Thursday, April 29, 2010

Onion Rings

As I was walking through the frozen vegetable aisle of HEB, something caught my eye.

Onion rings.

I bought them.

I put them in the oven.

I ate them.

Not all of them, but a fair amount.

It took me back to another time.

I was with Mema and Papa. It was summer. We were in the pick-up. I didn't have on shoes.

We stopped at the Dairy Queen.

It was there that I had my first onion ring.

I was only four. But I remember sitting at the table across from my grandparents. We each had our own hamburger in a red plastic basket. Mema had a Coke, Papa and I had vanilla shakes.

We all shared a basket of rings.

I couldn't finish my burger or vanilla shake.

And those onion rings? They were all gone.

But they remain fixed in my brain. Forever.

Do you have any fond food memories?

(I know you do.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Future Na'vi Warrior

We watched Avatar for the first time this weekend.

I know. We are in that group of maybe ten people that didn't go see it on the big screen.

The Boy was instantly entranced.

It had everything a movie needs to hold his attention: soldiers, guns, tanks, choppers, strange creatures, blue aliens, bows & arrows, flying dragons, explosions.

Imagine his delight when one of these happened to land on him the next day.

He has now started referring to himself as The Chosen One.

OK, Jack Sully. Keep that spirit pure.

Avatar has remained on the brain.

Last week his teacher sent a note home asking us to save everything that we would normally recycle and send it to school to be used for an in-class project.

Yesterday they used these materials to construct something of their choosing. They were limited to the recyclables that they had collected and some Scotch-tape.

This is what The Boy engineered.

What is it you ask?

An Avatar helicopter, of course.


Absolutely brilliant.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I made things easy this week. Everything is tried and true. Carefree cooking is welcomed with open arms.

Sunday: picnic fare

Monday: sloppy joes, oven potatoes with rosemary, salad

Tuesday: grilled chicken thighs, grilled vegetable salad, fresh tomatoes

Wednesday: fish fillets, macaroni and cheese, peas, carrots

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: tacos, black beans, guacamole, tomatoes

I told you this was an easy week.

I scored some beautiful rhubarb at the store this weekend. And it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. I was lucky and paid merely an arm.

I want to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp or cobbler. Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share.

Sunday we had a Dad Rock Picnic. The Mr.'s band mates and their broods all got together for a big family picnic. We met up at the local skatepark that just happens to be about 30 seconds from our house.

Blankets were spread. Picnic fare was shared.

I brought a pasta-pesto salad, tomato salad, bread, and some chocolate muffins. There was also chicken salad, caprese salad, breads, cookies, and lots of fruit.

I don't think anyone left hungry.

Kites were flown. Time was spent on the swings. New babies were held (sigh).

The Boy brought his bike and spent his time riding around without his shirt. Mr. Cool.

The Girl pushed Teddy around in a stroller.

The guys asked me to snap a few pictures. They have a new CD that will be released soon and were in need of some updated band photos.

Annie Liebovitz I'm not, but I think I captured some shots that will work.

It was nice to hang out with friends who refuse to act their age.

Dad Rock Picnic, smashing success.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Color Masterpiece

Today's post is brought to you by The Boy.

All text and images are his own.

My Spiderman piñata.

I got it when I was little.

I used to have dreams about it. I would play with Spiderman in the city. We had fun swinging on webs and climbing walls.

There is not candy in this piñata. Not yet.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is my favorite 30 minute show to watch. I like it when they have battles.

Obi Wan Kenobi has awesome moves. He can do flips.

I can do flips on my bunk bed. But my mom isn't supposed to know about that.

Meet King Snake. He lives on the top bunk. He pretends that it's a tree to hang from.

I go snake hunting with him. But I don't kill him. I only wrestle him.

He sometimes wins the battle when he chokes me around the neck. I win when I throw him off the bed.

Let me introduce you to my bed. I sleep here.

I pretend it's a boat.

Me and my sister travel across the sea to Antarctica. We find saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, polar bears, penguins, and seals. We take pictures of the animals and put them in a book called The Travel Around the World Book.

It's a big seller. You can get it at Kroger. It will cost you $10. It is a good deal.

I have a Yoda Pez dispenser.

I use it as decoration in my room.

Sometimes I put candy in it. My favorite is cherry.

I only get to have candy if I eat my vegetables at dinner or if I go somewhere else. Mom and Dad don't let me have much candy.

I have a hovercraft.

In real life they go very fast on the water. This one just has wheels. It isn't as fast as real life.

I might have a hovercraft when I grow up. But mine would be green and would say "Fun & Fast". It would have a skeleton on the front.

A picture of my plant. It is in a yellow pot. Not green.

We water it when it looks like it is dying. It looks like it's dying now.

It needs water.

My hook 'em finger.

When my mom and Poppa went to a Longhorn's game, she brought it home for me. It has been in my room for many years.

I sometimes use it to hit my sister. Because she can be annoying.

My basketball might look brown to some people, but it is really orange.

You could get hurt playing basketball and fall. There is passing, dribbling, and most important, making shots.

I like to watch basketball on television.

I've never been to a real basketball game. When I turn eight I will go to a Spurs game. It will be fun because it is loud and I like loud sounds.

This is a Pokemon guy.

I call him Chocolate Thunder. Or Ben.

I don't know why I call him that name.

He has a fat belly.

He's got special powers, like making force fields. He can use his power against bad Pokemon guys.

My sister.

She plays with me. We get loud.

It just happens.

All the time.

I took this picture of my mom.

My mom has to teach stinky little kids.

She takes care of me, my sister, and my dad.

She's the boss.


Yes. I am.

Observant boy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Color Store

Today's post is brought to you by The Girl.

She is the author and selected all images.

This is a dog book. Mommy reads it best. But I like Daddy reading it too. It's like my homework.

It's about finding a dog. The dogs are different colors.

There is a mouse too.

I like it. If I read it all day it makes me feel like a dog.

You see the stars from the Earth.

This is my star. You just look at it.

If you don't touch things, then you earn a tattoo.

If you go to space then you can see the moon.

If you see the moon closer you can sit on it. But it might break into pieces.

This moon is in my room. I have a cow too. The cow jumps over the moon.

A cow can jump really high when it's dark.

I made this hat in school. It's a caterpillar hat so I can look like a caterpillar.

But I'm going to be a Barbie or Hannah Montana for Halloween.

Or a red ladybug, I guess. With antennas. Girls can be a mosquito too.

My caterpillar gets fat and turns into a chrysalis. Then it cracks open and is a beautiful butterfly.

Be careful with butterflies. You can touch ladybugs but not butterflies because you could hurt the wings. Unless they are dead.

This is Teddy's cousin. His name is Orangie.

Teddy loves to play with him. They play lion and tiger and marn-ster.

And dinosaurs. But I tell them not to because they will get in trouble.

Orangie's favorite food is tomatoes and squash.

I have purple Hannah Montana pajamas. They are my favorite.

They make me look like Hannah Montana. She's my favorite. Barbie and Hannah Montana.

I like it when Hannah Montana rocks out the show.

She has a cowboy who is Jake Ryan. They have a kiss.

My sticker says M-O-M. That says Mommy.

This is Flamingo Polly. I named her that. I got her at the zoo with my Poppa.

I was in an animal car. Poppa pushed me.

Teddy was in the basket. I didn't want the tiger to get him. He was scary.

I saw the flamingos. Because I like pink. Yes, pink. When I get big I'll like orange and purple.

This is the ending.

But I want to do it again.


Thanks to Kerry at Young Ones for organizing Kids Color Week.

We couldn't commit to daily posts, so I taught my children an important skill for their future: cramming.

Tomorrow's post will showcase The Boy's photographic skills.

Do stay tuned.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Opposite of Like


If you are looking for a happy-smiley-feel-good post, this is not it. Not today. I don't have it in me.

I've had a rough couple of weeks.

I've been fighting the good fight, to no avail. And I'm tired. Worn out.

Please...put away your violins.

We have a saying in this house: "ride the wave". When things are rough for whatever reason, be it sickness, stress, angst...we ride the wave instead of fighting against it. There is a process to working through such things.

I have my process. And I'm currently riding the wave.

With that in mind, I know I usually write posts about things that put a smile on my face.

Today I'm making another sort of list: The Opposite of Like.


*Being surrounded by mud all day.

Our school is old and will be torn down. The new school is being built next door.

I have learned that there is a lot of dirt laying around when something as large as a school is under construction. When it rains this dirt turns to mud. It also causes the rain to drain and puddle all around our current location.

The playground is just lovely. And young children are so diligent about staying away from things like puddles and mud holes. No. Those aren't tempting at all. Not for young children.

And the scenery. Stunning. Very uplifting.


I. Hate. Laundry.

Specifically, I hate folding laundry. The Offspring often go digging for socks in that clean basket of clothes. The Mr. has grown accustomed to fishing for some clean underwear amidst the t-shirts, pajama bottoms, panties, and endless pairs of socks.

It is my nemesis. It mocks me. It never ends. And I'm utterly sick of climbing Clean Laundry Mountain.

*Taking vitamins.

I'm not disciplined about taking those daily supplements. The Mr. even bought me one of those weekly pill keepers.

I was terrible about refilling it.

So he offered to fill it for me. That dear Mr. of mine.

Now I just forget to take the darn things. I have a full pill keeper in my backpack right now. It's been there for over a month.

I guess I'll just be deficient.

*Getting up early.

Oh, that blasted alarm clock. The first word to enter my mind each and every alarm-waking day is not appropriate for young ears.

I'm not a morning person. Nor is The Mr., The Boy, or The Girl. This is a good thing on weekends, but not so much when trying to stir my loves from their peaceful slumber.

The mornings can get pretty ugly at our house.

That's why we listen to this song at high decibels and sing it at the top of our lungs while making our way to school.

It's our theme song.


I just don't get it.

I know that makes me some musical Neanderthal.

I'll accept my label.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about reading together or practicing some sight words or math facts. That is learning that can easily blend into the evening routine.

But I do have a problem with children in kindergarten, first, and second grade having homework every stinking night. I don't know about you, but after my kids have been in school all day...sitting, listening, concentrating...the last thing they want to do when arriving home is
more work.

Even the older kids are over-loaded in my opinion. Fifth graders should not be spending their entire evening sitting at a table doing assignments. Really...they are 10.

They are kids. They need to play. They need to burn off energy. They need to be creative. They need to use their imagination.

Not sitting in front of a worksheet.


Whistling is one of my biggest pet peeves.

I can stand about 4.5 seconds and then I will tell you to please stop. If it continues, I might smack you.

*Chewing noises.

Chewing noises can't be helped. I'm sure that when I chew I make noises too. That doesn't mean that they don't drive me batty.

Music or the television is always playing during supper at our house.

Problem solved.

*Now that I think of it, all little repetitive noises bug me.

Pencil rolling, pencil tapping, foot tapping, finger drumming.

Please refrain.

*This show.

The Mr. used to watch it. Past tense.

The people on this show are *such* *tools*. How they are famous and have a show of their own is beyond me.

I find myself becoming angry when it's on. Totally irrational, I know. But it is what it is.

*Footwear with toes.

I don't think I need to explain this one.


I find you can learn a lot about a person, not only by what they like, but what they don't like.

I guess our relationship has matured.

Now you know not to show up at my house before 9am wearing toe shoes while whistling a jazz tune.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Science Fair Time

This year the kindergarten classes were invited to participate in the school science fair. Each class would submit a project which would be displayed in the hallway.

I learned about this plan back in November, and I instantly knew what our class project would be: Will Indian Corn Sprout?

I usually do this experiment around Thanksgiving time. I decided to delay things a bit this year.

We began by discussing the scientific method.

Scientists must know the correct process when performing an experiment.

Scientists keep data. We had Sprout Journals to write our findings.

We stated the problem.

Made our hypothesis.

The materials used were listed.

Sponges, water, bowls, Ziploc bags, and of course, Indian Corn.

Everyone placed their wet sponge in the corner of a baggie...

...then carefully placed a corn kernel on top.

The bags were closed and hung in a sunny spot.

Then it was time to wait.

And sure enough....a few days later this is what we saw.

The conclusion: Indian Corn will indeed sprout.

We recorded all observations in the Sprout Journals which were displayed in the hallway along with the sprout bags.

This could easily be modified for an older child's project: The bags could be hung in a sunny place and a dark place and then compared. Other liquids could be used and compared with the bag using water. Other seeds could be used; then compare the time they took to sprout.

Just a few ideas.

The science fair project strikes fear into many parents. If you are at a loss, this is easy, uses minimal materials, and is very student centered.

Even if you don't have a science fair project to do, this is really fun for kids of all ages. I brought a sprout bag home and The Offspring got a kick out of tracking it's growth.

OK. I'm now taking my teacher hat off.

Back to being a crafty smart-ass.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I had a few snafus last week, so the first couple of night's meals are hold-overs.

This week looks to be less harried. And that's nice.

Sunday: chicken & mushroom quesadillas, black beans, warm tomato-corn salad, pico de gallo

Monday: chicken with feta and olives, sauteéd chard with parmesan

Tuesday: pizza margherita

Wednesday: pesto pasta, bread

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: grilled flank steak, black beans, guacamole, tomatoes

The links for Sunday and Monday's meals can be found here.

Cherry cobbler has been calling my name. This might be the week that I answer back.

Thank you for all your kind, thoughtful, full of love comments about The Boy. It warmed my heart. You peeps can't be beat...

You are even better than cherry cobbler. And that's pretty darn good.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Sunday

When the rain stopped, and the clouds parted...

Not pictured: cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming & mopping the floor, going to the grocery store, doing laundry, picking up dog poop, packing lunches, and making beds.

But this is what I choose to remember.

It is much more photogenic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In Case You're In the Mood For Something Sweet...

If you are in a baking mood, this just might hit the spot.

It's a blend of various oatmeal cookie recipes. A franken-recipe, if you will.

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Oatmeal Bars:

The original recipe called for an insane amount of butter. I cut it down to 3/4 cup and added another 1/4 cup applesauce.

Soften and beat with a mixer.

Add a cup of flour. I used whole wheat and it turned out great. Most oatmeal-based recipes can withstand the heaviness of whole wheat.

Also add a cup of brown sugar... egg, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Beat until thoroughly combined. Add another 3/4 cup flour. Stir in 2 cups rolled oats.

Add a magic ingredient: about a hand full...or two.

And the other magic ingredient. It's dark chocolate. I'll let you decide how much.

Mix well.

Bake at 375* until the edges are golden.

Let cool.


Put on a pretty plate and enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

Or hell, eat them out of the pan first thing in the morning like I've been doing all week.

Like I said, if you are in the mood for something sweet, this hits the spot.