Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Aug 31 - Sept 6

I know; I know. I repeat the side dishes a LOT. That's part of the reason I've started participating in Menu Plan Monday -- to get out of the rut! Varying the main dish isn't difficult for me, but the side dishes are a different story. I've realized that is what needs work more than anything.

Sunday: Quiche, fruit, pancakes

Monday: Labor Day holiday! Going to a cookout a Mom and Dad's. I'm making Blueberry Lemon Chess Squares to take to the cookout.

Tuesday: Eating out

Wednesday: Caribbean pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, baked squash, spinach salad

Thursday: Chicken cacciatore in black olive and tomato sauce, garlic pasta, spinach salad, crudite platter

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Meatloaf, Wendy's macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, stir fried veggies

Check out this week's Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more great recipes!


For Skeeter

XKCD always makes me laugh, despite my liberal arts background.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Telling, yes?

I think Skeeter and I might possibly, maybe be watching too much about the election. Skeeter had some news site on his computer which had a prominent photo of Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Sass walked over to Skeeter and said, "Oh. That's the boring guy."

Skeeter pointed at the photo and asked, "Who? That guy?"

Sass replied, "Yes. That guy. He's on the news all the time just talking and talking."

Perhaps I should tone down on the election coverage.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sweet potato fries

Oh people. The sweet potato fries on tonight's menu? Goooooood. Shamefully good. And bad for you, which makes them even yummier, I'm sure. This was a new recipe I made up, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.

1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, julienned

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter on a baking sheet, making sure that the sheet is covered. Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer atop the buttered sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with cinnamon (if you like). Just as yummy without though. These could probably be made with "potato chip" style cuts as well.

Happy cooking!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


"Home"schooling is definitely a misnomer, at least in our case. We have been out for the last two days.

On Tuesday we saw the IMAX film Sea Monsters, then spent several hours wandering the museum which hosts the IMAX theatre. Lots of fun, really, as the children explored the interactive "Treasure" exhibit. Just as we were about to leave, the children discovered a scavenger hunt just taking place, so we spent an additional two hours doing the hunt. I'm glad we stayed because the children were exploring the museum, but it was exhausting spending seven hours there.

Today was our math and science day. We spent the day at the neighborhood park and pond doing another scavenger hunt, this time finding the different creatures and plants the park had to offer. We found aquatic plants and bird nests and anthills and worms and even a tiger swallowtail butterfly.

We all had a great time, but I must say, I'm tired of being gone all day. I'm so glad that tomorrow is scheduled to be a stay at home day. And I hope nothing comes up to change that!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


From me to my sister: I have found the PERFECT Christmas present for you!

Response: Now quit being hateful ... although they would be great for a "white trash" party.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crock Pot Honey Barbecue Chicken

Great taste, minimal effort. What's not to love?

Crock Pot Honey Barbecue Chicken

2 pounds chicken (I use either boneless skinless thighs or breast tenderloins)

1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 cloves garlic

Mix spices and sauces thoroughly. Cover bottom of crock pot with chicken, layering if necessary. Cover with sauce and cook on low for approximately 6 hours.


Menu Plan Monday, August 25-30

Okay, Kiy warned me, and it's true. I really liked actually writing out the menu plan for last week. Skeeter liked it too because he knew what to expect each night, so I think I'll continue with it. I will add some of the recipes as well; that actually didn't occur to me until Angela left a comment about the Honey Barbecue Chicken.

About last week: I didn't make the salmon on Wednesday because I had such a horrible headache that I honestly couldn't. It got moved to this week.

There are a few repeats from last week just because we like them. And on to this week's menu.

Sunday: Stir-fry sausage with onions and peppers, rice pilaf, spinach salad

Monday: Tacos, Mexican rice, spinach salad, crudite platter

Tuesday: Eating out

Wednesday: Chicken with artichokes and garlic, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Thursday: Salmon, sweet potato fries, stir fry veggies, baked squash

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Meatballs in burgundy sauce, pasta, green beans

Check out this week's Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more great recipes!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

#1 Song

This is a fun site, cataloging the #1 song on any date, even going back into the 1890s.

The #1 song on the day I was born was "Let It Be" by The Beatles.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Catch Up, Catch All

My sister emailed me this morning, admonishing me for having posted absolutely nothing this week. So, here's the skinny on the week. So far.

On Monday The Michael called on his way home from work. He ended up stopping by for dinner and then keeping the urchins for about an hour or so. I had a homeschooling meeting that night which I had intended to skip because Skeeter was really late getting home from work. Yay to The Michael for saving the day!

On Tuesday I spent most of the day in the kitchen making (and baking) meatballs to freeze for future use. I had found ground beef and sausage on clearance at the Kroger, so meatballs were practically screaming to be made. I love having things like that in the freezer, but my word it is a pain. A whole day of cooking, and with clearance meats I couldn't exactly put it off. I'm glad it fell on our eating out day so I didn't have to cook dinner as well. Although I can tell you that if it hadn't, we would have been eating spaghetti and meatballs!

On Wednesday I was cooking again, this time it was cookies. Sass spilled an entire pound of sugar in the pantry which was -- of course! -- the original battleground. So to (hopefully) avert another attack, I swept the whole place three times, then mopped with a very strong vinegar/water mixture. The dogs were especially amusing during that. They hated the vinegar, but at the same time they both insisted on sniffing every inch of the pantry. Sniff, sneeze. Sniff, sneeze. Sniff, sneeze. Afterward, we made chocolate chip cookies. Normally, yum, but by the time we were finishing up I had a horrible headache and the smell from the chocolate was making me sick. I had to lie down, wondering if my sister would be willing to help raise my children since I was obvious going to have a brain explosion. Thankfully that didn't happen. It receded a few hours later, and I was able to join the living. But I confess that our menu for that night was completely thrown out the window. We had the leftovers out of the fridge, along with some extra garlic pasta since that's easy.

On Thursday we had a great school day. We worked for several hours longer than usual, just because everyone was having fun with it. I love days like that.

And then today. Whew. Today we're having our first homeschool "Adventure Club" meeting. Today's topic is knots and sit-upons. I love crafty stuff like that, so I'm excited about it.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Ant Killaz

This morning Sass discovered the beginnings of an ant invasion in the dog food. It was definitely only a beginning, as there were probably only about 50 or so.

We've always kept the dog food in the same spot by the back door for the four years that we've had them. Always. I suppose we're lucky in that this was the first attempted invasion.

We struck strongly and swiftly, moving everything outside, then dousing with the spray that I've kept on hand just in case. We let it sit for a bit while we took care of the ones we'd taken outside, then came back in and mopped with the Power of Pine Sol.

Thankfully, I've always kept the dog food in sealed containers so it wasn't contaminated by the ants at all. But now I will be fully alert, on guard against the next attack.


Menu Plan Monday, August 17-23

My friend Julie participates in Menu Plan Monday every week. I've gotten several good recipes from her that way, and (I can barely believe it myself) I decided to play along. So here goes, with my first Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday: Meatloaf, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn

Monday: Crock pot honey barbecue chicken, garlic pasta, baked squash, crudite platter

Tuesday: Eating out

Wednesday: Salmon, rice pilaf, stir-fry veggies, olive rolls

Thursday: Tamale pie, spinach salad, Mexican rice, fried corn

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Quiche, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, fruit

Check out this week's Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more great recipes!


Friday, August 15, 2008


My daughter has just informed me that she wants to have pickles with her breakfast this morning.



Cue the crickets

Lawzy day. Anyone stumbling upon this blog would think it abandoned.

It's not, but this week has passed in a bit of a fog, and I haven't quite gotten in step with the new year. And the new school year is truly upon us. We had our first "official" activity this week, and we have two more scheduled for next week.

It sounds as if I'm complaining, but truly I'm not. I enjoy organizing our days, seeing what we can discover. But at the same time, it's difficult to get back into the groove of it after the unstructured summer. I've not been reading blogs these past few weeks, and I've even done a poor job of maintaining my own. I just completely cleared out my Google Reader. There were 1211 unread posts. That's just wrong.

And so, I've missed you! Grab a coffee and let's chat. Here are a few things that happened during the last week:

-- Spyder caught his first fish! My aspiring fisherman has been quite concerned that he had been fishing several times, but with no fruit from the labor. That is no more. He went fishing with his grandfather on Saturday, and lo and behold, he caught his first! He and Sass even named it, although the name now escapes me.

-- Sass' BFF Olivia started kindergarten. Sass misses her every single day and does not hesitate to let me know about it.

-- Spyder lost two teeth. Two! I keep telling him that he's going to force the tooth fairy into bankruptcy.

-- I suppose that everyone gets spam email. I rarely check the spam folder, but I got a big laugh out of one of the recent subject lines: "Fill up your tank -- just $2.59!" I laughed so hard at that. I wonder if it's a bigger draw than the usual subject lines.

-- Wednesday was my friend Carla's birthday, which I utterly forgot until I looked at my calendar (while we were at a homeschool event!). I abandoned any pretense of a nice gift, and instead I stopped at the Sonic on the way home. I bought a gift card. I asked for an extra fry carton and hamburger wrapper. I used those to fashon the wrapping, along with a bit of sparkly tissue paper. Extra Klassy. But Carla liked the gift card, as we share the love of the Sonic sodas.

-- Latest read: A Spy on the Bus by Margean Gladysz, a collection of letters sent home while Margean was an secret inspector for different bus lines, beginning with Greyhound but later moving to others. It's a great snapshot of middle America in the late '40s. The book would make a good gift for someone who remembers that time. I just began reading Mr Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues, but I think I'm going to abandon it. I am not at all happy with it.

-- Skeeter's summer interns are gone. Their last day was today. He's thrilled. This is his third summer as intern babysitter. It's funny when Skeeter and I talk about our own internships, thinking that we did so much, when probably we needed just as much handholding and micromanaging as his have.

-- Ooooh, I almost forgot! I bought a pinball game for the Wii. I think it's my favorite game so far.

So now it's your turn! Since I've obviously missed everything in the last week, and probably loads before that, what's going on with you?


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Self Control


Fun with physics

My urchins love setting up these type of Rube Goldberg machines, although they've never done anything quite this elaborate.


Friday, August 08, 2008


Last night the urchins discovered a sheet of Mr Yuk stickers in the filing cabinet. They spent a happy hour talking about and labeling the various cleaners and such around the house.

Their single mindedness in the self-appointed task was amusing for all sorts of reasons. They were both so steadfast and serious when both of them are old enough that it's highly unlikely either of them will drink the laundry detergent just for kicks. Still, I thought it was cute when I was walking around this morning doing various chores, seeing this

and this

and this.

And then I came to this.

Oh dear.

Do you think they're trying to tell me something?


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Recipe Box Swap: Baked Squash

swap blogpost

I've been trying to duplicate a recipe from a local restaurant, and this is my latest try. It's not exactly there yet, but it's close!

Baked Squash

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/2 cup chicken broth (give or take, whether you prefer it moist or somewhat dry)
1 cup sour cream
1 onion (can use frozen, but you may need to adjust the broth)
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups yellow squash, sliced

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom of pan with butter and set in oven to warm a bit. I don't recommend oil for greasing, as it will give a different flavor.

Mix everything except the squash, making sure that it's thoroughly blended. Mix in squash gently. Place in warmed pan and bake for about an hour.

As I said, it's a work in progress! I've also thought of adding sharp cheddar cheese for a little extra oomph. If you think of something different to do or use, let me know!

Go check out all of the great garden fresh recipes at I Have To Say, and if you just came from there, thanks for visiting!


Quote of the day

Chocolate milk. That's MY espresso.

-- Spyder, age 10


In honor of the new school year

Schools in our area start today. Yes, TODAY, August 7. That just seems mighty early to me.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008


We spent most of yesterday out and about -- Children's Museum, library, thrift store, bookstore, and a few others.

After we left the Children's Museum, Sass said, "Why do we always have to leave so earrrrrly?" (read the whine into that) My response? "Honey, we've been here for three hours and they're closing. Unless you want to sleep in that clogged artery display tonight, you need to scoot your booty toward the door."

Today the plan is to stay home. We found a cool Labyrinth game at the thrift store yesterday, plus we rented a game for the Wii and bought a game for the DS.

We will spend the day balancing marbles, swordfighting, and solving a mystery. And making blueberry cobbler.


Monday, August 04, 2008


I don't often write about serious subjects. Mostly this blog is here to help me remember the silly things my children do or just to serve as a journal of things that go on in our lives. But this last week was emotionally draining for me, and I feel that it's important enough to share.

An acquaintance from church is going through a divorce. Not just a divorce, but leaving a marriage that has been crumbling for years, trying to keep her children safe and their spirits intact. This woman's entire family is active in church, looked upon as being one of the pillars of the church. And yet, no one knew that their marriage was in shambles and had been for years.

This woman -- let's call her Lady -- called my friend Brenda not long ago to tell her the story and ask for help. The help she needs is truly bigger than one person can handle, and Brenda asked Lady if she recruit me to help as well. Brenda and I went to Lady's house last week to begin, and in beginning Lady needed to tell her story. We just stood and listened because it was what she needed. Several times in the telling, she said, "I can't believe that no one noticed that anything was wrong. Someone should have noticed." And she's absolutely right.

Skeeter and I were friendly with Lady and her husband, although neither of us could truly say that we were "friends." Personally, I was a little intimidated by her. We did notice that Lady had stopped attending church regularly. Others even commented on it to us, mentioning that it might have had something to do with illness. We now know that it didn't. Skeeter and I both feel terrible about it because we could have done something to help so much sooner, if we had only looked closer or taken a more-than-superficial moment with her.

Just this week my friend Julie wrote an excellent post on this very subject, which in itself is interesting, as I didn't know she was reading the book she referenced, and she had no idea about Lady. While Lady's troubles may be more severe than some others, obviously, her situation is not uncommon. These feelings of isolation are probably more widespread than I ever realized, and I believe that to be true with or without the context of the church.

People want to know that they can call someone at 2 am for help and have an understanding voice on the line.

People want to be asked how they're doing and have the person actually care what the response is.

People want to be invited into someone's home because they are wanted and welcomed there, not because it's an obligation.

We as a society need to be willing to step outside of our comfort zones to show love and caring to others. But at the same time, a person who needs that help must be willing to let down the barriers and ask for it, and that is not an easy task.

As difficult and draining as the last week has been, it has given me a new perspective on the church, on interpersonal relationships, on the responsibility we have to each other.

I feel as if I was given a pop quiz and failed dismally. I will be making a more concerted effort to never be found so lacking again.


Sunday, August 03, 2008


Sass the Renamer has struck again. She has started calling our Wii by another name -- the Whee! And as usual, her new name is both amusing and appropriate.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Oh heavenly day

Take note of the 113 degree heat index. I feel every bit of it.