Monday, December 22, 2008

Mmmmmm..... Cupcakes!

It's that time of year! Baking, baking, and more baking! Tomorrow is my last day of school before Christmas and I promised my students (all two dozen of them!) that I would make cupcakes.  Last night, I made 34 cupcakes (25 for school and 9 for us at home). Tonight was "Decorating Night." Here they are!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mmmmmm..... Pies!

My father is so hard to shop for for Christmas. The stuff he wants is "big ticket" kinda stuff and well, Pete and I don't have that kind of cash. After thinking and thinking about what I can get him for Christmas, I remembered how much he likes pie. Homemade pie. Fruit pies. Well, my mom doesn't really cook or bake all that much so the pies my father gets are usually from the Wal-Mart bakery (yuck). Sooo.... I decided the best gift I could give him was four homemade pies!
From left to right:
I made an apple pie (using Macoun apples -- what a great flavor!), a pecan pie, a cherry/blueberry pie (that boiled out while baking; it was mess central!), and a pumpkin pie (custard style. Passed down from Pete's grandmother). These babies are all wrapped (Saran that is!) and have been put away in the freezer. I'm going to give them (frozen) to Pop for Christmas.

What a wonderful way to spend my snow day today!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yeah, I know......

I've been BUSY!  School has been NUTS! I've been practically living there.... Once things calm down (i.e. Christmas vacation) I promise I'll post more!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

25 and I'm Still Alive!

I am at 25 students and have lived to tell about it! Hooray. Knock on wood, my three new ones this week are pretty good and have transitioned nicely. I am feeling the pressure however, especially since our buzz-word this year is "accountability." How ironic.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rough Day

I got a call last night about one of my student's 3-year old brother who got run over with a lawn mower. His foot got caught and was distributed all over the lawn. The family dog got a hold of some of the pieces and my student (his sister) saw the dog with a piece before the ambulance arrived. It was an emotional night and morning. She's doing okay though. Read the story HERE

At lunch, I found out I'm getting ANOTHER student. That makes 25! I'm going to check over my contract later on to see what the wording is because 25 is my cap. We'll see!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Phew! I haven't had many moments to stop and catch my breath these past two weeks. I have been constantly on the move!  Where to begin? 

Extended Day.
Yep, I took an after-school tutoring job. I just couldn't say no ($45 an hour and I stay in my own classroom!). Our "Extended Day" program is twice a week (one hour a day) for students in third, fourth, and fifth grade who need an extra little boost in reading. My district is doing this to better their scores on the CMT (Connecticut Mastery Test) and for No Child Left Behind. My group includes 9 third graders (7 of my own and 2 from the other class). We're practicing fluency by doing Reader's Theaters and reading (and singing!) song lyrics. I've downloaded children's' songs like "The Green Grass Grew All Around" and "Boom, Boom, Ain't it Great to Be Crazy?" and Beatles songs (which they LOVE). We're doing "Yellow Submarine" and "Good Day Sunshine." Since I don't (and can't) sing, I play these songs via my iPhone into my classroom tape player/radio. 

Thank God they're over! Last week was conference week. I had to meet with 22 parents (plus have a phone conference). Each conference lasts 15 minutes. You do the math. Wednesday our conferences were scheduled from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  We had a half day of school and, stupid me, I decided to stay at school to get work done. Well, I did get plenty done but boy was I fried come 8:00! Especially since I had been there since 7:00 a.m. Needless to say, on Thursday I came home for 2 hours in between the end of school and the beginning of conferences. Friday was our last conference day, our "early" day as our conferences were scheduled from 1:00-3:00. I, of course, had a parent say she couldn't come at her scheduled time of 2:30 but wanted a 3:15 appointment. I relented. Pete, God bless him, took me out to eat at the Olive Garden that night.
Yes, we're still getting wood. This past Saturday (day after my week of conference Hell) we did a "quickie" run to my parents' house for a load and a little bit of splitting. We knew it was going to rain mid-afternoon and evening and we wanted to make the most of the dry weather. We got back to our house around 2:00 p.m. and it had just started to drizzle. We figured we'd unload our wood anyway. Well, the drizzling stopped but, in doing so, it began to do something else: pour. Yep, you guessed it! We stuck it out and continued to unload our truck and stack the wood (outside, mind you) in the pouring rain. Pete and I were both soaked when we finished. We haven't gotten wet like that since our mid-winter window well fiasco in 2007!

New Students.
Yes, that's students, plural. It's not like I had a big class to begin with! (Ha Ha!). I am now up to 24 kids. The biggest third grade in my district. (We have, let's see, 17 or 18 third grade classes in my district. Geesh, what an honor!) Yesterday I was running around like a mad woman trying to get folders, pencils, name plates, etc. all in order. The custodian never came in to adjust my new desks and one of the lockers I was going to use was stuck. My two new ones (a boy and a girl) seemed like they had a good start. The boy has a lot of baggage (attacking people at home with kitchen knives and screwdrivers, among other things) but has had a lot of intervention and is hopefully on the mend.

The bain of my existence!! The weekends are filled with wood cutting and Pete's days off have been filled with, you guessed it, foul weather. Our yard was a complete disaster and, to make matters worse, we have to do his mother's yard too. Pete's days off this week (Thursday and Friday) are predicted be very wet. We can't do leaves in that! Seeing as today was a holiday and I didn't have school, I resolved myself to do the leaves solo. I was prepared. After talking to my mom this morning at 7:00, she told me that she and Pop were going to come out and help me. Hallelujah! I began my intense raking at 8:00. I raked out all of my flower beds and gardens and finished at 10:00. I then called Pete and had him walk me through the process of starting our backpack leaf blower. I then operated that baby until my parents arrived at 10:30. All three of us then blew the leaves in our front yard into the woods (they too, both had backpack blowers). Shortly thereafter, we moved into the back yard and created two large piles closer to my neighbor's yard. On the other side of the yard, we again blew the leaves into the woods. When we were finished, we went back to the piles and raked them onto a tarp. We then dragged the tarp into the woods. We repeated that about 8 times in the back and about 4 times in the front (we had a large pile closer to the house). We came in for a quick lunch at noon and then we were back out. We finally finished at 2:00 this afternoon.  Phew! Oh, yes, we still have to do mom-in-law's leaves. Perhaps Sunday? Maybe in the rain? Ugh!

As you can see, I've been....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Election Day

I have performed my civic duty and now it's your turn....


This is an important and very historic election and I am glad to be a part of it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feedin' Time

Left to Right:

Chloe, Nicky, and Hannah.  I just had to share this!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wood, Wood, Wood, and More Wood!


It's coming out of my ears!  Every weekend for the past month (or more perhaps, I've lost count) we've been cutting, marking, splitting, loading, stacking, transporting, unloading, and stacking again.  We're keeping the seasoned wood (ready to be burned) on our screened in porch. Here's our "Quick Grab" pile next to the kitchen door.
An "aerial shot" of our piles at the back of our porch. We've currently got 7 rows....

Here's our "reserve pile" outside; this is the wood that we'll be burning come January as it's not quite seasoned yet. When our porch wood is depleted, this is the stuff that we'll use to "re-fill."
Our truck fashioned with homemade sides for extra wood carrying capacity. Without this baby, there'd be no wood burnin' for us!  (Of course, if we didn't have the truck payment, we'd have no problem paying for oil!)  But, why pay for oil when you can have the satisfaction of knowing that YOU were able to heat your own house and get a lot of exercise while doing it?!  We wouldn't have it any other way!
Yes, it may look like a lot of wood but, it's not!! We're heading out again next weekend and several more will follow suit.

Wood, wood, wood, and more wood!  What's fall without it?  :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Weekend in the Woods

Weekend after weekend after weekend in the fall is spent at my parents' house cutting and splitting wood.  Last Saturday (Oct. 11th) our friends Roxy and Dave joined us during one of our wood cutting "adventures." Roxy has since posted about that day and, since she's already done the work, why post twice? Click HERE to read (and see!) all about it!  (There's also a rather funny video involving my brother, a chain saw, and a really bad location ~ check it out!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Newport, RI Wedding

The long awaited day has finally come!  Pete and I were invited to a very formal wedding in Newport, RI on October 17th for one of Pete's co-workers. As the wedding was a Friday night wedding (5:30 ceremony), I knew we had to dress the part. Starting in June, I crocheted myself a shawl and long skirt for the occasion. Since I could not find a matching top (the black yarn I used in the skirt was an odd colored black), my mom and I went to Joann Fabrics and bought the fabric for my top. My mom then sewed my top for me. I then made a pair of earrings from the same beads as on my shawl.  Everything was handmade except for my shoes and purse! :)  We got Pete's Ralph Lauren suit at Macy's in September.  He wanted a nice suit complete with a vest. It was not easy to find and we ended up paying a little more than we wanted but, did he look dapper!!

This first shot is of the ceremony site in Newport. The ceremony and reception were held at Belle Mer on Goat Island.
Just as the sun was beginning to set over the water.... The ceremony began a few minutes after 5:30.
Enzo and Katie right after the ceremony.  (Pete works with Enzo.)

Inside of Belle Mer during the reception. There were about 250 people at this VERY Italian wedding. We figure it was around $200 per person. It was quite the place!
Here we are with the famed Newport Bridge behind us. (I always blink during pictures.....)

Our table.
Outside during the reception. I was getting tired of sitting and needed to stretch my legs. There was A LOT of dancing going on but, since this was an Italian wedding, they were dancing to songs I've never heard in ways I've never seen. Pete and I just stayed at the table and watched. There was dancing in between the courses of the meal. It was amazing!
Overall, we had a very good night. We left around 10:30 and drove back to my parents' house. Most people were staying in Newport but Enzo had told Pete a few weeks earlier that the hotels were around $400 a night. We opted for the cheaper route: a commute back to my parents' house and a good night sleep in my hometown!

Sounds from the Wedding (We were outside)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hooded Baby Blanket

Another project completed! I crocheted this hooded baby blanket for one of my teacher friends who is due in December. It was made from one ball of Lion Brand Pound of Love (White).  The edging is Bernat Worsted in Soft Yellow.

The stitch pattern was very easy but creates the look of a popcorn stitch. The hood was made by increasing the double crochet stitch row by row. The hood was sewn onto one of the corners of the blanket.

The pictures aren't the greatest; there's something to be said about taking pictures in natural light vs. incandescent light. :)

My next project (which I started last night) is a sweater, complete with pockets and buttons, as a Christmas present for someone in my family. I am using Caron Simply Soft Tweed in Off White and a "J" hook for that project.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wood Cutting Weekend #2

Another weekend of back-breaking work is behind us.....

Next weekend, we're going out with the truck to take this load home with us. We wanted to leave it split for a week to "air out" before taking it home to stack.

All of this split wood comes from the oak tree that Adam and Pete cut up last weekend. While Pop and I split, Adam and Pete were deep in the woods cutting up a second tree. We'll split that one next weekend. We've got four other trees that are down so we'll be at this for a while longer!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crochet Club: Meeting #1

After weeks of planning and days of gathering materials, we held our first ever Crochet Club.  We have 18 fourth graders signed up. It was wonderful! They were so attentive and watched intently as the three of us crocheted in front of them. It was remarkable! We showed them all different kinds of hooks, yarns, and an array of books and magazines. Tomorrow I am going to order 20 sets of hooks on-line so that each club member has 3 different sizes.

I am excited to say that we have a boy in our club! Because of him, I brought in my camouflage yarn. He was so excited to see it and immediately said he wanted to crochet himself a camouflage hat. It was great!

Because of a ton of teacher commitments (i.e. meetings), our next Crochet Club meeting will be on Wednesday, October 22nd. By then I'll have all of the materials I ordered and we can begin them with the holding of the hooks and how to attach the yarn. I can't wait!  Our third meeting will be October 29th. We've got a total of six meetings before the Christmas break. We're hopeful that by then the club members will be good enough to do some crocheting on their own. We're planning on holding our meeting through the month of May.

Stay tuned for another Crochet Club update (meeting #2) toward the end of the month!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Mess

I could sit here and blog about some mundane thing happening in my life: work, home, the cats, etc. but, the more I've been thinking about it, the more I realize I can't.

Our bank got bought out today. Pete and I have been keeping our eyes on Wachovia for quite a few months now. We've got two banks, one for our direct deposits and checking account for day to day living (i.e. bills) and the other (Wachovia) for our savings. It was announced today that Citigroup will be buying out Wachoiva's multi-billion dollar assets and bad debt. Great.  (see: Citigroup buys Wachovia bank assets for $2.2B)

On the heels of finding out about Wachovia, I just learned that the Dow closed the day down almost 800 points because the bailout talks/deal had failed.  I'm absolutely sick.

Needless to say, Pete and I are worried, very worried. We're taking care of our finances in ways that I never dreamt that we would. We're watching every dollar, both in and out. We've put away most of our credit cards and, if we don't have it in the checking account, we're not buying.  We're cutting back on groceries and have gotten ahead on our truck payment by two months. Next month we're squeezing out two mortgage payments. God only knows if we'll need those buffers or not but, it's giving us a smidgen of peace of mind.

Pete and I have been talking at great lengths about the state of the Union. Many people have their fingers in their ears and have their eyes closed. Many people say that the worst can't happen. Many people don't care, don't want to care, or don't have the means or wherewith all to care. But, we do, and we're battening down the hatches. I pray that our little ship is tight, sound, solidly built, and well maintained and can weather this storm of storms. The waves keep crashing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thinking of Winter

It's that time of year; there's a hint of yellow in the foliage, leaves litter the yard, and the windows have been closed at night. Socks have come out of their summer hibernation and short sleeved shirts have lost their appeal.  Fall has arrived and with it comes our annual foray into the woods for the next 8 to 10 weekends.

This year, we're getting wood for not only our house but some for my brother too. Between us, we'll be cutting and splitting about 10 cords; 6 to 7 cords of wood for our house and about 3 cords for Adam's house.  We always start mid-September as it is a lot of work and takes several weekends of cutting, splitting, loading, and unloading.

This year, I'm ready! Here I am sporting my new steel-toed lady Red Wings. I love these babies!

Pete surveying a large oak that he cut down in May. It's seasoned enough and ready to be cut up. We'll burn it in January.
Our war wagon and wood hauler: A 1972 Dodge Ram in "multi-color". Beat to all hell but works like a champ in these punishing conditions. Pop and Adam fashioned an all-steel bed and removable steel sides. This baby is perfect for the tough terrains and loves to dig into a small tree or two that stands in its way.
Pop using his Bobcat to grab and transport the large tree sections. He puts these directly onto the truck. Pete and Adam will cut them up later after they've been transported to the splitting area that is up closer to the house.
This is something I certainly cannot do!  These babies weigh about 100 pounds each!
This is what my job was yesterday: I had a 17" marker that I used to mark 17 inch sections on each tree limb. I used a hack saw to saw an "X" where each cut with the chainsaw needed to go. Our stove takes 17" logs and each piece needs to be measured carefully.

Done for the day. We've transported the entire oak up to our splitting area. The next weekend that we're out, Pete and Adam will cut these pieces up into individual logs. Pop then will take each log and split it with our hydraulic splitter. While Mom runs the splitter and Pop splits, I'll pack the truck up with wood. Our truck can hold 7/8 of a cord of wood using the sides that Pete and Pop built for it.

Yes, it may seem like a lot of work, and it is but we all enjoy it as we're all outside getting exercise and delight in each other's company. I'm glad that my parents are well enough to be able to do this with us and I am especially thankful for the use of their 55 acres!  So, needless to say, Pete and I savor this time of year!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crochet Club

I am so excited! Wednesday, October 1st will be our first club meeting.  Yes, that's right, we're starting a Crochet Club at school for all interested 4th graders. The "invitations" went home yesterday. I've already talked to a few of my students from last year and they said that they've signed up. I'm going to be one of the instructors along with two other teachers. We've set our limit to 20 participants as we're going to be teaching them how to crochet and we'll need some small groups for that.

Our club is going to be held every other Wednesday right after school for an hour. We're going to be meeting six times before Christmas vacation and we're hoping that some of the kids will be able to actually be knitting some "elementary" things by then (pardon the pun!).  The 3 of us are also hoping that come the spring, everyone will be good enough to perhaps make a granny square or two so that they all can be sewn together into an afghan. We'd love to be able to raffle something like that off at our whole school Harambe come May (that's our spring concert -- our music teacher is 23 years old and full of energy! Harambe means "come together" in Swahli).

For our first meeting, the three of us decided that we're going to show our students the crochet hooks, have them hold them in a manner that is comfortable for them, and show them all different sorts of yarns. I think too that perhaps we'll sit and do a few basic stitches just so they can see some crocheting in action. The second meeting will be all about them, their hook, and figuring out how to get the yarn to stay on the hook!  :)  

I've also been able to get $100 donated to our club from the PTO. We're going to use that to buy yarn and hooks for those children whose parents aren't able to. I think we're ready to go!  Stay tuned for a post after our first meeting! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On the Edge of School

On my drive home today, after a long and taxing day at work, I pondered what else I could do with my life instead of teach. I get these moments; moments when the profession I have chosen looks less than golden. A profession that I love but doesn't always love me back.

It was on my drive home that I began to think: what can I do with a B.A. in Child Study and an M.A. in Elementary Reading & Language Arts? Gosh, aside from teaching, nothing much really. So, I began to think about writing a book (gasp!) about teaching, our educational system, and/or a day in the life of a teacher. None of these strike me as compelling subjects but, they could be. I am not a writer, nor do I profess to be one. I am, however, a teacher in an educational system that is on the edge. 

Could this ever come to pass? Who knows. Is this a fleeting thought of a tired and stressed mind? Perhaps. Will I think like this tomorrow? Maybe. Next week? Could be. I am toying with this; a seed that may sprout like a weed or like an oak tree or like my tomato plant (going great one second, then, blah, brown limbs). We shall see....

Step one: think, ponder, think
Step two: index cards (learned this one from Anna)
Step three: graphic organizer
Step four: begin writing.....

Any thoughts dear friends?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall Decorating

Welcome Fall!
I just love the fall months. The weather gets cooler, apples are in season (mmm.... apple crisp!), it's time for my birthday, and there are fairs galore. Another reason I love fall are the colors associated with the season.

This past weekend I decorated my kitchen table with a fall table runner (courtesy of Mom, of course!) and fall themed flower basket.
A Yankee candle votive, lamp shade, and plate in my living room.....
Also in my living room near the front door is our heirloom desk (once belonging to Pete's grandfather) with my little scarecrow and Yankee candle tart holder.
This fall themed pillow matches so nicely!
Mums! Fall decorating would not be complete without one or two of fall's favorite flowers!

Breathing slowly
Dropping leaves
Making its way toward year end.

Quiet breezes,
Falling leaves

Apple pies cooling
And wood burning.

Fall is in the air!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Erika's Baby Blanket

My dear friend Erika (sister to my dearest friend Anna) is having a baby boy (Jackson Luke) at the end of September/beginning of October. I made this stroller blanket for her so that she can wrap up her new son on these chilly fall nights.

Erika's Baby Blanket was crocheted with 5 skeins of Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn. I used one skein of Pastel Blue, one of White, one of Lemon Drop, one of Bluebell, and one of Pistachio.

The hook I used was a "J." The stitch pattern was a double crochet in a wave pattern (6 dc, sk next 2 dc, 6 dc, 3dc in next st, repeat).

Next up on my things to crochet is, of course, to finish the iPhone case, and to start another baby item!  One of my teacher friends is due in December and I am going to make her a hooded blanket out of Lion Brand's Pound of Love (white) and trim in yellow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lesson Learned

Here they are, my beloved Tevas.  Anyone that knows me well knows that I live in these babies all summer.
I also have, well, stinky feet. I can't help that they sweat and start to smell. You'd think that the antimicrobial rubber would help too. Umm, no. So, my Tevas always have a "smell." Yeah, I know--it's gross but I can't help it. 

So, the other day I decided to wash them. I added quite a bit of bleach to the water in my washing machine and threw them in. I then added all my whites, added more bleach into the little dispenser, and let the washer work it's magic. Once the machine was done, I threw everything (including my Tevas) into the dryer. Now, I never even thought about it. I wash sneakers and dry them in the dryer. What's the difference?

Well...... the heat from the dryer warped my Tevas. The toe part is now curling upward and the grooves on the foot part are all raised (you can see it in the picture I took of them above). I can't stand it. I thought that perhaps by walking in them it would mat things down a bit but, you guessed it, no such luck. 

Sunday afternoon Pete and I went to two local sporting good stores. One store doesn't carry Tevas anymore but carries another brand (which I tried on and didn't like at all). The other store (a big box sporting goods store which sucks) only had one type of Tevas for women in size 10 only. Great. So, thanks to the Internet, I was able to search for the exact style and color of the Tevas I wanted. (You can check out what I ended up buying by clicking HERE. I ordered the gingham black pair.) 

Lesson learned. And, of course, it was a lesson learned the hard way. Oh well. At least my new Tevas will be fresh and clean!   :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Raining Acorns

Is there something happening that I'm not aware of? I've heard that when acorns drop early it means we're going to have a hard winter. Oh boy, are we ever in for it if that's the case! I was just outside dumping scraps into my compost pile. I realized that all around me I could hear subtle dropping, hundreds of them, on the leaves and ground all around me. It was amazing. I thought perhaps it was a squirrel or two having fun way up there in the high limbs but, no, that wasn't the case. It was happening all around me from several trees. My backyard is littered with acorns and acorn pieces. It's interesting and perplexing all at once!

Check out the Farmer's Almanac article "Can Acorns Predict a Rough Winter?" for some more lore or truth in what nature does in preparation for what it's planning to do later on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All Set to Go

This is it -- my last few hours before the start of school. I have mixed emotions about the first day.  Summer is over, a schedule begins again, routines, wearing makeup and nice clothes, headaches, early mornings (5:00 a.m.), and long days. There are a lot of positives to look forward to though; routines, fall, smiling faces, challenges, camaraderie, success, and a feeling of accomplishment.

I am going to be greeted tomorrow by 22 smiling faces (well, maybe 21 smiling faces.  I've got one girl coming to me who never smiles. I hope to change that.) and an eagerness to learn.  The desks are set, the pencils are out, and I am ready. This year is a special year for me as it's my tenth year teaching.  Whoa! My very first class of first graders (1999-2000 school year) are entering their sophomore year in high school this year.  It's still hard for me to believe!

So, here's to a good year, here's to a productive year, and here's to a memorable year. I am...... READY!   :) 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Work and a Wonderful Visit

What a great way to end my summer vacation! My parents stayed two nights at our house in their motor home. They arrived late Friday morning and left mid-morning today. The motor home was able to fit right along side our garage. 
One of the many reasons my parents came out was so that Mom could help me finish cleaning and organizing our basement. We rearranged quite a bit of stuff, put down some new rugs, got rid of some stuff, and bought another shelving unit. We were able to minimize what was thrown away by putting it out by the road for free. Within 3 hours of having a roll top T.V. cabinet out by the road, it was gone. There was nothing wrong with it; we just didn't have a use for it any more.
The bum window..... We're still working on it. That "super" caulk we bought is actually still drying. We have another piece of plexiglass to put up still.
My laundry area, all spiffed up.
This, however, was the main reason my parents came out: our tankless hot water heater. Pete and Pop had to finish hooking it up. Over the winter they hung it and ran the copper piping. Yesterday they finished the piping, drained the house of water, and hooked it up. We decided against doing the propane lines and exhaust ourselves as it can be very dangerous (ka-boom) if they are not air tight. I'm going to call the gas company tomorrow and get a quote on that end of the installation. We can't wait to get this thing up and running! We're hoping to be using little to no oil this winter as we'll be heating our house by wood and warming our water with propane.
Yes, aren't our litter boxes lovely? I have a nice lampshade now to go over that awful bare bulb on the lamp. (Nicky needs to see where he's going..... hence the lamp that'll be on 24/7.)

Friday consisted of a Home Depot run while Pete was at work. We met Pete over at Imperial Buffet (my most favorite restaurant ever) after he got out of work. We then took my parents to see some of the bigger houses that have been built near where we live (many of them were for sale; gee, I wonder why).

Last night, after dinner at A.C. Petersen Farms in West Hartford, Pete and I took my parents to the Hartford Riverfront. After having trouble finding a free place to park, we brought them down to the river and the walkway. We walked all the way to the foot bridge that goes over 91. It's always neat to see the traffic zipping by below you. It was a wonderful evening that was made even better by riding "topless." We really enjoyed ourselves. 

Next weekend, we're heading to their house for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, we have plans to enter George into the car show in Putnam. Sunday, we're all heading to the Woodstock Fair!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Living in Harmony (Well, Not Exactly Just Yet...)

Meow, meow, meow.
Hiss, hiss, hiss.

That's the music that has been playing non-stop in my house, day in, day out. Things are getting better though, albeit slowly (and sometimes painfully). The girls still hiss and growl at Nicky but are allowing him to come closer and closer to them. I think Nicky really likes Chloe as he wants to smell her and visit with her the most. (I gave her a good brushing today so she can look her best for the new man in the house). Hannah just watches with dilated eyes and gives a low and mean growl whenever he comes too close. (Don't forget, she's feral and could really mess him up if she wanted to!)

In this rare photo opportunity, all three of them were within a few feet of one another. Nicky is on the floor, Hannah is resting in the chair, and Chloe is keeping a close eye on things from her perch on the magazine table.

Let's hope things are a little more quiet tonight (Nicky howls all night long) because both Pete and I were hurting this morning after two consecutive nights of the "music."
Isn't he gorgeous?

Book Buzz Tag & 6 Quirky Things About Me

Thanks for the tag Anna. Here goes....
Here are the instructions:

I am going to list three categories of books: 3 MUST Read Books, 3 Keep Your Eyes on These, and 3 Look for These Soon. Keeping with the theme, I am going to tag at least 3 bloggers. They should put these same lists on their blogs but SUBTRACT one book from each list and ADD one of their own. Then they should tag at least 3 more bloggers. It will be fun to see how the lists change as they go around the blogosphere. Please come back to this post and leave a comment so I can see how the lists are changing. Since this is Book Buzz...please keep your lists to titles released in 2007-2009.

3 MUST Read Books:

Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

3 Keep Your Eyes on These:

The Memory of Water by Karen White
Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

3 Look for These Soon:

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Testimony by Anita Shreve 
The Longing by Beverly Lewis

(The books I added are the ones that have a link.)

Since I'm so lame with looking at other blogs that I don't have 3 people to send this to as Anna and Serena have already been tagged (not by me). So.... Roxy from There's No Place Like Home, you've just been tagged!  :)

6 Quirky Things About Me

Anna from Diary of an Eccentric also tagged me for this one!

Here are the rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged

Here are my 6 quirky things:

1. I have to leave the house for work by a certain time each morning and get there 5 minutes before I can get in. I get mad when I'm not the first one there!

2. I always wash and dry the same parts in the same sequence every time I shower.

3. I don't pick up the phone on the first ring.

4. I hate wearing shoes and I HATE wearing jeans.

5. I like to look inside Pete's mouth (he, as you might have guessed, hates it).

6. I make up random songs and sing them to Pete off-key.

Again, don't feel obligated to play along (especially if I tagged you twice), but here goes.....

I tag (once again):  Roxy from There's No Place Like Home

Homemade Pizza

My Homemade Pizza

  • 1 pkg. pizza dough (found in bakery section of most grocery stores)
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella 
  • 6 oz. container crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup (loosely piled) spinach
  • 2 T corn meal
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 t. chopped/minced garlic
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  1. Leave pizza dough out on counter for 2 to 3 hours. Make sure to cut bag open for dough to "breathe."
  2. Once ready to begin, preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Knead dough (making sure all rings are off of fingers!). Stretch dough out uniformly into a disk. Continue stretching. Occasionally place disk over fist and let drape. Continue this process until desired size.
  4. Coat pizza stone or non-stick pizza/baking tray with cornmeal. This will prevent sticking. Place dough onto coated pizza stone or non-stick pizza/baking tray.
5.  Melt butter with garlic. Brush onto pizza dough.
6.  Sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste) over dough.
7.  Layer dough with 7 oz. of shredded mozzarella.
8.  Place spinach on top of mozzarella.
9.  Add 2 to 3 oz. of Feta cheese to top of spinach.
10.  Slice tomato and add slices to top of pizza.
11.  Slice fresh mozzarella and add slices to top of pizza.
12.  Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella over top of pizza.
13.  Bake in 400 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust is desired color/texture.
14.  Slice with pizza slicer and enjoy!