October 29, 2010

Now if I tried that....

My middle daughter had friends over tonight (hi guys - you know who you are). It's amazing what a kitchen full of teens can create!

October 28, 2010

I'd call it "Eat Pray Love Sleep"

The movie previews for Eat, Pray, Love looked so good, but I am one of those people who thinks the book is always better than the movie, so I wanted to read the book first. I knew I would be driving a lot for work so I thought to make the time go faster I would to get it on audio book, and put it on my ipod.

About half way across Wisconsin, I started listening. It seemed sort of scattered, but I thought, "Well, it's a memoir, maybe she's going somewhere with all these ideas." Then around the fourth chapter, I realized that my ipod was on shuffle.

Later that week, I was recounting it to my daughter and her friend, and explained that it was like three books within a book. Her friend said, "Oh you mean like one for eat, one for pray, and one for love?" Somehow I had missed that connection. Apparently this is a good way to build my listening skills.

This also reminded me how much I like to be read to. When the kids were little I read to them, we went to preschool story times at the library, and then started to read to each other. Somewhere around second grade they started reading completely on their own. Now, I read the novels they bring home from school and sometimes we talk about them.

Still, there is something relaxing about having someone read to me. Maybe I'll start going to story times again.

October 27, 2010

I live in a bracelet factory

If you have teens you probably have friendship bracelets - you know those colorful little knotted string bracelets that kids make, exchange, and wear until they fall off. This summer these were especially popular in our house - there were several started at one time, secured to tables throughout the house with layers of whatever tape they could find. They usually make their appearance about the same time as flip flops and shorts, and fade away with the tan lines. For whatever reason, this year they just won't go away. Ever surface has tape remnants, there is string tangled in the drawer with the computer and camera cables, and I keep pulling bracelet remains from the dryer lint trap. Someone save me. 

Wake up early - attempt #2

Maybe the day before 4-day weekend break is not the time to start a new getting up early routine.... Fail.

October 26, 2010

Wake up early - attempt #1

Maybe getting up early is like running - it sucks at first but gets easier the more you do it.....

October 25, 2010

it might not be pretty....

Today this post from Emily at www.remodelingthislife.com caught my attention. I do not like mornings, but I am going to try to get up early tomorrow. The coffee maker is programmed to start half an hour earlier than usual, my slippers are by the bed, and a fleece blanket it waiting for me on the couch. I'm not making any promises - I may only make it down to the couch to snooze until the next alarm, but even that would be progress for me. Sweet dreams...

October 24, 2010

holding down the fort

My sister and her husband went out of town and left my other sister in charge of the three kids for the weekend. I called the house to see how things were going and my five year old nephew told me that I should be babysitting. I asked why and he said, "Because you're more like a babysitter."

I'm not sure if that means I am more fun like a teenager or more responsible like a parent.... I do know that before the 'rents left he asked, "So if Aunt A is staying here, who will be in charge?"

Should I be worried?

October 23, 2010

... and it's only $2!

On the way home from volleyball last night, my middle daughter asked to stop for poster board to make signs for the cross country meet the next day. Great. Target's closed. Walmart's closed. Good thing we have a 24 hour Walgreen's just down the street.

So my daughter comes out with several sheets of poster board, and says, "I found this really cool dry erase one for two bucks." We get it home and it IS really cool. It's the size and weight of regular poster board but dry erase! How awesome will it be at the meet to erase "Go Erin" and write "Go James".

I cannot tell you how many late night stops we have made to buy poster board for school projects. I'm thinking with this stuff and a pack of colored post-it notes, we should be able to create just about any book summary or science diagram the teachers can assign.

October 17, 2010

Our weekend project

This weekend we moved our family room TV from the corner near the  the kitchen to the opposite side of the room. And it was so easy - one trip to Walmart for a splitter, a leftover hunk of cable that we already had in the basement, and half an hour of time - most of it waiting for the cable box to cycle back on. Everyone knows what an accomplishment it is for us to do anything remotely resembling a home improvement project without help. Usually, when we have something that needs to be fixed we just invite a family member over for "dinner". I know other people can replace the entire front door in a weekend (my sister) but we don't want to overdo it.

I was hoping that moving the TV would help with the noise level in our house, and the improvement is incredible.You can't even hear it from the kitchen - this is huge when our family computer, and thus homework central, is the kitchen table. Sometimes location is everything....

October 13, 2010

Computers running like crazy

So my kids were talking this morning.... As my youngest was putting on a pair of Nike shocks, my oldest said, "You know, it's weird. There's even software in our shoes."

October 12, 2010

Really? What do you EAT?

I've been a vegetarian (no meat, no chicken, no fish) for 15 years, and the first thing people say when they learn that is, "Oh I could never do that. What do you eat?" So I thought I'd share a recipe for something easy. 

Four Cheese Lasagna (vegetarian, low-fat, low-effort)
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked (I like Barilla's whole grain)
2 jars of sauce, any flavor
1 carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1 carton fat-free cottage cheese
1 package low-fat shredded parmesan cheese
1 package low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

I checked the size of each package and carton of cheese for those of you who cook with measurements, and they are all 16 ounce. Weird. Ok, chop the garlic, basil, and onion really small, then mix it with the ricotta and cottage cheese. Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan (I use whatever pan is clean and the noodles fit in without having to break them). Add a layer of noodles, drop some spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto the noodles, then sprinkle with the shredded cheeses. Keep layering: sauce, noodles, cheeses until you run out of ingredients or pan. I usually get about 5-6 layers. It really doesn't matter what order you use as long as the noodles touch wet stuff. Finish with sauce. Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 350. It's done when the noodles are tender. Melt a little extra shredded cheese on top just before you serve it.

So there you go... vegetarian, healthy, easy.

October 10, 2010

Give a girl a ring....

Last Christmas while I was shopping I found a ring I wanted, but it was not on sale and it was Christmas - other places for the money to go.... so I passed on it. A few weeks ago I was in the store again, and the ring was still there, and it was 40% off, and the only one left was in my size. I took that as a sign and bought it. Every time I look down and see "Love Life" it's a reminder to check my attitude. The best part is the saying inside - for those times when I really need some encouragement. I know it's just a little thing, but it makes my day.

October 8, 2010

the emergency graham cracker kit

Since my oldest daughter got her first locker I have made it a habit to get the combination at the start of each school year. Today, my youngest texted me from school, for about the fourth time since school started, asking if I could drop some hygiene or beauty item off in her locker. Ordinarily most of us girls would just tuck these things in a pocket in our bag, backpack, or briefcase. But at our school, middle schoolers are not allowed to carry backpacks during the day (weird I know, but it's the rule).

So this morning I gathered up deodorant, hair ties, a few personal items, mints, chap stick and a razor - basic girl essentials - for her to keep in her locker. You can't just leave this stuff lying around. I had to find the perfect container for it all. Something easy to get to and find what you need, yet boring enough to blend in on a locker shelf. At 8:43 this morning, the "Emergency Graham Cracker Survival Kit" was deployed.

October 7, 2010

It's gonna be a magical day....

All of my family and friends know that I have a history of nearly - sometimes completely - missing important dates. Things like the Easter Bunny, St. Nick, 100 days of school, Dr. Seuss' birthday, and spirit week often sneak up on me, but NOT THIS TIME! No, I swear.

Do you realize that Sunday is 10-10-10? This is huge. Think of the references to "10" in our culture: Top Ten, Perfect Ten, Give Me Ten, and I'm Gonna Count to Ten, for example. This is a magical day and it will only happen once in our lifetimes! And I have known this for more than a month now.

So how will you recognize 10-10-10 this weekend?

(seriously, feel free to add your comments... because I still don't know how I plan to celebrate this)

October 5, 2010

homework sure is different these days

My middle daughter was at the table doing her homework, and I looked over and saw her texting. "Aren't you supposed to be doing your homework?" I asked. She turned, rolled her eyes, and showed me the message she was sending: "Decide whether f(x)=(^4)-(7x^2)+6x has any local maxima or local minima. If so find each value." Ok good, keep working.....

October 4, 2010

you say that like it's a bad thing...

Today I went to Michael's for more adhesive and was browsing near the seasonal things. From around the corner I hear a mom with her two grade schoolers who have to touch everything on the rack. "Mom, look at me." "Oooh I like this pumpkin." "Hey, a skeleton!" Each time the mom replies with patience.

As I move to the end of the aisle the daughter, who is about eight, tries on a mask. The mom says, "Oh, you should wear that for your Halloween party at school." Taking it off, the daughter replies, "No, I don't want to look like Count Dork-ula."

The mom spins around trying to keep her calm composure, fake laughs and asks, "Where did you hear that?" I was torn between laughing at her shock and buying her a drink. I remember how it felt to realize that my child had learned something that I did not teach her - that awful feeling that my baby was no longer just mine.

So, to the mom from Michael's today, hang in there... because in just a few short years, you'll be sitting at the table at midnight trying to help her with the last three pre-calculus problems, on the homework that she has been working on for more than two hours, and is 30% of her grade, and you will realize that maybe learning from others really isn't such a bad thing....