Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Parenting Fail

Tonight has not been my most stellar night in parenting. The weather has been crazy all day, I had to run a few errands, the weather caused a change in lunch plans. When I picked my kiddos up from school they were excited and happy. They had a severe weather drill at school today, sat in the hall reading books and even had the power go out on them twice.

After we got home I swept all the corners of the living room and dining room. There was quite a substantial pile of toys, clothes and school papers along with the dog hair that tends to pile up. I almost feel like we should be on hoarders but I would be too embarrassed to let their cameras in my house. The Flylady would say we have CHAOS (Can't have anyone over syndrome). I told my sweet children to pick up their things out of the pile and put them away. This is something that should not have taken more than 10 minutes to complete. An hour of whining and complaining later I calmly went to the kitchen and got a trash bag. I took it to the living room and started picking up toys. I have never seen my children move that fast. I thought that would be the end of the ridiculous disobeying. How wrong I was...

Munchkin and Little Man managed to get the items into a basket to take up to the playroom. But then came the whining about how legs hurt and hands hurt and "I just can't carry that up the stairs!" and "It's not fair that we have to pick all of this up!" Another threat was issued. "If that basket is not upstairs but the time your daddy gets home you are not going to girl scouts tonight!" It wasn't done so we didn't go. At least I followed through, right? I put my babies to bed tonight at 7pm. Normally they don't go to bed until 8:30. I just couldn't take any more. We did say prayers before bed and we talked about why they were being punished by having to go to bed early and not going to girl scouts. Both kids actually obeyed and went to sleep right away.

I hate having to discipline my children but I know they will better for it. I tell them when we talk that I want them to grow up to be compassionate, kind, loving people and sometimes I feel like they do not hear a word coming out of my mouth.
Ugh, I am praying for a better day tomorrow.

{TWD} All American Apple Pie

Between Tuesdays with Dorie and French Fridays with Dorie there have been quite a few apple recipes in the last few week. This weekend we decided to take our kiddos apple picking since perfect fresh apples would have been perfect in these recipes. Unfortunately we had an apple picking fail. Even though the website said we could pick until mid November, they actually were out of pick your own apples 5 weeks ago.  I had already picked up a bunch of apples though so even though we didn't get to pick our own we were still set to bake.

This week's recipe, All American Apple Pie, was chosen by Emily  of Sandmuffin. She is also the wife of a rock star and mommy of 2. :)  Check out her site for the recipe and her fun posts.

I have to admit, I was overconfident going into this pie and then I thought it was going to be an apple pie FAIL, but then it tasted great so it was a Win instead. The crust came together easily but I forgot to put the butter on top of the apples and had to rip the top crust off. It got really dark around the edges but no one at our house minded. My son said "Pie! YES!!" Hubby liked it and Munchkin even took a few bites. She said she liked it but wasn't a huge fan.

Make sure to check out the Leave your Link post to see if other bakers had a won this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Morning Randomness

I am trying to get myself together today and not be so scattered. My kiddos were out of school last week for fall break and this morning was....not terrible in the getting them ready for school area. Of course we had big storms last night (not terrible in our area) of which the warnings kind of freaked my babies out and consequently made them stay up a bit late worrying. We put them in our room though in case we had any storms get worse overnight.

Last night we also introduced the weirdness of Pee Wee's Big Adventure to the kids. Our 8 year old screamed louder at Large Marge than at anything on the haunted hay ride at Haunting at the Hermitage. I almost feel like a bad parent for laughing but it was so funny!
Our little ghosts

Hauntings at the Hermitage was an adventure. There was a lot of people there and the lines were long. The haunted hay ride was worth it though. We have a membership this year so it was much less expensive than it would have been otherwise. I do think they should implement a fast pass system for members like at Disneyland. It would make it even more fun. The "ghosts" of Andrew and Rachel Jackson were out wandering the grounds. Munchkin laughed at them and Andrew leaned down and told her she wasn't supposed to laugh....
Andrew and Rachel Jackson

I am actually sitting at a Starbucks (which I never come to) because I need to grade papers and I figured I would get them done faster here than at home. Obviously that is working out well....

I need to bake an apple pie early today so I can actually take photos and get my post up for Tuesdays with Dorie by tomorrow. French Fridays with Dorie it Marie Helene's Apple Cake for Friday. I think I will make that one for my class on Thursday.

I <3 salted caramel hot chocolate. It is quite tasty. I also like cranberry orange scones. I should make some at home but I wonder if they would turn out too dry....

My hubby got to take Little Man to the Titans game yesterday. We acquired tickets at around 9:30 and started trying to find a babysitter. It was kind of difficult since everyone we know(and trust to watch our kids) was at church already (or moved to Georgia!). We tried to find a friend to go with my hubs but in the end he decided to take our little guy. I am glad he did because I am sure it will be a good memory for him.

While they did that Munchkin and I went shoe shopping. She got these awesome new shoes:


Munchkin's new shoes
And I remembered that I don't like shoe shopping....I mean sure, if money was not object and my feet were a dainty size and if we were shopping for me it might be different.....

It looks like I may be dressing up as a Spartan cheerleader for Halloween. That or an angel again...I guess we shall see. Maybe I will be a hippie...I don't know, it is still 6 days a way. I have time...right? The kids are going as Hermione Granger and Iron Man. I am thrilled with Munchkins costume. We bought a dress at Good Will for 7.50, got a tie for .75 and I bought felt for $1 for a scarf. Her wand is a stick from the yard that she and her daddy sanded and painted together. Not bad when the official Hermione costume is $45 plus accessories.... I did buy Little Man's Iron Man costume. It was $17. Not as good a deal but not terrible either. Both kids keep their costumes and play dress up in them.

OK, for real, I have to grade papers now....

Friday, October 22, 2010

{FFwD} and {TWD} Hachis Parmeter and the Mother of all Catch up posts

I feel like I am spinning my wheels sometimes and can't get my act together. I was sick last week but just haven't had the motivation to get on the computer and post. I blame Angry Birds and my Droid....

Since it is Friday  I am posting about Hachis Parmeter, which is basically French Shepherd's Pie. I am also catching up with Double Apple Bundt Cake, Fold over Pear Torte and Caramel Pumpkin Pie.

I have to say, being part of French Friday with Dories is making me a better cook. I am using fresh ingredients and trying things I have not before. This recipe was really tasty. Hubs and Munchkin loved it. Little Man, not so much...but he has a hard time with potatoes so it was not a favorite.I loved it. The sausage in it gave it a little punch and I just loved the potatoes on top. I made the traditional version where you take out the vegetables and serve it with just meat and potatoes. Dorie says you can make this with leftovers and I believe it. It would come together much quicker as well. Even though this took awhile to make (you make the broth, then the filling, the the topping) it was worth it. If you want to try it you should pick up the book "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan and join around 800 cooks from around the world while we cook through the book together. :)

With Tuesdays with Dorie you would think that we could be close to running out of yummy recipes but we haven't yet. 3 weeks ago was Double Apple Bundt Cake chosen by Lynne of Honey Muffin. This cake was adored at my house. Munchkin would not try it citing the "I don't like cooked fruit" sentence. I loved this cake! As did my son and my husband. Definitely a keeper! I made a little glaze to go on top but put it on when it was still hot and it soaked into the cake. It was still tasty though. If you like Big Bundts you will want to check out Mary The Food Librarian's selections of bundts for National Bundt Day

2 weeks ago was Foldover Pear Torte brought to you by Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen (An Aussie lawyer who loves to cook). Another delicious recipe. I thought the cooked fruit in this one would actually be an issue for my fam and took it with me to Bunco. Everyone said they liked it but I thought it was really rich. I left out walnuts and apricots (couldn't find any) and subbed caramel and butterscotch. It didn't quite cook all the way through so the center was a little doughy but still good. And I <3 caramel. :)

This weeks recipe, Caramel Pumpkin Pie, was chosen by Janell of Mortenson Family Memoirs. She has some great step by step photos on her site that include a turkey! :) Check out her site for the recipe. I really thought this recipe was going to be a winner. And I really liked it and I do not like pumpkin pie. But as I mentioned before I love caramel. We may have had an issue with this one because we ate garlic bread before eating the pie and it may have thrown off the taste. Hubs love pumpkin pie but was not a fan. He said there was a bitter taste to it which could have been the dark caramel in it, the rum (since I don't usually cook with it) or maybe I put in too much allspice. Or it could have been the garlic. Oh well, I liked it anyway. Little Man loved it and wanted more for breakfast. Does that make me a bad mom or mom of the year for giving it to him?

Alright, here is to getting back on the bandwagon and posting on a regular basis! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Noon?i

Do you remember this SNL sketch?

















The other day I was driving through Hendersonville and saw this:

It made me giggle but then someone posted about it on Facebook. Turns out this Noon?is is a family owned and run restaurant. The chef is from the French Culinary Institute and we will go back for sure. Our drinks (coke products) were delivered to the table and Munchkin immediately said we had to go back. The owner was our server and joked around with the kids about whose drink was whose. 

Munchkin got a cold corn soup that she kind of liked. I warned her ahead of time that it was cold but she still wanted to get it. It wasn't her favorite but she still ate about half of it. Little Man got a cheeseburger with home fries. He loved it and it was big enough that he was full before he was done. I was debating between the Nooni's Tennessee Cobb Salad and the Baked Mac and Cheese and made up my mind when the owner said they were actually out  of the pulled pork for the salad. My dish was similar to what I make at home only it had bacon and panko bread crumbs on top.

Apparently, they have only been open for 8 days. The chef even came out to talk to us. :) I should have told him I am an accomplished french chef (hardy har har).

If you are in the area, go support a local business and check out Nooni?s.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

{FFwD} Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Soup

When I think of chicken noodle soup I think a little salty homey tasting soup. When I saw this as one of our first recipes I was worried. I am the girl that looks at spicy food and gets heartburn. I have never bought dried chilies before or star anise or chow mein noodles. I was worried my kids would not eat this because it would be so spicy.

One of the items needed for the soup was cheesecloth so that several of the ingredients could be packaged and tossed in the pot with everything else. My local grocery store was out and the craft store wanted a lot of money for it. I finally found little pouches made out of cheesecloth at Bed, Bath and Beyond that were perfect for what I needed. I chopped, I minced (yum ginger!), I tossed ingredients into a pot and brought them to a boil.

The result...a little bland. Not bad in any way just not spicy like I thought it would be. My hubster thought our house smelled like Genghis Grill which made him want to eat the soup. He is not a soup guy but was happy to try this one. Once we added some hoison sauce the soup wasn't so bland. My daughter liked this well enough but didn't really want to take any for lunch the next day. My son wouldn't touch his soup with a 10 foot pole. I think he was feeling a little under the weather though.....and it was white and he tends to shy away from food that are white. Brown? Sure just nothing like potatoes or anything like that.

All in all a good recipe. If you would like to see how some of the other 900 cooks did with this recipe make sure to check out the Leave you Link and peruse their blog posts. You can also pick up Dorie's Around My French Table from Amazon and join the fun!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

One Long Day

I have the song "One Short Day" stuck in my head from the musical Wicked. We have been listening to the soundtrack non stop because my sweet daughter LOVES it! It is better than Hannah Montana right? Anyway, it has not been a short day, it has been a very long day...good...but long.


Hubs is out over night in Arkansas with Salient so we started off with a very early alarm and kisses all around. Are we lame that we just let him kiss us good bye now instead of getting up and sending him off? If he was going to be gone longer than one night I would probably get up....

The kids, instead of sleeping until my alarm went off, got out of bed almost immediately...why don't they do that on school days....and found various noisy toys to play with? I got up about 5 minutes before my alarm as I wasn't sleeping anyway.

We had soccer games today so I told my kiddos I would take them to McD's for breakfast if they got ready quickly. Munchkin was complaining about her shoes hurting her feet. The child has 2 more practices and 2 more games for the season, I am not buying new cleats. She finally brought her shoes to me and I discovered she had been trying to out them on without untying them. Um, do I really have to explain why the cleats are too tight?


A happier attitude ensued once breakfast was in out bellies and we were on our way to the field. Munchkin played really well. No goals but she got a sticker for defense. She got in there a few times and got in some good kicks. She got hit in the stomach with the ball at one point but kept on going.


Little Man's game was really good too. He also got a few good kicks in but spent a lot of time pulling on his ears. I am not sure why, maybe since he got his haircut and can feel the wind on his ears he feels the need to pull on them...I don't know.


Once we finished playing soccer we were off to Ross, Bed Bath and Beyond and Hobby Lobby. I discovered as I was putting on my jeans this morning that there was a small hole in one spot there shouldn't be a hole in and that the rest of the seat was pretty close to threadbare. That alone was a purpose for our trip to Ross. I found a cute pair of Levis and paid $16 for them. Yea! Ross! I wanted to go to Bed, Beth and Beyond to look for curtains for my bathroom. The ones we have in there now have been there for 9 years...at least. Yes, I have taken them down and washed them but it is time for something different. From Hobby Lobby I needed a couple of little decorative pumpkins. My friend Melissa (who is also a decorator}went to the pumpkin patch with her little guy the other day and I babysat her other little boy. As a thank you they brought me a gourd from the pumpkin patch. I knew just what to do with it:



Just after we finished at Hobby Lobby I remembered there was a fall fest in our neighborhood. We thought we would just drive by and see what was happening. They kids were so excited we got out and walked around to all of the booths. Sidenote: I have been eying a building in my neighborhood that I think would make an excellent location for a bakery. Apparently I am not the only one. There was a girl with a booth at the festival that makes cupcakes and has been eying the same building!! Honestly, she is probably closer to any kind of bakery business than I am..she had cards. We stayed there for a bit and finally came home...for 30 minutes and then left again for a birthday party that lasted two and a half hours.

We were not in the house ten minutes when our neighbor came over to ask if the kids could go over to his house to play. I gave them an hour (they came back right on time) and they got ready for bed. It has been one full, very fun day. Now I am exhausted and need to go grade papers. Wish me luck that I don't fall asleep on the couch! :)

Friday, October 08, 2010

{FFwD} Gerard's Mustard Tart

We have come to week 2 of French Fridays with Dorie. I was a bit nervous about making this dish, partially because my mom mentioned that she thought it would be really spicy. It was not however and turned out to be quite delicious.


My little foodie, Munchkin, was not a fan. My little picky eater, Little Man, loved it! I told him it was like pie and he ate every bite. Hubster liked it as well but then went out to Dairy Queen for some chicken fingers and mini blizzards. Even though he liked the tart it was more like an appetizer for him. :)

This was the first time I ever bought leeks so I had to look up a youtube video on how to cut and clean them. Yeah for Google and youtube! :) I do not have a steamer pan that was called for but do have a Pampered Chef micro cooker so I steamed my carrots and leeks in there before adding them to the tart. They were perfect (my mom did hers the same way but hers needed to be cooked a bit longer).
Mustard Tart before baking

This was really an easy recipe to put together and I will probably make it again! :) You can check out Dorie's site for information on the background of the recipe. Make sure to pick up he book "Around my French Table" and cook along with us each Friday! If you want to see how the other bloggers did you can check out the Leave Your Link Post as well.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I am in trouble!

If yesterday is any indication of what the tween and teen years are going to bring, I am in trouble. From the moment my daughter woke up she was a mess. She wouldn't get dressed, wouldn't brush her hair, wouldn't say a kind word to anyone.
I think she was a little worried about little brother and the fact that he was having blood drawn but wouldn't express that either. There also may have been a bit of jealousy because Little Man and I got to have breakfast together after the appointment at well. The attitude improved after school but like I said, if that is a glimpse of what is to come I am in trouble!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Michael O'Brien

It is with a very sad and heavy heart that I write this post tonight. On Sunday I saw a friends post on Facebook that said Mike had been missing from Ft. Bragg CA since last Monday. His car was still in the parking lot of the hotel where he was staying. A plea went out to help find him, a Facebook group was born, and well wishes from many, many people that know Mike were posted.

Last night the news that some of his belongings had been found on a cliff was posted but the search continued. The family sent out a message today expressing gratitude for the support in this time. But, it looks like he accidentally fell from a very scenic, very dangerous area. My heart is breaking for the family right now.

Mike and I are not good friends at this juncture in life. We were Facebook and Myspace friends but we hadn't seen each other in years. My memories of Mike are very fond ones though. I was the new kid in 4th grade and he was nice to me. He had scruffy blonde hair and a sweet outgoing personality. We were friends. I moved away in 10th grade and lost touch with a lot of people back then including him. So, I am grateful that I got to know what he was doing through the crazy technological world we live in.

Is it weird to grieve for someone who is mostly memories to you? Whether it is or not I am still sad for his tragedy and for his family and just pray that God will get them through this time.


November 10, 2010 Update from Mike's family:
Hi Everyone. Many of you have already heard, but the family wants to let everyone know that we recovered Mike very close to where he fell. Based on the investigation and evidence recovered with Mike, the Sheriff believes he fell while taking a shoe off or putting it back on. 

This is a horrible time for all of us who knew and loved my brother. Thank you to everyone in this group for your incredible support, without which we couldn't get through this. 

Keep Mike's smile and laugh in your hearts. We will miss him forever.