About Me

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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Pedicures

(from left to right: The Hubs, Me, B)
We received pedicure gift cards from Santa in our stockings.  My only days off this year, so far, have been on weekends or holidays, so we did not get a chance to use them.  We wanted to go on a weekday, assuming that the shop would be less busy.  We went this afternoon after the hubs got home from work.  With the 3 of us going at once, I should have made appointments.  There were 2 employees and 3 customers already there.  But the welcoming staff did not make us wait; they put us in massage chairs, got our feet soaking in the foot spas and offered us drinks.  It was lovely!  They were apologetic about the wait but it wasn't their fault and we we quite content in the massage chairs.

We all got polish.  I think the hubs should have gotten orange; it's his favorite color and would have gone better with his skin tone.  But he wanted to match B.  B and I knew we were getting color so we wore flip-flops but the hubs wore socks and shoes.  When B asked the hubs if he was going to get polish too, the hubs said, "Why not?"  The lady who was doing his pedicure was shocked.  She asked him 3 times, "You?!  You sure?!"  LOL  He couldn't put his socks and shoes on to go home b/c he would ruin the polish, so they gave him a pair of hot pink, disposable flip-flops to wear home.  It was hilarious to see the lady trying to squeeze the hubs' feet into the largest pair they had!  He tried to "help" and managed to smear his big toe so she had to redo it.  When we got home, the hubs walked around, studying his toes for a while.  Then he said, "You know?  For a man, I think I have pretty sexy feet."  I agree, Cliff, I agree.  :o)

Brussel Sprouts Have a Bad Rap

Aren't they beautiful??
Poor Brussel Sprouts.  Poor, poor Brussel Sprouts.  Why do so many people hate you?  Most of those drinking the haterade haven't even tried you and, sadly, never will.  *tsk, tsk*  They're missing out, my friend.  We haven't be friends long, but I intend to make up for that by spreading the word about you.  It's OK; you're safe here.  Nothing but love in our house...

I had Brussel Sprouts for the 1st time last year.  The Wegmas near us has a cooking station in the produce dept. and every weekend the same wonderful chef is there cooking and serving up a vegetable or fruit.  And not your mainstream produce: no green beans, potatoes or apples.  Always the less utilized: patty-pan squash, exotic mushrooms and brussel sprouts.  When I saw the brussel sprouts I was so excited.  I'd always wanted to try them and they looked so delicious.  How can you go wrong with a roasted vegetable?  I took a cup and fork and sniffed.  They don't smell bad.  I hesitantly put a sprout quarter in my mouth.  OK, not instant ick.  I moved it off my tongue and started to chew.  It's not slimy!  OMG, this tastes awesome!  I was so excited, that I poured the rest of the cup in my mouth and grabbed another one to share with my mens.  My face was all lit up like it was Christmas morning of my 5th year.  "You guys have got to try these!  There's awesome!"

The hubs scrunched his face up as if he'd caught a whiff of a rotten diaper.  "No thanks," he said.  "I was forced enough to eat those nasty things as a child and I'll never eat them again."  Nice.  Thanks for setting such a good example for our son.  God bless B, I think he tried them only b/c he didn't want to disappoint me since I was so excited.  Fortunately, he loved them, too.  I grabbed a pound and put them in the cart.  "Just so we're clear, I'm not eating them," said the hubs.  "More for us," said B.

I've made brussel sprouts at least a couple of times a month since then and each time I would offer some to the hubs.  "No, thank you," he would reply.  However, for some reason, he decided to pop one in his mouth behind my back during the holidays and he got quite a shock - these were not his mother's brussel sprouts.  And he loved them.  When we were kids, brussel sprouts were sold in the freezer aisle and, like most veggies back then, they were boiled.  That's why they were slimy, smelly and, served without anything on them, tasted bad.

But not Wegmans brussel sprouts.  Oh, no.  I got the secret and I'm sharing it with all y'all because not only do I care about you, but also I want to rid brussel sprouts of their bad rap.  So, here's the secret to the beautiful vegetable pictured, above:

  1. Pick off a couple of the outer leaves
  2. Wash and dry them
  3. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the stems
  4. Half each sprout
  5. Toss in Wegmans Basting Oil
  6. Pour out onto a baking sheet in a single layer
  7. Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Roast at 350 for 30 minutes, turning once.
Now, I am allergic to olive oil so I cook with Wegmans Basting Oil.  You can substitute it with olive oil and any other spices or herbs you like.  I like that the basting oil is all flavored up for me.  

I usually cook 1-2 pounds at a time and we've never had leftovers.  They're like sweet potato fries; you snack on them the rest of the night and they're gone!  However, this morning I roasted the above batch and pan-fried some pork chops for dinner.  I took some to work with me in my favorite Tupperware. During my dinner break, I popped my container in one of the cafeteria's microwaves and dashed into the little on-site convenience store for a Pepsi before they closed.  As I took my dinner out of the microwave and walked over to a table I thought, "Oh, my. Someone's dinner smells bad!"  As I shook my head at the "poor soul" with the stinky dinner, I removed the lid from my microwaved container and it hit me.  I was the poor soul.  LOL!  It was the 1st time I'd ever reheated brussel sprouts and I learned a good lesson.  Good thing I wasn't in the small break room.  I would have been stoned!  The smell was not really that bad.  Once the lid was off, it dissipated quickly and they still tasted great soggy.

So, please give brussel sprouts a try.  You'll be surprised!  If you want, you can come over and I'll even cook them for you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Plurp - Historical post originally written 10/15/08


B has this boy in his kindergarten class we'll just call Plurp. (Any fans of Peep and the Big Wide World out there?) Plurp does not know his colors, his numbers, how to write, how to keep his pokey fingers to himself nor how to keep his mouth closed when it is appropriate to do so. The last 2 I would not normally fault a 5 year old boy for because, well, he's a 5 year old boy. However, I volunteer in the classroom once a week and that mouth is running constantly in my ear and those fingers are poking constantly in my ribs and right arm while I am trying to work with 5 other children besides him. Oh, and I don't fault him the 1st 3, either. Any decisions to not teach him these things before KG were not of his choosing. I just found it surprising, that's all. I have heard the teacher speak with Plurp's mom and try to get across to her that he is in school, not daycare or preschool, and that it is expected of him to pay attention, learn and actually do his homework every night. Plurp's mom does not seem concerned or doesn't see the necessity at this time despite the teacher's insistence that in 1st grade, he will have to tow the line or else and now is the time to get him in the habit. Anywho, this is the 1st thing B tells me as soon as I picked him up from school today: "Guess what, Mama? Plurp's dog is going to have a baby. And Plurp's mom and dad told him that if he hits the dog with a hammer one more time, they will take the dog back to the animal shelter and they'll kill her." Plurp is not sitting next to me anymore in class!

My Draft Folder

I'm going through my blog this morning and finding I have quite a few drafts - thoughts I jotted down that I didn't think were long enough for a full post.  So, I've put some of them together here.

I am getting my Thanksgiving baking and prep work done in the kitchen and put the movie Annie on for B to watch.  I am singing along in the kitchen and he is enjoying it.  Although, he dislikes Miss Hannagan immensely because, "she's just a drunk, Mama!"  When Annie arrives at Mr. Warbucks house and they show Punjab, B said, "He's a turban man!"  Watching Miss Hannagan in Annie reminds me of all the criticism that the movie Despicable Me got for the character of Miss Hattie who ran the orphanage where Gru got the 3 sisters.  There was an uproar that viewers would think all adults in charge of orphaned children are just like Miss Hattie. @@  There are bad people in this world and we cannot hide that from our kids.  Show them examples in a fun movie to open up dialogs, to learn about bad behavior and tell them that although there are some people who treat children like that in this world, most people do not.

B has a love/hate relationship with Taco Night.  Like most kids, he loves Taco Night b/c, come on, what kid doesn't like to put his own meal together with his hands.  But the dislike part comes when we require him to put vegetables in his tacos.  He loves most vegetables cooked, but very few of them raw.  And the ones he'll eat raw have to be served with a side of ranch dressing.  ;o)

You know, as shitty as corporate America has been to us citizens over the last 10+ years, I had a really good experience today (this was in October) and am thankful for it.  B received his Toys R Us birthday card with the $3 off a $3 purchase gift card.  I love the fact that it's $3 off $3 and not $3 off a purchase of $10, $20 or even more.  They also sent ME a coupon for $5 off $25 or more.  I would normally buy gifts for B at cheaper outlets, but they has the most awesome goody bag items i needed to buy and I was able to use my $5 coupon.  Regardless of how much  Target and Walmart are cutting into TRU's profits, TRU still has their birthday club.  My son can still go in there with his birthday card around his birthday, receive a birthday crown and birthday balloon and hear his name announced over the speaker that it is HIS birthday, and hear other shoppers who are strangers wish him "Happy Birthday".  Those are the little things that mean the most to me and I am very thankful to TRU for that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Artist and Paula Deen

I watched Good Morning America this morning for the first time in months!  I like GMA but I miss Diane and Chris.  Anywho, two stories in particular roused something in me and I had to get my thoughts down before I forgot.

  1. The Artist - It's a silent film that won a Golden Globe last weekend.  I repeat, it's a silent film.  Movie theaters are receiving complaints and refund demands from patrons b/c they cannot here the dialogue.  *Blink.  Blink, blink.*  'Nuff said.
  2. Paula Deen's announcement that she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes almost 3 years ago and is just going public now.  And she timed going public with being the new spokesperson for a diabetes drug.  Lots of folks drinking the haterade over this one and I think it's ridiculous.  We all know we can't eat Paula Deen recipes exclusively.  And she has every right to keep her medical issues private.  Just b/c someone is famous does not mean the public has a right to know everything about them.  She said it has taken her all this time to process and accept her diagnosis.  I can totally see that.  Denial is usually the 1st response to bad news.  And who better to be used as an example to other diabetes denialers (I made up another word; I'm good at that.) of "it's never too late to turn things around"?  I mean, if Paula Deen can control her diabetes, everyone with a "little sugar problem" should have hope.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

iPhone's Voice Memos

I come up with a TON of blog ideas and thoughts to share with y'all throughout the day.  Unfortunately, I am never at my computer at the time and by the time I am at my computer, I cannot remember my fabulous ideas!  I've always come up with my best posts in the shower.  That's the one place where me and my thoughts are uninterrupted.  I keep telling myself I need to install a water-proof tape recorder in the shower, but it has yet to happen.

However a week and a half ago, while sitting in traffic on my way home from work, I discovered a most wonderful utility on my iPhone - Voice Memos!  Although I cannot use it in the shower, upon discovery of this brilliant invention I was able to start recording random thoughts during my commute home from work.  Yeah!  Now when I actually get some time to sit down at the computer and blog, I'll be able to remember what I want to say!  So, here are some random thoughts from the car...
  • I love the sound of Steven Brown's voice.  He tells 1 minute stories from his website, You Think About That, on one of the radio stations I listen to - WGTS 91.9FM.  I just went to his website for the first time, to get the link to post here, and saw he has a Facebook page.  I went to the FB page and saw his picture for the 1st time.  Not at all what I thought he'd look like!  Isn't it funny how you don't think twice about how most people's voices match their looks when you hear them for the first time face to face, but when you hear them before seeing them it's the opposite.  We all form a mental image, conscience or not, of what a person looks like based on their voice.  And we are always disappointed that they do not look like what we imagined.  Not that the actual person's looks are "less than"; just that they are different than what we thought they would be.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with cover songs.  The artist I hear singing a song first is the one I always like best singing that song.  When I hear another artist singing that song, they have to put their own spin on it and I don't like it.  However, the cover version is usually more enunciated than the original and I find out what the words actually are.  This happens a lot with covers of songs from the 70s and 80s.  For example, Open Arms by Journey; cover by Colin Raye.
  • There is one spot on my commute home where I actually don't mind the stop and go.  It's in front of a McDonald's.  Their wifi extends out to the street and I can quickly check my Facebook and email accounts.  :o)
  • I've made a little sociology discovery during my commute home.  There is one very busy road in a very business, packed section of town that I must travel through.  There are many other roads and business driveways that intersect this road I am on, with many cars waiting to turn onto my road.  Now, if you are on a cross street with a light, I do not let you in; when your light turns green you'll be able to do so.  However, I like to let people out in front of me from cross streets and business driveways where there are no lights.  Here's my discovery: 9 times out of 10, if I let a car come out in front of me, the car behind me will also let a car out.  If I do not let a car out in front of me, 9 times out of 10 the car behind me will not let out a car either.  Interesting....
  • I had a veela in my training class.  When I told B this his response was, "Really?!  Is she related to Fleur?"  "No," I replied, "She's an American brunette."
  • So, B and I are on the 7th and last book of Harry Potter.  I read HP books out loud on my nights to put B down for bed.  The hubs and I used to switch off putting B down every other day.  However, during my 7 weeks of training I put B down more often.  I missed him all day and wanted to share extra snuggles at night.  Now that I am out of training and on my regular work schedule, I'll only be here for B's bedtime twice a week.  That makes me so sad, but...."eyes on the prize"!  Anywho, back to Harry Potter...once we finish the 7th book, that's it.  No more.  We've been a part of all these characters' lives for so long and now it's coming to a close. I am focusing on the blessing of putting B down only 2 nights a week now.  It prolongs the inevitable farewell to Harry and the wizarding world. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Some Pictures of our 2011 Holidays


Isn't B just adorable?!
He received the Rudolf nose and the Old-fashioned goggles in his stocking. He's pretending to ride a motorcycle.
 I met my in-laws Christmas 1995, a couple of months after the hubs and I got engaged.   As we were leaving, my future FIL gave me his bomber jacket. He was a Navy pilot but this was his Civil Air Patrol jacket and I felt honored and accepted. Although it fit me, it's pretty heavy, so I did not wear it often. This Christmas, the hubs put it on B for the 1st time. Now his is begging for one of those old, leather pilots helmets to complete this outfit.
B wanted a steel drum for Christmas. The hubs and I thought on it and decided he could have one and let Santa know we approved.  However, there is no professional in our area (actually, no one outside of Jamaica or Hawaii) to tune a steel drum for us over time. So, instead of giving B a steel drum and welding equipment for tuning, Santa brought a keyboard, with a steel drum sound on it, instead. We think B will get much more use out of this than he would a steel drum.
I can't wait to hear more concertos of his like the one he created in Vermont last August.
I saw this on Pinterest and put glow sticks in B's stocking.  He LOVES taking baths and this one in the dark is now higher on his list than bubble baths.
B makes tons of things in my parents' basement whenever he visits them.  This is a robot.  Evidently, there is also a super computer to control him that B left at my parents' house.  I have yet to see it, though. Why is he hiding it from me? 
A Christmas ornament B made at my parents' house with old buttons, cardboard, gold paint and ribbon.
Not looking my best here without makeup and with my rosy cheeks and chin from a couple of drinks.  However, it's me and my boy, in our sweats, celebrating NYE and I love it.  We were all in the same bed and asleep by 10:30pm.
I hope y'all's holiday season was full of love and great food and I wish you blessings, good health and love in 2012!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Recipe - Crack Cakes

A few years ago, the moms' group I belonged to threw a post-bachelorette's party for one of our members.  She'd never had a bachelorette's party before getting married, but always wanted one.  Even though she was married, had one child and another one on the way, we decided to throw her the party she'd never had.  It was a potluck at my house and I decided to make the dessert - penis-shaped Crack Cakes.  They're actually a Paula Deen recipe called Orange Blossoms.  However, after I demanded the hubs try them before the post-bachelorette's party to ensure the new recipe I made was good enough to serve, he was hooked!  He said they were like crack, told me he was taking the entire batch to the bedroom, locking the door and I would have to make a new batch for the party.
  
A very ugly wrestling match ensued but I managed to salvaged the Orange Blossoms for the party.  After the ladies partook of the Orange Blossoms at the post-bachelorette's party, they all agreed that the hubs' renaming of the dessert, Crack Cakes, was spot-on.  They were addictive and so the name has stuck.  I made them a couple times after that night, but have not made them for at least 4 years.


B wanted me to make a birthday cake for Jesus last Christmas, but it did not happen.  As we approached this Christmas, B asked if we could make a birthday cake for Jesus this Christmas.  I said "yes", but with going back to work full-time on 11/28 after 6.5 years of being a SAHM, my family was lucky to get a Christmas dinner, let alone a dessert!  But this afternoon, I cleaned the top floor and came down to the 1st floor to find the hubs had cleaned it and left me a present on the kitchen counter: a mixing bowl, a box of yellow cake mix, a measuring cup and my Paula Deen cookbook.  The message was clear - MAKE CRACK CAKES.  So I did and I am so happy!
Here is the recipe for you:


Orange Blossoms
(from Paula Deen)
For cakes:
1 package yellow cake mix 
3.4 oz. package instant lemon pudding mix 
4 large eggs 
3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup vegetable oil 
For glaze:
3 cups confectioners' sugar 
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 Tbsp. melted butter
3 Tbsp. water 
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one or two minature muffin pans. For the cakes, in a mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and oil, and beat well. Fill the prepared muffin pans, using about 1 tablespoon of batter for each cake. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when touched.
2. For the glaze, mix the confectioners' sugar, orange juice, butter, and water until smooth; set aside.
3. Dip the blossoms in the glaze immediately after removing them from the oven. Drain on waxed paper.
Makes about 4 dozen cakes.


Enjoy!