Monday, August 31, 2009

Want some wine and cheese?

I think Adam is experimenting with wine fermenting and cheese making. I noticed yesterday that I missed some sippy cups. So I went on a hunt today and found them behind the television. I think Adam sees that as his personal storeroom as there was also a LOT of toys (behind the downstairs TV as well). Well, the one with milk in it was all clumpy and gross. The one with juice was molding...that one went in the trash can! His cheese and wine didn't come out so well.:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Park and Bike Trail

We just found a fabulous park within walking distance of our house on the new bike trial extension! I'm so excited! This park has been there for a couple of years, but you'd only see it if you drove Chestnut St, which we hardly do. The bike trial extension is what makes it so close now and that just went in this year. We are so excited - the playground facilities are fabulous, with a separate toddler area - Adam had a blast! We will be back often! There is another park/playground in Ravenna, but it is too far to walk, hence we haven't spent much time there (I just don't like driving, I'd rather walk). Also with yard work and stuff, we've been doing most of our playing in our own yard, but Adam likes variety and is really getting into things like playground equipment and other kids now that he is a bit older.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What's Up

It was pouring earlier - been rainy the last few days. So I took Adam to the mall to play, which seems to help, but he ended up not napping today, which is never good - makes for a grumpy night. We went out to dinner at Big Boys for Ray's birthday (he got to pick). His birthday (his 30th) isn't until Sunday, but he has to work then (Sunday before classes start - meetings galore).

We did buy a potty chair this week and we'll work on it over the next week and see how it goes. I'm hoping he's potty trained by 2 (January), so if it isn't going well after a week, we'll probably take a break. The only reason I'm even trying right now is that he brought up it himself. I think if we can make him understand, he'll jump at it as he HATES diapers and being changed. We'll see - I've been reading potty training tips and he is showing a lot of the signs, but he just doesn't have the communication yet. He still isn't talking much, so we'll see.

School started Monday - going alright so far. I have another term starting this coming Monday, so wish me luck. Mainly just the usual first week kinks. I may be getting stats in the spring, so I'm following along with that class this term to figure out how I will want to approach it myself. I look forward to the challenge of a harder math class to teach!

Okay, off to finish up my work for tonight and go to bed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AGHH!!

That's really my comment on life right now. Let's see, Ray started back work on Monday and does have to do jury duty. So far, he hasn't actually had to go in, but he'll be calling for the next two weeks and I'm sure they will make him report on the most inconvenient day possible (and yes, I realize they don't do this on purpose, it is just our luck). The thing is Ray would love to do this - ANY OTHER TIME!!

Term 6 ended Sunday night at one of the schools I teach at, which means I got in final exams in throughout the day. We usually have a 48 hour turnaround time on grades. While I find this really fast, I understand why they do it. They run all 8 weeks sessions, back to back, and so for students needed pre-reqs, this is important. I don't have an issue with it and I have never been late. But mid-week last week, I get an email - grades are now due by Tuesday at noon versus Tuesday at midnight. So 12 hours earlier and for me, that's one nap time earlier. I usually have grades done by Monday night, but we all realize stuff happens. Now their reasoning? Profs are always late! Well, duh, they have a 48 hour turnaround when most universities are about a week or so (5-7 days). So their solution is to late submissions is to make it even shorter? This does not make sense to me. I honestly think the university (as I realize my department has no control over this) is being rather absurd. There is a limit to what we can do in a given amount of time. Two days was bad enough, 1.5 days is just not enough time. I also realize that many professors are not legitimately late (i.e, they are being forgetful or lazy), but I also think that some of they just don't have the time.

So, with this in mind, I hoped to be very productive on Monday during naptime. Adam, sensing this, never took a nap! Yep...my day....so when Ray gets home, we eat dinner and then I start grading right away. Of course, Adam is up and wants attention as although Daddy is right there, Mommy is obviously doing something and so he wants to be a part of it. I did get it finished that night and was actually in bed about 1:30 (which, for me, isn't that late) and some of that was doing other things (as my other university started on Monday), but it was just frustrating.

As I mentioned, my other school started on Monday - we seem to be off to good start there. I have a week before Term 1 (the next term) starts at the one I just finished. As this is their restart of the year time, there is a week lapse. They are now opening the course shells a week early for students so they can get in, check the syllabus, etc. While I applaud that and I like that students are being encouraged to plan ahead, I'm wondering how the practical aspect will work. While students are told not to expect professor input until the actual start, we all know that some will. In addition, I think that the students that really need the lead time won't be the ones using it. So the procrastinators who are always causing the issues will still procrastinate and not be prepared on Day 1. That's just my pessimism coming though. Actually though, I had an awesome bunch of students last term - really impressive! Just a blast to work with and really on the ball. Not a single missed assignment (so no zeros), which is a first!

Last night, I went over to my friend, Mo's, to scrapbook, which was a lot of fun. Today I have to go sit at the pro-life booth at the Randolph Fair. It isn't too hot right now, so pray it stays that way! I not taking Adam tonight as Ray will be home, but he will go with me for my shift on Sunday.

On a happy note, Adam on Monday brings me his diaper wipes and then a diaper and tells me "poop." So I check him, no poop. Not sure what is going, but he poops 5 minutes later - he told me was going to poop ahead of time! So we are buying a potty chair this week and starting potty training. Wish us luck...anyone with any tips, I'd be happy to hear them.:)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stan Hywet

We went to Stan Hywet today. The gardens are gorgeous and they have a "Barkarchitecture" display right now, which Adam thought was fun. Big doghouses you can climb in! We are planning to take my parents back in October - it will be lovely in the fall with all the colors!
Jennie and Adam in the gazebo
Jennie and Adam in gazebo
Jennie and Adam at gazebo
Adam in one of the doghouses

These videos are from in front of the conservatory, running around the fountain.


Ray chasing Adam around the fountain!

Some more

Adam trying to run the stone spiral pattern!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mommy's Birthday Cake

I actually made chocolate zucchini cake for this weekend, but we have leftovers, so we had some tonight in honor of my birthday. Adam even got some - although he mainly mashed it up with his hands rather than ate any of it!

Blood Bayou by Karen Young

I just finished this book and just adored it! I really liked the plot, although I will admit I had the murdered figured out about halfway through the book – I didn’t think it was too hard. But I really liked the characters – Jack and Camille and their issues really pulled you in. The Christian part of the plot was nicely done – not overdone, but clear and really showed how faith had changed Jack. I highly recommend the book.

I usually read Christian fiction and hence why I found this one. Looking at her previous books, it looks like Karen Young has only written straight romance in the past, so this is a new genre for her. I hope she sticks with it. I looked at her earlier stuff and while I do plan to try some, some of it turned me off. I just am not that into straight romance to start with and in addition a lot of her early stuff is all ESP-like. A turn-off for me. But I’m sure others like it.

I still do read some straight romance (I admit it, I’m addicted to Nora Roberts), but overall, I avoid it as it bothers me that the characters end up in bed before they really know each other in most cases. Christian fiction is great because it really explores the relationship, not the physical stuff.

Our Yard Man

Adam helping Ray move stone! He is SUCH a good little helper!

Daddy left the big shovel, so Adam went right for it - he thinks he can use it!

Loading up his wagon to take for Daddy - he took the wagon out to Daddy himself!

I had to restart him in the right direction, but he got it there!

BOOKS!!

I just ordered a bunch of books, I'm so excited!! I have a bunch of books coming out through September into early October and so what I did today was order them all now and they'll just be shipped when they come out. That way I get free shipping and I don't have to worry about it. Plus the online prices (and Amazon offers price guarantee...got 50 cents back recently on one book!) are SO much cheaper than in the stores!! So I'll get getting books all month.:):)

Also, I want to hype Better World Books. I found them a couple of months ago and I LOVE them. It is mostly used, but some new, books, they have a great inventory and don't charge shipping on anything. Now their prices are a bit higher. For example, you can buy a book for a penny on Amazon Marketplace, but then have to pay $4 in shipping, right? Well, BWB, just charges the $4 upfront. I like that. Its honest! Also, it benefits literacy and libraries!!! Definitely a great place to ship for books!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some rain finally

It was still hot today and so we decided not to let Adam go outside. He usually spends at least a couple hours each day outside. So we took him to the mall to run around and enjoy the play area (Chapel Hill has a decent one, albeit rather small...only problem is that it is at least a half hour away, but it is the closest indoor choice). He was full out RUNNING the entire time. He definitely missed outdoor time, but after this weekend, we felt that he needed to stay out of the heat. We took him out yesterday and it was really hard on him - I think the main issue is he needed recovery time from this weekend's heat and lond outside days. He enjoyed himself greatly and I think it helped to stay inside.

On the way home it finally started raining good, so hopefully the front here and tomorrow will be better so Adam can enjoy the outdoors!

AN and BN

Most people run on AM and PM, but we run on AN and BN. Most parents of young kids will get this - before nap and after nap! Adam needs to be home to get a good nap, so I try to make sure we are always home for that period. So that means that anything I want to do has to be done AN or BN. The thing to remember is that any errands have to be done BN as places like the bank are closed AN!

Now we discussed if Adam was done with naps as he has been fighting it a lot. But is is always seriously tired by naptime, usually sleeps at least 2 hours and is still exhausted at bedtime and sleeps all night. So we think he needs it. He doesn't have "slow" figured out - he goes full speed all the time, hence the need for the nap. In addition, with me working at home, naptime is important work time for me. If he didn't need it, we would work something else out, but he seems to really need it, so we keep making him nap.

Series Finales

Okay, first, don't laugh about how far behind we are. DVR is great, but it means it is easy to get behind! Anyway, we just finished both Bones and Numb3rs. I really liked the ending of Numb3rs, although Amida better say yes to Charlie! That made me SO happy! That show is really showing some growth and changes and I'm looking forward to next season. Now the second to last episode of Bones was good, but the last one SUCKED!! Seriously, it was strange and just ridiculous! Now the very end was good and it sounds like they are planning some changes with Booth. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want Bones and Booth to get together. And I like the idea of a kid for Bones - I think that will really grow her character, but the ending of that season was just a real let down. Hopefully next season is better.

Coloring

We got Adam a new coloring pad and toddler crayons - he and Daddy were coloring away!

New APA Manual

We just got the new APA Manual for Ray and Adam was checking it out. I thought it was cute!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Miss Aggie's Gone Missing by Frances Devine

I just finished this book. It was cute and sweet. I really enjoyed it. What I liked about it was that Victoria, the main character, runs a boarding house with senior citizens. The senior citizens were so cute and funny - always in each other business and Victoria's. In addition, most of the ladies were once teachers and so were always ordering around the suspects in their questioning and they did what they told by their old teachers!

Poor, Hot, Baby

Adam had a hard day - the weekend was so hot and muggy and it all caught up with him. Poor little boy - it was just too much for him today and it was still over 90. It is supposed to break, hopefully, tomorrow - he needs some cooler weather!

Jury Duty

Okay, I believe in jury duty and would actually LIKE to serve on it. But, unfortunately, we have not had good luck with timing! I have been called three times by three states and haven't been able to serve once. First, Alaska called me while I was in college in North Dakota. Pretty hard to commute from Grand Forks to Palmer! Then North Dakota called me for the month we were moving to Ohio. Finally, Ohio called me for the week of my due date with Adam!

Anyway, Ray was called once by Michigan during college - same problem as me and Alaska. Well, Ohio called Ray for the next two weeks. The problem is that is the first week of school so we are writing letters to see if we can get him excused.

Now, honestly, no lawyer would probably ever pick Ray or I as a juror, but we would like to be par to the process. Seriously, can't any state call us when we can actually serve jury duty? We seriously want to help out, not be a pain in butt!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Caught Up

I think I am caught up on pictures. The weekend pictures ended up a hodgepodge as we were in and out all weekend - the fence was the big project. But it is DONE. We do have a little clean up (deal with the displaced grass/soil, etc.), but it looks great!

We had a fun time with Dave and Linda - it was a great trip to the musuem and overall a great trip.

I am FINALLY finished with fall classes and have about a week to enjoy it.:) Ray has a week before he goes back to work, so hopefully we can get a little relaxing in. It is my last week of Term 6 for SNHU, so finals and papers this week. But so not thinking about that right now!

I'm so off to bed. Hope you had a good weekend!

Lunch Break

I had pasta salad and cake yesterday and we BBQed for lunch.
Linda, our chef!
Everyone eating...Adam had a hot dog and thought it was awesome

The Fence....

Dennis, Tim and Evan came over about 9:30 this morning and it took them (with just a lunch break) until about 3 to get this up, but it is gorgeous! I've lined up the pictures so you can see it appear!

Cutting the last piece to fit

And isn't it pretty?

We just did the back fence (remember we had a portion fall in during the winter). We are going to do one side a year for the next two years, so that after three years, we will have a completely redone fence. We want the enclosed backyard and the finished vinyl will really be a good selling point for the house in a few years. We just can only afford to do it a chunk at a time!

Step 1

So the first step for the fence was the fence holes. The manual one was taking forever as the soil was not being cooperative, so they rented this two man auger from Home Depot. The thing was huge and definitely had a mind of its own. It manhandled them as much of they did it!

Car Musuem Open House

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Musuem had an open house on Saturday that we went up to. What was cool was that it was their preservation facility and so cars in the process of being restored. Their is a group creating a fire musuem that is really neat and they had a bunch of fire truck there as well (don't worry, Adam had premission!).

You can see all the tools they use to restore the cars

Storage - see the cars stacked up?


Dave and Linda

These are some good shots of these two! They were SO much help this weekend!

Adam Pool Pictures

Just a few of the best ones to go with all the pool footage.




Adam and Daddy

We were picking up the yard and Ray and Adam were playing!

Adam's Pool

Adam and the Hose

This is cleaning up at the end of the day - Adam got ahold of the hose!

Adam in his Pool

Playing in the Sandbox with PaPa

Adam and PaPa had fun in the sandbox although PaPa said it took washing his hair twice to get all the sand out of it!


Pool Footage

Adam spent a lot of the weekend in and out of his pool (or the sandbox...which makes an interesting mix to clean up!) as it was so hot.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update

As you can see, I finally got all my pictures caught up. Tomorrow I'll be uploading a bunch more as we have been working on our back fence. Dave and Linda are down for the weekend and we have been working on the yard (more people are coming tomorrow to finish it) and today we went to the open house for the Crawford Auto-Aviation Musuem's preservation facility. Pretty cool! But it is REALLY hot here this weekend - not comfortable for much!

I have been working all week on classes for fall as I always have a bunch of updates for my shells to do, hence very little posting.

Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up here next week and be able to say my classes are ready for fall!

New Curtains

We had vertical blinds on this window, but we were losing them to attrition and so had to either replace them or do something new - I went for something new. These are the curtains that are supposed to keep out 99% of light and help with heating/cooling. We bought a navy one for Adam's room as we were having light issues - it has been helping!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adam's New Game

Adam and Ray have a new game. Ray kinks it and then it jumps (water pressure) and Adam chases it!

Daddy had quit playing - Adam was trying to do it himself!

More fun!

Adam Using the Hose

Adam just loves the hose!

Adam Helping Around the Yard

Daddy trimmed the hedges and then was working on getting the ends picked up by hitting the bushes with a rake...Adam decided that he could help!

Adam's Wading Pool

It is finally hot enough for long enough that we have Adam's wading pool out and inflated. He just loves it! It did take some time to figure it out, but now that he has figured out how to get out and in on his own, he is in love!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adam and the Hose Continued

Adam enjoying the hose!
Helping Daddy water
Watering on his own
Going raking!
Daddy was washing the side of the garage so Adam decided to help out!
Turn on the hose on please!
I'll get water everywhere!
What is this and what can I do with it?

Raising out water bill!
This is fun!

Adam and the Hose

Adam has discovered the hose and how to work it! He managed to break this hose nozzle already - we had to replace it today!

Stuffed Green Peppers

I made this recipe as we are getting great local green peppers in, but it was pretty bland. I'm going to work with it awhile before I call it good. Adam did really enjoy the filling, though! He prefers more bland anyway at this stage. We definitely need more something.

Stuffed Green Peppers
Modified from Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook

3 large green peppers [they used six...I only need three for the amount of filling below (their entire recipe)....maybe my "large" are larger than theirs.....as I said, local green peppers!]
1 lb ground beef, browned
2 tbsp minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups cooked rice [note that it is cooked rice...you get more than 2 cups cooked from just one cup of uncooked rice]
15 oz can tomato sauce [this is one place where I think we can get more flavor - we'll use spaghetti sauce next time]
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese [again here, I think is a good way to spice it up]

Cut peppers in half and remove seeds (yes, really....so this isn't true stuffed peppers...). Combin eall ingredients but peppers and cheese.

Stuff peppers with mixture and place in slow cooker.

Cover. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Sprinkle with cheese during last 30 minutes (didn't need this long).

Couple of notes...I'm going to play with this....I think more sauce on top will help...also need mixture from drying out/blackening on crock pot.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

$221,000 price tag

That's the current number to raise a kid for middle class families! Amazing, huh?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Adam's New Stool

We got Adam this little stool and now he can brush his teeth and play in the bathroom sink - he just loves it! He hauls it all over the house now! He even put it in front of the TV so he could reach the buttons on the DVD player! He does love his buttons!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My neighbor gave me this recipe last year - it is really good! And a great way to hide some of that zucchini!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
From Betty Lohmir

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
3 extra large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk [or 1/2 tbsp lemon juice plus the rest 1/2 cup of regular milk]
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon [This is a really nice background flavor, but is clear...Ray doesn't like cinnamon so I'm going to try ginger next time.]
1/2 tsp allspice [or 1/4 tsp cloves...I used allspice]
4 tbsp Hershey's Cocoa
2 cups shredded zucchini [see note below on shredding]
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the sugars, butter and oil together. Add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cocoa). Mix into the wet ingredients in small portions. Shred the zucchini and lightly drain (I just put it on paper towels for a few minutes...the original recipe had you doing this first, but that would drain it too much in my opinion - zucchini adds moisture to a recipe). Mix in the zucchini to the batter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 baking pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips into the batter. Bake at 325 for about 40-45 minutes. Cool and then frost (I used my whipping cream frosting).

Way too much work for "just okay"

This was a decent recipe, but way too much work for just not that impressive of taste. To make this actually look good, you'd have to invest in the thin cut chicken because let's be honest, we aren't all chefs and splitting a chicken breast SUCKS! I really put in the time and it still came out horribly! In addition, pounding out raw chicken is VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY aggravating! Now if you did really want to impress someone and was willing to invest the money in thin cut chicken, then this might be worth it as "show" recipe. But I really did like the sauce - I plan on making the sauce again, but just putting it on baked chicken.

Spring Chicken Roll-Ups with Lemon Dijon Pan Sauce

Modified from Rachael Ray

2 (6-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast [As noted, if you actually want this to look good, you are going to have to buy thin cut chicken rather than the breasts and split them.]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices provolone cheese [I used provolone on mine and Swiss for Ray as he doesn't like provolone...both seemed to work]
4 thin slices prosciutto cotto [so didn't buy this! I just used bacon...now since bacon isn't pre-cooked, I just cooked it most of the way in the microwave before I put it in the rollups, so it would be completely cooked by the time it was finished...I used about 2 piece of bacon per roll up, so a total of 8 slices]
16 long green beans, steamed to the doneness you prefer [this used asparagus, which we don't like, so I used the green beans...I also prefer my vegetables actually COOKED, so I steamed them...Rachael barely cooked her asparagus, but honestly, chefs are obsessed with undercooked food...raw is fine if that is what you want, but if are going to cook it, I think you should actually cook it!]
1 tablespoon oil [I used vegetable oil, she used olive oil]
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock [I just made up a bullion cube]
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard [I actually used Honey Dijon mustard...we really like that!]
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced [I forgot to buy a lemon, so I just used the lemon juice I had in the fridge and squirted some in]
1/4 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley, a handful

Halve the chicken breasts horizontally separating each into 2 cutlets (as noted, this was a MESS). Place each halved cutlet in an individual freezer plastic storage bag (with slider tab). Add a tablespoon of water to each bag and pound into1/8-inch thick cutlets (also ridiculously hard and very messy...and I only used one bag as if I used one per piece, I might as well have bought the premium chicken...which as I noted, I would if I ever bought this again).

Arrange the 4 cutlets on work surface. Season cutlets with salt and pepper on the side facing up. Cover each piece of chicken with 1 slice cheese and 2 slices of bacon/ham. Starting on 1 side of the breast, place a small bundle of 4 green beans. Wrap and roll the chicken around the beans. Wash hands. [I think if I did this again, I would use something to secure these because you can see they came apart once I had to flip these.]

Heat about 1 tablespoon oil, a turn of the pan, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, using tongs, add the chicken roll-ups to skillet with seam side down (see note on messy). Season the roll-ups with salt and pepper. Cover the pan loosely with tin foil and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turn roll-ups over and cook and other 4 to 5 minutes. Remove cooked roll ups to a serving plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons flour Stir in the chicken stock and Dijon mustard, scraping up any drippings from the bottom of the pan, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and spoon over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Poor Sick Baby

Adam has the diarrhea - I think it is just everything catching up to him, but he doesn't feel good, poor little boy. Hopefully, he'll be better soon - we are pushing easy foods and liquids, even though he really hasn't been that hungry. It didn't help that he didn't take a nap yesterday. By the way, I HATE telemarketers! We get so many calls...and yes, I know about the do-not-call list, but they are all "non-profits" so they don't count. AGHH!!! They call at the most inopportune times! I've been trying to get prep work done, but Ray's work (which he isn't supposed to have to do as he is a 9 month employee...so don't get me started on that!) has been having issues, so I feel like I've got nowhere (and yes, this isn't helping!). I'm just not motivated...well, back to trying....

Finished Bathroom!

We got up the last shelf yesterday and then I put everything back. Next summer, we'll pay someone to redo the tub, but then we are completely done with the bathroom! Ray is talking about redoing the trim next summer - we'll see how he feels about it then. My biggest issue was losing all my drawers, but in the end, I think this is better and I actually have extra room!
Toilet side - you can see the new signs, the new floor and new rugs (Olga like the rugs - she thinks she's camo on them, I believe!)
The new vanity and medicine cabinet. This one is a little narrower than the old one, but overall things actually fit better. Just had to relocate one or two things.
This is the closet where the old shower was originally

The closet area - we put in the new shelves here (wood instead of the original metal we planned because we had to shave one of them to fit - the walls are strange!)
We bought a cabinet for the bottom and I put in most of the extra bottles, all our medicine and the like here.
Olga found a great new hiding spot that Adam can't reach - she's in heaven!

Last Round of Alaska Pictures

I think these are my last "strays!"
Uncle Billy and Adam
Adam and Jaida (who is the daughter of one Mom's work buddies)
Adam and Jaida
Grandpa and Adam working on Uncle Billy's truck (right before they gave up and called GMC)

Me and Adam

Adam and Gavin Drinkhouse (Adam Drinkhouse's son) - so tiny!

Adam and Gavin Drinkhouse