Thursday, August 30, 2007

Because it is never too early to appreciate words

Sass and Spyder and I do a "poem of the day" every day. We read the poem, then we talk about the theme and the any of the devices used, generally punctuation, rhyme, meter, alliteration, and assonance.

Tonight we went to a little carnival held to raise money for the classrooms of one of the local schools. My friend Kristin is a first grade teacher, and we went to help her out in her fundraising effort.

They had a Moon Bounce, and my Sass is all about bouncing.

(This is related to the poem thing, I swear.)

Sass went in and bounced and bounced until her little face was red and her hair was all sweaty. All smiles, she ran over to me and said, "Mama! That lady let . . . (pause, with dawning comprehension, a huge grin, and excited eyes) . . . . Hey! That's alliteration!"

I was so proud. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Keeping busy

Skeeter was out of town last night and today, and I always try to do something a little special with the children when he's not home. They miss him quite a lot, and I make an extra effort to keep their minds off of the "missing daddy" feelings.

This time, I hadn't really planned much though. He was only gone overnight, and I had originally thought that I would just take them to the YMCA for swimming as our outing. The children and I did our schoolwork as usual this morning, but before we could set the schedule for the afternoon our plans changed dramatically.

Spyder is rereading the Spy Gear series of books, and we discovered just before lunch that the latest book was released this week.

We immediately called the bookstore and -- shockingly! -- they had it. We did what any book lover would have done. We hopped in the car and zoomed off to get it.

I hadn't made lunch yet, so we decided to stop in at McAlister's for lunch before going into the bookstore. The bookstore is like a time warp for us. We can go in and three hours will pass by before we realize it. So we fortified ourselves with Chicken Tortilla soup and Cheddar Potato soup before heading over. (Yes, soups in 98 degree weather. We've had a break in the heat and we were feeling a bit chilly. Har.)

Because we are, well, us we had to stop into the dollar store. Spyder needed one of those little precision screwdriver kits, and I bought the things I always buy at the dollar store -- light bulbs and tissues and bathroom cleansers.

After the dollar store, we opted to check out the thrift store nearby. We're not in the area very often, and we always find good stuff there. Plus, the bookstore is a great place for an afternoon snack, and we weren't hungry at all because of the big lunch out.

The thrift store wasn't great today, not like some days I've had in the past. I did find a few notable things though, specifically a Naartjie two piece set and a Cornelloki dress, both in Sass's size. I also found a couple of CDs and a book for Sass and a You Might Be A Redneck . . . book for my dad. Not bad for all of $12.

We finally made it to the bookstore around 3, and, as predicted, we were there much longer than we should have been. We read a few books, wandered, picked up the book we had on hold, had a snack, and generally threw ourselves headlong into the bookstore time warp. It was most excellent.

By the time we got back home, everyone was tired. We're normally not out like that, and -- whew! -- we could all tell that we're not used to that kind of running around.

But all in all, it was a very happy day, doing nothing in particular except spending time with each other.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Learning, today's epiphany

Spyder has been reading since he turned 3 years old. Reading, not just sounding out words and such. At age 9, his reading level is that of a high school junior's, although his comprehension isn't quite that high.

Sass, on the other hand, isn't reading yet. Oh, she can sound out small words, but she's not really reading yet. Being the voracious reader I am, that's driving me crazy. BUT I had an epiphany this afternoon. Sass hasn't had the same experiences that Spyder had.

Our city is pretty big, and Spyder and I spent quite a lot of time in the car driving when he was little -- driving around town, going to see his grandparents (1.5 hrs away), that sort of thing. He would always look at books while we were driving around, and I'd have him spell out the words so that I could "read" to him while we were driving. I never even thought about it until today. We were out for a bit today (Target, airport, etc), and Sass had her Can You See What I See? book. Spyder was engrossed in his own book, so I had her spell out the words so I could tell her what to find next. That's when it hit me. I'd be willing to bet that the backseat spelling and reading that Spyder did is at least part of what led him to be a reader before he "should" have.

Sass has never had that because Spyder reads to her! I think I'm going to encourage him to take his headphones when we're in the car so she and I can do more of this. Being in the car is the best because I can't read for her while I'm driving, which is what she would want if I could.

I'm glad that I realized all of this, but I feel as if I should have an "IDIOT" sticker on my forehead for not picking up on it sooner.

Lunar Eclipse results

Well, sadly, we weren't able to see any of the lunar eclipse. I can't figure out if it was because of the cloud cover or if it was because of all of the trees in our neighborhood.

The cloud cover wasn't terrible, but it was pretty overcast in the direction of moonset. The trees are pretty thick in that direction as well, and I really think that was the reason I had trouble.

A disappointment, but Spyder and I will persevere! If we can manage to stay awake tonight, we'll try stargazing again.

Run Fatboy Run!

Oh, what a movie geek I am! I saw the full trailer for Run Fatboy Run via Mamapop, and I loudly proclaim -- I can't wait!

Prepare to laugh, my friends.

And now would be the time to mention two other items worth watching:

Shaun of the Dead. I'm not a horror fan. I'm probably the antithesis the horror fan. But Shaun of the Dead is not your typical horror film, and there is more humor (dry, British humor) than horror to me.

Black Books. My friend Julie introduced me to the British television comedy Black Books quite a while ago, and I absolutely love it! It's quirky. It's full of that dry humor that I love so much. It's set in a bookshop! (Although, honestly, the bookshop seldom plays a part in the story.) Only seasons one and two are available at the moment, but season three is releasing in November!

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 28 Lunar Eclipse

Shadow and Substance

An excellent visual tool to help decide when the eclipse will be visible in your neck o' the woods.

Spyder and I are planning to get up around 4:30 CDT (eek!) for the for the beginning of the total eclipse.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A good day

Today was one of those really good days. Nothing special, but a good day.

My friend Kaleigh posted about her good day yesterday, and I admit, I was slightly jealous. Not greedy-jealous, but wistfully-jealous. But after reflection this evening, I can honestly say that we had our own good day today.

We all got up relatively early -- around 7:30. The earlier-than-usual rising was a bit surprising, since we went swimming yesterday afternoon, and we were all pretty tired. But the early rising made for a better day, really. We weren't in a rush for church (doubly good, since Skeeter was a Junior Worship leader for today). We all had a leisurely breakfast and read a bit before getting ready for church.

After church, Skeeter was feeling sickly, so he took a nap for most of the afternoon. Spyder watched Mythbusters, and Sass colored while I did laundry and dishes. (I wanted to sit down and read -- Twilight is getting good! -- but I decided to do the chores instead.) Since Spyder was watching on the computer and using the headphones, the house was blissfully quiet.

I cleaned out quite a lot of Sass's outgrown clothing. They're all on hangers, ready to go to the consignment shop. As soon as I find one. I'm quite displeased with the one I've been using, so I'm on the search for another one.

Overall, today was restful, quiet, and productive. I'd love to be able to say that about every day!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Too much to read and not enough time

My basket of books is overflowing.

I got Twilight from the library last week, simply because I've heard such good things about it. It was due yesterday, and I couldn't renew it last night because someone has it on hold. I decided to keep it, thinking that whoever it is can wait until next week. I started it tonight. So far it's pretty good (although not really my usual fare), and it's an easy read, so I should be able to finish it by Tuesday, at the latest.

Sass and I are reading Dragon's Breath, the next book in the Frog Princess series. We read The Frog Princess last year, and she absolutely loved it.

Spyder, Sass, and I are reading Pippi Goes on Board as a group. It's just as engaging as Pippi Longstocking was.

Next on the group read -- Frindle.

Skeeter started reading The Fairy Tale Detectives to the children tonight as their bedtime read. I read it last year, so I'm not joining in on that one.

(Shhhhh . . . I read Twilight instead.)

Whew! Between all of these, plus the school reading, my throat is sore! Luckily, I bought the audio version of Story of the World along with the book, so my dear Jim reads that to all of us. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

The utterly brilliant Mr Bean

On Fridays, we have "pizza and movie night." It's just as it sounds. We pick up pizza from either Little Caesar's or Domino's, and we sit to watch a movie while enjoying the pizza.

Tonight's watching feast featured the incomparable Mr Bean. Quite honestly, it's probably one of the best movie nights we've had because we all love the quirky Mr Bean.

I don't know why I never realized it until tonight, but the comedy is almost all physical comedy. The children enjoyed it just as much as the adults, and we ended up watching the entire DVD in one sitting.

Everyone has requested Mr Bean for next week as well. :)

So what about your family? Any suggestions for a movie (or television show) that everyone enjoys to the same extent?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Proclaiming nerdiness

The children and I are about 2.5 weeks into the school year, and already Spyder has decided that English from the Roots Up is by far his favorite study.

I really wasn't sure how he'd take to it. I got it specifically because he reads so much, and he doesn't like to stop and look up words. I can't blame him for that. I never liked doing that, so I just tried to get the meaning from the context. I'm sure he could do that too, but someone recommended the study, and I thought that he could benefit from it.

Because I wasn't sure if he'd like it, I decided to buy just the book instead of the book and flash cards. We're making our own flash cards instead, using the instructions in the book. And interestingly, not buying the pre-made cards has given us much more hands on time with the information. And without even realizing it, Spyder is steadily working on his penmanship in two different classes.

Sass is doing the program as well, almost in the same depth. We discuss the root word, then give examples where it's used in our language. And even though I know the words we discuss, at times I feel as if I'm learning as much as the children.

Considering that we studied Ancient Greece last year, and our current history study is starting with Rome, it all seems to be coming together nicely.

And so far, we're all enjoying it!

That Spyder cracks me up!

Sass and Spyder watched part of The Aristocats tonight. Sass, who is fascinated with all animals, decided that she wanted to be one of the cats. Considering that she draws kitty whiskers on herself just about every day, she thought it wouldn't be too much of a stretch.

Spyder tells her, "[Sass], I don't think you'd want to be a cat. Not for real. That life isn't as glamorous as it looks."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Tonight's dinner was all planned -- beef stroganoff, a mixture of fried squash, eggplant, and zucchini, homemade macaroni and cheese.

What did we end up having? Popcorn chicken, grapes and apples, and the homemade macaroni and cheese.

I was making the "poor man's" stroganoff, with ground turkey instead of beef strips. The turkey came from the freezer (and it had only been in there about a month!), but after I'd cooked it, it didn't smell like I thought it should. Not bad, really, but not the way it usually smells. So I decided the stroganoff was out. I couldn't make it with questionable turkey.

I was really jazzed about the fried squash, eggplant, and zucchini. Oh, yum; oh, yum! I had sliced everything on Monday morning and made half of it on Monday night. Today when I got out the dish with the slices, I found that some of the eggplant had fuzzy spots. Only the eggplant, and there were only a few spots, but again, I wasn't making questionable veggies. And all of it was in the same dish, so I had to throw all of it away.

I am sorta, kinda working on a Pantry Challenge at the moment, so the squash, etc. were the only veggies in the crisper.

At least I had untainted ingredients for the macaroni and cheese.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Children are for making you feel good about yourself

SPYDER: Mama! Your hair is sticking up all over! You look like a mad scientist whose latest experiment went horribly wrong.

Friendship overtakes the schedule

Yesterday morning my friend Brenda called me. Immediately this was a little weird because, well, it was morning. Brenda doesn't do mornings.

The conversation started as it usually does.

"Hey. What are you doing today?"

The answers is usually mundane -- cleaning the closet, doing school, dusting . . . .

Yesterday's wasn't.

"I have to tell you what happened this weekend. And I'll warn you now; I'm probably going to cry."

Poor Brenda had had an awful Saturday and Sunday, and she was still dealing with the fallout. Understandably, she was still upset and stressed out about it.

While there wasn't (and isn't) anything I could actually do to help with the problem, I wanted to help. So I did the best I could. I said, "There are some errands that can't wait, but give me an hour to get them done then bring the children over. You can go and do whatever."

I told the children that school was on hold, and we went to do our errands. Brenda dropped her children off a couple of hours later, and she went off to regain composure.

We still had things to do, but I was happy to be able to do something to make her day at least a little bit better. Not just willing to do it, but happy that I could offer her a few hours to herself.

So what did Brenda do during that time? Went back home and watched mindless television. And considering how much calmer she was when she came back, I was glad she did. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We go together . . .

Not that anyone who knows us needs more proof, but I offer this brief account of a moment this evening, just for fun.

Sass decided that she didn't like her dinner tonight (Parmesan chicken with pasta, green beans), so she didn't eat it. No problem. I don't make a fuss about stuff like that, but that's what's offered.

Later she decided that she wanted dessert. Nope, sorry. Eating dinner means you can have dessert, so I said no. Not to mention, this was just as I was telling her it was time for bed. Oh, the horror! The injustice of it all!

Sass wailed, "Mamaaaaa!"

Skeeter and I immediately responded, "Ooooh, oooh, oooh, oooooh!" (from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody).

We smiled at each other and spent a happy few minutes thinking of new lyrics. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Prayer Journal

The prayer journal idea sounds complex, but really, it's not at all. I started out using the ACTS acronym, which I got from a workshop a few years ago. I like it, but I felt like I was more concerned with following the pattern than speaking my heart. Not so good when your goal is spiritual fellowship.

I have a plain notebook, nothing special, although it does have grid paper rather than regular lines. I don't have a real reason for the grid paper; I just like it better. The prayer requests are separated under four headings:
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Work
  • The Rest (lol, really! I never said this was a proper, publishing house-worthy prayer journal.)
Nothing is completely set in stone, and I use it as a list more than anything else. Mostly, I use the categories when I make notes during the day, if I hear of a prayer that was answered or find out that someone else has requested prayer. And I do jot things down here and there during the day quite often.

Most people are assigned into categories, but I put a little description out beside it anyway, just to give me a little focus. Examples:
  • Dad -- heart, stomach, medicines
  • [Friend's son] -- family ties, friendship, Walk
  • [Friend's husband] -- new job, sustenance work until career position, encouragement
  • [Skeeter] -- deadlines, contractors, patience
It just gives me a little something to go on when I'm there, and I don't have to blank out and think, "Now what was it . . . ."

I use one sheet of paper for each day, and I rewrite it every day, doing my prayer as I go. It makes it easier for me to stay focused because I'm doing something that's tangible at the same time. Before I started the journal, my prayers wandered all over the place, just because I couldn't remember half of the things when I needed to remember them.

Generally, the left side of the page is taken up with various prayer requests, so I put my praises on the right side. Most of the time they're simple things, like Spyder getting 100% on his math, or being able to visit with a friend, but I try to have at least as many praises as requests. I think it's especially important to acknowledge the good as well as ask for help with the bad. Otherwise, I feel like my prayers sound as if I have a bad case of the gimmes, rather like the teen who will only talk to Dad when she needs something.

A prayer journal can be done many different ways, but it will only be helpful if you find the formula that works for you. I stumbled upon my method because of my wandering mind and love of lists. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Virtue and vice

It's how I start the day -- prayer journal, daily bible reading, coffee.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Your Pizza Reveals

What Your Pizza Reveals

People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.

You are a very picky pizza eater. Not any pizza will do. You fit in best in the Northeast part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are definitely unique and artistically inclined. You should consider traveling to Prague.

The stereotype that best fits you is hippie. You knew it was coming.

Little bits of this and that

  • School is going well! The children are enjoying getting back into our routine, and I have to admit that I prefer having a schedule for things. (I can't believe it, but I do.)
  • The children had appointments for dental checkups this morning, and WOOHOOO! No cavities! Both of them got great reports. In a strange turn of events, Spyder was the calmer one in the dental chair today.
  • I ran into my friend Britt in Target on Monday. She had her baby at the end of July, and he's adorable! We haven't seen Britt and her family all summer, and I think the children must have missed each other. Britt and I had a nice chat (15 minutes, at least), with 5 children milling around us. They stood catching up, just as Britt and I did. We're seeing them again on Friday, at The Bounce.
  • I had a little "squee!" of excitement this morning when I found out that someone used one of my Works for me Wednesday tips! I don't participate in Works for me Wednesday too often, mostly because I don't have too many clever tips, so it makes me feel especially good to know that it helped someone. The puzzle storage tip was a spur-of-the-moment post, reminded because I happened to be checking my Google Reader (and noticed that WfmW was up) just after I had picked up and put away puzzles.
  • And speaking of Google Reader, as of today I have gone over, rather than keeping up with bookmarks. I have, completely and utterly. I've been toying with it for a month or more, trying to decide whether I wanted to commit. I do.
  • I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I cannot wait until Friday to see Superbad!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Last night Spyder and I stayed up extra late to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

In our area the best time to watch was around 1 am. The parent in me balked at letting my son outside that late (early?). Spyder is enthralled with all things astronomical though, so he was excited about seeing it. The homeschooler in me decided to relax and go with it.

It was a great night for stargazing in general, really. There was a new moon, so the star field was much clearer than usual. Spyder got out his Dangerous Book for Boys and his star chart and found several constellations while waiting for a meteor. He had such a great time stargazing that he decided that he wanted to go stargazing at every new moon.

He saw the first meteor around 12:45, and we saw a total of 5 between 12:45 and 1:30 am. By then we were both so tired that it was a struggle to keep searching. Spyder came in and (quite literally) fell onto the bed and went to sleep where he landed. I came in a few minutes after, took off his shoes, washed his feet, and tucked him in. I think he was already asleep before I ever got there.

It was a great experience though, and I'm glad that I stuck to the commitment that I had made to let him see it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Take Your Family to Work Day

Today was my usual once-a-month working day at the bookstore. I work the big storytime, where we have a character in costume and lots of crafts as well as the usual reading time.

The character today was Arthur. My children love Arthur, both of them, although Spyder doesn't want most people to know. He's "too old" for that stuff. Har. Har.

Considering how much they like Arthur, I had wanted to bring them anyway. But Skeeter told me yesterday that he had to work this morning, although he wasn't sure how long he'd be. When he told me that, I called the manager and asked if I could bring them along. She had invited me to bring them before, but I thought it was best to call and ask just in case. She said, "Sure, bring them on! We'll put them to work if we need to."

So last night, I told both of them that they had jobs today. It ended up that Skeeter finished up around 8 am, so he was home, but they children were so excited that I wanted them to come anyway. So Skeeter, the children and I all went to work today. And let me just proclaim loudly -- they were fantastic!

The organizer hadn't realized how much prep work there would be for the crafts, so she waited until this morning. Thank heavens I decided to get there early, and I spent an hour and a half cutting felt for the main craft. Sass spent the time cutting out paper hats (and did a great job).

Here's the main craft we did. It's actually one that I did at home with Spyder when he was about 3. It's just a balloon made to look like Arthur, but the children loved it.

These aren't the best examples, but I had a hard time taking photos while the balloons were weaving and wobbling. We also made some to look like DW, although that was a first for me. Some of the children got a little overenthusiastic about the hair (yarn) though, and some of the DW balloons were a little top-heavy.

After the balloon craft, Skeeter read the stories. We were short one person, and he enjoys reading to children, so he volunteered. Spyder helped during storytime by getting children settled, then during the actual reading, he showed the pictures while Skeeter read. Skeeter decided he wouldn't be any good at reading upside down or sideways like I normally do. :)

After the stories, Arthur made his appearance.

Sass was feeling shy at first, but she eventually went over and gave Arthur a high-five.

I was slightly amused to find Spyder helping a customer after storytime too. He was walking along with a grandmother and her grandson, recommending books and telling them that next month's big storytime is Corduroy.

Despite the rush to prep everything at the beginning, it was a fun storytime, and I'm so glad that my family got to join in on the fun. They all did such a great job that the manager invited them for next time and said she'd pay them in cookies, milk, and coffee. That got a thumbs-up from everyone!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

So long, Pippi!

We've just finished reading Pippi Longstocking, and we all enjoyed it tremendously. Sass and Spyder both loved Pippi's unorthodox ways of doing things, and each had a little epiphany during Pippi's escapades. Spyder was annoyed by the ending though. There was no closure, and he hates that.

Sass drew this today while we were reading.

Not bad, eh? The little blobs off to the right are Tommy and Annika. I was especially pleased with her drawing of Mr Nilsson.

So for now we say goodbye to Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking. I've just put Pippi Goes on Board on hold at the library though, so we'll see her again soon.

Oh joy! Oh happy day!

I've just found out that Scholastic is having a warehouse sale through Saturday. I had completely forgotten about it! As I've mentioned before, I love the Scholastic sales!

There's just nothing that sets my heart a-flutter like cheap books.

Today we were planning to take the afternoon and create our Zoology notebooks. That plan? Gone, out the window, flying away in the breeze. (Or sitting lackluster outside the window in the stifling heat -- take your pick.)

Spyder and Sass are almost as excited as I am. They both know that we come away with great stuff.

In fact, I think Spyder even more excited. He's planning to scour the shelves in hopes of finding Mad Science items.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Puzzle Storage

My daughter loves puzzles. Getting them in and out of the game closet tends to wear the boxes though. Plus someone always ends up stepping on it, causing the sides to rip. For ages I attempted to tape the boxes back together, only to find puzzle pieces scattered on the floor of the closet. I've come up with a better solution: ziploc bags!

I cut out the picture of the puzzle and put it and the pieces in a ziploc slider bag. (Slider bags are all-important here. I tried it with the regular bags, but my 5 year old didn't always close the regular bag properly, and I'd end up with puzzle pieces scattered from the dining room to the closet.)

All of the puzzle bags are kept in a small-ish storage tub, and it makes for easy in-and-out of the closet. Plus, getting them all out at once saves trips to the closet every ten minutes when she's done with one and needs another.

Be sure to visit Rocks in My Dryer for all of the great Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

She's growing up, that girl o' mine.

As of yesterday, Sass has lost two teeth! She lost the first one on July 18. It had been loose for a few days, so it was only a matter of time, really. Our tooth fairy gives out gold dollar coins, and we were in the bank getting fairy coins when the first one came out. Today's was slightly less dramatic, since we were at home and she's now an old hand at losing calcified bits.

My Sass, with her loot from today, complete with dirty face and fingers:

She's so proud and feels the need to show everyone her "gone tooth." Of course, now she's obsessed with teeth and will ask random people in the grocery store if they've lost a tooth. Makes for a good icebreaker, I suppose. The cashier at Kroger knows all about Sass's "gone tooth" and the "monies" she gets instead.

In the car on the way home from Kroger, Spyder and Sass were plotting the extortion opportunities available to them. After all, it's not like they'll need them in thirty years anyway.

Definitely on the "Bad Idea" list

Today I got four passes to see a free screening of the new movie Arctic Tale. This really isn't anything new. We get the free passes at my bookstore all the time. Plus, I know the person who organizes all of the free showings for the metro area, and I can email her any time and say "put me on the list" if I don't happen to get one another way.

Have you ever been to one of these free screenings? They're fun. The crowd is always in a jovial mood (hello? free movie? of course people are happy!). Sometimes they give out prizes too.

But the key word in that paragraph above is crowd. I have been to exactly one of these screenings where people weren't turned away. (The Incredibles, and that was only because it was a downtown showing and there was a massive storm.) Generally, you have to get there over an hour before the showing to actually get a seat.

I'm all about free stuff. But . . . as much as I think my Sass will love this movie, I am not going to stand in line with her for an hour or more -- with a load of other people and the chance that we'll get in -- just to save the price of the tickets ($10). No how, no way. If it's just Skeeter and me, no problem. We just wait our turn and chat. We've done it loads of times, and it's a great cheap date.

Chasing after the urchins? Nope, not interested.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dinner solution

I resolved the dinner dilemma.

This morning I realized that take-out would be taking the easy way out, fulfilling the letter of the law but not the spirit.

I did decide on an easy dinner though -- baked spaghetti and meatballs, fresh corn on the cob, garlic bread, and chocolate chip cookies. Since she lives so far away, I decided to assemble the baked spaghetti and let her heat it and melt the cheese. I had debated on making fresh corn casserole that I found through Multitasking Mama, but I had already put the corn on to boil when I looked it up, so alas, that will have to wait.

Personally, I like to make my corn a little different (boiled, then roasted with butter, salt, and a bit of Parmesan cheese), but I wasn't sure it would go over well, so I opted for plain old corn on the cob. I did give her the recipe for how I like it though.

The chocolate chip cookies were a last minute idea, sort of. My friend Michael Ann gave me the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe ages ago, and I've made it so many times that it's almost second nature. Since I went with an easy menu, I thought the cookies would be a nice extra. Who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies? :)

So, at long last, here is the meal I prepared (minus the garlic bread):

Easy, but foods that are liked by most people. She was quite gracious when I delivered it, and even apologized for walking away from me at church yesterday.

Here's hoping this is the beginning of a new path!

Patience? Yeah. She got that from me.

SASS: Are the cookies ready?

ME: Just a couple more minutes. I'll get them out of the oven, we'll let them cool for a couple of minutes, then you can have one!

SASS: Cool? COOL? I don't care about COOL! I just want a cookie!

Good things come to those who surf

My friend Julie knows my affection for Hob Nobs. It's an English oatmeal cookie, but oh so much more. I haven't been able to reliably find them here in the US, although I'm sure they're available. For a few blessed months in 1997, I was able to find them at Sam's Club -- in a mega-pack, of course!

While surfing and clicking around to nowhere in particular, I came across Elizabeth at Frabjous Days, who must also love the sinfully delicious Hob Nobs. She's even written a sonnet in honor of them.

Check it out! And if you ever run across a place that sells Hob Nobs, buy a package. Or a case. And invite me over. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dinner dilemma

Skeeter and I are part of a "care unit" at our church. We are part of a team of people who bring meals, visit ones in the hospital, call members we haven't seen in a while . . . you get the idea.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to make a meal for a couple who just had a baby. Normally it's not an extraordinary task. But tomorrow's will be, for me.

I'll be taking a meal to one of the members who has shown obvious disdain for me. We had an altercation once. It hasn't really gotten better. Since then I've tried to be the bigger person, but she sends those signals -- you know what I mean -- every time I've spoken to her. Today at church I walked over to her to ask if she had any particular likes or dislikes for her meal, and she looked at me, said, "I've got to feed the baby" and walked off.

So now I'm in a dilemma. Should I get take-out for them (nice take-out, but still, not homemade) or do I spend three hours in the kitchen making something I fear she'll just toss in the trash because it's from me? I think I'd be better with having lost the $25 than three hours. And to make matters slightly more difficult, her house is thirty miles from mine. Nothing I take will still be warm enough to eat.

A friend said, "It's not you. She has hurt others with her words. We need to pray for her."

I agree with that. Wholeheartedly. And I have been praying for her. But I have also been intentionally not putting myself in a position for her to say anything particularly hurtful to me.

So tomorrow will be a test for me -- for my strength and my patience. All over dinner.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Let me direct you to a few good places

Saints and Spinners: I wish that Alkelda the storyteller would move next door to me. Or at least lived in the same state (I'd even take the same region) as our family so we could attend her gigs. She is so talented and clever that I feel a wee bit more clever myself whenever I visit her little corner. Oh, and she's a Blackadder fan. No more needs to be said -- she's brilliant.

Wise Bread: Not quite your typical personal finance blog. Recent entries include "What's the worst thing you ever bought?" and "What to pack for a road trip with Rover?"

Zen Habits: In the same personal finance genre, but with more of a simplicity leaning. Interestingly, I think of it as very Flylady-ish without all of the pink and purple themed merchandise and cutesy sayings.

Home Ec 101: Loads of great homemaking tips. Got a home-related question? Cooking? Cleaning? Laundry? It's all tackled here. And they answer reader questions.

Callapidder Days: Katrina is a book fiend, which is how I found her (through a reading challenge at Jennifer Snapshot). But my favorite part of her blog is her game reviews. We're a game lovin' family, and I've found several new favorites simply because of her reviews.

My Alligator King

"The Alligator King" was one of my favorite songs years ago when I was an avid Sesame Street watcher. Remember it?

I have my own Alligator King. He's not the original in the Sesame Street ditty, but he's close enough to remind me of it. I can't remember how I got him. It seems as if I've had him forever, but I'm sure he must have shown up as part of Spyder's toys.

Spyder has long since outgrown these types of toys, and I've claimed him. He sits on the windowsill in the kitchen.

Every day, usually twice a day or more, I look at him while I'm washing the dishes and sing, "Said the Alligator King to his seven sons . . . ."