Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adam at Stan Hywet

A few more pictures from Stan Hywet. Adam and I also did the self-guided house tour - we ran through at Adam speed, but still it was lovely and Adam was very good about not touching!

Upside down doghouse - Adam did like inside this one because it was sloped

Adam wanted to camp out in here - I think he was saying it was break time!

Checking out the flowers!

Checking out the flowers

Climbing on the brick

Adam in a Dog House

Adam like crawling her into this one!

Doggie Gym

This is a doggie play area - Adam kept wanting up but wouldn't go down the slide!

Monday, September 21, 2009

FireDog House at Stan Hywet

Adam and I went to Stan Hywet quite awhile ago - videos from there. They have a "Barkitecture" exhibit with all these huge/fancy doghouses that the kids love as much as the dogs (dogs are welcome at Stan Hywet). Adam loved the wheel here and the bell, although he couldn't quite figure out how to ring the bell (have to pull up then down).

Whose that driving?

Driver Adam!

Let's go explore!

Trying the bell

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ray's back and my papers are graded

Ray actually got back about 7 PM and I managed to finish my papers, so that's good. I'm still up as lots of math questions....oh, well, that is a good thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac

I made this last week and it was a hit. Ray loved it. Plus it really is pretty healthy and is fairly easy. Of course, this took me an hour even though it is a 30 minute meail. I've found that the first time always takes me an hour and then usually I can do her "30 minute" recipes in 45 minutes. It just is that I can't devote myself to just cooking, my pots aren't already on the stove, my spices are sometimes lost in the cabinent....all those little things add up. I also just don't have the skill level she does - I can't cut things as fast as she can! I'm good in the kitchen, but not chef-level. Plus her recipes usually are stove recipes (hence 30 minutes) and so require a fair amount of baby-sitting...which can be a problem with a 1.5 year in the house! Anyway, still I recommend this recipe. It isn't not that hot (unless you want it to be) and the whole wheat pasta really makes it substantial.

Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac [new site - Geocities is closing in October...I haven't finished my "move," but I'm trying to make sure everything new goes here.]

Modified from Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book [which Ray got me for my birthday]

2 tablespoons oil [she used olive oil, of course...I used veg oil]
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock [I just use chicken boullion cubes...I'm sure Rachel is cringing somewhere]
1/4 cup hot sauce [you can go up to 1/2 cup depending on your hotness level. I actually (as I'm a wimp) went a little shy]
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes [this does not exist in my store...I just use the larger one and estimate]
1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni [my store brand of whole meat comse in 13.25 oz boxes...not sure why...]
3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese [she used 1/2 cup of this and 1/2 cup blue cheese...we don't like blue cheese so this is my version]
1/4 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese

Preheat broiler and place a large pot of salted water over high heat to bring up to a boil for the whole wheat elbow macaroni.

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Add the chicken bits and brown them, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the veggies, stirring frequently, until tender, 3-4 minutes (I usually go longer as I like mine actually cooked...not a fan of uncooked veggies like most chefs seem to be). Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the hot sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer the chili for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together and thicken it slightly.

While the chili is simmering, toss the pasta into the boiling salted water and cook via package directions. Once cooked, drain the pasta and toss it into the chili, then transfer everything to a casserole dish (9 by 13). Remeber to pull out bay leaf. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and place it under the broiler until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden brown, 2-3 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. [I halved this and still got like 6 servings, so this makes a TON...all RR's recipes are giant sized....this one definitely is....a full dish of this will serve a small army!]


Yep, Adam was not happy with the idea of a baby-sitter. Poor Evan....anyway, I lasted about 45 minutes (got 1 1/2 papers graded) and just took Evan home. It wasn't Evan's fault - Adam just did not agree that Mommy shouldn't be with him. We've definitely been having more separation issues now that he's older. Hopefully, it's just a stage. We really don't use baby-sitters that much, but with my work, sometimes we need to if Ray can't give the time I need at a particular moment (like now). So anyway, my grading is not done....Ray gets home late tomorrow, I think I'll stay up grading until he gets home. I also thought I'd get more done while Adam was napping today, but I ended up meeting with a student(s) online for over an hour. I'm thrilled they are seeking help and early in the term...the timing just wasn't great. Oh, well, such is life....

Is September over yet?

September has been very hectic for us (as I'm sure you have realized from my paucity of posts). The first week of school is always bad for us, but then in the fall there is Aviation Heritage Fair (last Saturday and so THANKFULLY over) that makes Ray's life difficult (just a lot of work) that this year has been extended to include more events (which are great ideas, but added work). Now Ray is gone to a conference in DC (he'll be back late tomorrow night). Last year it was me who was gone to a conference in September. In both cases, though, it just prolongs the misery that is the beginning of school. Right now I just feel that I will NEVER catch up....

Adam didn't nap yesterday (so not a help), but he is sleeping today. Hopefully he'll be in a good mood when he gets up as I have a baby-sitter scheduled for two hours this evening as I have papers to grade for my history class.

Well, I'm off to try to write a syllabus before I meet with a life is so exciting....

Friday, September 11, 2009

I hate my sinuses

Seriously, I have had a sinus headache almost every day this week - I know it just the time of year, but still I'm SO sick of headaches right now. Waking up with a headache, to me, is the worst thing because even if you kick it later (medicine is great, isn't it?), it just ruins your day. So I'm whining.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

From the Guest Bedroom....

I'm actually posting from the floor of the guest bedroom right now because Adam set the alarm up here today somehow...which then went off at midnight and woke him up. So I have him back to sleep on the bed and am waiting for him to be deeply asleep before trying to move him back to his crib.

I started my beginning of the month cleaning today - hopefully I'll be putting up my fall decorations soon! Wish me luck!

My Bookshelf

I just finished a couple of new books, so I thought I'd share. I got in my first two pieces of the that big book order:
  • Belle Pointe by Karen Young and Merry Christmas, Baby,which is an anthology with a novella by Karen Young as well. I wrote about Blood Bayou, which I read first. Blood Bayou was her first Christian fiction novel and I have to tell - definitely her best! I think going Christian fiction was a wise decision for her - there is really much better development of the characters. Belle Pointe kind of skirts the religious issue in a few places and has some cool plot threads, but overall, still not even close to Blood Bayou. Merry Christmas, Baby, since it was a novella, I wasn't expecting much from and as a seasonal novella, it is fine - nothing special, nothing wrong with it. All her books are the estranged spouses getting back together.
  • The Tale of Applebeck Orchard by Susan Wittig Albert, which is part of her Beatrix Potter series. This series really scared me at first as it contained many things I don't normally like, but I continue to enjoy it. They are simple and delightful. While all mysteries, they often don't even have a murder, being very light and therefore great for a light read. They'd actually be a great gift for a young girl, just getting into mysteries. This series is slated to have just eight books (this is number six), and you can see Albert winding this towards where she wants to end - Potter's marriage to Will Heelis and move to Sawrey (which she really did). This book even married off some more of the sideline characters - definitely working through that list quickly - I think Albert plans to have everyone married off by the time Beatrix gets married!

I'm currently reading Tears of the Pearl by Tasha Alexander and Another Hour to Kill by Anita Higman, so you can look forward to hearing about that when I'm finished. I've also been rereading a lot lately - always enjoyable!

Adam and the Chicken Nugget

Wednesdays are Ray's long days because he has his Ph.D classes at night. So Adam and I try to meet him for lunch or dinner at least every other week, just so Adam can see him that day as he's pretty much in bed by the time Ray gets home (or very close). Well, last week, we went to Wendy's. Adam, to this point, hadn't shown much interest in chicken nuggets, but Ray tore off some and gave it to him and then put the rest of the nugget (so at least 90% of it) down on the table. While Adam grabs the LARGE piece and stuffs the entire thing in his mouth! It took him five minutes of chewing, but he ate it - he was NOT taking it back out!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Adam's Tools

We got Adam a Handy Manny tool set - he LOVES it. If you put them in right and push the button, they dance and sing, which Adam thinks is pretty cool as well.

Ray's Office

Adam and I went in and helped Ray set up his new office at Kent.

This is the common area - what is nice is Ray has access to a printer, microwave and fridge! All the creature comforts he's needs plus the professional one of the printer!

This is Ray's favorite part - he has a door that he can CLOSE. That seriously is what he is most excited about!
We brought some pictures from home, plus we bought him a fake plant (no natural light, has to be fake)...we also brought in outlet plugs!
Ray's desk, file cabinet and bookshelves
The black and white pencil drawing was my birthday present to him - its a Cessna (which is what he flies)
Adam helping put up the pictures!
And I just thought this was cute - the professor and professor-in-training leaving for the day!

Playground and Bike Trail

I thought I'd post some pictures of the great new playground and bike trail we found.

This is our road - this is only a little up from our house, but you can see the sidewalk doesn't quite make the bike path, which is a bit of an annoyance.

This is the path, starting at our road.

You can see that it follows the old RR tracks and backs a bunch of factories (some working, some not), at least on our end. It actually continues to to Warren.

You'll note from this picture that it is fairly remote at this part. That's the one thing that I don't like. Ravenna is fairly safe, as long as you aren't stupid, and after walking it alone once, I think that might count as "stupid." The issue is that it is isolated enough to be an issue if someone meant to do harm. Overall, I feel safe in town as it is busy (and our road certainly is - emergency vehicles use it as a shortcut) and we certainly aren't a danger zone, but you have to take normal precautions at night and the like. I think that I'll go the long way (which is all houses/traffic) if alone and only go this way in groups. When I was walking back, I met one guy who just gave me the hibby-jibbies - no idea why, but he just did.

The playground - you can see it is a very nice one and it is quite large. It also has a special section for younger kids.
The sandbox areas - you can see the tri-levels!

Adam checking out the fire truck!

Playing in the sandbox

More sandbox footage

On the slide (this is the "big" kid section)

Figuring out the balls (also on the "big" kid side)

Adam's New Shirt

It says "I was born with my mom's good looks and my dad's lousy attitude"

Exhausted Baby!

Ray and the "kids"

Portage County Fair and Right to Life Booth

They re-did the booth this year - I think it looks really nice! Very professional and modern. I was there for two shifts and Adam joined me for the second one. He actually was VERY good for the first two hours, it was just the last hour that really annoyed him as he was sick of it by then!

Adam's art work at the fair (a couple of the booths has coloring stations set up - the sheriff and Headstart)

What's up with us?

Well, it's been busy - first weeks of school always are. Things are settling down for me, but they are still nuts for Ray as this coming weekend is Aviation Heritage Fair and they doing extra things this year (alumni stuff - good ideas, but extra work). Anyway, so it's been hectic. I do have some pictures I'll be posting, but here are the highlights:
  • We are giving up on potty training for now. He's just doesn't get it and that's fine - he's still very young. The only reason we were trying at all was that he seemed interested.
  • Adam is getting very good at some words - like JUICE!
  • Mom and Brian both had birthdays yesterday (Sept. 6) - yah!
  • Billy is now finally really getting going on his house.
  • I got two of my big book order - so excited! I'll be posting on them as I finish them. I also finished another book the other day that I will try to post on.
  • Ray is going to DC for an aviation convention week after next - hopefully he'll learn a lot! Ray and I are going to DC with Adam over Christmas - we are going to see the Chinese terra cotta soldiers that are touring! I'm SO excited.
  • Dad got a moose today and found the wallet he thought he lost LAST hunting season. Seriously, it had been in his hunting pack ALL YEAR!! Mom had to cancel all their cards and whatnot and it was in his pack the entire time! Maybe he'll find the gun he lost 30 years up there next.:)
  • I tried a recipe for a new soup (brown nice and lentil), but it wasn't good, so I'm not posting it here.
  • Dave's retirement has been pushed back two months to December 1st.
  • Dave is probably coming up the last weekend in September so we can can tomatoes.

Okay, I think that's about it for now. I'll try to get some pictures up tonight.

Friday, September 04, 2009


I've been doing Pilates - the 10 minute workouts and I am really enjoying them plus I feel they are making a difference. Maybe I'll lose some weight yet.....

Potty Training Update

The update is there is no update - so far, nothing. He is NOT interested and just avoids the bathroom. I can finally get him to sit a little on the potty chair, but that's about it. I'll try a little longer and if still nothing, we'll probably postpone a month or so. He's still very young - he just brought up it himself, hence we had to try.

Ohio's Strangeness

Before I start, it should be realized that I grew up in Alaska and then lived in North Dakota, so I don't think I'm "spoiled" by conveniences, etc. Which means I don't think I'm being ridiculous in these comments as both AK and ND were better than the larger, and more urban, Ohio.

First, the hours businesses keep here. Now we all know government offices have ridiculous hours meant to keep you from actually being able to visit them - that never changes. But here all the businesses have ridiculous hours! Acme in Kent - the main grocery store - closes at 9! Wal-Mart in Kent closes at 10 (honestly not sure if this still true as they are now Super Wal-Mart and might have extended their hours)! This is a COLLEGE town - this is ridiculous. Now I don't expect 24 hours, but I do expect - from Wal-Mart and the grocery store, at least 11. Now, what set me off, is the bank. First all the banks around here are barely open on Saturday - way worse than ND or AK Saturday hours ever were. But I was out on Wednesday to go to the bank and on that day of the week they close at 2 PM!!! This is ABSURD!!!! It is almost enough to make me change my bank (which I've considered anyway since my bank isn't in Ravenna, not even an ATM). Added to that they are usually closed by 5 most days, rather than 6 anyway, but still 2 in the MIDDLE OF THE WEEK!!! Businesses in Kent are known to just randomly close for a few hours - again COLLEGE town! And they have no stuff for them!

Now, my second, annoyance with Ohio. See in ND and AK and you either lived in town or you didn't. The "big" towns had everything you needed, but most of the little ones had almost nothing. That's okay, at least when you went to the "big" town you could get everything you needed (for example, going to Anchorage). But Ohio (at least our area...I realize the middle of Ohio is much more rural) is like one long line of medium towns. And everything is spread between them. So if you need to go to three stores, you have to go to three towns. The problem is that these towns are only about 5 miles apart, but it takes 30 minutes to get there because of traffic and speed limits! It is so inconvient and TIME CONSUMING. I realize this isn't a conscience thing (like the stupid hours), but it is so aggravating.

Third, traffic here SUCKS. No one can drive in a reasonable manner (i.e., my way). All the roads have so SLOW speed limits (except the interstates) and you have to crawl. In addition, now that Kent is back in session, both Kent and KSU are a MESS, although that's most universities. But I will say that KSU is laid out so WEIRD. It is all circles and hills and NOTHING connects. I was complaining to a professor once and she was like, well, its an old school. It was founded in like 1910 - UND is OLDER and they have straight roads! And Kent isn't that big - it isn't like they have an excuse....again just weird.

Okay, I think I'm done complaining for awhile. I was just very aggravated on Wednesday - I thought it was just Streetsboro that closed early, so I went to Kent, nope, closed as well. Then I had to drive on can see how all of this combined!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

No good, rotten night

Both Ray and I were having a pretty good day (so was Adam). But someone at work said something before he left that set him off and he came home to vent to me, which is what he needs to do, but it really aggravated me as well and just really got under my skin and I haven't been able to shake it. It has just been a depressing night. Probably didn't help that I had to do bookwook as well.

Anyway, I'm just whiny - Ray is going to be really busy all next week - Aviation Heritage Fair, so we will see very little of him. It is always like this during this period.

We taped some more videos tonight for class - I'm really close to being done. We tried Ray's new office tonight, so we'll see how that went tomorrow when I look at the videos.

Well, I have to finish reading posts and then I should go to bed.....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New shopping site

I took a risk on Ray's birthday present. When we'd put up his personal stuff in his office, I realized he didn't have a lot of good aviation stuff for his walls. So I went on a hunt, but I was on a budget and I was really hoping for something he'd flown. First, most of the stuff is military, which is cool, but he's never been in the military, so I didn't want it. I also had a lot of trouble with the commerical stuff, as anything in my price range, was pretty bland. But I found this site, CafePress, which mostly does custom screen printing. The reviews on it were pretty good, but mostly about the screen printing, which pretty much seems average (about Wal-Mart quality). I might actually look there for Christmas (I believe in sticking Adam's face on everything!). But they also let people sell their stuff - mostly artwork like stuff. It seems to be a variety. Anyway, I found a pencil drawing, framed, of a Cessna. I was really worried about quality because while I'm not worried about the artistic value, I did want something that would look nice on the wall. I am definitely pleased - it is very simple, but has nice clean lines and seems to be good quality. Certainly not high art, but I wasn't looking for that.

Things that date books (and movies)

I was reading some older books (published in the 80s) and seriously, you can TELL. First, off, if you really pay attention to the clothes (which SCREAM at you in the 80s movies). Second, the smoking. Seriously, in a lot of the 80s stuff everyone still smokes. You seldom have a smoker in a modern novel unless it is saying something about the character (addictions, bad pasts, etc.). Just a thought.....