Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

There are some things that are worth getting up early for. Mind you - there aren't many, but there are some. My mom's blueberry streusel coffee cake is one of them. Fortunately, it's super easy to make and put together, so I can then go back to bed for forty-five minutes while it bakes. Except that I can't sleep because my house then smells so good. My mom may not be a good cook, but this is one special recipe.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake


3/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 t almond extract
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen -- I always add extra)

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter

(I always add just a little nutmeg to the batter and topping because nutmeg makes everything taste better!)

Preheat oven to 370 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter and egg until they are creamy, about three or four minutes. Add milk and almond extract and mix well. Add baking powder, salt and flour, and mix gently until not quite just combined. Fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into a 10" springform pan.

Make the topping by mixing sugars, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter until crumbly. Crumble over the batter.

Bake at 370 degrees for 45 or so minutes (my oven always takes a little longer).


For more yummy stuff, check out this week's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday with Blessed With Grace! I have found so many yummy recipes. If I have time next week, I'll share my favorites that I've made so far.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Not Just Me

Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite bloggers who was showing the destruction her children had made in her house while she was busy. I made a joking comment about not being the only house where socks are left in random places.

I was referring to the fact that the wee ones tend to take off their socks when playing in the basement and leaving them near the foot of the slide. And whenever they go to nap, they take off their socks and put them either somewhere to the side of their beds or under their beds.

Then I walked over to the kitchen this morning. And I saw something that made me realize I need to be very careful how I'm commenting, as karma seems out to get me lately.

This one? Totally my husband. Little Miss had taken off her socks and given them to my husband who apparently decided that the kitchen counter was an appropriate place for dirty socks.

I've since Clorox-wiped every eating surface in my house. I'm in real trouble, aren't I?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Open Letter To Spring

Dear Spring,

I'm writing you in the hopes that you can rectify an error. It snowed here last yesterday and this morning. And I don't mean just cute little snow, I mean heart attack causing, massive, heavy snow that had trees bowed over and touching the roads kind of snow.

I know we have a little time warp around my house, but I think this is a little excessive in your lateness. While I will admit to having been late once or twice in my lifetime, I've never been this late. Ok, don't count the time I was three weeks late for my own birth. I didn't know any better then.

It's March 29, and it is cold and wet and icky. People are getting sick because you've missed the boat, and I'm hoping that it was just a slight oversight on your part. Did you know that Spring Break is over? That it's been spring for nine days so far?

In fact, my husband is supposed to play baseball outside next Sunday, but I don't see that happening at this rate. We won't talk about the t-ball practice that Mister Man is supposed to have because I forgot he had a broken arm and signed him up for t-ball anyway.

I'd really appreciate it if you could find a way to make it here. I thought you were coming, and so did my crocuses. In fact, I almost tilled my garden last week until it rained too much and made it too muddy. Maybe it would help if I provided some photographic evidence of how very wrong this most recent snowfall was?

As you can see, this wasn't just a "sprinkle" of snow. This is a good December of January snow. Trees were on the ground here. And branches are down everywhere -- especially where the incredibly dumb people drove through the trees that were bowed over and knocked off all their branches.

Do it for the trees then? Neither of us wants to see any more trees harmed. Regardless of your motivation, if you could work on making it here, my sanity thank you.


PS Last year, I tried going to a higher power in May. I'd really appreciate it if I didn't have to go over your head this year. I don't want to get you in trouble again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I've Found The Source

Well, I think I've finally found the source of the time warp in my house. This explains so much. I never have to feel badly about being late again. Time moves differently in my house, and it isn't my fault.

I blame my dishwasher.

My dishwasher runs an eighty-two minute cycle from start to finish -- or so it says on the digital timer on the front. I have photographic evidence that this is the source of my problem. Check it out:

See, I started the cycle at 11:41am.

I checked it at 12:08pm. Twenty-seven minutes later, and:

Bummer. My dishwasher still thinks we have eighty-two minutes left. It's made zero progress. I gave it lots of extra time. It's now 1:49pm. That's an hour and forty-one minutes later -- one hundred one minutes for those who think better this way. Is my eighty-two minute cycle done?

Nope, we still have sixteen minutes left. Hmmmmm.

Yep, it's finally done. See the nice green dot light?

And it's only 2:07. See? My eighty-two minute cycle took one hundred forty-six minutes. Now ummm, I'm late for meeting a friend for a late afternoon snack. Gotta run! I don't know where the time went!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mister Man, Boy Detective

This hasn't quite been the spring break we planned this year. While I knew my husband would be at the high school with the baseball team three of our days off, I was still planning to do some fun things with the wee ones.

You know -- head up to a waterpark for a night or two with some friends, maybe teach Mister Man to ride his bike without the training wheels, lots of time outside making chalk drawings, definitely hanging out at the club playing in the pool, and maybe some time to get some good playdates in.


We've done none of those things. Between Mister Man breaking his arm the week before spring break and Little Miss being pretty sick since the first day of spring break, we haven't done one of those things.

Instead, we've spent a lot of time at home, nursing Little Miss and doing some quiet playing. That's right. We haven't even done the chalk drawing outside, which you would think would be easy.

Did I forget to mention the flooding rains and cold weather? Oh. Shame on me. We have snow in the forecast tomorrow, too.

This did afford me to do one special thing with Mister Man though. We went to the library, and he decided he wanted his very own library card. Who am I to stop him? So he now is the proud owner of a library card. That I keep in my wallet.

(And yes, that's a raincoat. Because of the massive rainstorms.) With his very first libary card, he couldn't decide what to check out. Partly, this was because he decided he wanted a libary card after we'd already checked out our books and were on the way to the car. He'd gotten two Thomas books for the sick Little Miss and chosen two for himself - the next Magic Treehouse book and another Roscoe Riley Rules book. (And he was very disappointed that Bad Kitty Gets a Bath was the first and so far only book in that series.)

That means I got to choose the book for him. I thought back to what it was like when I was young, the books I enjoyed. He's definitely reading more advanced books than I was at his age, but I finally decided on a series that I enjoyed as a child that I thought wouldn't be too old for him.

Yep, that would be Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. Ten mysteries from the boy genius that make you think, too. And of course it has the requisite villain -- frequently Bugs Meaney.

When we got home, he sat down and read the first four stories without delay. I think we have a winner.

And another milestone is passed. My little baby is turning into quite the big boy here. And I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get Off That Duff!

Ok, so "duff" is one of my favorite words that I don't hear very often. Well, except when I'm watching Ace of Cakes, of course!

It's relevant today though. I need to get off my duff. I posted last week about all the things that I can get done in three minutes. To my credit -- and today, I'm taking it! -- I have actually gotten most of them done.

I've done a load of laundry and am just waiting for the wee ones to wake up from naps to start the next one (the laundry machines are right outside their doors upstairs). The dishes are done. I got the work (as in paid stuff) work done that I needed to complete. I went through a couple boxes of the wee ones' toys and sorted out the ones they no longer use.

But I still have more to do. And I keep putting it off.

The wee ones' preschool has a very small PTO, and lucky me, I was coerced into being president. We do fundraisers throughout the year, as special needs schools tend to need lots of expensive equipment and preschoolers tend to be hard on the items in the classroom.

I'm gearing up for our largest fundraiser of the year which we hold in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo. That's not the problem. That's actually going pretty well, and I'll have the brochure for it complete next week to distribute for presale.

It's our passive fundraising that I'm having a problem with. Earlier this year, I discovered that my school is part of Campbell's Labels for Education. In fact, we had more than eleven thousand points banked -- from 2006!

I did a little digging and discovered that we just send in the labels that parents collect and we can earn all sorts of useful equipment. Plus, one of the elementary schools also collects the labels for us. We trade -- our Boxtops for Education for their Labels for Education.

So we come to today. I have two filled Target shopping bags with labels. Filled. Hundreds of labels. Hundreds.

I've discovered that I need to:
a) cut out the UPC code from each label
b) determine the point value of each UPC code and sort them by point value
c) count the point value of each type of label
d) put them into an paper bag with the point total on the outside
e) find a corrugated cardboard box and ship them off with a filled out point banking form

Let's start with step a, shall we? I'm a lefty. I have an issue with scissors. And I have hundreds of these. And I know I need to get these sent in. I want to put a big thank you to the parents with a count of how many labels we've submitted.

But then I look at those shopping bags. And I heave a big sigh. The job is too big. It's for the wee ones' school though. And if I just do a little bit each day, it won't be so bad, right?

Excuse me, I have some scissors I need to go find!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nope, They're Not Responsible Enough

Little Miss is feeling better today - finally! In fact, she was doing her usual climbing and jumping this morning. We have a mini-jumper, which is basically a small square trampoline that has a curved handle in front for children to hold onto when they're jumping.

Unless you're Little Miss. Today, she was using the handle as a gym bar to do flips on. I walked in to see her just about hit her head on the wall and she was going over. I suggested that she move the mini-jumper away from the wall, and shockingly she agreed. Nicely, even.

Me: And Little Miss, I don't think it's a good idea for you to do flips on the mini-jumper unless there's an adult here to watch you.
Little Miss: Ok.
Me: That means you need to have a mommy or a daddy or a grandma or a grandpa in the room with you if you want to do flips. Do you understand.
Little Miss: Or an aunt.
Me: Well, yes. If Auntie Megan is here, she can watch you, too.
Little Miss: Yep, but nooooooooooot a bur-gur-lur.
Me: Well, no. No, you wouldn't want to be doing flips on the mini-jumper if a burglar were in the house. You're right.

Where she gets these ideas, I just don't know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

Every year during Lent, the church we go to does Souper Suppers where one group of the church brings in soup and salad on a Tuesday and we watch a short DVD, then talk about it over soup and salad. This is yet another of the things that I wasn't told about when I joined the choir, but tonight is our Souper Supper (and don't get me started with Maundy Thursday and the washing of the feet).

Since Little Miss is still pretty sick, I dug down in my recipes to find something that would require minimal effort to make today but still taste good. I had almost forgotten about my crockpot black bean soup.

This is one of my favorites, and it's a really healthy and delicious version of the soup that fits my minimal work requirement quite nicely. Crockpot soups are a lifesaver!

Crockpot Black Bean Soup

1 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight (then rinsed and drained)
6 c chicken stock* (can use vegetable if vegetarian)
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin powder
3/4 t black pepper, ground
1/2 t hot sauce
1 t paprika (preferably smoky Hungarian)

Be sure black beans are rinsed and drained. Add all ingredients to crock pot. Stir to combine, then cook on high for 3 1/2 hours. Stir again then cook on low for another 2 1/2 hours. When completed, either use an immersion blender to puree or add to a blender in small batches (when hot, if you put too much in, the pressure will force the top off). I serve with a garnish of avocado slices.
Makes 10 1 cup servings

*Don't use bouillion cubes. Invest in the yummy stuff. It makes a real difference.

For more yummy stuff, check out this week's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday with Blessed With Grace!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Didn't Miss Spring, Did I?

Living in Chicago, Spring is a tricky season. Actually, any season but winter is a bit tricky. If you blink, you could miss it. I will admit to having seen a few signs of Spring, but not nearly enough for my tastes. This week is Spring break, and so far, I'd like a refund on my money.

When winter ends, germs are supposed to go into hiding. We can finally spend time with other people and not run the risk of snotty noses and scratchy throats. The lack of sicness and the sight of healthy children alone make spring the best season.

On Saturday, Little Miss came down with ... something. She got a fever just before her swimming lesson that spiked in the middle of it. She had to get out of the pool and come home because she was shivering so badly. It was 104.4 later that afternoon. Yesterday we hit 105.1 (a new high for us!), and today she's still miserable. She's gone to the doctor, and the diagnosis is the dreaded "virus" without further definition.

Between her inability to sleep for longer than an hour at a time and Mister Man's prediliction for coming into my bedroom to talk to me about his dreams multiple times a night, there isn't much sleep happening in our house right now. And everyone's mood is reflecting it.

Sadly, she also had to miss her very first tea party Saturday afternoon -- and yes, we had the cute little white straw hat for her, too -- for which I'm sure my friends are grateful. However, she doesn't seem to realize that the tea party is past, and Little Miss keeps asking when she gets to go to the tea party. Each time we tell her that she was sick and missed it, it breaks her heart anew.

My next favorite sign of spring is the weather changing. You know -- the birds singing, sun shining, shouts of joy from the children playing outside. While we had a lovely sunny day on Sunday with some highs of 61, the weather has gone downhill. It's supposed to be flooding rain for the rest of the week. I suppose rain is a harbinger of spring -- that whole April showers brings May flowers thing -- but can we take a break during our one week off school?

Along those same lines, Mister Man isn't riding his bike sans training wheels. Although my mom did suggest yesterday that Mister Man go for a bike ride yesterday, it will be awhile before anyone heads out on a bike around here. I have this thing about children with broken arms riding bikes. Call me overprotective.

On the other hand, spring must have arrived. Yesterday, I went online to our local baseball organization to start to look into t-ball for Mister Man this summer. Experienced parents, stop laughing at me. Not only did I miss the early registration date, but rosters are up, and it looks like most of the teams are full. I always thought that baseball was a summer sport, but it ends in early June. Seriously, quit laughing! Anyone for soccer?

Summer school information is also available now. Fortunately, I haven't missed the deadline for this one. The trick now is trying to figure out what to sign up for. They have programs on getting ready for kindergarten, but my concern is that they focus on the academic piece that we don't need and less on the social aspect that we want. I have been given the heads up that I need to register on the date registration opens... which is also our first day back from spring break and the first chance I will have to talk to anyone in the district about the classes.

We haven't quite broken out the sandbox yet -- that's always a true sign that the weather is changing -- but I did see this in the garden this morning.

I think I'm going to focus on the positive. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

His Immortal Soul

I think Mister Man is going to hell.

I mean, we've tried. We're really tried. We go to church every Sunday. Mister Man goes to Sunday school before church. He has his own children's Bible. He's even singing in the youth choir.

But we have a problem. This morning, I asked him to tell me about the picture he was drawing.

On the left, we have the Incredible Hulk. Normal enough for a five year old boy, right? To his right, we have Jesus.

This is where the problem starts. The Incredible Hulk (who has some unknown red substance in his hand, possibly a rock? I was afraid to ask) is fighting Jesus. He's going to kill Jesus, in fact. And up in the right hand corner, we have Spiderman who's mostly out of the view.

Spiderman is going to spin a web around Jesus once he falls down. And you know that he's going to fall down because you see the arrow telling what's happening in the story that is the picture. I'm not quite so sure why the Incredible Hulk looks so happy to be killing Jesus, but I certainly understand the frown on Jesus's face.

I had a little chat with Mister Man to better understand this and then reexplained that while Jesus is killed on Good Friday, it was done by some very bad men, that Jesus allowed this to happen because He was making a sacrifice for us, and that He came back to life on Easter which meant that we are all saved.

Is there remedial Sunday School? Poor kid is really in trouble here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


In a way, I'm glad that Mister Man already knows how to read. And he's getting better at spelling. This is not due to the teaching he's getting at the kindergarten he attends through daycare.

I was going through his backpack last night and came upon a short story that the children were supposed to read and then copy onto the back side. Mister Man didn't do much in the way of copying, what with his arm and all, and it's a good thing, too! Hopefully, this didn't sink in.

So how exactly does a dog wage his tail? Is it kind of like fighting a war? Is it a way of paying his tail?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Entry

Yep, it's time for me to submit yet another entry for the Mother Of The Year Award. I think I'm the leading contender right now. And this time, I have public verification of my entry, which I think can only help my chances.

Little Miss woke up in yet another lovely mood -- partly due to the fact that my mom was watching the wee ones again yesterday while I was working late and they got to bed late after my mom didn't even try to put Little Miss down for a nap.

Getting dressed was a challenge, but we finally made it through that ordeal with just enough time to eat breakfast before her bus arrived at its new, early time. She was finally in a better mood after breakfast, so I took her picture.

There's my cutie pie. With the horribly messy hair that I swear I brushed and put a barrette in before breakfast. Isn't she adorable?

When she got home, I realized one small thing. Oops, I forgot to change her socks. Getting dressed was not the most pleasant experience, and she really wanted to choose her clothes, rejecting the first two outfits I selected after she had dawdled.

She did choose a cute outfit, but for socks... well, that was where I decided it wasn't worth the battle at the time. I let her put on the socks that she'd picked out of a basket in her room and figured I'd change them before the bus came once she was more tractable.

Except the bus came about five minutes early, and -- shockingly -- we were running late. Instead, she went to school wearing these:

Yep, that would be a Halloween sock and a random red sock. They really are lovely with the handmade beautiful shirt from Karen, aren't they?

Let's get a closer view.

Oh. Yes. The red sock is a baby sock from when she wasn't yet walking. Although she can stretch it to fit on her foot it doesn't stay there long. It quickly starts sliding down. And the other one? That would be a Halloween sock from the Target dollar section from two years ago. It doesn't really fit, either.

Yep, those are the socks she wore to school today. And her teachers see them because they take off their shoes when they do motor room. I can only imagine the tale going around the school today.

Yep, just chalk that up as another winning moment in my portfolio for Mother Of The Year.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Make It Fast!

I've been busy lately -- busier than usual even with work ramping up more than normal given everything happening in the economy and the addition of two major fundraisers for the wee ones' preschool that I've been putting together.

While sometimes I feel like things are sliding, there are also days that I need to recognize that I'm getting stuff done. And that I just need to take a few minutes to focus and get something done.

Today's reminder of things I can get done in less than three minutes:

1) Make breakfast. The wee ones and I can have all our breakfasts complete in less than three minutes. And you know how important that meal is. And since I try to sleep in as late as possible and still make the bus (you might hear a few Hurry up! Drink your milk, the bus will be here in one minute!'s coming from my house once in awhile -- like every twenty-four hours or so). However, because I've made granola in advance, all I have to do is scoop it out with the half cup scoop that lives in the granola container and then plop on some yogurt for Mister Man and I and soy milk for Little Miss. Unless Mister Man wants frozen waffles, which is just as easy.

2) Brush my teeth. Although this is a skill my husband -- and surely others -- can accomplish in thirty seconds or less, it takes me just under three minutes. My toothbrush is one of those cool Sonicare ones that beeps every thirty seconds to remind me to move to a new portion of my mouth. The actual brushing takes two minutes and thirty seconds, giving me thirty seconds to get that toothbrush ready and then rinse and spit at the end. Scratch that, the rinsing puts me over three minutes. I'll just spit and save myself the time.

3) Plug in my phone. That, of course, assumes that I can find my charger. But when it starts dinging angrily at me, reminding me that I've pushed it to the limits and I really ought to charge it in case there's a school or daycare calling with an issues, I need to listen to it the first time, not the twentieth, and go plug it in. And yes, it's plugged in right now. And it didn't even power down before I did it. Yay, me!

4) Fill up my water bottle. Along those same lines, there are times that I get involved in something and just don't take the time to fill up my water bottle. Like right now, as I can feel the back of my throat slowly turning into the Sahara and my fingers swelling due to dehydration. And yet, there is a 40 ounce water bottle (that I generally refill three to four times... when I think of it) sitting ten feet away. Excuse me a moment as I go get a drink.

Ok, I'm back. Let's continue with the list.

5) Put on makeup. I'm not that high maintenance. I can do a reasonable day job in less than three minutes. In fact, I did it yesterday morning. As I should have been walking out the door to presidents' council. Just because I am a mom -- and one who works from home two days a week -- that doesn't mean I need to look like one. I need to model myself after those ladies who lunch who drop their kids off at our daycare. Ok, maybe not. But let's at least make sure they don't turn their noses up at me, shall we?

6) Create my to do list. I know I function better with a to do list that reminds me exactly what I need to get done each day. I feel better when I can erase things from my oh-so-sweet-best-gift-ever-from-my-SIL purple dry erase board as I complete each task. That way I don't forget to do things like ummm address the envelope to the Flyers for the donation request or write my letter for the PTO newsletter or any of the other things I should have done yesterday but forgot about.

7) Download pictures from my camera. Ok, this should take me less than three minutes to accomplish. If I did it on a regular basis. Right now, I have photos from January on the camera. I've been uploading directly to Blogger from my camera, shame on me. I'm one bad drop away from losing great pictures. Maybe I just need to add that to the to do list that I've yet to write.

8) Make a difference. Again, this is something that I could so do in way less than three minutes. I told our parent liaison that I loved her shirt on Tuesday, and you should have seen her beam. That was ten seconds, max. A friend of mine is going through a rough patch right now. I sent her a happy little card. Between writing it out and addressing it, I am sure I got a big grin without spending three minutes. And I know I can use all the smiles I can get.

9) Delete five emails. It's possible that my email inbox(es) is(are) overflowing. If I don't get to an email right away, it sits there. Forever. I have some emails that were once relevant but no longer are. And since I have so many in there, I don't even know what I need to pay attention to and what I can safely ignore. And so I keep pretending they aren't there. If I take three minutes a day to clean some out, I'll be back to a manageable amount in no time flat.

10) Go visit a new blog. Ok, that's assuming that the blogger has a reasonable length post. There are so many fun blogs out there though, and I know I can't visit them all. But if I can at least get to some of the ones I enjoy reading and some of the blogs belonging to people who show me some comment love (see, more reasons not to lurk!), that is a lovely way to destress.

Well, that was a half hour of my day. I've got forty-eight more of those yet to go. But right now... I need to run. I have a to do list to go create. And erase.

What else can I (or you) do in under three minutes?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anyone Wanna Take Over?

Seriously. I'm failing at this whole motherhood thing here, obviously. (Can you tell it's been a long two days?) You all know that we've made three trips to the ER in the past three months -- or you should if you read the blog anyway!

Yesterday morning, we went to get Mister Man evaluated by an orthopedist. The good news is that the growth plate is not displaced. Since it's clear, it isn't visible on the X-ray. However, you can see a ton of swelling and blood in the area which indicates a broken growth plate, so they treat it like a break.

In our case, that means that we return to the orthopedist in two weeks. I made the appointment for March 31 at 9:15 -- Little Miss is on the bus and on her way to school and Mister Man doesn't have to miss school. Perfect. Oh. Except that I forgot that I had agreed to watch a friend's daughter from 9:10-10:40. Apparently I'll be calling tomorrow morning to reschedule that.

Mister Man does have a full cast now. And since yesterday was St Patrick's Day, he choose to get a green cast. I thought it was pretty cool. When we go back, they'll take that cast off, do more X-rays, see how his pain level is, and evaluate from there.

After I looked at this picture, I realized that I had announced almost three weeks ago that Mister Man needed a haircut. Yep, it's even worse now.

Instead of taking Mister Man to Costco to get the waffles and bread that we were out of that he so desperately wanted for breakfast today and then to his preschool to drop off the boxes of Scholastic Books I had in my car from my trek to the warehouse on Friday, we got his hair cut. I will admit that it looks much better now.

This meant that we didn't have time to get to the preschool, so Little Miss rode the bus home, and then I drove Mister Man to school. With Little Miss. Who was in desperate need of a nap. We didn't get home until after 2, although she went straight to sleep without a peep. I had to wake her up at 4 to go to the chiro after Mister Man got home, and she was still exhausted. I think the haircut could have waited until Friday, now that I think about it.

Today was Day 2 with the cast.

While I was putting Little Miss on the bus, Mister Man spilled his chocolate milk. Onto his cast. Into the hand part of his cast. And he sat there crying until I came in and heard him. Yep, just sitting in the milk pooled into chocolatey lake in his lap and cast. And yes, this is my intelligent child.

I then spent the next twenty-five minutes using my blow dryer for the first time in weeks. I used the cool setting in an effort to dry out the padding in his cast. The triage nurse at the ortho (who I'm sure will know me by name soon at this rate) said that they didn't need to see him to check the cast unless he had done something like dunked his cast in the bathtub or something where water got down into it. I'm dubious, but I tried to get it dry. Here's hoping he still has all the skin on his arm when they take it off in T-13 days.

He did have a good day, though. He's really into having everyone sign his cast -- including total strangers who have been indulging the little imp. We're using a green marker on the green cast. The majority of his daycare class signed, and apparently everyone in his preschool class signed. There isn't much room left!

When he got home today, the broken record went back on.

Don't lift that with your right hand.

Do not pick up that greasy food with your right hand.

Don't touch that dirt with your right hand.

Please use your fork to eat your dinner and not your fingers.

Don't keep banging your cast on the wall.

You can't run with your cast. Walking only!

You can't jump on your bed with a broken arm.

You can't push yourself up with your arm. You can't bear weight on it while it's broken, Sweetie. Please try to be careful with your broken arm so it doesn't get worse!

At least I didn't have to tell him to stop hitting his sister with his cast, right?

Then there's Little Miss who was completely overstimulated by my parents and is still overtired from the weekend spent with my parents with no naps and late bedtimes, screeching in her room that she wants to get up and that she wants Mommy to sleep with her (which I never have so I'm not sure where she got that idea). Fifty minutes.

Anyone have a bottle of wine they can share with me?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

It's somehow Tuesday again. While we did some cooking last week, they frequently included recipes that I've found on TMTT, so I'm not reposting those! At the end of winter, I tend to start making a lot of soups, and I made one of my favorites this week.

It's easy, quick and the wee ones even like it (so long as I use soy milk for Little Miss and skip the butter at the end!). Whenever I make it, I always have to save some to send home to my mom, too.

Corn Chowder


2 oz turkey bacon, chopped to matchstick pieces
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
4 1/2 c milk
4 c. frozen corn
2 red potatoes, chopped
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T butter, unsalted

Makes 8 generous servings of soup

Add bacon and olive oil to heavy stock pot and cook bacon about 10 minutes until crispy.

While bacon is cooking, chop onion and celery. Add to the bacon mixture and stir to get fond off bottom of pot.

While this is cooking, chop the potatoes and put 3 of the 4 c of corn into a measuring device. Add the potatoes, milk, and 3 c of frozen corn to the pot and stir.

Bring to a boil, the simmer while covered for 10-15 minutes. Use immersion blender to blend a bit but not too much, or remove 1 1/2 c of the vegetables and use blender to puree before returning to soup.

Add the remaining corn and stir. Add the salt and pepper, as well. Add the pat of butter and let melt atop the soup, then ladle out and enjoy!

For more yummy stuff, check out this week's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday with Blessed With Grace!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thanks, Dad

Genetics are key. We all know that. Some traits are environmental. And there are some that are a combination of both.

For me, I know my sense of humor comes from my dad. I'm still trying to figure out whether it's nature or nurture, but I finally found out that not all people enjoy this humor. I was in high school when this dawned on me. Since then, our humor has been a great way for my dad and I to bond.

Oh. You want to know how I figured out this little gem?

Sadly, I still remember what brought this eye-opener to bear. We were sitting in our basement, and my parents had friends over, including their daughter who was my sister's age.

My Dad: So M (my sister) is now working for Byerly's. She's been doing a really good job there.
Other Dad: Really? That's great to hear.
MD: Yep. She started out as a bagger, but they moved her to the frozen yogurt stand because she was so great with people.
OD: You have to be awfully proud.
MD: Oh, I am. I am. If she keeps this up, if she keeps working hard and does such a great job, one day she might get promoted to the produce department.
OD: Oh? That's a step up from the yogurt stand?
MD: Of course! One day, she might even be top banana.

The silence was deafening. Except for my dad and I chortling. I still think it's funny.

And now I've just lost every one of my blog readers, haven't I?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blame It On The Frosting

Today after church, we went into the basement for social hour, as we do every Sunday. All the children play off to the side with whatever they find while the adults tend to be at the other end of the gathering room, eating and chatting.

I knew the wee ones were tired -- especially since they'd spent so much time with Grandma and Grandpa the past couple days (yep, Grandma and Grandpa who don't believe that sleep is important). I didn't realize quite how tired until I heard Mister Man crying because some little boy pinched him hard on the leg.

I told Mister Man to tell the boy not to pinch him and just move on. He did, but he was still a little snuffly. A little bit later, I happened to be looking up at him when I saw him wipe out. I strolled over to him, knowing that he'd probably be somewhat upset, as he's a bit of a delicate flower.

He was screaming. In fact, he was starting to throw up. Not a good sign, and I quickened my pace to him. He couldn't calm down, so Daddy took him outside with a cup in case he really started throwing up. Mommy doesn't do puke.

When he fell, there were no other kids near him. He didn't trip over anything. He wasn't turning or looking another way, he simply tripped over his own feet, from what I could see. Yep, that's my husband's child alright!

He finally calmed down, but his arm was still sore. My husband brushed it off, but I asked him if it just hurt or if it hurt when he moved his arm. Yeah, you guessed his answer, didn't you?

Bummer is that my parents were taking the wee ones to go see Peter Pan this afternoon and had already bought tickets. If his arm were broken, a couple of hours really won't make a difference. As long as I get him to the ER in a reasonable amount of time, no harm done. I asked him what he wanted to do, and he decided to suck it up and go see Peter Pan. Shocking, I know.

On the way to the car, his arm started hurting more, and he changed his mind. You know that's not good. I couldn't see any swelling, and it wasn't bruised, so I asked him again. And he changed his mind and decided to go to Peter Pan. So he went to Peter Pan.

And I just got back from three hours in the ER to find out that Mister Man has a broken growth plate in his elbow. We don't know what stage it is (apparently there are four?), but I have to call an orthopedist tomorrow to try to get an appointment to see him.

It was so sad when the X-ray techs had him turn his arm various ways and straighten it for the X-rays. It really hurt him, but you could see how brave he was trying to be. Completely heartbreaking... until he asked me why we had aprons on. And why they were heavy. And why X-rays couldn't penetrate lead. That's when I knew he was feeling at least a little back to normal.

Swimming is out for awhile, as is bike riding, etc. I think that's the part that he's most bummed about, and I can't blame him. He's going to school tomorrow, and he's going to start writing with his left hand. My husband and I always hoped that he'd be a lefty (we both are, as is Little Miss), and we may now get our wish. Be careful what you wish for!

Oh, and as we were walking out of the hospital, Mister Man turned to me and said, I guess I should have been a little more careful of that frosting from the St Patrick's Day cupcakes at church, huh, Mom? It was awfully slippery.

Oh. I guess he isn't that clumsy. He slid on frosting that some child had spilled in the food free area and hadn't cleaned up. I think I feel a little better!

The three visits to the ER for three different family members in just over three months? Not feeling so good about that, however.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

She Did What?

I had choir practice this morning, and let's just say that we tend to have fun. So much fun, in fact, that one member had to give up puns for Lent. And we periodically do nearly as much, if not more, talking than singing in practice.

After rehearsing a song for Maundy Thursday, one of the members asked if the altos (they're always so much trouble!) could get help with a few notes. She was having a hard time in one place where they go from an F sharp to a B.

The choir director, played the F sharp B B B. And then continued for a few more beats. Does this sound familiar? he asked.

Ummm, yeah. It's Here Comes The Bride.

The woman who was having trouble and giggled. Yeah, I've heard that one a couple times.

The choir director rejoined, Well, you might want to work on that so you don't have to hear it again.

She blushed. I've taken care of both of them, one way or the other.

We all laughed at that one. And that kind of tells you how irreverent this choir is.

Yeah. Because you could say that she has taken care of her husbands. She divorced one husband when she was young, and her longtime husband died about four years ago.

On the plus side, none of the altos had trouble hitting that series of notes after this exchange.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

Last night, I headed over to the wee ones' preschool after I finished work to have Little Miss's conference and then help close up and break down the book fair. It wasn't hard work, but it still took us until almost 10pm to finish.

Near the end of packing things up, the principal came in to help me and the other woman finish. She's quite a gabby lady, and it's easy to get her off on a tangent. We had some leftover posterboard that belongs in our PTO room. I volunteered to take it down if someone showed me where the room was (yes, the PTO has a storage room in the school, I'm the PTO president, and I've never seen it -- I'm a mobile worker, what can I say?).

The principal told us that we weren't to go down there. The PTO room is in the basement of the school, which they don't use because preschool and kindergarten is legally required to be on ground level. When I inquired why not (thinking it might have something to do with the inhabitants of the rough neighborhood the school is located in), she explained that Gus the Ghost was down there and that we weren't to go.

I laughed it off some and told her it would be nice to meet the ghost. She refused, but she did spill some of the ghost stories that she knows about our building.

Our nighttime custodian was in the teachers' lounge one night eating his snack when he heard a noise like someone with a huge key ring trying to open the office door. He kept eating, and the rattling continued. He realized it was probably either the principal or the assistant principal coming back at 9:30pm for something. He never locks the doors until he's leaving for the night, and he suddenly felt badly that he'd locked them out. He shouted that he was sorry and he was coming to let them in. The rattling persisted though. Until he got to the door, where there was no one on the other side. And the rattling of keys suddenly stopped.

The principal was working on evaluations alone in the building one summer night, fairly late, and she suddenly heard a loud crash. She assumed it was an easel set up in the front hallway that had come crashing down. She came out of her office to investigate, but the easel was still sitting on its table. None of the corkboards on the side had fallen either. Curious, she continued to search for something that could have made that noise, but everything was in its place. The more she thought about it, the more it had actually sounded like someone throwing a metal chair against the wall, and she decided it was time to skeedaddle. Gus the Ghost was tired of her being there.

Another day, the principal was walking down the therapy hallway (meaning there isn't much traffic during non-school hours), when a shadow crossed her path. She stopped abruptly, as the way the shadow moved indicated that the person was about to run into her. She assumed it was the speech therapist coming out of her office. When she turned around, there was no one there. In fact, none of the therapists were in that hallway at all during the time the shadow went through hers. No one was there at all.

The one that most creeped me out about our school was the story of a very autistic girl who was in the gym one day playing with her class, as they do on days when the weather doesn't cooperate for going outside. She refused to join her class, however, at one end of the gym. She was simply staring into one corner of the gym, not moving. When the teacher asked her why, she said she didn't want to go near the ghost. He's right over there, she said pointing to where she'd been staring. Can't you see him? He's jumping up and down on the trampoline. He's right there. The teacher could see nothing, but the girl insisted. No one had ever talked about ghosts to her, nor said anything about the school being haunted. And if you know autistic people, they tend to not have the best imaginations. Things either are or aren't. They don't make them up.

The last story of the night was one from a different district that involved our district's maintenance supervisor. He worked in a building where writing would periodically appear on a chalkboard. Don't leave me alone. A single desk would sometimes be pulled out from the others and placed in a different fashion. They found out that the school had been built on the site an orphanage from the early 1800s. It included a graveyard where they buried children who died while in their care. When the site was cleared for construction, they moved the graveyard. Except for one little boy they left behind. They eventually moved that grave, as well, but apparently the spirit of the boy stayed behind.

I don't know if you believe in any of this or not, but at 10pm last night in an old building, alone except for two other women, the stories gave me goosebumps. What good ghost stories do you have to share?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Back To Childhood

Remember when you were a kid? What was the first thing you asked your mom when you woke up each day? For me, I had to ask what day is was. I never knew. And really, I only asked some days when I had a pressing need to know or something was coming up that I was excited about.

Granted, I generally knew if it was a weekday or weekend -- although sometimes I'd forget and start to get ready for school on a Saturday. In summer though... all we did was wile away the hours hanging out and playing. There was no schedule we cared about and no structure. I'm sure I knew what month it was, but day of the week? No clue.

As I got older, this happened less often. I remember being in junior high and trying to forget the days of the week during the summer. I didn't really succeed, although I was able to forget for a day or so at a time.

Once I reached high school and had more responsibilities, I always knew what day it was. I knew what I was supposed to do that day and the next. I knew what preparation I had to do to get ready for the upcoming days.

And I knew that my childhood was truly coming to an end.

They always say that your dotage is a second childhood. Apparently I'm older than I thought.

I almost sent Manic Mommy a note yesterday evening to ask her where her blood drive contest winners were. They were to be posted on Thursday (today) after all. Fortunately, I realized what day it was before sending.

Of course, the reason I remembered in time is because of an earlier incident.

I went to the grocery store with a list of items to pick up. Eggs were $0.97 for eighteen with a $10 purchase. I needed applesauce to make two dairy free recipes for Little Miss. And they had chicken on sale for $2/pound, which you don't see too often anymore. And I can always use more yogurt... which was on sale 32 oz for $1.49.

I picked up the eggs and headed towards the meat section. I saw whole chicken on sale. And drumsticks for $1.49 per pound, but I couldn't find the $2 chicken breasts. The yogurt was no problem, and I picked up my applesauce.

I then headed to the front of the store to find a flyer so I could complain to the store and ask them to get the right price up. Looking at the flyer, I could see that it was still last week's flyer. I sighed at their incompetance and headed to the other entrance, hoping I could find a flyer there. Nope, still the same stupid flyer from last week.

Irritated now, I decided to go to the front desk and inquire about the chicken. The woman looked at me funny and asked if it was the flyer I'd gotten in the mail. Umm, duhhh! Then she reminded me that the sale items don't start until Thursday. Of course they don't start until Thursday. I know that, but my issue is that. Oh. Yeah. Today's not Thursday yet, is it?

The woman gave me a sympathetic look, as I explained my confusion. And may I point out that this is further proof that being rude to people is never called for. I wasn't mean to her but just inquiring about the sale chicken. And since I was totally wrong, she was nice to me and only a single snort of laughter escaped rather than having her patronizingly correct me and treat me like the moron I am.

Uhhh yeah, I put back the eggs and the yogurt. It's the grocery store version of the walk of shame. I still bought my applesauce though. And made some yummy goodies today -- granola, chocolate applesauce cake, and whole wheat carrot cranberry muffins.

And yes, even after this very memorable incident, I still thought it was Thursday later that evening.

Anyone know of any good nursing homes in the Chicago area?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mental Note: Find Childcare

Things have been pretty busy around here lately.

I usually work three days a week, but has anyone seen the economy lately? Pretty much anyone who's left with a job is working more and more hours. I worked six hours on my day off on Friday. And eleven hours on Monday. And so it goes.

Add the PTO president to the list. I have my usual duties -- and at a special needs preschool, we have our own challenges. Parents are usually only there for two years and in some cases less, before they move on to elementary school. Plus, they're new to the school system, dealing with special needs kids and frequently have even younger siblings at home. Our volunteer base is small, but with 300 kids, our needs are large.

I'm in the midst of planning our Cinco de Mayo event where we bring in Folkloric dancers, students perform songs and dances, we sell traditional foods, and we hold a silent auction and raffle for the parents and community. Gaining donations is the biggest piece of it, as without cool prizes, no one puts in raffle tickets! This year is a bigger challenge than ever because of the economy, but I'm really impressed with and appreciative of some people I know not connected with our school at all who are small businesspeople who have donated some items to us. I'm hoping this makes up the difference for us (and hey -- if you have an Etsy shop and have something you could donate to help our preschool, let me know!).

And then there are the other things I toss in those spare moments, the making it to the chiropractor twice a week, choir practice twice a week, trying to run three times a week, cooking dinner for the family, and so forth.

This isn't at all to say that I'm more busy than anyone else of course, but I'm trying to justify my mental lapses. So ummm make me feel better, here.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a Cinco de Mayo meeting to talk through the donations we've collected and need to collect, as well as to figure out how much food we think we'll sell on the day of the event.

My dad has been watching Little Miss while I'm at those meetings so she can nap. Because she needs to nap. When I called yesterday morning to confirm that my dad was getting her off the bus, he had no idea what I was talking about. And had other plans. As did my mom. As did the other SAHMs in my babysitting co-op. Whoops.

So I brought her with me.

And she brought Snowy. And we spent the meeting with her tossing the teddy bear up in the air and screeching with laughter. And picking up the tambourines that had somehow been left in the room and banging them on desks. And running up to me with castanets and showing me how they can be earrings. And telling me to stand up when she clicked them together. And throwing the teddy bear at me. And knocking over my water bottle.

This meeting should have lasted no more than forty-five minutes to an hour. It was an hour and a half because of the three year old who so desperately needed a nap. I did bring her blankets with her hoping that she would lay down on a couch and rest. Yeah. I know better now.

March 31 is already on my dad's calendar. And I think I need to talk to the school about making sure she's in morning preschool again next year!


Oh. You came here to find out who won the Spring Fling contest?

Well, as I promised I put all the entries into a spreadsheet -- because I'm anal that way. I was impressed. I only had two people not follow the instructions and have their entries forfeited (yeah, I'm a stickler for the rules; what can I say?). Ninety-seven entries total, and:

True Random Number Generator


Ok, if someone can tell me how to make it all pretty in my post like I see elsewhere, please let me know. this was the best I could do!

#86 in my list was MEGAN from INfertile Myrtle! She's a new follower, and I hope she (and the rest of you) stick around. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sping Fling: Spring Is Here!

Yep, I know... two posts in one day. That's kind of unusual for me. BUT I made such yummy dinner on Sunday that I wanted to be sure to share that for TMTT. And the SITS Spring Fling is today, so I had to participate there, too.

For the Spring Fling, there's way cool celebrations going on. Every hour, they have a giveaway from one of their sponsors, and they're some pretty cool stuff. So far this morning, it's been some great jewelry and some really cool downloadable card templates. I can't wait to see what the rest of the day brings.

In addition to this (because this isn't enough, right?), SITS girls are all hosting their own individual giveaways today. Go here to see the full list of pretty awesome stuff -- but stay away from the prizes I really want to win, would you?

I dithered and dithered about what to give away. It took me a lot of thought to come up with what I wanted to do. And then I changed my mind. It had to be something spring related since this is the Spring Fling after all. Finally I made up my mind.

Prize A is Gap Scent Editions with 5 blendable perfume oils and scent tray. You know how you find a perfume you like but you wish you could just tweak it a little? Now you can completely make your own scents. It has some suggestions on the back, or you can make your own. This version has crushed peony, sueded musk, sheer tuberose, woven cassis and crepe gardenia as its scents.

Prize B is a fun spring tote. I've had my eye on this one for a long time, because it's so fun. It's just the right size to put stuff to run to the pool (someday) or bring home happy groceries or just pal around in. The blue corners and handles are sueded -- see, I'm tying in with the first prize here!

And Prize C is a mystery prize -- see how it's all nice and wrapped up? I promise that it's something that I bought an extra one of myself because I think it's cool. AND it's something that you need in springtime if you live in the Midwest.

So what do you think? Fun? Want the Spring Is Here package?

All you need to do is let me know your favorite thing about spring and comment below for an entry. And I'll go with the crowd on this one -- if you follow me (already follow or start today), I'll give you an extra three entries. Leave a second comment letting me know. US addresses only, please. And make sure I can contact you via email if you win. I will use Random.org to choose the winning entry -- all your names go onto a spreadsheet in the order commented, with three lines being devoted to the follower entries. Oh, and if I don't hear back from the winner by Friday evening, I'll choose another winner. Sound good?

I'll shut the contest down tonight when I go to bed, which is probably going to be around 10 or 11pm CST. Winners to be posted tomorrow, so come back to check.

Good luck, and have fun with all the Spring Fling contests!

Tasty Tuesday - Miso Glazed Chicken

Last night, I made one of my favorite dinners. In fact, it's one of the wee ones' favorite dinners, too. Unfortunately, I haven't made if for a couple months, so when the wee ones saw it, they refused to eat it.

But Moooooooooom, it has sauce on it.

Mommy, I don't like it.

Mommy, I don't like this dinner.

I want something else, Mommy.

And no, they hadn't tried it yet. This wasn't shaping up well. But it's a favorite. So I give you my Miso Glazed Chicken.

Miso Glazed Chicken

1/2 cup white or yellow miso paste (or a mix of the two)
1/4 cup sugar (scant)
1 T soy sauce
1/4 c chicken stock
3 T oil
1 T ginger, grated
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This is a super easy one. Put all the marinade ingredients into a bag, and squish the bag until it's all nicely combined. Then add chicken!

I prefer to let it marinate overnight in the fridge and cook it for dinner the next day. This time I marinated it only for three or so hours, and the flavors hadn't quite penetrated the way I wanted, but it was still yummy!

After you've marinated it, pray that it's warm outside and you can grill!

Or if you live in Chicago, pull out that grill pan and heat it up to medium/medium high. Once it's fully heated, plop that chicken on down.

Cook until it has nice grill marks on one side, then flip to the other. Cook until it's done all the way through. Let it rest for about five minutes before you serve it.

I like to slice it against the grain and serve it with some quinoa. Yum!

For more yummy stuff, check out this week's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday with Blessed With Grace!

Oh, and twenty minutes into the meal, the wee ones finally tried their food. Below is Mister Man's review. Little Miss helped out in the background, which also explains the shaking camera at the end, since she was hanging off my arm.


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