Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Didn't Do It ...

I swear!
Though if I'd thought of it, I probably would have.B-man has been eating out of the cat dish for ... years now.
It's a wee bit disconcerting and I'm sure the cats haven't appreciated the interloper.
Beyond that though, it's just been the way it is.
I haven't really tried to stop him.
It's cat food for heaven sake.
Wheat ... and stuff.
Probably good for him.
Funny thing?
He won't eat pasta's - but he'll eat cat food.
So when I walked into the laundry room and found an extra bowl all I could do was laugh.
Then take a picture of it so I could share the silliness.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To Explain ...

why this post will have no pictures, you'd have to know me.
Know I am a natural klutz.
Nothing is safe from my wild flinging hands, stumbling feet and knee bumping body.
Including my dear (newly departed) lap top.
Yep, that's right.
My lap top met with a Kristakltuz incident that included a cupboard door, an elbow and a cup full of milk.
No amount of wiping, swiping, shaking or pleading would stop the disaster.
I am no longer a joyful laptop owner. Or a computer owner for that matter.
And there is no way Jerry is letting me near his computers. Have you met me? Can you blame him?
So here I sit - at the community library.
But not story-less;
So let the good times roll!

Yesterday Ree Drummond (a.k.a. Pioneer Woman) was in Dallas for her book signing.
For those of you not familiar with Ree or this book - I'll let you in on a secret ... this "book" is a recipe book. A recipe book that has gone #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. I kid you not.
I introduced my sister to P.W. ... I'm not too sure how long ago. I know it was after I'd spent a few days (and nights) reading through her entire site.
All the way to the beginning.
No word of a lie. By the time I was done reading, I felt like I knew her.
She's personable, sweet, funny, and a little kooky. I like her. Or at least the "her" that is presented on her site.
My sister also fell in love with her. So much so that we actually have conversations that revolve solely around what Ree has posted that day. Or objecting harshly to criticism Dawn has found on one site or another about her.
So when Dawn requested a signed copy of her cook book - what could a sister do?
I'm not much into that kind of thing. I feel uncomfortable asking people for things like that. I mean Stephenie Meyers was in town a while back and there was no way I was going to go get the Twilight series signed. It just isn't my thing. And I LOVE Twilight. Love it.
But for Dawn ... well, for Dawn I'd do it.
After seeing the mass craziness associated with her book signings in other cities (hundreds upon hundreds of people) I knew I had to be on the ball in order to not hate this experience entirely.
So after I dropped this kids off at school yesterday morning I headed over to Dallas, fought the morning traffic, got turned a few times by my g.p.s., absolutely didn't take "no" for an answer when the teller said I had to have bought the books there (they were preorder from Amazon) and got myself what turned out to be the first group color wristband.
That evening I waited anxiously and fretfully when Jerry and his older brother Steve were later and later and laaaater.
What was I going to get Dawn if I couldn't get this signed? I am NOT a brilliant gift type person.
They FINALLY got back from pulling parts from a car (who knows? Their guys for heaven sake!) and I frantically raced to my car... only to find myself stuck in traffic inching along at 15mph in the driving rain.
All the way there I worried. Had I gone all the way to Dallas that morning for naught? Was I going to have to wait hours and hours and hooooours to get this done? Not that I wasn't willing - just not my most favorite idea of how to spend an evening.
I got there ... late. But not too late! I was excited to find out that my group was the first group called up - and they were STILL in line! Actually, getting there late was a good thing because I had less time to wait in line. YAY! I'm sure there are other readers out there who hate me for coming in late and not having to wait ... It's all about preparation!
I try no to listen to conversations around me, as I have a hard time not adding my (usually unwanted, uncalled for, unasked for) opinion. My brother says I have a problem with "filters". He's probably right.
However, there was one comment I was unable to drown out with my iPod.
"I am so nervous, I'm shaking!"
I had such a hard time not turning around and asking her "Why?!"
Don't get me wrong, I love P.W.'s site. Enjoy the bit of my day I spend reading various stories, the recipes I have whipped up thanks to her, the pictures that have enriched my life, the homeschooling quizzes that have enlightened me ... But I didn't see why meeting her was such a big deal.
Why was meeting this woman, who I (and more than likely this woman behind me) have never met, will probably never associate with, haven't had regular person contact with ... so nerve wracking to these women?
I'll admit when I got up to have the books signed I had nothing witty to say and I couldn't tell you what she was wearing because I couldn't stop smiling back at her (she's got a very white, very straight smile - her dentist would be proud). But it had nothing to do with being overwhelmed or awed. I just plain had nothing to say. And I have a thing about teeth. I love 'em.
To conclude ... I'd do anything for my sister. I'm just glad it didn't include waiting for hours in line to get her cook book signed.
And Ree Drummond was as gracious as I thought she would be. She was there till 2:30a.m. signing books. Oy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


... has started being my favorite-est day of the week. Well maybe not the whole day - but certainly from 5pm on.
You see, two years ago I signed up for a "Meet Up" group here in the DFW. This group gets together once a week to play Cribbage. Until a couple of weeks ago me and Jerry's schedules just did not work together to make this something I could do. Mostly his schedule, with meetings and servers and people and whatnot. However, his being out of work has been a blessing of sorts for me on several fronts; one being that three weeks ago today it worked out that I could go out to this "Meet Up" and start playing Cribbage with humans in person.
It has become something I look forward to all week long. Seriously. It probably doesn't hurt that the last two times I have gone I have one "pots". However, I know that even if I don't continue my "winning streak" I'll still want to go.
The people are fun. The game is challenging.
And I get to spend time with people in a social environment for up to FIVE HOURS.

Other benefits of having Jerry out of the job: He has started to "dejunk" the garage. He's helped out with small things around the house (like emptying the dishwasher). He's started helping me assist the kids in getting their homework done (yes, the BOTH have homework EVERY night). He's started thoroughly trimming the bushes and trees around the yard. Oddly, without all the pressure of various work related tasks ... he's easier to be around.

While the Cat's Away

I use to HATE Sponge Bob Square Pants. Thought he was inappropriate, rude, crude, silly and just plain wrong. My kids WERE NOT to be caught watching it, if it was on Nick - they were to turn the channel as quickly as humanly possible. I was as steadfast in that rule as my mom was about "The Simpsons" while I was growing up.

Then I went on that little trip to Vancouver last February ... and all moms rules went out the window.
"Can we have pop tarts three meals a day, dad?"
"Sure! Sounds good."
"Can we play out front with no adult supervision dad?"
"Sounds like a good plan to me!"
"Can we watch Sponge Bob till our eyes bug out of their sockets, dad?"
"Go ahead, but don't you DARE tell your mother!"

I try to portray a united front to the kids when it comes to "rules" and "exceptions" and what not. I try to encourage involvement on all fronts. So when he lets the kids do something I forcefully object to - I take a step back and breathe deeply. Take a look and see if maybe I was just being a little ... over board.

I still won't let the kids get the toys or watch it when I'm not around. But we've found quite a few moments of laughter together while watching that silly show.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Million Words

As I was reading through an article written about President Obama visiting Fort Hood today I got choked up several times while I was reading his speech. A speech prepared by this man...

Jonathan Favreau
is a genius with words and at pulling heart strings (of French Canadian decent no less).

I noticed it first, obviously, while Pres. Obama was on the campaign trail.

Seriously, that boy can write.

And again today:

"Here is what you must also know: Your loved ones endure through the life of our nation."

"Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — that is their legacy,"

"Neither this country -- nor the values upon which we were founded -- could exist without men and women like these 13 Americans."

" Their lives speak to the strength, the dignity, the decency of those who serve, and that's how they will be remembered."

"In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans."

"We are a nation that endures because of the courage of those who defend it."

"But as we honor the many generations who have served, all of us -- every single American -- must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who've come before. We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes."

"Long after they are laid to rest -- when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today's servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown -- it will be said that this generation believed under the most trying of tests; believed in perseverance -- not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples."

Stuffed Shells

Oh. My. Goodness. I lifted this recipe from Sallys food blog.
I am a HUGE pasta lover and this, my friends was BEYOND delicious.
Sally says, "it take some time to put together, but is totally worth it."
I SO agree, Sally Sue, I SO agree.

12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (I only used about half the box, as I like REALLY stuffed shells.)

For the sauce:
3 - 14 oz cans tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the stuffing:
1 pound bag of baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups (16oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Cook shells according to package directions but for less time. You want the shells to be tender but firm to the bite, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the shells and spread out on a cookie sheet so they don't stick together. Let cool.

For the sauce, pour the tomatoes into a food processor and chop quick. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, basil and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Then simmer very gently, partially covered, until thickened (you still want there to be juice), about 20 minutes. Season with pepper.

Meanwhile, add the spinach and the salt in a skillet. Place over medium heat, cover and cook, tossing every now and then with tongs for even cooking, until wilted, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, let cool and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Chop and set aside.

In a skillet, add the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt with some water and cook. Stir every now and then, until tender and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. (The original recipe tells you to cook it with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, but it's just as yummy cooked in water.)

Add zucchini to the bowl with the spinach. Add the ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, the parsley, pepper and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 1 Tablespoon per shell. Arrange the shells side by side. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, and then sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake, at 350 degrees, until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.

Ohhhh my heck.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Feels ... Dejected.

Last week on B-mans blog I posted about us getting involved in a Walk Now for Autism that is happening here in the DFW area next Saturday. Next I emailed pretty much everyone I knew that isn't in a particularly financially tight situation. Then I posted it on Facebook.
So far, I have gotten THREE donations. THREE.
As in, less people than I have in my family.
To say that this hurt my pride a little may be an understatement.
I don't ask for help often at all - and then to put out that plea and to get such a dismal response.
Well. It sucked.
Still sucks.
But maybe if I post it here too, I'll get a better response.
Lord knows it can't get much worse.

"This year I decided our family (at least the kids and I) are going to get more involved in the Autism community and awareness.
I've been sitting in the wings for a little too long.
Admiring and advocating the work that is done.
But not putting any real effort in myself.

Our first endeavor is going to be the Walk Now for Autism (<----click here) event being held on November 14th.

I am not one who easily asks for help.

If at all possible, I will get something accomplished by myself simply because ... I guess I hate the humility that comes with admitting that you just can't do it alone.

I also hate the possibility of rejection.

That I think hurts more than getting to the point of being able to ask for help.

For Brogan. For The Cause, I've swallowed my pride and bucked up against the possibility of having no financial support and sent out hundreds of emails.


If I know you, if I can find your email ...

I've sent you an email asking for your support. (<----click here) 'Cause this is something I believe in.
I don't believe so much that there is a "cure", but I surely believe there is a world of help out there that can be given if enough attention is brought to our cause. (<----click here) So come on, people - let's make some money and make a difference! B-man's counting on you! (haha, just had to throw out the "tugging on the heart strings" line)" For the love of all that's Holy! Don't Turn your back on the boy!

Henry and Mudge

Have your kids ever read these books? They are so super cute. Rhiannon and I are huge fans - these two characters interact so sweetly together you can't help but love them.

The first book is cute and happy till Mudge decides to go on an adventure on his own ... then pages 28 and 29 Happen:

"Henry thought Mudge
would be with him always.
He thought Mudge
made everything safe.
He thought Mudge
would never go away.

And when Mudge did go away,
when Henry called and called
but Mudge didn't come,
Henry's heart hurt
and he cried for an hour.
But when he was finished crying,
Henry said, "Mudge loves me.
He wouldn't leave.
He must be lost."

Oh my lands.
Rhiannon and I have read this book at least half dozen times and when we get to these pages, we are both in tears.
It is such a sad, sweet lesson.
It speaks to my very soul.

Knowing that you love someone and that someone/something loves you so much that you have that definitive core solid faith that they wouldn't leave you.

Awesome message, Ms. Rylant.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Beef and Potato Stew (slow cooker)

2 lbs. stew beef
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. paprika
4 lg. carrots, chopped
3 lg. potatoes, chopped
1 c. condensed beef broth
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)

Layer potatoes, then carrots. Top with meat; sprinkle meat with soy sauce, salt, paprika, pepper & flour. Spread with onion. Combine beef broth & tomato sauce & pour overall. Cover & cook on low 7 - 8 hrs. or high 4 - 5 hrs.

Baking Powder Biscuits
450 degrees for 10-12 minutes

2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 c shortening
3/4 c milk

Sift together flour, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl- add flour mix. Work Crisco into mixture using a pastry cutter. All at once pour milk in, mixing with a fork just until there is no dry stuff left. Place dough on floured board & kneed 10-12 times or till nearly smooth. Roll dough out to about 1/2", cut with a floured circle of some sort - I used a glass. Place on cookie ungreased sheet. Bake till golden.

A Project

... of mystically large portions!

That's what moving my (very) small deep freeze seemed like.

I just wanted it moved from the laundry room, where it has resided since my in laws bought it for me four or so years ago for Christmas (they always get me very practical gifts: bbq, bread maker, deep freeze ...).

It took up space underneath where I hang the clothes and with growing kids, that meant more and more clothes were brushing the top of my freezer.

Being neurotic, this bothered me.

A lot.

It wasn't so much the moving it - it's small enough that I can maneuver it on my own. However, I wanted it put in (duh duh duh duh!) the garage.

If you're a follower, you understand what this means.


Asking the man to make space amongst his "piles".

Oh. Dear.

However, when I got home from my in laws on Sunday I saw Jerry's head bobbing around in the garage.

"What can this mean?"

I wondered.

"Is he just tinkering with the Citation? or is he doing it?"

To my everlasting glee, he was moving stuff around so I could put my freezer out in the garage. Turns out between the laundry sorter and the freezer he'd has just about enough of being "boxed in" as he trapsed back and forth from the garage.

This, dear readers, is what my beautiful laundry room looks like now.
Look at all that space!

So pretty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who DOES that?!!

As the mother of a child with Autism I find it reassuring to see these magnets on the back of vehicles as I drive around town.
It makes me feel less alone.
Like I am in a miniature army.
I have proudly displayed one on the back of my truck as a sign of support and commiseration.
Till it was stolen off the back of my truck.
At a McDonald's.
What kind of whack job steals something like that?
It's all the more distressing because you can't just go into a store and buy another one.
You have to buy these suckers off line.
Or at a conference.
I'm out of the support army for now.
Stupid sticky fingers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

State Fair

Over the years I have, by necessity, becoming excessively frugal (when I have to be).
One of my biggest money savers entertainment wise come fall is going to the Texas State Fair on a Wednesday.
You may say, "The biggest money saver would be not going."
To me, though, that is pretty much sacrilege.
Jerry and I started going to the Texas State Fair the month we got married and have made a point of going to it every year since.A tradition if you will.
A few years back (probably around the time we had Brogan) I discovered "money saver" days to attend the fair.Here is what I found - and they haven't changed the discounts in as many years as I've been using them:

Opening Day:
Bring a full 20 oz. Coca-Cola product for donation to the North Texas Food Bank containers at Fair admission gates and enter the State Fair for $4 per donation per person.

Dr Pepper $3 Tuesdays: Every Tuesday, bring an empty Dr Pepper can and enter for $3. Most rides (excluding the Thrillway, Texas Star and selected other attractions) are 5 coupons.

Dr Pepper $5 after 5 pm: Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to any State Fair admission gate after 5 p.m. and enter for $5.

Kroger “Three for $1″ each Wednesday: Admission is $1 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks.

Coke $4 Thursday: Bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of a Coca-Cola product and enter the Fair for $4 admission.

FREE Thursdays for Senior Citizens: HealthSpring and Mature Texan Magazine sponsor of Seniors Day. Senior Citizens 60 years and older get in to the State Fair FREE each Thursday.

FREE Thursday admission with a Cinemark Theater ticket stub.

Any Day—McDonald’s offers $4 off General Admission: with one of their State Fair coupons (available on tray liner or bag stuffer) any day of the Fair. A free child ticket (with purchase of general admission) coupon is also distributed by McDonald’s. Offer may not be combined with any other offer.

This year, being painfully poor, I chose to go on the Wednesday as we always have cans of food hanging about. Usually ones that I have purposely got on sale during the year at places like the dollar store for 3 for 99 cents with the thought of using them for state fair entrance.

Between the State Fair discount and a free student ticket Ms. R recieved at school we were able to enter the fair for $3.

Then as a family we decided the thing we would all enjoy as a treat was cotton candy.

We got really lucky when we were hunting for a parking spot and found one on an adjacent street for free.

Altogether, we were able to enjoy the State Fair for $7 this year.

Yay us!


Oh Texas, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways!
I love that I can take my kids to a FREE concert at an OUTDOOR venue and be basking in the sun.
In October.I love that it only takes us 20 minutes to get to venues such as Cowboys Football and Rangers Baseball.I love that we can go and enjoy a park in 73 degree weather the weekend before Halloween.

Friday, October 23, 2009


You know, the kind you put on pastas - not the kind you dip into after a particularly hard day.

I'm going to give you a few hints on how to get sauce that will turn out creamy and smooth.

As I am sure there has to be more than just me that has struggled with how to make a fabulous creamy sauce for years.

Or maybe I am and this post will be useless to everyone but me.

In that case ... move on.

Nothing to see here.

First of all, use a pot. Not a pan. I have the worst time with pans and sauces.
Then again, maybe that's just me.
Melt butter.
Slowly, whisking vigorously as you do so, add equal amount of flour as you did butter.
I let that melt together for about a minute to let the stuff all come to the same temperature.
At least that's the logic I have going on in my brain.
This is where using a pot comes in handy as you have a smaller surface area as you slowly add in ...
May I stress slowly?
Bit by slow bit at the beginning. Whisking away as you do.
I only add about a Tablespoon at at time in the beginning as I introduce the WARM milk.
Once again, my theory on having ingredients come together and play in harmony is the main character in my thought process in using warm milk that will frolic happily with my warm butter/flour.
After you have added whatever amount of milk the recipe calls for it's useful to have one of these.That way you can work on the rest of supper and keep her out of your hair all at the same time.
I have a firm belief that until the sauce comes to a boil, you need to stir it continually.
No word of a lie.
Probably a lie someone else engendered in me.
I blame them for my hook ups.
All of them.
Every single one.
Therefore, having an extra set of hand with my neurosis as they are, is very helpful.
Yep, by the time it has come to a boil she is really ready to get out from under my feet.
Feels like she's accomplished something.
She also got to wear the apron her Gramma Char made her, which makes the whole experience that much more wonderful.

That's pretty much it.
Small body.

Got it?
Get to work!

I am In Love

With my hair.
At least now.
Like the last week.
I haven't had one bad hair day.
This is what my hair looks like after a full day of ... you know, my life.

Looooove it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheddar Ham Chowder

Good Golly, Miss Molly, this is DELICIOUS! My friend Sally has a food blog that I love stealing recipes from. There are usually pretty straight forward and ALWAYS right up my food loving alley. This recipe though, this recipe blew my socks away I was so surprised at how much I loved it.

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
16 oz frozen corn
1 1/2 cups cubed ham

Bring water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Set aside; do not drain. In second pan, melt butter; blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Put cheesy mixture in with veggies and broth; add corn and ham. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
Tastes even better the second day!

I'm Starting to Understand

I've met a lot of mothers of kids with Autism, Aspergers and other special needs in the last few years. Often I have found myself thinking,
"Holy Crap. That woman scares me. She is TOUGH."
I'm starting to understand what has made those women that way.
I bet the majority of them started out as sweet, accommodating, completely delightful women.
Then their kid started getting messed around with and
Their claws came out.
The fighting instinct was triggered.Things have been getting
with B-man at school.

"Badly" as in NOT what I agreed to.
As in NOT what was contractually signed.

I'm on the war path and it's not a pretty site.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Do

I have this hair stylist that I absolutely love.
He's the husband of B-man's teacher the last two years.
He always has great stories.
Gives the best head/neck massages.
And after he has done your hair a few times ...
you give him free reign and this happens.
He colored it.
Some color?
I'm "color deficient"
so I'm not ENTIRELY sure
what color it is.
But people keep telling me it
looks really good.
He whacked off an
and surprisingly
I love it.


Yesterday as I was trying to vacuum up my dining room I noticed that the stinking Cheerios were not getting sucked up.
This set the wheels to spinning.
Why oh why are you not sucking up the Cheerios, vacuum?
Why would you


me like this?

The only answer, according to me, was to tear the thing apart.I found the clogging culprit a few steps into the investigation.
Stinking kids toys.

I sometimes wonder if I am a little
in my cleaning zealousy
(yeah, that's not a word. I know.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Goal

The school campus my kids attend is between a public high school and a private Christian "all grade" school. This gives us the distinct opportunity to have high school kids from both schools involved in our campus in various ways.
I am at my kids school ... 4-6 hours a day on average.
Which means that I have been in many situations that I have been given a chance to interact, listen and observe "kids" from both of these different schools.

I have to tell you - I am really leaning towards starting savings accounts for my kids simply so they can attend the private school when they reach high school.

Just based on conversations I have had the privilege to over hear between the two groups has me leaning greatly towards it.

A sample:

"What's a Doobie?"
Loooong pauses from all 6 kids sitting around the table.
Tentatively, "Is that one of the ways that black guys (their words not mine) like to get their hair cut?"
(No laughter, because no one else knows that the kid is TOTALLY off)
Another, sounding like they were trying to cut the confusion, "It must be. Or Scoobie Doobie Doo..."
Laughter then.

Being the "responsible" adult, I wasn't sure if I should interrupt the conversation, make them aware of my eavesdropping and tell them what it really it. Such dilemmas.

I've been out to lunch where kids from this particular school seem to frequent, casually listened to conversations off and on and never heard one of them say anything harsher than, "Oh my gosh."

The public school kids on the other hand ...
It's an entirely different matter.
Don't get me wrong.
We're in a great school district.
Top ranked.
Impressive focus on education and community involvement.

But let me tell you
those kids certainly know what a
Doobie is.
Let's not even go into the language they utter.

Starting Off Right

This Weirdoand This Silly Pantsboth landed on the Honor Roll this report card.

I'm not going to down play it, she's doing better than I anticipated.
I expect her to be on the A/B roll.
She has no excuses.
I am always here to help her with her work.
But she is also excelling in areas she was struggling with last year.
Areas I know she has had to put in extra work and thought on her own.

The boy?
Come on.
He's a stinking genius.
He'll be putting me to shame in no time.
If he's not kicking butt
taking names ...
I have to ask his teachers
what more we can do to challenge him.

Shepherd's Pie

Taken from the Food Network, Rachel Ray, infact.
My daughter is in love with her.
So I figured one of her recipes couldn't go wrong.
My only issue with this recipe?
There wasn't nearly enough.
I had a healthy serving ... then between Jerry and the girl the cleaned the dish.
An 8x8 dish.
And then they complained there wasn't more.
No kidding.
Next time I'll double it.

2 lbs Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T Sour Cream or softened Cream Cheese
1 lg Egg yolk
1/2 c Cream (I used Chicken Broth - I always have some on hand and it's "lighter")
Salt and Pepper
1 T Olive Oil
1 3/4 lbs Ground Beef or Lamb (Lamb? Really? ...)
1 Carrot, shredded (shredding is optional. I did it so it blended easily with the beef)
1 Onion, chopped
2 t Butter
2 T Flour
1 c Beef Stock or Broth
2 t Worcestershire (or more, depending on how "British" you want it to taste. Haha!)
1/2 c frozen Peas (I omitted these, as I am the only one who eats "green" food around here)
1 t Paprika
Parsley Leaves/Flakes
Shredded Cheese (I don't really consider it optional ... but you can)

Have all of your ingredients measured out before you start. I found once I got it going it all happened pretty quickly and it was easier to simply have it all waiting than have to scramble to measure stuff out.
Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream(broth). Add the cream (broth) mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are smooth.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef/lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together for 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and veggies. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a casserole dish with meat and veggie mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6-8" from heat until potatoes are evenly browned and slightly crusty. Top casserole with cheese, melt. Sprinkle with parsley. (I forgot that part)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Second Grade, Anyone?

I don't distinctly remember what I learned in second grade (grade two for all my lovely Canadian followers). I remember my teacher, the school, the name of the boy I thought was cute, walking to my moms work after school, getting bruises on my arms as I swung on the monkey bars at recess ... but ask me what I learned ... nada.
However unsure I am of what I learned, I can say with almost a certainty that my daughters spelling words are a step beyond, above and then skyrockets into absurd what I was spelling in second grade ...


These aren't the EXCEL students words - these are a sample of every students spelling words.
I know the reason I object to some of these words is because a small part of me is saying, "But they're just babies, some of them can't even pronounce "amendment" or "constitution"."
Alright, so that may not be entirely true. Ms. R can tell you what what the Constitution is, who the president is and that everyone is free to choose their own religion. Was I even aware their was a leader to my country, or what country I lived in when I was in second grade? I mean ... I hope so. But I'm highly doubtful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Catch a Clue

This year my kids school was all about figuring out which "mediums" the kids were "smart" in. I am not too entirely sure why. It's not like they divided up the different types of "smarts" into various classes or changed the way they were teaching. Or really used the information at all, except for an art project ...
I was kind of surprised to discover both my kids learn the best through not only music but art. I would have assumed that for the boy. But the girl? Really? Hmmm. Alright, if you say so psycho babble test.
The piece of "art" Ms. R brought home with this assignment was cute. She'd put a lot of time and effort into it. I could tell - there were hardly any erased lines to been seen. Look the piece over and see if you can tell what her father found

a lot upsetting.
When he first saw it he asked me about the lack of well ... him in the picture and I shrugged. Honestly, it didn't really surprise me. He's kind of a phantom figure in our lives. He lives with us ... but isn't ever really there. My lack of concern over his appearance in the family portrait made him a little madder, it would seem.

Cause next he went to the girl and asked,
"Why aren't I in this picture?"
She hummed and hawwed for waaaay too long and then with a question in her voice replied,
"I forgot? Oh! No! I know. I ran out of time."
Like, oh yeah! That's what happened. I didn't forget I have a dad. All of the sudden, right at the end ... some how I ran out of time. But still had time to put a butterfly and stars in the square with my "dream". Ooookay, baby.

He asked her a couple more times over the next week.

He never got a satisfactory answer.

Poor guy.

Monday, October 5, 2009


On one of my favorite wasting-time-when-I-should-be-doing-something-else blogs she issued a challenge to post our favorite portraits. I didn't really want to join another "group" or post pictures into a random group where people I know don't really frequent.
So I'm taking the "assignment" and going to post my favorite pictures from the last ... several years - here. I had a bunch of my nieces and nephews that I contemplated posting too ... But I'm not sure how my sister or sister in law would feel about that.