Thursday, April 30, 2009
Momsense got a makeover thanks to Erin at Designer Blogs. She does great work, is so easy to work with, and I just love what she's done with the place.
Now, if only she could work that kind of magic on me.
The State of Mrs. Momsense, however, is dire. My skin is literally hanging off of me because I lost some weight too quickly (I had to stop right there and ponder that phrase as that has NEVER happened to me before). Don't worry though- with the help of some Prednisone, I am plumping right back up in time for the beach.
My eyebrows are long enough to braid in the middle in homage to the unicorn. Don't even go there about the patch of hair that has sprouted up on my temples- again, with help from Prednisone.
I am sporting some circles under the eyes.
And I've taken on the color of a lemming.
Oh well, hopefully with the help of Jillian and my new organized dinner menu system (which I'll tell you about another time) things will be looking up soon.
In the meantime, does anyone know a really good stylist?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In addition to those 9 days, there are 30 days until we leave on our little family vacation to the beach. Do you know what that means? If you're a woman you do- it means 30 days to swimsuit season.
A few weeks ago I bought Jillian Michael's DVD - 30 Day Shred. Now, I am a big fan of shredded cheese- as a matter of fact I shredded two huge blocks of cheese last night in a homemade macaroni and cheese symphony that can only be described as awe-inspiring. One could argue that shredded cheddar cheese is the cornerstone of my diet.
And that is precisely why I am in my current predicament. The problem is that shredded cheddar does not give one's abs a shredded appearance- it's really more dimply or perhaps lumpy. And while I did manage to lose quite a bit of weight during my illness, apparently losing 15 pounds in 8 days when you're at the threshold of middle-age only exacerbates the cellulite problem. The skin really flaps and oscillates off the bone in a manner that is neither pretty nor practical.
But back to the video. It is in the top drawer of the television cabinet still blanketed in its cellophane wrapper just like God intended it. But, that will end tonight.
In some sort of twisted Divine intervention, Sophie (Boo Mama) talked about the 30 day Shred the other day in one of her posts. And then she mentioned that Melanie (Big Mama) was doing it too. And I do believe that a while ago my other Southern buddy Leslie Ruth mentioned it as well. And maybe even Kelly. It all started when Vicki started a few weeks ago, and in some sort of very odd blogging peer-pressure experiment, people are jumping on the 30 Day Shred bandwagon. All I know is that now I'm feeling just like I did when everyone was kissing boys behind the pencil sharpener wall in 7th grade, and in an effort to throw myself back into all the insecurities and dramas of junior high- I have caved. Tonight I will shred.
I will begin the 20 minute torture that I will endure for the next 30 days so as not to have to stare at the hail damage on the tops of my thighs as I float in the pool reading books whilst completely oblivious to the world around me.
In other, much more exciting news, while I will be trying to rid the middle-Tennessee area of a little cellulite, Momsense is getting a makeover too! I got word from Designer Blogs that it's my turn! I've been so excited and have checked the queue for weeks, and the time is here- so watch out- we'll look a little different in a week or so.
If all goes well tonight- I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe or two and some news from our little Ugandan boy and how things are going with the Compassion Bloggers in India. They are writing some truly inspiring posts about what is happening with impoverished children there- please check them out. You can click here for more information on how to find those posts.
Monday, April 27, 2009
To be fair, we (and by we I do mean Coach and his dad) did rearrange the furniture in over half the house Sunday, but really all I did was supervise and dust a bit.
I am going to go ahead and tell you what I've planned for next week because if you live near a Kroger - country-style ribs are on sale right now, and that is exactly what we're having. So- you can run out and get yourself some and get ready for BBQ ribs and baked beans for Sunday.
But before I give you the recipes, I just have to show you the funniest thing I've seen at a high school prom in a while- and believe me- I've been to my fair share in the last 16 years.
We teach at a small independent school outside of Nashville. Some of these kids have been in class together since they were in preschool. So- they're close.
Some might say too close. Because two of our senior boys who were not dating anyone at the time decided that rather than ask a girl to go with them, would just go together AS A JOKE. Now, without wanting to make any kind of political statement here- I do want to say as a courtesy to the boys, that they are not homosexuals. I asked them if they would mind if I wrote about them and posted a picture if I didn't use their names, and they said it was fine, but they did want me to clarify that they did this as a joke, not as a political or sexual statement.
One rented a pale blue tux, the other citrus orange and they did the whole Dumb and Dumber schtick all night long. They went through presentation, they did comedy routines, and provided entertainment for the faculty, parents, and their peers. It was hilarious. Below you can see the pictures.
Now, I am both fascinated and disturbed that you can actually rent an orange tuxedo, BUT it might come in handy if I can win a bet with Coach over UT football in a weak moment...
Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and remaining 9 ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered over medium heat for 1 hour.
Transfer ribs to a 13x9 pan; pour sauce over ribs. Bake, uncovered at 300 for 1 hour, basting occasionally.
Yield: 4 servings
2 28 oz cans Bush's Original Baked Beans
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 bacon slices
Stir together first 5 ingredients; pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with bacon. Bake uncovered at 400 for 45 minutes. Broil 5 inches from heat for 1 minute or until the bacon is browned.
Corn on the Cob
4 ears of corn
Grill the corn on the grill (or microwave for 6 minutes with the husk on). Melt butter and mix in fresh basil and garlic. Brush on corn.
Hope you all enjoy!
Seriously, is it not enough that we have to stress over Swine Flu and Somali pirates? Must we really add to that teenagers that are overly tired and overly stimulated because they had prom and the Dave Matthews concert this weekend?
Tonight I'll put some pictures of kids from the prom- because doesn't everyone like to look at the newest prom fashions? I'll tell you a funny story about two boys who are best friends and attended the prom together...as one another's date...AS A JOKE...one in a powder blue tux and the other in a UT orange tux (again, that'd be Tennessee Orange, not Texas- Citrus, not Burnt). One of the funniest things I've seen the kids do in a while. I talked to their mammas right after presentation - they were both so proud.
But for now, I'm grumpy. I'm grumpy because the kids are grumpy, and they are grumpy because they are tired, and it's beautiful outside, and all they want to do is lay in the grass and sleep.
Which makes me think about my dogs, who are currently at home in the grass asleep. I know this because I became quite accustomed to their schedule when I was home sick the last couple of weeks. If I were home today...I'd be right out there with them underneath the big Maple tree snoozing away listening to the windchime and the creek babbling.
But, I'm not...I'm at work...trying to spread salt and light to lemmings. And that's okay I guess- but it makes me wonder sometimes how irritated Jesus must get with us when we're moody like this. And then I get really scared to listen, because what if I actually did hear what he would say to me in that ugly moment of my life? Yikes.
So, I have to go adjust my attitude, fake it until I make it, plaster on a smile, or whatever you want to call it.
Looks like it's time for big girl britches.
I'll post Sunday Supper (belated and prom pics tonight!)
Friday, April 24, 2009
So, go over to her site, check out her giveaway and enter- you just have to do it quickly! It ends on the 24th.
Now personally, I love the Chocolate Labrador flip-flops, but there are bees and polka dots and all kinds of happy springy styles to choose from.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
So, I'm on some sort of spring fever high, so hang in there with me a bit. I've just got a few random things that made me smile, and I thought maybe they'd make you smile too.
1. One of the girls I teach just took a job at Chuckie Cheese. Now, I purposely avoid the old mouse at all costs. I haven't darkened the door of a Chuckie Cheese since March of 2002, and there are no plans for future visits, but it's a personal issue, so please don't let me ruin your fun. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find out that the employees are required to follow what is called the "5/10 Rule" I have to admit I was intrigued, so I asked her to explain. The rule states that if an employee is within 5 feet of a guest, he/she is to speak to the guest. Specifically, she is to say hello and ask if the guest is enjoying herself. If there is a guest within 10 feet of the employee, the employee is required to make eye contact, smile, and wave. Now, I have to say, that is very impressive. I might give this rule a run at school tomorrow and see what kind of day we have.
2. Mack ate my brand new 150 foot hose pipe today. It was after this that I found out that Duct tape cannot, indeed, fix everything. He's so darn cute though- it's hard to stay mad at him. He's a big old lug of a dog, and those are the best kinds of dogs to have.
3. I worked a bit in my garden today. I planted some extra herbs, put down a weed preventer, fertilized the entire thing, and mulched the herbs. Tomorrow I'm making bean trellises and beginning the arduous task of mulching and laying the stone paths. Don't ask - it's an obsessive-compulsive thing- I need it to be pretty, not just functional.
4. Here's a picture of our first snake, and why I have decided that Crocs are probably not the gardening shoe of choice- it's back to the Target Wellies- and I just don't even care what they look like with shorts.
5. Say a prayer for my buddy, Refrigerator Perry. He's in the hospital and not doing well. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I still know EVERY SINGLE WORD of the Superbowl Shuffle that the Chicago Bears did in 1986. Now, that was fine entertainment.
See y'all tomorrow!
These are some seriously funny people.
Generally, spring with them is a joyful time. Prom is around the corner, they are all tan and shiny. They smile a lot, and they are usually happy in their natural habitat. And aside from a silly prank or twelve, the spring is a nice time to teach them.
BUT- somewhere in the mystery that is photosynthesis, there is apparently a chemical reaction that takes place in the brains of these kiddos. You can watch the intelligence and good sense drain right out of them.
And they say things like this:
Girl 1: "Oh my gosh, all this time I've thought that Pearl Harbor is where the South won the Civil War in Texas. Turns out- it's in Hawaii, AND it had nothing to do with the South."
Girl 2: "Seriously? When did they move it?"
Help me here. Where do I begin?
Happy Spring Y'all!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
G is our Academy Award Winning child. He has quite the flair for the dramatic.
When he was about 6 he was riding his scooter up and down the sidewalk; not long into the ride, he had himself a mishap of sorts and ended up taking most of the top of his toe off.
As a toddler, he did this on a regular basis, and the child NEVER KNEW he'd done it. He'd come in from playing with two bloody stumps full of dirt and grass, track blood through the kitchen, let the dogs lick the wounds, and he never missed a beat. (Yes, I know dog slobber is not approved by the FDA, but it worked, and he's never had an infection.)
So, back to his scooter mishap. He scooted himself down the street, removed the better part of his big toe, and proceeded to go into full swooning mode.
He laid himself out in the middle of the street, cried, writhed around as if he'd been shot, and he said, AND I QUOTE, "Oh, oh, I see a bright light...I see a bright light...help me Mama, I see a bright light, I think I'm going to Heaven."
Well, bless his heart. I am not a "kissy the boo boo" kind of mom. I'm more from the old school- "if there's no bone protruding- it's fine" school of thought. So I told him to get up and go wash it off - you know- let the dog lick it or something.
He was absolutely beside himself that I had downplayed his imminent death and held a grudge for the better part of 2002.
Truthfully, I've just never really experienced anything that caused me to feel faint and become convinced that I needed to migrate toward the light of Heaven.
Until last night...
When an adolescent G decided that it was impeccable timing to tell one of the most off-color, crude, sexually explicit jokes I've EVER heard. At the dinner table... At my parents' house... In front of the entire family.
I can't go into the details of the joke; he heard it at school, and you can suffice it to say, that he did not have a full understanding of the joke he was telling.
I can tell you this- he started the joke, and immediately I knew it wasn't going anywhere holy or righteous. But, my mouth wouldn't move. I physically could not respond, my entire nervous system locked up.
As he delivered the punch line Coach literally went running out of the kitchen screaming "la la la la la" as he was holding his ears. When he reached the foyer and the punch line had been delivered, Coach fell to his knees and let out a sigh that can only be described as a death sigh.
I, on the other hand, remained motionless in my seat at ground zero. My mouth fell open and all I could do was sway and try not to go to the bad place.
I do believe the joke brought tears to my mother's eyes and she did, in fact, let out a screech. My father leapt back in time to 1988 and fell naturally into his teeth gritting, fire shooting anger face that my brother and I knew so well.
G's response? He said "What? Isn't that funny?"
And there we were- three generations of family sitting serenely at the dinner table enjoying good food and good conversation until the bomb dropped, and I realized that the world outside had permeated my little world, and my boy had been jaded a bit without even realizing what had happened to him.
And suddenly, all I could think was ...
"I see a bright light, I see a bright light. Help me Mama, I see a bright light"
Monday, April 20, 2009
And Saturday - I planted crops. And the word "crop" might be an understatement. I have a very difficult time with quantity. It's like there's an old depression era bag-lady lying latent in me who is terrified there won't be enough.
So Saturday I planted:
15 tomato plants
30+ cucumber plants (3 different varieties)
20+ pepper plants (banana, habanero, jalapeno, red bell, green bell, and cayenne)
4 rows of okra
6 rows of carrots
6 rows of onions (Texas sweet and Georgia sweet)
6 teepees of pole beans
6 rows of corn
12 zucchini plants
12 summer squash plants
2 rows of strawberries
5 blackberry bushes
3 blueberry bushes
3 rows of watermelon
3 rows of jack o'lanterns (for the kids for fun)
An herb garden complete with 5 basil plants, 2 oregano plants, 3 cilantro plants, 2 sage plants, 2 chives, and two pots of mint
And a partridge in a pear tree...
Not the partridge, but I did contemplate buying a pear tree or two.
It all started with the dern economy and wanting to be a bit more responsible with food money. I have grand ideas for canning and pickling and freezing. I've found dozens of recipes for salsa and pesto and tomato sauce that I can make and store for the winter. I've researched freezers for the garage.
And now, I've entered into discussions with some "steersmen" regarding buying and slaughtering my own steer for meat (and by slaughtering- I mean sending it off for a slaughter person to do it and politely send it to me in cellophane wrappers the way meat was intended to be presented). I'm telling you, we're one bow and arrow short of having ourselves an adventure with Ted Nugent.
But I digress...again.
So, it looks like we'll be full-up on our anti-oxidants this summer. And you can look for new recipes including zucchini and squash for Sunday Supper!
In the meantime- Do any of you have good salsa or pesto recipes? I sure could use some authentic Texas salsa.
Let me hear from you!
Until then- Happy Gardening!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
We had a great time with my mom and sister these past few days! We went to book club together, read books to kids, and went to Santa Fe to the Palace of the Governors and the indoor swimming pool. I was a little disappointed with the "Palace" -- it's now a New Mexico art and history museum, and while it has some cool artifacts, it's pretty small and doesn't have much for kids to do. The printing press area that sounded cool was closed, so maybe that would have made it cooler. After a cold, windy lunch on the plaza, we found what seems like the one kid-friendly shop in Santa Fe. The boys loved playing on the rocking horses and in the tepee there!
The swimming pool was really crowded, but with three adults it was pretty easy to keep track of three kids! Sapphire liked the swimming pool -- there was lots to look at, and the water was warm, and Quartz and Onyx didn't splash her too much. I even got to go down the water slide -- whee! :-)
Right now Rachel's playing Portal and Quartz is watching and giving lots of advice. "No, over there!" "Throw all the computers in the lava!" "Don't use a portal!" "Go in there!"
just turn around now'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
you think I'd crumble
you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive"
Momsense is back! Woo hoo- thanks to heavy doses of steroids and dozens of hours of sleep, I'm running at about 50% which is about 50% better than last week. So, while I am NOT ready to run marathons or attend boot camp or anything like that, I do think I can manage to cook a little supper this weekend.
And, because it is so nice, and because I am constantly starved thanks to the steroid- I thought I'd fix something springy that would stick to your ribs. Tell me what you think.
Paula Deens Shore is Good Seafood Dip
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 of a 10 3/4-ounce can cream of shrimp soup (discard top half and use bottom part of soup)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 pound freshly grated Parmesan
1 (6-ounce) can crabmeat, picked free of any broken shells, drained
6 ounces shrimp, fresh or canned, drained
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and saute for 2 minutes. In a bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, Parmesan, crabmeat, shrimp, and pepper. Stir the sauteed vegetables into the seafood mixture and spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 11-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with toast points.
Shrimp and Grits (Because there's just nothing better)
1 1/2 pounds (26-30 count) Wild Georgia Shrimp
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (recommended: Tone's Louisiana Cajun seasoning)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (recommended: Knorr)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup quick grits (recommended: Quaker)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 1/2 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
1 lb sausage of your choice
First, peel and devein the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the shrimp to coat well and set the shrimp aside.
Next, make your grits. In a medium saucepan, bring water, chicken bouillon cubes and 2 tablespoons butter to a boil. Slowly add the grits, whisking often with wire whisk for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cream, and cheese. Keep whisking for another 2 or 3 minutes until the grits become creamy. Don't skimp on the butter and the cream, folks.
Now saute the shrimp. In a large saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the spice-coated shrimp, and cook only until they're just done and tender. Don't overcook. Remove the shrimp from the saute pan and set them aside in a bowl. You can taste 1 or 2, to see if they're okay.
The roux is next. With all those wonderful drippings from the shrimp in the saute pan, add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir with a wooden spatula to make a roux. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until roux reaches a medium-tan color, then slowly add the chicken stock and heavy whipping cream. Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.
And last, a little sausage. Saute sausage in small crumbles.
To serve, and this is the best part-place a few heaping spoonfuls of steaming cheese grits onto a place, top with several sizzling shrimp. Drizzle that wonderful roux sauce over top of the shrimp, and sprinkle on the sausage. Enjoy.
Now, I have to go plant my vegetable garden. I have oodles of plants to get in before the rain tomorrow. There are BIG plans for the summer garden. Mrs. Momsense is going to can vegetables, make tomato sauce, freeze things, and make pickles. Just like my grandmother used to do. And, I'm going to teach my children as well.
Stay tuned. I'm sure hilarity will ensue. Perhaps even today as we are about to put large power tools to use.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Today, I went back to work for half the day so that I could teach my English students. Keep in mind they haven't seen me in several days. Also keep in mind that the only information they were given as to my whereabouts were that I was "sick."
You know what "She's sick" + teenage thought process =?
Rumors. Yep, just like that it was 1989 again, and I was being talked about like a bad prom date.
Thankfully, I taught the juniors first, and they can always be counted on for bestial honesty. They just laid it all out. Every last horrible rumor.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. I was pregnant with triplets (which led to all kinds of naming games, wondering what the babies would look like; if they would get my personality or Coach's; if their heads would be humongous like Coach's; and on and on. I do believe there was even a mention of a baby shower.) I quickly squelched that rumor explaining that I haven't had a uterus since 1996, so that's pretty much decided.
2. I was in REHAB? (now this one was funny for one second, and then it bothered me- what do they think I do at night?) Then when I asked what I would possibly go to rehab for, they clarified and said they were talking about, and I quote, a "Serenity House" where old ladies with crazy families go to rest when they can't take anymore." Apparently they know us better than I thought- but aren't those just called spas? I wouldn't know- I've never had the pleasure.
3. I was filming a reality television show. Clearly, this is a compliment to my ability to hyperbolize the banality of our lives in writing because, really who wants to hear some woman say "AC get in the tub a million times and then continue with brush your teeth, pick up your clothes, and go to bed...seriously a million times. Every. single. night?
4. Brain Tumor. Eventually they always guess cancer. And that one's a bit sad, because our little school has had its share of cancer, so that one makes me feel a little sad.
I'm still not ready to belt out a chorus of "I Will Survive" yet, but I'm hoping I feel better each day. Tomorrow I'll try to write a bit about the comments I got on my quick and amazing weight loss!
Who needs mirrors when you have 75 teenagers?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Other things I've learned this week:
1. G thinks I timed the illness well because, and I quote, "The Oxygen channel is playing all your favorite girl movies while you're sick."
2. AC doesn't handle me being down at all and goes between hysterical laughter and crying.
3. Life goes on without you in the middle of it all the time. I'm thankful and a little sad that everyone seems to be chugging along this week even with me down and out.
4. My mother-in-law's mac and cheese is the only food that I can stomach without becoming violently ill, and so...
That, my friends, is Sunday Supper.
Tomorrow I go to the doctor and hopefully will be give an i.v. and some medicine and I'll be back as soon as I can!
We had a cold, windy, rainy Easter here in Albuquerque! The eggs got all wet but our only casualty was one Peep whose egg opened in the wind. Everyone dyed some boiled eggs (and Wes even dyed some not-boiled eggs), and then this morning I made Easter Egg German Pancake by adding a few drops of dye to a german pancake (kind of a yorkshire pudding type of thing) and swirling them around. Worked pretty well. The kids keep asking for more Pez.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Thankfully for my family, tomorrow is the grandkids Easter Egg hunt with Coach's parents and then tomorrow night we go to my parent's house for birthday dinners (mine, Coach's, and my mom's). So they will escape the fish stick and pea cuisine for now.
We've had ourselves quite a week- one that frankly, I am very happy to see go. So, here's to better days ahead!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Every night, after I tuck him in, Onyx says, "When we wake up, then we have cereal. When I grow up, I going drive all the things." If you ask him "What things?", you will get quite a list of vehicles he wants to drive -- forklift, front loader, dump truck, monster truck, garbage truck, and tractor.
Quartz always likes to give Sapphire a "good nap hug" before she goes down for a nap.