Oct 31, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Candy, Candy, Everywhere

Ah, Halloween–where you worry you don’t have enough candy and so your hubby hits Costco on the way home, only to end up with loads of the stuff left when you’re trying (or, perhaps, trying to try) to make better food choices.

Anyway.

I can’t promise much by way of coherence, because the virus that had my youngest puking and my son just exhausted with no appetite has my 8-year-old coughing up a lung and a half every few hours, ALL NIGHT LONG.  The poor thing coughed so hard she threw up at one point–into a bowl, thankfully–and was so tired and miserable.  I’m tired because I was up with her, and her sister is tired because they share a room and she’s been waking up with the coughing (she ended up in the guest bed last night at 10).  I did finish Patricia MacLachlan’s latest book, however, and like all of her books, it’s eminently worth reading.  Just Dance centers around 10-year-old Sylvie, who wants excitement and is sure it’s not going to be found on her small town farm in Wyoming.  Why her former opera singer mother is content there baffles and worries her, because what if she really isn’t?  How can she not miss the life she gave up–and what if she decides to do something about it?  How Sylvie finds the answers to her questions makes for a lovely little story about love and joy (and may leave you with Con Te Partiro in your head indefinitely!).  If you’re feeling a little stressed going into the holidays–because, say, your older two daughters’ science fair projects are due the week of Halloween and there’s been sickness and out-of-town-ness going on to boot–grab this one and enjoy.

Just Dance


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Oct 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Of Purple Cabbage

My third grader was the scientist in her class last week, which meant she brought home a book of possible science experiments and got to pick one to prepare and do in front of the class.  She picked one that involved making homemade litmus strips–testers–papers–whatever they’re called, which was totally cool, you understand, except that OH MY GOSH, THE STENCH OF BOILED CABBAGE IN MY KITCHEN.  You chop a bunch and bring it to a boil and use the (very purple!) water to put strips of paper towel in.  (I got that much–I can’t tell you if that’s all there was to it or not, because I was bathing littles while my hubby boiled the cabbage.)  The paper towel strips, when dry, change colors with acids and salt water, which is a lovely effect, but still, the stench in my kitchen.  I always thought the smell of sauerkraut was more the vinegar and spices, but no, no, it’s mostly just the cabbage.  And I LIKE sauerkraut, you understand, but some smells should be rigidly contained.

Anyway.  I lit a candle, we opened windows, and we managed, thankfully.  Now, however, I have purple cabbage to use.   Anybody have any amazing recipes for it?  (That don’t involve nuts my oldest is allergic to?  Because my friend Andrea has one of those.)  I used up the already boiled stuff in this recipe for Spiced Red Cabbage; I thought it was worth eating, but my children were appalled.  (I was amused.)  I don’t know that it’s worth making AGAIN, you understand, but it was the only recipe I found (in the limited time I had to look) that called for boiling the cabbage first.  What do YOU make with purple cabbage?

Oct 27, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Yet Another Recipe My Children Didn’t Like As Much As I Did

And that gets old, you know?  I needed something easy to fix on Tuesday, since I’d spent the day unpacking and doing dishes and laundry (much of it with an extra child or two, because hey, I was home anyway!), and at the last minute I opted for this Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal.  I really enjoyed it, too–it tasted like fall, in a healthier way than an apple crisp does.  (Not that I don’t love apple crisps, because I SO do, but I can’t bring myself to serve one for dinner.)  Of course, it kind of wanted something sweet and cold and creamy with it–if I’d had whipped cream I would have used it–but a glass of milk alongside (plus maybe a drizzle of maple syrup on top) would do it.  I used craisins instead of raisins (because they taste better!), but other than that I followed the recipe and it came out beautifully.  If you’re looking for a good breakfast (or breakfast for dinner!) that’s full of fiber and feels like fall, try this one.*

*Why yes, that IS some beautiful alliteration.  Thank you!

Oct 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

We Have Survived…

…barely.

Okay, it could have been worse, I grant you that.  But few things put the lyrics to “Sloop John B” in your head like your 2-year-old throwing up all over herself an hour and fifteen minutes into a five and a half hour drive…and then again two thirds of the way through it…and then again in her bed, in her SLEEP.  (And then AGAIN 24 hours later, after I thought she was done.  I had to catch the first of that bout in my hands to avoid cleaning out the port-a-crib in the middle of the night again, and then shove the bowl under her four more times that hour.)  Add to that the overtired and hangry children, chilly rain keeping said children indoors, and limited cousin time (because who wants to risk catching the stomach flu?!), and I was singing, “I wanna go home” off and on in my head for days.  (My family is wonderful, and it was lovely to be with them, but sick kids away from home pack a lot of misery with them.)

Anyway.  If you’ve had a rough week as well, you should give Shannon Hale’s latest Princess in Black adventure a try.  The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate sees our heroine teaming up with the Goat Avenger AND newcomer the Princess in Blankets to defeat a particularly sneaky monster; it’s pure fun, right down to the blanketed princess’s steed.  This is a perfect series for emerging readers, folks–these books are funny, fabulously illustrated, and full of adventure.  (You can also read one aloud to a kindergartener in a couple of sittings, or one long one.  Think Mercy Watson or Mrs. Noodlekugel.)  If you haven’t already read them, start with the first book and prepare to be thoroughly entertained!

Oct 17, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I’m Going On A Break!

I’m Going On A Break!

Really.  I promise I won’t make any stupid Ross-like decisions, but my second girlie got baptized this past weekend, and while it was wonderful, I am now physically and emotionally exhausted.  Add that to visiting family and the science fair–for TWO kiddos this year–and I’m just plain taking a week off from anything that’s not actually required.  I’ll see you on the 25th–in the meantime, wish me luck!  (Tomorrow, for example, I get to do the baking part of my third grader’s project with her.  We’re varying the amount of baking powder in muffins to see what happens.  My hubby’s working with our fifth grader!)

Oct 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Easy And Tasty (Low-Fat, Not So Much)

Easy And Tasty (Low-Fat, Not So Much)

I needed a crockpot meal on Wednesday, since my oldest has dance from 3:50 to 4:50, and pulled this Slow Cooker Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Pasta recipe from one of my Pinterest boards.  It was easy to throw together, moist, and flavorful, although my kids mostly gave it a thumbs middle (I think they’re iffy with pesto).  I quite enjoyed it, though, so I’m thinking it will happen again.  I might add more lemon next time–I put in extra and really couldn’t taste it–but otherwise it works as is.  And now, since it’s been an exhausting weekend, I’m going to bed!

Oct 13, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

I’m not sure imitation is the word exactly, but when I’ve been reading or listening to certain things, they absolutely affect my speaking and writing.  When I’m on an Agatha Christie kick I tend to favor “one” as a pronoun; I once wrote an entire talk I couldn’t use because it was the week after General Conference and it sounded like I thought I was an apostle; and tonight, even as I considered what to write about, I realized that rereading “The Lord of the Rings” on the treadmill meant that any review I attempted was going to come out exceedingly, well, Tolkien-y.  And while I can’t necessarily consider that a bad thing, it wasn’t going to work for any of the things I was contemplating.  Until Sunday, then!  (I’ll have finished Return of the King by then.)

Oct 11, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

To properly review Helen Frost’s Applesauce Weather, I have to get past the differences between my own memories of applesauce making and what she portrays, which are considerable.  It’s made more difficult because memories of autumn in New England are some of my strongest and most emotionally rich, but Frost’s verse novel deserves consideration on its own merits.  Her characters are simply drawn, but knowable; her words are plain but rich; and her story is short but impactful.  Overall, it’s a sweetly lovely little book about loss, family, and stories, very much worth a read.  I’m looking forward to checking out some of her other titles!

Applesauce Weather


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Oct 9, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on School Fundraisers

School Fundraisers

Blech.  That’s what I have to say.  Three kids means three order forms for the same overpriced, unimpressive popcorn and chocolates.  (Yes, I have four kids, but only three attending elementary school!)  And since I’m a slacker mom, I’m currently filling out those order forms and writing checks, since they’re due, you know, tomorrow.  AND since slacker mom = slacker blogger, well–you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for that book review.

Oct 7, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Just Too Much

Just Too Much

I already had enough on the docket this week for it to be slightly daunting, but since I’m now teaching a class in church tomorrow, I’m declaring a book review just too much to manage on what concentration I have left tonight.  See y’all Tuesday!

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