Thursday, November 19, 2009

School Thanksgiving Feast and other updates

Today was the kiddos Thanksgiving feast at school. For some reason some strange force pulled me to leave the house early and get Buggy to school for lunch early. Boy do I thank the God's that that invisible forced told me to move it. Buggy and I waited in line for about 20 minutes to get Turkey and dressing and then when girly arrived lunch was running 40 minutes behind. They only get 30 minutes for lunch every day. It was crazy. I am thankful (so fitting) that so many parents arrived to dine with their children this year. I think the school had the biggest turnout ever. Part of me wonders if it is a sign of the times. With the economy slowing down so much it seems people are getting back to the heart of family. Maybe I am seeing more into than there really is, but a girl can hope right?

On a side note me almost teen (GASP) is getting a new percussion partner today in band. I cannot wait for him to get home and tell me how he likes his new partner and I am really hoping that together they will be the dynamic duo and help propel the percussion section to greater heights. Teen has been really pushing his older section mates this year and has sat first chair almost every week since the year started. He is challenging them but this new partner might actually help to challenge him some. I hope she doesn't steal any of his snare parts because that will make him sad since he loves the snare.

The kids missed out on reading two days this week because of a new "listen the first time" rule that I have put in place. We are going through our week of trial putting this new rule in place and the punishment has been going to bed early. They have been extremely disappointed that they are losing precious reading time... can you believe it! I am winning the war with the TV and computer! It feels so great that they would rather lay in bed listening to me read than watch TV!

ok so that is where we are at. Not all that interesting but I am not feeling very interesting this week anyhow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Monday Giveaway

I wanted to enter a linky giveaway site and so what can I give away... well what I do best... it's not sew... it's not cook, it's not recipes, and I am certainly not a blog popular enough to be giving away something some company is providing me sooo it's Web Design.
So my giveaway is a Banner Image for your blog (I did design my own blog).
(and since most of you don't know me, I am a WAHM web designer and I work specifically supporting other WAHM's and small business)

Enter by leaving a link to your blog and your email addy in the comments area.
If you don't have a blog yet just leave your email addy.

Fall is Arriving!

It's a nice and cool day and so I am going to be making my kids favorite fall meal. I wanted to share with you in the hopes your family can enjoy it as well.

We call this Mommy's green and White soup.

1 package of fresh bratwurst
1 onion diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
5 medium potatoes cut in 1 inch pieces
5 cups of fresh baby spinach (you can use rainbow chard in place of the spinach)
1/4 of a head of cabbage
enough water to cover all the ingredients
1/2 tablespoon of beef base (or you can use beef stock instead of water)
salt and pepper to taste

Start by removing and discarding the casings from the bratwurst and browning the meat in a large dutch oven. Once the bratwurst has been slightly browned add the onion and cook until the bratwurst is cook through. Add the garlic and cook a little longer.
At this point I add some water and allow for the flavor to meld all together (simmer for about 5 minutes)
Add potatoes and enough water to cover and cook until the potatoes are almost soft. About 20 minutes. At this point add the cabbage and a little more water or beef stock and cook until the cabbage is soft. Add the spinach or chard and cook until they are just soft (about 5 minutes tops).

Serve with a fresh loaf of farmers bread.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Never a dull moment... bus safety

My eldest, well he provides me with hours of entertainment and not always the kind a mom can appreciate. It all started last Friday... darn kid got in trouble for rescuing a friends phone from sure destruction. But he forgot to return it to school in a timely manner and they wanted to give him D-hall for it. Well it didn't make any sense to me so I had to have a 'talk' with the people running the place. Once they finally understood that as his parents that Scott and I are ultimately the ones responsible for his grades, behavior and ability (or inability) to emerge from this time in life called childhood as a responsible adult they agreed that d-hall was not the best course of action.
So after going to bat for my son earlier this week, he proceeds to embarrass me by "being disrespectful" to a guest speaker that was visiting his 8th period class. Now oldest swears he was only talking and that everyone was doing it. HA like THAT is an excuse that is going to fly... if Joe Blow jumped off the Empire State Building...
Well, oldest jumped so now he is dead. 2 days of in-school suspension! Oh and did I mention that he had also earned himself 2 days of lunch d-hall for sharing his school ID with his best friend who conveniently forgot his? Now he has to serve that next week because of the ISS.
So today on this last day of the week... Friday the 13th, you would hope that I could be lucky and the day would go by without a hitch, well no of course not. He has served his last day of ISS today and on the bus ride home from school he was sitting on his bag. The bus driver actually pulls the bus over and comes to check him out wondering why he suddenly seemed a foot taller than he was the day before. Of course it is possible that he hit his preteen growth spurt but not very probable.
She asked him if he knew what could happen if she had to slam on the breaks... his reply...wait for it...

His reply was...


Are you kidding me? After everything else this week I couldn't help but laugh and I am very very thankful that he told me about this himself instead of someone else calling my home to tell me of his misdeeds. And as I type this out he is stroking my hair asking me if I am ok...
I guess we'll see how OK I am when he is 18.

Lily Darling

These shoes are the coolest ever. And although I cannot afford them, I want them so bad! Maybe someone will get them for me for Christmas?
Lily Darling
The reviews say these shoes (like the whole line) are the most comfortable shoes ever. I need comfort and I love the style! Sigh. I am such a shoe addict!

Making Soap

I have always wanted to make soap but the idea of using lye has always scared me... for some reason this blog posting has given me a little courage and I think I might actually try to make soap myself. If only I can get my friend Sherry to share her soap recipe with me. She knows exactly which one I am talking about because I always make her send me a few dozen bars of soap when she is making it (I pay her for them of course) It happens to be my husbands favorite soap though and what a treat it would be for me to be able to do this for him myself!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Made the kids Furoshikies for their "Bentos"

OK so I have been wanting to make the kids my version of a bento box but I couldn't find the right supplies. To be honest I am very picky about things and I just wasn't willing to spend the money(read couldn't afford) on one of the big name bento boxes out there (much less do it twice for each kiddo).
I had already purchased the plastic boxes I wanted to use for my kiddos bentos (got them at ikea for $4.99!)
my bento boxes from ikea
What I hadn't yet figured out was how the kids were going to take them to school. So as I was researching these bento boxes trying to find exactly what I wanted I discovered a blog that led me to the website Well truth be told I am a little bit of a fabric hound... why not make my own furoshiki? The little guys is a little too big so I am going to make it a little smaller before I let him use it, but the little girls one turned out perfect in every way.
I am so proud of myself... I even added her own little napkin to the mix!
Little Girls Furoshiki

Santa Mail

Would you be interested in helping out a non-profit group and watching your child experience the joy of getting a personalized hand written letter from Santa in the mail?

Check out Santa Mail from Gorbellas!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey!

In just a couple weeks one of my favorite holidays is coming up and as much as I completely dislike cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas I love to cook. Special occasions and all that jazz.
I have been considering my menu for this year. I think I want to try something new, a brined turkey breast, debating between Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing and Sage Stuffing, your classic Green Bean Casserole, homemade pan rolls, sour cream mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie from one of the local bakeries and a 2008 Terra Noble Pinot Noir Reserva.

So which stuffing would you make if you were me? I am leaning towards the mushroom stuffing but the kids aren't exactly partial to mushrooms.
I am also seeking your recipes for some of your favorite Thanksgiving appetizers.

Brined Turkey Recipe:

* 15 lbs turkey (not self Basting or kosher)
* 2 cups table salt (do not substitute equal amounts of kosher salt)
* 2 gallons icy cold water (*)
* 4 cups brown sugar
* 1/2 cup dried rosemary leaves
* 1/2 cup dried thyme, leaves
* 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
* 1 carrot, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
* 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
* 4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Rinse turkey in cool water.
2. In a very large clean container (non-corrosive pan or stockpot such as stainless steel or glass or a food-grade plastic container), mix salt and water together until salt dissolves. Stir in brown sugar and spices, mix well until sugar dissolves.
3. Totally submerge poultry in solution and store, covered, in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours. Since brining does not preserve meat, the turkey must be kept below 40 degrees F throughout the entire brining process. Ice packs may also be used to keep turkey at a safe temperature of below 40°F.
4. Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine. Thoroughly rinse turkey under a slow stream of cool water, rubbing gently to release salt and sugar, both inside and out. Pat skin and both interior cavities dry.
5. *NOTE: The ratio of water to salt is appropriate for a 15-pound turkey. If a larger or smaller turkey is brined, please calculate accordingly.
6. *NOTE: Other combinations of herbs may be added including 6-8 bay leaves, 3 cloves garlic and 2 teaspoons black peppercorns. Or a spicy flavor may be achieved by the addition of 1 cup small dried red chile peppers.
7. In the cavity of turkey, place onion, carrot and celery.
8. Brush turkey with melted butter.
9. Roast turkey, breast side down, in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 2 hours. During this time, baste legs and back twice with melted butter.
10. Remove turkey from oven and protecting your hands, grasp turkey with several layers of clean paper towels at both ends, and turn turkey, breast side up.
11. Return turkey to oven and continue to roast, basting twice with pan dripping. Continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 170°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. NOTE: A brined turkey cooks slightly faster than an unbrined turkey, so check the internal temperature frequently.
12. Remove turkey from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
13. Transfer to a platter and garnish with fresh fruit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What we are reading...

They never get to old to enjoy a book read by momma. My oldest is 12 and he is always the last to fall asleep every night, begging me to read just one more page.
Currently we are reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 1, The Lightning Thief.

The Lightning Thief

It's a great book and has kept my kids jumping into bed with me every night right after the dinner dishes are all cleaned up and everyone has washed their faces and brushed their teeth. I hate cooking dinner and they hate brushing their teeth so at least we all have something to look forward to after we get our "chores" done. It's been a great distraction from the computer and the TV which we all know is a huge thing to compete with these days... and the best thing is there are 5 books in the series. I am thrilled there will be at least several months of book reading ahead for my kiddos!
Check out all the Percy Jackson Books.
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