Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sweet Boy

I'm posting this just so I don't forget this one day.  I was brushing WHM's teeth just now, so I sat him, as I almost always do, on the kitchen counter.  He was talking to me and commenting on the tomatoes, apples, and potatoes all in the basket or on the counter right next to him.

WHM:  Mommy, did you know apples are fwuits?
ME:  Yes, honey, I know.
WHM:  And bench-tuh-bulls.
ME:  Well, potatoes are vegatables.  Apples are fruits.
WHM:  Fruits AND bench-tuh-bulls.  Apples are fwoots and bench-tuh-bulls.  And fwuits and bench-tuh-bulls are HEALFY.

So it's not particularly funny, but it dawned on me that one day he'll just say "vegetables," "fruits," and "healthy," and he'll be a big boy just. like. that.  Kind-of like when he stopped saying Cacos (rhymes with tacos) and switched to Costco. 

I won't ever love him any less, but I wanted to remember that today, he was still my precious and sweet baby boy.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks

Seriously.  I had a little downtime today at work and decided to go to The Pioneer Woman blog, and this is what I came upon.  This isn't a cooking club recipe, but it was easy to make, relatively fast, and absolutely delicious.  That's a triple-win if you ask me.  And it wasn't even expensive!  Home run!

Yes, it's another pasta dish, and yes, it calls for heavy cream again.  So what.  It's worth it.  As Emeril once told me*, you ever have anything to eat and wonder what makes it taste so good?  Butter and cream!  I highly recommend you stop whatever you're doing and get your grocery list ready for this.

Here's what you need:  Leeks.  PW says to use three, but our grocery store only had seriously humongous ones, so we used one and a half and it was more than enough.  Pancetta. (If your grocery store, like mine, doesn't have it behind the deli counter, you can find it over by the deli cheeses and salamis, etc.  You might need to circle the entire grocery store twice and search this same area three times, but it should be there.  It's especially likely to be there if no one in the entire store even seems to know what pancetta is, and the butcher, whom you walk by four times, is one the phone.  Just sayin'.)  Pasta -- we used bowties.  Cream.  The recipe calls for heavy cream but I used up my light cream I bought the other day.  White wine.  Butter.

Before you do anything, get the water going for the bowties.  Bowties always take me FOREVER to cook.  Forever.  So start those puppies first.  Then while that's going, slice up the leeks and throw them in a pan with the pancetta.  The pancetta will render up and the leeks will soften.  Once they are mushy, throw in some butter.  Once it melts, add the wine and when that cooks off, throw in the cream.  Stir the whole sauce into the cooked pasta.  Grate some fresh parmesan over the top.


I didn't take any pictures, so feel free to check out Ree Drummond's post here, and here's a picture from her blog.  

My plate looked just as amazing, and I assure you that I am NOT being sarcastic.

* Okay, so he didn't tell me personally.  But I promise I saw him say it to his audience one time. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peer Pressure Requires Proximity

I was so proud of myself tonight.  We had an early dinner, we (mostly) cleaned the kitchen, and the kids were bathed and in pj's by 6.  (Yes, 6!!)

I was working on the computer trying to get some transcript orders squared away (painful), Mick was doing whatever he does on the computer (reading gun stuff, I suspect -- which is technically working), and the kids were in their rooms making disaster areas playing nicely together.

WHM just came back out of CAM's room and walked past me and <<whew!>> boy, did he stink.  Dirty diaper immediately after bathtime?  Why, of course!  Why on earth would this happen before bathtime, silly?!

If you've been following along, you know that WHM has NO desire to potty train, and this has been somewhat problematic at his new school.  It's also been problematic at home, because Mick's fuse is shorter than mine when it comes to this, and occasionally WHM will not tell either of us his diaper is dirty because he's afraid to get yelled at.  (Not that Mick fusses all that much, but WHM's been hyper-sensitive lately and that's one more thing.  This is a topic for another post, but we're definitely experiencing some issues with WHM and his new Mommy's-at-work routine. He's having some major adjustment issues and, I think, some envy issues because every morning I take CAM to school but I've never taken WHM to school ... Anyway.  There's a lot going on and as I said, it's enough another post, another time.)

So now, every time I change a diaper, I talk to him about how he needs to tell Mommy or Daddy if he needs to sit on the potty.  His excuses vary... but the other day, he actually DID come to me to tell me he needed to sit on the potty.  Nothing happened, but that was huge progress!  Unfortunately, he's not done that again since.

Tonight, for some reason, the idea of peer pressure dawned on me.  Here's our conversation:

ME:  WHM, why didn't you tell me you had poops coming?
WHM:  I forgot.
ME:  You didn't forget, silly.
WHM:  I didn't want to.
ME:  You know, your friend Jackson goes on the potty...
WHM (not missing a beat):  Yes, but he's in Georgia.

Damn proximity issues.  I thought I was done worrying about them when I passed Civ Pro and Torts!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Photos

CAM and I put in our second full week last week.  Friday night neither she nor WHM made it very late.

Here they are, in their respective "where they landed" positions.

Please don't judge me for WHM's room.  ALL of his furniture is still in GA.

Fast forward to Saturday, though, and WHM got Jeremy in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa.

It was a good day.

That's Jeremy the Jet Plane, to be specific.  He's from the Island of Sodor ...


PW: Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Let's see, a recipe with heavy cream?

Sign me up.

PW: Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Verdict:  Very good, not something I'd usually cook, and a delightful change.
Cook it again: Yes, and I am excited to see how it might taste as a cold "salad," too.
Cost factor:  fresh basil and a small package of pine nuts are the two biggest expenses.

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again now:  I am so incredibly thankful for this cooking club.  Not only have I "met" new people and made new friends, and not only have I been able to have a different an unique peek into the lives of people I was already friends with but maybe not in that pick-up-the-phone-and-chat way, but I've been forced to cook things I might not have otherwise picked.  And it's been wonderful!!!

This recipe was no exception.  I love pesto, but it's not typically something I order or cook.  If it's at a party or a buffet, I will have some and quite enjoy it, but it never made it to my rotation.

Until now.

The recipe is pretty straightforward:  in a food processor mix up pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and fresh basil.  Add extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper until you're happy with the mix.

I was a little bit bummed because we had a GIANT  (ginormous, if you ask CAM -- that's her new word) bag of pine nuts in the fridge in Georgia, and I was soooo looking forward to seeing that puppy again, but last week we lost power at the house in GA and a friend of ours had to go empty our fridge.  Of course, it was already mostly empty but I sadly lost some things I was quite looking forward to having back in my life in a few weeks, not the least of which were my awesome and amazing (and expensive) HUGE Ball jar that I used for homemade pickles, and my 57-pound bag of pine nuts.  Anyway.  I will not cry over thrown-away pine nuts or mason jars.  I will not.  (Anymore.)

I was apprehensive because pine nuts are notoriously expensive (hence my devastation at losing my 2-ton bag, especially when I can eat pine nuts by the truckload-full), but the recipe only needs 3 tablespoons, so we got by on one of the little snack-sized bags. 

In any case, you mix all that stuff and then in a saucepan melt a few tablespoons of dinner whisk in some heavy cream. (Substitution:  I used light cream, because I made another recipe this weekend that called for light cream and it was in the front of the fridge. By the time I realized what I'd done, it was too late.  I don't know that it mattered.)  When that's melty and perfect, you pour in the pesto, add some more cheese, and let it simmer and thicken up.

All the while, you boil up what was supposed to be 12 ounces of a fun pasta of your choice. I love cavatelli.  I poured in the entire pound, so my sauce had to spread a little farther than if I'd followed directions, but this was an intentional misstep.

I put this photo here in case you've never seen boiling pasta. 
And that's it!  Pour the pesto cream sauce over the drained pasta and mix in some diced roma tomatoes.

We served it with garlic bread and skipped the salad altogether.

It was very good, and while I was eating it I thought it would probably be equally good as a cold salad.  I will find out for sure tomorrow!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Crazy Week

I didn't just meet you
And you already know I'm crazy
But it's been a wild week
So read this, maybe

It's been an interesting few days here in Redheads-Plus-One-land.  And no, not in the can't-get-over-the-move, don't-have-my-stuff-emotional-roller-coaster kind-of-way it's been a lot lately, but in the "wow, this week's been a wild ride" kind-of-way.

GOOD:  I had a good week at work and feel like things are starting to gel (jell?  I never know) a little.  I still can't fall off the sidewalk tomorrow, though, because my "master plans" are not anywhere but in rough sketch form, and mostly even in my head. I won't lie -- the every-other-day schedule compounded by testing and a book I've realized as I've used it is awful, have made a mess of my usual organization.  That rough-sketch-ness will change this week.

I can't turn this photo, but this calendar is my plan book so far.  Not quite the way I'd like it to be, but certainly sufficient if I'm in the room! 

GOOD:  In the meantime, I really am enjoying teaching, and that's not something I was able to say 100% of the time when I was in Alabama.  (I had a crazy administration there, morale was awful, and half of my day was made up of classes I pretty much hated.  Can I say that? I'm saying it now.  If I could have taken half the kids from one awful class and half from the other, I might have made one class I quite enjoyed and had only the one I hated; instead I taught four classes and two of them made me want to quit my job every. single, day.)  Sure, teaching again's not exactly what I wanted to do this year, it's not perfect, and I am getting paid a pittance, but I actually don't mind my work days and mostly really enjoy them.  That's huge!  And it's fun to "play school" again.  And there are problems everywhere; that wasn't a dig on this school whatsoever.  In the meantime, I'm spending a lot of time back on the countless teaching blogs out there, and combined with Pinterest, I feel like I'm doing a better job at being creative -- even if it's not my own -- than ever before.

See these cans?  I went to our pantry and poured various foods into tubs, and CAM and I painted these today.  They will explain the Real Number System tomorrow.  The red can represents natural numbers, which fit in the pink can, which are whole numbers, which fits in the green can (integers) which fits in the yellow can (rationals).  The blue and yellow cans are the same size -- the blue can is irrational numbers.  Then the yellow and blue cans fit in a box, for real numbers.  I've only and always ever taught this with a "family tree" and a Venn diagram.  I like this nesting method sooooo much better -- if the kids don't get Venn diagrams, they don't get it.  This should help that a little. 

GOOD:  Mick and I managed to eke out some amazing meals on virtually just stuff in our pantry (plus some chicken, thank you to my in-laws for stocking us up on chicken last weekend!), and finally after probably a month of NOT doing it, we also bit the bullet and did a relatively big grocery shopping trip yesterday.  I was pretty psyched.  And to boot, we've got some meals planned for this week AND managed to eat like gluttons tonight.  If I end up with gout, you can tell the doctors all the heavy cream did it.

Mushrooms, onions, butter, and bourbon getting ready to become a bourbon-cream sauce for some steaks.  OH MY HEAVENS.

BAD -- VERY, VERY BAD:  I found out some pretty devastating and hurtful news this week, and felt like I got kicked in the stomach and then, for good measure, the mouth.  Someone I trusted has proven not just completely non-trustworthy, but is actually intentionally being malicious by spreading awful, horrible lies, and that broke my heart.  Actually, if you want to know the truth, it quite literally and physically made me sick.  I wasn't even angry.  I was too shocked and hurt -- and sick. 

GOOD:  But then, although no one other than Mick knew of that issue, three separate people happened to reach out to me this week just to let me know they were thinking of me and to tell me that they miss me and hope I'm doing well.   I needed that more than they knew, and I've since told them all thank you many times over.  But you know who you are, dear friends -- and thank you again.  Your timing was uncannily perfect.

BAD:  I found out almost accidentally that my debit card -- the one that's been sitting relatively unused since I've been relatively cash-less for the past month -- was flagged WEEKS ago for fraud.  My bank is typically amazing, but I never got a call on this one ... so I spent the past few days trying to track down what few transactions I *may* have attempted with this card (paying doctors' bills and so forth; the kinds of things where you don't get an instant "sorry, it was declined" response, but have to wait a week or so for the paperwork to come BACK to you in the mail ... ) and calling and tracking down and dealing with the declined charges ... it's been a debacle and will continue to be until I can find all the transactions and get them all cleared up.  "No, really, there was a fraud flag, and I figured that out, but NO, please don't re-run that card again 'til Wednesday ..."  Oy vey.

GOOD: I finally got my paperwork submitted for the Maine teaching certificate application.  (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)  I made and paid for my fingerprinting appointment.  Now once my transcripts get to my new school system, I should be good.  That's a huge worry off my shoulders.  Or mostly off my shoulders ... it's a nice problem to have, but sending two copies of each of my degrees is an expensive little pain!

GOOD:  Have you seen this pin?  The one about using a mixture of Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide to make the best stain remover in the history of the world universes known and unknown?  Not to overstate it or anything, but it's life-changing. I singlehandedly rescued no fewer than ten items of clothing this week.  I'm in love.  If you can be in love with a cleaning mixture, of course.  But seriously.  I kill white shirts.  My kids kill all shirts.  And all are better.  Nasty, good-only-for-the-trash-or-layering-only-when-you-know-you-won't-take-off-the-top-layer shirts, are now pristine. PRISTINE.  I can't begin to describe to you how happy this has made me.  (And how liberated from my dry cleaner I feel, and besides, this gets out stuff they couldn't touch!)

GOOD:  CAM started ballet/tap two weeks ago, and this past week we also got to throw in baton twirling classes.  She's doing that with Mick's aunt, who happens to work at a college admissions office. CAM was doing her private class after hours at her aunt's building, and the director of admissions happened to come by ... not only was Mick's aunt able to introduce me to him, but he asked for my resume!  I think I have a decent elevator pitch -- he asked for my resume AFTER he heard it.  I took that as awesome.

BAD:  I am desperately trying to find a way to get a document camera for my room.  There's only one at the entire school and although I've been able to use it, I'd really like to HAVE one. I am trying so hard with foldables and all sorts of other cool stuff, and a little technology would go a long way.  I am looking for grants and trying to figure out what/how/when on getting a document camera ... anyone with any wisdom on grants and such, please let me know!  I'm about to go to local companies and just ask for handouts!  :)
I don't even need an ELMO brand-name.  I'll take an El-Cheap-O if it comes to it.  I just desperately need a document camera.  Heck, if I can find some money, I am even willing to put my own up to match it, to the extent it's reasonable and I have it.
GOOD:  Another good thing this week was a very challenging student has decided that I am her favorite teacher.  She won't work for too many people, but she comes and sits and works in my room (with or without my assistance) and has taken to decorating my boards with signs about how awesome I am.  I feel really good about that!!

GOOD?  BAD?  GOOD RESULT, ANYWAY:  I cleaned CAM's room.  No, really, I cleaned CAM's room.  File that under good or bad -- I can't quite decide -- but now that it's clean, that's VERY good!

And ... that's about it. I could write a ton more, but there's enough text here already. 

More soon!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Calendar Wisdom

I'm a little behind on these, mostly because I'm a little behind on everything!  And it doesn't help that I am pretty sure, but not 100% certain, that my little pile of quotes is still in my office in Georgia. Lord, help me ... that's a debacle and a half right there -- all the stuff that remains, and in such a state of not-ready-to-be-packed-ness, in Georgia.

Anyway.  Stress for another night.  Tonight, I'm trying to watch a little football, grade a little, plan a little ... and relax. 

There are actually two quotes today, aren't you lucky?!  (Fact:  I really want to de-clutter my little desk area!)

Although I am not a fan of his, here's a good one from Mohammad Ali:

"Inside of a ring or out, ain't nothing wrong with going down.  It's staying down that's wrong."

And here's one, sort-of in the same vein, from Abraham Lincoln:

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."


More Cooking

The other day at work I was playing researching on Pinterest and found this lovely recipe(The original link is here, but it's one of those things where even that blogger got it from somewhere else.  I try to give credit appropriately, but these kinds of things are tricky -- so feel free to follow the path backwards as much as makes you comfortable to get to the "original" source.)  And hey -- I really do go to Pinterest practically daily for teaching-related stuff.  It's on the up-and-up, I promise ... even if my home page on Pinterest is usually way more fun (and distracting) than pins on lesson plans and manipulatives. 

Since we'd boiled up and shredded some chicken just a few days earlier and had some leftovers, and since I always have heavy cream and lasagna noodles in the house, the only things we needed were cream cheese and parmesan -- and both of those were only on the list because we'd manage to finish off what we had in the house earlier in the week!

So, these lovelies were for dinner.

Sorry about the poor photo quality.  It was later than I was happy with, so I grabbed my cell phone for a quick snapshot.

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll-Ups.

Let me put it to you this way:  by the time dinner was ready, I was full.  I kept dipping the extra lasagna noodles into the alfredo sauce.  It was that good.  (And I am definitely a picky alfredo eater.  This sauce was from scratch and was rich and creamy and had just enough kick, but was not that processed-cheese-canned-alfredo nastiness you sometimes take your chances with and end up getting and then deciding, for a moment, that you don't like alfredo.  No, this stuff was fantastic.  Seriously, I could have poured this in a bowl and eaten it with a spoon!  In fact, I may have done that.  I'm not tellin'.)

The gist of the recipe is this:  boil up the lasagna noodles while you make the alfredo sauce.  (It's not just delicious, it's super easy.)  Then rinse the noodles and lay them flat on a work surface.  Spoon some alfredo sauce on the noodle, then top with garlic salt, oregano, chicken, and mozzarella.  Roll and place in a baking dish so that the seam-side is down.  When the pan's full, top with the remaining cheese and alfredo sauce.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  That's it! 

I'm thinking tonight I may just make alfredo sauce to drink and crash potatoes to eat, and call it a night.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

PW: Crash Hot Potatoes

Let me just say that we liked this so much I have now made it three times since last weekend.  Three.  Judge for yourself how much that screams, "awesome!!"

PW:  Crash Hot Potatotes

Verdict:  Nothing short of fabulous. 
Cook it again:  Already have!
Cost Factor:  New potatoes, and that's it.  Everything else (except fresh rosemary, if you so desire) is probably a pantry item.

I really wanted to make these with a steak recipe that Jennifer blogged about over at Come Rain or Come Shine, but my in-laws were in town this past weekend and they were craving grilled chicken.  They can't use outdoor grills at their condo, and it wasn't as if I was complaining:  my father-in-law makes a pretty mean grilled chicken!  So, we still made the potatoes, but went with his awesome chicken for the main dish.  (That steak is still on my radar.  It's not on this month's cooking club menu, but there's no way I could read that post and NOT make it as soon as possible!)

These are about as easy as anything I have ever made.  Boil up some new red potatoes (make sure they're small -- too big and they won't "crash" as easily).  When they're fork-tender, take them out and set them on a baking sheet.  (I lined my two sheets, one with foil and the other parchment paper.  Either one would work fine.)

Take a potato masher and crush the potato once, then turn the masher 90 degrees and crush again.

Sprinkle with olive oil (we use light, not extra-virgin), salt, pepper, and rosemary -- I did about half with fresh rosemary and half with dried from the pantry.

Bake 'til they're golden brown on top, about 25 minutes.

Try not to eat the whole pan full before you bring them to the table.  They are perfectly seasoned -- the salt and pepper simplicity is all you need, and the rosemary makes it take that step from wonderful to to-die-for, as my mother-in-law kept saying.  They are crispy enough to not taste like boiled potatoes, and honestly, served up on a platter a little prettier than my parchement-paper lined pan, they'd be festive enough to serve at a party!  Best of all, you can make as many or as few as you want and the ingredients are pretty much the same.

Holy cow. The picture doesn't do them justice; these were easy, and one of the tastiest things we've had in a while.   We made these again the next day, and again the next day.

I'm thinking I could have these for dinner on their own one night.

Great pick this month!   Thanks, Kerry!


Look What I Won!

I know, I know, everyone says they never win anything, but it's true.  I don't typically win stuff.  Maybe because I tend to enter contests that have 9,574,748,357 entrants?  Who knows.

But I was reading one of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago and this post really hit home.

Scroll down through the comments and read mine -- I'm Jennifer M.  (I'd link to it but don't know how or if it's even possible ...)

I was not joking.  We were in an office supply store and I had a mild freak-out because I suddenly was sad and upset that I didn't have and couldn't afford a gigundo printer that only a few minutes earlier I'd never thought about more than just as a passing, "hmm that would be nice" kind-of thing.

And lo and behold, I won one!  And the paper to go with it!

Check out this puppy!

In case you were wondering, that's 13 INCHES by 19 INCHES.  Go look at a ruler for a second and contemplate that.  It's crazy!

Thank you, Rachel, a thousand times over.  You made my day, my week, and now my day again -- and I'm sure when I print my awesome humongous printouts, you'll continue to make me smile again and again!

Hmm.  Now I really can't wait to unpack and get my "office" set-up going... 


Catching Up, At Last!

I have not forgotten you, my lovelies!  I've just been struggling with how to balance all this work stuff with the rest of my life:  CAM at school, family, unpacking still, and errands and meetings and all the rest of running a household (granted, with Mick, but still coordinating it all), and my precious sleep.  I think this bug is still playing a role, too -- the other day, I went to bed at 8:00!!

Anyway -- pictures of our weekend adventure in Boothbay last weekend are finally here.

For the record, Boothbay is about an hour away, but the roads to get there are typically only one lane in each direction and they wind through a very scenic, very touristy, route.  So we were anticipating a long ride, and because it was "Kids' Day" at the Railway Village, we wanted to be there early and ahead of any crowds.  (Kids' Day = free admission for kids, and we all know the masses tend to come out for free stuff.)

Last summer, we arranged our trip North especially to be able to see "the big Thomas" at the Boothbay Railway Village.  This year we were in Maine for Thomas' visit, but we'd already seen him in Chattanooga barely two months earlier, and we'd only just gotten to Maine when Thomas was here.  Those two factors together meant we had to pass.  Fast-forward a month, and I happened to see a commercial for the "kids' day" at the railway village -- kids' day as in, kids are free!

We woke up super early on Saturday anticipating traffic to get there (it opened at 9:30).  We didn't tell the kids where we were going, other than "a meeting far away." They woke up, got dressed, and were so sweet all morning.  Such troopers on their sleep-in day!  On our way we made two time-consuming stops: one for a quick breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, and one at Target because we needed Pull-Ups and wipes. 

Despite those stops, we managed to get to Bootbay in just about an hour!  There was no traffic at all -- perhaps because it was so early (we were on the road by 8), or because it was overcast and dreary, but either way, we got to the Railway Village right around 9:40. 

While we were there, we rode the first train of the day ...

 went through a covered bridge that the kids called a "time tunnel" ...

waved to the conductor when we got off at our stop ...

... rode on a 1938 firetruck (in the rain; no pictures, sorry)

... toured the historic village

This is an old filling station from the 1920s, if I remember correctly.  It was moved to its current location in 1970.

... drove a few trains of our own ...

Love that runny nose.  Sorry, folks, I don't (yet) own Photoshop to spare you this view!

 ... and rode in a 1914 Model-T!  It's 98 years old!  That was super cool.

It rained on and off the entire time we were there, but we still managed to do everything the village had to offer, going in and out of all the buildings, watching an old internal combustion engine fire up, looking at the miniature model railway -- the whole shebang.  The kids loved it.

We loved it.

When we were done, I wanted to duck into the gift shop.  WHM, of course, was immediately sucked by the gravity of Thomas over to the Thomas the Tank Engine play table.  He had no desire to leave.  Finally, I said to him, "There is nothing on that table that is not also at our house.  It is time to go."  And the volunteer who was working in the shop said to me, "You have no idea how many times I hear that exact statement.  I have lost count!"

That made me smile.

WHM and Mommy matched on Saturday.  It was fun.  We might be in Maine, but it's still 'Bama game day!

 We had a great time, and the kids are already asking to go back. Best of all, because Thomas was NOT there, we were able to do so much more of the actual village part, and that was pretty darn cool.

Grandpa, are you reading this?  You need to come with us next time!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Little ... Rainbow

When you really need a rainbow path for your ponies to dance on, sometimes paint chips pilfered from Home Depot are magical!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend Update

I'm still sick, which is partly why I've not written much in the past few days.  It was also a doozy of a busy week last week, and being sick -- but not wanting to take time off work -- meant that I kept going to bed as early as humanly possible.

Yesterday, Mick and I took the kids on a surprise trip to the Boothbay Railway Village, and I've got tons of pics to post.  Tomorrow CAM's got ballet/tap again, so I'll try to post about that, too.  And we made PW Crushed potatoes and they were absolutely fantastically delicious, so I'll post about that.  Heck, I may even get ambitious and finally make those mint brownies I was supposed to make in August.  (The bananas foster, though, I'm not so sure about.  Rum and bananas are two of my least favorite things ...)

In the meantime, I won an online contest, got a small-but-fabulous gift from Courtney, Ginny got her birthday present from us and loved it, and it has officially hit the 40s here.  As in temperature, not ages.  So it's been a week!  Oh, and my mom's been praying for us to get back on our feet and making side deals with St. Jude.  Nothing like a good little bit of Italian Catholic you-scratch-my-back deal-making!

I'm not sure I'll be able to do it tomorrow, but I promise to get back online and caught up with all of you as soon as possible.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

And Jen is ...

I don't know about you, but I'll throw this out there: if you're a betting person and you ever look at the "how long 'til Jen gets sick" pool, I'd suggest you take the under, every time.

Because it's Day 8, and I'm sick and voiceless and was up all night last night already.

It's only Tuesday, which is what really stinks -- there's still a whole lotta week left to make it through!

Oh well. Quite honestly, I'd rather be sick now, in the early material, than later in the year or -- dare I say it -- on a weekend! 

But I'm missing more voices than just my own today.  It's Open House this evening, and I'm going to miss almost all of The Voice tonight because of it.  We don't have DVR yet, and that's an even worse bummer than being sick!

UPDATE 9/12: Open House was mostly Empty House last night, but I was thankful because my throat feels like there are a million little daggers in the back.  I ended up with most of my classes empty, two parents in one class, and about eight or ten in the last class.  It went really well, too, but for my throat issue.  Oh, and I missed ALL of the The Voice, because it was only on from 8-9 last night!  Now it's morning and I had a good night's sleep but my throat is awful.  Oh well. We'll see how today goes!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Elmo. Nemo. Same thing.

I came home from work today with a ferocious migraine, so I asked Mick to take CAM to her ballet class (a kind-of big deal, because today was the very first day and Mick had to register her).  I put on comfy-cozies, popped two Excedrin Migraine, shut the blinds, crawled on the couch, and put on Ellen.  Oh, and covered my eyes in an effort, if not to sleep, at least to not suffer from any kind of light.

WHM snuggled in with me.  He was precious, even if he made sure I didn't so much as get a millisecond of sleep.

There was a commercial for the new 3D Finding Nemo.  Here's our conversation:

WHM:  I wuv Elmo.  I watched dat mooovie at my school yesTURday.  At my school in Georgia.  Not in Maine.
ME: You watched Finding Nemo?
WHM:  Yes.  Finding Elmo.
ME:  His name is Nemo.
WHM:  No, Elmo.
ME:  Did you watch the fish movie?
WHM:  Yes.
ME:  That fish movie on the commercial?
WHM:  Yes.
ME:  It's called Finding Nemo.
WHM:  Wight.  Elmo.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Firefighters' Parade

Today was one of those days where it was really kind-of cool to be in rural America and/or Maine.  There was a firefighters' convention that was kicked off with a parade this morning in Freeport.  We woke up early (well, early by most standards, and certainly earlier than we wanted to wake up!) and headed out -- lawn chairs, rain jackets, snacks and cameras all ready.

Funny note:  CAM and I were in our Alabama game-day apparel.  WHM had a full-on meltdown that he was NOT wearing an Alabama shirt this morning.  We are raising this kid right!

The weather was funny -- damp and just warm enough to not have us all shivering, but it never rained.  The parade was wonderful -- it was pretty lengthy and although there were no marching bands, there were enough firefighter music groups and pipes that the music kept on coming.  Mick and I took a bunch of photos of all sorts of cool things.  I'll spare you most of them, but here are a bunch of our favorites.


Yowsa.  I need a haircut even more than I realized!

Those sirens are LOUD!

Laughing at the "big boot car!"

I'm thinking they've had this plate since ... well, since plates!

Aunt Sheila is one of their coaches and as I took these pictures, she was hugging and talking with CAM.  So cool!

Coolest thing we saw all day.  The lawn chair makes it especially perfect.  I can imagine all the old-timers saying, "well, we're happy to play for you, but we damn sure ain't marching ..." and lo and behold, a flat-bed trailer becomes a mobile orchestra pit!  LOVE it!

WHM loved this fire truck!

That's the McDonald's, folks.  Don't tell me it's not the coolest McD's ever ... 'cause it is.  :)

One group stopped and gave the kids suckers.  This is what they said.