Post it Tuesday!

Apparently the person who was hosting Post It Tuesdays has made her blog private, so I can't give her credit for starting this!  Oh, well!

Paula Deen...I'm Not

This is going to surprise y'all, but sometimes I get in a rut.  (I see the shock on your faces!)  I try to keep a calendar with what we're having for dinner on the side of the frig.  This was in response to being tired of answering the question, "What's for supper?" 15 million times a day.  The calendar can be seen as soon as anyone comes up the stairs into the kitchen, which is the way we all come in the house.  The only confusion comes when the plan has to be changed due to activities, or just if what is planned doesn't seem "right" for the weather or for that night.

There are times when I just don't feel like sitting down and planning out our suppers, 2 weeks at a time.  I get tired of fixing the same thing month after month.  So, I switch over to denial mode:  if I don't plan, I'll magically come up with something to fix.  It takes a lot of time to research new recipes on the internet, and then it takes courage to actually fix them because it may or may not taste as good as it looks, or as good as I think it sounds, so there's always a backup plan to order take out.
I took the plunge a couple of weeks ago and found some recipes that looked great...and every one of them turned out great!
On Mondays I try to fix something in the crockpot since I get home later than the rest of the week.  (The following pictures are not mine; I took them off of their respective websites.)
On the schedule was:
Five-Spice Steak Strips
We had this over rice, and I used a London Broil that had been marinated over night.  One word of advice:  the Chinese 5 spice was cheaper in the oriental section of the grocery store instead of the spice aisle.  It was really good; I'll definitely be making this again!

Italian Pot Roast
CH & YS actually liked this better than I did.  My local Kroger is undergoing a major update, so the frozen foods are at a minimum.  I substituted mini ravioli for the tortellini, and had to use yellow squash for the zucchini.  (Not real sure why Kroger didn't have zucchini.)  CH said that the gravy/sauce was better when he had it for leftovers on Tuesday.  I'll be making this one again, too.

Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole
This was amazing!  The only downside was that it made an awful lot for just 3 people, so next time I'll cut the recipe in half.  I like to have leftovers to take to work with me, but this was just a tad bit ridiculous!  This was my favorite new recipe of the month!

This picture IS mine:
This dish was quick to make:  about 30 minutes.  Racheal Ray would be proud!  I didn't have lemon juice to toss the arugula with, and key lime juice just didn't go with it, so I tossed a little bit of Italian Dressing with it, and it turned out great.  CH didn't really care for the arugula, so next time I may just use some spinach.  I have to admit, I'm not a real big fan of the "stems" on the arugula, either.

To top off the weekend, I made some "Sugared Peanuts" on Saturday:
A bit time consuming, but they turned out great!  My FIL brought some Alabama Peanuts to us earlier in the month when he was passing through.  This batch just barely put a dent in the bag he brought up, so I'm going to get some peanut oil so I can make some roasted peanuts.  Another batch of sugar peanuts may be in the future, too!
Some of you mentioned that you'd like to have the recipe for what I called "Eggnog French Toast", but it's actually called "Holiday Morning French Toast".  You can find the recipe HERE.
(This picture is mine!)

Do you have any good recipes that you've tried lately? 

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea
 Mrs. 4444 describes Friday Fragments this way:
"Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard."

 ~  Wow!  It's already Friday!  Only 6 more weeks until Spring Break!

~  What's with this weather?  Where's the snow???  It's been almost 20 years since the big blizzard of '93...and the weather was very much like it's been this winter.  HMMMM...

 ~  One of my students said something hilarious yesterday, but, I didn't write it down so I can't tell you about it.  I've gotta start writing stuff down!

~  Here are a couple of FB statuses from some friends who live in the small county:
   *So I just saw a guy on a couch with his dog riding in the bed of a truck...WOW!!!
    * SOOO...........wanted to go to mall this afternoon. Car would not start. Call my son to come jump me off. He could not get his truck pulled up beside my car so in 20degree weather with no coat and only a short sleeve shirt on son for 15 maybe 20 minutes pushes the front of the car then the back. Over and over again. Only to find my car did not need to be jumped. I never put the car in park when i got home from work therefore it would not start while in drive. NOT a very happy son!!!!
~  My friend, Patty at Reasons for Chocolate, just gave birth to a 7'15" little girl!  If you get a chance, please hop over and tell her congratulations!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The NFL playoffs were held this past weekend and this year's Superbowl lineup will feature The New York Giants versus The New England Patriots. How do you define 'patriot'?
A Patriot is someone who loves his country.   Even when it feels like it's going down the tubes.
2. What's something in your life right now that feels like a 'giant'?
Honestly, I can't think of anything.  The "fog" is lifting, and I'm getting back to my normal self!
3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to being 18?
Starting college.  I was soooo ready to move on...I was at the college just a few weeks after graduating from high school.
4. Coconut-mashed potatoes-vanilla ice cream-mayonnaise...which white food would be the hardest to give up?
I don't eat any of those things very often, so it wouldn't be hard to give up any of them!
5. Describe an incident or a day you remember as the coldest you've ever experienced?
When I was a junior in high school, the AFS had a short term exchange with Mayo HS in Rochester, Mn.  In February.  I don't think I was warm for 1 second that whole week!  How do you Yankees do it?
6. You're hosting a brunch...what's your favorite dish to prepare and serve?
Overnight Eggnog French Toast.  Fix it the night before, and the day of, just pop it in the oven.
7. How do you combat negative thinking?
The first thing I do is make sure I'm on a schedule.  If the negativity is coming from another person, I distance myself.  If it's coming from within, I get my prayer life in order and try really, really hard to look at the positives in my life.  Oh, and I may write a blog post to accentuate the positive!
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Yesterday at school, I was talking with a group of 4th graders about the Chinese New Year.  I told them that the Chinese invented fireworks, and one of my students said, "The Chinese invented a LOT of stuff!  Every time I turn over a toy, it says 'Made in China'! "

Hooray for Hollywood!

Has anybody else noticed that there have been some good movies playing? There are a few good ones coming out, too. Over Christmas, MS & I saw "Breaking Dawn, Part 1". I resisted seeing any of the Twilight movies until the first one was on tv on Halloween night. Now I'm hooked. I'm going to have to read the books since people are saying that as good as the movies are, the books are better.
We also saw "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows". Thought provoking, and every bit as good as the first one. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law work together magnificently. This part is as perfect for Downey as much as Iron Man is.
Sunday, CH & I had a "day date" and went to see "Red Tails". I have to admit, it wasn't on the top of my list to see, with it being a "war movie" and all. Man, am I glad I didn't miss it. It was so worth going to see! On the drive home, CH said, "I can't believe you cried during a war movie!" I looked the movie up online to get some background (after I saw it), and read that George Lucas financially backed the movie himself because no one thought that a movie with an all black cast was marketable. I was completely floored by that: this isn't the 60's! Definitely worth going to see, even if your tv isn't always on "The Military Channel"!
I've heard that "Beauty and the Beast 3D" is really good. I just wish I had a niece that was young enough to want to go and see it! I may have to go in by myself, or would that be too creepy?
I've also heard that "We Bought a Zoo" is actually worth seeing, too, but I thought I would wait for that one until it comes out on DVD. "Contraband" sounds intriguing, too.
Coming out in March is "The Hunger Games". After reading the book, I can't wait for this movie to come out! It's gotta be good! I told y'all already that I couldn't put the book down.
"One for the Money" comes out at the end of this month. If you've never read Janet Evanovich, you're really missing out on something. I literally LOL when I read those books! Grandma is a HOOT! Lulu, too. I've gotta be honest: When I heard that Katherine Hiegl was playing the part of Stephanie Plum, it turned me off. That is NOT who I imagined playing that part. When I read the books, I saw somebody like Daniela Ruah, the girl who plays in NCIS: LA. For Ranger, I imagined somebody like Dewayne Johnson (The Rock)...he would've been PERFECT for that role. I'm not sure who I saw for Morelli, but it wasn't the guy that's playing the part. When I saw the trailer, it looked like mom and grandma are the same age. I definitely saw Betty White playing the part of Grandma. Maybe they tried to get her but she as too busy!
I got another surprise in the mail: a $50 gift card from the cable company! I was a little hesitant because I figured there was a catch somewhere. I checked it out online, there didn't appear to be any strings attached. There were a bunch of different coupons to choose from,so we decided to get one from Fandango so we could get some free movies. AND, the theater is now offering a bucket of popcorn for $3.50: you purchase the bucket full of popcorn, then save the bucket and bring it back for refills.
Have you seen any movies lately that definitely need to be seen? Or, are there any coming up that are must sees?

Positively Positive

I realized that most of my posts since before Christmas have been a little on the negative side, so I'm looking at the positives that are going on in my life:

*  We only have to complete 1 FAFSA this year since OS graduates in May.  Hip hip, hooray!  :)

*  I just found out that a coworker's dog "may" be pregnant, and the timing will be just about right for us to have a new family member!

*  YS has started getting information on colleges in the mail, although he's already narrowed his choice to 2 or 3.  2 of them are out of state, so those may be knocked out of the running depending on how much financial aid he gets.

* I'm looking into book clubs in the area, but I'm having a hard time finding one.  One of my sisters is involved with the library, so I'm going to see if she has any insights.

*  I'm still thinking about a crochet class at Michaels.  Who knows?  Maybe this will be the one crafty thing I'm good at!

*  We love to watch "Big Bang Theory"!  The episode from a couple of weeks ago made us laugh harder than we've laughed at something on tv in a long time:

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~  Have you seen Cindy Crawford's daughter in the new Versace ad?  That child is 10 years old and looks like she's  at least 17 in the picture.  If you haven't seen it, click HERE.  Unbelievable.

~  Wednesday as I was leaving school, I was behind an elderly gentleman who was very slow in navigating the curves.  Well, I say very slow when he was going just under the speed limit.  I was in no hurry, so I patiently drove behind him, making sure to keep a respectable distance.  Then, this other guy who appeared to be in his 30's, comes up behind me and is following a little too closely.  Like that was going to make me go faster when there was another car in front of me.  What logic!!!  Anyway, the guy behind me decides to pass both of us.  When there are solid lines.  Did I mention the road has curves in it?  He took off, passed both of us, then swerved in front of the old guy and put on his brakes.  I'm fairly certain the guy in front of me panicked just a tiny bit.  Me?  I was holding my breath as he was passing because, well, the road is curvy ad the shoulder on that road is nonexistent.  I had a vision of a car coming the other way.  Luckily for all of us there wasn't.  Glad our guardian angels were watching over us.

~  Does anybody else think it's a little strange that when a candidate drops out they're saying he "suspended his campaign"?  I guess that's more "politically correct"...ha, ha!

~  I have a major birthday coming up in a couple of months.  A couple of days ago, I got a card in the mail:  the return address was my own address, and the card wasn't signed.  But, oh, what was in the card:  a $15 Starbucks Card!  I'm pretty sure I know who sent the card because I recognized the handwriting.  I could be wrong, but I'm pretty confident that I know who it is.  I just love surprises!

Not Living up to the Hype

I have a new therapy gadget.  It's suppose to do wonderful things for me and make my work easier.  So far, it's pretty much just taken up a bunch of time.  Not necessarily while I have children in my room; it's the "extra" time.
Yesterday I was ready to throw the thing across the room.  I had just about had it.  This was not making my life easier. 
Now that you're on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what this gadget is:  it's an iPad.  I seriously don't get all the apple hoopla.  The kids think it's really neat, and there are some neat things on it, but honestly, I prefer my Android Tablet.  The battery lasts just about the same, and I haven't had the problems with programs just shutting down like I do on the iPad.  The best thing:  my tablet was about 1/4 of the price of an iPad.  And the kids think it's just as neat.
We have an app on the iPad that has picture cards on it.  In theory, it's a pretty neat app:  you enter a child's name, choose what sound they're working on, choose the words they're going to work on; then they say the word and I click the check or the "x".  It's suppose to keep track of the data and tell me their percentage at the end of the session.  Then, it's suppose to save that data so I can use it as a comparison.  We're also suppose to have the capability of e-mailing the data to ourselves so we can print it out. Notice I said "suppose to".  Here are the problems:
1)  You can't e-mail the data if the wifi doesn't work any in the school except the library.
2)  When I add a student, the app closes.
3)  When I close out the session, it doesn't save the data if the student is working on the sentence level, and,
4)  Yesterday, every time I tried to swipe the screen for the next picture, the app closed and didn't save the data.
So, I went back to the old-fashioned way:  I got the picture cards out of my box and we used them.  I took data the way I normally do:  with a pencil and labels.  I sent a couple of messages to the developers, but haven't heard any kind of reply.
I really, really hate to be a complainer, but I'm wondering if the money spent on all this technology is really worth it?  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can replace good, old fashioned interactions!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's Wednesday already!  Time for the Hodgepodge!
1. A new Miss America was crowned on Saturday night-did you watch? If you were a contestant what would your talent be?
No, I don't watch the pageants.  My talent would be playing the flute, but I'd have to practice on it quite a bit since I haven't played in years!

2. Do you have houseplants? Real or fake?
We have a fake ficus tree.  I brought in  a couple of plants from outside when it got cold...they managed to survive for a whole year!  In fact, this is the 2nd winter they've been inside.  Fingers crossed that I remember to water them!

3. When you were in school did you speak up or were you more of the hide your face, avoid eye contact, and pray the teacher didn't call on you type of student?
It depended on the subject.  Math & Science:  I prayed.  English:  My hand was up all the time!

4. Next Monday marks the Chinese New Year...what do you order when someone suggests Chinese food?
My favorite is sweet & sour sauce, but I also like sesame chicken.  Love crab rangoon, and the "cat on a stick" (the chicken that has a skewer...I don't know the correct name for it!).

5. How would you define a miracle? What would it take for you to consider something a miracle?
There are miracles happening every day, if we just pay attention we'd see them.  It's a miracle when a student finally gets a sound or a concept we've been working on.    It's a miracle when I didn't leave work when I normally do, only to find there was an accident about the same time I would've been going through the intersection.  Every time you think "What a coincidence" think again.

6. What's your favorite Disney song? If you're stuck you'll find a list here.
Well, gee...since I just read Joyce's post about going to see Beauty and the Beast 3D, I have the theme song running through my head.  Then I checked the website she directed us to:  574 songs?  There have definitely been some amazing songs through the years, but I can't get B & the B out of my head now.
7. I should have _____________ yesterday.
I honestly can't think of a thing.  Yesterday was a good day:  I went to work, came home, played a little, fixed dinner, went to a meeting, played/read a little, then went to sleep.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
We've had big news in the big city close to here.  Extreme Home Makeover has been in town for the past week and a half.  One of the teachers I work with helped over the weekend, and it was very interesting to hear what she had to say.  Apparently there were a couple of people there who were only there for their "star power".  It's going to be interesting to see how they come across when the show airs next Thanksgiving.

Post it Tuesday

Only Parent Chronicles

 I'm trying something different today, because I'm being lazy and don't have a whole coherent post in my head!

Game Crazy

 I had a more productive weekend than last:  the laundry is done, and the house is semi-clean.  I've had to wrestle my laptop away from CH:  he's found some tank game to play, and he's determined to beat the 12 year olds he's playing with!  Apparently my laptop is faster than his, so he's been using mine.  It must be a good game:  he usually doesn't get into playing computer/xbox games.  YS has some flannel pj bottoms that he spends a lot of his time in when he's home; we call them his "gaming gear".  CH hasn't gotten to that point yet...when if he does, I'll start worrying about him and will pull the plug on using my laptop!

I game  CH a stern warning about eating/drinking around the computer.  It went something like this:  DO.NOT. EAT/DRINK. AROUND. MY. LAPTOP.  PERIOD.  He bought an external hard drive so we can back up our laptops from time to time.  He thinks his is on its last leg, so backing up will be a wise thing for him to do before it "up and dies" on him!

I think I'm finally getting the hang of Words with Friends.  Someone (not naming any names, but you know who you are!) doubles my score every time.  A quick google search on "how to win at Words with Friends" gave me some much-needed tips, so at this moment she's only beating me by about 40 points, and the game is almost over.  Oh, and I've given up cheating.  :)  I still like "Hanging with Friends" better, so if you play WWF and want to try something a little different, check out "Hanging" and look me up.

I've got to mention the Packers' game.  What in the world was going on?  Those guys couldn't catch a pass if their lives depended on it.  Eli was ON; he was amazing.  Here's the dilemma:  Who do I cheer for now?  I guess I'll cheer for whoever the Patriots play!

Have a good Monday!

Friday Fragments

~  Last week, I posted about my failed caramels turning into success by using it as a syrup over pound cake/ice cream.  Saturday, I ran across this quote:
                                                          "For every failure, there's an alternative
                                                           course of action. You just have to find it.
                                                           When you come to a roadblock,
a detour."
                                                            - Mary Kay Ash

~  I saw this clip on FB the other day:

~  We had snow in the forecast for today.  We just knew this was the one.  So, what are we getting out of it?  A 1-hour delay.  Which does me no good:  my first person on Fridays is at 9:00, so it's cutting into my planning/testing time. 

~  I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed about not getting a snow day:  we have Monday off.  I do love my job (especially during June/July)!

~ I'm reading "The Hunger Games", and I'm having a hard time putting it down.  I found the trilogy for free in the android marketplace.  They also had the Sookie Stackhouse series, and a Nicholas Sparks series:  all for free! 

Linking up with Mrs. 4444 today! 

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Hump day.  That means it's Hodgepodge time!  Linking up with From This Side of the Pond.
1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's English in 2012-

amazing, baby bump, shared sacrifice, occupy, blowback, man cave, the new normal, pet parent, win the future, trickeration, ginormous, and thank you in advance.

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Go here to read more about how the words are chosen.
I'm going to go with "blowback".  What does that even mean?  I don't know, but it sounds kind of nasty.
2. Are you easily embarrassed?
When I was younger, I was easily embarrassed.  It takes a lot more to embarrass me now, but sometimes my face gives it away.
3. What is your go-to snack?
If we're talking healthy, I'd say popcorn.  That's healthy, right?  If we're talking junk, I say chocolate. 
4. Have you ever been to Washington D.C.? If not do you have any desire to go? What site/attraction would you most want to see in that city? If you have been, what's your favorite site/attraction?
I've been fortunate to have visited DC several times.  There's such a feeling of power when you're there.  I like the Korean War Memorial (a must-see at dusk), but  I think my absolute favorite is Artlington Cemetery, especially the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Lee House.  There are spectacular views from there!
5. sit ups-planks-lunges-squats...which do you hate the least?
I'd say squats because of my knees.  There's no way I could do any with my knees!
6. What's a small act of kindness you were shown that you've never forgotten?
The only thing that comes to mind was when I was little, we were in Texas visiting family, and one of my cousins said something to me about my hairy legs.  I went to my mom and told her I wanted to start shaving, and my Aunt C asked if one of her girls said something to me.  I adored her girls, and didn't want to get them in trouble.  My Great Aunt F proceeded to talk about how she never shaved her legs (think German from waaaay back!) and her legs were really smooth.  To this day I can see all of us in the kitchen, having this conversation.
7. Have you ever been a blood donor?
I donated blood just before Christmas for our School Resource Officer who has leukemia.  We had a drive at the school, and I was very happy that I wasn't one of the rejects.  Apparently my school is full of them!
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I just heard that a fairly large percentage of Republicans said they wished there was another candidate.  I have to admit, I'm one of them.  I have no idea who to vote for, and it's starting to get ugly...already.    The one candidate I really liked made some ridiculous mistakes/statements, so it looks like he's going to be out of it before too much longer.  Honestly, I think the country is going to hell in a hand-basket. 


Marti tagged me on a post on her blog.  This is a fun way to get acquainted, so play along.
1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things yourself.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post.
4. Cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them that you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tag­ging sec­tion about ‘you are tagged if you are read­ing this.’ Blah blah blah, you legit­i­mately have to tag 11 peeps!
And the questions for Marti's 11 tag-ees:

1.  Where do you like to vacation
The last two "real" vacations I've had, I've been fortunate enough to go to Denmark and London.  So...I'll say Europe.  I could definitely live there!  If I can't go to Europe, I'll say  Charleston.  Or Hilton Head.
2.  Do you have pets
Oh, yes!  I have 2 "girls":  Ally (a miniature schnauzer) and Pepper (a Jack Russell mix).  Pepper is my shadow...I don't know what I'd do without my girls.
3.  What is your favorite color
Blue.  Without a doubt.  Just about any shade of blue will do!
4.  How many are in your family
I have CH, and 3 boys who are 23, 19, and 17.  I also still have both parents living, 5 sisters, and 4 brothers.
5.  What is your least favorite thing to do
6.  What is your most favorite thing to do
I love to read, watch movies, and I used to love to play tennis, but I've had to put down my racket for good.
7.  If money were no object what would you like to do when you retire
I would move to Europe (at least for a year) and just travel all through the continent.  Maybe I wouldn't even "move" there, I would just spend a year traveling.
8.  What is your favorite season
Fall.  I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, and the smell of fall.
9.  What book are you currently reading
I'm currently reading a freebie from Amazon:  A Hearth in Candlewood
10.What time do you go to bed, get up in the morning
I get up around 5:15 or 5:30 during the week, and try to go to bed around 10:00.
11.How long have you been blogging.
This February it will be 2 years since I started blogging!  It's been great meeting new people, and reconnecting with some others.  It's also been great getting to know my sister again.

My 11 Random Things:
1.  I love Pink (the singer).
2.  I'm hooked on Hanging with Friends.
3.  The Holiday is my favorite movie.
4.  I knew my husband for 8 months when we got married.
5.  I played the bass flute in flute choir when I was in college
6.  I'm a "brother" in Phi Mu Alpha (National Music Fraternity).
7.  Sometimes I eat popcorn for dinner...if I'm the only one home.
8.  I'm left-handed
9.  I'm 5'9"
10. I've never worn high heels (I recognize my clumsiness!)
11.  As an adult, the longest I've lived in one house is 9 years (when we lived in SC).

Here are my questions to 11 lucky people:
1.  Who is your favorite singer/music group?
2.  Do you have a favorite game to play on the computer/tablet/iPad/iPod?  If so, what is it?
3. What is your favorite movie?
4.  How long did you know your spouse when you got married?  If you're not married, what is the longest  you have seen someone?
5.  Were you involved in music in high school/college?
6.  What special group were you involved in during high school/college?
7.  When you're all alone, what do you like to eat for dinner?
8.  Left or right handed?
9.  How tall are you?
10.  What is your favorite pair of shoes?
11.  How long have you lived in your house/apartment/condo?

And the lucky 11 people:

Sweet Tea              Reasons for Chocolate                Frat Pack + Me                A View from a Hill    
Mi Chiamo Candace         Just Breathe                     For Love of Cupcakes       Karen's Korner
The Road Home              Crooked Lines                  Janie Fox Talks

Not one of the 11?  I heard that deep sigh!  If you're one of the 11 and don't do this kind of worries!

What to Do, What to BLOG?

I waited to write a post for today until Java had her "Meet Me On Monday" questions up.  I checked this morning only to find this:
"Stay Tuned
Coming Soon!
The all NEW  Never Growing Old Blog!"

Here I am:  5:30 a.m. on a Monday with nothing clever to say.  Shocking, I know.  And we had such an exciting weekend, too.  Showtime was free this weekend, so I was a couch potato after I realized that Dexter:  Season  6 was on.  I missed watching Season 5, but I was able to pretty much keep up.  If you watch Dexter, could you please fill me in on what happened to his wife's children and why they don't live with him?  That's pretty much the only question I have about what I missed.

See....I told you the weekend was exciting.  OS went back to school on Saturday so he could work until classes start back up.  MS starts classes on Wednesday, and YS went back to school last Thursday.  So, it  looks like things are back to semi-normal around here. 

I did some reading and laundry over the weekend.  My FIL spent the night with us on Friday; he was on his way up to visit my BIL and watch the National Championship Game with him.  My BIL is a Bama alum, and a HUGE fan.  This will be just about the only time you'll hear me say:

First Friday Fragments 2012

Mommy's Idea
Friday Fragments is a good way to write quick thoughts when there just isn't enough for a whole post.   Mrs. 4444 describes it this way:  
"Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems (hint: a notebook is helpful :) and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post with Linky Tools and link back to my main page in your post (please)."

~  Friday ALREADY?  1 week down, 8 more to go until Spring Break!  Although it's still winter when we have it.  Make sense, huh?

~  I wanted to do something fun (and cheap) with my students to make it through this week before we really got back into the grind.  Here's what we did:
I got the idea from my nephew's wife, then I found it on Pinterest.

~ Isn't it amazing what you can find on Pinterest?  It's like a whole new world!

~  We had some flurries Monday night, but that was about it:
Not much, huh?  And it was all gone when I went to work in the morning.

~  Wednesday night apparently was rough on CH & me:  I woke up around 2:00 having pulled a muscle in my neck when I turned over.  It hurt so much that I got up and put an ice pack on it.  Then, when I was leaving, CH accused me of hitting him in the leg with a baseball.  (Apparently he was still asleep.)  I must've pulled that muscle throwing the baseball to him.

~  We upgraded our cable and now get the Military Channel.  Oh joy of joys.  *sarcasm*  CH is in heaven.  

~Downton Abbey has a new season starting on Sunday on PBS.  If you liked "Upstairs, Downstairs", you'll like Downton Abbey. 

~  Today is Epiphany:  the official end of the Christmas season.  If I had decorated this year, the house would be "De-Christmased" this weekend.

From Failure Comes Success

Don't you just love when a failure turns into something good?  A couple of days ago, I decided to try out a recipe I ran across:  Salted Whiskey Caramels, using Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey.    I could do this:  I've made candy before, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out the recipe.  Everything went fine, until the whole "add cream mixture. Beating with whisk, cook until thermometer reads 248°F."  The thermometer read 220...and 220...and 220.  Why wasn't the stupid thing moving?  After a few minutes of watching and waiting and whisking, I decided enough was enough.  My thermometer must not be working correctly.  I took a chance, and poured the caramels into the pan.  
The result:  A nice caramel syrup that's absolutely YUM-O over pound cake.  Aaaand, will be really good over vanilla ice cream.  Or, maybe that Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream that's hanging around in the freezer!
Who could ask for anything more?

First 2012 Hodgepodge

Joyce has more questions for us this week.  Honestly, I don't know how she keeps coming up with them and not duplicate them.  It's easy to play along:  Visit From This Side of the Pond, copy and paste the questions into your blog, and answer.  Oh, and don't forget to link up!
1. What are three words you would use to describe your 2011?
Terrible, No-good, very-bad.  (if you hyphenate, it counts as 1 word, right?)

2. Do you like shrimp? What's your favorite way to have it prepared?
I LOVE shrimp!  It doesn't matter how it's prepared.

3. Is your house de-Christmased? If so when did you tackle that job? If not, when will the decorations come down?
Yes.  Moving along...

4. Do you like to watch scary movies?
No.  I'm fine while I'm watching it, but then my imagination goes wild and I'm scared silly.

5. ice skating~sledding~skiing~snowboarding~of the four listed which wintertime activity do you most enjoy?
Sledding.  I've never snowboarded.  I've only gone skiing a couple of times.  The first time was in Rochester, Mn. during an AFS Short-term Exchange with Mayo High School.  I don't think any of us had ever been skiing before, or maybe just a couple of kids had.  There was this one boy who immediately went onto the intermediate slope (it was his 1st time).  We would watch him ski a little, then fall down; then ski a little, then fall down.  By the end of the day he was skiing all the way down.
6. Did you have a childhood hideout? Describe it.
There was a place in the back of the yard that I loved to go.  It was under a tree, and there must've been some brush around it.  It was like a little cave.  Now, when I look out at my parents' backyard, I'm amazed at how big I thought that backyard was!

7. What's a place or space that motivates you?
Church motivates me to be a better person, especially the Adoration Chapel.  Honestly...there's nothing like sitting quietly in front of  Jesus, being still and listening.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I really, really need/want a snow day.  Because Christmas Break wasn't long enough to sit in front of the tv and watch movies.  

It's All Over

Christmas Break is now officially over.   For me, anyway.  YS still has a couple of days before he goes back, and OS & MS still have another week. 

Luckily, today we have an Administration Day, which means the kids actually have an extra day off.  It also means that it's almost like an extra day for the faculty:  It's a laid-back kind of day.  I like having this day to myself:  being able to get myself geared back up for seeing those smiling little faces, and (more importantly) knowing what the heck we're going to do that first day.  I detest starting the day without a plan.  I think I do a much better job when I go in knowing just what I want to do that first day back. I'm definitely not a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl.

It's not going to help that it's going to be cold today...only up to around 35 degrees, if it gets that warm.  A Starbucks run is definitely in the plans, especially since I don't have to be at school until 8:00 (instead of the usual 7:30 when the kids are there). 

So now we have the following to look forward to:  Snow Days (please, please!), Spring Break (although it's technically still winter when we have break), and the end of the school year.  It's all downhill from here!

Splashing into the New Year

2012 by Simone Ciliberti (wildfox76)) on
2012 by Simone Ciliberti

I originally titled this post "Ringing into the New Year", but decided "Splashing" was a better description.CH, MS, YS, & I drove a little ways from here to enjoy a resort with an indoor water park.
We thought that we might not be able to get into our room until 4:00, so we figured we'd have to hang out in the waterpark until then.  But, our room was ready when we got there, so we were able to get somewhat settled in.  The resort was beautifully decorated for Christmas:

When we got into our room, this was waiting for us:
The boys were excited to be there:

We changed into our bathing suits, jumped on the shuttle, and headed to the waterpark.
Even though the waterpark wasn't as big I was expecting, it was fun.

The big attraction at this waterpark (from the outside):
Photos of Wilderness at the Smokies Resort, Sevierville
This photo of Wilderness at the Smokies Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Oh. Yes. I. Did.  I may have been screaming the whole time (the first time, anyway!), but I did it.  And I liked it!  There's a big drop before you go into the "cone", and once you're in the cone you go side to side.  Like, halfway up the sides.  At least halfway.  And you feel like you're about to tip over.  (Hence, the screaming.  Both times I rode.)
MS & I rode a couple of the slides that were more twisty, with MS trying to tip it as we went into the curves.  The result was me getting dizzy, especially on the 2nd slide that's dark inside.  When we got to the bottom, I finally got off of the tube, but was still dizzy.  I didn't realize I was right at the steps, and I stubbed my foot, just under my toes.  Then,  CH & I went into the wave pool, where he accidentally kicked me in my shin.  Surprisingly I don't have a bruise. 
YS did real well on the boogie board (or whatever you call it):
He was the only one who had to stop because he had been on it for his allotted time.  Most of the people we watched fell off of it or were going over to the side.  2 times of messing up was all you got.
MS decided to try to "surf":

That was attempt #1.  He did a little better the 2nd try:
There was also an indoor/outdoor hot tub, which would have been really nice except for the children that were playing in it.  I saw one little girl who was red from staying in so long.  Really, what are some parents thinking by letting their small children get in there and stay so long?
We stayed for a few hours, then went back to the room, changed, and went to a New Year's Eve buffet at one of the restaurants.  Not too impressive, but we ate until we were stuffed.  Then we went back to the room and rested up.  The park closed at 9:00, then reopened at 10:00.  YS was really excited when we walked in after 10:00:
At 12:00, there was a balloon drop:

It was a totally different way to spend New Year's Eve, but it was fun.  MS said it was the most fun he could've had, given the circumstances (that he was with us and not his friends)!
And so begins another year.  I'm glad to see 2011 go.  I'm ready to take 2012 as it comes!

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