Monday, September 29, 2008
For Monday, September 29, 2008
Outside my window...crickets are loudly chirping creating a creepy surround sound. Think Alford Hitchcock's "The Birds" but with crickets. This might be a sign we need more insulation in our walls.
I am thinking...about reorganizing my attick, gutting out one of our bathrooms, demolitioning our kitchen down to the studs and subfloors, and builing a new shed. I nest in the fall and I am feeling like I had caffeine today even though I am quite sure I didn't.
I am thankful for...this peaceful time in our lives. A friend came over today to drop off her three year old for a play date and then off she went with her 9 year old homeschooler and two month old infant. Homeschooling, preschooler, and infant...need I say more? Of course I'll say more, this is me we are talking about! Her recap of the morning left my head spinning. Savannah and I can lounge around playing all day in our jammies and still have time to clean up our mess before Mark gets home. Dare I say it? We are in an easy phase of life right now. Infants are undoubtedly a blessing but I am thankful for the laid back pace we are experiencing right now.
From the kitchen...fresh groceries awaiting their assignment.
I am wearing...my pajamas, a yellow cami top with matching yellow boy shorts. Barefoot.
I am going...to work for a little bit tomorrow and then later we have a mom's night out scheduled.
I am reading...I just finished a book about getting organized this weekend. I am happy to say that I already do most of the things in the book. I am sad to say the things I don't do, I REALLY don't do! My house is organized and clutter free until you enter my office. I can't explain what happens in that room. Beyond the office door a chaotic force takes over smothers all reason and organization. It is now my mission to overcome the chaotic force that dominates this area of my home. I shall fight it with paper clips, timely filing, and a large trash bag.
I am creating...a M-O costume. I could write a whole post on my daughter and I's roller coaster ride to the decision of what to be for Halloween, and I probably will later. But, for now I will tell you she wants to be M-O from WALL-E. He's not a main character. He's not even one of the more featured ancillary characters. But, Savannah loves him.
I am hoping...that my dear friend will start to feel better mentally and that she will reach out when she needs me. I am always here.
I am hearing...the air conditioner now drowning out the creepy crickets. Oh, I still hear those little guys, just not as life threatening loud as it was before.
Around the house...all is pretty calm, besides the crickets. I am about to take a break and put Savannah to bed. The cats are snoozing. Everything is clean and put away except for the last folded load of laundry. All is well here in Peteetville.
One of my favorite things...is fall. It's more refreshing to me than any other season. Bright colours, the smell of wood burning (Centerville), crisp cool air, football, tons of holidays around the corner, family reunions, apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon fill these too few months. I don't know why but fall seems like a fresh start and every year I anticipate it more and more.
I am laughing at...the full page devoted to last week's karaoke MOPs meeting in today's news paper. Wouldn't you know my group is the first picture. We are in full costume and posed in the "Y" position for the classic karaoke song, YMCA. My group is AWESOME! And by the way, I don't pee in the shower. But, I figure as an infant I probably peed in the bathrub so it counts. If that statement seems puzzling to you, you should really come to MOPs this year!
A few plans for the rest of the week...Awana, school, work, play dates, lunch with a friend, date night...the usual stuff. I can't think of anything out of the ordinary.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...Maroon Bells outside of Aspen, fall 2004. Savannah was a mere tadpole swimming around in my fishbowl of a uterus. It was around this time we nicknamed our little swimming fetus, Nemo.
Peaceful beauty. The pic. Our lives.
Friday, September 26, 2008
My solution to this almost weekly query is pizza night. No, not delivery. I'm talkin' homemade. The good stuff. I start with homemade dough (recipe below) which is quick to make but it does take time to rise. When Savannah goes down for a nap, I use the first 10 minutes to whip up the dough. We prefer a thin crust so I divide the dough in 1/2 and throw the other 1/2 in the freezer where is sits like a superhero awaiting another weeknight dinner emergency.
Now for the best part, the toppings. This is how I clean out my fridge! Usually I start with whatever pesto I have around ( regular or sun dried tomato are always stocked in my pantry or freezer) and spread it over the crust. I'll roast or saute whatever veggies I have in the house (I like roasted bell peppers and steamed broccoli but I'll use just about any veggie in the fridge) and then I add the cheese. Sometimes I use a parmigiano reggiano, ricotta, or I'll just sprinkle a little feta on. If I have fresh mozzarella on hand I will use it with just picked basil leaves, sauteed garlic, and straight out of the garden tomatoes.
For another favorite of mine, skip the pesto and brush crust with olive oil and minced garlic. Slice fresh tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. Throw on a few basil leaves and top with shredded smoked gouda.
There are a ton of possible combinations so use whatever you have on hand.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
Stir in olive oil and salt into yeast mixture. Then stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour.
Need dough on floured surface for about 10 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a slightly light damp towel. Place in a warm place for about an hour until dough has doubled.
When dough has doubled, punch dough down. Divide into 2 pieces if you want 2 thin crust or leave as one if you want thick crust. Form dough into a tight ball (or 2 tight balls) and let rise again in a warm place until doubled. About 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out dough and then drape it across your fists to stretch it out a bit more.
Brush with olive oil and add desired toppings.
Bake for 16-20 minutes until crust is thick.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
For Thursday, September 25, 2008
Outside my window...the sun is rising to let me know I should be getting my day started instead of blogging.
I am thinking... of my projects for the day. We recently painted the outside of our house but we have not painted the shed in our backyard. That's my goal today. I am also thinking "yippee! I don't have to get dressed today!"
I am thankful for...the fact that Savannah just crawled into my lap to cuddle while I blog.
From the kitchen...I tried homemade pasta again. Last night's dinner featured a whole chicken that simmered in white wine, many spices, and fresh rosemary all of which were contained in my crock pot for the day, and homemade pumpkin raviolis with a sage sauce drizzled over them. A sundry of delicate flavors filled our plates and tickled our taste buds. Today, I will utilize the leftover chicken carcass to make an out-of-this-world-and-not-even-comparable-to-store-bought broth.
I am wearing...pajama pants, a T-shirt, unbrushed freshly tousled hair (but my teeth are brushed!), and a smile.
I am creating...hummm, I just finished creating posters for the "Biggest Loser" game I am playing with my clients. I am painting today, but nothing creative. I guess I am taking the day off from creating. Hey, even God took a day of rest after creating! Oh wait, I am creating a great broth on my stove that will simmer all day developing a myraid of flavors.
I am going...to drop Savannah off at school and then straight back home! I am looking forward to a much needed day at home. That has not happened in a couple of weeks.
I am reading...nothing! I finished Tale of Two Cities and it remains timeless. Beautifully written literature never ages. There are layers in this book that lend it to be read time and time again with new discoveries in each viewing. Tears come to my eyes just thinking about the last line. "It is a far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." OK, now I am crying and I don't cry!
I am hearing...Savannah dump all of her dress up jewelry onto the hardwood floors. It's quite loud.
Around the house...many things need to be done yet, I am sitting here blogging in jammies. I have had a sore throat and a sprained wrist this week so many things have been left unattended to.
One of my favorite things...is zumba. I was planning on going tonight with Lee Ann but if I paint all day and my head and throat feel like crud again, I may not. Over the summer I stopped going so, I was really looking forward to going tonight. Hopefully, I will be there and feeling great!
A few plans for the rest of the week...well, the week is almost over. We are staying home this weekend and that's exciting. We have a few play dates in the works and projects around the house.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
In the picture below Mom, Doug, and Savannah are laughing as one of the dinosaurs spits water at unsuspecting museum patrons.
The T-rex below was the biggest dinosaur. I can't believe more kids were not scared of him. Maybe they haven't seen Land Before Time!
The petting zoo that followed the dino trail was quite an adventure as well. Savannah's favorite was the cute little pigglets. She begged to stay in there and love on the animals all day. She also suggested we buy a donkey, pig, goat, and lama for our backyard.
This was a sweet little goat but he had a bigger and more aggressive friend who almost knocked both of us down.
Notice little Peetie down there butting my leg? He was a little toot!
The museum is also a wildlife refuge with several exotic animals from South America. The wildlife trail ended with a butterfly exhibit.
At least she didn't ask for a pet dinosaur! She did ask why there were not real dinosaurs there and why the animatronic dinosaurs weren't just bones like in her book. We are always learning...
We enjoyed the beautiful grounds fully during our picnic lunch and then were off to check out the last of the exhibits. Inside Savannah got to dig for fossils, which was great because we had been reading a book about that, walk through a giant snake, and see bees making honey. Honey is one of her absolute most favorite things on earth. So, this was a big deal!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In my defense I must say this isn't just any toy store. They carry every novelty toy you see in boutique shops and unique children's magazines, but they are all under one roof. And these four Mommas were in heaven! We all bought our kiddos something and it took much restraint not to buy more! For my little munchkin I found chopsticks for kids. This will solve an ongoing frustration for Savannah at the dinner table. She refuses to eat with a fork if we are eating with chopsticks yet she struggles coordinating the two sticks. Food is usually stabbed or creatively scooped into her mouth with a great mess left behind. She is going to flip out with excitement next time we cook Asian and I hand her these easy to use and adorable chopsticks.
With our exploration of the toy store complete so was our night and we all hugged and went our separate ways. I arrived back at Mom and Doug's house to find it empty and that's when I realized I am getting old. My daughter stayed out later than me.
Savannah's night out centered around her first trip to the Superdrome to watch Pee paw (Doug) compete. Off to the races Grandma (my mom)and Savannah went with much curiosity and anticipation.
Savannah enjoyed watching the kids race and now states she is ready to learn how to ride her bike so she can race!
She did see one wreck and she freaked out just a little until she realized Peeps wasn't in it (he had a bad wreck this spring). Once she knew Peeps was OK she said, "Somebody's gonna have some boo boos."
Their arrival home, much later than mine, was announced by Savannah's constant energized chattering. Although it was long past her bedtime, she was wired and eager to tell me all about her night on the town. Something tells me we will be heading back to the track soon.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Our first stop at the Aquarium was the Mayan Grill. Quick dinning review: surprisingly good food (Not like last time when I ate at another restaurant in the aquarium. However, that was 12 years ago), appropriate price (Similar food cost as eating at the zoo but here you actually get good food! Wow, something other than a hamburger is served???? Can it be???), and beautiful view of the indoor rain forest while you eat. I recommend the cheviche. Y'all know I am a big lime fan and cannot pass this dish up! Savannah liked it as well.
For the duration of this trip Savannah decided to pose as silly as she could. Just a warning for the pics ahead. Below, she is showing her excitement for the theme of the restaurant. Note, there is a fish on her cup. This brought great joy.
Every view in the aquarium was gorgeous.
I am sensing a little fear in her stance.
This was a "Momma, take my picture" moment.
Wow, Momma is actually in a picture! Somebody get a camera!
This aquarium was awesome! The manatee were huge and we always love a good sea turtle.
This is the first shark tank I have experienced that took my breath away. The sun shining through the rainforest and down into the water took the edge of the man eating creatures swimming around us.
OK, back to my child being crazy. Notice treasured Savannah bear is not accompanying Savannah. Meet Care Bear. She is Savannah Bear's best friend and they prefer to go everywhere together. But Savannah Child's parents vetoed this idea. I will not be keeping up with 2 bears in public!
Good colour in this shot.
At the end of journey lays the gift shop. And what does every little girl want from a gift shop? Well, my little girl always wants a snake. This is our first girly snake. She is hot pink but notice how long she is...
...she moonlights as an Indiana Jones whip. Look out!
After several hours of exploration our aquatic loving spawn was fast asleep before we hit the highway. Note that Savannah Bear is safely back in her arms.
Our nap provided just enough energy for another stop. Off to Nannie and Pa's house we went to await the arrival of A.J. on her birthday. Notice the whip like motion of the snake. Beware!
Surprise! Does anyone else notice that she smiles before she acts surprised? Could it be she she foresaw our announcement?
After this stop our day was complete. We hung out with Nannie and Pa, A.J., Dot-Dean, Betty Pearl and her new husband. Of course Grandma was there too. And in keeping with tradition, Savannah had an ice cream cone. Mark chased Nannie around the house with the rubber snake. Yes, I saw my grandmother run and she was fast! All in all, I would say that is a good day for us evacuees!
By Wednesday morning we were back on tack again but parts of our neighborhood still do not have power. When I go running I hurdle several fallen power lines along the way. This storm is bringing out the best in our neighborhood though. As I ran on Tuesday a stranger stopped me to offer their generator. They got a motor coach which has a self contained generator and they were eager to share their resources with someone who needed them.
I am glad we saw the best of people in our town through the storm instead of it bringing out the worst. What a comfort to know the character of the people we live amongst.
Ok, now I am done posting about Ike. It's over. The end.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
For Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Outside my window... a freshly mowed lawn awaits my bare feet. Mark spent the day removing the storm debris from our yard and it now it looks beautiful. In a few moments we are going to spend a little time outside and enjoy the evening but for now, a hummingbird is buzzing flower to flower collecting little sips.
I am thinking...how good it is to be home and have it in one piece!
I am thankful for...the statement above and our safe-keeping during the storm.
From the kitchen...the rank smell of rotting food that I cleaned out of a warm refrigerator. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but true.
I am wearing...black capri workout pants, purple shirt, and reefs. Nothing I wouldn't mind throwing away if the food mentioned above should come in contact with it!
I am creating...new photos as I play with my amazing new toy mentioned in the previous post.
I am going...out of town again soon!
I am reading...Tale of Two Cities...still. One would think I would have had plenty of time over the weekend to finish the book but we socialized and visited all weekend. Nothing wrong with that.
I am hoping...that more words come to me because this may be my most boring post ever. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I am never this short and to the point. I must be tired.
I am hearing...Mark rounding up Savannah for bath time and Savannah is begging that he not pull off her band-aid. (Wow, that was a pretty boring statement too!)
Around the house...things are clean, swept and put back in order now that we are home again. There is no sign that Ike was ever here inside or out.
One of my favorite things...is going for a walk which I am going to do when I am through with this post. I am ready to enjoy the cool evening air.
Plans for the rest of the week...Awanas, work, school for Savannah, and then Savannah and I have a big weekend planned.
I am laughing...at the irony that it is very cool tonight now that we have AC. It is cool enough that even Savannah's closed up room can be cooled down just by having Mark and I's windows open.
Monday, September 15, 2008
We are warm weather loving household so our house is not kept very cool to begin with. After a couple of hours without power in humid warm temperatures, it became obvious what a hot miserable night we had ahead of us. Mark and I paced back and forth trying to decide if we needed to evacuate to Dallas. The wind was no longer terrifying but still high. Then there was the rain and dark of night to combat.
We called Grandma and Peeps to let them know they may have house guests and they checked the radar and road conditions for us. After much stress and contemplation, we packed a few things in the dark of night and left for an indefinite amount of time.
Sunday we made the best of it knowing it could be several days before power was back on. We slept late (in air conditioning praise the Lord!), Grandma cooked a big breakfast, and later we all jotted over to Best Buy. Perhaps it was post tropical storm stress that caused us then to buy a new Cannon DSI ESLR (A.K.A. very nice digital camera) and an awesome telephoto lens. Peeps must have been feeling the stress too because he bought a new LCD flat screen. Ike was turning out to be a very expensive hurricane.
We came back to Grandma's and played with our new toys while Savannah napped. We had called home earlier in the day and the answering machine came on so we knew we had power but we were having a good time and in no hurry to get home.
Finally, we headed home and arrived around 7pm only to find the power was out again. Since 1pm! Our house had been without electricity again all day and if we had known we could have stayed in Dallas. The amount of frustration Mark and I felt can not be put into nice words so I will just leave it at that.
We were tired, it was getting dark, and Mark and I, as I stated above, were frustrated. We thought about pitching a tent since it was cooler outside. But it was already getting dark and we were too tired anyway. So, we grabbed more clothes and headed back to Dallas! Yes, 45 minutes after arriving home from Dallas, we left again. Mark and I just had to laugh about the situation.
Once back in Dallas, we decided to make it a mini-vacation which I will blog and post pics about soon. We called our house late this afternoon and the power is back on yet again. If it is still on tomorrow morning we will probably go home.
It's easy to be frustrated about the inconveniences and wasted time that we could have been having fun instead of driving back and forth but it's not worth it. I told Mark, we can't change our circumstances but we can change our attitude toward them. He said it sounded like something "management" would say but he knew it was true. Thus, the mini-vacation continued after a 6 hour interruption of driving.
Tonight when Savannah and I prayed before bed, we thanked God for these few days to relax (minus the hours of driving back and forth) and have fun with friends and family. We are grateful to have an undamaged home to return too. What frustration and stress we endured are nothing compared to the people on the coast and we are thankful for that.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
1 bag buttered pop corn, popped
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup cranberries
1 cup mixed nut
Before I get started with this recipe, I must state a disclaimer. Although the name of this snack has "trail mix" in it and the recipe is being posted by a registered dietitian, it is NOT a health food. However, it is oh so good and highly requested! To put it into perspective, it is better than some snacks (such as little debbies) but not as good as others (such as cranberries and nuts that are not covered in white chocolate).
Once popcorn is popped, pour into a large bowl and make sure all kernels are removed. Add nuts and cranberries. Mix well.
Then melt white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals stirring in between until melted and creamy. Pour melted chocolate over popcorn mixture and stir until well coated.
Dump mixture on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let cool until hardened and then break up into pieces. Store in airtight container up to 3 days.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Savannah was so excited she looked as though she would pop! I brought her shirt (her substitution for a blankie) and Savannah Bear but they were far from that little girl's mind. She showed no fear as she walked into the mall.
After climbing into The Chair, I gave her Savannah Bear just in case. Still, Savannah was all smiles. She posed for pictures as her attendant pinned back her hair in preparation for the ear impaling.
Once everything was in place and the ears had been prepped, fear begin to seep into Savannah's mind. But still she sat there awaiting the "noodle" that would pierce her ears and open the gate from toddler-land into girlhood.
In spite of the look on her face in the pic below, she still did not want to turn back.
Pop! And one ear was pierced. Why not do them at the same time? Long story, but to make it quick, the other woman in the store was not available. This was a BIG mistake!!! Savannah cried. I guess the "noodle" hurt her more than she thought it would. Her first post ear ring proclamation was that there will be no second ear ring under any circumstances. She was irate.
The lovely and patient attendant showed her all the beautiful ear rings in the store and was quick to point out that they come in pairs only. They sell no single ear rings. That led to the next 30 minutes of our lives being spent picking out a pair of ear rings to purchase after the second ear is pierced. Do you know how many shiny, glittery, bright ear rings Claire's carries? I tried to hurry the process along by showing her one set that had 3 pairs of ear rings. They were adorable tiny turtles, frogs, and bugs and Savannah's face turned white with panic. "Momma, I don't want to get my ears pierced that many times!!!" After laughing, I explained that they were pairs, you only wear two at a time.
The bribery of more ear rings did not appear to be working so the attendant and a store manager now helping decided to get out the suckers. At this point Savannah began enjoying the attention and had the ladies singing songs to her as she laughed.
We encouraged Savannah to eat the sucker while we ever so softly puncture the other ear. This tactic was a failure as well. Finally the sweet and patient attendant said, "How do you feel about holding her down?" Quickly I replied, "I got her, " and I grabbed her. She screamed for a second, kicked the lovely attendant in the gut and then relaxed. Pop. The second ear was done. She sat in my lap in silence. There were no tears.
It was then my turn to worry. "Are you glad you did it? " I asked. She looked up at me and smiled, "Yes."
Holding my child down while screaming was not what I pictured for this momentus mother-daughter moment but her sweet smile, and Great American Cookie afterwards was worth it.