Sunday, November 29, 2009

a lovely thanksgiving, retro style

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house. Jason, Molly and Hayden were there. And also my Grandma. And my Aunt Brenda (Craig spent the day at the church, painting).
The dinner was delicious.

But the best part of the day was enjoying some memories of days gone past. We went totally retro. From the dishes from my parents' wedding to the Magic Eye book to the ugly vintage Christmas sweater to the antique video game, Pong.
We had quite the walk down memory lane.

So in case the newspaper clipping of Jeremy, circa 1979, wasn't retro enough for you, please enjoy a few pictures of our "Retro" Thanksgiving Day.

Scott and Erika were there for awhile. Scott ate his typical Thanksgiving dinner: Pepsi and rolls. He so wishes the pilgrims had ordered pizza for the first Thanksgiving, instead of shooting a turkey!

Desserts are always a big hit! Pumpkin pie, apple pie, Mississippi Mud Dessert. Yum!!

The real fun began when Jason headed to the basement to look for an ugly sweater. Have you been to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party?

I tend to believe there are even uglier sweaters to be found in the basement. But this one will serve its purpose.

While searching through the basement (which is ten times better than any thrift store, by the way), Jason hit the mother-load. Pong!! For you young chickadees, this was the first video game system. Even before Atari.

And what's better than finding Pong? Finding out that it still works!

I think the idea of Pong was a lot more fun than actually playing it! But the guys and kids did enjoy a few games.

And the weather was absolutely amazing!! Hard to believe it was the end of November!

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday, too!
(Even though I doubt yours could top finding Pong!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

yummy caramel popcorn

I grew up in a house where popcorn was a staple.
Watching a movie? Let's have some popcorn.
Friends are spending the night? Let's have some popcorn.
Don't feel like fixing dinner? Let's have some popcorn!

And now, I have the same popcorn values. I usually stick to the butter and salted variety. But occasionally, I opt for caramel popcorn.
You really must try this recipe. It's gooey. And sticky. And delicious!

Caramel Popcorn

1/2 stick butter
2/3 c. brown sugar
4 T. maple syrup
1 pinch baking soda

Stir first 3 ingredients on the stove until they reach 210 degrees. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir and pour over popped popcorn. Not microwave popcorn. I'm talking about on the stove. Get out the oil. And the kernels. Your family will be so impressed with your skills!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

got turkey?


Hope you have a blessed day.

And get to eat all the turkey your heart desires!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

is black friday shopping your thing?

Do you look forward to the Thanksgiving newspaper so you can search the ads? Do you plan your shopping itinerary so you can hit all the good sales?
Do you enjoy the mobs?
The long lines?
The pushing? Shoving? Racing down aisles?
Not me!

The bargains are great! And I'm all about finding a good deal. But sometimes it's just worth paying full price.

But what about when the stores promise to have those hard to find items available only on Black Friday? Is it worth it?

Especially when that hard to find item is a Cabbage Patch Kid in 1983. And so begins my first Black Friday shopping experience.

I was a doll fanatic as a child. And I was such a good doll mommy. I would dress my babies and feed them and drag them around wherever I went, pretending they were real. And then I got my first Cabbage Patch Kid. Oh how I loved Inissa Junette!

Shortly after Inessa came into my life, the cabbage patch frenzy began in the rest of the world. I so desired to add on to my doll family. But as soon as those babies hit the store shelves, they were gone.

Then we got a tip. Toys Plus (the Toys R Us of the olden days) was getting a shipment on the day after Thanksgiving. So my adoring dad got up in the middle of the night and stood in line (with me) outside the store. And waited for the doors to open. So I could have my chance to get a doll sibling for Inissa.

Once those doors opened, it was a free for all! People were scrambling down the aisles, racing to spot the coveted toys. And there at the back of the store, was a stack of dolls in boxes. I sifted through the boxes, trying to find the perfect one. And then I spotted her. Emmalynn Steffie. With her beautiful orange braids. And green eyes.

And just as I was walking over to show my dad, a big kid shoved me and I hit my head on the corner of a metal shelf. OUCH!!! And then, as we were standing in line to pay for Miss Emmalynn, I realized I was bleeding. Cue the tears.

So my first Black Friday shopping experience landed me a trip to the ER. No stitches needed.

Eventually, Isaac Van, Bette Adrienne, and Sherman Sherwin joined the family. They joined with a lot less drama involved.

So if you do decide to risk your life on Black Friday, I wish you only the best.
I think I'll stay at home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

there's nothin' like a pair of pink snow boots to brighten a girl's day

After her bath, while she was on her changing table getting her pj's on, Delaney spotted a pair of pink snow boots in her closet (thanks Aunt Jessica!!) She immediately started squealing with glee. Remember, this girl LOVES shoes!!! And it's a bonus when they're her own shoes!

So after getting her jammies on, she tried out her new boots (thanks Aunt Jessica!!)

The only thing better than finding pink snow boots in your closet? Finding accessories that match!

Friday, November 20, 2009

new moon

Did you go to the midnight premiere of New Moon?
I was in the doghouse last night because I wouldn't let a certain teenager go. Just another example of how I'm ruining her life!!! But I'm just thinking that being out til 2:00 am or later on a school night isn't the best idea for a teenager that needs lots of sleep. I know...ridiculous thoughts!

Bri and Alli started reading the books a couple of years ago. Then I decided to see what the hype was all about. Wow!!! I couldn't put them down! I even talked Jeremy into reading them. Shhhhh....don't tell anyone, but he liked them too!

New Moon was my least favorite of the books. But after seeing the trailers and pictures of Jacob (you know what I'm talking about), I'm looking forward to a date night at the movies. Even if it's with my human husband!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Penne Pasta with Sausage in Cream Sauce

I realized that pretty much all my recipes in my sidebar are chicken. But I want you to know, that we do eat something other than chicken. Sometimes we venture out and have the other white meat...pork!

1 lb italian sausage
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb penne pasta
1 c shredded parmesan cheese
2/3 c dry white wine
1 14.5 oz can diced, peeled tomatoes with juice
1 c whipping cream

Melt butter with oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute til golden brown and tender, about 7 minutes.
Add sausage and cook through. Drain.
Add wine to skillet and boil til most liquid is evaporated,
about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and simmer about 3 minutes.
Add cream and simmer 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Pour sauce over pasta. Add 3/4 cup parmesan cheese. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Hope you like this yummy recipe!
And for the record, we do eat red meat. Sometimes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

not just your typical family vacation memories

My life has been full of embarrassing moments. And ironically, most of them involve water. And even more ironically, I can't swim. But back to the topic at hand...embarrassing moments.

When I was a kid growing up, our family went to Vail, CO for our summer vacation every year. As a kid, it was a somewhat lame vacation spot. I just couldn't appreciate the luxury of a condo. Or the boutique shopping experience. Or the beautiful mountain scenery which surrounded us. But what can I say? I was a kid!
Now? I would do anything for the condo vacation experience!!

And so to lessen the lameness of our summertime stays in Vail, we would pass the time by shopping at the awesome toy store or walking along Gore Creek or hanging out at the pool.

Oh, the pool!! It was a semi-private pool. Built just for the enjoyment of those summertime visitors staying at the condo. Especially those visitors, who like our mother, LOVED to bake in the sun. Which was unfortunate for those of us who (as I mentioned before) hate water and/or are so fair skinned we literally bake in the sun!
So day after day, we'd follow our mother down to the pool. And sometimes our dad would meet us down there. And I'd pretend to swim by walking around the shallow end of the pool and play with my toys.

Now there's this one day in particular that stands out in my mind. After all these years, I can still recall this particular day as if it happened just yesterday. My dad and younger brother Scott were already down at the pool and we (my oldest sibling and myself) were heading down with our mom to meet them. We walked down the stairs and followed the sidewalk path that took us around to the gated entrance of the pool. The pool was surrounded by a waist-high wrought iron fence which was all that came between the actual pool and the sidewalk path.

As I walked along the sidewalk, at the deep-end side of the pool, I noticed my dad giving my brother Scott a little diving lesson. And me, being the prankster that I am, thought it would be all too funny to give my dad a little nudge as he leaned over the pool edge. Did I mention he was fully clothed?
And so, as my mother walked behind me, watching in a combination of horror and helpless slow motion, I reached over the wrought iron fence and pushed my dad into the water. Only, (here's the kicker) IT WASN'T MY DAD!!! It was a perfectly nice man who was trying to give his son a diving lesson, while my dad swam in the shallow end with my brother! Now that was embarrassing! Especially for my mom and dad who had to apologize to a soaking wet, fully clothed stranger!


The event I just described has been retold year after year during Writer's Workshop in my classroom. You see, one of the strategies I teach my students when they are writing personal narratives is to think of an emotion (happy, angry, embarrassed, etc.) and think of small moments in which they have felt that emotion. And then I model the strategy by retelling this story. The kids think it is hilarious that their teacher did such a horrific thing! But you know what? Their teacher didn't. Their teacher's brother did! Jason. All the good family stories involve Jason. So I've taken his story and made it my own. Because nothing embarrassing has ever happened to me.
And that's the truth!!

This post has been part of Writer's Workshop with mamakat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

i'll take some chicken nuggets with that ketchup, please!

Daddy taught Miss Delaney about a new food group...ketchup!!
Which totally grosses me out because I despise ketchup!
But Delaney has been kind of picky lately with her eating. So if a little ketchup is what it takes, I guess I can deal with it.

Delaney says, "Mmmmmmm!"
One of her few utterances, by the way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

you mean they're going to kill the pig?

Sunday was Orphan Sunday, a cause that is supported by our church. And as part of Orphan Sunday, our church was helping to raise money to purchase livestock (cows, goats and pigs) to feed the orphans in Bukaleba, Uganda.
So after church, I asked Allison if she'd like to purchase an animal and she chose a pig. She even got to pick out a cute little paper pig to paste on the bulletin board, representing our donation.
I wrote my check and we headed to the parking lot, happy to have helped in a tiny little way.

As we walked to the van, we were talking about Bukaleba and how they have a pasture near the orphanage for the livestock to graze. And then they will use those animals to feed the orphans.
Allison cries out, "You mean they're going to kill our pig?" Apparently she thought we were rescuing animals. But once I reminded her that by killing "our" pig, they will be saving a human child, she came around.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

sorry about the lame weekend, mr. duck

This is Mr. Duck.
He is a snuggly in Nate's class.
Each weekend, a snuggly goes home with one child. And does all sorts of fun things. And the child mom writes down all the fun things the snuggly did in the journal.
And this weekend, Mr. Duck came home with Nate.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of fun going on in our house.
Unless you count the free H1N1 flu shot clinic on Friday. But even with that, Mr. Duck had to stay behind.

So we did the activities that came in Mr. Duck's bag. We read his book, Make Way for Ducklings and played with his letter game. Mr. Duck also had the pleasure of watching Cars.
But that's it.
Poor Mr. Duck!!

Good Bye, Mr. Duck! I hope you have more fun at your next destination!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a WICKED good time!!

As soon as I found out that Wicked was coming to Wichita, I wanted to go.
And then I saw the price of tickets. And tried to put the wicked thoughts out of my mind.
Pretty hard to do when EVERYONE you know (I'm learning to talk like a teenager again!!) is seeing it and raving about it.

So I was really excited when my sister-in-law, Jessica and Nate's nurse, Melissa invited me to go see the show this week (in it's final days). They had a plan.
Each day, a couple of hours before the show, there is a lotto for a limited number of cheap tickets. Cash only. Limit two. Well that wouldn't work since there were 3 of us. But we'd heard (from my mother-in-law) that they sell unsold tickets at a discounted rate following the lotto. Jessica and Melissa were going to be at the ticket office and buy those tickets. Perfect plan, right?

Well, not so much. Once they got there, they saw about a thousand other people waiting in line for the lotto, panicked, and bought full price tickets.
I didn't mind. It was totally worth the moolah. The exact amount of one month's golf membership, by the way. Ironic?

Our seats were about 5 rows back in the balcony. We could hear perfectly and see everything except the actors' faces. A very small price to pay for last minute tickets to a sold-out show!

And what a show it was!!

The Wizard of Oz is probably my favorite musical. And Wicked gives it such a cool, new twist! I totally loved the characters. The songs. The special effects. Wow!!

Before the show, we went out to dinner.
What a FUN girls' night out! And so much more enjoyable than dragging an unwilling husband, who absolutely hates anything with singing and dancing.