Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall is here...and I'm still stewing

Most definitely, Fall is here. I can tell because the kids had to wear sweatshirts to school this morning. I'm quick with figuring things out eh?

The kids had the day off yesterday. It was a teacher workday...Pootie spent the day finishing up that STUPID summer reading project.

The more I think about it, the more infuriated I get. I really need to think about how I am going to handle this with the school. Because I do believe that something needs to be said.

But for now, I am stewing.

I am just not happy, in general, with the quality of education that Pootie is receiving at this middle school. My kid came from such an incredible learning environment at the elementary school level, and then BAM, he is smacked in the face with sub par teaching.

And yes, there is more to it then just this STUPID summer reading project.

1-Pootie was supposed to take a year of French. School didn't have a french teacher this year..He is taking modern dance. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about the Arts and what not, but seriously.....what do you think is going to help him further his goal of going to Wake Forest...um cause, yeah, that's his goal......and yes, I KNOW how much it costs and YES, I know that he could change his mind a million times...BUT he might not..and I'm just not seeing modern dance as a way in to Wake!!!!

2-Again, this year is more coloring and drawing and making "brochures" than my kid EVER had at the elementary school level. Sunday afternoon he spent 4 hours making a BROCHURE about something or other having to do with the middle east....what there diet is, clothing that type of thing. HONESTLY!!! Cut, glue, back and forth googling facts....cut, copy, paste, print..and color!!!! We are in middle school people!!! Coloring should not be an option!!!

3-Test scores. You are going to love this one. We'll use math as an example....Math test is not one big test with 20 or 30 questions- it's four or five little tests with 4 or 5 questions...each little test, counts as a big test grade. So, test 1a, four questions, you miss one, you've got a 75...test 1b 2 questions wrong, you get a 50.....get it? Now here's the kicker......YOU CAN RETAKE IT!!!! And not get a "discounted score"... You can actually retake the dang thing and score a 100!!!!!! To me, if you had one big test, and missed one, it's a good grade, no worries...

"They" say that it's broken down this way because grouping the questions according to application let's the teacher see if there is a problem with one specific application!! Example, test 1a is all addition questions. Test 1b is all subtraction, test 1c is multiplication...if student misses 1/2 of the multiplication problems, the teacher knows they are having trouble with multiplication......Really - cause they can't tell that if the questions aren't grouped in like categories...yeah, I feel really good about my kids education. Teacher can't figure out if he is making the same kind of mistakes unless they are grouped a certain way...

Think about it people!!!!!!!!! Who is this really helping? Ummm maybe the teachers and the folks who don't want bad grades to affect their JOBS!?!?

OH - and if it were such a great idea, why isn't it being used at all the middle schools in our area instead of the ones in this particular sub-district?

Blows my mind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Computer is Fixed!!!

Seriously ya'll have no idea what a crap week this has been with the computer. Pootie spent all weekend working on a (stupid) summer reading assignment project.

(My dear cousin Lea, before you reprimand me for calling the homework stupid, let me tell ya, I'm not the only one. This huge project has 1- no rubric - 2- too many parts to it. An abstract sculpture, a written summary, a time line and a newspaper with what - articles that summarize the same thing they did in the written summary. PICK ONE THING, maybe two, FOLKS! Honst, no novel study group, just stupid work to see if they can tell if the kids read the book or not...with no rubric on how they are going to grade it, that should be interesting, don't ya think?)

I digress.

So in all this stupid work that Pootie had to do, he accidentally let a wretched 'puter virus in. Killed the puter. Ticked me off big time. And the flat screen crapped out too. So for the time being I've got the clunker monitor back out.

The virus attacked lots of different settings on my computer and I couldn't get to my blog site!!! I felt beaten!

But we are back in session folks!!! YIPPEE!!!!

I didn't even have a chance to post my menu for this week and next!! So let me summarize.

Sunday night was leftovers. Not to mention the Peanut and I were starting to get a cold.

Monday- Grilled Pork Tenderloin, peppercorn marinated, mac and cheese and peas and dinner rolls. I bought two small loins from Aldi, already marinated, they were $3.50 a piece. Sooo yummy. Two small loins is totally enough for my family.

Tuesday-Poor man's Sheppard Pie. Let me tell ya, they ate the WHOLE thing. Sam asked if I had another one hidden in the fridge and then asked when I would make it again. So easy and they were happy!!!!! Served with applesauce and rolls. (Brown and drain ground beef, add one can of cream of mushroom soup. Put in round casserole dish -sprayed with cooking spray-one can of drained green beans poured on top of meat mix. Top with "enough" mashed potatoes. USE INSTANT!!!! top with shredded cheddar cheese and some bacon bits..and cook until hot at 350. Before serving top with french fried onions, ya know, like the ones you put on the top of the green bean casserole? But you can get them at Aldi wayyyyy cheaper.) Presto. Good dinner in a casserole!!! You could probably even use ground turkey?

Wednesday-We were going to have Cheesy Chicken again, but Hubby suggested we go to CiCi's. So after my HAIRCUT, we all went to CiCi's. Talk about cheap! My kids love that place. And honestly, for the price, ya can't beat it. Plus we used a buy one get one free coupon.

Thursday- tonight, I am using the chicken from the cheesy chicken and doing a chicken pasta dish. Again, tonight is our anniversary. Both boys have soccer practice. Not a big deal, really. We will have dinner together in the next couple of weeks.

Friday-A little up in the air about this one. Might be leftovers and salad. It was supposed to be sausage pasta, but we are doing chicken pasta tonight so.......

Saturday-we have a team dinner with Pootie's soccer team.

Sunday -Sub sandwiches

Monday- a pork roast, with gravy and mashed potatoes, beans and applesauce.

Tuesday-Spaghetti and salad

Wednesday-Chicken Salsa over rice - this is a recipe zaar recipe that we really like. Serve it with chips and they LOVE it!

Thursday-breakfast for dinner. Waffles, bacon and grits....yummy!

A friend of mine asked why I was doing this. So just in case you want to know too, here's why.

Reason 1-We were spending way too much eating out. Grabbing something quick...or running into the Harris Teeter every other day to get "stuff for dinner". It just got to be ridiculous.

Reason 2-I am home now, more than I have been in a long time (baby, not pta president, things like that.) there is NO good reason for me to NOT get the grocery bill back to reasonable!!! If I plan things out, it really does work. I stick to my lists at the stores. Which by the way, one of the worst things to do is go into the grocery store without a list!! You pick up way too much crap!!!!

Reason 3-I am enjoying it. I like finding new things that we can try. The kids are enjoying it. My husband is enjoying it. So far, the thing that he likes the least, which he said he likes it, just not as much as he liked some of the other stuff, is the ravioli....

My tips:

I try to make simpler things on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which are soccer practice nights.

Plan ahead. Keep certain things in the pantry always. Rice, instant mashed potatoes, canned tomatoes, broth, peas, green beans, stuffing, frozen Texas toast. Shop the ads, who has what on sale. Shop at Aldi!!! Shop at Bi-Lo! Keep a list. Don't send hubby to store. He buys all kinds of crap!!! Pack every one's lunches. Crash was the only one still buying his lunch until this year. He's a bagger now, and finally gets it. He figured out he has more time to eat if I pack his lunch. Sorry school cafeteria, he was spending way too much on nothing. OH! Don't laugh, seriously, this one is funny for those who know me well.....I'm baking freaking cookies once maybe twice a week. (frozen sliced kind from Aldi.) for their lunches!!! So much cheaper than bagged cookies! OH and I make muffins. Great for a quick breakfast (you already know how I feel about that) and a snack. The add water or milk kind. Super easy and yuumy!!!!

I'm exhausted from this brain dump. I have more, that's what almost a week with blogspot has done to me!!!!!! EEEEKKKKK

OH, one more thing. Ya know my friend Martha? I've said she has the most beautiful boys ever and they are so freaking photogenic it kills me...the youngest, oh, he is just so smoochable!! I love him. Anywho - Martha sent me the funniest picture of her lil'un ever...had to share it. I just love this kid.
Is this not the cutest thing ever?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A virus and happy thought and prayer requests

My computer has a virus, so until I get it fixed, my postings will be fewer and farther between. I'm at work right now posting this. Dad will be so happy to know how I am spending these few moments this morning. But I came in a tad early to do just this. When I get home this afternoon I will have a chance to call a HELP desk and try to tinker around with things...

I have a head cold - no swine flu, so that's two viruses! Bummer.

The happy thought for the day is that TOMORROW (the 24th) Hubby and I will have been married ("yes, mar-ried". Movie line please!) for 15 years!!! Happy Anniversary to my dear hubby. He gets to go coach Crash's team at practice.

Please pray for my friend Ginger. Her Daddy just passed away. (Ginger's link is on the left hand side. )

Please pray for my friend Maria tomorrow. As Hubby and I celebrate our union, my friend Maria remembers her dear hubby that passed away 4 years ago on the same day. She is such a strong woman and I just adore her.

Please pray for Kevin and Mandy and their new baby Devin. They are first time parents and just rejoicing in their son's safe arrival. (Mandy ended up having an emergency c-section on Monday late afternoon). I've know Kevin since he was a little "twerp" bugging me and his sister, Kelly....he and Mandy tried for a long time to have this little guy! So very happy for them and the family!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Father's Song

My cousin, HollyBeth, has a girl friend named Robyn. Robyn has a precious little daughter named Ava Layne Crow. (Ava means "like a bird" in Latin...her last name is crow, how cute is that? I remember when Robyn was pregnant with Ava and talking about the name and how neat it would look on horse stuff, tack boxes and the like. They are horsey people like HollyBeth.)

Ava has Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening disorder that causes severe lung damage and nutritional deficiencies.
An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat, saliva and digestive juices. Normally, these secretions are thin and slippery, but in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes them to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the pancreas and lungs.
Respiratory failure is the most dangerous consequence of cystic fibrosis. Also, the secretions block pancreatic enzymes that help digest fats and proteins, and they prevent your body from absorbing key vitamins. (MayoClinic.com)

Ava's daddy wrote and performed a song about his sweet little girl, the song is called Trail of Hope.

Please watch Ava's video. You can click on the link or copy and paste....


It is the sweetest thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A moment of silence

Patrick Swayze died. He was 57, which just blows me away. He had been married to his wife since forever. Amazing by Hollywood standards.
Patrick was one of the icons of the 80's!! When I heard the breaking news last night I immediately emailed my friend Heather (from high school) to tell her and to commiserate with her over the fond memories we have of Dirty Dancing!!!
I close my eyes, and I can see the events of that day. The day that I fell in LOVE with Dirty Dancing. It was not in the theater, oh no. It was at my mom and dad's house. On VHS VIDEO on a Sunday afternoon after I had just had a gathering at my house on that Saturday night. Mom and Daddy had gone out of town and someone from Daddy's office was "watching" us. (It was not a huge party, again, just a small gathering. But I will tell you that there was a trip to the ER on the Sunday morning before we watched the movie :D I had to have stitches in my thumb. Cut it on some sort of can...)
Heather worked in a video store, an UN-blockbuster store, and had "rented" some movies for us to watch, and this was one I just HAD to see. As I recall, it was Heather and another friend of ours, Steve, and me.
I loved it. The whole fall in love on summer vacation. The music, the dancing. The rebel boy. the movie lines to treasure....."I carried a watermelon".
Oh the clothes. Rolled jean shorts and little t-shirt tops were in...and Keds white tennis shoes!!!!!
We kept rewinding it to watch certain parts over again. Bad boy gets the girl. Daddy likes bad boy.
Maybe there was hope for all the cigarette puffing, dancing, black t-shirt wearing bad boys in my life.
OK, so none of them danced.
Before he was a dirty dancer, he was the big brother, Darry, to the Curtis boys in The Outsiders. The Outsiders was a coming of age type thing....read the book and then watch the movie! All of those guys were such unknowns back then. Patrick and the rest of the cast (C. Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio) made being bad look so good.
Then Red Dawn!!! Hello, I go running to the mountains with him let me tell ya.
Reading the paper this morning, they said that Patrick never made that "mega superstar" level..I don't know, I think he did...
oh oh babay, my sweet babay, you're the one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Been a busy week

It really has been a busy week around here!!! Just little things but whew!! I was ready for the weekend!!!

Peanut had a check up on Wednesday - he is doing just fabulous. I just love my pediatricians. The boys see one and Lola and Peanut see another one...usually. Remember, I did make Pootie see the GIRL doctor for his check up. It was the first avaialable and he had to have these goofy health forms done for school sports. Side note, my pediatrician, Dr. Jenny, grew up over here in the neighborhood where I grew up. She is one year older than, me and I had a friends by association relationship with her. She was really good friends with my good friend, Sher, so ergo, we knew each other. AND her her brother and my brother played baseball together over at the private school.

I KNOW!! How cool. OK - back to the story...the bebe is just doing great. He is growing like a weed....remember high fat thighs, I mean breast milk. And she is just very pleased with his progress. ME TOO!

So the weekend brought us back to our favorite past time!!! REGULAR SEASON SOCCER!!! YEEEEHAW!!! Pootie had one game and Crash had two. All at the same location. It was a day outside in the beautiful weather watching my boys do what they love. Talk about a good time!!! Lola was happy because her buddies were there and she got to run and play too! Then she went home with Hubby's mom and hung out with her for a while...oh and she got to go shopping. Again, kids doing what they love! Girl LOVES to shop!

Last night, the 'hood had the after labor day block cook out. It is always so much fun. I just love our hood. It was also a "meet the baby" party too. So sweet.

Hubby made breakfast this morning...and he is off to referee today and I'll get some stuff done around the house, or not. Whatever. I might sneak out to a soccer game later on this afternoon with Crash---to go scope out the competition!!! :D

I'm sick, I know. Hello my name is Mom and I have a soccer addiction!!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Tomorrow throws us back into reality. I think there is a show called Reality Bites. If not, there should be.

I have enjoyed having the extra day off with the kids and Hubby. We got all the laundry put away (miracle). I put my menu together and headed out for the grocery shopping only to find that Aldi's was not open today. BUMMER!!! So I did the quick jaunt through Bi-Lo, getting the things on my list that I knew that I wouldn't been able to get at Aldi.

Plus I used 2 coupons. One was a free gallon of milk and the other was a $10 off coupon. How cool is that?

On the menu in no particular order just yet with the exception of the first two....
  • CrockPot Beef and Mushroom Casserole (in the crock pot because I have a busy day tomorrow)
  • Sloppy Joes with Tater Tots (had that tonight - fyi - this IS not a family favorite as it should be...only Crash likes them)
  • Chicken Sundaes
  • Meatloaf
  • Beef Biscuits Cups
  • Dijon Pork Chops
  • Taco Bake
  • Baked Swiss Chicken
  • Spaghetti
  • Ranch Chicken Thighs
  • Cowboy Stew
  • Baked Ravioli

So tomorrow I will head to Aldi's. I also have a 11 o'clock meeting with the other room mom and the 3rd grade teacher for Lola's class. It will be short and sweet.

Also on the agenda for the week is the middle school open house tomorrow and then the elementary school's is on Thursday. (Which is why I needed a couple of crock pot meals). And there is regular soccer practice and a doctor's visit and a social worker visit to add for spice!

Have a great week, I hope that everyone had a safe weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I cheated!!!

Yep. I did. I cheated. Monday night we were supposed to have the Mac & Beef Casserole. And we didn't. We had Pizza Hut pizza. (fyi, it was so good) Hubby was playing in my most favorite golf tourney and I did not realize that there was a dinner afterwards ie he wouldn't be home for dinner. Bug-a-boo was very cranky as he always is on Mondays and all of a sudden I looked and

BAMMMM it was 6:00 and I didn't have dinner ready.

Being a wonder mom that I am, I quickly hopped on the 'puter and pulled up pizza hut and presto. Pizza was delivered 30 minutes later. Oh, and I had a beer. Hey - it was me or the baby, but one of us was going to chill out.

So that meant that I had this ground beef to use......yesterday I as NOT in the mood for a casserole. So again, because I am a wonder mom, (ya'll seriously, quit laughing.) I made a meatloaf. Now let me tell ya something about when I usually make meatloaf. My Gram, god love her, made some kicking meatloaf. Secret is that you just don't use ground beef. You a little other "grounds". Like pork, or veal, or even chicken. Makes for a nice consistency and super moist. Ain't nothin worse than a dry meatloaf.

Well I didn't have any of the other grounds. Remember, I changed the menu on the fly. So, I added 2 eggs, some crushed ritz, parsley and basil and POOF - into the oven it went. Once it was done I topped it with a mixture of ketchup and brown sugar and let that get all sticky hot.

Then off to soccer practice we all ran. When I got home I threw together some instant mashed taters (doctored up with bacon, tons of butta, and sour cream) and some peas.....

Dinner was damn good last night. While not as moist as I usually like, no one else noticed a difference, Hubby said it was awesome. Only a tiny bit left and Lola is taking it for lunch today.

My Gram would be proud!!!!

OK - must go polish my bracelets. (wonder woman, get it? after all, hubby's phone plays the theme song when I call. oh yeah, I set that ring tone up! whooops!)

Really quick. Here is little man. He is such a big boy now!! :D He is sittting in his new Bumpo that Mechelle gave to him. He just loves it!!!!! (which is the coolest thing ever and was so not around when the other three were bebe's)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Healthy Breakfast?

My girlfriend Angie asked this question via email to a group of mommies (me included)

"Thought I would ask some of you mommies what you guys do for breakfast on school days, I am looking for ideas for fast and easy but nutritious things for breakfast, seems like it can be such a battle in the morning to find something that he will eat fast that does not take forever to make and not loaded with bad stuff. Would love to hear some suggestions if you have time."

Here is my response...
Angie – very interesting inquiry. Quick, nutritious? Can ya have both? Right now, I consider it a good day if they just eat!!!

Crash refuses to go in carpool, he’s a 5th grader and he FINALLY gets to sit in the back seats of the bus – so god forbid we not do that!!! So that turkey gets himself up at 5:45 AM!!! To get a quick shower (because that’s what 5th graders do MOM…) then he wakes me up at 6…I wake Pootie and Lola up. Bug-a-Boo Peanut typically will stay asleep for a tad longer.

Crash and I go downstairs, I fix 4 lunches (Hubby takes his lunch because he is driving to Cleveland County Regional Hospital every day right now and leaving to eat lunch would just waste time….) Crash scarf’s something down. Anything…bagel, English muffin, cereal (it’s fortified for goodness sakes, and has the recommended daily allowances and that’s controlled by the government..haha). I figure if he slathers a bit of jelly on the bagel or English muffin that’s a fruit…has a glass of milk or oj…he has to be out the door at 6:25 to catch the bus that comes at 6:33 AM!!!

Lola hates eating breakfast (she’s a girl.) I keep waiting for the day when she tells me she’ll just have a diet coke or cup of coffee, she is my child after all…(although I have found that after nursing chunky monkey all night when he has an all night eat-a-thon that a bagel isn’t so bad some mornings, but that’s another story)…I think I’ve had a major accomplishment if I can get her to take a couple of bites of anything…instant oatmeal is top on her short list of things she’ll eat for breakfast…..Lola rides in carpool with one of the neighbors and doesn’t have to leave until 6:50. She says the bus in the morning is over rated.

And then there’s Pootie, the middle schooler….he eats two bowls of cereal AND an English muffin or bagel. He eats anything that is not tied down right now. And he still only weighs 90 pounds. This is the same kid that gets home from school and then proceeds to eat another couple bowls of cereal and anything that he can find leftover in the refrigerator. If there is nothing in there that hits his fancy, he moves onto a box of goldfish while he starts his homework.

Healthy? Doubtful
Quick? I think so…..
Just getting 3 kids out the dang door in the mornings….PRICELESS!!!!!