Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

I haven't one a 7 Quick Takes in a while so I thought I would see if I could come up with seven whole things to write about.

1.  Yesterday after school I met with Sarah's teacher.  I signed up to be Grade Parent for the 4th grade class and one of my duties is to sit down with the teacher at the beginning of the year and plan out all the parties, field trips, etc. so that I can upload all the information into the new school computer system - School Speak.  This way, all the parents can see what items they need to bring and when and what field trips they need to drive for and when, and any other things they can help with.

Luckily, her teacher already had everything planned so it was more of an information exchange than a brainstorming/planning session.

2.  And speaking of SchoolSpeak, I think I'm going to like it.  All of the school info is in SchoolSpeak.  The school calendar, the lunch menu and order forms, every other form you have to fill out (so nice to be able to do it online AND there's a copy function for families with more than one student), volunteer sign-ups, etc. are all in one place.

Each grade even has their own page so I can easily check the kid's homework assignments and upcoming tests and projects.

3.  Yesterday I made two pies!  Two!  I made a chicken pot pie which turned out to be pretty tasty.  I used this recipe from The family loved it so I will be making it again.

4. I also made a creamy blueberry pie.  The recipe is from  I made this one multiple times and the only thing I do differently from the recipe is add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice to the sour cream.  Everyone loves this pie.  Dan even eats it and he doesn't really like fruit pies.

4.  Speaking of blueberries...I used the blueberries that the kids and I picked last weekend.  It was the last day the farm was selling blueberries and the kids had been asking to go.  $8 for a gallon of blueberries!  What a bargain. 

5. This morning I tried something from Pinterest and it seemed to work!  I soaked my feet in equal parts warm water and vinegar for about 15 minutes and then I scrubbed the bottoms of my feet with a Magic Eraser.   The actual instructions said to use a pumice stone but I don't have one so I improvised.  I think I got the same results because my feet were nice and soft and not quite as scaly looking as they normally are.  (Gross, too much information, right?)

6.  Last week, when Peter didn't have any homework, he Skyped with one of his friends on his Nexxus while playing a game with him on the home computer.  So I got to overhear their conversations.  I swear, I felt like I was back in college at a frat party because that's the last time I remember hearing  "bro" and "dude" so many times in such a short period.

But the best was when Peter upped his game and used "broski".  Sarah looked at me and said, "Did you just hear what Peter called Jackson?"  We both rolled our eyes at that one.

7. But Sarah doesn't get off quite so easily because she likes to say "totes" which if you aren't aware is the way the younguns these days say totally.  For instance, "Mom, these shoes are totes cute!"  or "Mom, my hair looks totes awesome this morning."

Well, broski, I'm totes out of Quick Takes so have a great Labor Day weekend and don't forget to head over to Conversion Diary for more 7QTs!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Do they even have Eagles in Egypt? That's what Sarah wanted to know.

Remember last year, when Peter was in the 4th grade and worked very hard on his Country Festival Project?

 Well, Sarah's in 4th grade now and they've already started working on the project.  She really, really, really, really, really wanted Ireland.  That was her first choice.  The teacher had each student to list their top 10 countries for the project. 

The teacher drew names from a hat and as she drew out your name, you got to pick from your list.  But, as luck would have it, Sophie was called before Sarah and Sophie chose Ireland. 

Sarah was mad.  And then her second pick (France) was taken.  Sarah was mad.

So that left her with her third choice...Egypt.

Which would have been fine except that last night that had to draw the flag of their chosen country.  And in art class in a couple of weeks, they are going to make large flags to use in the country parade that they do through the halls.

This is Egypt's flag:

Do you see that Eagle in the center of the flag?  That small golden Eagle gave my girl fits last night.


For two hours she cried, cursed Sophie, rolled on the floor moaning about how horrible her life was, all the while trying to draw this eagle. 

She made the eagle to big, she drew it off center, she made it too small. She was upset that even if she did get this eagle drawn tonight there was no way she was ever going to be able to paint one on a big cloth flag.

And then there was more crying, more snot blowing, more wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth.

I was waiting for her to put on sack cloth and rub ashes all over her face. 

Luckily it didn't get to that point.  After two hours of this nonsense, a shower to calm her down and the threat of bedtime in less than 30 minutes, she sat down (still cursing poor Sophie under her breath) and drew the damn eagle!

And it looked pretty good. 

And no, I don't have a picture because there was no way I was going to try to take a picture.  That would have sent her over the edge.  

And then she finally went to bed.  And then Daddy finally got home from work.

As I was telling his about the whole thing, I bemoaned the fact that we weren't going to have any items from Egypt for her display because I couldn't think of anyone we knew who had been to Egypt. (The whole reason she wanted Ireland or France is that Dan travels there frequently on business and we have some things from there.)

And then Dan said, "Hosam at work is from Egypt!  I'm sure he would help us out."

cue the angels singing

And cue me already praying for the art teacher when they start working on the big cloth flags.  She's going to need it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trying to get organized...

The school year is well underway at this point.  Sarah had an hours worth of homework last night.  She sat right down when she got home from school and got down to business.

Peter completed his written work and then asked for a break before he started studying.  He's in 5th grade this year so a lot of his homework will be studying instead of written homework.

Peter's teacher is extrememely organized and for each student, she made a sprial folder with a pocket for each subject.  Peter is responsible for putting any worksheets or written homework in that folder and bringing it home. 

At the Parent/Teacher meeting she stressed that it is her goal to teach the kids to be organized and to learn how to schedule their time so they can get everything done.

She also stressed that now they won't just be able to study for a test the night before and be prepared for it.  She expects them to study some every night.  I like this concept!  In order to get the kids in this habit, she sends home a slip of paper each night with what she expects them to be studying.  She requires the students to write how long they studied each subject (10 minute minimum) and then a parent has to sign it. 

So last night Peter reviewed his multiplication facts, memorized the 23rd Psalm, reviewed 10 states, their capitals and their abbreviations.  He was supposed to also study for an upcoming spelling test and a vocabulary test but he forgot those two books.  I sure am hoping her organizational techniques rub off on Peter because he tends to be a bit flighty and forgetful when it comes to bringing things home he needs to study.

I think Peter is going to have to do some adjusting but I  think he will do well once he gets into the swing of things.  He just needs to get used to doing things in advance instead of waiting until the last minute.

And speaking of last minute, the kids were walking out the door this morning when Sarah exclaimed, "I have P.E. today!" 


She quickly ran upstairs and changed from her normal school uniform into her gym uniform. (They wear their gym uniform all day when it's gym day and their regular uniform the other 4 days of the week.)  And if you don't have your gym uniform on, the P.E. teacher deducts 10 points from your daily grade.

Whew.  Close call.  Sounds like Mommy needs to be a little better organized as well.  Last year they both had P.E. on Thursdays.  This year, it's Sarah on Tuesdays and Peter on Wednesdays. 

I think maybe I need a special folder as well!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Um. Ewwwww?

I saw this on the way to pick the kids up from school yesterday:

BM Septic - We haul milk at night.

Chocolate, I'm assuming....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Days, School Days...

At 6:40 this morning, my husband and I entered kid's rooms singing, "School days, school days. Dear old Golden Rule days.  Reading and writing and 'rithmatic, taught to the tune of the hickory stick!"

They hopped right up, all smiles!  They love that we start the school year singing that song to them and if it gets them to hop right up then I love it too.

Here is the Annual 1st Day of School Photo:

 Here is the Annual 1st Day of School Goofy Photo:

I love my silly kids!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Over and done with all ready? How can that be?

The kids spent all day yesterday finishing their summer reading and summer homework. And why?

Because they go back to school TOMORROW and for some reason we waited until the last minute to get it all done.  (Poor mothering at it's finest, I suppose.  Although, one could say that now they will better remember the books when they do their projects on them and/or take tests on them in the coming days. That's what I'm going with anyway.)

Summer is over and really, to me it seems like it just started. (Which my be part of the reason we got a little behind on the summer homework.)

I'll admit, I'm a little wistful.  It's going to be quiet around here tomorrow and I'm going to miss those kids. But don't worry about me -  I've got big plans. I'm heading to Target alone

And as much as I'm going to miss those kids, I'm going to enjoy pushing a big red cart happily around that store all by myself. 

Nothing like drowning your sorrows with a little retail therapy.  And before long, the kids will be in the backseat of the car heading home.  There will be bickering, fighting and complaining and all will be right in my little world again.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jalapeno Cilantro Dip Recipe

I found a wonderful new dip recipe on Pinterest for Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dip. It can be found here.

I've made it twice now using jalapenos fresh from our garden and I'm in love.  The kids had friends over for a sleepover on Saturday night and I grudgingly shared my dip with them and they all loved it as well.

Both times I've made it, I've used mayo and sour cream as per the recipe but I think next time, I will do what I normally do when I'm making plain ranch dip and substitute the sour cream with Greek yogurt. 

I also used this as a dressing on a salad and it was wonderful there as well!

Jalapeno Cilantro Dip Recipe

  • 6-8 jalapenos (remove seeds if you don't want it too spicy)
  • 1 clump of cilantro
  • 1 pack of Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (Can substitute with Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  1. Puree jalapenos and cilantro in food processor until it has the consistency of a paste.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

WIWS: Why does it feel like Fall around here already?

It was rainy and cold all day yesterday. In fact, in never got above 64 degrees. Today is warmer and cloudy and it just feels like Fall to me - hence the red pants and black shirt combo. Not very creative but here you go:

Necklace: Kohl's
Shirt: Target
Jeans: Kohl's
Shoes: Kohl's

Photobombed by my husband! 

For more WIWS, head over to Fine Linen and Purple!

Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes: The I'm Trying to Find Signs of Summer Edition

The high today is only supposed to be 71.  And it's cloudy.

 It's may be the middle of August here in North Carolina but it sure feels like the end of September to me.

And I don't like it. Not one bit.

So I went outside to see if I could find anything to remind me that it's still summer and here are the seven things I found.  (Take my word for it that there are seven.  I was having a horrible time trying to get these pictures numbered so I put myself out of my misery and said, "Oh, just forget the numbers!")

The rose bush is still blooming.

The sunflowers are finally blooming.  And we have lots of bumble bees buzzing around.
The Black-Eyed Susans still look pretty.

The vines may be dieing but we still have lots of delicious tomatoes!

The pumpkin vine blooms every morning.  But then the blooms die so looks like we will be buying our pumpkin from the store this year.  The yellow blooms are still so pretty to look at each day.

Our watermelon vine has one melon on it.  It's tiny but it's so cute!  Not sure it will be edible but I enjoy checking on it to see if it's grown.

It's 11:00 and someone is just now getting around to having breakfast after rolling out of bed at 10:00.
Head on over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is Quick Taking about today!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I love that mouse and his magical pencil!

Well, today was the day.  Summer vacation is drawing to a close, the kids are bored with each other and the pool so that means it's Chuck E. Cheese time.

I don't hate going there.  Especially now that I don't have to chase the kids around.  They do their thing and I can just sit there from a centrally-located spot and observe all the crazy that's up in the Chuck E. Cheese.

I'm sure eventually my kids won't want to go.  Cody (Jennifer's oldest son) didn't go with us today...he's 13 so I guess he's too cool for Chuck E's school.

But the other five went and seemed to have fun. And the pizza tasted better to me this year than in years past.  Either they've improved their recipe or I've lowered my standards.

Oh, and of course, Sarah and I took our annual Chuck E. Cheese photo:

Go here for previous shots and see why I have lyrics from Aerosmith running through my mind now...

....the lines on my face getting clearer....




Sunday, August 11, 2013

I like my name better!

If you plant carrots and don't thin them after they start to grow, you get a lot of funky looking little carrots mixed in with your normal carrots.

The kids found this one and dubbed it The Running Man.

I told them it should be named The Running Torso With the Crazy Long Toenail.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake can't make sugar cookies. She just can't.

Sarah never wants to help me cook in the kitchen. And I can't really blame her.  Who wants to help their mom dump random ingredients into a crock pot at 2:00 pm? Or throw something from the freezer into the microwave to defrost at 5:30 pm?  Or frantically stir something on the stove top at 6:45 pm while tossing in some salt hoping that it will taste better?  Not me, that's for sure.

So I was a little shocked (and let's be honest here, a whole lot annoyed) when she opened up her Strawberry Shortcake cookbook on Wednesday night at 5:30 pm while I was in the throes of defrosting, sauteing, salting, etc. and declared that she was "going to make these cookies all by myself".

I did that big halfway-silent martyr sigh that I've perfected over the last ten years and asked her if we had all the ingredients hoping like crazy that we didn't.

But we did so she crammed beside me in our tiny kitchen and she got to work measuring and mixing.

She did a good job with minimal (okay, probably maximal) overseeing from me.  And then we got to the point in the recipe where it said to let the dough chill for two hours.

She was disappointed when I told her we were going to have to finish the cookies in the morning but there was no way we were finished them after dinner.  After dinner is when Mommy is done.  And rolling cookie dough is the last thing I wanted to be doing. I hate rolling cookie dough, remember?

The next morning we rolled the dough out and finished the recipe to the best of our ability.  I had to do most of the rolling and cutting the dough because dough is a huge pain!  I hate it, remember?

And here is young Betty Crocker right before she put the cookies into the oven.

After they came out of the over, she tasted one and declared that the sugar cookie dough tasted better than the actual cookie.  My mom had one and declared that they were wonderful.  (But that's what good Grandmothers do.  They eat bad cookies and tell their grand kids that they are brilliant.) I had one after dinner and declared that they were meh.  I put the rest of them away and they haven't been touched since.

I think perhaps it's time for me to get Sarah a real cookbook because Strawberry Shortcake just isn't getting the job done.

Edited to add:  We just ate dinner and Peter wanted his cookie for dessert.  It was his because he ate the one that had a chocolate chip "P" on top.  He declared his yummy and even ate a second one.  So, I guess maybe Strawberry can make a sugar cookie.  But I still think Sarah needs a new cookbook anyway.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I finally gave in.

I guess I'll spare you any more vacation photos but I'm still up to my eyeballs in my back-to-school to-do list so no fresh posts today.  BUT....I found this in my drafts folder.  I wrote it with plans to post it before we left for the Cape but I guess I was just so incredibly busy, I couldn't find the time to hit publish so here you go...a post that I wrote 3 weeks ago...

Our cucumber plants have loved all the rain we've been having this summer.  Our tomatoes on the other hand, have been missing the sun.  Apparently cucumbers need lots of water, while tomatoes need lots of light.  

Every time my husband comes in from the garden he says, "Sure wish you could can some of these cucumbers."  Or, "I hate to see all these cucumbers go to waste."

And he's been saying this for several years now.

And I've been pretending I can't hear him for several years now.

But after talking to another mom at the pool who just recently made pickles, I thought, "Oh, what the heck. I'll give it a shot."

On my next trip to Wal-mart, I purchased a big canning pot, some pickling mix, and jars.  Lots of jars. 

After I unloaded the rest of the groceries and fed everyone lunch, I pulled out the directions that came with the pot.  And the first thing I read was:  DO NOT USE THIS POT ON GLASS TOPPED STOVES!!

So I cursed a little under my breath, put that pot aside to be returned to Wal-Mart, and got the tallest pot I own out of the basement.

I pieced together instructions from the back of the pickling mix and from the directions that came with the unusable pot.

I rinsed and sliced the cucumbers.  I boiled the jars and the lids.  I simmered the pickling mix.

Then I packed cumber slices into hot jars, poured pickling mix on top, screwed on the hot lids, and placed the jars into my tall pot.  I set the timer for 10 minutes and held my breath. After 10 minutes I took the jars out, let them cool, then put them in the refrigerator.

The next day, we sampled the pickles and low and behold, they were good!  My kids approved of the taste, my husband thought they were good, my parents enjoyed them and my picky brother even gave them two thumbs up!

A couple  of days later, I went through the same process and ended up with 17 quarts of pickles.  That's a lot of pickles, y'all.

I'm proud of myself for trying something new and guess what?  I picked up some salsa mix on my last trip to the store.

Thanks to a week and a half of high temperatures and lots of sun we're about to have an abundance of ripe, red tomatoes and you can only eat so many tomato sandwiches!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sox win! Sox win!

When we were in Massachusetts last week, we took the kids to their very first Red Sox game!  Well, technically, Peter went 10 years ago while in utero but since he doesn't remember, we aren't going to count that one.

The kids had a great time, especially Peter. Sarah was hoping for more ice cream and other food treats like we normally get at the local single A games but since the prices at the Red Sox are a wee bit more Major League than Minor League, we did not indulge her.

Here are a few pictures:

Outside of Fenway Park with Jillian, my neice.  Dan's two brothers and sister-in-law also joined us at the game.

After the game.  The Sox beat the Mariners!

The kids with Uncle Bob and Jillian.

My husband and his brother rarely give good smiles for the camera.  What's up with that????

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's been such a long time...

We are back! After a week and a half in Cape Cod, we arrived home on Saturday evening.

School starts in 2 1/2 weeks and my get ready for school to-do list is a mile long. Add in all the laundry that needs to be laundered and well, I've got better things to be doing that blogging!

So, I'll leave you with a few pictures from our trip: