Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Drip Drip Drip

That's all it's doing here. We had beautiful snow and then...rain. Rain on old snow is sad. Rain on fresh snow? Mother nature should be locked up; that truly is a criminal act. What could be more pathetic than patches of snow, once pristine, running, puddling, down a muddy driveway? 

Drip. drip. drip. 

Even Emmy's piano practicing sounds like it:
(in a low octave)  

drip.       drip.drip.
  drip.         drip.

Ugh. The only change is the threat that all this will turn back into freezing rain and snow within a few hours. Ugh. 

Tubby says, "Please, please take me away."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some Cooking Tips and a Recipe

I have been using my crockpot more since I went back to work. It's much easier to come home to dinner when I know that something has been cooking all day. Mmm, the house smells good with very little effort on my part. 

So, spaghetti sauce, one of my favorite easy recipes: put 1 lb of lean (very lean) ground meat (chuck, turkey, whatever you like) in the crockpot. Add 1 jar of your favorite sauce, 1 can of whole tomatoes, and 1 can of tomato paste. Maybe add a dash of red wine too if you have some. Put crock on low heat and allow to cook, 6-8 hours. Oh! The meat is so tender. Break apart with wooden spoon and stir. The tomatoes will be cooked down and add a homemade taste. Add cooked pasta and salad and you're set.

Use more or less tomato paste depending on how thick your like your sauce. If you don't like store sauce, add another can of whole tomatoes, or canned plain tomato sauce and your favorite seasoning. I've done it both ways. 

You can freeze extra sauce for another day. Next is a recipe I adapted to use my (accumulating) leftover frozen sauce. 

Baked Ziti (adapted from Saving Dinner, by Leanne Ely)

Leftover meat sauce (equivalent to 1 1/2 jars or so. I guesstimated :-)
1 lb Ziti Pasta (cooked al dente)
3/4 C of low fat sour cream
3/4 C of cottage cheese
6-8 oz of Provolone Cheese
1-2 C of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
9 x 13 pan or lasagna pan

  • Put sauce in fridge in the morning or night before to thaw. Sauce needs to be thawed. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix the sour cream and cottage cheese together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In the 9 x 13 pan start layering (like you're assembling lasagna): spread sauce on bottom of pan, then a layer of ziti, then the sour cream mixture, then a layer of provolone, then sauce, ziti, sour cream mixture, etc. Repeat until it's all gone.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese
  • Bake in the preheated oven until it's heated through, about 20 minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy. Add a salad and garlic bread if you wish.
 Oh! This is so yummy! My whole family enjoyed this, especially hubby. 

I forgot to mention that I added spinach to the sour cream mixture. If you would like to do that, add 1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well drained) to your sour cream and cottage cheese mixture. Mix well. 

Sorry I don't have pics. Probably the only pics I would have taken would have been me sipping wine while I cooked, lol!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Interview by Julie

"Interview Me": Get interviewed by another blogger. 

This is an interview by Julie of Good Yarns. 

1. What is your favorite teaching moment at home? It can be a big or small thing.
I really enjoy when my girls draw pictures and then tell me a story to go with the picture. The stories are so sweet. Some can be a real eye opener into their world. I also enjoy playing games with the girls. Games can be fun and teachable. Memory, Candy land, Chutes and Ladders, and Boggle Junior are all games we enjoy. Junior Monopoly is one of my favorites (albeit the dinosaur version). Emmy can be the banker and she has learned how to count and give change.

2. Tell us about your musical education and the instrument (s) you play and teach.
My instrument is voice. I started formal voice lessons when I was a teenager. I would describe my sound as light soprano (think Celtic Woman, they're my sound models :-), as in when I grow up I want to be....)

I've never had lessons on an instrument, one that requires me to read music. I learn mostly by ear. I have always felt at a disadvantage because I never learned how to read music well. Thanks to some (lots of!) practicing, I can play piano "fake book" style, following chords, and I play guitar. My note reading is improving over time too, because I have to do it. 

I went to West Virginia University for my bachelors in music (education). I took all three Orff Schulwerk levels at Eastman School of Music over the next few years as summer courses. These courses helped to solidify my path into general music. I love to sing, dance and play instruments with kids, so when I did decide to go back to work, I held out for a general music job. My job includes teaching K-5th grade and elementary choir. 

3. What is your favorite type of music...and favorite song/bands to listen to for fun.
Ah, my fave type, what kind of music don't I love...depends on my mood. Some pieces I love with my inmost being, but I do not listen to them that much: Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov is at the top of my list. The violin haunts my soul. Mars Bringer of War from the Planets by Holst is wonderful and exciting. And the moody theme to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 has never left my brain even though it's been years since I heard it in full. I love classical music that has a story to tell or a picture to paint like Respighi's Pines of Rome

Music I do listen to on a more occasional basis: KLOVE (contemporary christian music) radio is on almost all the time at my house. On my ipod is Thousand Foot Krutch (rock out), Toby Mac, Blue Man Group, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale, Alison Krauss, and ZZ Top, to name a few. 

4. I told about a dirty little secret on my blog, do you have one you'd like to share?
Ugh. Truth or Dare, lol!

I love clothes. I love to buy clothes. The only problem is that I have terrible taste in clothes! I will buy 5 different colors of the same style of shirt. Once I came home with 9 different colored turtlenecks and 6 tanktops, same style, different colors. Compulsion takes over. Thanks to therapy sessions with my husband and my checkbook, I have become aware of the problem and try not to buy multiples of the same style.  

I was proud of myself yesterday. I started to load up with different colors of the same shirt, but only came home with 3 shirts, all coordinating colors but separate styles. 

5. I know your faith is very important to you. Do you have a favorite verse...and why?
I don't talk about my faith much here, but yes, it is very important to me. I have a lot of verses that I like. Just reading the bible brings a calm to my soul. Peace is something I've been striving for lately.  (Like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda, "Peace. Inner. Inner. InnerPeeaace.")

One verse in particular has been in my mind over the past few (stressful) months is:
          Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
--Phil. 4:6-7

I'm a worrywart, a born worrywart. It would drive me into the grave if I let it. But over the past few years I  am learning to do what I can about a problem and let go of what I can't do. 

I'm not perfect at this (or at anything), but God, thankfully, has saved me through his grace, and not by the things I do. (whoops, slipped another verse in there! :-)  (Eph. 2:8-9). 

Thank you Julie for interviewing me. 
For those of you who might want to be interviewed, here are the directions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tales From The Crypt. Well, not really....

But tales from work, which can be considered the crypt in an imaginative sort of way...

I'm left wondering if the "Alberta Clipper" has anything to do with the strange behavior: 

Kid running down hall gets stabbed by pencil held by another kid. Has to leave school early to get tetanus shot.
What's up with that? Apparently it was an accident. How do you get stabbed with someone else's pencil when you're running? And why are you running anyway? Don't you know running in the hallway is dangerous? Oh, I get it. Rules are just for sissies. 

I can predict your future. And it's full of numerous "Hey guys, watch this!"
My husband asked if that happened under my watch. No, but unfortunately the next incident did. 

Kid sitting in chair cuts holes in new jeans with someone else's scissors. 
Okay, what is this with "someone else's" stuff. I think "someone else" needs to have his stuff confiscated. I have no defense for this other than we were watching the Sound of Music (figured I could show a movie as easily as a sub could, so I went back to work) and I did not see him with scissors. The kids told me. He cut various holes in his pants, one dangerously close to his crotch. 

"Kid With Scissors," I said to him, "What do you think your mom is going to say when she sees your pants? Do you think she's going to be happy?...or angry?....Yeah, she's gonna be angry." 

Later I glance over, from my somewhat closer perch. "Kid With New Crotch Hole in Pants (real name excluded), quit ripping that hole or your pants aren't going to be so private anymore." Sigh. 

Kindergartner forges parents signature on homework page. 
My daughter, my own sweet daughter...I asked her all weekend if she had homework. No ma. Tuesday morning, at school, she pulls her homework folder out of her backpack. Homework! Undone!

"Emmy! You need to finish this! And then I'll sign your folder."

I go to her room a few minutes later. "Where's your folder?"

"I turned it in Mom." 

"But I didn't sign it!"

"That's okay Mom. I signed it for you." Oh no. 

Sure enough, on the folder, in the correct spaces she signed "Mom". 

Later we discussed that there are some things that only mommies and daddies can sign.

Finally, a funny moment today, made even funnier because I didn't "get it" until my drive home from work today. Once again, it involved my dear sweet daughter Emmy.

In music kindergarten is learning a simple rhythm pattern with a rest at the end. This happened to be my daughter's kindergarten class. I showed them my pretty picture cards with clapping hands and a rest drawn in at the end.

I point to the rest and ask, "Who knows what a rest is?"

My sweet daughter is the only one to raise her hand. Well, I think, she's already seen rests in her piano music, so of course she knows what a rest is. 

"Okay Emmy, what's a rest?"

"It's when you go to jail." 

?!?  :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

sick again, and again, and again.

That picture of Bibi on my last post cracks me up. maybe that one should go on next year's christmas cards ("here's how I really feel about cards"). Not really. I just like to crack myself up.

I'm home with strep throat, again. I had it in may, in october and now again in january. In between October and now, I filled in the time with the hacking cough that wouldn't go away and 3 bouts with pink eye. I had an occasional week of wellness thrown in too. 

What is up with all this illness?!? Thank goodness I had the flu shot, at least that's what I told the doctor I saw yesterday. But then, with typical doctor no-bedside manners, she said, "yeah, it may work if enough people got their flu shots."


Thanks for your reassurances.

And thanks for the "get out of work" excuse.

And thanks for recoiling in horror and disgust when you looked at my throat. I really do feel better now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Yep, That's How I Feel Too.

Going back to work is not my favorite activity. 

I wanted to post these pictures before less important things take up my blogging time, you know, like work (ack.).

I've had such a nice, relaxing vacation catching up on blogs and looking up useless information all the while in my pj's!

I was inspired by Pioneer Woman's photography blog and decided to try my hand at a few interesting photos. Kinda hard with a point and shoot, but I'll wait on buying a new camera; it's not high on our list of priorities. Someday...

Anyhoo, I asked one of my favorite models to pose for me. She was slightly reluctant. 

Actually, Mom, I thought you wanted to tape a movie of me and my favorite tree ornament. 

No, Bibi, I want a pretty picture of you. Let's put the ornament down. No, down your lap. Here, let mama hold it. Doesn't mama look funny? (Ornament hanging off her ear.)

Okay, I guess not. (Puts ornament down.)

Bibi, you keep making sour faces like that and I'm going to post them online.

Thought you'd like some un-posed pictures. One thing about Bibi, she's full of expression. She has more moods than a sunset has colors. 

Speaking of sunset, the late sun was coming through the windows, so I snuggled her on my lap and snapped a few shots with the macro lens. The coloring wasn't quite right. I still need to play with the white balance on my camera, but I adjusted the color later with my photo program. 

This one is my favorite.

And so, I'll leave you with a Bibi quote. After eating an ice cream sandwich in the car, she wanted wet wipes to clean her hands. I was driving and couldn't reach them. In frustration she threw her napkin down and said, "Sticky fingers are not my best friend!" Yep, I feel the same way too little Bibi. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

Domestic Diva Goddess? Ha! No More

A loaf of my homemade bread.

Today....I scrubbed my kitchen floor. This is a big deal because I'm not sure when I scrubbed it last. Now, don't get me wrong, it's received it's occasional sweeping, and I would scrub particular nasty spots, but an all out, pull out the furniture, hands and knees scrubbing? Nope, it's off the memory grid. 

Sigh. I used to be a Domestic Diva, the Goddess of my household, the Magic Fairy that would deliver clean, freshly folded clothes to their proper spots, and always have a clean sink. I baked almost everyday. I cooked. I cleaned. I folded my laundry in a way that would make Real Simple magazine proud.

Re-enactor at Genesee Country Village and Museum.

Spinners at Genesee Country Village and Museum, NY.

Loom, Genesee Country Village and Museum, NY.

Peace abounded. Flylady helped too.

And then, I went back to work, full time. Now I can barely keep my head above my growing laundry pile. I'm just happy when my dishes are done every night. I'd rather be playing with my daughters, or relaxing or reading a book. 

Being a teacher gives me long breaks of time where I can tackle my household issues. But who wants to spend their time off cleaning? Unless, of course, you have company coming. Ah! The motivation! Thus, the clean kitchen floor. 

Well, the dried-on green play-doh had to go. It looked like last month's dinner. And I let the girls put on their swim suits and "help" me. I should have taken pictures. But that's something the Domestic Diva would have remembered to do, in her non-stressful, slower paced life (I'm referring to myself only, cause I never went anywhere, lol!) 

Now I need two weeks to let my refried brain cells recoup. Over this past week and a half, I sank blissfully into the relative peacefulness that is my home, Little by little I got it straightened up, and I still found time to do my favorite things, read, write, blog... I asked myself, why did I go back to work? And then I remembered: the loneliness, the depression. It was time for a change. 

Re-enactor at Genesee Country Village and Museum, NY

Sometimes it seems to me like the grass is always greener. Yes, work is stressful. Yes, my house can get lost in the shuffle, but work is work, whether you do it in a different building or at home. And my girls are old enough now to go to school. I'm glad I stayed home with them when I did. And I'm glad I'm back to work now....

....eventually, it will all balance out. 

About This Blog

Hmm, seems somewhat redundant. I'm a mom of 2 lovely ladies. I'm the wife of a triathlete machine. I'm a general music teacher in a public school. I like to take pictures of things, especially things i consider beautiful. I like to share. As long as it isn't food. Enjoy!

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