Archive from May, 2017
May 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Things We Experience Fleetingly

When I was in latter elementary school–and maybe junior high–my mother went back to school to finish up her degree.  She majored in art teaching, which meant art classes of all different kinds; as the youngest, I sometimes went along with her up to the college, particularly when she had classes that required resources we didn’t have at home.  One of the two classes I remember distinctly involved photography and visits to a dark room; the other involved ceramics and visits to the pottery wheel.  What I really remember about the pottery wheel is that trying to make something on it was HARD; I bailed in short order and spent the time my mother was on the wheel molding a figure out of clay with my hands.  There is also, however, a wisp of a memory of the feeling of the wheel, of the clay moving beneath my hands, and that’s what was on my mind as I read The Mad Potter:  George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius.

I hadn’t heard of George Ohr at all, but I’m in good company–the name didn’t ring any bells for my mother, either.  (I’m not returning the book to the library until she comes to town this weekend and gets the chance to look at it herself.)  He was an art potter in the latter half of the 19th century, working (mostly) out of his hometown of Biloxi.  His trinkets and more utilitarian creations sold, but he loved his artistic pieces while his contemporaries–generally–didn’t.  As a result, he was neither prosperous nor respected during his lifetime; when a great stash of his work was discovered in the 1960s, however, it was (very belatedly) far more appreciated.  Mad Potter tells George’s story in accessible text with an engaging voice; it’s about the length of a text-heavy longer picture book, making it perfect for the mid-elementary reads-non-fiction-independently crowd.  My artist daughter enjoyed it as much as I did, so if you or your child has an interest in art and/or history, this one is totally worth your time.

May 23, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Just Say…

YES to the Firework Oreos.  They’re tasty and they pop in your mouth!  (Mildly.)

MEH to the Strawberry Nut M&Ms.  They’re just weird.  The PB&J limited edition variety from years ago were the same flavor profile, but tasted MUCH better.

MAYBE to the Caramel M&Ms.  As a friend pointed out, they taste kind of like Rolos with a candy shell.  If you like Rolos, then…

May 21, 2017 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Parenting My 7-Year-Old This Weekend

On Saturday, newly-showered, she headed into my bedroom to do her sock chore–she balls up all of the pairs of socks for the family–and donned her newly acquired gardening gloves just before reaching for the first pair of socks.  Me:  You can’t wear those to do your sock chore.  Her:  Why??  Me:  Didn’t you wear those outside earlier?  Her:  Yes!

Today she asked for seconds of grilled chicken at dinner and then declared herself full after eating about 2/3 of it.  Me:  It was a bigger piece–I’ll bet if you asked nicely, Daddy would finish it.  She asked nicely and Daddy agreed; she turned towards me, and with her next breath asked, “Can I have some more bread?”

She also (initially) put her dress on inside-out this morning and then spent the first hour of church (among other things) drawing on her legs.  Good thing she’s so dang lovable!

May 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Technical Difficulties

I actually tried to post on Wednesday–I really did!  My computer wanted to update, however, and so my open windows were just thinking and thinking and refusing to go anywhere, and I didn’t have it in me to wait out the updates.  I went to bed.

Unfortunately, I’m even more tired tonight.  It was my older girlies’ dance recital, and my hubby has been out of town (he just got back–wahoo!), and–wow.  I’m not even sure WHY I’m so exhausted.  Here, then, is my abbreviated review of Monday night’s new recipe for Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash:

  1.  If you choose to be overly generous with the potatoes, be prepared to compensate.  There’s barely enough liquid to cook them through as it is, and the recipe more or less warns you of that.
  2. Truely caramelizing the onions takes far longer than it claims, but it definitely adds to the flavor.  Unfortunately, the subsequent cooking in chicken broth wipes out the texture aspect.
  3. I used smoked paprika–and I’d do it again.  I can’t help but wonder, though–are there other Hungarian herbs and spices I don’t know about?  Because recipes that say they’re Hungarian all seem to be pretty heavy on the “Paprika is my main flavor” idea.
  4. Taking the time to make sure the medallions of sausage get a nice sear on each side will pay off.  If you’re too worried about getting kids fed and moving on to other things to be that careful, it’s still fine, but you’ll notice the difference.
  5. Bottom line?  My kids mostly gave it a thumbs middle.  I liked it, but I’m not sure I liked it quite enough to make it again if they don’t love it.  My hubby was getting ready for his trip and not super hungry, though, so I might make it again and see if his vote tips the scales.
May 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

To Target, To Target, To Buy–Two Gift Cards

I really, really hate running to the store after the kids are in bed.

It’s not that it’s not lovely to shop without distraction,  you understand.  It’s just that I’m a morning person at heart–no matter how tired I am in the morning nowadays–and I prefer to get my errands out of the way in the first half of the day.  Nevertheless, off I went tonight, because my 10-year-old’s teacher’s surprise party is tomorrow, and so she really wanted to have her end of year gift ready.  I’ve been doing $10 Target cards for teachers the last year or two, and at the end of the day (this particular day, in fact!), well, it’s DONE.  I don’t have to think about it anymore.

What it means, however, is that I used up all my mental energy on things like deciding the gift cards’ design–I couldn’t quite bring myself to go with “Thank you for being awesome,” because I’m sort of picky about my adjectives, and awesome feels a little strong for both teachers this year–and so I now have two “Target dog in a spaceship” gift cards for my girls to take to school tomorrow and absolutely zero motivation or energy left to review tonight’s new recipe.

Next time, folks.  Next time.

May 13, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Dear Goodreads: Stop Nagging!

Seriously.  Every time I look at my Goodreads account, it reminds me that I’m 2 books behind schedule in my 2017 reading challenge.  Come on!  I have four kids, it’s almost the end of the school year, and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is almost 400 pages!  (I’m loving it, but still.  That review’s going to be a while.)  Today, however, I at least finished my treadmill book, and I have to say–it cracked me up.  My friend Britt loves Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series; it’s less my thing, and so I’ve taken longer to get thoroughly into it, but The Trouble With Demons (Book 3) pretty much kept me riveted.  The action develops quickly and really never stops, the quips and witty rejoinders made me laugh out loud more than once, and Raine is an entertaining character to follow through a story. To be fair, there are flaws; Shearin’s character descriptions can be a bit repetitive, and the “all men adore and are fascinated by Raine except for the ones trying to kill her” gets a bit old (technically, some of the men trying to kill her are still fascinated by her), but it’s such a romp of a book that I really didn’t care.  So what if the plot–in the most general sense–is fairly predictable by the third book in the series?  “House” was quite a bit more predictable, and it ran for 8 seasons on the strength of its mysterious medical conditions and Hugh Laurie’s ability to be both sarcastic and outrageous in a fake accent.  If you want action, a strong female lead, and books chock full of wise-cracking characters, this series is for you.  Start with Magic Lost, Trouble Found–and enjoy!

May 11, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Mmmmm…Waffles…

Have I mentioned that I love waffles?  Because I really, really do.  The taste, the texture, the flavor-collecting pockets–the perfect combination.  What’s not to love?  And since I have strawberries to spare in my fridge at the moment, I cut up a couple of pounds, set them to macerating, and tried this recipe for Family Favorite Oatmeal Waffles for the first time.

They were tasty.

The chewiness of the oatmeal, the buttery goodness of the Belgian waffle, and the hints of sweetness and spice were all topped off with generous quantities of sugared strawberries and vanilla yogurt (but only because I had no whipped or whipping cream OR whipped topping).  It was a beautiful thing.  I’ll have to 1-and-a-half the recipe to feed all six of us–my hubby wasn’t home–but I can live with that, because WAFFLES.

You should try these.  Just remember to pick up some whipping cream beforehand!

May 9, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Blessed

I am officially back from BYU Women’s Conference–as in, back home, back into everyday life, and (finally) back on here!  (That was supposed to happen on Sunday, but…oops.)  I had an exceptionally wonderful time this year, and I have to thank the people who made it possible–my amazing parents who stayed at my house and helped tend my kiddos, my generous introverted hubby who had far more time with people than usual, and my mother- and sister-in-law who are a delight to stay with, play with, and be with.  I am blessed.

Speaking of being a delight, by the way,  you really ought to read Hippopotamister.  It’s a junior graphic novel, and it’s a delightful read.  Since the zoo is rundown and lacking in visitors, Hippo’s friend Red Panda helps him get a job in the outside world.  When the first day doesn’t go quite as planned, they get another job…and another job…and another; ultimately, both animals find work that fits them well.   The illustrations are fabulous (my personal favorite might be the friends’ stint as hair stylists) and the story appealing–don’t miss this one!

Hippopotamister


New From: $7.08 USD In Stock

May 3, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Time Out For Mommy!

I get to spend the next couple of days with my fabulous mother- and sister-in-law, so I’ll see you Sunday, y’all!  (And a shout-out to my absolutely marvelous mother, who is making it possible by helping out with my kiddos.  I am blessed.)

May 1, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Perfect For My Girlie

Although my older girls and I all enjoyed Julie Sternberg’s Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, it didn’t have a lot that I felt my kiddos could personally relate to. Eleanor is an only child living in an apartment building in Brooklyn; my girls are the older two of four children, and we live in a house in a suburb of Salt Lake City.  Eleanor is losing her daily babysitter, as both her parents work outside the home; I’m a stay-at-home mom who tends to leave my kiddos with family or friends when the need arises.  The book was still a pleasure, but I didn’t actually see any of us in it.

Not so with its immediate sequel, my friends.  In Like Bug Juice on a Burger, Eleanor heads off to summer camp for the first time–and proceeds to do a stellar imitation of my seven-year-old.  She’s homesick for her parents and misses the way they do things; she limits herself to the foods she recognizes and likes, which aren’t exactly legion; she’s not a strong swimmer and ends up in a lower class than any of her cabin mates; need I go on?  It was eerie.  I am, however, thrilled to be able to pass it on to my only timid girlie.  Learning from others’ experiences can only make our lives easier, right?  I can only hope that reading about Eleanor’s struggles to cope and adjust will be enlightening for my daughter.

Note:  Bug Juice has a real ending, not a storybook one, which only makes it more perfect.

Like Bug Juice on a Burger (Eleanor)


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