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Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday's ramblings.

1.  Peter, who is being punished with no computer for 10 days because of poor behavior in class, informed me yesterday that the little boy who enticed him to participate in said poor behavior, gave him the web address for a place where "you can go see a picture of a naked lady and she's not blurred out.  But I didn't go there Mommy!"

I guess during Peter's 10 day no-computer punishment, I'll be researching parental blocking software.  Lovely.

2.  I ran 4  miles this morning.  It took me an hour, but I did it.  Thanks to a very cold and snowy winter and a very wet and windy spring, I have just started running again over the last few weeks.  And thanks to lack of exercise this winter and the fact that I continued to eat like I had been running, I gained 5 pounds.  And unlike back in the good old days when I was younger, it is taking me forever to get rid of these 5 pounds.  As in, they aren't budging.  As in, I think they've unpacked and decided to stay for a while.  As in, I guess I'm going to have to start exercising a lot more and start eating a lot less. 

Thank you  middle-age. You continue to surprise me with new things - wrinkles, spots, droopy parts, saggy pieces and now - slow metabolism.  What's next?  Hot flashes?

3. I am trying not to be jealous of the Pioneer Woman.  I love her and haven't previously been jealous of her success.  I feel as if I sort of helped get her to where she is.  I mean, I was commenting on her blog back when only a hundred people would comment on a post at a time. 

I wasn't jealous when she got a cook book deal, or a novel deal or even when she got to do guests spots on the Today Show.  I wasn't even too jealous when I heard she was getting her own show on the Food Network.  The Food Network people!  One of my favorite networks.  No, I was pretty cool about even that. 

But now, she has just released A CHILDREN'S BOOK.  That was the straw that did it, folks.  I have always had it in my head that I would write a children's book.  Of course, I didn't have any characters fleshed out or a plot line formulated but I just had it in my head that I would do it someday.  And now she's adding that to her "I started a blog and look what cool things I got from it" list. And yes, now I can officially admit that I am a teensy weensy bit jealous.  Just a wee little bit.

4.  According to spell check  "teensy" is not a word but "weensy" is.  Huh?  Is there another definition for the word "weensy"?  I thought it was only used when paired with "teensy".

5.  I did not watch the Royal Wedding but I did turn the TV on just in time to see the happy couple walking down the aisle.  I took one look at Kate's dress and decided that I HATED IT!  It looked so old lady-ish - except for the cone-shaped chest area which reminded me of Madonna.

 I did, however, LOVE Pippa's dress.  I guess I was expecting something more like that for Kate only with a super long train.  Huge disappointment!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The perfect pair is so hard to find!

I was in Kohl's this morning frantically searching for something to wear to Peter's First Holy Communion on Sunday. 

I just so happened to be wearing a pair of tan colored capris that I had purchased several weeks ago from Kohl's.  I hate clothes shopping and Kohl's is about as close to the mall as I want to get!

As I was trying to determine if the bands of color and pattern on a certain dress would make my thighs look incredibly large (they did!), an older woman approached me.

"These aren't like the one's you are wearing are they?" she questioned as she held up another pair of capris but in a different style and a lighter color.

I examined what she was holding and said, "No, those are different.  Mine are Sonoma brand.  I got them from over there."  I motioned to a different section of the ladies department.

"Oh thank you!  I like yours so much better than these!"  She scurried off to find the pants.

I forgot about the woman and went into the dressing room, tried on four outfits, deposited the ill-fitting clothes at the discard rack and went to a different section the ladies department and started my search again.

"There you are!" she exclaimed, a little bit out of breath and almost annoyed that she couldn't find me sooner.  She was clutching another pair of capris.  She looked down at my pants and then declared, "These aren't the right ones either!"

"Well, I bought them several weeks ago.  They are probably out of stock," I replied.

I am almost certain that if I had offered, she would have taken my pants right then and there.

And there's really no point to this post except to point out that even in their sixties, ladies are still frantically searching for the perfect pair of pants. 

And I'm kind of annoyed that a woman in her late sixties (maybe even older) was shopping in the same section of Kohl's with me. 

Wonder if that's how the teenagers feel when I'm shopping in the Junior's department?  Like, totally!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Easter was great. Hope yours was too!

Let the egg dyeing begin!

Showing off for the camera!

The finished eggs with their notes to the Easter Bunny.  (Yes, they leave notes to the Easter Bunny.  Don't you?)

Easter morning. 

Reading the note that the bunny left them. 


A diary!

Ready for church.  Don't they look cute in blue?

Ready for church!  Don't we look cute in green?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sarah Said

When she came in from school yesterday, Sarah said, "Mom, you forgot to pack a drink in my lunch box today.  So I had to drink ranch dressing.  Again."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A singer and a snourer.

On Tuesday evening, the kid's school had Poetry Night and a Silent Auction.  Sarah was thrilled to stand up in her class and read her poem.  Peter was not.

After we bid on a few of the baskets, (all of the classes contributed items to go into different themed baskets) we headed to Sarah's class.  She chose to read her 'I am" poem.  The teacher had given the class 12 writing prompts that all started with "I".  For instance, I am, I wonder, I hear, etc.

And of course Sarah's poem is about her being a singer.  Here is her poem:

I am a singer.
I wonder if I am any good.
I hear the crowd.
I see my mom and dad.
I want to be famous.
I am a girl.
I pretend I am a pro.
I feel the music in my body.
I touch the microphone.
I worry I am bad.
I grumble when I make mistakes.
I am Sarah Cotell.

Isn't that a fabulous poem?  And so very telling.  Wondering if she is good?  Worrying that she is bad? 

And then there is the whole feeling the music in her body.  Did she get that from Hannah Montana or does she really feel the music in her body?
 (Isn't her outfit the cutest??  I love those striped leggings!)

Next we headed to Peter's class.  He wrote a short poem on a storm.  It was equally as fabulous although Peter would like to point out that he wrote every word by himself and didn't use any writing prompts.

Here is his poem:

The lightning flashed
the thunder crashed, the
rain poured, my dad snoured.                   
I looked out the window
at the storm.

I love this poem.  I love that he wrote that his dad snored (because he does) and I love how he spelled it.  The English language is so complicated! 
(His poem is on a cloud with lightening coming out of it.  I didn't pick up on that right away.  I thought it was a flower.  I'm pretty slow that way.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Duct tape...luckily it comes in different colors.

"Mom, Bruno chewed up the tip of my airsoft gun," Peter said through tears.  "That makes two ruined guns."

To be fair, neither gun was "ruined" but due to my son's negligence, both of his airsoft guns had seen better days.  A couple of months ago the end of his other gun broke off while he and a friend were playing with it and now apparently he left the other gun laying in the neighbor's yard while the boys took a break shooting at things to play hide and seek.

I wanted to wipe my son's tears away, hug him tight and tell him that mommy would buy him another gun if it would make him feel better.

But my husband did the better thing and told him to stop crying and to start taking better care of his toys.  And then he took the gun to his basement work shop and started working.

And just like the other gun weeks before, this one soon emerged repaired.

And just like the other gun weeks before, he used duct tape.

What we do around here without duct tape and glue?

Monday, April 11, 2011

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

The kids missed school on Tuesday thanks to a big storm that blew through and knocked out power at a lot of the school in the county. We are out of make up days thanks to all the wintery weather we've had here so the kids had to go to school on Saturday.  But don't feel too bad for them...they missed a full day and only had to go a half day.

Dan and I took this opportunity to go on a breakfast date!  We went out for breakfast and ran some errands.  It was a nice morning.  And Saturday felt like such a long day since we normally try to sleep in. 


Yesterday, after lunch,we took the kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Roderick Rules.  What a great movie!  I think I liked it just as much if not maybe a teeny bit more than the first one. 


Lately, every time I do a load of laundry, I would hear a big gurgling noise coming from the kitchen sink and occasionally sudsy water would come up in the nearby toilet.  So this morning we are having our septic tank pumped and the filter cleaned.    Hopefully this fixes the problem, although my toilet bowl has never been cleaner!


Peter: "Mommy, why do some ladies wear shirts that show the crack between the middle of their boobies?"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keys for Kids

Earlier this year, we had come to the end of the kid's Bible we were reading each morning at breakfast.  I purchased a devotional book to use in it's place but I could tell the kids just weren't that interested in what I was reading.  (It's called Did You Know?  Each lesson contains an interesting fact or odd piece of history and then it's followed by a Bible verse and a brief lesson that relates the two. Not sure why the kids weren't digging it, but they weren't)

Right around this time, the leader of the prayer group/Bible study that I attend had handed out a kid's devotional booklet called Keys for Kids that she got from her church.  It had gone unused until one morning when Peter said, "Mom can we just skip reading this morning?"  I immediately grabbed the booklet from Cheryl and said, "How about we give this one a try?"

The kids were hooked immediately.  Some mornings they even ask to hear two. 

Each devotion follows the same formula.  One of the kids comes home from school with a problem and then later on that evening one of their parents will say, "You know, Tommy, this broken bike wheel (for example) reminds me of the problem you are having at school" and then they will relate the problem, the bike wheel and a Bible verse to how God expects us to act/think/be." 

I usually chuckle at the parents in the devotions because they sometimes sound a little goofy turning broken wheels, misplaced keys, barking dogs and tree stakes into valuable lessons.

Last night, I was getting ready to dry Sarah's hair when I realized she still had a ton of shampoo in it.  She already had her pajamas on so instead of having her get back in the tub I just had her lay on the counter with her head in my sink.  I put water in a cup and used it to made sure that I got clean water all over her scalp. 

As I was doing this Sarah said, "Mom, this is like in one of those stories you read in the morning."

"Huh?  What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Well, let's say my name is Judy and my mom is washing my dirty hair.  The mom would say, 'Judy this cup of fresh, clean water is like Jesus washing the dirty sin right out of your hair!'"

Perhaps if Sarah's career as a singer doesn't pan out she can be a devotional writer! 

Monday, April 4, 2011


"That's how I sound to everyone?"  Sarah cried.  "That's how everyone hears me when I sing?"

I had just been explaining to Sarah that the voice that she hears when I videotape her singing is the way she sounds to everyone all the time.

"But that sounds horrible!" she moaned.  And then hot tears began to fall down her red cheeks.

She was heartbroken. 

She has big plans for her future.  She is going to be a singer.  When she isn't playing teacher after school, she is practicing her singing and dancing.

When anyone asks her what she wants to be when she grows up, she will respond, without hesitation, "A singer."

And while she sings with enthusiasm, joy and gusto, she is usually off key.  And the video recorder highlighted that.

She cried for almost 45 minutes.  I spent that time trying to assure her that her singing was beautiful.  "You have to say that because you are mom mom!" was her insightful response.

But to me, it is beautiful.  I love the way she finds joy when she is singing.  I love how confidant she is, how sure she is about her career choice.  I love how she asks me at least twice a day with a big grin, "Do you know what I'm going to be when I grow up?"

I love that singing makes her happy.

But now my heart was breaking along with hers.  Her faced crumpled up as the tears rolled down.  Her confidence was gone. She knew she couldn't be a singer if that's how she sounded.

And all I could do was hold her and tell her that she sounded beautiful. 

Thankfully, the dreams of a six-year-old aren't easily shattered.  After much reassurance, she is now back at it.  She still wants me to record her after school today, she still wants to be a singer when she grows up and she still sings a little of key.

And I still think it's beautiful.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Epic Cheesecake

The cheesecake was delicious!  Peter said it was "epic".  Everyone else said it was delicious - even my mom who doesn't even like cheesecake.  So I guess it's good enough to share!

I got the recipe from Cooking Club of America.

Here it is.  I've added some notes in red to make a few parts a little clearer.

Brownie Chunk Cheesecake

31 creme-filled chocolate cookies, crushed
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped brownies (I used pre-made brownies from Walmart and they worked great.  I used the small round ones and quartered them.  Next time I would probably only halve them to make the chunks bigger in the cake.)

8 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz. white chocolate, melted

1. Heat oven to 325ºF. In medium bowl, stir together all crust ingredients. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Wrap pan with heavy-duty foil; freeze 30 minutes. (By "wrap pan with foil", they mean wrap the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  The pan is going to be submerged in a water bath and this step is to keep any water from seeping in.  I didn't realize that until the end.  I thought they meant cover the top of the pan while it's in the freezer.  Luckily I have a very good pan and no water got in.)

2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until blended. Beat in sour cream and 1 cup cream. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. Slowly beat in flour. Fold in brownies.

3. Place springform pan in large baking or broiler pan. Pour batter into crust (batter will come to within 1/4 inch of top edge). Add enough hot tap water to baking pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid. (1 hour and 15 minutes was all I needed.)

4. Remove springform pan from baking pan; remove foil. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate overnight.

5. Melt milk chocolate and 1/3 cup cream in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over top of cheesecake; let stand 10 minutes.

6. Pour white chocolate into small resealable plastic bag; snip off corner of bag. Drizzle chocolate over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers.  (I melted the white chocolate in the microwave and poured it into a baggie.  I did this right out of the microwave and it was hot!  So hot that I could barely handle the bag and the bag started to melt.  This is why the top of my cake is not quite as attractive as the one in the picture with the original recipe. Next time I will wait a little longer...either that or borrow my mom's Wilton decorating bag!)

12 servings

This cake was delicious!  Just remember it has to be refrigerated overnight so don't think you are going to make this and eat it in the same day.