November 30, 2009

I did it!

I've posted every day during national blog posting month! Thankfully it was all about quantity over quality. Thank you Wikipedia! Please forgive me while I hibernate for awhile and attempt to get my Christmas groove on :)

November 29, 2009

Christmas is in the house

Literally. Hubby and Chunky picked out our tree today. It's a 9' frasier fir and smells wonderful. I'm not feeling very festive though. Could be there's no snow (I'm NOT complaining) or that I still feel like a stuffed turkey from Thanksgiving. I made another pumpkin pie. Gobble gobble and waddle waddle.

November 28, 2009


I had the best intentions of taking photos of our Thanksgiving smorgasbord. Scroll down, go ahead. Yep, you guessed it. No photos. Those intentions were not realized.

The turkey was perfect. I must give Hubby props - he was adamant about NOT basting it because he saw it on a news show. I questioned the credibility of said news show over my beloved Food Network, but in the end I figured who am I to judge. Besides I think the brining makes the bird, but let's not tell Hubby. He's walking around like the proud turkey he is.

My gravy was A. MA. ZING! I tried something different this year - I cooked the neck and giblets on the stove in some chicken stock and wine (which I also put in the bottom of the turkey pan for "steaming", but most certainly not glazing). I then added two rosemary sprigs, garlic cloves and some salt & pepper. When that was good and bubbly, I added just a zip of sherry (my little secret to give it flavor and color). I discarded the turkey parts and rosemary. Then I transferred the liquid and enough pan juices for a total of 2 cups into a small pot. I brought to a boil then added a mixture of 1/4 cup flour plus 1/2 cup cold water. I let it simmer then turned down to low for the last few minutes. It was A. MA. ZING. And I don't like gravy. At all. I would have drank this stuff through a straw.

I triple-dog dare you to make the Moon Pie and not eat it all in less than a day. It's impossible. It beckons you, seductively. You start rationalizing that the crust might get soggy if you don't eat it soon. Or that the top is too soft to put a wrap on it and you must know if it tastes as good a couple hours later as it did when you last had a bite. Or that it's taking up too much room in the fridge and you simply must liberate some space. It's just that darn good. And it's long gone.

I've shamed Paula. My pumpkin & pecan squares were not great. My oven runs hot and the bottom cake layer was overdone even though I took it out early. I'll try once more. Maybe next week for my grad school potluck dinner - because I have nothing else to do besides write those blasted last papers.

I had the best intentions of not polishing off the pumpkin pie since Hubby specifically requested it. But then I got to thinking I really don't do that five-a-day thing and pumpkin is a fruit.

November 27, 2009


See that countdown to the left? That's how many days I have to get swimsuit ready. Scratch that. I'll be happy just to get sleeveless shirt and shorts ready. Guess I better dust off the pilates chair. It's currently being used as a "table" for my grad school books. Speaking of countdowns, just two more papers plus a leadership credo and metaphor to go! December 11th will either come too quickly or not quick enough. I'll let you know on December 12th.

November 26, 2009


I'm thankful for so much. My family, health, friends, experiences, comfort, safety, freedom just to name a few.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

T Day Desserts (part 2)

Mmmmm, Moon Cake (we call it Moon Pie for some reason). It's like a huge, flat eclair! I'm sure it gets its name from the "craters" the dough forms when baked. The dough takes just a bit to prepare, but then it's a breeze.

Yvonne's Moon Cake
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Add eggs, one at a time, beatin each time with a spoon. Srpead onto ungreased jellyroll pan (11x15 cookie sheet with sides). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Middle Layer
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
3 1/2 cups milk
2 3oz pkgs instant vanilla pudding

Blend cream cheese and milk briefly, mix in pudding. Spread onto crust and cool in fridge 20 minutes.

8oz container whipped topping
chocolate syrup
finely chopped nuts

Frost cake/pie with whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate (I like big looping "swooshes"). Sprinkle nuts as final step.

November 24, 2009

T Day Desserts (part 1)

I'm ready, bring it on! The in-laws are responsible for rolls, cranberries, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole (none for me thanks but it's hubby's favorite). I'm making a brined turkey, mashed yukon gold potatoes, sausage & apple stuffing (with craisins, yum!), and three desserts. Hubby has to have pumpkin pie (though a chocoholic, pumpkin pie ranks right up there for me as well), but I needed to satisfy my desire to try new things as well as overachieve. I settled on Paula Deen's Creamy Pumpkin & Pecan Squares as well as an old favorite from a dear friend I don't talk with often enough, Moon Cake.

Paula Deen's Creamy Pumpkin & Pecan Squares
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
16 oz powdered sugar

Combine cake mix, butter, pecans and 1 egg. Press mixture evenly into bottom of lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Beat cream cheese and 3 eggs with electric mixer until creamy. Add in pumpkin and spice. Gradually bean in sugar until mixture is smooth. Poor over crust. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares - top with whipped cream and cinnamon if desired.

November 23, 2009

23 straight days!

On this day in history (personal favorites) -

1889 – The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.

1903 – Governor of Colorado James Peabody sends the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners' strike.

1963 – The BBC broadcasts the first ever episode of Doctor Who which is the world's longest running science fiction drama.

1859 – Billy The Kid, American outlaw, is born (d. 1881)

1992 – Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer, is born

November 22, 2009

In or Out?

Thanksgiving is only four days away and we still haven't decided. While In entails a lot of work to prepare, I really like to cook and it's a great stress reliever for me. Problem is, I get overzealous and start to make things harder than they need to be in an attempt to outdo myself. When I asked hubby to choose between ginger pumpkin tart and chocolate chestnut trifle, he said "how about just plain pumpkin pie?" I'm leaning towards In and keeping it simple. I already have a brining kit so just need a turkey and fixins. What are you doing?

November 21, 2009


I went to bed at 1am after being up since 6am (and going to bed at Midnight the day prior). Just got up - did a little laundry and fed critters - it's almost 11am. Awesome!

New Moon was good. If you like buff guys with their shirts off, British guys with gorgeous red lips or dream of driving a Porsche in the Italian countryside. There are a few flaws, but I choose to overlook them and accept it for what it is - a modern Romeo & Juliet with vampires and werewolves.

I got a 9.5 out of 10 on my Ethics paper. Yeah! So we know now that I'm only mildly ethically challenged.

Basketball coach response:
Understanding is the key to success. We will work with him and accomplish what we all desire. All of us have short comings that we must work through. Thank you for the insight.

November 20, 2009

New Moon

Crazy = me, three teen girls and a ten year old boy heading out the door to see 10:30 showing!

November 19, 2009


Finally, the movie based on the second Twilight saga book, New Moon, is here! I am tempted to stay up and see the first showing at Midnight. I think that would be unwise since I have to work and go to school tomorrow.

November 18, 2009

Smokin' Eyes

and other beauty favorites -

November 17, 2009

High Road Advocate

ADVOCATE – noun – a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.

I received an email from Chunky's school basketball coach the other day that was not entirely surprising, yet got my mama bear defenses up.

[he who is spirited] is much more disruptive than the other players. This makes it difficult to teach. I and my assistants do not feel that we are baby sitters, but are there to teach them the fundamentals and how to play the game. The main problem is -- is that [he who is spirited] has talent and potential as a player -- if he would only act a little more mature and endeavor to learn what the game is all about. Have a talk with him. I would love to see him develop as a player and a young gentleman. Since 1958, I have coached 50 teams. This of course being the 50th. Why at the age of 75 I have chosen 5th and 4th graders -- I don't know -- everyone thinks I am crazy.

This guy has obviously been around the block so I trust his coaching. He's also "mature" and I know some other folks of his generation that have low tolerance and high expectations. What to do? This is a parenting dilemma I have become very familiar with over the past ten years. I know there are certain words that will likely never be used to describe my son. These include mellow, calm or laid-back. It can be hard for people to see this body-function humor loving, unfocused, whirling dervish as a bright young boy with a sweet heart and deep mind. So here was my response -

Thank you for your note. We appreciate your confidence in [he who is spirited] and would very much like to work together for the best outcome for everyone. [he who is spirited] has sensory integration dysfunction. We cannot control this. We've been working with him since before he could walk via occupational therapy. This is however something he needs to work with and he has made tremendous progress year after year. As parents, our job is to advocate for him and guide him to be the best person he can be. We always appreciate it when others understand that [he who is spirited] looks the same as other kids his age, but his neurological system operates a bit differently. We want him to be afforded all the opportunities everyone wants for their children and we believe in him working hard for these opportunities. We have talked with [he who is spirited] about the importance of teamwork, good sportmanship and respect. He wants to be on the team and has agreed to work harder. He has told us - prior to your note - that he is getting teased about his shorts being "too short". Not sure if this is 100% accurate, but we ask that you and the assistants please watch for and address any teasing (anyone, not just [he who is spirited] ). Thank you again and we look forward to working with you.

November 16, 2009

Here We Go Again

Sassy made her school Jr Olympic Volleyball team (JO)! So lucky you, lots more volleyball posts to come after the first of the new year!

November 15, 2009


I finally did it! Oy vey that was a hard paper. Academic writing is very different than business writing. Professors want tons of (psycho) analysis and profound insight. Here are excerpts from the final -

I feel confident in my value of authenticity and desire to lead with integrity; however, recognize growth is essential for effective leadership. My goal is to regularly engage others in ethical conversations within my organization. I will ask what rights and virtues we think are at stake in the choices we consider. I will ask whose interests are supported by the decisions we make. I will ask what our duties are to the members we serve.

I saw a sign in a high school gymnasium many years ago that read “character is what you do when no one is watching.” My interpretation of “taking the high road” is aligning my actions with my values regardless if someone is watching or not. This is exercising ethical leadership.

November 14, 2009

Work It

I am working to ...
- finish my ethics paper (God bless an extension)
- finish my group project (God bless three other women, their work ethic and positive spirit)
- finish a work presentation for Monday
- relax and enjoy life

November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

I heart Friday the 13th. I was married on one 22+ years ago (on purpose) and I happen to think it's a very lucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

November 12, 2009

A Decade

Dear Chunky, I can't believe my ten pound baby is ten years old today! How did a whole decade go by already? You are my super-spirited only son. One-third of the great loves of my life (Daddy and Sassy of course being the other two). I think you were the most wished-for baby ever. We had given up trying after years of infertility and a miscarriage. In a last ditch effort, I tried acupuncture, herbs and the Atkins diet all in the month of February 1999 - voila, nine months later a little toeheaded miracle entered our lives! You were a big, happy baby like Sassy, but unlike Sassy you were VERY cuddly. I wanted to drink in every part of you - your smell, your soft skin, the sweet little sounds you made. You outgrew the bassinet I kept by our bedside within two weeks. Like Sassy, you slept through the night at 5 weeks and if you didn't get your naps in there was heck to pay for all. You could sleep anywhere and we brought you everywhere. You were quite a load to carry though. You started walking at 10 months and never looked back.

Dressing up is one of your favorite activies. Sassy had a large basket of playclothes in her room and you were always rummaging in there. I bought you capes, pjs and costumes to keep you supplied with fresh material. One of my favorite photos of you is in batman pjs with a bow & arrow. Another is a lion costume with snorkel gear. And who doesn't love a penguin? You've always had a strong creative side. You LOVE going to the Children's Theater with Grandma G and I can definitely see you being an actor someday.

Dad is your favorite person. Papa and both Grandmas are close seconds.

You are currently in a love-hate phase of your sibling relationship with Sassy. You always wanted to sleep in her room when you were younger and we had to bribe you to start sleeping in your own bed at age three. You two have always protected one another and I hope that will continue your whole lives. I'll never forget the time we were discussing Sassy eventually going to college at the dinner table - you were about four or five. You started silently crying and when we asked why, you said you never wanted Sassy to leave. At another dinner conversation Sassy was describing something funny she'd done that day and your Dad and I called her a dork. With fierce defensiveness you exclaimed, "she's not a dork, she's beautiful!".

Your favorite non-human is Maddie Rose. You were two years old when she became part of our family and the two of you have been joined at the hip ever since. Maddie follows you wherever you go and sleeps in your bed every night.

You love nature and being outdoors - water, trees, hills, valleys, flowers and yes, even butterflies :) Your favorite foods are chocolate milk, noodles, anything cinnamon, pears and apples. You have an abundance of energy, are extremely bright and inquisitive. You are loyal and a quick, but deep thinker. You like tv (too much), basketball, math, science and reading a good book series (currently Fablehaven and Diary of a Wimpy Kid). Though we've had our battles of will, challenges with boundaries and constantly need to work on focusing your energy, we love you just the way you are.


November 11, 2009

Poppy Day

I'm a huge supporter of all those that have fought, and continue to fight, for the freedoms we Americans enjoy. Thank you to all who serve and happy Veteran's Day!

The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields:. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. An American YMCA Overseas War Secretaries employee, Moina Michael, was inspired to make silk poppies based on McCrae's poem. She then made an effort to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance, and succeeded in having the National American Legion Conference adopt it two years later.

November 10, 2009


Yep, I got myself some bangs yesterday. I feel very Jennifer Garner-esque. Sassy obtained her driver's permit yesterday. Let's pray there aren't any "bangs" in her future!

November 9, 2009

World Freedom Day

November 9th is World Freedom Day to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Also on this day in history -

  • 1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  • 1887 – The United States receives rights to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country to inspect progress on the Panama Canal
  • 1913 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, destroys 19 ships and kills more than 250 people
  • 1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates after the German Revolution, and Germany is proclaimed a Republic
  • 1921 – Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with the photoelectric effect
  • November 9th is often called Germany's Schicksalstag (day of fate) due to the events of 1848, 1918, 1923, 1938, and 1989

November 8, 2009


Today was Chunky's 10th birthday party (actual day is the 12th). In a word it was FUN! Full of family, friends and food! The "burger and fries" were a hit and actually easy to make - just takes a bit of time to get it all together.

Chunky's favorite part was present time. I think he looks a little like Richard Nixon in this photo. VERY SCARY!

Many thanks to everyone who came - it was so nice to see you all and thank you for a lovely day!

November 7, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

What have I been up to when not cruising Wikipedia for each days' fascinating historical events?
  • I have new job responsibilities (in addition to my old ones of course).
  • My mother is coming to town tomorrow.
  • I'm making these for Chunky's birthday party the day after tomorrow. I am not making the cute little trays and holders. Goodbye Martha - Hello Marley. I figure that's a good white trash version of Martha and I am naughty and neurotic, but adorable like the dog (as in Marley & Me).
  • I have an ethics paper due in four days and really haven't started. I send myself notes so I could say I have an outline but that would probably be stretching it. I guess you could say I am ethically challenged.
  • I partied like a rock star the night before last and still have been a) close to passing out at any moment, b) chomping on antacids like they were Halloween candy, and c) craving a good bloody mary. As my Grandma P said, "it's hell getting old."

November 6, 2009

Who Wears Short Shorts?

I've been informed it's uncool to wear short shorts. As in shorts that show your knees. Especially to basketball practice. Who has time to know all these things?!

November 5, 2009

Must See

This is Thursday which means must see TV. Don't judge me. And don't call!
7:00 The Vampire Diaries
8:00 The Office
8:30 30 Rock
9:00 Project Runway

November 4, 2009

Love is

Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends.

Happy 48th Anniversary B&G!

November 3, 2009

Stand and Deliver

This is one of my favorite songs, circa 1981. Don't judge me. No Doubt sang it along with Paramore in their second encore (wicked awesome concert by the way).

Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard, 3 November 1954) is an English musician, who gained popularity as the lead singer of New Wave/post-punk group Adam and the Ants and later as a solo artist, scoring ten UK top ten hits between 1979 and 1983, including three No.1s. Goddard was also a star in America where he not only scored a string of hit singles and albums, but was once voted sexiest man in America by the viewers of MTV.

November 2, 2009

All Souls Day

On this day in history (personal favorites) -
  • 1889 - North and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states
  • 1898 - Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota (football)
  • 1920 - KDKA of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the U.S. presidential election.
  • 1930 - Haile Selassie is crowned emperor of Ethiopia
  • 1936 - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is established
  • 1936 - The British Broadcasting Corp initiates the BBC Television Service, the world's first regular, high-definition (then defined as at least 200 lines) service. Renamed BBC1 in 1964, the channel still runs to this day.
  • 1959 - After being struck in the face with an ice hockey puck, goalkeeper Jacques Plante returns to play wearing a protective mask for the first time in professional play
  • 1983 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King Jr Day
  • 1865 - Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States is born. The good and the bad -
    Known as a "good fellow," Harding enjoyed being liked more than he prized being a good leader. Most historians regard Harding as the worst President in the nation's history. In the end, it was not his corrupt friends, but rather, Harding's own lack of vision that was most responsible for the tarnished legacy. Decidedly conservative on trade and economic issues, Harding favored pro-business government policies. He allowed Andrew Mellon to push through tax cuts for the rich, stopped antitrust actions, and opposed organized labor. Harding advocated civil rights for all Americans including African Americans in a 1921 speech. He suggested appointing African Americans to federal positions and was willing to sign an anti-lynching bill. Harding also advocated the establishment of an international commission to improve race relations between Whites and African Americans. However, severe political opposition prevented any of these initiatives.

November 1, 2009

National Blog Posting Month

I have nothing better to do this month* so have decided to blog every day for the next 30 days. This is known as NaBloPoMo. Enjoy - or see you December 1st!

* besides host a birthday party for my 10 year old son, host my mother for a week long visit, write two grad school papers, prepare for and host Thanksgiving, taxi children to volleyball/basketball practices, chair a PTA meeting, teach my 15 year old daughter to drive and work 40 hours a week that is.