the builder that she will have to build us a house in Italy and the teacher usually replies with, “I will help too! I can decorate the house!”

The other day, I was talking to the 5 year old boy that I babysit about “when he grows up” and he had a few silly answers first, “I want to be a dinosaur! I want to be a tree limb!”… but then he looked at me seriously and said, “I really want to be a Paleontologist just like my brother”. Wow! That is a big word for a little guy. I remember my 9 year old saying something along those lines… (READ: The walking pal)

Anyway… I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. How can a 35 year old wife and mother of two not know? My Bachelors degree is in Music. It’s not like I can just run off to La Scala and perform… and I don’t WANT to. So, I am stuck being a babysitter and substitute teacher until I can get a Masters in something meaningful. Problem is, I’m scared. I’m scared that I will work my rear off and then fail. I’m scared that I won’t have enough time for both school and my household. I’m scared that I’ll pick the wrong path – again. I would love to be a Teacher’s Assistant in the meantime. Only problem is, our county public schools job website only accepts applications for external openings to create a pool of candidates. I’m one in 23432i4u23u4y23y4 (did I put letters in there? yeah, it is THAT many candidates). If you are already in the public schools system as a current employee, then you can directly apply to an actual job. I don’t understand. Unless you are already an employee, you can’t really apply. Doesn’t seem right. I feel like I am in a constant circle of applying for a non-existing positions, just for them to discard it after a few months and then I have to re-enter my information that no one is going to view. So, here we are back again to getting a Masters in Arts for Teaching… or a Masters in Business Administration. What to do?

hm, I wonder if there is an opening for THIS job???