Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're Baaack!

Did you miss me? Did you notice that I was gone? I'm guessing no since no one came over and cleaned the house while I was gone. Some friends y'all are!

Tonight is the night that the kids get to stay up as late as they want to / can make it to. I'm sure that once again I'll have to tell Giselle that her time is up around 2. Paul's REALLY wanting to make it past midnight but with the day that we've had I'm not sure if he'll make it past 10. I'm sure that if I let them drink more Champagne that they'd go to sleep sooner but I'm not willing to do that.

It'll be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight.

See you next year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dinner Calendar - September 2008

Only 3 months after this and the whole year will be done! Well, I can't post the December one until January. So here's what we had every night for dinner in September of 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Lunch - Chuy's Tex Mex, Dinner - Vietnamese chicken salad
2 - Tortellini w/ sauce
3 - Black beans & rice
4 - Black beans & rice
5 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ pesto, chicken fajita salad for Joe
6 - Ate Out - party - Pok-E-Joe's BBQ
7 - Fresh black-eyed peas and rice
8 - Big Dinner - Tamales, salmon, mixed veggies, stuffed crab
9 - Tortellini w/ pesto
10 - Ate Out - Church - baked ziti, salad, garlic bread, cookies
11 - Hot dogs & chili
12 - Veggie Lo Mien
13 - Ate Out - Claudia's house
14 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce
15 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies & hot dogs
16 - Ate Out - Sonic
17 - Ate Out - Church - taco nachos
18 - Hot dogs w/ buns, mixed veggies (pickiest child in the world over for dinner - ate 3 bites)
19 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
20 - Ate Out - Claudia's house
21 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce, sauteed okra w/ tomatoes
22 - Roasted chicken salad, banana/peanut butter/chocolate milk
23 - I forgot to write it down
24 - Ate Out - Church - fried chicken
25 - Hot dogs w/ chili
26 - Ravioli w/ sauce
27 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs, sauce & mozzarella sauce
28 - Macaroni & cheese w/ black beans and sausage (This was a REGULAR meal when I was single and poor)
29 - Butter-fried corn cakes (polenta) w/ cheese, sour cream & salsa on top (BIG hit)
30 - Ate Out - Nutty Brown Cafe - grilled cheese, Frito pie

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner Calendar - August 2008

We're coming down the home stretch - August 2008.

Dinner Menu for August 2008 - what the kids ate since Joe usually eats out and I usually scrounge the leftovers from the previous meals.
1 - Paul - cold tortellini w/ sauce, Giselle - quesadilla
2 - Tamales, melon
3 - Ravioli w/ sauce, tuna fish salad
4 - Spaghetti w/ sauce, strawberry tapioca pudding
5 - Italian seasoned roasted chicken from HEB, tortellini, mixed veggies
6 - Ate Out - Sonic - jr cheeseburgers
7 - Chili
8 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
9 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - tuna fish salad, guacamole, melon
10 - Didn't eat dinner
11 - Ate Out - Sam's Wholesale - pizza & pretzel
12 - Ate Out - McDonald's - I know, it killed me but it was on the way to the lake and the kids were starving and it would have been too late if we had waited until after the lake.
13 - Tortellini w/meatballs and sauce
14 - Tortellini w/ sauce
15 - Baloney & cheese sandwiches
16 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - lamb burgers, green beans, rice, fruit on almond-flour waffles
17 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies
18 - Ravioli w/ sauce, chicken fajita salad for Joe
19 - Black Bean & cheese tostadas
20 - Big Dinner (Claudia & the boys) - Shrimp scampi, salad w/ veggies, rice pasta w/ sauce & meatballs, fruit salad
21 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce and meatballs, mixed veggies
22 - Leftover cold tortellini w/ sauce, hot chocolate
23 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - chicken fajitas
24 - Nachos
25 - Ham & cheese sandwiches
26 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - beef stir fry, yogurt w/ fruit
27 - Big Dinner - Tamales, pork loin, mixed veggies, sliced bell peppers
28 - Fusilli pasta w/ pesto, ravioli w/ sauce & meatballs, chicken fajita salad, mixed veggies
29 - Ate Out - Karma's house - hot dogs
30 - Big Dinner - Tamales, mixed veggies, sliced bell peppers
31 - Ate Out - HUGE Lunch - Salt Lick BBQ, Dinner - snacked

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dinner Calendar - July 2008

I'm all tied up in post-Christmas craziness. But I do have all the wrapping paper all cleaned up - did that by noon yesterday. To keep you amused here's the dinner calendar for July 2008.

July 2008
1 - Hot dogs and chili
2 - Ravioli w/ the newly canned sauce, fresh blueberries & strawberries w/ fresh whipped cream
3 - Ate Out - Sonic - popcorn chicken and banana splits
4 - Mini lasagna noodle pasta w/ sauce & meatballs, blueberry grunt (cobbler, kind of)
5 - Potato salad from County Line, roasted chicken from The Farmers Market
6 - Oatmeal, fried eggs
7 - Homemade chicken noodle caldo (soup)
8 - Tortellini w/ sauce
9 - Big Dinner - Scallop scampi pasta, tamales, pork loin, Sonic shakes (Joe drove)
10 - Hot dogs and chili
11 - Macaroni & cheese w/ pasta sauce
12 - Ate Out - Taco Bell
13 - Pork shoulder steak, sauteed pipian squash, caramelized onions
14 - Ate Out - Burger King - to get the Pokemon toys
15 - Leftover macaroni & cheese, peas
16 - Tortellini w/ no sauce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, mixed veggies
17 - Ate Out - Maudie's - Tex Mex
18 - Pork shoulder steak, sauteed pipian squash, caramelized onions
19 - Ravioli w/ meat sauce
20 - Order Out/Eat In - Asian food
21 - forgot to write it down
22 - Eat Out - El Arroyo - Tex Mex
23 - Hot dogs & chili
24 - Eggs in a nest (courtesy of Ree at Pioneer Woman)
25 - Tortellini w/ sauce
26 - forgot to write it down
27 - Ate Out - Vietnamese buffet in Houston
28 - Houston
29 - Houston
30 - Houston
31 - Tortellini w/ sauce

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope that your day is as wonderful as mine is!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dinner Calendar - June 2008

I hope that I remember to put everything out tonight that I need to take care of. To clear my mind of clutter I give you the dinner menu from June. Summer was in full swing, so this is what we had every night for dinner in June of 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Angel's Icehouse (I first typed "Outhouse"!)
2 - Big Dinner - roasted pork loin, fresh green beans, skinny lasagna noodles with basil pesto, tomato wedges, chicken breasts.
3 - Skinny lasagna noodles w/ basil pesto
4 - Green beans, chicken breasts
5 - Hot Off Of The Grill - tamales, pork loin, marshmallows, from the stove - mixed veggies, from The Farm - sliced tomatoes
6 - Chili & hot dogs
7 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - beef vegetable soup made 100% with ingredients from Finca Pura Vida
8 - Butter beans & rice
9 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
10 - Chili w/ hot dogs
11 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - buffalo burgers and fresh veggies
12 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
13 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
14 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, ayote squash, gazpacho
15 - Sauteed - onions, tomatoes, squash & okra served over rice, w/ sour cream
16 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
17 - Fusilli pasta (remember the Fusilli Jerry that Kramer made on Seinfeld) w/ red sauce and mini mozzarella balls
18 - Vegetable patties (I got these at Costco months ago while shopping there with Marie and the kids), sliced tomatoes & cucumbers
19 - Chili & hot dogs, fresh berry shakes, tamales
20 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Subway - veggie patty (veggie max) sub on whole wheat
21 - Roasted chicken from The Farmer's Market, slices tomatoes & cucumbers
22 - Macaroni & cheese w/ ground beef & mixed veggies
23 - Cold soba noodle salad w/ cucumbers, peppers & chicken (recipe from Everyday Food)
24 - Big Dinner - scallop & shrimp scampi pasta (using those cool skinny lasagna noodles), tomato wedges, roasted pork loin, sliced fresh peppers w/ dip, homemade jello, some really good Incan Beer
25 - Hot dogs w/ buns, sliced tomatoes, homemade jello
26 - Ate Out - Chick-Fil-A
27 - ?
28 - Pizza
29 - ?
30 - Ate Out - Asian buffet

OK, back to the madness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dinner Calendar - May 2008

I can't believe that I'm actually bothering to post in the middle of this chaos but I'm now feeling the need to finish this series of posts before the end of the year. So yes, now this is what we ate every night in the month of May 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
2 - Cheese tortellini w/ red sauce, mixed veggies
3 - Pot Chuck Roast w/ carrots and cauliflower and potatoes and onions
4 - Chicken Breasts, mixed veggies
5 - Ate Out - Chick-Fil-A
6 - Hot dogs w/ chili
7 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, mixed veggies
8 - Spaghetti & meatballs w/ red sauce
9 - Ate Out - Nacholicious (which was not so delicious!)
10 - Breakfast sausage & fried turkey eggs
11 - Big Dinner - tamales, mixed veggies, shrimp scampi
12 - Black beans & rice
13 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, cauliflower
14 - Vegetable patties, broccoli
15 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Domino's Pizza - black olives & mushrooms
16 - Tortellini w/ no sauce
17 - Ate Out - birthday party - hot dogs
18 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, homemade coleslaw
19 - Italian herb roasted chicken (from HEB)
20 - Big Dinner - tamales, talapia, mixed veggies, coleslaw, scallops, tapioca pudding
21 - Asian noodle soup
22 - Tortellini & ravioli mixed w/ no sauce, cheese, oatmeal
23 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Asian food
24 - Homemade tabbouleh
25 - Ate Out - condo
26 - Ate Out - Satellite Cafe (which is now closed!)
27 - Ravioli w/ sauce
28 - Spaghetti & meatballs w/ red sauce
29 - ? tortellini w/ red sauce?
30 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
31 - Ate Out - condo

That must have been the end of the spring crop of broccoli & cauliflower from The Market because we're eating the middle of the fall/winter crop now in December.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dinner Calendar - April 2008

And yes, the insanity continues around here so here's what we had every night in April of 2008. When the spinach is in season out at The Farm my kids can't seem to get enough of it; and it just came back in season 2 weeks ago!

April 2008
1 - Leftover pigeon peas & rice (Puerto Rican style - arroz con gandules), no joke!
2 - Big Dinner - Tamales, roasted pork loin, spinach, carrot cake, sherbet.
3 - Cheese tortellini (w/ sauce & meatballs for Giselle, w/out for Paul), spinach.
4 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce and meatballs, spinach.
5 - Hot dogs in buns, spinach.
6 - Fried eggs & bacon.
7 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies & ground beef mixed in.
8 - Cheeseburgers, spinach, okra w/ tomatoes.
9 - Chili w/ hot dogs, okra w/ tomatoes.
10 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce & meatballs, spinach, okra w/ tomatoes.
11 - Order Out/Eat In - pork lo mien, chicken fried rice.
12 - Ate Out - dinner party at a friend's house.
13 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, edamame, beets.
14 - Homemade chicken noodle veggie soup.
15 - Big Dinner - Tamales, snow peas.
16 - Order Out/Eat In - Domino's Pizza - double black olives, double mushrooms. Holly and I went to the Juanes concert and lived off of music for the night.
17 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce, arroz con gandules.
18 - Turkey noodle soup all day long.
19 - Spaghetti w/ sauce, apple/prune tart.
20 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, snow peas, broccoli, apple/prune tart.
21 - Black bean tamales, scallops, broccoli, snow peas, tapioca pudding, apple/prune tart.
22 - Order Out/Eat In - Sonic - grilled cheese, popcorn chicken. Tapioca pudding.
23 - Fried goose eggs.
24 - Ate Out - Marie's - bowtie pasta w/ parm cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, turkey.
25 - Paul - hot dog w/ bun, hot dog w/out bun, salad. Giselle - mushroom ravioli, salad.
26 - Cheese tortellini w/ no sauce, just butter, salt, pepper and parm cheese.
27 - Macaroni & cheese w/ pasta sauce.
28 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, tapioca pudding.
29 - Big Dinner - Roasted pork loin, raw carrots, spinach, pizza bites, tamales.
30 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce, mixed veggies.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dinner Calendar - March 2008

Today's going to be another busy day so here's what we had every night for dinner in March of 2008.
March 2008
1 - Big Dinner - Meat Fest - Grilled pork shoulder, grilled steak, grilled shrimp, mixed veggies (not grilled).
2 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs & sauce, spinach. Roasted pork loin for Joe.
3 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce, spinach, corn, buffalo/pork smoked sausage. Roasted pork loin for Joe.
4 - Ate out - At The Farm (Finca Pura Vida) - blackened salmon, shrimp scampi, sauteed Brussels sprouts, rice, sturgeon caviar, arroz con leche.
5 - Bacon & cheese omelets
6 - Big Dinner - Tamales, pizza bites, snow peas.
7 - Ate out - At Marie's - cheese tortellini w/ no sauce, salad.
8 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce.
9 - Ordered out/Ate in - Domino's pizza (double mushroom, double black olive).
10 - Mixed veggies, stuffed crabs, caviar w/ cream cheese.
11 - Didn't write it down!
12 - King Ranch casserole, green salad & fruit salad (both made by Giselle & Grace).
13 - leftover King Ranch casserole.
14 - Hot dogs in buns, snow peas.
15 - Tamales, snow peas.
16 - Pasta shaped like flowers w/ meatballs & sauce, snow peas.
17 - Shrimp, scallops, snow peas.
18 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs & sauce, snow peas.
19 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce.
20 - Ate Out - Paul & I at Jimmy John's Subs, Joe & Giselle at Buffet Palace.
21 - Chili w/ hot dogs & ayote squash. I had refried beans w/ cactus, salsa & sour cream.
22 - Black-eyed peas & rice (w/ sour cream). Joe had roasted chicken from The Farmers Market.
23 - Giselle had Asian noodle soup, Paul had cheese tortellini w/ meatballs (no sauce), both had snow peas. Joe had roasted pork loin.
24 - Leftover black-eyed peas & rice.
25 - Big Dinner - tamales.
26 - Shrimp, scallops, snow peas.
27 - Chili & hot dogs.
28 - Homemade pizza - pepperoni & black olive.
29 - Tamales.
30 - Pigeon peas & rice.
31 - Caviar & cream cheese, shrimp, scallops, crawfish, spinach.

And yes, both kids actually eat this stuff. They're usually the ones that specify what we're having each night so it's their pick, not mine. I can't wait until it's snow pea season again; it's green bean season right now but if the hard freezes keep up it won't last for much longer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dinner Calendar - February 2008

I've got too many things going on right now to think about something to post so for the next few days here are the rest of the dinner calendars for 2008.

February 2008 - the month in dinners
1 - Homemade pizza with mushrooms, black olives and pepperoni.
2 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli with meatballs and red sauce.
3 - Macaroni & cheese with ground beef and mixed veggies mixed in.
4 - Giselle had the mac & cheese leftovers and Paul had cheese tortellini w/ sauce.
5 - Ate out - Pancake dinner at church for Fat Tuesday.
6 - Hot dogs in buns, spinach.
7 - Homemade hamburgers.
8 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce.
9 - Ate out - Satellite Cafe (American food).
10 - Tamales.
11 - Ate out - Flores (TexMex food).
12 - Hot dogs w/ chili
13 - Long pasta w/ garbanzo beans.
14 - Ate out - Meat fondue at a friend's house.
15 - Hot dogs w/ chili
16 - Leftover pasta w/ garbanzo beans
17 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce, broccoli.
18 - Bagel pizzas, edamame in pods.
19 - Hot dogs w/ chili.
20 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli w/ sauce.
21 - Ate out - Taco Bell (7-layer burritos all around and a side of cheesy fiesta potatoes for the kids).
22 - Ate out - Sonic (grilled cheese).
23 - Bagel pizzas, pizza bites, pickles.
24 - Mushroom ravioli w/ no sauce, spinach ,broccoli, snow peas.
25 - Tamales and asparagus, pork loin for Joe.
26 - Hot dogs w/ buns, mixed veggies.
27 - Frozen hot dogs for lunch. Spaghetti & spaghetti tubes w/ meatballs & sauce & sliced mozzarella. I had a ham/cheese/collard roll-up and stewed okra.
28 - Bacon and eggs (scrambled for Giselle and fried for Paul).
29 - Ate out - Dynasty Buffet (Asian food).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

not for the squeemish

Here's some of our snails that we caught the other day, out for some exercise.


Did I actually miss posting yesterday? How did that happen?

I need to go to Radio Shack, TODAY! I think I'm going to drop the kids off at a friend's house, go to Radio Shack, pick up the dog from the vet, drop the dog off at home, then go back to the friend's house to play for a bit and then come home for dinner. Well, maybe we'll eat out; I don't know.

Oh, I gotta go take some pictures of the steps since I haven't taken any since the most recent ones were installed.

Here's a shot of them as a teaser for the post that I'll do when they are all the way done.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh My Darlin'

Oh my Darlin' Clementine!
Yes, it's that season again and we are so happy. Remember, the ones from California are NOT real Clementines they are Cuties and they reliably have seeds in them. Real Clementines ONLY come from Spain and they almost never have any seeds in them. Morocco exports supposed Clementines but they have about one seed per fruit so I don't believe that they are true Clementines. Although Morocco IS really close to Spain so I'm able to cut them a little slack.

I totally forgot to pick up a new bag of organic dried cranberries. Yes, I'm still buying them even though they cost a small fortune; I can't help it because they taste so good!

I didn't vacuum.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It was a miserable cold day. That's all I'm saying.

And I'm getting the laundry all done today - one day late since I was too busy napping yesterday to get it done then. Still haven't vacuumed, I'll take care of that tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a nap

Today went smoothly - woke up on time, baths, oatmeal, at church by 9, home at 12:20, Giselle went to some Brownie thing, I napped on the sofa while Paul watched TV shows that Giselle never likes to watch, after we picked up Giselle we picked up dinner from Taco Bell, ate dinner, kids went to bed, worked on getting more Christmas gifts for the kids, and soon I'll be going to bed. I will be asleep before 12:30 tonight.

case closed

I cooked up the last of the case of tomatoes Saturday evening/tonight. This part of the case became 6 pints of seasoned stewed tomatoes. I didn't cook them down long enough to make it become a thicker sauce and I didn't puree it smooth either; that's what makes it stewed tomatoes instead of pasta sauce. I didn't feel like going through the 20 min hot water bath necessary for canning these up and I really liked the stewed flavor which would have changed if I had cooked them longer in the canning process. So I froze the pints up in 1-quart freezer bags; 1 pint per bag. Now I'll have fresh stewed tomatoes to add to my pasta sauce or for throwing on top of my seafood scampi pasta.
Truth be told, I had 8 tomatoes left that wouldn't fit into the 8-qt pot I was using to cook the tomatoes in so I quartered them up and put them in the fridge for snacking on over the next few days. I see some BLT's in our future!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Grumpy Mom

So the kids will be performing in our church's Christmas musical tomorrow morning. This year's play is The Grumpy Shepherd. This is a pleasant play but is it REALLY necessary to use the word "stupid" in a church play, especially one being put on by kids aged four to 11? At one point in the play, the grumpy shepherd refers to his sheep saying "But what about these stupid sheep?". I think that it's not right! It bothers me that this line is in the play. Had I known earlier in the process that this word was in the play I would have said something, but it wasn't until today's final dress rehearsal that I heard the full play with the line that I object to. I'm disappointed that I now I'll have to say something to the choir director about it. I would think that I shouldn't HAVE to say something because the choir director would have changed the word BEFORE it was given to the children. The word could have VERY easily been dropped or changed to something a LOT less cruel than the 'S' word.

Sorry if I you think I'm being prude about this but I feel that the way we talk to other people is a reflection of how we treat other people. If you are prone to CALLING people stupid then you're more likely to TREAT people as if they are stupid.
I really disagree with calling people (or things) disrespectful or degrading names to make yourself feel superior to them (or make them feel inferior to you). When those words are used without discretion it leads to a general lack of respect for yourself and those you come in contact with you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

full moon

No picture to go with this post but, wow that was an awesome rising full moon that we had this evening. We stared at it for as long as we could on our way home from The Park.

That's it, that's all I've got.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

dinner out

Joe and I had dinner out at a tiny fancy restaurant tonight. It was the Holiday Dinner of one of his clients and we were invited. Really delightful food - wine, mini crab cakes, mixed greens and other stuff salad, prime rib or mahi mahi or penne pasta (I had the fish, Joe had the beef), roasted root vegetables, chocolate torte (Joe) or creme brulee (me), and coffee. The conversations were delightful too - a wide range of philanthropic people. It was a wonderful night out. Thomas watched the kids and when we got home they were watching our favorite Christmas special - The Year Without a Santa Claus. You know, it's the one with the Heat Miser and the Cold Miser. Gosh we just love that one!

I'm off to watch ER on TiVo and then MAYBE go to bed before 2 am.

Home schooling, is it for you?

A friend of mine from BC days (Before Children) is considering homeschooling her daughter and she asked me two of the most common questions about homeschooling: How do you know what to teach and at what pace? Can I be too much of a bitch to homeschool?

While I didn't EXACTLY answer her questions, I did give her my usual 'homeschooling pep talk' which is as follows:

Oh is it EVER an exercise in patience!!!!! Like Steve taught us on Blues Clues "When you get frustrated, just count to ten and take a deep breath"

In the early years there's lots of repetition, you have to try to remember that they really don't know anything so they have to hear it over and over and over and over and over again. But since it's just one student instead of 25, it's a bit easier. And you can teach in 5 minute increments - letters at breakfast, letters at lunch, letters at dinner - so if either one of you gets too frustrated you can go outside for recess.

The biggest problem that I have with homeschooling is that I don't have any free time to take care of the shopping and errands and laundry and house cleaning and working out without including the kids. I don't have those 'free' 6 hours a day when the kids would be off in public school to do all that stuff. So a lot of times they get dragged along with me instead of being able to play with friends. Although if Giselle finishes school on time then she CAN go play at a friend's house while I'm running errands. And we do PE together so I do get some exercise in. Yesterday morning before school we walked the dog together, collected land snails on the way and then did a science lesson on them later in the day for school.

Your kid doesn't necessarily learn things in the same manner that you do - maybe she's a kinetic learner (has to be on the move, aka ADD) and you're a sit-on-your-bottom-and-concentrate learner. You have to be able to change your style of teaching to meet HER needs, not yours.

A good friend of mine just pulled her kids out of PS this summer - just before 3rd and 1st grade. She realized that she was spending about 2 hours every night 'homeschooling' her daughter to teach her what the teacher didn't/couldn't teach her during the school day. My friend is the one that taught her kid to read and to do math while they were at public school, not the 'real' teacher.

There's a group called Smoothing The Way which is a homeschooling group that helps you through that tough first year of homeschooling. They meet up weekly, send emails, and play together at the park. They can be a sanity saver for sure!

School takes 6 hours at public school because the teacher is having to teach something to 25 kids before she can move on to the next thing. At home, school takes barely 2 hours by 3rd grade. If your one student gets it then you can move on to the next level or lesson or subject; you don't have to wait around doing busy-work while waiting for the other 24 kids to 'get it'. If your one student DOESN'T get it then you can spend as many hours or days or weeks on that one thing until they do get it; no one is holding a TAKS test to your throat saying "You're behind schedule and your students aren't going to do well on the test." The days that your kid 'gets it' and does extra work/works ahead because they're proud of themselves buys you all the time that you need/want when they need to take some time to really 'get' a concept. People using the Classical Education model, Charlotte Mason, Well-Trained Mind teaching philosophy believe that preschoolers should only spend 15 min a day on school, kindergartners should only spend 30 minutes a day on school, 1st graders should spend 45 minutes, second graders should spend 1 hour, and so on, adding 15 minutes for each new subject. Not until Jr High should they need to spend more than 30 min per subject. Sometimes that's a reality at our house; other times our school day can stretch out to 5 hours long.

If she's having a bad day you CAN take a break. You CAN explore the local park for 4 hours and go home and Google all kinds of information about the things you found and consider it a school day well spent. You can turn a trip to the grocery store into a school event - you use reading, math and science in every grocery trip you just have to talk aloud about it and let her share in the experience. Teach her that you really DO use this knowledge every day.

It helps if you have access to other homeschooling moms, I can't say that enough! Just knowing that other moms are having a stressful day on the same day that you are REALLY helps. And watching a group of your kids working together (all ages from 4 to teen, boys and girls) to build forts out of branches, sticks and ball moss, without the assistance (physical or mental) of anyone over the age of 13, without a single piece of electronic equipment around is such a wonderful sight to see. Pure imagination at it's best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

canning follow-up

I'm about to boiling-water bath the last 2 pints of the fall pasta sauce and then I'll be done. I didn't use up all of the tomatoes - I still have about 7 to 10 lbs left but I filled my crab pot to the top with the sauce so I couldn't use anymore. I did let it simmer down about 2 inches so I could have added more for a variance in texture but I did that last fall. This batch is a total of 18 1-pint jars, let's see that's 9 quarts, so 2.25 gallons of pasta sauce. I just tasted the last bit that remained in the big pot after I filled the last jar and OH BOY is that ever some good sauce; I outdid myself this time. Maybe I'll make a small batch with the remaining tomatoes and freeze that instead of canning it.

Another 3 am night but it was productive: I made and canned up a LOT of pasta sauce, I took care of Joe, and I played in the snow with the kids; although I didn't get any reading done of any kind. Maybe tomorrow. Nope, too many errands to tend to.


Yeah, it's snowing at my house right now! The first time in 5 years and they are HUGE flakes! I even woke up the kids so that they could see it and throw some snowballs - hey, there's a good chance that it'll all be gone by the time that they get up in the morning.
Good thing that I was up late canning these tomatoes, otherwise we would have missed it!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Edgar gave me a case of tomatoes on Saturday - about 60 to 75 pounds - that I'm now in the process of processing. I've been staying up WAY too late recently so it's not really a big deal that I didn't start cooking the tomatoes down into sauce until 6:30. I bought a new case of pint-sized jars instead of the quart-sized that I used last fall. I canned the spring crop in the pint-sized and I was really happy with the portioning of them so that's why I'm continuing the trend with the fall crop.
So far, all I've put into the sauce has been tomatoes, garlic and oregano. I'll add salt for sure but I'm not sure that I'll add anything else to them. I'm picking out the skins as they cook off of the flesh but I'm not going to be too uptight about it since I'll be using my immersion blender at the end to smooth it all out. By using the blender I don't have to de-seed the tomatoes before cooking them. I wouldn't want to de-seed them after I've cooked them because straining the sauce then would strain out all the seasonings also. In listening to other cooks, I've heard that it leads to a more flavorful sauce to leave in the seeds - something about those little bags of juice that surround the seeds kind of like the pericardium around your heart.
I need to go stir and add some more tomatoes since they've cooked down some. Hopefully I'll be done before dawn, and I don't mean Dawn who's painting our bathroom.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I'm doing it AGAIN! And it's a day late, AGAIN! I guess that unless I stay up WAY too late tonight that it's going to be 2 days late. No, I have to finish the laundry tonight because Giselle's got ballet in the afternoon and I've got grocery shopping and errands to do before that but after we finish school.
Post Office
Vet for Rx
Thomlinson's for dog food
Bed, Bath & Beyond

Hmm, HEB may have to wait until after ballet.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

shopping - ugh!

I don't like shopping, I think that I've been pretty clear over the years about that. Today I had to go to Target or WalMart and I wasn't happy about it but the kids have been growing, as kids are prone to doing, and they both needed new underpants. Actually, this is pretty convenient since it's a tradition in my family (as it is in most big families) to get underwear and socks for Christmas. So now, not only have I met an actual need in my children's lives but I've also purchased 3 items from the Christmas shopping list - tights count as socks. It's also tradition to get a new toothbrush in your stocking so I'll need to just find some freebie ones under the sink from the dentist appointments.

I gotta go put Mr Bad Decision to bed, maybe he'll get coal in his stocking this year if he doesn't shape up.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Well, even though we've been getting 'freezing' temperatures my basil in the front yard is still alive. This is odd since basil burns and dies in temps below 40 degrees. I guess that my front yard is a warm oasis? Tomorrow night's low is supposed to be back to normal low temps - 52 degrees.
Gotta go turn the light out on the kids - Giselle was out late at a Brownie event until 8 and I had to take Paul with me to go get her. They're finally ready.

Friday, December 05, 2008

stop laughing!

It is SO COLD! OK, so last night at our house it didn't even frost but it got really close - the thermometer attached to the back of our house showed a low of 34 degrees and the high for today was only in the 50's and it was breezy too. I wore my full-bore winter jacket to dinner with the kids and our friends, although I didn't wear a hat. Tonight it's supposed to be just as cold and tomorrow the same as today which will make for a miserable farmer's market; I'm thinking that the kids will sit this one out. I'm in my flannel pajamas already for the night. Although the 5 blankets and quilts that I had on the bed last night really did help a lot so we were quite comfortable until I opened the curtains in the morning. Wow, those windows sure do let a lot of cold in!

Now all you people that live north of here: stop laughing at me NOW! This IS cold for this part of the country! And just wait until I really start whining about the cold come the time that winter REALLY comes in January, for six weeks.
My sister in Maine has had 12 degree nights and days in the 30's for a while now. My nephew in Canada has got 21 degrees and 40 mph winds and snow flurries; isn't that called a blizzard? But see, I DON'T live there for THAT reason!

Gotta get back to watching the recent episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
See ya.
Stop laughing!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

just in time

I got the greenhouse put up early this afternoon, just in time for the 29 degree temperature predicted for tonight's low. All the plants that need to go in the greenhouse or come inside have been moved and I'm ready for the winter, although that isn't really happening for another month.
I just remembered one plant that needs to go into the corner outside, so I gotta go take care of that and get dinner going.

I can't get this out of my head

We listen to the most recent Biscuit Brothers CD pretty regularly and currently I can't get this song out of my head I was singing it acapella this morning while making breakfast for Joe and he gave me a very strange look. Hey, I'm sorry but it's a fun song anyway and the way that the Biscuit Brothers arranged it is SO singable (very Beatle-esk).
Gosh I love this song! Go ahead and buy it here You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

not good news about wine consumption

Europe accounts for two-thirds of global wine production and consumption.

Over 19 pounds of pesticides are applied to the average acre of grapes grown in Europe.

Source: "Message in a Bottle: European wines systematically contaminated with pesticides," Pesticide Action Network-Europe, March 26, 2008.

yes you can!

Did anyone ever tell you that all twins and triplets HAVE to be born by Cesarean section? Well they were wrong.

Don't worry, this is NOT graphic in any way, shape or form! It's the names of moms and their twins & triplets that were born naturally, with before and after pictures.


I must say that the 4 of us sharing one VERY SMALL bathroom has gone pretty well so far these last 3 days while the bigger bathroom is being re-done. The 25-yr-old wallpaper and the ceiling popcorn is down and the toilet is up. The money-maker is still deciding on if there'll be a new toilet going in and if the vinyl will be upgraded to tile at this time. Anyone have any input on the newest dual-flush HET's?

new books

I got my six new books today from Amazon. The most important one is the new Vicki Courtney book, 5 Conversations you MUST have with your daughter. I'm probably going to stay up late tonight to start reading it.
The other 5 books that I got are:
  • Your Girl: raising a godly daughter in an ungodly world By Vicki Courtney
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets every father should know By Meg Meeker, MD
  • Your Boy: raising a godly son in an ungodly world By Vicki Courtney
  • Raising Cain: protecting the emotional life of boys By Dan Kindlon, PHD and Michael Thompson, PHD
  • Boys should be boys: 7 secrets to raising healthy sons By Meg Meeker, MD

Because, it's not just our daughters that are being fed all the trash in the world today, it's our sons too. Who do you think is buying those "Girls Gone Wild" videos and thinking that they are an example of how a girl is 'supposed to be'? As much as I want my daughter to respect herself and others, I want my son to do the same. I expect that the parents of my future son-in-law and daughter-in-law are doing the same thing since that's what my kids will be looking for in a life-partner. Love, honor and respect.

You still have plenty of time to get your copy of 5 Conversations You MUST Have With Your Daughter and sign up to join in the online book club; do it now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

no blood

I didn't reach my 'required' amount of donated blood this year. I guess I could try to get in before the year-end to give one more time but December just seems like a crazy month. Maybe after I restock my personal iron levels I'll go in next week, since low iron is what kept me from donating back in June. I know that the blood bank usually runs pretty low this time of year so I really should make the extra effort to donate before the holiday season. For that matter, you too should make the extra effort to donate blood before the holiday season. You donation could mean the difference between life and death for someone hurt in an accident.
It truly is the gift of life!

Donate blood before the month is through, it's a gift that everyone can afford!

Watch out for the 'gators!

I finally picked up some treegators today, two, one for the front Burr Oak and one for the back Chinese Pistache. I know, you totally don't know what a treegator is; well I'll tell you. A treegator is a big plastic donut that goes around the base of your tree. You open a plug on it and fill it with water from your hose then you close the plug and the water slowly leaks out around the base of the tree over the next 5 to 8 hours. This particular one, treegator jr Pro, holds up to 15 gallons. No more remembering at 2 am that you forgot to turn off the soaker hose around your newly planted tree.
I've purchased ours for a 12 yr old tree that recently had some trenching done near the base of the tree and a 10 yr old tree that also has had some trenching and is overall a slow grower. We've had a drought for about 10 years now and these trees could use some extra water this winter since Mother Nature probably won't come through for them again. Hopefully, come springtime, these trees will be on the road to excellence. Of course I won't be fertilizing them this time of year - I don't want to promote topical growth during the winter.