Monthly Archives: November 2012

Five on Friday

1.  I still have fall decorations out.  In my head, I can’t decorate for Christmas until the calendar says December, so today is the last day to enjoy the browns and oranges and pumpkins and wheat stalks.

Oh, Autumn. You were glorious.

2.  I made a praline glazed pumpkin coffee cake this week that was sorta’ tasty and I had to leave it at Heather’s house because had I brought it home, it would have forever lived on my thighs.

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3. In the “social media is fun” category,  I got to judge a Christmas holiday cookie contest this past week.  I follow the food writer for our local paper and a few weeks ago she tweeted out the opportunity to bake and judge reader-submitted recipes for an upcoming edition.  About 15 people responded and we were each assigned a recipe to bake (mine was from the early 1900s) and bring to the judging event.

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I thought my cookie was less than stellar but after eating some of the other entries (one was non-edible), I decided maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.  I can’t give you the results because they haven’t been published yet, but I can tell you that as soon as I left the building, I drove straight to the nearest Cookout for a greasy cheeseburger to balance out all that sugar.

4.  #2 and #3 notwithstanding, I’ve lost 20 of the 30 pounds I gained over the summer.

5.  This weekend is shaping up to be busy and fun. Friends are coming over this afternoon to visit/play, we’re going to a gingerbread house decorating party tomorrow, and once we solve the yearly dilemma of live versus fake tree, we’ll get the house decorated for the holidays.

Winter, we greet thee joyously.

And in due time.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings: The post-Thanksgiving Edition

Well, this morning I had great intentions of showing you scenes from last week that included snapshots of raw chicken (fun!), cookie dough, puppies, the inside of my *pristine* car, Velveeta slices and Ritz crackers, and mounted deer heads.  Those were happier days, my friends, as my beloved and I shared some much needed vacation time with our boys in the mountains celebrating Thanksgiving with Craig’s family.

It’s not you, the picture is blurry. 

Because I keep things HIGH QUALITY here on this blog.

Oh, and yes, those are new highlights.  A little blonder than I thought they’d be but soldiering on.

ANYHOW, that picture captures a happy moment when we were blissfully unaware that 250 miles away, our water heater had burst and was leaking water into our master bedroom closet, one floor below.

 

We got home around 6:30 Saturday night and when I walked into my room to drop off our suitcases, I smelled something off, kinda’ like stale cigarette smoke.  I got very nervous that someone had recently been in there and did a quick check to make sure everything was still in its rightful place but nothing seemed amiss and I went back to helping unload the car.  Every time I walked in the room, though, I would catch that scent and it unsettled me.  About an hour later I heard Craig yelp from the back of the house.  He, being the responsible one, had gone into the closet to put clothes away instead of letting them sit in suitcases for two weeks at the foot of the bed as I am wont to do  and he’d stepped smack dab onto a big squishy mess of soggy carpet.

Talk about your sickening feeling.

We raced upstairs and, sure enough, there was water on the floor at the base of the heater.  So I did what I always do when faced with problems outside of my area of expertise.

I screamed and called my daddy.

Because he could be right over, being 1,500 miles away.

Eesh.

Anyway, he gave some good advice which I didn’t have the equipment to implement so I did the next thing I do when faced with crisis.  I bring in reinforcements because who doesn’t want to be social in times of trouble?

That’s my sweet neighbor Jerry who helped us out by lending a couple of very long garden hoses so we could drain the tank.

 

He was double sweet because he didn’t say anything about what a DISASTER my house was nor did he fuss about missing the South Carolina-Clempson game playing on the TV at his house which was kinda’ important to him since his money and his son went to South Carolina.

And never mind that he did all this when it was about 28 degrees outside and we had to leave the door open so we could get the hose out the front door.

Festive, is what I’m saying it was.

So, here we sit 36 hours later with the water shut off in our house (because the water supply valve on the heater is faulty which we found out after we’d drained the tank and found it filled again the next morning) but before we turned it off we filled bathtubs and pitchers and threw the kids in the shower where they finally learned the meaning of 3 minutes (funny how cold water hastens their time management).  The repairman is scheduled to come this afternoon so we are making do and I’m enjoying a break from the cooking and dishes with paper plates, Solo cups and takeout Chinese.

And that cookie dough picture from last week I was going to show you?  Well, let’s just say with all the time I have on my hands NOT doing laundry, I’ve got some time for these:

Yes, there are many things for which to still be thankful.

Family, daddies, neighbors, ServiceMaster who makes Sunday calls, cookies,  and insurance.

Have a nice day.

 

 

Five on Friday

So I hit publish and the entire first paragraph of my post didn’t show up so all of you that just got an email with a weird first paragraph are scratching your head.

That first paragraph was supposed to say that I am skippy this morning because my husband is back home and was available to keep me company this morning while I drank my coffee.

And when I say “keep me company”, that means he sits there and doesn’t talk to me until I get at least 3/4s of a cup down but it’s comforting nonetheless that I don’t have to suffer the dawn alone.

Melodrama, thy name is Susan.

Without further ado, I give you this week’s edition of Five and the theme is…drumroll…it has no theme.

1.  I’m still giggling about the man who wore his Angry Birds underwear to McDonald’s a few weeks ago.

2.  Speaking of angry birds, this old buzzard had a birthday last week.  (I don’t think he’s old, or a buzzard, but it’s the only way I could segue from the man wearing undies.)

You may not be able to tell from the blaze of candles that the cake is supposed to resemble one of his favorite places that he rarely sees.

The green on a golf course.

Oh, I kid. 

He’s a great golfer and sees the green often after the first drive. 

He did say I needed to leave the ball short of the hole, though.

And yes, that looks like a baseball diamond.

I ain’t quitting my day job to become the next Cake Boss.

3.  I’m a savory girl more than a sweets girl and it’s relaxing to be in the kitchen trying new recipes when the children aren’t home saying “Yuck, what is that?  Is that for supper?  Is it going to taste bad?  What’s that green stuff?  Are we going to have to eat it?  Can I have spaghetti/tacos/pizza/anything else besides that?” 

As an early birthday present that I hope he forgets he gave me so that I can double dip next month he bought me a 9 qt. oval Le Creuset casserole (I count lifting it as my workout for the day) and I put it through the paces this week with chicken cacciatore, sausage and kale soup, and Boeuf a la Mode which translates to “Too Many Steps to Wind Up With Plain Ole Pot Roast”.

Please ignore the grease spatters on the wall behind the cooktop. The previous owners inexplicably did not have a backsplash and we intend on putting one in but I am paralyzed by the tile options so we haven’t done anything to fix it.

4.  This was the scene in my living room at 10:30 last night as I helped a child finish three major assignments that were due this morning.

As mentioned before, Craig was out of town and I was having difficulty opening the Word document that this child had used at school and it was NOT working in Open Office which is what we use here at the house so we developed this two-computer strategy whereby he typed on my work laptop, and then because my work doesn’t allow me to install printer drivers, I then had to email it to myself, open in my personal laptop, convert it to a PDF file and then print it.

Somewhere, ImNotNed is shaking his head.

But it worked and we finished cutting, pasting, labeling and felt all victorious about slaying the homework beast.

Until this morning.

When said child walked off and left it all on the kitchen counter.

But he REMEMBERED TO TAKE FRIDAY DOUGHNUT MONEY.

Because priorities.

5.  And in the schoolwork vein which makes me want to open one, I’ve been working on my own little “math problem”.

I completed the tests in this book over the last two days and am pleased to report that my elementary education has stood the test of time and I am SOLID on 2+2.

I am also solid on word problems containing percents as long as the example is clothing and sales.

Hmmm, wonder why that’s a skill?

On today’s agenda is diving into Prepping for the SAT  which I have a feeling will be a little more challenging proposition but we will fight on because EYE OF THE TIGER and RAH-RAH, and PHILIPPIANS 4:13 and GERONIMO!

Yes, my coffee was a little strong and in an extra-large cup this morning. 

Why do you ask?

Have a nice day.

In which I confess that sometimes things don’t add up

I have a confession to make.

It’s not easy for me to make this confession because it causes me to expose a vulnerability which is not something I particularly enjoy doing but I’m going to do it anyway because I came across two thoughts this week that have stuck in my brain and they are these:

You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.

Let your faith be stronger than your fears.

And so, with that in mind, my confession is this:  I am not good at math.

I was a freshman in high school before I figured out how to accurately subtract digits that included zeros.  (And that was only because I had a teacher who noticed a pattern in my schoolwork.  I knew I couldn’t do it was too prideful and embarrassed to ask for help and compensated for it by making sure all the other questions that didn’t have the zeros were answered correctly).

My childhood dream of becoming a nurse was waylaid when I was fifteen and making poor grades in Chemistry.  That teacher told me I’d need to pick a different major in college.

College math requirements were different twenty years ago and I took the bare minimum that I needed to receive my degree.  I studied harder for that class than any class I ever took and many times would spend upwards of six hours before tests working every practice problem in the book just so I could maintain my GPA.

Graduate school was trickier.  I had to take a statistics course that was so over my head I almost quit.  Just ask Amy how horrid it was.  I called her late one November night crying. I was in my last semester of coursework, mere weeks away from finishing and I had to pass my statistics class to do so.  I was so discouraged that I would never get it that I was ready to quit the program that very night, drive six hours down to Louisiana to move in with her and plan the next course of action.  We spent two hours on the phone while she talked me off the ledge.  It is no joke to say I literally owe both her and the computer lab geek who practically did my stats homework for me in exchange for weekly dates playing penny poker for my graduate degree and subsequent gainful employment.

I was secretly relieved  to step off the professional track when the babies were born because my next career move would have required me to prepare budgets and profit and loss statements and since I dropped out of Accounting my freshman year on the last drop/add day….well, I think we ALL know how that would’ve turned out.  But to my great chagrin, even though I’ve been an at-home mom for thirteen years, I still haven’t left my old friend Math behind.  Now my role is to be the homework helper for three boys, two of whom are taking ridiculously hard algebra for 7th grade and, quite frankly, they’re not doing so well.  I’m doing the best I can with what little knowledge I retained but if we’re honest here, they passed me up about a year ago.  We’re doing after school tutoring for them, Dad helps in the evenings when he’s home, but bless their hearts, they are still struggling.

And I’m struggling too.

Mightily.

People, I cried last night over a stupid word problem about some dumb dogs.

That’s after spending an hour on the internet watching math videos and still not figuring out how to arrive at the correct answer.

It was humiliating and beyond frustrating.  I don’t know if I have a learning disability, whether it’s just preference, disuse of skills, giftedness in other areas, a right-brain/left-brain thing, or a combination of all of the above, but I think if I had to name just one thing that stands most in the way to keep me from conquering this stronghold it would be fear.

Fear that I’m a failure.

Fear that I’ll never learn.

Fear that my boys will be consigned to a subpar life because of my inadequacies as a mother.

Fear that it’s too late.

Fear that I’ll invest the time and money to learn and it still won’t work.

Fear that the boys’ teachers will think I’m stupid and not awesome.  Keeping it real.

Fear that my husband thinks less of me every time I call to ask for help when I’m stuck.

Which is all the time.

But I can’t be fearful because I’m not called to live that life.  I can’t be fearful because I need to show my kids how to persevere when life is hard.  I can’t be fearful because I need to teach them how to throw off the shackles that bind and how can I do that when my feet are as planted in concrete?

So today I’m going to be brave.  I’m going to the library with lined paper and pencils and I’m going to start to learn math.

Again.

I’m going to spend quite a bit of time on the internet NOT checking the latest updates on People.com and instead learning about the distributive property.  I’m going to download practice sheets with answer keys so that I know what I’m doing.  But more than that, I’m going to pray as I panic and the numbers swim before my eyes that the Lord would grow my faith more than enough to conquer my fear and that He would give me victory so that He can use this weakness for His glory and for the good of sweet, smart boys who need a little bit more from their mama right now.

But until I can figure out how to write an equation with fractions to solve for x and figure out how many ding-dang puppies were left at the pound, I will cling to the one constant that I know to be true.

Jesus = Enough.

Have a nice day.

Five on Friday

1. I’m typing this at the mechanic shop while looking a little like I belong in a People of Walmart post but that’s what you get when the spousal unit schedules an oil change just a little too soon after the school bus leaves and you don’t have time to be gussied up.

And by “gussied up” I mean maybe put on eyeliner.

Presentable is a low bar some days.

2. I canned some chicken soup yesterday and it’s freaking me out a little to see unrefrigerated soup on the shelf.

3. This week I may or may not have asked my husband if we needed to tune the electric piano.

He may or may not have laughed so hard that tears ran down his face.

4. Based on #3, he may or may not get a birthday cake tomorrow.

5. Fellow Razorbacks, there’s a new coffee available at Lewis & Clark Outfitters in Fayetteville called Brew Pig Sooiee (online ordering coming soon). And that just makes me all kinds of happy.

Unlike our football season.

And this week’s election.

Have a nice day.

Because I always pay up

Crow and Mushroom Stew

3 crows
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them.
Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.

Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream.

Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.

Garnish with bitter tears and a little bit of melodrama for accent.

Have a nice day.  And see you at the midterms.

Superbowl for nerds

So, it’s Election Day and I’ve spent most of it on Twitter, online, and on massive amounts of caffeine.

The bubbly is chilling in the fridge but I also have some crow on ice in case I need to eat it.

Can’t stand the suspense!


Have a nice day.

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