Tuesday, September 30, 2008


First of all, sorry for the little absence. M's parents were here over the weekend and then I was sick with some sort of bug. I seem to be on the mend now. But don't worry, I am still milking it for all that it is worth. (Lazy afternoons spent in bed with books to read and television to stream.)
One of the unfortunate things of running your own preschool is that when you are sick, a sick day is not really in the cards. By the time noon hit, I was done. Good thing that I only teach in the mornings. I knew I really needed some o.j., but couldn't get up the energy to even think about hitting a grocery store on the way home. But, McDonald's is right on the way and has a convenient thing called a drive-thru! (Unfortunately, this is the same MacDonald's that I was so appalled with the last time I visited. I traded in all of my morals for a large glass of o.j. and stopped there anyway.)
As I waited in line I realized I had no cash on me. Now, I know that you can use your debit card just about anywhere these days, but I really didn't want to go there for a glass of orange juice. I checked the little compartment where we toss lose change in the car. Nada. I checked my coin purse. I had a large amount of quarters, a dime, and two pennies. As I looked at the menu, I realized a large o.j. should ring up at $2.12 with tax. And that is just what I had. $2.12. Not a penny more, not a penny less.
I made my way home with large o.j. in hand and snuggled into bed under our huge down comforter for an afternoon of recovery. There are some days where you can just feel God smiling down upon you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Foodie Friday: Pork Fried Rice

For supper tonight, M and I dined on Pork Fried Rice. No, we didn't order take out. I simply whipped it up myself! I am hoping that it is a bit healthier this way and I know that it was cheaper.

I started by consulting my friend, Google. I found a recipe I was happy with on the Food Network site. Of course, I tweaked it to make it my very own. Here is what I did:

I started by getting the rice and pork ready. We have a rice cooker, which I love. So I got one cup of dry rice all set and fired the cooker up. Then I put the small pork roast in the oven.

Once the rice and roast were near completion, I scrambled two eggs in a large skillet in 1 T. sesame oil and 1 T. olive oil. Once scrambled, I removed them and added the same oil mixture again. I added 1 bunch of diced green onions, 1 cup of coleslaw mix, and 1 cup of frozen peas. I sauteed the vegetables until the peas were thawed.

I added the cooked rice and one cup of the roast that I had chopped into bite-sized pieces. Then I added 1/4 cup of black bean sauce. (This can be found in your grocer's Asian section.) To thin it out a bit, I added 3/4 cup of chicken broth. I let that mixture simmer until it was the desired consistency. Right before removing, I added the scrambled eggs.

We seasoned the rice mixture with ground pepper and soy sauce. While not quite restaurant quality, we both liked the flavor. And, hopefully cut down on the amount of sodium we ingested. (Here is the steaming hot plate of goodness.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Got Myles of Style!!

With M away for a few days at the beginning of this week it was single-girl-veg time for me. I felt so bad when he came home last night to a not so clean house. (Okay, just a little bad.) You would think without a spouse the housework would be easier to accomplish, but I opted for lazy instead of productive. (Nothing wrong with that.) Much of my time was spent on the wonderful website hulu.com. (More on this later.) There I found the HGTV show "Myles of Style" with Design Star winner, Kim Myles. Beside enjoying her decorating style, I also found myself admiring her wardrobe. Just as I was thinking, "Where does she get all of these cute dresses and swing sweaters?" There she was wearing a dress I own. A dress from--doo, doo, doo, doo--TARGET!! Now, I noticed that she wore it a bit differently than I. (She wrapped the belt back around to the front rather than tying it in the back. Clever! And she wore a cami underneath rather than adding the stretch lace at the neckline like I did.) But there it was, MY DRESS. Boy, do I feel glam now.
Here is a picture of M and I at his brother's wedding this summer. The dress I am wearing is the very dress Kim wore in the Morrocan Outdoor Area show.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Wonderful Day

Yesterday evening I decided to transfer my normal walk around the neighborhood to a park about a mile from our house. After parking the car and hooking up my soundtrack to life, my MP3 player, I headed off onto the paths and grassy fields along the river in the park. I knew it would be a good walking day when I set off, but I didn't yet know how good. It was one of those perfectly fall days where everything just seems right in the world. The sun was glinting off the freshly yellowing leaves. The sky was blue dotted with the occasional puffy white cloud. The temperature was just warm enough to leave the air feeling crisp, but not too cold. The park was buzzing with activity. There were children playing soccer, dads playing with their kids, and even runners in a race.

I so wish that I had my camera with me as I walked. I just didn't know how the day would inspire me. I thought I was going for a simple walk. (I have included some pictures taken last year around this time from the same park. The other peeps in the first pic are M's sister and my sister.) You will just have to try and recreate my day in your own mind's eye.

I truly hope that each and everyone of you can revel your own wonderful fall day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I like to think of myself as a woman of taste. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I can often be found commenting on other's lack of taste. I mostly focus on people I don't know so that I can go about this commenting with a clear conscience. If I know you, I probably won't judge you as I dislike confrontation and avoid it at all cost.

I recently stumbled across the blog, Cake Wrecks. I believe that the author, Jen, and I are kindred spirits. We both go through life unabashedly doling out advice on taste. However, her advice is solely aimed at those in the cake decorating business and is a bit more public than my own. And truth be told, the cake decorating business is not an area in which I consider myself an expert. I can think of many cakes I decorated in my youth that would make an easy target for Jen. (This is before I learned some important truths in the cake decorating world. #1) Never mix frosting the color of toothpaste. #2) A masterpiece cannot be made with a Ziplock bag minus the tip. #3) A recipe book is your friend.)

If you find yourself looking for a good laugh, jump on over to Jen's blog. (Warning: You may find yourself craving cake with one inch thick whipped topping after visiting.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Parade?

Nothing says a parade like five sleepy children, one pregnant woman ready to go into labor, and one puking child. (Believe it or not, this is not the puking child.)

Yup, that about sums up my Saturday! We entered a float in a local parade to publicize the preschool I run. As this was our third year, we assumed we would be seasoned veterans.

For example, I learned my lesson last year that making preschoolers walk from the preschool to the float is not a good idea. (But it did make them sit nicely in the float once the parade had started.)

I have also learned to never turn down an extra set of adult hands. The more we can outnumber the kids, the better.

Well, the preschoolers were bopping around the float in the line up giddy with excitement and waiting for the parade to start. By the time we hit the actual route, it was apparent that 1 o'clock is preschool napping time and there would limited waving coming from our float. (I did have one former preschooler, now promoted to kindergarten, who waved like a champ. That is him on the left.)

We made it through the parade and even got back to the preschool. (Not an easy feat with the streets on both sides closed for the parade.) I only had two preschoolers left waiting for their parents. (Interestingly enough these two had just been dropped off at the float sans adult. I thought I had clearly stated that each child be accompanied by an adult. Hmmmm.) I had gotten them some water and Houston, we had a problem. There was one of the preschoolers puking her little guts out. Luckily for me, grandpa swooped in and carried her off to his car. (After she got the carpet and my pants . . . such is the life of a preschool teacher. The picture to the right was taken prior to puking.) After tracking down the other girl's mom and grandma, I could officially call it a day.

At least I could go home a veg out the remaining portion of the day. I found out this morning that one of the moms who HAD accompanied her daughter in the parade went into labor that night and delivered a healthy baby boy. (The picture to the right was taken prior to delivering her fourth child.)

Wow! Who doesn't love a parade?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Foodie Friday--BLT and G Pizza

Let me preface this post with an honest disclaimer. We did not eat the BLT and G Pizza today. (I actually made this for supper two nights ago.) Today we dined on Whopper Value Meals from Burger King. This is what happens to good people when time runs short and they are hungry. (Both M and I are in much better spirits now that our bellies are filled with fast food greasy goodness. Yum!) And now on to our previously scheduled posting.

The original idea for this rrecipe was found in the Rachael Ray Magazine. It was titled "Bacon-Avocado Griddle Pizzas." And while I am sure that it was a great original recipe, I have never made it following her directions. Those of you who know me well, know that I can't follow a recipe. I need to be creative in the kitchen. If I don't have one ingredient, I need to be able to substitute another. That is the way I roll. I am not faulting anyone out there who is a recipe follower. As a preschool teacher I know the importance of being able to follow directions. However, I don't always see the importance of direction following in MY life. And now, if you have followed me thus far, the recipe.

I always start by making the guacamole for the "sauce." I have tried many gauc recipes and have found that I can not come close to the delicious flavor they have managed to harness and package in the store dry mix variety. So, I grab a few good avocados, a packet of our favorite gauc mix, and proceed.

After the gauc is on its way, I cut up a pint of cherry (or grape) tomatoes. Depending on the size, I either halve or quarter them. I then mix a few diced green onions in with the tomatoes along with salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar. (These are all done according to taste. Just remember that a little vinegar goes a long way and you don't want a strong vinegar flavor to over-power the rest of the pizza.)

Now, as the flavors are melding, you can take a break. After all that work, you deserve one.

About 20 minuted before eating, you will want to make the crust for the pizza. That is if you turn to your handy little friend in a yellow box, Bisquick. I simply follow a dough recipe from the great Bisquick recipe stash and away I go. Mix baking mix with water, spread on a corn meal sprinkled baking stone, and bake until golden brown. (If you feel the need to make your dough in another manner, feel free. Remember, I don't follow recipes. So, why should you?)

I allow the crust to cool a bit while I bake up some bacon to chop into bite sized pieces.

Onto assembly. Spread the guacamole on the crust. Top with shredded lettuce, tomato mix, and bacon. (Don't fret over extra toppings, they can all go on to glorious second lives. Check out the first Foodie Friday post for proof.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Third Time's the Charm

I went and got my haircut today . . . for the third time in as many weeks. It just wasn't looking right. The second time I went back to the same lady as the first time, my usual beautician. She did a free re-cut, but after a few days I still wasn't digging it. It would always be fine when I left the salon and then when I went to do it myself, not much cool. Today I went to a different salon and took a chance with a walk-in. I feel like Lindsey and I bonded. We both live in the same part of town so there were many things to talk about there. She also commented that our hair type was similar, thin but lots of it. (This is how I always describe my hair!!!) We will see how I feel about it tomorrow after I do it myself, but for now I am happy with it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


These pictures show:

A) A hunk of metal and miscellaneous parts that should be in the junk yard

B) A work of modern art depicting our reliance on oil and consumables

C) What happens when you have an older car and are too cheap to take it to the mechanic when it breaks down

D) An act of vandalism in our garage

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If You Go Down in the Woods Today . . .

. . .you're sure for a big surprise.
While we may not have been surprised by what we saw on our Friday excursion, we did have a wonderful time in the woods and prairie. After loading up the picnic and driving to the state park, we started off on a 5 mile hike. A few miles in we came across this cute little bird watching hut. It had three walls and on the wall facing the lake there were all kinds of windows cut out to watch the birds. There were even little benches to sit on and a little broom to sweep. (Just in case you felt the need for some light house keeping.)
After watching the ducks stick there little butts in the air for a while, we were off again. As we walked we talked about how we never see many wild animals while we are out hiking. And then around a bend in the trail, there was a fox partially hidden in some tall grasses just off the trail. (Now I know you can't really see it in the picture, but you will just have to take my word for it. Look at the lone tree on the hill and then look for the lighter spot below and to the left. That is the fox. Or you can just use this picture to admire what a wonderful afternoon we had for a hike.)

While most of the trees are still green, a few random leaves had started to turn. This is supposed to be an excellent park to go to for the change of colors and I could see why. The hills were thick with hardwood trees and I could just imagine them alive with a patchwork of fall colors. M and I have an obsession with taking detailed photos of leaves, so here is one I caught on this trip. (I am thinking that someday I will print and frame them and put them in our master bath. )
At the trail center, we found a birdie to be our friend. He even agreed to have a few photos taken. :o)

After working up an appetite it was time for our picnic. They had just built this great shelter at the park. And while we sat outside on a table, we talked about what a great shelter it would be for a party. (They even had an industrial sink and counter set up in a back room. Very nice for a state park.)

The picnic area was right by a small trail to the top of one of the hills. It seems as if everyone who comes to this park hikes this trail and we didn't want to be left out. So up we went. Part way up M found this old piece of farming equipment and of course he had to investigate to see what it could have been. Amazingly enough, it stumped the farm-boy/engineer in him.

What a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon.
**Bonus Points: Try to identify the song from which I took the title and what the next line of the song is. And how about we don't use our friend Google.**

Friday, September 12, 2008

Foodie Friday: Chicken Salad

M and I are off to enjoy what could well be one of the last summery days around here. We were going to take one last camping trip for the summer, but with a busy schedule we are now just heading to a state park for the afternoon. (Our weekends start early around here as we both have Friday afternoons off.)

We are currently preparing a yummy picnic supper to be enjoyed in the park. M is cooking up some cut chicken breasts that we will make into chicken salad for sandwiches. (A little Bowl of Cherrys tip: We always add a splash of whatever clear liquor we have on hand when cooking chicken. This makes for really tender chicken.) The celery and onions are already chopped. (Now, if I were the only one eating this, I would add some cubed white cheese, but since I will have to share with M, we will go sans cheese on this one.) Then we mix the chicken, celery, onions, mustard, mayo, and a little bit of dill pickle juice. The picnic cooler will also be filled with apple slices and pita chips. I'll see if I can't nab a few shots of the actual picnic.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

For the Love of Louis

Does the name Louis L'Amour ring any bells.

Hmm, nothing, huh? Don't worry, before I met M it meant nothing to me, either. Since I now consider myself somewhat of an expert, I'll catch you up to speed. Louis L'Amour is a mid to late nineteenth century author who mainly wrote Western fiction. Okay that is the short and sweet version and all that you should need to know today. If you care to find out more, feel free to turn to our trusted friend, Google.
Louis and M go way back. Before there was me, there was Louis. M can spend hours with Louis and never grow tired of his company. It is M's goal in life to collect all of Louis' works. (No small task, as he has written around 100 books.)
Although I am an avid reader, I always told M that I had no need for his Louis. I am not a Western fiction kind of gal. (And I thought it would kind of be fun to just be stubborn about it. Hey, I get my jollies where I can.) Last summer, however, when M and I were on a camping trip I broke my strike and read my first Louis. And besides a little confusion about the book being short stories, I have to admit that I enjoyed the book and read another and another and another.
Well, M dug out his box of Louis the other evening. (That is the Louis that we have. Some are still being stored at his parents' house.) And although he has read them all before (numerous times), he has since plowed through many of the books in the box. And, truth be told, if you were to look in on our house any evening this week, you would find both of us curled up with our good old friend Louis.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's a Matter with Kids These Days?

While working on an art project with my preschoolers today, I was reminded again how much kids have changed since my childhood. We were working on gluing with liquid glue and some of them would absolutely freak out if they got glue on their hands. I told them not to worry; We would wash our hands when we were all done, but to no avail. One little girl wanted nothing more to do with the project once a drop of glue made its way onto her finger.
Since when do kids not like to get messy?!!! That should be your top priority as a kid. Get messy, check. Play all day long, check. Not have a care in the world, check.
Now, I never remember going as far as eating glue, but I do recall many fun things that I would do with glue to occupy my time while in grade school. I remember making glue warts on my hands. The trick with these was to let the glue harden before it was bumped or touched. That way you could have the utmost satisfaction in peeling the glue off at the end. I remember filling my markers with glue and for one glorious day being able to write with colored glue. Once the day was over, the marker was ruined for good. (Could be why my mom wouldn't buy me the Crayolas.)
I also remember many other wonderful days spent getting messy as a child. I remember riding our bikes to the park after a good rain, taking our shoes off and squishing in the mud. I remember playing all day long in grandpa's barn and coming in at night covered in dust and hay. I remember building wonderful sand cities complete with water in the sandbox. What I don't remember is ever letting a little messy get in my way of having a good time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Belated Foodie Friday: Ice Cream Topping

I was so excited about my pumpkin latte yesterday that I forgot about my Foodie Friday post. I even had this one all ready to go. So, one day late, but so worth trying. Without further ado, I present to you an at home Magic Shell ice cream topping.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter (this helps to make it harden when put on the ice cream), half a cup of chocolate chips, and a few tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave. (Make sure to stir frequently so as not to burn the chocolate.) Once the mixture is melted, stir in a few tablespoons of oat meal. (My friend who told me about this treat said that the oatmeal makes it healthy. :o) Spoon onto your favorite ice cream and enjoy.

M and I have been enjoying this with a gallon of vanilla ice cream. This pictures were taken last weekend when my sister and husband were here; She scooped the ice cream while M snapped the photos.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fall in a Cup

This morning I was able to stop by Caribou on my way to work and get my first pumpkin latte of the season. Hmmmm. Nothing says fall like pumpkin spice treats. While I wouldn't mind a few more nice summer days, I totally love fall. It would be hard for me to live anywhere that didn't have "real" seasons.
The air here has definitely taken on a fall feel. Now if only they would come and connect our gas line so that we can turn the heat on. We haven't needed it yet, but just the thought that I can't turn any heat on scares me. Call me weird, but I like to be warm and cozy when I am inside my home. When I talked to the builder the other day about this issue, the receptionist told me that they are working on it. She said if it wasn't done by Monday to give her a call. I am hoping that I don't have to make that call as the projected lows for the week are all in the mid to lower 40s. Brrrr.
Good thing we have our love to keep us warm! :o)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Out with the Old and in with the Carmen

I have been dreaming of this day for months and now it is finally here. We have made a new addition to our family. Scratch that, make that two new additions to our family. Our new, new sofa and chair were delivered an hour ago and they look stunning.

And here, as they say, is the rest of the story. Rewind a few months and you will see M and I scouring every furniture store in town looking for new living room furniture. You see, the hand-me-down love seat from my parents just wasn't feeling so good anymore and our spines were getting molded into a permanent "S" from too much time on the Wal-Mart futon. I don't know how many sofas, chairs, and love seats our seats sat in trying to find "the one." I felt like Goldilocks. "This chair is too soft. This sofa is too modern. This set is just plain ugly." And then there was Carmen living room set from Bauhaus. "This sofa is just right and look at the nice matching chair."

Over the next few months we would go back and visit Carmen, just happy to spend some time sitting with her--err on her. We would sit and dream of the day Carmen would be ours in the color of Chestnut Brown. And when the time would come for us to go and Carmen to stay we would drown our sorrows with a complimentary cookie and drink. Now that is furniture shopping in style.

After moving into the house, we knew it was time to bring Carmen into our lives for good. We had put the futon downstairs and now all that remained to sit on was the love seat. And when you first found yourself on the love seat you thought, "This isn't so bad. We can make do with this for a bit." After five minutes, however, reality set in in the form of a back ache.

We went to the furniture store with a mission in mind--bring home Carmen. Of course when you change the color of the floor model, you don't get to bring your furniture home that day. In fact, you are told that you may have to wait up to 90 days. (Oh, the back aches one can experience in 90 days.) But, at the 30 day mark you receive the call that Carmen is coming home.

Two burly men dropped them off this afternoon and it had been shear lounging pleasure ever since.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Miley Mania

I don't think that I stand alone when I say this. (If I do, please just leave me in the dark. I would really rather not know.) Okay, so here it goes . . . I don't get the whole Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus hysteria. Phew, that feels good.
I don't understand why a whole section of my local department store has been taken over completely by HM/MC merchandise. (The women's clothing department no less. That hurts.)
I don't understand why prepubescent girls scream at the mere mention of the HM/MC name.
And finally, today, the last straw has been dealt. Today one of my preschoolers who can't pick her name out from the class list, who won't listen to me until I say something for the third or fourth time, who is usually off in her own little world, this little preschooler shows me her shoes and points out that on one side is Hannah Montana and on the other is Miley Cyrus. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
One question, what ever happened to Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Summer Vacation

Well, it is back to school for me today. It was a great summer filled with lots and family and fun. As with all great things, it is done all too quickly and leaves me wanting more. Here is a quick recap of this summer's greatest hits.

1. We started out with a wonderful weekend of camping at Lake Bemidji State Park where we put on lots of trail miles on our bikes. (Some of those miles involved getting rained and hailed on.)

2. In mid June we headed out for M's brother's wedding. It was the first time all of M's family had been together in over a year and we made the most of it. There was eating, dancing, picnicking, bonfiring and lots of talking. Here is a picture of M and his brothers at the wedding.

3. It was then off to school for me. I stayed with my parents for 8 days as I took an 3 credit course. It was the first time I took a for-credit course since I graduated 7 years ago. It went well and left me thinking I wouldn't mind going back for more. (Here is our family's traditional first day of school shot on the front steps.)

4. While home I got to welcome back my younger sister from over a month in South America. I made her this monkey cake on the day she flew in. (Aren't they cute?)

5. Next on the calendar was my older sister's wedding. Another great reunion with family reunion and celebration of God's gift of marriage. Even though the day was rather warm and sticky, we partied it up in true style. In this picture you can tell that M and I are a little worn out and a little sweaty, but still having fun.

6. When we returned, it was time to paint the house. We spent many hot hours painting five rooms, but it is worth it. I love the colors that we picked and I loved painting without having to worry about the trim and the floors.

7. Before we knew it, it was moving time. We started out moving a van load of boxes at a time and then my parents came and helped us finish it off. We even epoxied the garage floor before we drove on it.

8. The final joy of the summer is the visitors that we have been able to have now that we have a house. My parents have made it twice, M's sister came, my older sister and her hubby were just here, and some college friends who were in town for a family wedding stayed over night. (And there are more scheduled for this fall. YEAH!!)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

To me, nothing beats a good old lazy summer day. A day with infinite possibilities, but no real schedule. This weekend my sister and her husband came to see our new house and just hang out. After a relaxed Saturday morning start we hit a local frisbee golf course which we followed with a picnic in the park. After enjoynig some yummy sandwiches, fresh fruit, and chips we just lazed about in the grass soaking up the summer. Ahhh . . .