Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Green Thing in the Living Room

Reid!  Wake up, Reid, I heard there was a big green thing in the living room!
Cort, this isn't like the time you tried to tell me UFOs were landing, is it?
No, come on Reid, come see!

So the twins, they pointed and they said, "DUM!  DUM, DUM, DUM!!"

Yes, the big green thing was very exciting.
Even if Mommy would only put 1/20th of her ornaments on this year.  Just call me The Grinch.
Even a bare green thing is magical. 

Cort, I love this green thing!  And this stuffed dog.  DOG!  DOG! 

So Reid, now everyday our job is to take off everyone of these ornaments.  Just as soon as Mom gets them up on the tree.  Also, we should carry them all over the house and hide them in random places.  That way, when they're found under the bed next July, we can enjoy Christmas all over again. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Switching Gears, Muffin Tin Monday

It's Muffin Tin Monday, and today is no theme.  So I decided it was time to switch gears from fall and move into winter.  Although it's officially not winter.  And I hate snow.

Last summer I bought a lot of 3 new winter themed muffin tins off Ebay.  I used one in a giveaway (JDaniel4sMom won it) and kept the other two for us.  So now I finally get to put them to good seasonal use!

So to fill our snowflake tin we have fish sticks with ketchup for dipping, a small side salad with ranch and olives, pearled couscous, and roasted eggplant/cauliflower mix.

On a side note, if you've never tried the pearled couscous, give it a shot.  It is absolutely one of my favorite side dishes, and is very easy to cook.  It also happens to be a big hit with all three boys (although it does tend to get all over when the twins eat it).

If you would like to participate in Muffin Tin Monday, click here:
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Veggie Enchiladas - So Easy!

This recipe is so quick and simple, and it's a great way to sneak some veggies into your Mexican food! 

You can use leftover veggies for this (squash, green beans, mushrooms, or peppers would all work well).
In my case, I steamed a cup and a half of fresh broccoli and a cup and a half of cauliflower in the microwave.
Then I stirred in a can of drained black beans and a cup of cheddar cheese, plus some chopped green onions.
Spread 1/2 can of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Fill 8 whole wheat tortillas with the veggie mixture, roll them, and place in the pan.
Top with the remainder of enchilada sauce. 
I then sprinkled another cup of cheese on top plus a can of drained black olives.  We are huge olive fans in my house! 
Cover with foil and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5 more minutes to let the cheese get extra melty.

That's it!  Your kids won't even notice all those great veggies snuck mixed in.  I served ours with a side of yellow rice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Drumstick Dash, a Thanksgiving Race Report

Paul and I have kind of started a tradition of attempting to run a race every Thanksgiving.  We missed last year, because the twins were so young, but we were back at it this year.

The Drumstick Dash is a 5K on Thanksgiving in Roanoke. This race benefits the Rescue Mission, with proceeds going towards feeding the homeless. It's by far the largest local race. 
They use the Dtag form of timing, which is a disposable timing chip.  Why is this good?  Because you get accurate times, yet they don't have to have people at the end of the line untying the chip from your shoe.
Here is what one looks like (incidentally, they used the same type of timing at NYC):

It was a windy, cold morning.
Here are my race passengers.
This was my first race where I pushed the twins (although I run with them in the stroller frequently). 

This year the race had 3 different starting lines, each starting 5 minutes apart.
First, was the starting line for runners.
Then the starting line for runners w/ strollers and runners with dogs.  This was where we waited.  Behind us, were walkers.
Look how many people were in front of us - there were 11,500 runners this year: 

It's nice that Rescue Mission tried to separate the starting lines, however, it caused me to have a fairly rough race.  First, I had to weed through all those dogs, which wouldn't have been a big deal except that some were on exceptionally long leashes (like 10 - 20 foot) so that took up a lot of the road.

Then, once I navigated doggie dashing, I came upon sooo many walkers, who seem to have started with the runners instead of the walkers.  Many of them were walking as a family, so they took up the whole road and there was just nowhere for me to go with my big stroller.  Several times I had to slow to a walk, and a few times I went offroad to get around big groups.  I figure I ran an extra 1/4 - 1/2 mile in detouring.  But it was also nice to see so many people out getting some exercise, for a good cause.  I knew, going into it, that this wasn't a race for a PR (personal record).  The twins immediately konked out and slept for the entire run - the stroller puts them to sleep every time.

One thing I liked about the race this year was that they had many little street bands along the course.  It was fun hearing the different types of music along the way.  The course also just winds up and down the streets of downtown Roanoke, which I really enjoy.  It has some uphill and downhill grades, and one short yet steep hill in the last mile.

When I approached the finish line, I ran into a huge backlog of runners.  A total bottleneck, and I had to stop and stand, watching the clock tick tick tick with precious seconds as I waited patiently for people to move ahead so I could cross the finish line.  It's not that I expected some great time or something, but still in a race you don't want to just be standing there!  Finally, I worked my way across the finish.  My chip time was 28:19. 

Afterwards the crowds were madness.  I couldn't find Paul, who had run with Pierce in the stroller.
But I did cross paths with running friend Steve.  His blog (which focuses entirely on running) is HERE if you'd like to check it out. 

And then we stumbled upon running friend Karen: 

After catching up with them (and my friend from high school, Karla, who was down visiting family) I decided to head to the car, where I finally reunited with Paul and Pierce.

We headed to my parents' house, and enjoyed one of the most beautiful turkeys I have ever seen (plus, all the fixings): 
A very nice way to spend Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Shopping

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can blog about your memories and link up.  Everyone is welcome.  This week's topic, in honor of Black Friday, is shopping.

I have to say, I think Black Friday has gotten completely crazy.  I have never been (and likely never will be - unless I get konked on the head by a falling piano and endure a complete personality change) a Black Friday shopper.  And this year?  Stores opening at 3 am?  The crowds and wrestling over the last Snuggie?  So yeah.  You all go have fun!  I'll be in bed asleep. 

Nope, I'm one of those annoying prepared persons.  I do my shopping throughout the year.  By Thanksgiving, most of the time all my gifts are purchased and already wrapped (weirdo!).  If I still have a few last minute gifts, I tend to order them online, as I avoid the store crowds at all costs.  And NO WAY would I be out on Black Friday!

My most memorable shopping experience is from when I was about 10 years old.  As a kid I had asthma (still do, actually, but it rears its head very rarely now, thankfully).  My mom and my grandmother and I went to do some Christmas shopping.  We walked into a department store (I don't recall which one) and were headed towards the mall interior when we encountered a demonic sales lady in the perfume section.  She spritzed, directly at us, Giorgio perfume.
Instantly, my eyes teared up and my throat started closing.  I felt like I couldn't breathe and began coughing.  And coughing and coughing and coughing.  An asthma attack!  I was allergic to Giorgio - and we'd had no idea.  I walked faster and faster, trying to get away from the perfume and struggling to breathe.  It took a good while before I could catch my breath, and I remember being terrified that I wouldn't be able to breathe again.

Perfumes don't typically bother me (well, the really bad ones give me a headache ;-)) but even today, if I catch a whiff of Giorgio it starts closing up my throat. 

Want to link up for Memory Lane Friday? 
Come back next week - there's no theme so anything is possible!  :-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, and Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Happy Thanksgiving!
This morning my family will be running in a local 5K to start off the day.  It'll be my first race pushing the twins in the jogging stroller, so it won't be a very fast one for me!  I'll post a race report later.

So being that it's Thanksgiving, I want to talk about cranberries.
I used to hate them.
Wouldn't touch them.
I think it's one of those tastes you grow into with age.  Because all the sudden one day I had a deep appreciation for cranberries.
But. (Isn't there always a but?)
They must be homemade.
I don't like canned, and I don't really like the jellied type.
So I follow the recipe on the bag - 3 cups cranberries to 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.
You boil them for 10 minutes.
I love hearing them pop open as they cook.
I use a potato masher to squish them a bit at the end.
Let it cool, and it solidifies some.
Cranberries are such a powerhouse berry!
I make a triple batch - one to take to Thanksgiving and two to freeze (it freezes quite well).  Because cranberries are good in all sorts of situations.
Try the sauce:
stirred into oatmeal
over pancakes instead of syrup (our favorite treat)
on ice cream
on a sandwich with peanut butter
stirred into apple pie before baking

So don't throw away the leftovers!  Embrace the cranberry :-)
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oreo Truffle Balls - A Tutorial

If you've never made Oreo truffle balls, you are in for a treat.  They are so delicious, and make totally cute (and well-received) gifts.
You will need 36 oreos.  You can make different flavors - in this case I did a batch of mint and a batch of peanut butter, just using the flavored oreos.
Put the 36 oreos in the food processor and process them.
Place in bowl and add 8 ounces of softened cream cheese.

Using a spoon (or your hands) mix until you have one mass of creaminess. 

Roll into 1 inch balls, place on wax paper, and refridgerate for an hour. 

Melt chocolate in the microwave.  I like to use high quality chocolate, because it melts much smoother and tastes better.  I've also used the ghirardelli dark chocolate chips before with good results. 

Microwave and stir frequently (about every 15-30 seconds) so you don't burn the chocolate.
Once it's all melted, start dunking the oreos. 
If you want to top your truffles with sprinkles, you would do so before the chocolate hardens.
Place on wax paper, and refridgerate another hour. 

If you're not doing sprinkles, another cute option are some of the icings available from Wilton.  You can purchase these at Michael's.
I got mint and peanut butter flavors to match my truffles. 

Once the chocolate is solid, you can drizzle with icing.
Then refridgerate for one last hour before transferring into gift containers. 
You can get very cute truffle boxes at Michael's.
Have I mentioned how good these taste?  You may not want to give them away...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Elf on the Shelf, A Christmas Tradition

We haven't started decorating yet, but this week we did break out The Elf on the Shelf.  Mostly because I am completely losing my mind with all the timeouts I needed to find another way to motivate Pierce to listen. 
The kit comes with a book and an elf.  Once you name your elf, you can't touch him or he'll lose his magic.  Our elf is named Tulley.
Every night, Tulley flies to the North Pole to visit Santa and report on the behaviors of little boys in our family.
When he comes back, he settles in a new place for the day. 
We just never know where in the house Tulley will end up.
And one morning, Tulley was in the same place because Mommy dropped the ball and forgot to move him as the result of a cold virus that prevented his trip to the North Pole that evening. 
Thankfully, he seems to be feeling much better now.
The Elf on the Shelf has already proved to be so much fun.  If you want one for your family, you can pick them up from places like Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Star City Half Marathon, A Race Report

I'm still recovering from running the NYC marathon, but I wanted to run my local half marathon this past Saturday because I haven't run it the past couple of years.  Plus, it was going to be beautiful weather, and I would get to see many of my running friends.

Unfortunately, since NYC, my knees have been a little grumpy.  In particular, my left knee.  Lefty has been acting like Righty used to act prior to knee surgery back in December of 2004.  The surgery was to correct a misalignment of my knee, caused primarily (according to my knee surgeon) by all that horseback riding I did as a kid during my growth spurts.  He said it was very common to see the problem in people who grew up doing bent knee sports, particularly women who were tall (I'm 5'8).

So I decided to dig around in my closet to find the old taping kit.  Back when Righty was a problem, a physical therapist taught me how to tape him into place, which held me over until I had the surgery done.  So I thought, hey, I'll try that on Lefty.
I confess I also took a couple of ibuprofin pre-race, to take any knee pain I might encounter down a notch.
Here I am, waiting in line for the bathroom pre-race. 

My cheer team, who became grumpy very early on, only cheered for me the first 2 miles before demanding a return to home: 

The race started about 30 minutes late, due to a miscommunication regarding the closing/blocking off of streets.  Fortunately, they got it resolved, but the race did start a little late as a result.
The starting line: 

My cheer team snagged this picture around mile 2 just prior to getting WAY bored and heading home: 
It was such a nice day and I definitely could've run in a t-shirt had I known it would warm up so quickly.
As always, I did not wear a watch to race.
In this race, they didn't have a single split time!
Usually at races they have people or clocks stationed at various points to tell runners their time, so you can gauge how you're doing.
So I ran the race in the dark, so to speak, and just listened to how I felt as I pushed through the miles.
My knee was behaving quite well being taped into place.  I was pleasantly surprised.
However, around mile 8 it hit.
My legs just had such heavy fatigue.  It became obvious to me that they were still recovering from NYC. It felt as though they were going to refuse to run another step.  I ate a couple of Luna gummies for energy.  I pushed on but it slowed me down quite a bit.
In fact...around mile 10 I was passed by my ob/gyn and his EIGHT year old.  Rock on, that kid can run!! 
Mile 11 involved a Very.Big.Hill.  The hill under the Jesus Saves sign, for those of you who are local.  I didn't walk it at all, but my legs weren't turning over very fast at that point.
I finished the race in 2:00:17, which is a 9:11 per mile pace.  Had I known I was that close to the 2 hour mark, I would've pushed it out enough at the end to have at least broken it.  But I'm happy enough with my time; glad I got out for the race. 
Here's the finisher's medal:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fellow Bloggers - Free Christmas Cards from Shutterfly!

I've seen posts around the blogging community about the free Christmas cards deal from Shutterfly, but I just recently got around to checking it out.  It's really quite simple.  Just incorporate Shutterfly into a blog post and you will receive 50 photo cards, just for the cost of shipping and handling.  They will send you instructions on how to participate.  Click HERE to sign up.

Since Pierce was born, we've done online photo cards every year.  My favorite was a picture that my father in law took - a close up of Pierce's face, bundled up in a sleeping bag in our Bob jogging stroller at a 5 mile race we ran one Thanksgiving in Nebraska.  His blue eyes just popped out in the picture.

I'm actually a little nervous about coming up with this year's card.  It is so difficult to get pictures of all 3 boys at once.  Someone is always on the go.  Or crying.  Or has a big booger hanging out his nose.  You just never know what you're going to get.  Hopefully we'll come up with something decent.

Even if you're not a blogger, you can get some great deals on Shutterfly right now - discounts and free shipping and the like.  There are so many great choices in cards, address labels, and all sorts of stationary needs.  My favorite card?  Right now, I'm really loving THIS ONE.  Now, if only all 3 boys would smile at once....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Best Split Pea Soup. Ever.

I confess I'm a soup person.  I love soups!  One of my absolute favorites is split pea soup.  But not just any split pea soup.  Jane Brody's dutch oven split pea soup. 



Ingredients:
1 lb dried green split peas
6 c water
4 c (approx) broth (chicken or beef)
1/4 lb smoked pork or ham; diced
3/4 c celery, with some leaves; chopped
2 leeks; (white part only) thinly sliced
1 lg onion; chopped (1 cup)
2 1/2 c potatoes; diced
1 1/2 c carrots; diced (2 large)
*Although the original recipe doesn't call for it, I often add in a bay leaf*
1/2 ts salt; if desired
1/4 ts freshly ground black pepper
1 dash tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
Instructions
(1) In a large saucepan, combine the peas and water. Bring the water
to a boil, and cook the peas for 2 minutes. Remove the peas from the
heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

(2) Add the broth, pork or ham, celery, leeks, and onion. Bring the
soup to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the soup
for 1-1/2 hours.

(3) Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook the soup for another 15 to
30 minutes (the peas should disintegrate). If the soup gets too
thick, thin it with additional broth.

(4) Season the soup with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

This soup takes time to prepare but it is worth the wait.  The peas completely disintegrate, and the soup is thick and flavorful, if not exactly appetizing in photographs:





Friday, November 19, 2010

A Memory You Are Thankful For - Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can link up your memories.  All are welcome.  This week's theme is 'A Memory You're Thankful For'. 

I have so many memories for which I am thankful.  Particularly memories involving relatives and family.  But there are also memories which served as learning lessons that I am also thankful for, even if they are not so joyful.  Memories that teach you about the world, and make you thankful for what you have.  This story is significantly longer than my usual blog post, so settle in.

My first job out of college was working for Children's Protective Services in Houston, Texas.  I was the person who actually went out knocking on doors, investigating child abuse.  It was a challenging job, high stress, and I really put my heart into it.  There are many faces and situations that stick in my mind even now, 13 years later.  One of those is the story I will share today.

It wasn't long after my three months at the training institute that my caseload began to rise.  They tossed you right in once training was complete, because caseloads were enormous, as was the turnover.  Being a social worker in such a large city is difficult work.  About once a week, my unit took only Priority 1 cases for a day.  Priority 1 cases had to be investigated immediately.  As they came in, they would be doled out to us bit by bit.  Priority 1 days were much more stressful than the average day, because you never knew what you were going to get or where you would end up.  Chased by a gang, staring at a screaming mom holding a shotgun, wading through two inches of cat diarrhea sludge (while trying not to gag) to see if the kitchen cabinets had any food?  These were all things that happened to me on Priority 1 days.

On this particular day I received my first crack cocaine baby case.  The case had been called in by one of the hospitals, so I had to go interview the mother, the hospital doctor who called it in, and get a visual on the baby.  Crack cocaine baby cases are cut and dry.  You always removed the baby from the mother in these cases.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

I drove to the hospital and sat down with the mother.  She wore a loose fitting hospital gown and her hair stuck straight up like a troll doll, unbrushed and untended for weeks.  She had that metallic sweat scent of someone withdrawing from hard core drug use.  And her gummy yellow eyes could barely focus on me as I began asking her questions. She looked 20 years older than her true age. Having pulled up her history prior to the meeting, I knew that this was her ninth crack baby. 

Her excuse, for using crack when she knew she was pregnant?
I was tired of being pregnant.  I just wanted to get it over with.  So I just used.  So I could go into labor, see.

Anger.  Such anger over the injustness.  Although I logically realized that this woman had lived a difficult life, had likely seen things and been in situations I couldn't imagine, I was still consumed by anger rather than sympathy because of what she did to that baby.  I didn't want to be in the same room with her.  But I didn't let that show.  I finished the inteview quietly and then went to see the baby.

I had never before seen a crack baby.  Oh, Baby.  Less than 2 pounds. He would've fit in the palm of my hand. Wires, tubes, machines, lights.  Fighting.  Fighting to exist, fighting to beat the drug addiction his mother imposed on him.  So tiny, so still.  But inside, a little heart, beating furiously to live, despite the fact that he was unwanted. 

Merely days later, while Baby continued to fight for life, I faced the courtroom with the mother.  The Judge wisely chose not to award her custody, despite her anguish.  Perhaps it was because she was completely high during the trial.  She spent half the time lying on the bench, and the other half waving her arms erratically and yelling.  As I walked out that day, a lawyer grabbed me by the arm and said, "Is that your client?"  I nodded with regret.  "I just thought you should know that she was using crack in the bathroom just now".  That mother wouldn't even wait through the court case concerning her newborn's welfare before using again.

That little baby?  He'd be around 12 or 13 years old now.  I think of him with such sadness.  I hope that he found a family to love him and raise him and help him through the develomental delays that were likely caused by extensive crack exposure in the womb and extreme prematurity.  I hope that there was never a Judge who decided to send him into an unsafe and unloving home.  I hope that his mother found birth control, and that she stopped using drugs.  I suspect that some, if not all, of my hopes are in vain.

So why am I thankful for this particular memory?  Because it is a reminder.  A reminder of how fortunate I am.  To have family.  To have friends.  To have health.  And it also serves to remind me that I devoted a portion of my career and life to trying to help others.  Some days, I was more successful than others.  Some days, I did make a difference.  Regardless, I tried.  Ultimately, it was the crack cocaine baby cases that did me in and led to a career change.  I could deal with cases of abuse and cases of neglect.  But my heart just couldn't handle seeing those tiny crack cocaine babies week after week.  It was time to move on.  However, I've never forgotten the wrinkled faces of those babies, and the faces of other saddened children I encountered through my work.  And I've never let go of the hopes that they somehow found happiness in their lives.   Daily, I remember that there are people who are facing the darkest of the dark situations in life, and that each of us as individuals can make a difference in a life. 

Want to join in on Memory Lane Friday?  You can link up here:

Don't forget to visit others' blogs and leave comments.  Next week's topic is Shopping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Activities

We've broken out all things Thanksgiving at our house. 
One of the books we really like is Off to Plymouth Rock.
Our copy is a board book, so it's even twin-proof.  At least so far.
I particularly like the pictures, which are very colorful and cute. 
We wanted to tie in the book with some activities this week.
Last year after Christmas I bought one of those cookie painting kits on clearance.
I kind of forgot about it in the pantry.
But turns out it hadn't expired yet, so we decided to make some Thanksgiving cookies to go with the Plymouth Rock book. 

We have 3 appropriate cookie cutters - a leaf, a turkey, and pilgrims.
Pierce really enjoyed painting them - the kit included 2 color templates that are used similar to watercolors. 

After cookies, we decided to make a little turkey craft.
Take a coffee filter and have your child draw on it with markers.
The more colors, the better it will turn out.
The fun part is that after coloring, have your child use a spray bottle to mist it with water.
This blends all the colors together.
Hang it up to dry. 

Once it's dry, use a clothes pin to make your turkey: 
Now, who wants some pilgrim cookies?

This post is linked up with Read, Explore, Learn - go visit here:

Shibley Smiles

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Trader Joes, A Love Letter

Dear Trader Joes,

I've become increasingly restless with our long distance relationship.  Three hours each way is too far for me to have to travel each time I want to see you.  I'm not saying you're not worth the drive, and the gas, but my life just won't feel complete until you move closer.

I know that you have many other admirers.  I know that other cities need you too.  But here in Roanoke, we need you more.  If you came to Roanoke, enthusiasts from all over southwestern Virginia would drive in to shop with you.  There's already a facebook fan page called "Bring Trader Joes to Roanoke".  You would be so well received. 

Some days, I can barely make it through the day, because I am overcome with cravings.  Oh mango mochi balls, peanut butter filled chocolate pretzels, garlic fries, European mocha yogurt, sparkling wine and balsalmic roasted veggies.  Where are you in my time of need?  A 3 hour drive each way, that's where!  And now, here we are close to the holidays, and my shelves are empty of peppermint joe joes.  What's a girl to do?  How will I survive?

Oh, Joe (you don't mind if I call you Joe, do you?), please move to Roanoke.  I realize that other cities may be more glamorous than us.  But we're really friendly down here.  We have that whole southern hospitality thing going on.  And you'll never grow tired of the beauty of our blue mountains.  Joe, if you come to Roanoke, I pledge to review one product a week on my blog for an entire year!  That's how much I love you.  Won't you consider it?  Pretty please?

Forever Yours,
And Shriveling Away Without Your Hummus,
Lisa

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Fall Chick

Remember the clutch of eggs that Leghorn was sitting?  Well, as it turned out the blue egg is the only one that hatched.  Leghorn sat her other eggs for about a week, and then gave up on them. 

Meanwhile, our little chick is about a month old.
She seems to be doing quite well.  Leghorn has proven to be a good surrogate mother.
The chick is in that awkward phase, where some of her adult feathers are starting to come in.
She definitely takes after her mother, Natasha, who is an Ameraucana chicken.  It would be neat if she ends up laying blue eggs too (some of them also lay green eggs).
She is also skittish and shy like her mother.  Although she may also be more skittish because unlike the rest of our flock, she was raised outside of the house, so she hasn't received much handling.
Pierce has been calling her Cheep Cheep.

I'm linking up today with Angela's Show and Tail, which can be found at her blog WV Treasures.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - The Food Pyramid

Today's Muffin Tin Monday theme is the food pyramid.  I'm no nutritionist and I was too lazy busy to look up proper balances on the various food tiers.  I think the meals I make at home tend to be fairly well balanced, but when I fall short it is always in the area of protein and dairy.  I'm a huge fan of carbs, fruits and veggies though. 

Here's what Pierce had:
Hard boiled egg from our chickens, roasted balsalmic brussel sprouts, stuffing (I had a craving because of all the Thanksgiving hype), a clementine orange, a sugar pear, and some carrots.  And no, I didn't forget about dairy this time!  Pierce had a glass of milk to drink on the side.

If you'd like to join in on MTM, go here:
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Are Your Twins Grumpy? I Found the Secret to Twin Toddler Happiness.

Is it because of Daylight Savings Time?  Are they teething?  I don't know, but the twins have been pretty grumpy this week.  Maybe they're still holding a grudge over my trip to NYC.  At any rate, I found a new solution.  It doesn't even cost any money.  And it hasn't been recalled.  Yet.

First, bribe your twins with animal crackers.
Place twins side by side on an old sleeping bag.

Then drag your twins all over the house on sleeping bag.
Continue dragging twins until your legs give out or bedtime arrives.  Whichever happens first.
See?
Instant happiness. 

But hey, if that fails, I have more tricks up my sleeve.
There's always the jogging stroller... 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

3 Little Bears Bento

Here's a recent bento I sent for Pierce's lunch at preschool.
A wild rice froggy, peas, cheese cubes and green grapes.
3 wild berry pancake bears dancing on watermelon.

Pierce often says his favorite thing about school (second only to the 'motorcycle room') is his lunch.  Makes me feel like maybe I'm doing a good job ;-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Something You Hated

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome.  This week's theme is "Something You Hated".

I hated 4th grade.  Almost everything about it.  In fact, the only redeeming thing about 4th grade was my best friend, Leanne, and my horseback riding lessons. 
My family had moved that year, so I started in a new school.  I don't remember much about the school.  I remember that the teacher made me sit next to the class "mean kid" because she said I would be a good influence on her.  The mean kid was named Rene, which was my middle name.  So 4th grade was the year I started despising my middle name.
In addition, 4th grade was the year you were allowed to pick a musical instrument to play.  I decided to take up the flute.  I was dreadful at playing the flute, and could barely manage to just play the end of it, much less the notes.  The band instructor was the most terrifying man on earth, and was always yelling at us when we didn't play well.  Being a timid child, I was horrified by his temper, and the flute became an instrument of torment.  My fingers, jittery from nerves, became completely befuddled as I attempted to learn how to play the notes.
And finally, 4th grade was the year I did this:
Oh how I hated ballet.  And putting on pink, frilly, sequined tutus.  Always clumsy, my limbs just didn't want to conform to the various poses of ballet.  Not to mention, I found it boring.  I begged to quit, but as I'd been the one pushing for ballet to begin with, I had to stick out the year.  All I wanted to do was ride horses! 

I realize that picking an entire year to hate is a little grim.  But it was a very difficult year for me.  The following year we moved to Roanoke, and I remember that my parents were nervous about telling me that we'd be moving again so soon.  But when they told me, I was completely thrilled.  I was ready for a new start.  I would definitely miss my friend Leanne, who had taken me under her wing as a friend, and I would miss my riding lessons.  Other than that, I was thankful to move on.

Want to participate in Memory Lane Friday?  Link up here:
Next week's topic is a Memory You are Thankful For.