Saturday, January 31, 2009

This week

This last week was one of those roller coaster weeks. But, for the most part, a good one. Kendall's school had a Chinese New Year celebration on Friday. It's the year of the Ox. The first graders did a skit and Kendall was the grandpa trying to pull a turnip out of the ground. Eventually, the grandpa called out for help, one by one, to pull the turnip out. Finally, the turnip comes out with help from a group. The story, of course, is that we are not alone and in the big things we should ask for help. All this was done in a sing song way in Chinese. She had to say the most lines and I was proud of her. I could tell she was a little nervous, but she did very well. I told her that morning that all the kids will be nervous, so not to worry.

After the skit, the class sang a song in Chinese about a bouncing ball. I took some pictures. Kendall still has her "beard" on from the skit.

Thursday night, I saw Slumdog Millionaire. One of the best films I've seen in a long time. The common thread of hope and destiny throughout the movie is just what I needed to hear. There were times when I would have to watch through my fingers and I cried at the end. (Darn you, Danny Boyle). I would definitely see it again. I was struck with how the slums of Mumbai were not that different from the slums of Rio de Janeiro.

After the Chinese New Year celebration on Friday, I went to the doctor. I started my treatments for Hepatitis C. There were five of us (one already on tx for 28 wks-diff genotype) with four of us starting the same day. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to manage the side effects. I do know that I'm growing from all of this. I'm amazed at the kindness of my friends and acquaintances. God is good.

I don't want to talk about my health on this blog. I've set up another one for that. (If you want to know where it is, just email me and I can send you the link.) I want this to be a blog about all the parts of my life. Surely, I'm about more than just this health thing that might slow me down the next few months. I have a rich life filled with family and friends and passions that keep me going.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Dinner

We thawed the striped bass. I peeled, cut, chopped, and diced until my fingers ached. Oh, and it was worth it! Our friends brought the appetizer and green beans. The bass recipe, the roasted vegetables, and the French apple tart all came from Back to Basics (Ina Garten).

I drizzled olive oil on the fish fillet and wrapped it in prosciutto. I then baked the fillet in the oven on a wire rack on a metal sheet 15 min. Then I melted butter on the stove top, sauteed rosemary springs until the butter just turned brown. I removed the rosemary and added lemon juice to the butter. I poured this over the fish.

The vegetables were diced Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, carrots and butternut squash. They were roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven with some garlic. Heavenly.

The green beans were par-boiled and then sauteed in olive oil with shallots, garlic and soy sauce.

The dessert was a French apple tart. I cooked it a little too long but it was my first time to make this. Or maybe the crust was too thin. I'll know better next time.

I was pleased with the meal and it wasn't difficult to make!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Points for the husband

I never thought my husband would cancel a hunting trip. It is his passion and nothing is more important. I really felt that way until yesterday. He could tell I just wasn't at my best. I would have been fine for one day, but three with the kids was a little much. I was feeling tired and overwhelmed, but didn't want him to know it. I'm relieved things worked out the way they did. So, I now know that family is more important than hunting. At least this weekend...

Since we've changed our plans for the weekend, Pete invited some friends over for dinner tomorrow night. I love to entertain and cook. We will be making some things from the new cookbook, Back to Basics. Pete found a striped bass (we have the fish in the freezer) recipe for the main dish and I want to try out the apple tart for dessert. I'll take pictures.

As far as Saturday goes, Pete is out hunting right now and the kids are soaking up the cartoons this morning. I'm still in my PJ's and I baked a miniature carrot cake this morning with Kendall's baking pans. I had the ingredients and couldn't resist. I just need to make the cream cheese frosting next. I think later on I'll take the kids to Fun Unleashed so they can run around. I'll take my book, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and hopefully finish it. It is so entertaining!

Have a good Saturday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Friday. Today, Pete is going after work to upstate NY to hunt some kind of bird. He's taking the puppy. I have to admit, that's the best thing when he goes hunting--he takes the dogs! Except this time he's leaving the old one, Cody. She's no trouble, really. I don't have to be home mid day to feed her and she has a big bladder! It's the puppy that drives me nuts. So, I won't have to be constantly listening for the sound of plastic toys being chewed up.

I think one of the local farmers is spreading manure today. Every time I open the door to let the dog out, I'm knocked over by the "Dairy Air." I mean, wow! It's strong.

I have no idea what the kids and I are going to do to keep busy this weekend. I would love to go to NYC but I haven't heard back from the sister in law if they are around. It's days like this I wish I lived near my family so I could hang out with them. It's looking like it might be a lonely weekend. I really don't want to have a pity party.

Another option is to see Slumdog Millionaire. It finally came to State College. I would need to get a baby sitter and I'd probably go by myself since I don't think any of my mom friends are interested or available to go to the movies this weekend. Again, that would lead to a pity party. I have gone to the movies by myself before but it's more fun going with a friend.

I did get a new cook book today. It's called Back to Basics by Ina Garten.

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten: Book Cover
I can't wait to try it out. A friend got it through her cook book club and it only cost $12! Bonus!

Hope everyone has a good Weekend.

Pete decided to cancel his hunting trip and stay home this weekend. I think he could tell I was feeling a little overwhelmed and down. I start my treatment in 7 days. Oh well, here we go...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Long weekend over...

The long weekend is over and life is back to normal. I always get a little discombobulated with a holiday weekend. It's a lot of time with the husband! But, this weekend, Pete spent a lot of time with the kids so I got out a couple of times by myself. That is always a treat even if it's only grocery shopping.

Saturday Pete took the kids sledding and I hung around the house. I've become quite the home body lately. Partly, I know it's the cold weather and maybe just my age.

Sunday we made it to church. After church, we had band practice. The practice went really well and the kids got to play with Stacey on the frozen pond. Truly, I wanted to stay home Sunday afternoon, but once I was there, it was fun. A lot of snow came down Sunday---the pretty, fluffy kind.

Yesterday was mostly a time to just hang out and tidy the house. Pete decided that Lilly needed her mouth looked at by the vet. You may remember about two weeks ago she met a porcupine. Turns out that a quill was lodged by her nose and was infected. We could see puss coming out of her gums in her mouth. Yuck! The vet put her out and took the quill out. Lilly was a little out of it last night.

Today I have the Play Group coming over. I decided to make soup for the moms and some chocolate mint brownies. I think this is one of my favorite desserts!

And don't forget today is a very important day! We will have a new president! There's no amount of money that could lure me into attending the festivities (too cold, too crowded) but I'll try to watch it on TV.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Twelve Years!

I was reminded by my friend, Diane, that we met 12 years ago today. It was January 18, 1997. I was living in Wisconsin, having only moved their 4 months before. She and her husband moved to Wisconsin a few months before me. We were in a store at the mall, I with my ex and she with her husband. My ex said something like, "That couple is from England." We had been there in 1996 for the second time and we loved England. Anyway, I didn't have any friends and I jumped at the chance to meet someone from a country I love. We were chatting and we soon realized that neither one of us was working or really knew very many people. We exchanged phone numbers and made tentative plans to go out for lunch. We've been friends ever since. She was there for me when I went through my divorce and was an invaluable friend and ally. I took her to Arkansas to see another part of my country and she met my parents. We took a trip to Minneapolis to see a play and shop at the Mall of America. I even stayed with her grandparents and parents on one of my trips to England (after splitting from the ex). We were family. She made living in Wisconsin bearable. And then I moved to Missouri. She and her husband moved to France.

She is still there with her husband and two boys. I flew to France to visit her when I was pregnant with my second child, leaving Kendall back with my husband. She flew out to Pennsylvania when my second child was a year old. The two of us went to King of Prussia for a girls' weekend. It was fun. I hope we can rendezvous one of these days again but it gets more difficult with kids' schedules and busy lives.

We are complete opposites. She is tidy and organized and I am a hopeless slob! She plans her days and I wake up not knowing what to do next. She even says I am just like her husband (not always a compliment)! Somehow, we get along.

Thanks Diane for being a great friend! I hope we have many more years ahead of us to gripe about husbands, celebrate good things and watch each others children grow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New template again!

I changed templates again. I think this one is a little easier to look at. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Would you like grated parmesan on your soup?

Wow! It was cold today and tomorrow supposed to be colder. I think the high for Friday is 9F. It's so cold that the snow crunches underfoot. I never knew of that phenomenon until I lived in Wisconsin. It snowed in Northwest Arkansas, but it would melt after a couple of days. The other thing that I discovered in Wisconsin is that fresh cheese curds squeak against your teeth. Yep, pretty useless knowledge that I thought I would pass along. I mean, until Wisconsin, I thought cheese curds were just something in a nursery rhyme.

Today Clayton stayed at preschool for lunch and then for a little while after. This allowed for me to be a real adult and have lunch during the day with--steady yourself--another mom! Nicole and I went to the Olive Garden. My husband doesn't like chains so I go there when I get a chance. We had great conversation and it was nice not having to cut up some one's food or take a kid to the bathroom. I even ate my soup while it was hot. And Nicole doesn't like the Andes mints so I got hers. Bonus.

After lunch I bought some real snow boots. I will no longer have cold toes when I go sledding or shovel this wonderful white stuff. Yeah! I believe the literature said warm to -25 F. Let's hope I don't have to prove it! :) But, I am now ready for whatever Mother Nature sends down our way.

And one more thing. Did anyone catch Scrubs last night. It is back and on ABC. I just love that show and find it fairly accurate for hospital folk. We are an odd lot sometimes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This weekend we took the kids sledding. Pete walks the dogs almost every morning at this area called Ag Progress Days fairgrounds. It's really close to where we live and a lot of people go there and take their dogs off leash. Anyway, there's a spot where they demonstrate some farm equipment and it's great for sledding when it's covered with snow.

We made it without sustaining injuries :) There were two things we were avoiding: a pipe sticking out of the ground and a little sink hole. It was a blast and our plastic toboggan flew down the hill!

One of the neighbors showed up soon after we arrived and the kids had fun playing together.

Today is play group day for Clayton. I'm taking a chocolate cake because, darn it, I'm in the mood to eat chocolate!

Other than that, there's not a lot going on. Oh, there's the possibility of a trip to New Zealand in April, but we're still checking ticket prices and begging my mom to come up and watch the kids....

Friday, January 09, 2009

Woo hoo it's Friday (AKA a little this-n-that)

I saw this car today with the personal license plate "E2TOMBN". It took me a couple of seconds to figure it out. I thought it was so cute! Can you guess it? I'll give you a hint: think of a Romance language.

The other thing that came to mind today was you know how you feel when you get some really good news or find an old friend on Face book? That "I've-got-a-skip-in-my- step" feeling? I am having one of those days! I can hopefully tell you more later.

And one more thing. Did you ever see the episode of Cheers where every time Norm walked in everyone in the bar would say, "Norm!" Diane then says she would like that same greeting----to have everyone yell with delight when she walked into the bar. She said they can all have a try at it. She left the bar and came back inside. Just then everyone yelled, "Norm!" She replied, "That's better" and smiled. Nothing else was said. Here's my Diane moment. I want people to comment. I do have a few bloggers that comment, but for once, it would be neat to have a bunch of comments, even if it's anonymous and "hello".

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snow day and banana bread...

The kids didn't have school today because of bad weather, ice, specifically. Which meant we weren't going to be driving around and keeping busy. So, here we sat. I haven't reached "stir crazy" mode, but if we have a snow day tomorrow, I might just go crazy (or more crazy-depends on your opinion).

Even though the schools were canceled, Lowe's was still able to deliver my new washer. I was so afraid they wouldn't be able to. Hooray! So, I've kept busy doing laundry today. I also made some banana bread because the bananas were too far gone for anything else. (I don't know why I buy bananas. We always have to throw them out.)

I just tried to upload a picture of the banana bread. It turned out perfect. I use the recipe in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" cookbook. Instead of using part whole wheat flour, I use all purpose flour for the whole thing and leave out the coconut. Sometimes I add chocolate chips, but today I stuck with walnuts. I wish you could smell it. I may have to have some with a little butter.

I tried to upload again. Arggghhhh.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How could I forget to mention this?

I met my husband 9 years ago today on an airplane. I blogged about it last year. Time really flies. (pun intended).

Two steps forward, one step back...

Our Puppy is making progress. For the most part, she uses the outdoors for the restroom, she doesn't jump up all the time, and she is learning to leave the cat alone. I think out of all of us, the cat and I are the last two to make the adjustment to a puppy. Pete and Cody, the 11 year old lab, were first with the kids following after. But, the cat and I are a different story. Lilly just wants to play with Buddy (the cat). Buddy will have nothing to do with Lilly. However, I had to call my husband this morning to report a momentous event. I was brushing my teeth in our bathroom and both Lilly and Buddy came in. No hissing, no biting. And Lilly was actually touching Buddy with her nose and he was purring. Could it be? Are we going to be one big happy family? Buddy jumped up on the bathroom counter and Lilly continued smelling, you know where dogs like to smell, and Buddy just acted like it was no big deal. Wow! Progress! But then we do have some setbacks like:
Yes, that is a barbie hand. It took some getting used to when I would walk into a bedroom and find some random body part in the middle of the floor.
Lilly also chews on legs.

Don't be fooled. She would love to destroy your favorite toys, too.*

*this is Kendall's toy, not mine. :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

A new year, a new look. I was bored with the other template. I didn't make any resolutions this year. I'm not good at keeping them anyway. Oh sure, I could say I'll stop biting my nails and start exercising regularly, but I just know it isn't going to happen.

I guess my new year's resolution would be like Charlie Brown's if I made some:
  1. keep your ball low
  2. floss everyday
  3. be nicer to people
  4. don't leave the crayons in the sun
  5. water the plants more
  6. don't volunteer to chair any committees
  7. feed the dog when he's hungry

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Porcupine gets Lilly

Pete is taking the puppy to the vet this morning. The two of them were out grouse hunting on New Year's Day and Lilly came across a porcupine. It seems now that maybe one of the spots in getting infected. Poor thing. She was really tough through it all. We were pulling quills out of the roof of her mouth!

For the record, I have never taken my cat to the vet for this...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year and some reflection...

Last year was a good year in all. I turned 40, traveled to Brazil for a wedding, and drove to Arkansas in the summer to visit family. We got a puppy (a lot of work). I had a surprise with my health, but I know it will be OK again. I reconnected with some long lost friends (through Facebook), which was a pleasant surprise.
My hair hasn't changed much in 40 years.

Here are we are in Rio de Janeiro.

Pete and the kids on Bull Shoals (Northern Arkansas) lake in the summer.
So, I look forward to 2009 with trepidation but I am hopeful that I'll come out of it healthier and stronger. I hope this next year won't define me, but rather, be a distant memory someday.

Happy New Year to everyone.