Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What we've been up to.

After Peter got home from D.C. late Friday night, he spent 5 hours at church at his final Confirmation retreat.  I'm not going to lie, he was less than thrilled about spending a whole day Saturday at church but he got it done.  After the retreat, all the confirmand attended the Rite of Election at Mass.  Sarah and I attended as well so that meant we got to sleep in on Sunday.

But never fear, we didn't have a lazy day to relax.  We spent the afternoon at the 2nd track meet of the season.  Track meets are long but this one went smoothly and there was no rain and it wasn't hot so I would say it was a success!

When we got home from that both kids got to work finishing their homework.  And yes,  Peter had homework even though he had been out of school for three days!

Sarah worked on a science project.  She had to make an animal or plant cell out of a cake.

She chose to do an animal cell.  (In case you don't remember, animal cells are round and plant cells are rectangular!)

On Monday night, Peter went to Boy Scouts while Sarah went to swim and everyone was excited that there was no school on Tuesday.

Although, excited probably isn't the best word to use. The school was closed because the former principal's husband passed away and his funeral was on Tuesday.  The school closed all day so the faculty and staff could attend the funeral.  The former principal is also a substitute teacher at the school so all the kids know her.  My kids were very concerned that she was going to be alone now.

The kids slept in on Tuesday but they literally spent the whole day working on homework.  I think the teachers gave them extra to make up for the fact that they didn't have school on Tuesday.  And let me tell you, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Peter has art class after school today and Sarah is staying after to help her science teacher run a science camp for the elementary kids.  This is one of the fundraisers the 7th grade does to help pay for their field trip in May.

I am hoping that they don't have much homework tonight!  I am just as ready as the kids for spring break. Only two more weeks.  I hope we can hang on!  And bonus - I think Dan will be home on Friday night!  These two weeks have seemed longer than the 4 weeks he was gone in December!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pics from the D.C. trip.

Peter arrived back to the school at 10:15 PM on Friday.  I was very happy to see my boy!

He sent me a lot of text updates and pictures during his trip which was nice.  It was almost like I was there without being, you know, there.

And one thing I discovered when he sent me these pictures is that Peter has a really good eye for photography.  When I take a picture of a building or a statue, it's a direct shot.  I'm very straight on, let's get it all in the frame and have a nice boring picture to remember our trip.

Peter on the other hand took shots of things from different angles and his pictures were so much better than the many I have taken in D.C.  I think he gets this from Dan because whenever Dan gets the camera, he too is always looking for interesting angles.

I always had Peter pegged for a lawyer, but maybe there's a Renaissance side to my boy too!








Peter lit a candle for his Uncle Bob at the Basilica



















And one shot of the whole group...

And now, two more months of school until I have a high school student?!?!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And they are off!

I woke Peter up at 4:50 this morning because it's Washington, D.C. time!!

He less than enthusiastically got out of bed, ate a little cereal and got dressed.  We double checked his luggage and his bag for the bus and we headed out the door at 5:30.  We made a quick stop to pick up a classmate and her mother (who is a chaperone on the trip) and we were at school a little before 6:00.

I told Peter that once I got a quick picture, and a hug and he got on the bus I was going to leave.  So as Peter's friends were loading on to the bus, he said, "If you want a picture get it now." I tried to be discrete so I wouldn't embarrass him. 


He gave me his half smile and I quickly snapped this. Then gave me a side hug and a fist bump and he got on the bus. 

A side hug and a fist bump? I guess I'll take it.

They have a lot crammed into this 3 day trip:

Arlington National Cemetery
The African America History And Culture Museum
Washington Monument
Mt. Vernon
Holocaust Memorial Museum
WWII Memorial
Lincoln Memorial - Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial
Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception
Capitol Hill
Smithsonian Complex time permitting.

Even though our family has been to D.C. numerous times, I'm excited because there are several things Peter will get to see that we have never seen before:  The African American Museum, The Holocaust Museum and the Basilica. 

The African American Museum is new which is why we've never been.  We have never been to the Holocaust Museum before because we felt it might be a little much for the kids when they were younger and I can't for the life of me figure out why we've never been to the Basilica.  Seems like a good Catholic family would visit the Basilica - especially since it the largest Catholic church in the western hemisphere and one of the 10 largest churches in the world!

I'm excited for Peter and his class and even though it's going to be cold, I know they will have a great time!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We need more sleep!

This week has gone by in a flash.  We've had the normal activities :scouts, track practice, swim practice, and art class.  And then Dan found out yesterday that he had to fly out this morning to Seattle for two weeks.

This meant the camping trip and Merit Badge college he and Peter were supposed to go on Friday night got switched up a little.  Dan not being able to go (and another leader coming down with the flu) meant there weren't enough leaders for the campout.  So, instead, my friend and planner extraordinaire, Wendy, coordinated drivers so at least the boys were able to go to the Merit Badge college in Mt. Airy which is an hour away.

Thank goodness she was able to do that because I wasn't sure how I was going to get Peter to Mt. Airy and back after a full day of Merit Badge class.  I wasn't interested in sitting there all day and I also wasn't interested in driving up, back, up and back again.  Thankfully there were two other parents that took the boys and will stay with them at the college and bring them back.

Unfortunatley, this meant getting up before 6:00 AM on a Saturday, dragging Peter out of bed and getting him to the drop off location by 6:45.  Y'all, Saturday is our day to sleep in.  And no one in my family has recovered from the time change.  We really could have used a day to catch up.  I would blame it on old age but the kids are struggling too.  Peter has been coming home in the afternoons and taking a nap.  Although, he was doing that prior to the time change so there might be a growth spurt involved.  Or it could be the fact that he's up late doing his homework every night.  Who knows.

Regardless, my normal two cups-of -joe a day have turned into 3 this week.  Hopefully we can all get back into our groove this coming week.

Sarah's Girl Scout troop is helping out with a local church's chicken pie dinner tonight. We have a track meet on Sunday afternoon immediately followed by Confirmation class for Peter.  He is not happy at all about spending his whole Saturday in a Boy Scout class and his whole Sunday in church, track meet, and Confirmation class.  This boy likes to have time to chill and when he doesn't get time to relax, he gets grumpy.

Then on Wednesday morning I have to have him at  school at 6:00 AM.  The 8th graders are headed to Washington, D.C. for their field trip. And then I have to pick him up on Friday night around 11:00 PM. And next Saturday morning he has a Confirmation retreat all day at church and another track meet on Sunday afternoon.  Would you like to know who is already NOT happy about another weekend that is full?  You go it!  That would be Peter. 

And the following weekend?  He has to be at the high school before 9:00 AM for a 3 hour placement test.  I foresee a lot of naps in Peter's future and a lot of coffee in mine!

Have a great weekend!


Just a little note that Peter left me.  And don't worry about his shaking looking handwriting.   He was trying to do a font with the I and the U. 


Monday, March 13, 2017

Peter and The Joy of Painting

Peter is taking an after school art class on Wednesdays during the month of March.  For the first two weeks they worked on a still life.  Their art teacher is trying to teach them a certain technique (not sure of the name of it) and that technique is what they've been using the last two weeks. 

She said there are many different ways to paint and each artist needs to find their best method.  So the next three weeks they will be exploring other ways to paint. 

But, I think Peter has found his preferred way!

He has been talking a lot about Bob Ross lately.  In fact, Santa brought him a Bob Ross tee shirt for Christmas that he has been wearing proudly.

On Friday evening, he got out some oil paints that Santa also brought him and said he was going to try to paint a Bob Ross.

But he kept getting frustrated because he didn't have the right brushes and the paiting wasn't looking like he wanted it to look.  He will be bringing home some supplies after his school art class is finished and it will include a fan brush that is a Bob Ross staple.  But another tool Bob used all the time was a paint knife.  Without that knife it's very hard to paint the pretty little trees and the happy little mountains.

So Peter ended the evening with a not so good painting and being very frustrated.    This looks nothing like the painting he was going for which you can see in the background.



I told him not to give up.  (Peter has a very bad habit of giving up things if he's not good at them right away.)  I reminded him of the drawings that he's been doing lately.  They started out pretty bad looking but have greatly  improved over time.  He agreed but was still frustrated.

On Saturday, after Dan and I painted half the bonus room, he took Peter to Hobby Lobby where Peter used his own money to buy more canvas, more paint and a paint knife.

Yesterday, he sat back down at the table with his canvas, his paint and a video on his phone of Bob Ross working on a painting.  He put all the right colors of paint on his palate and got to work following Bob's exact instructions.

 Dan and I left to run a few errands and  I got a text that said, "Mommy, I messed it up."

"Oh, no," I said to Dan.  "He's calling me Mommy.  He must be upset."

He sent me a picture and I thought it looked great but he messed something up that Bob was doing and he was getting frustrated. 

"That big swish was supposed to be foothills. I've been trying to fix it but I can't."

"Looks good to me, Pete Just look how much better this painting is compared to the one you did Friday!"

"I can't fix it.  I've tried."

"Can you add some more mountains?"

"Idk."

Fifteen minutes later - "I'm fixing it with autumn trees!"

And when we got home from our errands, we were greeted with one extremely happy artist and this:


He was so proud of himself and I was pleased that he didn't give up in frustration.   I think Bob Ross would be proud too! It looks like Peter has discovered The Joy of Painting!



Friday, March 10, 2017

7QT - So much randomness and a really bad picture of me!

It's Friday so I'm linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

1. Sarah just completed a math assignment on the Wheel of Theodorus.  Which if you are like me and don't know what that is, according to Wikipedia it is is a spiral composed of contiguous right triangles. It was first constructed by Theodorus of Cyrene.  Sarah had to construct her own wheel which is done mathematically and if you are interested in how, please don't ask me but it tells you how here.  Once she drew her wheels (or spirals) she had to turn them into something and she chose elephants.  I think she did a great job!

Wheel of Theodorus:

Sarah's wheel turned into elephants:


2. Science Expo is gearing up!  Both of the kids have already worked with their groups to do their experiments and since today is a teacher workday and there is no school, they are each meeting with their groups to work on their papers.  Sarah's group is coming over her (and somehow she talked me into a sleepover) and Peter will be going to another friends house to work on his.  Hopefully both groups can stay on track and get this paper completed today!

3.  I am on Snap Chat but I never use it. Well, that's a lie!  I do go on there and play around with the filters to amuse myself when I am totally bored.  Here's a picture of me that makes me look like my Dad from the 1970s!


4. For Lent this year, I have decided to pray the rosary every day.  So far, so good!  I have added it to my morning routine and it is the first thing I do when I wake up.  I have also started a list of prayer intentions for this rosary and unfortunately it just keeps growing and growing. I have added something or someone almost every day since Ash Wednesday.  Seeing all of your prayer intentions written down is  overwhelming especially when the list keeps growing BUT  it does bring  peace knowing that you are turning all these problems over to God.

5.  That picture of me with a mustache is really creeping me out so here's a normal one.:


6.  Sarah had swim practice last night and the first thing she said after she got out of the pool was that she was sore!  Which is also the first thing she said after the first track practice.  She is going to be fit as a fiddle by the time spring is over!

7.  And speaking of spring - Don't forget to spring forward one hour this weekend.  Ugh!  I know everyone will be a grumpy tired mess all of next week.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Well, hello there!

I use my crock pot all the time.  And usually with decent success.  I can throw the meat in the crock pot and it cooks all day and then when Dan informs me that he's on the way home (which can be anywhere from leaving the office at 6:00 to leaving the office after 7:00), I then start working on the side dishes.

But lately, everything I've made seems bleh.  So I decided to start looking into the meal delivery plans to spice things up a little bit.

I checked out Blue Apron because several friends have used it and like it.  But to me, the meals seemed a little, upper crust maybe?  Not sure if that's the right word to describe it or not.  For instance,  the meals contained bulgar wheat, bok choy, or freekah.  Even the pictures of the food did not look very appetizing to me. Perhaps we would like these things if we tried them but I didn't really want to take a chance.

So I checked out Hello Fresh.  Their meals had more recognizable ingredients and seemed like something that we would normally eat only maybe a little more elevated.

I found a coupon online and ordered for two weeks.  I chose the classic plan and picked 3 meals.  Under this plan, there are 6 meals offered each week and you can order 3,4,or 5 meals.  You also get to select which meals they are going to send you and which day of the week your shipment arrives.  You can also place your subscription on hold or cancel at anytime without any penalties.

***Please note - this is NOT a sponsored post.  I did NOT receive anything free from Hello Fresh.  This is just my experience using the service.***

On Monday afternoon the UPS man rang my doorbell and I was delighted to find this at my door:


I opened it up and it looked like this inside:


Each meal was in it's own separate box and was clearly labeled.

And there were detailed recipe cards for each meal.


I put everything into the fridge and when Dan got home Monday evening I told him what I had done and showed him this in the fridge:

His response?  "What are we?  Made of money?" (Typical Dan.)

To which I laughed and said something along the lines of, "Well, it's more expensive than our normal dinners but hopefully will be better than our normal dinners"

Dan and Peter had Boy Scouts on Monday and I normally don't cook because Dan gets home just in time to go to scouts and they don't get back until 8:15 or so.  But Dan has another trip this week and with meatless Friday and other plans, I wanted to make sure we used our meals. Sarah and I got to cooking while they were gone and we had a late dinner  when they got home.

We chose to make Sweet As Honey chicken with snow peas and jasmine rice.



Here's the back of the recipe card.  I like the card because it told me exactly what to do and in what order for the entire meal.  It took all the guess work out of having to figure out when to start what so that all the parts of the meal would be ready at the same time

And here are the ingredients:

The soy sauce was in the cutest little fish and the vinegar was in the cutest little bottle.

I will say, that while I did appreciate the cuteness of the little packages, it all felt a bit wasteful in terms of packaging.  But I tossed it all into the recycle bin and I felt a little better.

Here we are cooking up a storm:



Selfie time! Aren't we cute?! I had a lot of fun cooking with my girl.

The meal card said that prep for this meal was 5 minutes and cook time was 30.  I would say that for us the prep time was on the mark but the cook time was more like 40 minutes.

And here was our plated dinner:


And here was my plate afterwards:


Y'all!  It was really, really good.  Everyone ate almost everything.  The kids did leave a few snow peas on their plates but no worries, I scarfed them up.  Peter said I should make it again which is very rare.

Since I have the recipe card, I will definitely be adding this to our normal rotation. And in case you are interested, Hello Fresh has all their recipes online so you can download the recipe card yourself even if you don't use their service.

Last night, I made Mustard Pork Chops with potato rosti and roasted green beans.  Again, something similar to what we would normally eat but elevated.

I'm not going to lie.  This recipe was much more involved.  The card said the prep time was 15 minutes and the cook time was 45.

It took me at least 30 minutes to prep because the prep included peeling potatoes and grating them on a block grater as well as striping fresh thyme leaves from the stem (those leaves are tiny!) and trimming the green beans.  However, I had read the recipe card before hand and knew it was going to take me a while so I allowed for the extra time.

The cook time would have been 45 minutes if I had not turned off the preheated oven by mistake and then had to wait for it to reheat!  UGH!  I was so mad at myself.

This meal was definitely more labor intensive than the first meal but it was just really yummy!

Here's the finished product:


What really made both of this dishes excellent were the pan sauces that we made for each one.  They had so much flavor!

The 3rd and final meal in this week's shipment will have to wait until Sunday evening but I expect it will also be very delicious.

I am already looking forward to next week's delivery.  However, last night Dan mentioned another potential extended trip the last part of March so I will most likely have to suspend the subscription after next week.  Boo.

If anyone has made it to the end of my post and you are interested -  Hello Fresh sent me the following link.  If you use it, you will get 6 free meals.

http://bit.ly/2lRRT8D

Just copy and paste into your browser and then enjoy!