Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This - I Could Do Without

I got an email from Mister Man's teacher early this afternoon. There had been an incident. Thankfully not that kind of an incident, but she still wanted to let me know (and thankfully, I checked my email today as most days I don't check my email until after the wee ones have gone to bed.

Mister Man was stung by a bee. Multiple times. We were pretty sure he wasn't allergic, as he was stung once two years ago and was fine. But still, he was stung four times (three times on his head, once on his arm) and was pretty freaked out. They took him to the nurse who applied an anti-bee sting patch, and they were keeping a close eye on him.

I responded that I was glad to know they were keeping an eye on him, but that he should be fine.

Then I got this email back from the teacher an hour later:

Subject: Possible Bee In Sleeve of Jacket

Coach L said that there could still be a bee or two in Mister Man's jacket.

It is in his backpack in a plastic bag tied at the top.

Please be careful when opening it.

He is doing fine.


Uhhh, whoah. Bee in his sleeve? In his jacket? Now, I'm worried.

In talking to the teacher assistant when I picked up Mister Man, ten children were stung today and several were stung yesterday. Apparently they've found some nests in the ground. The custodians were being (beeing, ha ha, get it?) sent out to see if they could find and uhhh eliminate them. Until then, recess is now inside.

I was told that these bees were swarming on children. Flying into coats, covering them, crawling everywhere. Teachers and recess monitors were removing kids clothes and rushing everyone else inside. I think I'm glad I didn't know this earlier in the day.

Fortunately, Mister Man doesn't seem to be too bothered by this and is fine going back to school tomorrow. His proudest moment is that he got the "bee prize" of a hug from the principal.

When I got home from Back to School Night, my husband had still not unpacked the backpack (chicken). I opened it up and took out his lunch box and his snack box. And... this:

Ok, so that's a little freaky.

The bag is now in my freezer. I'll take it out tomorrow morning, and I figure any bees still in the jacket then will be ummm of no danger.

PS Just another reminder that I'm giving away a Connect 4x4 on my review site that ends Sunday 10/3.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

They Try; They Really Try!

Only a few more days to win a really fun game -- go enter here. I promise you'll love it; we do!


Soooo last night I made the flatbread for dinner and told you all how easy it was. And how much the wee ones loved it.

I think my husband was jealous.

He doesn't really cook. His job is grilling hamburgers or hot dogs. And that's about the extent of it. Little Miss doesn't like the omelettes he makes (he doesn't whisk them enough so they aren't fluffy, I think). He follows recipes to the letter on the rare occasion he does cook, and he generally leave it to me.

Except when he makes pancakes. Pancakes he can cook (ok, I don't like his pancakes, but I also don't eat restaurant pancakes. I'm picky). He makes them at least once a week when I'm working and don't get home until late. He's proud of his pancakes. And really sad that I can make something so quickly and so easily that the wee ones rave over.

So he turned to Little Miss: What do you like better, this flatbread or my pancakes?

Mommy's flatbread! she squealed.

Even though I put carob chips in your pancakes?

Umm, I like them both.

I had to jump in at that point, giggling a little. That's ok, Little Miss. We know the real answer, don't we?

She nodded and smiled at me.

My husband then turned to Mister Man to work on him.

Same result. In fact, he also finally capitulated and told Daddy that he likes both the same.

Again, I had the same response. We know the real answer, don't we, Mister Man?

He grinned, Yeah, we know the real answer, Mommy!

I turned to my husband, triumph in my eyes, smirking just a little. Hey, they know good stuff when they see it.

It was right about then that Mister Man turned to look at me and earnestly asked, So what's the real answer, Mommy?

I looked at my husband, and we both died laughing. Yeah, I guess we know what the real answer is after all!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Flatbread

Win a brand-new Connect 4X4 game here through October 3. And man is this game fun!


Tonight, I was really, really, really tired after work. In fact, work was so icky and tiring that I hadn't planned out dinner at all. *sigh*

I was just about to shut my computer down for the day when I heard my husband open the microwave. He was going to make the wee ones dinner. Microwaved corn dogs for Mister Man and a salami sandwich with the last of the salami for Little Miss. Uhhhh no.

I got up and decided to get creative. At least a little. So I made flatbread, and we all had various things on and with our flatbread from quickly made meatballs for me to Nutella for my husband to an omelette for Little Miss to strawberries (don't ask) for Mister Man. And we were all happy.

And it was quick.

And it was easy.

And it was totally healthy, and the wee ones now want to learn how to do it all by themselves because it was so cool. And that easy.

Whole Wheat Flatbread*

*I make mine with whole wheat flour, but you can use normal white flour, too. It just gives it a slightly different texture, and you'll need less water.

1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c white flour (or all white flour)
1/4 t salt
1 T oil (I use olive oil)
1 1/4 c water (or less -- use your judgement as it varies hugely by the humidity level)

Place the flours and salt into a food processor. Pulse it a few times to get it well mixed. While it is turned on, slowly drizzle in the oil. Then slowly start to drizzle in the water. Stop drizzling as soon as it comes together in a ball. And I mean in a ball, not kind of like a donut all the way around the food processor bowl. It will make an actual ball when you have enough water in there. Once it is in a ball, put the water away and let it churn for another thirty or so seconds.

Remove the dough from the processor. It should be somewhat sticky and moist without being goopy and wet. Place it on a floured surface, and separate it into smaller balls (I made four, but you're "suppposed to" make six.) Roll out each ball into a very flat disc.

Heat a griddle, grill, etc on medium high heat. Place the ungreased bread onto the ungreased pan. Let it cook for a few minutes until you start to see it make a few bubbles or turn a little brown on the bottom. Use tongs (or if you're brave, your fingers like me) to flip it to the other side and cook it for another minute or two.

Ta da!

See, I told you it was easy. And the wee ones absolutely loved it. I had forgotten how quick and easy this was. I'm now going to be asked for this on a regular basis, I know. And I'm totally cool with that when I start to compare the ingredient list to the bread I normally buy. At least I avoid corn syrup and trans fats in the foods I buy, but there are still a lot of ickies that I'd like to avoid more.

Enjoy this and more with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed By Grace!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What I Know About Boys

Come enter my two giveaways:
1) Through tonight at 9pm (be quick!), win a $50 VISA gift card and Kleenex here
2) Win a brand-new Connect 4X4 game here through October 3. And man is this game fun!


Every day when I am the carpool driver on the way home from school, I ask each of the four children in my car what their favorite parts of the day were. I get varying responses from "playing with Legos" to "building a hideout" to "having a green day" (which means not getting in trouble) to learning about volcanoes. You get the idea.

It's generally a lot of fun, and they all get a kick out of each others favorite parts. Plus, it's a good way for me to spend at least a portion of the drive without anyone fighting or arguing, as the two kids not in my family that I transport tend to be a little more ummm uncooperative than my wee ones sometimes.

On Friday, the first grade girl told me that her favorite part of the day was when a boy stared at her. Yikes. Granted, she's seven and slightly on the older side for first grade, but I don't remember being interested in boys at that age. And Little Miss is ummm definitely old for her years (see the previous post), and I'm not ready for this.

I took a deep breath and tried not to jump to conclusions.

Sooooo why was that your favorite part of the day?

I liked it when he stared at me.

You did, why did you like it when he stared at you?

Because I like him.

Really. Why do you like this boy?

Because he looks at me. (Oooo, good logic - go for the boys who show interest!)

Why else do you like him?

Because he's not crazy like some of the other boys. (Apparently the bad boy thing hasn't started up yet?)

That's a good reason. Any other reason?

Well, he makes me laugh. He's kind of silly. But in a good way, not in a way where he gets in trouble. (huh, she's using good logic again. Where was she when I was a teenager?)

He sounds like an interesting boy. So what does it mean that you like him?

Oh, it means that I like it when he looks at me. But that's it. Why?

Uhhhh, no reason. No reason at all. We'll stick with the just looking at her for now. And please, PLEASE let's hope that the real interest in boys holds off for awhile longer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sometimes You're The Windshield; Sometimes You're The Bug

Come enter my two giveaways:
1) Through Sunday, win a $50 VISA gift card and Kleenex here
2) Win a brand-new Connect 4X4 game here through October 3. And man is this game fun!



Being outsmarted by a four year old is not a good way to end the week.

Little Miss is not taking the naps she desperately needs -- she's overtired, and I can tell by looking at her eyes and watching her behavior -- because my mom has told her she doesn't need to sleep anymore, and my mom watches here three to four days a week when I'm working.

Oh, she'll go upstairs when I tell her, but then she gets up every ten minutes to go potty. And Little Miss being Little Miss, she can always squeeze out a few drops. It's just enough to keep her from falling asleep, and she knows it.

Today, she was going through her usual routine when I explained that if she got out of bed one more time, she was going to lose an animal (our typical punishment). She said she understood, and I went back downstairs to do some more work.

Five minutes later, I heard her in the bathroom. I quietly snuck up the stairs. As I peeked around the doorway, I could see her on the potty.

May I ask what you're doing out of your bed?

I'm going potty again. I already put an animal in your room.

Wait, what?

I put an animal in your room before I came in here.

I sighed and walked into my bedroom, not seeing a new animal sitting amongst my dresser menagerie.

It's the Bugs Bunny, Mommy!

Oh. Yeah. I see it. *sigh* Yeah, this inducement to stay in her bed totally didn't work. And tomorrow she's with my parents who don't believe children need sleep (ever) because I have a Northwestern game. Here's hoping she naps on Sunday. And runs out of "expendable" animals soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's A Conspiracy

I have three giveaways going on:
1) Through Sunday, win a $50 VISA gift card and Kleenex here
2) The green gift bag here ends tonight!
3) NEW giveaway for a Connect 4X4 game here through October 3.


Looking at this array of socks, how many children would you guess I have?

Let me clarify. While I'm not one of those moms who does laundry every night, I keep on top of it (side note: seriously, for those of you who do daily laundry, how do you do that? How do you find the time to get everything in, washed, dried and put away?). In fact, I did laundry on Saturday. All the laundry. I swear I did.

Go back and count the socks. And notice the six socks with no brothers or sisters.

Seriously, how does Little Miss have eight pairs of socks (not including the dark pairs that I haven't yet washed but will once she wakes up from her nap) and Mister Man go through seven pairs of socks in a four day period? Plus the random six socks (five of which are Little Miss's) that jumped into the laundry basket.

I'm beginning to think someone's trying to get me to slowly lose my sanity. However, this does explain why Mister Man had only one pair of socks in his drawer this morning when he got dressed. Well, sort of. I did buy him a ten pack of socks to supplement his existing supply four weeks ago.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

Two giveaways going on for a $50 VISA gift card and Kleenex here and a green gift bag here.


It's finally fall. As in we've actually hit the real date of fall on the calendar. And it's starting to feel like fall. I'll be baking with apples in no time, but for now I'm still pretending it's summer with a little treat, although I will admit to using frozen blueberries. It got a thumbs up from everyone (except poor Little Miss who can't eat dairy -- but she got her own special treat, so don't worry about her!)

Blueberry Pudding Cake

2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen, as I proved!)
1 t cinnamon
1 T lemon juice
1 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar, separated
1 t baking powder
1/2 c milk
3 T butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla
1 T cornstarch
1 c boiling water

Toss the blueberris, lemon juice and cinnamon together, and place in an 8x8 greased baking dish.

Combine the flour, 3/4 c of sugar, and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Add the milk, butter, and vanilla and mix gently until just combined (I mix them all togethe in my liquid measuring cup first then add to the dry ingredients). Spoon the batter over the blueberries.

Mix the remaining 3/4 c sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the batter. Pour boiling water (yes, really) over the entire cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool slightly, but it's awfully good when it's still mildly warm.


Enjoy this and more with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed By Grace!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Just Like The Empty Cardboard Box

Two giveaways going on for a $50 VISA gift card and Kleenex here and a green gift bag here.


This afternoon we headed over to one of our local elementary schools that was running their annual carnival. It's a huge one, and I've always heard good things about it. We'd never gone before due to nap schedules, but I figured it was worth a shot.

We had a choice of buying a ride everything wristband or individual tickets that are also good for games and food. I opted for a few sheets of the individual tickets, not knowing what kind of rides there would be or what the wee ones would want to do.

The Top Ten Things I discovered at the carnival:

10) Little Miss does not like spinny rides. At all. It's possible that I ruined them for her by spinning too hard and too fast on the teacups at Disney. Mister Man and I like to spin fast though....

9) The wee ones can con my husband into riding huge scary rides that he hates just because he doesn't want to look like a wimp in front of them (and I had nothing to do with it).

8) You must always keep an eye on your child in the bouncy jungle gym because there might be an evil slightly older chld who decides to use your child as a karate board he's trying to break. Seriously. My husband made a scene, and it was deserved.

7) Mister Man will scream like a girl, but he likes rides.

6) Encouraging Little Miss to get a kitty face paint is not a good idea. She will then spend the rest of the day (and let's hope not tomorrow) meowing everything and trying to walk on her hands and knees.

5) Heading to the carnival just before the Bears game begins is a great way to ensure it won't be overcrowded when you go.

4) Always check the weather report before you head to a carnival. Although I was hot coming out of church, I was freezing in the t-shirt I changed into. Because it turned into fall and was overcast and windy. Fortunately, the rain didn't start until long after we were home.

3) In our town, my family can't go anywhere without knowing people. It's kinda cool. My husband ran into many former (and current) students. I ran into friends from Mister Man's preschool, his summer school, my babysitting co-op, my softball team, and my husband's school. It comes in handy when you're trying to figure out how the carnival works though.

2) Next year, we're buying the wristbands. The ticket sheets aren't cheap. And I as not going to buy any more tickets -- this carnival got expensive quickly. The wristbands allow you to ride any ride as often as you want for five hours. I spent the same amount on tickets that lasted us just over two hours. Now I know.

And the number one thing I learned?

It isn't worth it to buy the tickets. As we walked in, Little Miss wanted to do the swings. I told her ok and started to head for the swing ride where you go in the big circle around and around. She ran to the park and climbed on a swing. She was perfectly content playing in the free park, and I had to promise we'd come back to the park after we finished at the carnival.

You remember all the fun you had with the plain empty cardboard box some fancy toy you got came in (the fridge box was my personal favorite for several months as a child)? Those are the things you remember. And those are the things I need to remember as a parent, too.

Then again, Little Miss does make an awfully cute little kitty, and we can't get our face painted at the local park....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nomination: Mother Of The Year

Two giveaways going on here and here.


I think this one finally puts me over the top. Not only do I win Mother Of The Year with this one (and seriously, no nasty comments please, it's been a really hard day), but I'm pretty sure that we've been to our first and only birthday party for Mister Man's kindergarten class.

Yep, we're already "that family" and it's only the fourth week of school.

Today, Mister Man had a birthday party for one of the kids in his class. The invitation didn't specify drop off or stay, and when I RSVPed, no one said anything, so I assumed that it would be a drop off party like most of the other parties we've been at for the last year. Besides, if I had to stay, I could.

Then my mom decided that the wee ones had to attend her neighborhood picnic today, so she'd just drop him off after it. I should never have agreed to that.

When I showed up at 4:45 to gather him up (the party ended at 5), I saw a ton of cars parked in the street. It was obviously not a drop off party. Thank you, MOM for neither a) staying at the party nor b) calling me so I could show up.

I could hear noise in the back yard, so I headed back that way. The birthday boy was in the midst of opening all his presents. I casually scanned the group for Mister Man, trying to remember what he was wearing. I then scanned it less casually. I moved to a different vantage point and looked again. No Mister Man.

I snuck over to a mom I recognized (remember, fourth week of school here) and asked if by chance anyone was in the bathroom. Then I found a grandparent who told me there were a few children inside. Fortunately, Mister Man was one of them. He came out when I told him presents were being opened.

Then he saw the cake and asked if he could have cake because apparently he (along with a couple other children) couldn't be bothered to sing happy birthday and have cake. Nice parents got him cake and ice cream, and I tried to sink into the floor.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed he was outside only in his socks. I asked where his shoes were, and he decided they must be in the front yard by the bouncy house. He went into the front yard to put on his shoes. I started talking to a mom.

After a period of conversation, I noticed that Mister Man hadn't yet come back. I sighed and headed to the front yard to round him up. He wasn't in the front yard. Neither were his shoes. My heart started to sink.

I went through the house thinking I must have missed him. I walked back around to the front where other children were now climbing on the uninflated bouncy house. One tried to climb in it, and a parent decided it was a bad idea because "you could suffocate in there."

I stared at the lumpy bouncy house and imagined Mister Man's suffocated body inside it. I closed my eyes trying to dispel the image. A parent turned the bouncy house on, and I waited impatiently for it to blow up so I could ensure Mister Man was not inside. He wasn't.

I walked around to the back one more time before I started asking parents if they'd seen Mister Man. None had. He wasn't in the bathroom. He wasn't in the playroom. He wasn't upstairs or in the basement.

I was in full-on panic mode. I even checked my car to see if he'd decided to head that way and was waiting for me.

No Mister Man. I can feel the panic rising in my throat as I start to think about what I do next.

At that point, I hear someone say, "Is that him there?" and I look to see him coming into the yard. Oh, thank GOD.

He is not one to wander, as he had a bad experience when he was three and knows better, so I hadn't worried about telling a child who will be six in three weeks to walk to the front of a house to put on shoes by himself. I obviously need to rethink this, while still ensuring I don't turn into a helicopter parent.

I finally got the story from him, at which point I alerted the host to ensure Mister Man was the only child who had been unaccounted for. While he was looking for his shoes (which were inside the house and put on after he was found), two children asked him if he wanted to walk one of them home. He agreed. Three children left the party without telling anyone and crossed at least one street by themselves.

Mister Man told me that after they dropped the girl off at her house, he came back to the party, but the other boy in the red shirt did not. He didn't know who the other person was or where he lived, but he knew that he did not come back to the party.

After talking to the birthday mom, I discovered that both children lived in the neighborhood. The one in the red shirt was a preteen and had also most likely gone to his house. And probably should have known better than to take a strange kid with him. But this is still on Mister Man. Apparently Safety Town did not have the appropriate impact on him that it should have.

He is now very clear that he is never to leave somewhere without a) informing an adult and b) ensuring that it is appropriate for him to do so. And he also knows that he is never to cross a street in a strange neighborhood without an adult, which means the recent street crossing privileges when he's within my sight in our neighborhood have at the moment been revoked.

I think he's learned his lesson on this one, but it's one I never wanted him to have to learn. On the plus side, I think this cements my Mother Of The Year Award, and I'm pretty sure we won't be invited to any more birthday parties.

We may have to switch schools next year for this reason alone. For Mister Man's birthday, we have one classmate able to come, three unable to make it and fifteen haven't yet RSVPed. I'm hoping all fifteen don't take this opportunity to avoid us.

I'll take that in a heartbeat, however, over what could have been the alternative outcome.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

Before I get started, quick reminder that I have a green gift bag giveaway going on here.


Ok, so you have to turn your head sideways to view it... or turn your monitor sideways. I can't figure out how to flip it. Computer genius anywhere?

Anyway, this is a trick my husband has apparently used on multiple occasions when he has let the wee ones go to bed without putting a balloon up high. Our cats can't resist chewing on ribbon.

I found out about it when the wee ones asked me to get out the fan to save their balloon. I just looked at them with a blank face until Daddy came home and uhhh fixed it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If You Give A Mom A Moment...

Before I get started, quick reminder that I have a green gift bag giveaway going on here.


If you give a mom a moment, she'll take a deep breath.

And then she'll cough because she's realized it's been awhile since she last dusted, and she just inhaled a lungful of who knows what.

If a mom starts dusting, she'll notice that there's a piece of a Lego sitting on the shelf, so she'll go put the Lego away.

If a mom puts a Lego away, she'll notice that there's something sticky sitting in the bucket where the Legos below, so she'll take the bucket to the sink.

If a mom takes the bucket to the sink, she'll notice that someone put dishes into the sink instead, so she'll start to put the dishes in the dishwasher.

If a mom starts to put dishes in the dishwasher, she'll notice that it wasn't emptied -- simply opened and shut again once someone realized all the dishes were clean -- and she'll start to put dishes away.

If a mom starts to put dishes away, she'll set the ones that go into the locked cabinet on the counter because it's just easier that way.

If a mom sets the dishes that go into a locked cabinet onto the counter, she'll notice that there's a school form that needs to go back to school sitting on the counter.

If a mom sees the school form sitting on the counter, she'll head into the office to get her checkbook to send yet another payment into school.

If a mom goes to get her checkbook, she'll realize that she needs to also send a check to the doctor to pay for the last visit and puts that in the mailbox.

If a mom puts a check to the doctor in the mailbox, she'll realize that it's after 10:30 and the mailman already came and she'll have to go to the post office, so she hops in her car.

If a mom hops in her car, she'll realize that no one filled up the gas tank and she needs to get some gas.

If a mom goes to get some gas, she'll open up her purse to pay and see that she left her wallet at home, so she has to go back home before finishing her errands for the day.

If a mom goes back home to pick up her wallet, she'll walk in the house and see the coats sitting all over the floor, so she'll start to hang them up.

If a mom starts to hang up the coats in the closet, she'll see that a breakfast plate was tucked into the closet when a child started to put on shoes.

If a mom sees a plate tucked into the closet, she'll return to the kitchen where she'll see the items that need to be put into the locked cabinet.

If a mom puts the items into the locked cabinet, she'll spot the bottle of wine also tucked into the corner.

If a mom spots a bottle of wine, the mom will grab the wine, wine glass and corkscrew -- all of which are where they belong because everyone knows to NOT TOUCH those items.

If a mom grabs her wine supplies, she'll take a moment.

If you give a mom a moment....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's A Slippery Slope

Before I get all heavy and serious and depressing, go visit my other site for a nifty giveaway. I promise, this post will still be here when you get back.


I'd told myself that I wasn't going to post about this. It's a week past the speech (yep, you all know the topic now, don't you?), but it just keeps on with a life of its own in our district.

It started out two weeks ago yesterday when I went to our presidents' council meeting where the PTO presidents across the district get together twice a month. The superintendent told us about the speech and that he'd been getting angry emails from parents since the night before wanting to know why he was mandating that all students in the district watch the speech. Considering that he hadn't known there was a speech and had to google it to find out what the parents were talking about, in his own words, "I hadn't even known about it yet to mandate it." That didn't stop the parents in our district from freaking out.

The decision the superintendent did make, once he had all the information, was that it would be a teacher by teacher decision whether or not to show it, and if parents didn't want their students to see it, they could go elsewhere to study during that time.

Personally, I think the parents who were pulling out of school all day (and there were several) went overboard. The message wasn't a bad one, and I wouldn't be opposed to either of the wee ones hearing it (neither did, FYI). However, if I were the parent of a high school student whose -- say -- math teacher decided to show it for that math period, I'd be upset because my student now lost a day of teaching that the other identical math classes didn't for something that wasn't related to the class that my child easily could have seen later online at home.

I think my district made the right choice in leaving the decision to the teachers, as they're the ones who need to decide if and how it fits with their lesson plans. The key being their lesson plans.

However, last Thursday a memo went out to all the teachers in the district. If they wanted to show the speech again, they had to get signed permission slips from all the parents in the class to show it. In other words, I'm a speech teacher or a civics teacher or whathaveyou and want to tie it into my lesson plan because of the history of it or to analyze the oratory skills, and I now need the parents' approval of my decision to show it in the classes that didn't have me as their teacher during the original broadcast.


Ummm, what?

If I have a legitimate reason to reshow the speech, then I have a legitimate reason to reshow the speech, and it isn't about politics.

How soon before we have to get permission slips to start watching other potentially politically charged -- but valid teaching tool -- speeches and moments in history. Do we decide that the Clinton impeachment hearings now need a permission slip, too? The way that the memo to teachers is worded, yes, they do.

And that means that maybe the Challenger explosion, Reagan getting shot, JFK getting shot, MLK's I Have A Dream speech and more -- they all need the blessing of every parent in the classroom now in order to be shown.

Yes, we had some vocal parents. But why are they now deciding how teachers preside over their classrooms? And how quickly does the administration realize what they've given away?

Sometimes it's about trust. It's about knowing that you've taught your child well and that your teacher is going to teach your child well. It's about knowing that you have a critical thinker who can analyze anything they see and draw their own conclusions about it. I wrote awhile ago about helicopter parents, and this? This really scares me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

Ahhh, it's the middle of September. Summer has finally arrived in Chicago! Literally. Like Mister Man wore shorts to school the last three days after wearing pants since August 24. Like the air conditioning is actually on in our house today.

So we're back to grilling. Which is really ok because it means I marinate something quickly, and then my husband does the real work. But because I prepped it, he still does cleanup because he doesn't see grilling as work. See, win win!

Chicken Satay

1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c water
1/4 c soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 T lemon juice
2 T brown sugar
3/4 t ginger - freshly grated (put a root in your freezer, wrapped, then just grate off whatever you need each time a recipe calls for it. You'll thank me)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
4 chicken breasts
green onions for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a smal saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until smooth. Cool. Remove garlic from the sauce and discard. Reserve half the sauce for dipping.

Cut the chicken into 1 inch strips and marinate for an hour or two. Thread onto skewers (soak 'em if you're using wood!). Oil the grill, then grill the chicken over medium or so for 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Baste twice with the sauce while cooking.

Serve with the reserved sauce garnished with the sliced green onions. And rice.


And check out more yumminess with Blessed By Grace and her Tempt My Tummy Tuesday! But before you do -- go visit my review site to learn about what L'Oreal is doing for ovarian cancer. Giveaway is going up in the next two days, too!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Open Letter To Icky Ladies

Dear Icky Lady At The Wedding Last Night Who I'll Assume Had Too Much To Drink,

Hi there, I'm the one who was in the bathroom stall next to yours at the end of the wedding reception last night. I didn't get a chance to talk to you, but I'm still stuck with the vision of you in my mind, so I have to share. I'm assuming you just weren't thinking, so I'm hoping this helps you in the future.

When I first walked into the bathroom, I noticed that there was a roll of toilet paper on the ground between two stalls. Realizing that it was likely that at least one stall was out of toilet paper, I resigned myself the to thought of using that toilet paper. Let me clarify: to using that toilet paper roll after I'd peeled off an inch or so of the paper that had been touching the dirty bathroom floor.

Fortunately, my stall had toilet paper, so it wasn't an issue. Even taking off the paper that I know was close to the ground wasn't quite enough to really make me all that comfortable with the idea of using it.

Anyway, I noticed when you entered the stall that you had great red polish on your toes. Normally, this wouldn't be that unusual, as so many women (including me) wear open-toed shoes. However, you weren't wearing shoes.


You weren't wearing shoes walking around outside on the patio where cigarette butts at the very least and broken glass most likely were there just waiting for you to step on them. And you weren't wearing shoes in the skanky end of the night bathroom. Ewww. That really grossed me out. REALLY grossed me out.

But then, then, you picked up the toilet paper roll off the floor -- it must have been your stall that was out of paper -- and just ripped of a bit and then used it. Granted, at this point, I was staring at the divider between our stalls in horror. I know you didn't take off the outside paper that was on the wet dirty nasty floor, not even the first layer. Your feet weren't quite so bad then, or maybe your feet were more explainable after that.

But then you put it back on the floor again for the poor next woman! I had thought about this when I walked into the bathroom (because I have these weird hypothetical situation conversations with myself on a regular basis) and already decided that if I had to use the icky toilet paper off the floor once I removed the ickiest parts, I would at least have the decency to put it on top of the dispenser after using it rather that simply returning it to the floor to get even grosser. Next time, do you think you could do that?

And maybe wear some shoes when you go into the bathroom?

Thanks so much!

PS I did love your gold heels. I saw them sitting on the counter when I went to wash my hands, so yay -- you did at least have some shoes somewhere. I also noticed your gorgeous iPhone sitting next to your shoes. In the empty bathroom. Next time, you might want to find a safer place to leave it. I didn't steal it (obviously!), but it would be so easy for someone to do so. And wouldn't that just be the cherry on the cake?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Say Po-TA-To

We read a lot in our house. In fact, while I was waiting for my interminably slow computer to load this page, it's possible that I snuck a couple pages in. More importantly, we read to the wee ones a lot.

And for anyone who's ever read a book to a small child, you know that you frequently are reading a book. Over and over and over again. And again.

Call me selfish, but I get bored by the same book. In an effort to entertain myself, I'll sneak in words that aren't there, just for fun. I'll do this off and on with the wee ones, and they always get a giggle out of correcting me when I say "elephant" instead of "apple" in the middle of the story.

Or at least they used to get a giggle out of it. I haven't read much to Mister Man now that he reads himself because he prefers to disappear into the world of his book by himself. I'm fine with that, although I do miss reading to him.

Yesterday, he gave me a chance again. And in the middle of Froggy Goes to Camp, I read that Froggy was a macadamia nut.

He looked at me, quite seriously and shook his head.

"Mom, it's so sad. You're just word-blind, you know that?"

Apparently the book he read about how dogs are color-blind and can't see things the same way we do has stuck with him. And now he thinks Mommy has a serious problem. Oops.

On a more serious note, September is ovarian cancer's month. I have a review of products to support fundraising for it on my other blog, along with a story of a friend of mine who passed away from ovarian cancer on July 9 this year. Please go read and comment.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Steel Toed Boots


This is Day Four. Day FOUR. Of what should be at least 180 days, if not more. And no, this is Day Four.

Technically, today is now Day Six. I'm embarrassed to post what they look like now. I thought it was only boys who did these kinds of things, but no, HIS shoes are just fine, thank you very much.

I'm definitely going with steel-toed boots next time. Do you think they make them in a toddler size eight?

PS I have a review up on my review site talking about ovarian cancer and a promotion going on this month to raise money for research. Go check it out -- and please comment!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

Whew, Labor Day is already here and gone? How did that happen? I already started turning on my oven, as the wee ones and I made cherry granola and chocolate chip cookies this morning. But since you've seen those recipes already, I'm headed for something else I made this weekend.

Back to school has been busy, but we're still trying to eat at home and find things that will make good leftovers, especially since my husband is a little particular about them (he refused to eat the leftover quinoa for lunch today, for example). This is one of my favorites though, since it comes together so easily but doesn't really taste like you're cheating!

Not Your Average Pasta Salad

20 oz frozen (or refrigerated) three cheese tortellini
1 bunch basil
3/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 c Parmesan, grated (no green cans please)
1 c toasted pine nuts (separated)
1 c Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
3/4 c sundried tomatoes, chopped
14 oz jar artichokes, chopped
1/3 c red onion, minced

Start by making your pesto (yum!). Wash and dry the basil, then rip off the thick stems and place them in the Cuisenart with the garlic. Pulse to chop. Add 1/2 c of the pine nuts and pulse until you have a lovely green mass. Turn it on again, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Very slowly. Once it's emulsified, add the Parmesan and mix to blend. Then, set the pesto aside.

Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions, making sure that you do not overcook it. You want it al dente so it absorbs the remaining flavors. While the tortellini is cooking, chop the onion, and prepare the remaining items -- chopping the olives, tomatoes, and artichokes.

While the tortellini is still hot (don't rinse it once you drain it!), add the pesto and vegetables, as well as the remaining 1/2 c of pine nuts. This is a very forgiving recipe, so add more or less of the various ingredients as you desire. Refrigerate overnight before serving.


And check out more great recipes with Lisa @ Blessed By Grace with her Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God Almighty, I'm Free At Last!

Ok, so by free, I mean free for like three hours a day. At the most. But still, this beats the snot out of last year when I had the wee ones on opposite schedules for preschool. Dumbest move I've ever made -- parents, please don't think it's a good idea to have one child in the am and one in the pm. It's not. Really not.

Mister Man started school last week, and Little Miss headed off this week.

Last Friday (because, ya know, school started on Monday), I got a call letting me know that her bus would be picking her up at 8:05am. I asked what time it would be dropping her off, as my mom needed to know. Uhh, they didn't know. They guesstimated that it would be 55 minutes after her school got out because the bus was picking her up 55 minutes before school started. Solid logic.

At 8:05, we were waiting outside, and I'd completed picture taking. Time out for pictures... Awww, isn't she cute?

At 8:20, the "big kid" bus came by, so I knew there was no excuse about traffic that would keep her bus from arriving. So I called the bus company. And got a busy signal.


I called a friend of mine who was possibly on our route to see if the bus had picked up her son yet. She was driving in, but yes, the bus had stopped by her house ten minutes before.


I finally got through to the bus company and "oh, no -- she's the fourth pickup, so 8:05 is the time the route starts, not when she'll be picked up. She'll be picked up much later. We don't know exactly when yet. But her bus is on its way and should be there any moment now."


At 8:40, I called them again. The bus really is on its way. They promise. I mention that I have to start work at 9am and would have driven her in had I known that the bus would be this late.

At 8:57, the bus pulls into my driveway. Yes, school starts at 9am.

I ask the bus driver if this is the time I should expect (after three years of not once having either child get to school on time, I've had it. If the bus isn't going to pick her up on time, I'm making an issue of it again. I refuse to lose 15-20 minutes of class time on a daily basis). She says that no, she isn't actually the normal bus driver. She just had the route shoved into her hands at 7:55 and had to figure out where she was going after that. It should be more like 8:20 or 8:25.

Oh, and the Q-vest that I'd specifically talked to the bus company about on Friday to confirm that it would be there on Friday even though I'd marked it on the bus form? Yeah, it wasn't there. Fortunately, the bus driver had a spare harness, but it's too big for her and not what she was supposed to have. In fact, today is Day Five, and the drive her home bus driver still doesn't have one.

But on the plus side, I had a massage on Wednesday morning. Everyone should start ever day like that. Forever. And today, I had an almost two hour brunch with a friend of mine.

I'm liking this freedom. And I promise, next week I'm making it to the gym. At least once.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Little Friendly Advice

Dear Little Miss,
Drink your rice milk. Seriously, just drink it. It's one of the few calcium sources you can have, and this isn't negotiable with Mommy and Daddy. We know you like it, and it's important for your long term health. It isn't worth making Daddy mad. Or not getting to play because you're still sitting at the table. Please just drink it.
Love you,


Dear Me,
Sometimes you're really stupid, you know that? Like this morning when you hyperextended your thumb putting on your jeans? I'm not really sure how people do that, but it's a pretty special talent. Just do me a favor and learn to do math. Do you realize that for the past few months you've been telling people who ask that you're a year older than you actually are? Who does that? Only people under age twenty try to add a year.


Dear Mister Man,
You're almost six. You need to learn to keep your hands to yourself. The teacher telling me that she had to talk to you about not pulling on someone's shirt is not a good way to start off the school year. I know you know what is and isn't ok. I know it's really hard when other kids are telling you to do something, but you're a smart kid and you need to learn to be strong, too. Someday, you'll thank me. And you'll be a happier person for it.
Love you,

PS I am really proud of how well you're doing during class and how hard you're trying with everything you're being taught.


Dear Husband,
When we buy ice cream - which isn't that often - make sure you give me at least a taste before you eat the entire carton. You may think it's funny like a bad sitcom that you offer to get me a bowl of ice cream and I ask for just a smidge of the kind you've managed to eat all of, but it's really not. All you need to do is offer. I may decline, but do me the favor of at least offering.
Love you,


Dear People-Who-Park-In-A-Handicapped-Spot-Because-They're-Only-Going-To-Be-There-For-A-Few-Minutes-And-It's-The-Closest-Parking-Spot,
I know you're in a hurry to pick up your kids. I know you won't be long. But it's illegal. And at the special needs preschool, I know this will come as a shock, we actually have students who need their parents to park there and have the appropriate permits. And can't because you're hogging them. And it's really not the message I think you want to be imparting to your own kids. Plus, it's kind of hard to always remember to shush the wee ones in time to prevent them from shouting to the world about how rude the illegal parkers are.


Dear Boss,
It is just plain rude to regularly blow off scheduled meetings with your direct reports with little or no notice. And to not reschedule them. And to fail to deliver a midyear review in the required timeframe. This will come back to bite you. Soon.


Dear Private School,
Ugh. I just finished writing down all the days that Mister Man is off school this year. And the ones that Little Miss -- and the rest of our district -- are off. Do you realize how many days I have one child home with me and only one? This is going to make things really interesting when it comes to finding childcare. I'm almost afraid to look to see when spring break is. What's the likelihood that you could look into following the school district's calendar next year? I'm fine with you starting the school year a little early and ending a little late, but the non-school days during the year are really causing me some headaches. And I'm sure I'm not alone.


Dear IDOT,
Have you lost your minds? I mean, really. Have you FREAKING lost your minds? In what part of your miniscule pea brain did it make sense to do major road repaving on the four major arteries in my area? And to start it the week that school started? I literally cannot turn out of my neighborhood in the morning to get Mister Man to school -- on a non-construction road, mind you -- because the two lane road is so backed with that many people who gave up on the completely torn up in the middle of rush hour four lane roads. It isn't like these roads were in that bad of shape to begin with. I know there is stimulous money to be had, but is it possible to spend it intelligently? Or to plan it using half a second's forethought?

So what advice do you have to give?

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