Monday, November 20, 2017

Gala!

This is a weird week.  Peter is off  Wednesday - Friday. Sarah is off the whole week but we have to go to a parent/teacher conference at school this morning.  Then she has a hair appointment and at some point, she and I need to get groceries and then I have to pick Peter up from school early because he has an allergist appointment.

Tomorrow Sarah has a dentist appointment and on Wednesday Peter has his appointment at the DMB to get his permit.  Can you tell that I've tried to schedule as many appointments as possible during this weird week of being off?

But let's backtrack to the weekend!  Saturday night was the Giving Gala at Peter's school.  All the kids have MacBook Airs and a huge campaign is underway to pay for all of this new technology going forward.

The soccer team made it to the State Playoffs and of course, the championship game was in Raleigh on Saturday night.  Also, the drama department had their play and the final performance was scheduled for Saturday night.  And Wake Forest and N.C. State was in town playing a big game and of course, it was Saturday night.  And there were a lot of people sick this week as well so unfortunately, the gala wasn't as well attended as it could/should have been.  BUT - the group putting it together did a great job and Dan and I had a really good time.  AND - we got to dress up and go out like actual grown-ups so that was nice too.  

I had Sarah snap some pictures before we headed out the door.  And of course - the one where I look the best - Dan is making his joke face.  Almost every picture we have of his Dad, he is leaning to the side and making a grimace face. And many years ago, we noticed that Dan had this same trait.  Without knowing it, he too would be leaning to one side and grimacing instead of smiling. So now every time we pose for a picture, Dan will purposefully do this in at least one shot.

Such a cute pic of ME and look at his face! 

Okay.  I guess I'll let him off the hook because he is so sweet!

That's better!
And one more shot so you can see my necklace. I just love this tassel necklace!  It really pulls the whole outfit together!
 And I wanted to add this picture of the gym because I thought the gala committee did a great job making it feel less like a gym and more like a gala!


And the Bishop McGuinness boy's soccer team is now the STATE 1A Champion!  Peter was so upset that he didn't get to go the game.  I feel bad for him but we already had tickets to the gala.  He spent a lot of Saturday sulking.  And he kept saying if he had his driver's license he would be able to drive himself all the way to Raleigh.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that that probably would not have happened either. Maybe when he's a senior but definitely not anytime soon!

Friday, November 17, 2017

The not so annoying little brother.

My brother came over yesterday afternoon.  He comes over most afternoons to "check on us".

While he's "checking on us", he makes sure to ask about my day and then he takes the time to find the kids and see how they are doing.  They have a lot of inside jokes with Uncle Brad so they usually end up laughing when he's around.

Also while he's "checking on us", he's going through my cabinets and refrigerator looking for snacks and leftovers.  I will admit that I  find this mildly annoying and he knows it.  But that doesn't stop him from leaving a long trail of crumbs and wrappers and dirty glasses.

Brad is technically my "little" brother.  I've got him by 11 months but he's got me by about 7 inches and quite a few pounds.  And little brothers, even when they are 47, do what they do best; annoy their big sisters.

But little brothers also love their big sisters - even when they are repeating everything they say in elementary school, or calling them names in middle school, or hitting on their friends in high school and college or teaching their niece and nephew crude jokes in their 30s or going through cabinets in their mid-forties.

When Brad came in yesterday with a gift bag complete with colored napkins peeking out of the top in lieu of tissue paper and a greeting card telling me it was a gift from him to me and Dan, I scoffed and said, "No, really.  Who's it from?"

He faked a pained look and said, "It's from me?  Why can't I do something nice for you?"

Um, because you're my annoying little brother.

He told me to check the card.  I could see that our names were written on the front in his handwriting.  He told me to wait until Dan got home so we could open it together.  I was scurrying around the house getting Sarah out the door for a Girl Scout meeting and trying to finish folding some laundry.  Brad spoke to the kids, scrounged around my cabinets for something to eat, and then he left so I could get Sarah where she needed to be.

Later that evening, Dan came in on two wheels. We were late  to a Freshman parent meeting at school. but when we got home from that, we opened the bag together as instructed and low and behold.....


My brother went to Replacements, Ltd., which just so happens to be in Greensboro, and purchased a ladle that is part of Dan's mom's china!!  He had also included a card thanking us for"opening up our home, kitchen, and cupboards." How sweet is that??

Here is the ladle resting in the gravy boat:


It appears that one of the ends is a pouring spout and the other end is a ladle rest. 

And I guess that means we can all be happy!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

It was....okay?

On Saturday, we went to the Renaissance Festival.  Dan and I went once before  20 years ago.  TWENTY?! Who's old?  Is it me? 

Anyway, the place has at least doubled in size since we've been there, but I guess that was bound to happen since it had been TWENTY years since we were there last.

My feelings on the whole thing can be summed up in one word:

meh


It was okay.  We were there for 4 hours.  We spent $100 just to get in and then once on the grounds, we bought lunch and dessert which wasn't too expensive but you had to eat it standing up because it was so crowded. 

We saw 4 shows.  One was not so good, one was really good and the other two were pretty good.
 My favorite was the juggling show.  Those guys were good!  And funny but not in a raunchy way.  A lot of the comedy at this place was off color and even marked as parental guidance suggested on the map. 

I also enjoyed the Ancient Art of Falconry show.  They had 4 birds that they told us about and each of these birds was flying around overhead from perch to perch.  I almost got hit in the head by a bird a couple of times.

We also saw a jousting match which was little boring but one of those things you have to do when you are there.  My least favorite show was Barely Balance - Comedy and Acrobats.  They did about 5 cool stunts but the rest of the time they were just making jokes that weren't that funny.

There were lots more shows to see but the grounds are large and each show starts at a certain time and the map told you the name of the show but not what it was about.  I probably should have checked online to see if there was a description of the shows available. Also, there were 12 different stages where performances were going on so it was very spread out.  


Here's a picture of the jousting:

We didn't get there in time to get a seat in the bleachers but we were able to see all the action from where we were standing.


The whole vibe of the festival was...odd.

We got there at 10:30 and people were already drinking.  Ahhhh...to be young again.

A lot of people were dressed in Renaissance clothing but there were even more people dressed as superheroes, robots, spacemen, etc.  There was even an entire family there dressed as the game pieces (cones) from Cones of Dunshire which is the game Ben created on Parks and  Recreation.

We walked around the entire time wondering why everyone was dressed so strangely.  It wasn't until on the way home when I read the map that I discovered they were having a costume contest that day. It was billed as Time Travelers Weekend. Hereos and Villians Costume Contest.  All costumes welcome! So that explained that weirdness.

There were a ton of little shops but we didn't go into many of those.  We aren't really in the market for incense or fairy wings.  Although Peter did convince me to buy him a Viking drinking horn.  He was thrilled about that and would [robably say that was the highlight of the day for him.  I only got him that because it was technically for his birthday. 

Peter had more fun than Sarah and I think Dan and I had more fun than the kids.  I'm glad we went but I'm not sure if we could go back again next year unless we had reduced priced tickets.  


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The birthday.

So, as you could tell from yesterday's post, my baby turned 15!  I really don't even know how that's possible. 

This weekend we opened his presents after we got back from the Renaissance Festival. His main and most favorite gift was a replica of an English musket from 1722.  As I noted on my post yesterday, he loves history and historic battles and anything relating to those so this musket was perfect for him. (I could totally see him being a revolutionary or civil war re-enactor some day!)








And we had a big birthday lunch of steaks and baked potatoes and salad at my parent's house on Sunday complete with my mom's chocolate cake as Peter's birthday cake. 

Here are a few shots of the rest of the family:









We had a great weekend celebrating Peter but I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how we got to 15 so fast.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fifteen is...

Fifteen is....

knowledgeable
sentimental
witty
confidant
cautious
moody
handsome
smart
loving
tenderhearted
conservative
patriotic



Fifteen loves to....

watch YouTube videos on geography and history
play games on the computer
read about historical war battles
play his electric and classical guitar
push his sister's buttons
visit Grandma and Grandpa every night
eat steak, ice cream, BBQ, and ACP
joke with Uncle Brad
be alone outside
hang out with his best friend, Colton
listen to Sabaton and Amon Amarth and various other death metal bands
wear his metal tee shirts

Fifteen has my heart.
Happy Birthday, Peter!

Friday, November 10, 2017

7 Quick Takes

It's Friday and what's a Friday without 7QT?

1.  Every year Dan and I say that we should take the kids to the Renaissance Festival in Charlotte.  And every year we get to the end of November and say, "Is the Renaissance Festival over already"?
Soooooooooo,  this year, I looked at the calendar and determined that the only Saturday that we had most of the day free would be tomorrow and we decided that we could FINALLY take the kids to the Renaissance Festival.  And tomorrow the high is going to be in the mid-40s.  That's the HIGH.  Sarah said, "We should have probably gone back in October when it was in the 70s and 80s."  Yes, that would have probably been a good idea.

And after typing Renaissance Festival 4 times, I realize now why people call it Ren Fest.  And yes, I had to look up how to spell renaissance.  I can't spell ladle, you think I can spell renaissance off the top of my head?
 
2.I took my sloth like 2 mile walk this morning determined to improve my time.  I was intent on walking briskly the entire two miles and every time I felt like I was slowing down, I picked up my pace.  Guess who still finished the 2 miles in 40 minutes?  Still a sloth.

3.  And speaking of sloths!  Have you guys seen the hilarious Geico commercial with the sloth?  We die every time we see it. And just in case you haven't seen it, here it is for your viewing pleasure:


4. I left a drawer on the island open and guess what I turned around to find:




Apparently Wally felt the need to show those flowers who's the boss.  And it wasn't Tony Danza or Judith Light! 

5. Would you guys like a link to another yummy recipe?  Great, because that's what's coming up right now.  I've made this a couple of times now and it's really good. It's called Best and Easiest Mongolian Beef and it's from The Savory Tooth.  Just be careful not to over cook the beef or it will get a little tough.  It's best when I can find pre-sliced carne asade at Aldi. Because they've already got it thinly sliced which takes the work out of it and all the cuts are even.  Here is a horrible picture I took of what we had last night.

I served it with shelled edamame, glazed carrots and jasmine rice.  The sauce on this beef is so yummy!!

6. Peter has his last driving session on Sunday.  This is the make up from when he had an allergic reaction.  And Sarah has a confirmation class on Sunday so it;s a full weekend for us! 

7.  And to top off the weekend, the Patriots are the Sunday Night Football game this week!  So, you know what we will be doing on Sunday night!  I think it will be another guac and queso kind of dinner night on Sunday!  Go Pats!!

For more 7QT, visit Kelly.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

And the winner is...

Peter has a half day today and no school tomorrow.  Sarah has a regular day of school today and a half day tomorrow.  Have I mentioned before that having the kids at two different schools with two similar yet different schedules is a little maddening?  How some of you do it with 3 kids or more at 3 different schools or more is beyond me!  Although, I will admit that as soon as I got both schedules last year in the spring, I immediately put them into my digital calendar. That has been a huge help when scheduling appointments and I am still patting myself on the back for being proactive for a change.

Anyway, that long paragraph to let you know that because it was my day to drive carpool and I have to be back at Peter's school by noon to pick him up, I decided to hang out in the town where his school is.  And that has led me to the Starbucks at Target with my lap top.

And y'all, I am pleased to announce that now that horrible pumpkin spice everything season is coming to a close, I am drinking a Peppermint Mocha!!!!

I had whipped out my last remaining Starbucks gift card to pay for it when the cashier/barista informed me that her computers were down and the drink was on the house!!

Woo hoo!!  Dreary Thursday morning made! 

I would also like to report that the Target I normally go to is slowly turning their snack bar into a Starbucks.  And I say slowly because it has taken two months to date.) This could be dangerous on the old budget and waistline because I am going to feel the need for a pricey and high calorie coffee drink every time I go in.  Although, I suppose I could probably settle for a regular (read much cheaper) coffee when I'm feeling the need to browse the Target aisles with a coffee in my hand. 

Once I'm done computing, I plan to head over to the Hearth and Home by Magnolia section to see all the Chip and JoJo goodies that are available.  Although I will admit that on Sunday when the line went live in stores, I bought something online that I had been eyeing (because, yes, I checked out some blog posts with sneak peaks at all the merch).  Hopefully it will be here soon!

Someone just came in and ordered a Caramel Latte Brulee with extra caramel and extra drizzle. And the poor cashier/barista keeps giving away free drinks.  This Starbucks is losing money today with their broken computer.  That's at least the 10th drink she's given away free in the last 20 minutes. 

Ok.  Where was I? 

I have tallied all the comments on my blog and on my blog's Facebook page regarding the ladle vs. no ladle debate that has been raging in my household.  (Ok, raging may be a bit much.  How about "discussion that comes up as dinner discussion when I serve gravy"?)

Several people commented but never officially went #TeamBeth or #TeamDan so I did not include them in the tally.  And the winner is:

#TeamDan


Boo.  Hiss.

8 people sided with my husband and only 5 sided with me. 

My friend Jeff said "I THINK a boat with an attached plate is intended to be used with a ladle and one with a detached plate is meant to be poured. One for pouring is likely to have a handle so as not to burn the hands if it's hot."

That makes sense to me.  So I guess I will be reluctantly purchasing a ladle for gravy nights.

How do real writers get any work done in a Starbucks?  Currently there is a training session going on.  There is a manager that is now training 5 new baristas on the proper way to make these drinks.  And it is very detailed. 

He's saying things like, "First I do blah blah blah BUT before I do hozee what's it, IF I have another order then I would WAIT and start doing blippity bleep on it and THEN  come back to the first order and do whatsey doodle and AFTER that go back to my second drink and......

My head is spinning And this is why you never see an old person like me working as a barista at the Starbucks. Too many steps for this old lady.  Some things are better left to the youth of this world. 

I just overheard someone say that these people are training for the soft opening of the Strabucks at my normal Target.  I THINK they said it's next Friday!  So exciting.  It's the little things....

Have a great Thursday, y'all!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What do you guys think?

We've had gravy a couple of times in the last few weeks and when we do, I always use the gravy boat.

The gravy boat I have is the one that goes with the set of china we are using as our everyday set.  It was the set Dan used growing up and it's called Franciscan Dessert Rose.  It's a very beautiful, old-fashioned pattern and it's a nice way to remember Dan's parents and family on a daily basis. 

Here is the gravy boat:

 Every time I bring this bad boy out, Dan asks, "Where's the ladle?"

And then the trouble starts.

I am adamant that you do not need a ladle with this gravy boat because it has a spout on each side.  All you have to do is pour the gravy out.

And guess what?  It works perfectly!  It's all one piece so all you have to do is hold the base and pour and after you are done, if there are any drips, it's caught by the base.  But typically, there are no drips because it is really quite the perfect design.

Dan maintains that it needs a ladle because there isn't a handle to hold while pouring.

I will go to my grave thinking I'm right and he will insist with his dying breath that he's correct. 

Meanwhile, I guess I just need to bite the bullet and get a dang ladle so we can stop having this discussion every time I make gravy.

And also, why did I think ladle was spelled laddle?  Spell check kept telling me I was wrong, I kept insisting I was right.  Then I checked with Merriam-Webster and guess what?  It is l-a-d-l-e.


So I guess that means I'm wrong.

But only about the spelling.  I still think you don't need one with this gravy boat. 

What do you fine people of the internet think?  Ladle or no ladle with this gravy boat?  And if you don't agree with me, it won't hurt my feelings.  After all, I didn't even know how to spell ladle.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I finally did it!


I have placed this picture of my corner kitchen shelves at the top of my post so as not to scare everyone with what I really wanted to show you today.  And this just happened to be the first picture on my phone and I thought it looked really cute so.  I would like to note that the blue background on the Moravian Blessing print looked really good this summer when I had all manner of blueish and greenish items on these shelves.  Alas, I am way too lazy to change it so we are all going to pretend really hard that the blue looks fallish and go with it.

ANYWAY....

I really wanted to show you guys this:










 What IS that disgusting blob, Beth?  A mouse?  A dead kitten?  The world's ugliest toupee?

Nope.

After I left you guys on Friday morning, I started cleaning the house.  Which, really.  Why bother because it already looks like I never even cleaned and it's only Tuesday.  Sigh...

Anyway, I got done with the vacuuming and emptied the canister and looked at the bottom of the roller brush like I always do and instead of deciding to clean it the next time I vacuumed, I did it right then and there.

This is the before:

 Y'all.  There is supposed to be an actual brush underneath all of that hair.

So I took off the brush part and got out the scissors and started cutting and only a few minutes later, I had this:

I was so pleased with myself that I almost decided to vacuum again just to see how much more stuff I got up with a clean brush.  But then I came to my senses and put away the vacuum and finished the rest of my chores.

My chores?  I'm beginning to sound like Laura Ingalls.

I finished the rest of my domestic duties and went about the rest of my day quite pleased with myself for finally doing what I've been putting off for a while.

Next up on my list of things to accomplish that I've been putting off forever is dusting the blinds.  That chore, however, will take way longer than a few minutes so it may take me a couple more years to work up to that one.  Seriously, I've thought about removing all the blinds just so I don't have to deal with them but then that reveals how dirty my windows are.

If you give a mouse a cookie....

 Peter and Dan went camping with the Boys Scouts this weekend.  It was rainy but it sounds like they had a good time.  On Saturday, Sarah and I had lunch at Red Robin.  YUM.  (Tell me you don't sing yum everytime you hear Red Robin.  That's some good work by their advertising agency.)

After lunch went dress shopping and for once it was for me!  Dan and I are attending Peter's high school's fundraising gala in a couple of weeks and all of my other appropriate dresses are a little too tight. And short of starving myself for the next two weeks, they will not fit. 

We found something that was cute and affordable and Sarah gave it two thumbs up.  I really wish it had been a little more dressy but I figure this gala is in the gym so it's not like it's black tie.   I also really wanted it in black but they didn't have my size in black so I got a reddish one.  Guess what I'll be wearing on Christmas Eve?  And on Valentine's Day? 

All right, that's enough about giant hairballs and dresses.  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Friday, November 3, 2017

A sloth, some skunks, and a sheet pan recipe.

I just got in from another one of my brisk walks.  I refer to them as brisk walks even though I've been timing myself and it takes me 40 minutes to go two miles.  That's not so much brisk as sloth-like. 

So, I just got back from one of my sloth-like walks.  I only walked twice this week due to doctor's appointments, car pool. and going to morning Mass on All Saints Day.  At least I have good reasons for missing my walk. I've been enjoying my walks (when I do them) though because I've been praying the rosary using an app on my phone.

The voice on the app has a British accent and it makes me feel very proper when I'm out walking like a sloth.  However,  I have received a few sideways stares from some neighbors who are walking their dogs.  I guess they've never heard a rosary being prayed in a British accent coming out of coat pocket before.  I should probably wear ear buds but I hate ear buds.  Say I'm  old fashioned.  Say I'm over the hill.....

And to completely change the subject, we have some skunks that like to hang out around here.  They dig holes all over searching for grubs and I am very paranoid that they are going to spray one of us or a cat.

It was very warm yesterday and we slept with the windows open last night.  Around 1:00 AM we could hear our old cat, who has the now unfortunate name of Kitten, which isn't at all confusing since we currently have an actual kitten who has an old man name of Wally. 

Anyway, at 1:00 AM we could hear that horrible growling/crying noise that cats make so Dan got up to let the cat in.  He thought he could see a skunk in our garden so he came in to get a flashlight.  By the time he got the flashlight, the skunk had meandered off and then we spotted a big orange cat curled up in our flowerless flower bed. 

I grabbed Kitten and brought her in and now I'm wondering where this orange cat came from.  I haven't seen it this morning so I am hoping that it has gone back to it's home because I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER CAT!

Also this morning while it was still dark, I spotted the skunk walking between our house and my parent's house.  That makes three sightings in less than 24 hours because around 9:))  last night Peter and I saw TWO skunks frolicking in my parent's front yard.  TWO.  I guess I need to spend some time today Googling "how to deter skunks".

Before I head out to do a little house cleaning, I thought I would share another delicious sheet pan recipe that even my picky almost 15 year old liked.  It's called  Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken and the recipe can be found here at The Recipe Critic. 

I forgot to snap a picture when it came out of the oven but here is a shot of the little bit that was left that I will be enjoying for lunch today.  Also, I served it with a side of jasmine rice. 


I followed her recipe exactly except that I used snow peas instead of edamame and I did not add the pineapple chunks.  Please check out her pic because it looks so much better than mine.  It was really good though and I will be making it again!

And just for good measure here are some cat pictures.

Wally got into the leftover Halloween candy...literally!

And here's Kitten on the window sill looking inside.  Poor Kitten spends a lot more time outside now that Wally lives with us.  She doesn't love Wally as much as I do.