Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Agree!

Yes, Shane. I agree with you totally.



You absolutely do rock!*













*This picture taken in Pittsburg in August 2006.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Powder of Tartar...Err...Or My Most Recent Blond Moment

Who knew that this:



didn't equal this:



Apparently everyone else but me.

Sadly enough, even Ken knew it.

So in a truly blond moment, I bought tartar sauce for Ken to make his butterscotch meringue pie thinking that it was cream of tartar.

Stop laughing. Because I know you are.

I should interject here that I've never made a meringue pie (and I don't eat them really either) so I have no clue what the ingredients should go into them.

And in my defense, I've never even used cream of tartar. Ever. In any recipe or with any food.

So when I went scouring the isles at the grocery store, dizzy from the crowds of Thanksgiving shoppers, I was looking for Cream of Tartar. As soon as I saw the Tartar Sauce, I figured that was what I was looking for, patted myself on the back for finding it and got the heck out of there. (It was creamy!)

Afterall, I was looking for Cream of Tartar NOT Powder of Tartar.

As soon as Ken saw it, he started laughing and googled what I was suppose to buy to show me what Cream of Tartar was.

And when I returned the Cream of Tartar to the store, the manager got a good laugh too. (Ken also got a good laugh that I would actually return the Cream of Tartarm instead of just keeping it to ward off further embarrassment.)

And when my mom got into town, Ken made sure he told her also.

And then she got a good laugh too.

And now you, my dear two readers, can also get a good laugh at my most recent blond moment.

But, I really think that we should start a petition to have the name Cream of Tartar changed to Powder of Tartar.

Although, if it were named Powder of Tartar, we wouldn't have this awesome story to remind us of Thanksgiving 2008 and how I am truly meant to be a blond!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as I'm finding out. I was cleaning out some things this weekend and ran across this comic strip. It got me to giggling and thinking that there are two things going on in this old Nancy comic strip from 1991 that make me giggle.

1. My mother cut it out for me. I guess now we know where I get my love of comic strips and cutting them out comes from.

2. I am getting the ultimate payback because I have three messy boys that I live with. Yes. I said three. Because Ken definitely counts as one of them!



I guess that this post is for my mom really. Because now she can kick back and laugh as my kids put me through what she went through. And, it's all thanks to a little comic strip that she cut out so many years ago and gave to me.

She obviously saw something in it that reminded her of me. ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Testing Their Instincts

Today was like most Sundays. I was busy doing chores dealing with the kids. Ken was preparing for football madness and also helping with the chores and kids. Owen was being...well, Owen. And Shane was outside playing with Rachel. Never mind that it was 45 degrees.

I got a call from Scott (Rachel's dad) warning me that there was a sales person walking around the neighborhood. Score one for good neighbors!

Scott was leaving (with his older daughter in charge of Rachel) but he also wanted to warn me to keep a good eye out on the kids because they were in the cul-de-sac and the sales people were giving him bad vibes. So, I kept an eye on them (peeping through the curtains of course because I didn't want to deal with sales people either).

About three minutes later, Shane and Rachel came inside saying that they were getting weird vibes from the sales people and they wanted to get away from the situation.

That makes me really happy because they recognized a potentially bad situation and exited out of it. You always hope that you give your kids the tools that they need to survive and listening to your instincts is definitely one of those skills.

And those two passed this test with flying colors.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Sneaky Mom Rides Again



As a mom of two school age children, it is a constant battle (and I do mean constant!) to get them to eat healthy. Okay, I battle with their dad too but he's pretty much a lost cause.

So I have been at war for quite a while now but I haven't been blogging about it much because I don't want to tip off their dad because 1) he's also a target and 2) he'll rat me out to the kids.

But, this time is different. This cake recipe that I made is just so good that I have to share it with you all. This has a seal of approval from my mom, my dad (who thinks that a vegetable is french fries), my kids and, yes, even Ken.

It is a modified version of a cake that my sister made with the bad, but oh-so-yummy white flour. I changed some of the other ingredients too.

Mom's (that's me) Sneaky Cake

2 cups of sugar
2 cups of whole wheat flour (I use King Arthurs 100% Whole Wheat Flour)
1 tbl. baking powder
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
3 eggs
1 (individual) cup of unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 small jars of apple/blueberry babyfood

topping:
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbl. lemon juice
milk to thin out the frosting

Mix all of the cake ingredients together and pour into a (sprayed) bundt pan and bake it at 325 for about an hour.

I suppose that you could mix the dry ingredients first, add the blah, blah, blah, but that's not how I roll. Just throw it all into a bowl and mix, high fiving yourself the whole time because you know that they are going to happily eat something healthy without the battle!

For the frosting, add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar. If it's not thin enough, add a tiny amount of milk. Just use your spoon to drizzle it over the cake after you take it out the oven.

Note that you could use 1 cup of oil in place of the applesauce and I'm not sure that the baking soda actually does anything. You could also probably get away with more flax seed than the 1/4 that I used. I'll be gradually adding more in until I get in as much as I can get away with. Because I'm sneaky like that. ;)

Note the cake is on my fine china cake platter. Yes. It's that good!



So, there you go. If you make it, let me know how it turns out. Most of all, enjoy it battle free!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Open Note To Owen

Dear Owen,

If you are going to sneak candy, you should probably not leave any evidence that it was you. But, that's okay. Because, as your mom and warden, I appreciate you letting me know what you're doing.

Love,

Mom

P.S. Maybe Aunt Susan can give you some hints on hiding things from your mom and dad. On second thought, scratch that. Don't talk to Aunt Susan. Keep doing what you're doing.

P.S.S. I know. I know. You didn't do it. It wasn't you. But, that is your potatoe head. And it is sitting beside the candy. And there were empty wrappers left on the table. Okay. Maybe it wasn't you.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chores Oh How I Hate Thee

Chores. Everyone has to do them. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no one likes to do them. Okay, deny it if you want, but I don't. There. I said it. I hate chores. You can say it with me if you want. Loud and proud. I HATE CHORES.

Felt good, didn't it?

So, what's your least favorite chore?

Currently, at the top of my hate list is cleaning the bathrooms. Specifically the boys bathroom. Everyone should have a boy to clean up after.

Cleaning up the pee off of the floor this afternoon, I was left wondering why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks these boys cannot hit the toilet to save their life.

But then I'm thinking that it really does make sense. Because usually while they're peeing, they're looking at every direction other than the toilet (and whatever direction they look, their, um body, follows if you know what I mean.)

And, usually they're fighting over whose going to go pee first or they're jockeying for bathroom space. Nevermind that one is already peeing while the other one literally shoves his brother out of the way.

So, I asked them (all three of them) about this one spot last night. They all denied it with every ounce of being in their body that they did it (including Ken) and then they tried to blame our friend Jen for doing it.

Don't worry, Jen. I defended you.

But, now cleaning the bathrooms has risen to the number one spot on my list of hated chores. I guess the only payback that I get is that I will not have teenage girls.

So, what's on the top of your list?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Mondaies

Apparently adults aren't they only ones who dread Mondays. Kids also can get a case of the Mondaies as I found out today when I dropped Owen off at the bus stop.

I kissed him (because he's 6 so I'm still allowed to do that) and told him to have a good day.

He sighed really hard and said "How can I? It's Monday."

For thost that don't know, he's 6. LOLOLOL

Comics Imitate Real Life

I'm not sure what it is about comic strips that I just love. Some are just so humorous and when you read them, you wonder how in the heck the illustrator was able to get into your head and draw something just as it happened in your life (or the life of someone you know.)

And then you get a call at 7:45 in the morning from someone else who had seen the same comic strip and was still laughing about it. That is just further proof that it was, in fact, a spot-on comic strip.

So, mom and I giggled over this strip for at least five minutes. If you know our family, once you see it, you'll giggle too and you'll know exactly who is the star of the strip (and it's not Hammie!)

I give you Baby Blues. This strip is definitely an "art imitates real life" moment. Click the image to enlarge it.



I wonder if she still does that? LOL

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunshine On A Stick

In honor of Saturday mornings gone by, I present Time For Timer. I actually think that I tried to make the ice cubes.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grandparents

My blog has been so text heavy lately and pretty much me ranting and raving about this, that and the other. So, I thought that I'd post a comic strip that totally made me giggle today.

This particular strip made me laugh out loud because I know that my mom and Joan can relate to it completely. It speaks to every grandparent out there at one point or the other.

If you don't laugh or relate, have a drink and read it again. :) Click it to enlarge.

Happy Friday!!!!!

More Scary Tales From The School Library

Shane really likes to read. And I'm really happy about that. Definitely. He likes to read a wide variety of stuff from his Pokemon books to Captain Underpants (which I hate by the way) to June B. Jones to A Wrinkle in Time.

His favorite thing to read is Baby Blues, a comic strip that centers on the life of a family with children his age. I love them too.

Last year, (in third grade) he brought home a book that he checked out from his school library. He started telling me about the book (More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark) and said that he didn't want to read it anymore because it scared him. I asked him to show me the book.



I flipped through the book and was just flabbergasted at what I saw. It's suppose to be a "suspense" book but, to me, it's just a book about senseless violence. I couldn't believe that this was acceptable reading for elementary school students.

Reading reviews of the book on Amazon.com and other sites, it became clear that this book is very controversial. People either love it because they're very well written books or they hate it because the stories are completely inappropriate for the target audience (kids).

In fact, the American Library Association lists it as the number one most challenged books.

The illustrations in the book are insanely inappropriate for an elementary school aged kid to look at.

If this book was made into a movie, it would be rated R for sure.

For books that are suppose to be "suspense" books, they're way too real. They're not talking about ghosts and things that kids can (maybe) separate as fact from fiction. They're talking about murder, kidnapping and cruelty.

As an adult, I can separate them and know that these things aren't real. But, they are things that could really happen. You see it on CNN daily, which is turned off when my kids come into the room if we're watching it.

But can a child separate it as fiction? And, let's not forget that an 8 year old (when Shane first read this book) is a child. When I was his age, my friend and I thought that we could put invisible cream on ourselves and no one could see us. Which is completely absurd looking back on it but it was reality to me at the time.

Does that sound like an age that can distinguish between reality and fantasy?

No it doesn't and I was really worked up about these books. So what else was I suppose to do?

Well, you know what I did. If you know me you should know anyway.

I went and talked to the school librarian and the reading resource teacher at the school. Their response was that the kids love the books and they can't keep them on the shelf and they were approved by the school board. They saw nothing wrong with the kids reading these books.

Even after I showed them the pictures in the books.

I could not believe that I was hearing. I should state here and now that I'm all for freedom of speech and I understand censorship. I was an English major and journalism minor afterall. I understand the issue.

But damn. When in the world did we get to the point in our "civilized" society that these types of books are now tolerated, and in fact acceptable, for our children to read?

Why should a child be reading about murder and shootings and such violent things? I'm still not grasping how anyone can think that it's appropriate for an elementary age child to read but to each his own I guess.

Good grief. I'm not talking about Huck Finn. Oh for the days where Huck Finn was the most controversial book in your kids school library.

And they wonder why there is so much violence in this world. Oh I don't know. Why don't we start by looking at what we are telling our children that is acceptable to read?

So, why am I on my soapbox about this now - 6 months after the fact, you ask?

It's because Shane has rediscovered these books, wants to read them and has turned it into a major battle. Screaming, crying, "we don't love him"...the whole nine yards.

So, I said that I would be willing to let him read them if Nanny and Grandma read them and approved them.

Sorry, y'all. You're going to have to get the book, read it and give me your honest opinion. If you both think they are appropriate for him to read, I'll relent.

Obviously I have a very strong opinion of these books. If someone has children who have read these and they liked them, I'm certainly willing to listen to your opinions.

These books just make me sad really. Sad that this is acceptable and encouraged reading for my 9 year old. Is this really the best that we have to offer to our kids? I'm thinking no but maybe I'm wrong.

Why can't kids just be kids and not have access to this kind of violence and reality?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Surely There Are Others

Surely I can't be the only one that this happens to.

Ever have one of those nights where you wake up in the middle of the night and just can not go back to sleep? Something wakes you up and then you start thinking about something that you forgot to do or need to do and, try as you may, you toss and turn but it's just not happening. You're not going back to sleep. So instead of laying there, you get up and do whatever it is that is worrying you and keeping you awake.

Okay. Maybe now I can go back to sleep. But I doubt it. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You To Our Military

Today is Veterans Day.

What does that mean?

Well, to me it means that my family is safe because of the sacrifices that both military men and women have made unselfishly. Because of them, I can sleep safe at night.

But simply thanking them is not enough. Our government should be providing services to these men and women as they return from battle.

These soldiers who have sacrificed so much shouldn't have to worry about coming home and wondering if they have a job.

They shouldn't worry if they will get adequate health care.

They shouldn't worry if their families are being provided for while they are off serving our country.

They shouldn't worry if they will have a house to live in when they return.

What they should be is held up in the highest regard by the US Government as well as our citizens.

So, today, let's remember all of the women, men and their families who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom.

And let's remember that it's not just todays military and families that we need to thank.

If our ancestors and their families had not fought so valiant for our freedom in the Revolutionary War, you and I wouldn't be living the life that we live today.

As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and as someone who has ancestors who fought on both sides of the Civil War as well as WWI, WWI, the Vietnam War and the most recent wars in the Middle East, I realize that without my family's participation, America wouldn't be America. And that's pretty cool.

I wish that I had pictures of all of my family members who have served but here are a few that I have that I want to share.

Uncle Dick. A fine military man who served for years for your freedom. Thank you, Uncle Dick. :)



Grandpop Hawk. Served in the Hackettstown CCC and left a legacy of pictures from that era that are probably one of a kind. Thank you!



Roy Boyd. Born in 1898 in West Virginia and served in WWI. I never knew him but it doesn't diminish my thanks to him. Thank you!



And last, but not least, Wayne Eckhardt. A veteran of the Vietnam War whose stories about standing guard around the Reflecting Pool during the Vietnam protests I will never forget.



I would also like to thank Darrel Dore' and Cliff Eckhardt - veterans of the Vietnam War. And, Larry Hawk, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for serving in Vietnam. And, even though he's no longer with us, thanks to Morton Freeman who served in Louisiana during WWII. And Danny Eckhardt for his service during WWII.

Thanks to Matthias Snyder for serving in the Salem Flying Artillery for Confederates during the Civil War. And to Christopher Hartrum for serving for the Yankees during the Civil War. Both were my great-great-great grandfathers. You may not agree with the Confederate point of view, but without that battle and struggles, we would not be where we are today.

And thanks to Jacob Vosseller Sr. and Jr., John Teeple, Peter Apgar, Phillip Philhower, all my great grandfathers, for your service during the Revolutionary War. How I wish I could sit down and talk with you about the struggles that you faced while helping form this great country.

If I have forgotten your name, it's not because I don't thank you. I'm just getting old and forgettful!

Let's also remember that it's important to teach our children about our history. It is our job as parents and grandparents to make sure that our children don't forget about where we came from.

So, thank you to all of our Veterans and to those men, women and their families, who are currently serving in the military.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Of The Best Things In Life!

Some of the best things in life are free.

Well, nothing is free.

But this only requires my time and a little bit of soap.

And the end result is so totally worth it.

Once I tell you what it is, you'll say "YES! I totally agree!"

Ken thinks I'm nuts. Okay. He thinks that anyway but he just doesn't get this for some weird reason.

What is it, you ask?

It's clean sheet night.

And there's nothing better.

Oh I dread stripping the sheets, dragging them downstairs to the washer and then having to remake the bed. Or three beds. Because everyone gets clean sheet night if I do.

Because I'm nice like that.

But there is nothing...and I mean nothing...better than climbing into you bed with the sheets all crisp and smelling so awesome.

The only thing that makes it complete is taking a shower beforehand and wearing clean jammies.

Then it's pure clean sheet night.

I'm contemplating taking a nap but that would totally ruin the spirit of clean sheet night.

Then it's just clean sheet nap. Which has it's place too!

But, don't you agree that clean sheet night is the BEST?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fall According to Owen

Owen is really trying hard to learn to spell. To say that he's a phonetic speller is a huge understatement. I love to read his writings though. It gives me great pleasure to see how much he is improving and growing as a student and he's really "getting" the ideas.

Okay, frankly, sometimes I just giggle because of how long it takes me to figure out what in the heck he is writing about.

During his parent/teacher conference, his teacher and I were discussing his writing. Obviously he needs to work on his penmanship.

Let's take a look at his writing about the Fall. His teacher told me before she handed it to me that she had discussed it with the other first grade teachers before grading it to make sure that it was a fair grade.

She said if someone just looked at it without really reading it, there was no way that they would have given it anything but a 1 (the equivalent of a D/F.) The spelling is terrible and it's hard to read.

But, once you figure out what he's saying, the writing structure is there. He composed a well thought out paper. First grade style of course. He got a 3+ on it which is the equivalent of a B+ or A-.

So, I present to you, Owen's master piece about Fall.



But instead of telling you what it says, I will let you live my life for twenty minutes (because that's how long you will stare at it trying to figure it out!) Click on the picture to enlarge it.

I will put in the comments what it says.

Have fun deciphering it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Riddle For You

Ken loves riddles.

And jokes.

So, here's one in honor of him and his witty sense of humor. ;)


What is:

The beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end
And the end of every place


I'll post the answer in the comments section later tonight.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moving On

Now that the votes have been counted and Barack Obama is President-Elect, we can all move on with our lives. I don't know about you, but I'm damn glad that it's over. I was going to do a post about the election but thought about it and it's just going to get me worked up again.

And, I've done that enough over the last few months. It's time to get back to something that makes me happy and doesn't send my blood pressure sky high. And yours too.

I've mentioned before that I like to photography old barns. That makes me happy. I'm not sure what it is that pulls me to them.

Maybe it's because they are indicative of a by-gone era. A time when life was simplier. When kids were content to play outside and not sit in front of their computers and video games all day and then whine that they had "nothing to do." When meals were made from scratch and families sat down together to eat them.

Maybe it's because of all of those reasons. Most of these barns are in Anderson, SC, Clemson or Pickens. These are only a few of my favorites.







And lastly, my friend Keith and I found this little gem while out shooting. A neighbor saw us photographing it and stopped to tell us the history. (Because that's what you do in the south...actually speak to each other.)

She said that it was a mess when the guy who owns it started rennovating it. He was able to bring it back to it's original glory. Obviously, it was a labor of love because this barn is awesome.



I love the old John Deere tractor in the barn. The guy who refinished it obviously thought about every single detail.



Hopefully these pictures will bring you the peace and tranquility that I feel when I look at them. We could all use a little of that today!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously, Son?

Son, did you seriously think that you would get away with that?

Seriously?

What were you thinking?

Hum. Maybe we should ask Aunt Susan. She would probably have some good insight into why kids forge their parents names.

Although, I don't believe that she started doing that until high school.

Definitely not fourth grade.

For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, Shane came home with a ton of paperwork for me to go through. One of his weekly assignments is to go through the newspaper and review articles.

These assignments aren't hard. They just require some effort, something that Shane hasn't wanted to put forth all year.

Anywho, as I'm going through his papers, I came to the stack of news articles. These all have 2's on them (the equivalent of a c/d). So, at first I'm thinking that the grade isn't good.

Then I start looking at the articles and notice that the first one was a Dear Abby column. And I've never seen it before.

But, seriously, son? DEAR ABBY?

Insert groan here.

Okay. At this point, I'm just thinking that he's being lazy.

Then I flip to the next article. Again, I've never seen this article before.

Then I look down at the bottom of the paper to "my" signature indicating that I've reviewed it.

And this is what I see:



This isnt't my signature.

But it could have been when I was his age:



Note the smiley face in the letter. Owen does that too. But his have glasses on them. ;)

But, I digress. That little stinker forged my name. He said that he didn't know it was wrong (yeah...whatever) and then he started to cry because he thought that he would go to jail for forging my name.

Because I told him that. But, don't worry. I corrected myself and told him that people who forge signatures can go to jail. But, I told him after he was good and worked up.

Then I made him write his teacher an apology letter.

Groan...

And, just so we recall why we love him...



Because this is what will save him in the future. His cuteness.

Unless he forges my signature again. Then it's all over.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Does Owen See?

We all have wondered at times just what our kids do or see when we're not with them.

It's no different for me.

I was at the 1st grade Halloween party on Friday and Owen asked to borrow my camera. Since he knows how to use it, I let him take it.

Ken and I looked at the pictures on Friday night after he went to bed and just giggled.

He took the normal shots of his friends. I couldn't do better myself on the first one. He captured her personality perfectly. And the second one for that matter.





He took other random pictures but the funniest thing is that he flipped it to video and was making a video. His friend let him know that his mom was "going to kill him." LOL.

video

Here's a few that I took:

Goof ball and his friends.



Bobbing for powdered donuts.



So, give your kids the camera sometimes. You may be surprised at what you see.

But hopefully in a good way and not a "OH MY GOD" way. ;)