9.30.2008

AAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

Today is one of those where I just want to pull my hair out. Work is driving me crazy. I'm very frustrated with things, and that is that.

Big Joe is up north - Bow season starts tomorrow (October 1), and he left last night to head up north for the week. So, it's just me and little Joe for the rest of the week. I am hoping that we will be able to make it work - I'm dropping off at latch key at 7AM, then picking him up at latch key around 5:30PM. (Assuming I can get there in time).

I have lots on my mind, and I feel like I need to lock myself in the bathroom to figure things out. Well, maybe not the bathroom - that is kind of gross. Nothing major, just the typical working mom, wife, early-30-year-old stuff in my mind.

A few days ago, I posted about 101 things you want to do in your life...I'm having some difficulty coming up with 101. Actually, I'm having trouble coming up with 50. What does this mean? Am I destined for a boring future? ARGH! I used to think I was a pretty interesting person with very diverse interests. Maybe not.

School Pictures

Joseph had his school pictures on Monday - too cute. He wanted to look "handsome" for his pics - so - this is what he wore: (please excuse the tongue-sticking-out picture.)





He was VERY handsome, if I say so. Mind you, he's my son, of course I'm going to say so!!

Flat Jack Visted...

Little Joe came home from school with Flat Jack, who is apparently the classroom travelling pet. Joseph had to "entertain" Flat Jack all night, and then we wrote in Flat Jack's journal about what he did at our house that night.


Flat Jack jumped on the bed, saw Mommy's garden, watched Modern Marvels and slept in Joseph's bed with him. Whoo-hoo!

Detroit Yumminess

So - I saw this place mentioned twice in the same day by two different people, not related to one another. That makes this a place that I must check out. Mmm....

http://www.goodgirlsgotopariscrepes.com/

9.24.2008

Challenge

Write a list of 101 things you would like to do in your lifetime. - HAH! This will take me a while - but I will follwup with a list.

I challenge you to do the same.

9.20.2008

Waste of Time TV

I don't know about you - but I have found that I waste an insane amount of time watching useless television.

Gossip Girl
90210 (the new series - have you seen this?!?!?!)
Starter Wife

to say the least....I seriously love these shows - they are the most wonderful escape from reality that TV has ever offered. Check them out. Give yourself an hour, use the DVR, watch them after the kids go to bed, and make sure you have a glass of chardonnay.

Dinner with Friends

Little Joe has a friend (Evan) whom we don't get to see very often. He lives up in Bloomfield, we live south of 8 Mile. (no -seriously, we do - and I am proud to be a Wayne County Girl). Anyways - he, and his mom and Dad, and his brother came over for dinner tonight. We put up the tent for the boys to have a "Pizza Picnic" in, and they LOVED it!!

The adults, however, had the most amazing dinner salad - steak, mushrooms, red onions, fresh heirloom tomatoes (from the garden), red leaf lettuce and balsamic vinaigrette (Newman's own). It. Was. Good.
And dessert - even better. S'mores. However, instead of Hershey's chocolate - we used Reese Peanut Butter Cups. You have got to try this. I'm hooked on this wonderful heavenly slice of life. This is my new way for S'mores.

On the friend level - we had a wonderful time hanging out with friends, letting the boys play, and just being a chick for a while. My girlfriend and I enjoyed some good girl time while the boys played, and the big boy(her husband) watched football and golf. (Big Joe is up north this weekend finalizing the hunting camp, and finishing the blind , etc.) It was wonderful to hang with a friend, and really enjoy the conversation. We need to do this more often. We have a invite standing for the future - and I hope we take them up on it! :)

Musical Tendencies

Many of you many not know this - but I play the French horn. And I love the French Horn. It brings tears to my eyes to hear someone play the horn with a full tone and strong presence. Like This. I simply cry. And you will too.

So, as I was attempting to play a little bit - Little Joe wanted to play the horn too. This would please me like no other. Seriously - my mom played the horn. I play the horn. If little Joe played the horn - I can see my mom looking down on him and smiling, and maybe even holding his hand a little bit. When she was in hospice I promised her that I would teach him how to play the french horn, and she smiled. even in her pain, she smiled. And then I cried. This is a promise I made to my mother. sigh.
The simplicity of the French horn. The beauty of the French Horn. So wonderful. So, just, So.

The new Toy.

48" deck. Power. and being able to mow the lawn in 15 minutes. Seriously - Big Joe LOVES his new lawnmower.

For those of you who don't know - We have 1/3 of an acre. It isn't big, but it is bigger than many. You know you are jealous.

First Homework Assignment

Joseph came home with his first ever homework assignment. You think math, or reading, or writing. Wrong. He had to COUNT THE SPOONS IN OUR HOUSE. (Huh)?

Apparently, in school, they had read a book about a family having a dinner, and setting the table. So, the assignment was to count all of the spoons, to determine how we would set our table at home. Joseph was the one who justified what constituted a spoon. Therefore, a melon baller was a spoon, but a slotted spoon was NOT a spoon.


Just to let you know - we have 36 spoons. (7 in the dishwasher - dirty, and 29 clean, in various drawers in the kitchen).

Antique Cars and a Picnic

Little Joe and I had a great night at Greenfield Village...I packed a wonderful picnic lunch for us (PBJ and pringles)...and we went to Greenfield Village for the Antique Car Show. When we got there, we found a great spot near City Hall, laid out a blanket, and enjoyed the parade of Model Ts and Model As and a billion other cool old cars.



It was one of those great memories that I'll probably remember 20 years from now and think fondly how Joseph told me that he wanted to drive a Model T when he turned 16...and the car historian informed him that a Model A was a better choice. (If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would have been discussing the ramifications of which antique car would have a better maintenance schedule) Ugh.

9.19.2008

Garlic Love

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. -Alice May Brock, author (b. 1941)

I. Love. Alice May Brock. Just the simplicity of her thoughts…it’s all about the garlic.

Speaking of garlic – I tried to grow garlic this year. It didn’t work so well. I should replant the head of garlic that I pulled out this year – maybe it will grow bigger next year. BUT – the cool little bulbil things grew fantastically! I’ve been told that you can just plant them as “garlic seeds” for next year. BUT…I found a cool recipe for preserving them, and using them for the onion in your martini. I like that idea even better!! Mmm....

Seriously though - the other cool garlic thing...the Pampered Chef Garlic Press. No, I don't make any profits for Pampered Chef - but you have GOT to get one of these garlic presses. It minces it SO perfectly, and you don't even have to peel the skin off first. It is the most perfect garlic press EVER. It won't break, it is super-strength, AND dishwasher-safe. No more slicing your fingertip off by trying to pretend you are Rachael Ray. I am not a professional chef, but I like to pretend I am...but I know my limits.

All for now - I've got lots to update this weekend though. Pics galore!!

9.15.2008

Ponderings of Chaos.

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

— Hans Hofmann

Why does this statement really ring true with me? Because I live my life in chaos.

Not a BAD chaos - it's just that there are so many things in my life, that I don't have a constant focus on everything. and I don't try to overload myself intentionally - it's just that things happen - and things fall by the wayside, and some things just don't get done. I've had things on my to-do list for years. Yes, years.

I envy those of my friends that just seem to "have it together". Usually, they are single, and childless. (which, in itself, explains why they are still sane). But, even some of my mom friends are just always put together, and always have a clean house, and have no debt, and always caught up at work. (You know who you are...)

Am I jealous of these women? Heck, YES! BUT..would I change my life? Heck, NO! I'm not saying that I like chaos, but I like my life. I'd love to have a cleaner house, and less bills, and lose about 10 pounds...but you know, I have to sometimes realize that there are less fortunate people than me.

OK - off the soapbox. Nothing new, work is crazy, Joseph is loving kindergarten. It's getting close to hunting season, which means I will be the deer widow for some weekends. I love this time of year, but I also dread it. I like hanging out with Little Joe - we do lots of fun things, and go lots of places, etc. BUT - I don't like the loneliness of it. I also crave the adult contact.

9.11.2008

Market Day

ok - so, you cool Moms probably already know about this - BUT....

This is a Tip for Moms (and those responsible for feeding the family)…

Have you ever seen Market Day? This is a super-cool Food-Order Program that benefits the local school. It is usually run by the PTA, and the prices are hard to beat. Some of the food is sold in bulk, some of it is single-serving stuff for dinners, lunches, breakfast, etc. The snacks to pack for school lunches are great – and easy in the mornings. And you can order online. Seriously- so very easy, and it helps save money for feeding the family.

Do it. Now. Check it out, and you will be amazed!! (and, no - you DON'T have to have a kid at the school to benefit from the program.)

Challenge

I have a challenge for you. It is simple. It is fun, and it is something that you should really try to think about doing....

It is a great way to enjoy the changing of the seasons and enjoy a little of nature.

Get out into nature for a walk, it can be your local park, hiking trail, whatever just get out and spend sometime in nature. Take the time to really listen to nature, spend the time and let your surroundings fill you with energy. However, you MUST bring your kid with you. if you don't have a kid, bring a neighbor kid, or a neice or nephew. Ultimately though - get outside.

If you haven't read, or heard...our children are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. NPR talks about it here. And Wikipedia talks about it here. As defined:

Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, refers to the alleged trend that children are spending less time outdoors, more time in front of the digital media (television, computer, video games, etc.) resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.

Go figure.

The Real Me.

so - I had some requests to show the haircut again - after I looked presentable...So - here you go. One of me not smiling, and one of me smiling. and one of the back of my head. I'll be honest - I hadn't seen the back of the haircut until I saw this photo.




I kind of like this haircut. Go figure.

9.07.2008

Hip Issues

Many of you know that I had surgery on my hip in February. I've been really trying to up my mileage so I can get back to running. I love running. I'm not exactly good at it though...oh well. I'm not trying to be great, I'm trying to do what I love.

Well, last Thursday, I went to the gym and swam 20 laps. Breaststroke. I can't swim the front crawl, as I practically hyperventilate and drown when I try. Anyways, it felt really good after swimming. Then, on Saturday morning - I went to my spinning class for the first time in almost a year. Man, did I miss that adrenaline rush!! So - I burnd calories, had a great ride...etc.

Then, I woke up this morning, and could barely walk. My hip is SO sore!! This isn't good. dammit.

First Day of School

The first day of school. Joseph woke us up early with a statement "mommy - Today, I'm a kindergartener!!" How could I not smile at that?

He got up, got himself dressed, and was ready to go! Check this out..

video

Of course...the obligatory photo on the front steps...

And we didn't get any good photos at the school - as Joseph decided to make himself at home in the WRONG teacher's classroom. We had requested Mrs. O'Donnell, and had told him all summer that he would be in Mrs. O'Donnell's class. He was assigned to Ms. Pegg's class. Well, we hadn't had a chance to tell him that yet, so he assumed he was in Mrs. O'Donnell's class...and that's where he went. And he completely made himself at home.
He wasn't shy, he was so happy about going to school with the big kids. That evening, he kept telling us all the little things that happened. I cannot believe he is a kindergartener. Holy Cow. He has grown up just way too quickly.

Oh....by the Way...

I chopped my hair off. 11 inches. I haven't had hair this short since I was 8, and my Dad put a bowl on my hair and cut around it. (Yes, he actually did that).

I donated the hair to Locks of Love. It was definitely an experience. I'm not sure if I like it or not. It is different. Very different. There are bangs. No ponytails - not enough hair. Comments I've heard include: "you look like a little girl" "you look younger" "I didn't know you were a lesbian" (HUH!?!) and "you look more sophisticated".

What do YOU think??

Zucchini Yumminess

Ever hear of Zucchini Pancakes? So good.
Zucchini Pancakes
2 cups zucchini; finely shredded (about two 8-inch zucchinis)
4 large eggs; beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine; melted

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs then add zucchini and mix. Add flour, sugar, salt and oil. Mix. Finally, add baking powder and mix well. Preheat grill. Spoon batter on hot grill; about 2 tablespoons for each pancake. Cook until bubbles almost stop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip pancakes over and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer or until pancakes are done. These are very tasty with sour cream or yogurt and your choice of jams or syrups.
Extra zucchini? Bag it. I now have about 20 bags like this in my freezer - 2 Cups each.

Dinner with a Friend

Last Friday, I had a friend over for dinner. I made the most scrumptious (and EASY) dinner. The recipe will follow. I haven't been able to spend any time with her in quite a while, so we had a wonderful evening with food and wine and good conversation.

Her first priority that evening was reading to Joseph. He was VERY excited about her coming over for dinner and a sleepover. He was even nice enough to share his racecar bed with her when it was time for her to sleep. Too funny!
Moving on...the table, all set and ready for us. Thanks to my aunt Pat for the awesome wine chiller you see on the table. She gave it to me when we were up in TRF a few weeks ago. I love it.
And here is dinner - preparing to cook: Grilled Flank Steak with a Lemon Oregano Butter
1 Flank steak - marinate in:
3 T lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic - minced
S&P
2 T olive oil
Mean while, soften a stick of butter, and mix in:
1 T lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
S&P
2 T fresh minced oregano
1 clove garlic - minced
you could make this butter ahead of time, so the flavors can marry.
Aunt Barb and Little Joe - spending some quality time together.
Remanants of the evening...It is always nice enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, and not having to worry about going to work the next day or anything. sheesh.
This was the wine that we had with Dessert - It. Was. Amazing. We picked up this wine WAY back in 2000, when we were visiting my Grandparents in Oregon. I've been holding onto it for a good dessert occasion, and I didn't want to just share it with anyone. It was SO worth the wait. If you have never tried a muscat (muscati if you are Italian...) do it now.
And dessert - so simple. a hunk of goat cheese, drizzled with honey and pisatchios. Put it in the oven for a few minutes. Toss some bluebarries on when you remove it from the oven - and enjoy. This was so wonderful.

9.03.2008

Ice Cream

So, the other day, Joseph wanted me to get a box of Blue Moon Ice Cream. I obliged. But, then I started pondering about what I was feeding my child. Blue Moon. Exactly what is Blue Moon?


What exactly is "Blue Flavor"? Note, this doesn't say "Blue Raspberry"...am I a good mom, by feeding my child Blue flavored food? Does this count as a fruit? Maybe? I hope?
Does it really matter? I'm getting him to eat...and sometimes that is all that matters. (As long as I put the FROZEN ice cream in the microwave to make ice cream soup!)


overcome with vegetables

Returning from vacation, we found more tomatoes than we knew what to do with....So...I canned.

Canning...so much fun...so easy!!



Aand I got 4 jars. that's all. And I burned my hand to boot. But, don't they look pretty?

At least the onions and shallots are awesome! :) Those are the red onions that I got from Uncle Luke's in Troy. They turned out GREAT!!!

Wisconsin Dells and the Great Wolf Lodge

If you haven't been to a indoor waterpark like this...you need to do this. It is seriously out of control. We all were going nonstop. There are even crazy-fun rides for the adults. We all had a great time!



Hanging on Lake Minnetonka

More pics from the vacation. On the way home, we stayed a night at my aunt's house just outside of Minneapolis. Joseph enjoyed tubing and swimming with "the girls".