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?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Superman & Lois Lane vs. Iron Man & Pepper Potts

We are big fans of The Avengers' superheroes movies in this house, especially Iron Man.  The hubs and I got into a discussion a week or so ago about The Avengers and The Justice League and which superheroes were in which group.  Superman is in The Justice League and bringing him up got me thinking about Lois Lane and Lois got me thinking of Pepper Potts and then I started comparing the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane to that of Iron Man and Pepper Potts.  Now, I have not read any of the comic books; all I know are the movie depictions of these characters.  And although I have seen the Iron Man movies recently, I saw all the Superman movies as a child.  I did re-watch Superman I last year with B but not II - IV.  And from what I remember, I can't help thinking, "My, my, how far we've come!"

Superman and Clark Kent were two different "people" and Clark purposefully hid his real identity.  Clark deliberately acted like a bumbling, clutzy, shy man with a serious lack of self-confidence.  Tony Stark - genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist - arrogantly wanted everyone to know he is Iron Man.  He is suave, debonaire and has more self-confidence than even Superman could dream of having (because he was raised to be a humble gentleman).

Lois Lane could not see the obvious right in front of her face - Clark Kent was Superman.  She didn't want to.  She couldn't even fathom it so she didn't open up to it.  Not a very good reporter, if you ask me.  She was gutsy, took risks for a story and even went after stories that women were not supposed to care about or break.  But Superman always had to come and rescue her.  Pepper Potts knew what was in front of her from the beginning; she understood and accepted a long time ago and worked around Tony's.....eccentric personality.  Just like a good teacher, Pepper sized up the strengths and weaknesses of Tony and worked with each to get the job done efficiently and well.

Pepper earned the title of CEO of Stark Industries.  I don't know if Lois even aspired to be editor of The Daily Planet but I do know she wouldn't have gotten it b/c she was a woman.  Superman saved Lois over and over.  Ironman came to Pepper's rescue but she also assisted him and saved plenty of people herself.

Lois was in heat with Superman's good looks and was impressed that he could fly.  She was looking for someone to sweep her off her feet.  Tony had to pursue and win Pepper.  She enjoys Tony in her personal life but she does not need him.

It just amazes me the difference 30 years can make in the definition of an "independent woman".  How far we still had to go in the last 20 years of the 20th century.  SMH  And the sad part is, that although I celebrate where Pepper Potts is in the 21st century, we still aren't where we can and deserve to be.

Anywho....Pepper Potts is my superhero.  For now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Where in the World?

I picked up a geography game - Where in the World, A World Awareness Game - at a yard sale recently for $1.  I love yard sale finds!  It has 6 different levels, ranging from getting familiar with which region of the world a country belongs to, to relating geographic knowledge to current events.  B and I played it twice last week and had fun.  In fact, he's asked me if we can play it again, but we didn't have time.  I need to schedule in game time for the educational games we have!  The game was originally published in 1986 and there have been a lot of country changes since then!  However, when we came upon an "outdated" issue, such as Germany being divided into two separate countries on the board, it became a learning opportunity.  I spoke to B about why Germany was divided into East and West and how they came to be united.

Here's B rolling back and forth on his stability ball as we play.  We played level 1, finding which of the 6 regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania - each country card we were dealt belonged to.  Each card has a picture of the country's flag as well as the following information: capital; population; monetary unit; literacy rate; major languages; major religions; major export; major import; major seacoasts; it's size ranking in that region.  And although details such as population and monetary unit may have significantly changed in the last 26 years, it's still a great way to learn basics (especially for my cost) and I recommend it.

I looked the game up on both Amazon's and Toys R Us' websites to see if they offer the game and how up-to-date it is.  I didn't find date information on Amazon, but the description on Toys R Us referenced the games introduction 16 years ago, so it sound like their copy was last updated in 1996.  But if you find it at a yard sale, give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mr. First Aid

That's one of the roles the hubs has been assigned.  He does all the first aid in this house.  He went to get the oil changed in in my car this morning.  He wasn't even gone 10 minutes before B drops something on his pinky toe.  I send the hubs a text, letting him know we have a possible broken pinky toe for examination when he gets home.  His response?  "You have got to get a Red Cross app on your phone!"  hehehe

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

B Taking on a Bigger Role in the Kitchen

This past weekend, the hubs decided that B should take a bigger role in the kitchen and help us cook dinner every night.  We started last night, Meatless Monday.  We made Creamy Portobello Pasta, my version of Food & Wine's Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese. Once again, I just used what I had on hand and our finished product tasted fabulous but looked gross.  SMH  I don't know how Food & Wine get such a light colored finished product!  Portobellos release their liquid and it's dark, so it colors my pasta.  Oh, well.  Onto B cooking.

I wasn't ready for B to be using a knife, so I sliced up the onions.  But B turned on the heat under the pan and added the butter and oil.  This is him adding the sugar.

 Stirring the onions so they all get nice and caramelized.

The hubs said B should start learning to cut (my heart stopped) so he sliced up the portobellos.  And did a darn good job at it, too!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Calming Jars

I have been wanting to make these Mind Jars from Here We Are Together since I found them on Pinterest months ago.  I should not have waited so long.  Oh, well.  We made them today and can start using them and that's what matters today.  Ours mos def do not look as nice as the ones on Here We Are Together (we can't get our glitter to suspend as long as her picture and ours are kinda cloudy), but what matters most is that we use them.

The ingredients are hot water, glitter glue, food coloring and glitter.  We didn't have glitter glue, just regular white glue.  This is probably why ours are cloudy.  Next time I'll only use 1 drop of food coloring instead of 2, so the color is not as dark.

We Are Here Together also provided the printable labels!  They say:

"A mind jar is a meditation tool
to use whenever a child feels stressed,
overwhelmed or upset.
Imagine the glitter as your thoughts.
When you shake the jar,
Imagine your head full of whirling thoughts,
then watch them slowly settle
while you calm down.
For you from"

I used a Sharpie to write that B's jar was from me and my jar was from him.  Yes, I made myself a jar.  I need one, too.  In fact, I think every parent (even every human being) can benefit from something that assist us with calming down.  B is a smaller, male version of me, so I need to be able to calm myself down to deal with him.  Also, by using one, I am setting the example for B.  Monkey see, monkey do works for all of my negative behaviors, so I'm going to use it for the positive ones, as well.  :o)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Homeschool Ambassador. I didn't sign up for this!

B doing his Math lesson in his favorite spot.
We chose to educate our son at home because it was best for him and for our family.  He has a personality and learning style that his elementary school's curriculum was not geared toward.   He was not being as successful as he could have been, he was not as happy as he should have been and neither were his teachers.  Since he has not been diagnosed with anything under the ADA, the school was unwilling to make accommodations for him.  That's fine; we can make accommodations at home.  I don't think anything about anyone else's decision to not homeschool.  It is not a right or wrong, black or white, judgmental issue.  You do what's best for your family; I do what's best for mine.  Period.

Although we thought we were just homeschooling our child and affecting our family, we've involuntarily been elected as homeschool ambassadors.  Every homeschooling family has and I didn't sign up for this!  When we go out in public during school days, we get stared at.  People constantly ask B, "Why aren't you in school?"  That really irritates me.  Address me, please, not my son.  But they don't have the balls to ask me that, that is why they address a child.  I would be so happy if they could just change that question to, "Are you homeschooled?"  There are so many of us in the area, and you obviously ask all of them why they aren't in school, so you should assume most of these kids are homeschooled.  Yes, there is the odd parent who will take a child shopping with them when they are too sick to be in school, but that is rare, people.

Our homeschool group has weekly "recess" at a park.  A couple of weeks ago, B and I arrived at 1pm and saw a mother with 2 little girls on the backside of the park.  B ran over to them while I was getting our water and snacks out of the car.  B was going to ask them if they were part of our homeschool group, but before he could saw anything, the mother asked B, "Why are you here?"  Seriously?!  She just elevated the level of rudeness up a notch.  B replied that he was here for his homeschool group's  weekly playdate and asked if she was part of the group.  She didn't politely say, "no," she said she'd never heard of his group.

Now, if I was with B when this woman asked her rude question, I could not answer her with, "He's here because it's a public park and we have just as much of a right as you do."  You know why?  Because then my rudeness would give this woman the impression that all homeschoolers are rude.  If I stood up to every person who told me that my child was not being socialized, or quizzed my son to see what he knows, that would put a bad taste in their mouths about all homeschoolers.  Do you think any of these people worry that their rude and intrusive questions tell us that all publicschoolers are this rude?  Nope, because we don't think that.  Just like I don't think every single driver from Ohio is a jackass because one happened to cut me off on the road.

However, each one of us homeschoolers has to bite our tongue, take a deep breath and educate total strangers about the details of our home lives for the good of us all.  Homeschool Ambassador.  *sigh*  I didn't sign up for this.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recipe: Not Your Regular Sloppy Joes

Before tonight, not only have I never made a Sloppy Joe, but I'd never even eaten one!  For a couple of years, B has been raving about these Sloppy Joes he had at a friend's house once and begging me to make them.  Finally, I contacted my friend, CC, and asked for her recipe.  Turns out, it is from one of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbooks, Deceptively Delicious.  I have both of her cookbooks in my collection but never gave the Sloppy Joes a second glance because, well, I've never had them and had no desire to.  My only exposure to the meal was the Manwich commercials from my childhood.  I did not eat ground beef as a child, not even hamburgers (I think it was a texture issue), and my mom never made them.  I've never been served them at any function or dinner at a friend's house.  But I am so glad I made them tonight!  Something that is healthier for us and all three of us liked - woohoo!

You may or may not know this, but Jessica Seinfeld's recipe include "sneaking" pureed vegetables into each dish.  She, like most parents, found it difficult to get her children to eat a variety of vegetables and discovered she could slip some into meals - breakfast, lunch dinner, snacks, even desserts! - without the kids noticing a difference in taste.  I actually modified a Chicken Lasagna recipe after being inspired by Jessica Seinfeld and it's been a hit with my family as well as with guests.  I substitute half or all of the cream of chicken soup the original recipe calls for with purred vegetables.  I've made my lasagna with pureed yellow squash, carrots and pumpkin, but the most popular is with butternut squash.  Since Jessica Seinfeld's Sloppy Joes recipe called for pureed butternut squash and sweet potatoes, I decided I could make my Chicken Lasagna, too!  That recipe will be coming later in the week.  But onto the Sloppy Joes...

Halloween Decor

Inspired by Pinterest, B and I decided to decorate our front door for Halloween this morning.  So fun!  He decided how he wanted the face to to look and I pulled out the door sting from the basement, rolled it up and used it for the hair.  We have no overhang on the front door.  So, if it rains between now and Halloween we'll have to remake the face.  But we're OK with that!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Duplicating the Whipped Cocoa Bath from The Spa at Hershey Hotel for B

A very generous friend took me with her to The Spa at Hershey Hotel a couple of weekends ago.  When B learned that one of my spa treatments was the Whipped Cocoa Bath, he asked, "Mom, please take a cup with you, scoop some of the hot chocolate from your bath into it, put a lid on the cup and bring it home for me!" I told one of my technicians what he said and she informed me how to duplicate the bath at home for him.  I was so excited to do that because B loves taking baths, and he'll stay in them forever if you let him.  I usually let him go 45 minutes but the hubs makes him get out in 30.

So, B had his Whipped Cocoa Bath Monday night and was in heaven:

Three ingredients: cocoa, powdered milk, The Spa at Hershey Hotel's Whipped Cocoa Bath.

He only lasted 15 minutes before calling me to help him get out!  I asked him if he didn't like it or if he was having an allergic reaction to it.  "No," he said. "I'm so relaxed, I'm afraid I'll fall asleep and drown."  Well, if that isn't an endorsement, I don't know what is!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Taking Back The Junk Room

When we moved into this house 4 years ago, as we have done with every one of the 11 moves we've done in the last 17 years, we labeled boxes with colors to designate in which room each should go.  Our current house is 1,700 square feet but our previous house was 3,008 square feet.  Although every room in the previous house was most definitely not filled, we had plenty of room and storage, so it never looked cluttered.  When we moved into this house, the 3rd bedroom became a catch all for things that did not have a place in the the kitchen, living room, family room, bathrooms, B's bedroom, our bedroom, basement or garage.  The color assigned to this 3rd bedroom was black so it became known as "the black room".

We figured that as we settled into this house, we would be able to go through the boxes in the black room and either find a place for those things or get rid of them.  Four years later, some things have moved out of that room, but not much, and many more things that came into the house ended up there if we could not find a place for them.  I had always hoped it would be a bedroom for another child, but I need to let that go.

Friday, October 5, 2012

He REALLY Knows How To Get Me

The other night I was putting B down, and we had this conversation:

B: Do you want to have a sleepover in my room tonight?
Me: I can't tonight, baby.  I still have to shower and wash clothes before I can go to bed.
B: Come sleepover after you do all that.
Me: Why?  I wouldn't be with you when you fell asleep.  I know you don't like falling asleep alone.  You wouldn't even know that I came back into the room.
B: But you'd be the first thing I saw when I woke up tomorrow.  That's why.

He had the most angelic look on his face when he said that!  He wasn't trying to con me; he was serious.  I told this story to my mom this afternoon and she said, "Holy cow! Does he really know how to get you or what!" She laughed.  Then she said, "But seriously, he is amazing and it's because of his parents.  You two are doing an amazing job raising that boy with so much love.  You're wonderful parents."

I'm tearing up now typing that.  Validation from your own parent, no matter how good or how bad a parent they were to you, means more, I think, than validation from just about any other source.  I know I reap what I sow in B and I beat myself up over all the wrong/bad/negative/imperfect things I do that will affect him for the rest of his life.  But my mom made me realize that I am good, I am a good person, I am a good mother.  The seeds we sow each and every day in our son are not bought at the store nor created in a lab.  They are our seeds; they are pieces of us that we sow in our son.  What and who he is is a reflection of what and who we are.  Yes, ownership is on us for things he does that hurt/shock/insult/embarrass others.  But we also own every complement/admiration/laugh/wonder he receives.  There are so many more of the latter than the former.

We are amazing parents, proudly raising this amazing boy with love, laughter, thoughtfulness, all the best that is in us, because this amazing boy, this gift from God, shows us the way.  Yes, we reap what we sow and the hubs and I are, evidently, pretty damn good seeds.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Toilet Paper Woes

Granted, I am one female living with two males.  Females, naturally, use toilet paper for every visit to the restroom and males only use toilet paper on some visits. (Although they only use TP when they poop, I feel they should also be using it to dab themselves when they pee, instead of just shaking off the excess).  However, since the one and only female in this house does the majority of the cleaning, whoever uses up a roll of toilet paper should change. The darn. Roll of toilet paper.

I just walked into the powder room for the umpteenth time and found this:

ERRRRR!  Thankfully, I ensure that there are spare rolls in each bathroom for just such emergencies or else I'd be up shit's creek without a paddle!  Literally!