30 September 2010

Eight is great!

 Happy, happy birthday Goosey dear!

 Goosey wanted to make fruit cups for her classmates to celebrate.  
She worked very hard, making each one a work of art.

A little chocolate never hurts.

Both Craig and I grew up with a tradition that allowed us to open one gift before school.  We have continued that tradition.  Goosey chose to open her biggest gift--legos!

29 September 2010

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything

My children have been obsessed with dinosaurs for the last month.  Last week at the library I saw this book and brought it home.  It's a hit!

 The story is about a little boy who doesn't like running errands with his mother every Friday, until one Friday when everything changes.  Each place they go he receives a dinosaur as a bonus prize.  A real live dinosaur.

On the street kids are followed by lines of dinosaurs while their mothers look frazzled.  The moms have to decide whether to do their errands and risk collecting more dinosaurs or to go home and wait for another day.

My boys think this book is fantastic.  They like to imagine where they might be given a dinosaur (the grocery store?  the bank?) and what kinds they could collect if dinosaurs really did come with everything.

23 September 2010

I am excessively fond of a cottage

I've been eyeing this house for two years.  It's backyard is visible from the school parking lot and I've always theorized that the front must be fantastic.  Last week I had a couple of minutes to spare before kindergarten pick-up time so I took the turn before the school--the dead-end street I'd never been on.  So worth the detour.

White picket fence, cheery soft yellow color, rose bushes, shutters, small porch on the side, overhanging trees, arched gate, darling patio furniture in the garden, window boxes.  I think I want this to be my next house.

22 September 2010

What we should all feel inside

Tonight at bedtime Goosey told me that someone said something that had hurt her feelings at school today.  This has happened a couple of times and it's usually nothing serious, as was the case today.

Goosey made an error in doing some math work on the board and corrected it before sitting down.  Upon sitting down, a boy in her class said to her, "You almost got it all wrong."  I pointed out that he was right, she had almost gotten it all wrong, but it was good that she was able to correct it.  She just couldn't understand why someone would feel the need to point out that you almost did something wrong.

I explained to her that I didn't know this little boy, but that sometimes people don't feel very good about themselves and they think that making others feel bad will make them feel better.   I could tell by the look on her face that she was confused.  So I asked her, "How do you feel about yourself, inside?"

As she looked me in the eyes I could see her beginning to tear up when she answered, "I think I'm wonderful."

I told her that I thought she was wonderful too......super wonderful. And that that's what she needed to remember when people said something that hurt her feelings--she's wonderful.  She knows it and her mom knows it, and that's what matters.

16 September 2010

I'm a sucker for porches

Look at that gorgeous farmer's porch.  Love it!  This home is on a major road near the edge of town.  The road was the main highway that connected towns before interstates.  I can imagine the farm land that used to surround this home.

From the other side you can see the former barn, now garage, attached to the home so you don't have to go out into the frigid New England winters to get into your car.

P.S.  Do you se the trees in the background to the right?  There's just a tinge of color creeping in.  Ahh, Autumn.

15 September 2010

Hurray for Autumn!

Monday morning I was in the shower when it suddenly hit me--it's Fall.  The kids are back at school, the weather has turned cooler and crisp, the leaves are changing.  It's here.  Monday afternoon the boys and I put up our Fall decorations.  Tuesday was no school for voting (a true sign of Autumn) and this morning I had a need for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Let me start by saying that I don't like pumpkin.  I don't like pumpkin pie, fudge, ice cream, shakes, soup.....  I don't like pumpkin in any form.  Except, these cookies.  I love them.  I want to eat them for breakfast.  And all day long.

1 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups flour
1.5 cups chocolate chips (or more if you like extra chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets.
2.  In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended.  Add remaining ingredients as listed.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
3.  Bake for 12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Let cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.
4.  ENJOY!

09 September 2010

The Skinny House

Yes, I know the car in front is totally ghetto, but I wanted you to see just how narrow this home is.  Crazy, right?  The entrance is in the alley.  Just out of curiosity I googled "skinny houses Boston" and found this.  That article also took me on to a fascinating wikipedia entry on spite houses.

08 September 2010

Go ahead, take the plunge

It's that time of year again.....time to can! Last year was my first foray into the canning world. I made my Grandma Sweetie's pineapple pear jam. This year we had to prune the pear tree back pretty good, so not so many pears this fall. However, I made the same recipe only with apricots. It's actually my favorite jam--I love it more than the pear.

A year ago I was terrified by the idea of canning--hot stove, sticky fruit, glass jars. Yikes! Now I know that it's so much easier than it looks. Really! Here are a few things I learned from research and experience:

If you have a glass top stove, like I do, you can't use the classic water bath canner. It's not flat on the bottom. Instead, I bought a pressure canner which can double as a water bath canner (that also means it takes up less cabinet space).

You really need the right tools--a funnel, a magnetic wand, a jar grabber. Save yourself the burns.

A pressure canner isn't so scary. I once sat through a mini-class on canning and they kept talking about things exploding and destroying kitchens. Yikes! If you read the instructions for your canner you'll be fine. I canned two bags of dried beans and had no problems. I figured it was better to can them for later use than to have them expire.

Inspiration helps. I love my grandma's recipes, but I am excited to try new ones too. I love looking through my Ball canning book (the cover's so pretty I could frame it). I'm thinking of trying pickles next year. And I want to plant a salsa garden next year so we can put up our own salsa. Yum!

07 September 2010

Hard at work

As of this morning Craig is once again employed. Over the last two weeks we considered five very good job offers. Deciding amongst them might have been the hardest part of the whole experience--weighing the pay, benefits, commute time, re-location, etc.

In the end we went with one that Craig is really excited about. He'll be working for Open Sky, telecommuting from home.

Huge. Sigh. Of. Relief.

03 September 2010

They did what????

We live in New England. That means the winters are very cold and prolonged. If the temperature is below freezing my children have no recess at school. I can understand the reasoning (although I don't like it).

However, I was completely blown away this week to find out that my kindergartner will have no recess. Effective this year, no recess for kindergartners. And, because it's only half day kindergarten they don't have gym at all.

Then today I found out that morning recess was taken away from all of the students. That means that my second grader is in school from 8:20am-2:30pm with 20 minutes of recess after lunch. That's it. She also gets to have gym for 45 minutes each week.

When I questioned the assistant principal she said that they need more instructional time to meet the curriculum requirements. I know there was a shake-up in curriculum this year, but I'm not familiar with the particulars. I do know this though--our school has met the No Child Left Behind requirements every year, and has been the only elementary school in the district to do so. Whatever the district has thrown at them has them scrambling.

And I feel like my children's time to "be kids" is being taken from them.

02 September 2010

Zimmerman House

I drive by this house often in the course of my Relief Society work. I've always wondered what it looks like from the back. And now I know, because the Zimmerman House is a Frank Lloyd Wright home (I knew I had good taste). Take a look at the photo gallery in the link-- gorgeous!
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