Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There's cream and cheese and garlic. How can you go wrong?

Everyone reads Ree's blog,  the Pioneer Woman, right?  Of course you do because everyone does.  But do you actually cook any of her recipes?  Well, if you don't, you should. You should stop what you are doing right now and make something from her cooking site.  (And notice how I refer to her as Ree, as if I know her? Well I don't, I only wish I did...sigh...)

We love her Crash Hot Potatoes.   Love. Them. Especially my husband.  He usually doesn't get excited about anything I cook but he raves about these.  And who can blame him, they are delicious!  Whenever we grill out in the summer I always cook them.

If we are having steak, I cook them.  If we are having chicken, I cook them.  If we are having ribs, I cook them.  If we get the picture.

So when she posted her Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try them.

And let me tell you, they did not disappoint.

They are creamy and cheesy and garlicky and just plain ole yum.

And they gave me the perfect excuse to use the $5 mandolin I bought at Aldi's a few months ago.

I only two changes I made to her recipe.  She says to use 4 russettpotatoes but I only used 2. My dish was still full of potatoes so I guess you could let that be your guide.

And her recipe says to use 4 garlic cloves.  I used 4 and it was very garlicky and that's fine with me but if you don't like garlic as much as I do you may want to cut it down a little.  Perhaps one garlic clove per potato.

My son who is an extremely picky eater said these were delicious.  "They are creamy like mashed poatoes only different and better," was his exact quote.

Now I'm kicking myself for not getting PW's cookbook.  (It's been on the NW Times best seller list for 11 weeks now.)  Perhaps I should get this for myself for Valentine's Day.  Does anyone else have it?  If so, what do you think of it?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cherry pie would be way better.

My house is clean. I have been cleaning all morning and I am trying to enjoy the cleanliness of it all.

My kids will be home from school in less than an hour and it will be dirty again.  Oh, it won't happen all at once but by bedtime my floors will be littered with crumbs and sticky spots. And dirt, fingerprints and grime will cover the other surfaces of my home.

I remember sitting in my cubicle at work before I had kids reading an email from a friend.  She had a one year old and was a stay-at-home-mom.  She mentioned in the email that she needed to leave the house because her house keeper was coming over.

Housekeeper?  Why does she need a housekeeper, I scoffed.  She stays at home all day with a baby.  She has plenty of time to clean.

And now I know.

Humble pie. Seven years later and I'm still trying to convince myself that it's delicious.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Noodle Head

"Curse that Heather!" Peter screamed as the bus rumbled away.

Uh-oh, I thought.  Heather, the third grade bully that rides Peter's and Sarah's bus must be at it again.

"What did Heather do this time?" I asked.

Peter just shook his fist at the bus and said, "I hate her!  I want to kill her!"

Not words that you want to hear coming from your sweet seven-year-old son.  Actually not words you want to hear coming from anyone.

"What did she do honey?"  I questioned again.  "Was she yelling again?  Was she cussing again?"

Big tears squeezed from the corners of his eyes as he crossed his arms to his chest and shook his head.  She must have called him a name, I thought to myself.  He is more upset than normal over Heather's behavior.

Heather has a history of yelling at other kids, using inappropriate language and just being a "jerk" as Peter likes to put it.  But she usually leaves Peter and Sarah alone but I could tell from Peter's reaction that her venom must have been directed at him this time.

"Honey, did she call you a name?"

He shook his head yes and refused to tell me what she called him.  And to me it really didn't matter.

This bully has upset my son to the point of tears.  And even though the school is only one mile from my house and they are on the bus less than 15 minutes from the time school lets out to the time they are at my driveway, this girl is making that bus ride seem like 1 hour and 15 minutes every afternoon as my kids are forced to listen to her loud mouth and hope that she leaves them alone.

"Do you want to start being a car-rider?" I asked.

"Really?  Can you start picking us up?" he said as a smile started to spread across his face.

I know I can't protect my kids from all of the bullies they are going to come in contact with as they go through school, but I can eliminate this one from their day fairly easily.  They've been putting up with her since September and enough is enough. 

After religious education yesterday, we were leaving the church and Peter mumbled something that was indiscernible.  "What?  Say that again so I can understand you."

More mumbling.  "Honey, what?"

"Noodle Head.  Heather called me a Noodle Head."

I had to stifle my giggles.  All afternoon vulgar words had been running through my head.  What cruel name had this Heather girl called my sweet son? 

Noodle Head?  That's not the vile and vicious name I had come up with.

Noodle Head? That's something Eddie Haskel might have called the Beaver.

But it doesn't matter what the name was, I suppose. Because I'm still going to start picking them up.

I remember riding the bus as a child and I remember hating it.  And there's no reason for me not to pick them up.  I live one mile from the school, I have a car and I'm a Stay-At-Home Mom.  I guess sitting in a car-rider line is just part of the job description.  My destiny even.

Noodle Head.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get to Steppin' Y'all!

For over 35 years, on the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans participate in the March for Life.

In 1974 the first March was held on the West Steps of the Capitol and the numbers have gradually risen through the years. These growing numbers give testimony to the increasing ranks of pro-life Americans and to the importance of the March's work.

Widely considered the most attended annual march in Washington, DC, the March for Life has become the pro-life movement's signature event. *

If you can't attend the march in Washington on Friday, please consider participating in the Virtual March for Life. It only takes a few seconds to sign up and you will be showing your support for all of the unborn babies and their parents. 

*Text taken from

How to keep track of all those library books.

If your house is like mine, you have a lot of books.  You have books on your book shelves, books in your playroom, books in your kid's rooms .  Books everywhere.

And then you take the kids to the library and you get more books.  And when it's time to return your books to the library you can't find them because the library books are now on your book shelves, in your playroom, in your kid's rooms.  Library books everywhere.

This used to happen to me all of the time.  Until I finally got smart.  The minute we get home from the library the books go into the library book basket.  And they aren't allowed on our book shelves, in our playroom, in our kid's get the picture.

When we are done with these books they go back into the basket and when it's time to make a trip to the library they are all right there.

Sounds so simple, but it works so well.

For more Works for Me Wednesday, head over to We are THAT Family.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

In November, Jennifer and I decided we were going to run a 5k with some friends.

The 5k isn't until May 1st which seemed like years away back November.  And I guess technically it was a year away.

I had every intention of starting my "training" as soon as we got back from Christmas vacation but I wasn't expecting it to feel like Canada outside my door every day.

I know people in Canada probably run in the winter but I'm from North Carolina and I like it even.  So I sat snuggled on my couch in front of the fire place munching Toasted Pepper Jack Pimento Cheese Baguettes thinking that May was years and years away and I would have plenty of time to "train".

Until Jennifer started talking about how she had run two miles on her treadmill and then how she was doing interval training and ugh, it hit me.  I guess I really am going to have to get off the couch and start doing some preparation for this 5k.

And then today it reached 61 degrees and actually felt like North Carolina instead of North Dakota.  So Jennifer and I took the kids to the track at the elementary school and I walked half a mile and ran half a mile before Sarah declared that she need to use the bathroom.

Since Sarah has had this stomach bug that's been going around and since there were no facilities available we left.  Darn.  I'm pretty sure I could have run another half of a mile.  Maybe.

I prepared for a 5k back in 2001.  And I was ready.

But the 5k was the day after we moved and I had  spent the previous12 hours moving boxes and unpacking boxes and moving furniture and lifting furniture.  So on the morning of the 5k, I could barely lift my big toe much less my entire leg.  And I backed out of that 5k.

But this time, I've got Jennifer hounding me.  And if Jennifer sets her mind on something, she does it.  And with a vengeance.  So I've got a feeling I better be ready for May 1st because come hell or high water I am going to be running a 5k.

How many years is it again until May 1st?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

She got the idea from her older friend Caity.

She got the idea from her older friend Caity.  She wanted to play basketball.

She was only four but Caity,seven, was doing it so Sarah knew that would be her sport too.

Her mom and dad thought it was a great idea so for her fifth birthday she got a pink basketball and a goal.

She tossed the ball around occasionally but her brother and his friends showed more interest in the hoop than she did - until this fall when basketball season rolled around and Caity signed up again.  She decided she was definitely going to play ball.

So her mom held her breath, wrote the check to the athletic booster club and filled out the forms.

It was official.  She was going to be a basketball player.

Her mom was excited until she realized that the kindergarten and first grade teams were made up of girls and boys.

But Sarah didn't care.  At practice she dribbled, ran laps, and shot baskets.  She kept up the boys and wore pink while doing it.

And then the day of the first game came. Sarah said she was nervous.  Her mom told her it was o.k. to be nervous.  After all, she had never done this before.

It was time for the jump ball.  Her mom gulped because she didn't remember seeing them practice this before.

The ball headed straight for Sarah.  The ball hit Sarah in the head.  Sarah rubbed the sore spot, her mom clutched her chest and held her breath and then Sarah took off down the court.

Just as in practice, she dribbled the ball down the court every time her team was on offense.

She stood with her arms up and never moved out of her assigned spot every time her team was on defense.  Her mom and dad chuckled..  There would be a few things they would need to review after the game.

She scored one free throw shot at the beginning of the game.

Her team won. She was happy.  Yep.  Looks like this girl is going to be a basketball player.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Cool website and widget.

I stumbled on the coolest website a couple of months ago. I can't remember how I found it but I'm so glad I did.

Basically this website promotes prayer by providing beautiful scripture-based prayers for you to pray.

It also has a "Remind Me to Prayer" feature which allows you to choose a topic, plug in the name of the person you want to pray for, and sends you an email link to that specific prayer every morning.

Please note...widget has been removed from post. Please see widget on my sidebar.

(The prayers for blessings and anxiety are beautiful so please make sure you scroll down under Choose A Topic above.)

If you want to be reminded daily to pray for a certain person this is perfect. If your prayer life is a little shaky and you need a reminder to pray every day use this widget.Or if you aren't sure how to pray and need a little help, these beautiful prayers will get you started.

Not only does God want us to pray, he expects us to pray!  So take any request you have to the Lord today in prayer.  (Oh, and while you are asking him for help, make sure you give him thanks while you are at it.  He likes that, too!)

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  - (Philippians 4:6-7).

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. - Ephesians 6:18

On my honor, I will try...

In the fall, Sarah joined a Daisy troop.  If you are out of the loop like I was, girls in kindergarten can now join a Daisy troup which is the precursor to Browines.

She was so excited to be a part of a Scout troop especially since Peter is a Cub Scout.

She and the other girls in her troop had been working hard to memorize the Girl Scout Pledge.  You can't be an official Daisy until you recite your pledge at the Investiture Service.

Last month she had her chance.

I held my breath when they called her name.  She marched right up to the front beside her leader, held up three fingers, and very loudly and clearly repeated the pledge:

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

I was so proud of her. She had no fear.  I would have been trembling with fright.  Public speaking has always made me weak in the knees. 

Here she is posing after the ceremony with her certificate.  She told me she loved the Daisy headband because it made her look like she was getting married. 

Funny thing is, I thought the same thing.  But let's not rush things o.k.?  Because it feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms wondering what I was going to do with a little baby girl. 

I shouldn't have worried at all because she has no problem telling me!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Mapparium.

While we were visiting Dan's family over Christmas we decided to visit The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston.  The library is home to the Mapparium.

The Mapparium is a 3 story painted glass globe.  And to see the globe, you go inside of it and stand on a 30 foot long glass bridge. 

The globe was completed in 1935 and is made of painted glass panels that were originally intended to be updated every time the world map changed.  However, after WWII the museum decided  the world was changing too fast to make any updates and the globe should stay as it was to serve as a historical reminder of the world in 1935.

We loved going inside of this globe.  You could stand in the middle of the bridge and look up, down and to each side and could see the whole world in a glance. 

Another interesting thing about the globe were the accoustics.  They were fabulous.

Because the globe is glass and there are no corners, you can stand at one end of the 30 foot bridge and whisper, and someone else standing at the other end of the bridge will be able to hear you perfectly as if you were speaking directly into their ear.

And if you stand in the center of the bridge and speak out loud, you can hear yourself in surround sound.

If you are ever in Boston, I highly recommend the Mapparium.  The admission ticket will also get you into the museum itself.  We spent a little time looking at the exhibits on Mary Eddy Baker but the kids got bored with that after about 30 minutes so we left.

They don't allow cameras inside the globe so I don't have any pictures to show you of that.  However, you can click on this link to the Mapparium's website and see a picture of part of the globe.

The bathrooms in the museum were very large and shiny and clean and Sarah wanted her picture taken while we were in there...

And this is a picture of Peter before we went inside the Mapparium. He is looking at a large screen where words were being displayed from laser lights.  Not sure what the real point of this was but he was intrigued by it.

So next time you are in Bean Town, check it out!  We're glad we did!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The never ending cycle.

Last night as I was putting away the last of the clothes from Mt. Laundry and silently congratulating myself for scaling it in record time, I glanced into the kid's laundry baskets and noticed...more dirty laundry! 

I hate it when I haven't even finished doing the laundry and there is already more to do.  I dislike that almost as much as I dislike throwing  a piece of trash into a freshly emptied garbage can.  It's the cycle of a mother's life I suppose.

I checked "laundry" off my to-do list anyway.  Although it was a small light check and not the large bold check I was planning to use before I noticed the new dirty laundry. 

The kids headed back to school this morning with a spring in their step and I headed back to work at the preschool.  And it was while I was playing balloon toss with one of the kids that I said under my breath to no one in particular, "I miss my kids."

So it's no surprise to me that as I downloaded the Christmas pictures this afternoon, this was hands down my favorite.

This is my husband reading the Christmas Story to my kids right before going to bed on Christmas Eve.

I love that man and I love those kids.

I must.  Because they are the ones responsible for all that dirty laundry!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I just made a big mistake.

As I was bending down in the kitchen to get something from a lower cabinet, I glanced up toward the counter tops and to my shock and dismay I realized that they were covered in coffee grounds, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and various other crumbs of unknown origin.

The beauty of my dark speckled granite counter tops is that they do not show dirt and grime.

The problem with my dark speckled granite counter tops is that they do not show dirt and grime.

Guess I have another item to add to my to-do list.


Welcome home, indeed!


Well, we are finally home!  After an inauspicious start to our two week Christmas trip to Massachusetts, we are finally home, safe and sound.

The trip was great.  We got to spend time with all of Dan's family.  We got to see a few sights around Boston and we got to enjoy being out of our normal routine. 

But now it's back to work for Dan.  And waiting on me this morning is laundry to wash, bills to pay, pictures to download, thank you notes to write, groceries to buy, toys to make room for, blog posts to write...  I'm getting tired just thinking about it all!

The kids however will be sleeping in and playing with their friends all day today.  For some reason, our school system has a teacher workday scheduled for today so I'm not sure how much work I'll actually be getting done.

But as nice as our trip was and even with all of that work piled up in front of me (and it is literally piled up in front of me...if I wasn't so busy, I would take pictures of all the laundry and the mail and the toys and, well you get my drift) I'm happy to home.