Monday, November 28, 2011

Unnumbenough, Muppet Style, And Other Dinnertime Entertainment

My mouth is 50% numb and I am 100% unhappy about it. It's a long and painfully boring story, but I once had a bad experience with anesthetic at the dentist.  Tooth numb? No. Throat numb? Yes. Panic inside me? YES!  So ever since then, I get unnecessarily anxious about any dentist appointment involving anesthesia.  So when I learned two weeks ago that I had a cavity under an old filling?  Not happy.  Today it was filled, unpleasant but uneventful. I was more numb when I got home than when they started working, so the unpleasant was all my anxiety plus little jolts of pain, but nothing to complain about in proportion to how much I unnecessarily wasted rapid heart beats over it.  My heart was racing and I was shaking like a wet cat the whole time.  So silly.

Anyway, my unpleasant moment in time resulted in great dinnertime entertainment for my family.  I'm too numb to enjoy food without biting my tongue or cheek, but I sat at the table and chatted with my family.  They made me smile over and over to see if I was smiling normally.  They made me stick my tongue out to see if I could roll my tongue with half of it numb.  And on and on it went.

Then Alex displayed his genetic gift of making his tongue into a clover.  Brenna cannot do that, but Beth can.  Beth can raise one eyebrow, a gift from both her father and mother's gene pool, but Alex and Brenna cannot.  Brenna can wiggle her ears in a big obvious way, but the rest of us cannot, although I think I still believe I am doing it.

Now, going back a couple days, we took the family to see The Muppets this weekend.  Hilarious.  Hi. Lar. I. Ous.  We had to explain dated references galore, and had to bring them into the whole Muppet loop when we left so they would understand it.  I looked over at Alex a couple times and could tell he was a bit perplexed as to the whole puppet thing, but I think it was still fun for him.  He'll really love it once we make let him watch some old Muppet Shows.  Brad and I laughed and laughed and laughed.  And I sang and sang and sang.  Oh, that Ralph the dog!  I forgot how cute he is.

Anyway, one of the great songs that I don't think has any words, but goes "Mana-mana; bum buta bum bum; Mana-mana; bum buta bum; Mana-mana; bum...."  Are you hearing it in your head?  Keep it there.

As we were displaying our genetic gifts, I tried to figure out the clover tongue thing, only to realize there was no way that was happening with my numbness.  So I said, "I'll try again when I'm unnumb enough."

And can you hear what's coming next??!  I began singing "Unnumbenough; bum buta bum bum; Unnumbenough, bum buta bum...."  I continued to crack myself up for way too long with my accidental wit.  Perhaps there was a little something extra special in that anesthetic they injected??

And as I type this, Alex is doing homework while whistling the Muppets theme song!  Ha!  Got 'em hooked!

And, before I forget this, I must add in my favorite Thanksgiving moment.  Perhaps of all time:

On Friday, I cooked up the whole meal so we could have left-overs and turkey sandwiches.  When I took the turkey out of the oven, I realized that I overcooked it a bit, and gave warning to the family.  Brenna was very quick to say, "That's okay, I like the dark meat on the turkey best anyway."

Think about that one.  Alex and I laughed and laughed over that one.  During dinner, we held a turkey meat intervention and explained that "dark meat" was a name for portions of the bird and not a reference to how long the meat cooked.  That is so very Brenna...

Hope you are enjoying some laughter with your is so good to laugh together!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your thoughts of thankfulness come quickly, abundantly, and from a genuine heart!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Book You Must Read ~ And You Know I Mean It If I'm Blogging When I Should Be Sleeping

Okay, I read one of the most captivating, lovely books this weekend.  It is beautifully written, and a book I do believe everyone would love.  And best of all, this book comes from a whole series of books, which means you can prolong your joy of discovery along with the main character.  I will admit the main character is a little baby Polar Bear cub, but don't let that deter you.  And I know I spend a lot of hours hanging out with kindergartners, but don't let that deter you either.  Really, I mean it in all seriousness:  YOU. MUST. READ. THESE. BOOKS.  PERIOD.

Here's the back story (cuz you know I always have a story).  Decorating day at The Christmas Forest was yesterday.  Much more about that later...because it was a fun day and ended with a beautiful tree.  Actually a lot of beautiful trees.  But I'm a bit partial to one in particular.  More on that another day.

Throughout the day, part of the fun is walking around and watching the other trees come together.  It's fun to see the trees in various stages, see the ornaments in bunches before they are wired to the trees, get up close and personal to some of the fun stuff.  One tree is very eye-catching because of the blue led lights, which I'm not a huge fan of, I must admit.  But we stopped to see what they were in the process of creating.  The paper taped to the floor in front of it said their tree title was "God Gave Us Christmas".  Sweet!  So I asked the designer what inspired that theme.  She pulls out this book, and I was instantly smitten.  This sweet little book is a momma telling her little one the story of Christmas, and it is lovely.  THEN, she shows us her other stack of books by the same author:  God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Love, God Gave Us Heaven...Ellen and I stood there and got all teary-eyed, they are that good.  They warmed my heart, made me want to hug a polar bear, and made me start to think I liked blue led lights.  That's a powerful story, my friends.

So, if you have a little person in your life, you really should get your hands on these books.  They would make a fabulous Christmas gift, especially with a little polar bear stuffy to go with it.

And, while poking around for information on the author, I saw that she writes for adults too!  I will be checking out her books in the very near future, and will keep you posted!  In the meantime, here is her website:

Lisa Tawn Bergren

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday Menu ~ It Is Monday, Isn't It??

Monday?  I don't know.  In many ways it feels like a Monday.  So let's pretend for the next few minutes that it is Monday and I am back on track doing a Monday Menu!  Thanks for playing along.

This is a staple for our Thanksgiving table.  And I don't know why only Thanksgiving.  I love it enough to put it in a regular rotation, and I'm going to try to remember that soon. 

It's a great way to prepare sweet potatoes.  Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.  Mmm-hmm.  That's right.  And these bring a savory twist to a normally sticky sweet turkey accompaniment.  I just can't handle those marshmallow drenched mashed sweet potatoes anymore.  Sorry, these have ruined me forever.  I may have a picture of these somewhere, but you know Mondays really fry my brain, and Survivor is on in a little bit and I really don't want to expend the energy to find the picture.  But you need to imagine YUM and OOOOH and I MUST MAKE THAT and you have a perfect picture!

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes (I actually used yams, worked great)
6 strips bacon (get the good thick stuff from the meat counter, not that paper thin mass packaged nonsense)
1 onion, chopped (use a sweet yellow onion please)
2 1/2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk (2% worked great, but it's a holiday so feel free to use whole. Calories/fat/cholesterol do not count on holidays)
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese (grate your own block, it's much fluffier and nicer that the packaged pre-grated stuff)

Peel potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place potatoes in large pot of boiling water, cook for 5-10 minutes or until *just* tender. Drain well and set aside.

Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel, crumble and set aside.

Add chopped onion to bacon drippings and cook until tender.  Stir in flour over low heat and cook to a paste, whisking with a wire whisk to keep it from lumping. Add salt and pepper.  Slowly pour in the milk and cook, stirring with whisk, until mixture thickens slightly.

Arrange 1/2 the potatoes on the bottom of an 11x7 baking dish.  Sprinkle with half the bacon.  Pour on half of the milk mixture.  Top with remaining potatoes, then remaining bacon, then remaining milk mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 325 for 20 - 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  You can now turn on your broiler and brown the cheese for 1-2 minutes.  (I highly recommend this step.)

**I increased everything and made this in a 9x13 pan, and had stuff really crammed in there.***

And, by way of a favor to you, let me remind you that Thursday through Sunday, Starbucks is having a "Buy One Get One Free" special on their holiday drinks from 2-5 pm.  You must enjoy a Caramel Brulee latte.  And be sweet and ask for extra sprinkles.  Because the sprinkles???  Amen and Hallelujah.  Or maybe the Peppermint Mocha?  I do prefer mine with half the peppermint.  I'd give that one an Amen.  The Brulee?  Amen AND Hallelujah.

Happy Monday, Wednesday, or whatever.  Be kind to someone today.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh, What A Week

I'm squeaking in under the wire in meeting my goal to NOT only blog one time a week!  It's only been six days...and a jam-packed six days!

I am so excited to hurry up and get all my stuff done today so I can sit and watch a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie this evening, so in the interest of rushing into a couple hours of laziness I will do the ever-efficient list!

1.  Monday evening was my first evening in a looooong time having no place to go!  I think this was the evening that I truly realized cheer is mostly done for the year!  Oh, boy, it felt so good.

2.  Tuesday, Alex found out that he made the All-State Chamber Orchestra.  A very exciting placement!  All State/All Northwest alternates every year.  His goal is to be in the All-Northwest Chamber Orchestra his senior year.  This is a great step in that direction! 

3.  On Tuesday, Alex was also invited to be a paid bassoonist in a Martin Luther King event at Washington Center.  Music is being written especially for this event, and they even are going to meet to professionally record it.  Oh, my heart is over-flooding with bassoon excitement!  (There's a sentence I never imagined I would say.)

4.  Also on Tuesday, Beth's teacher made a special and spectacularly welcomed return to school for two hours.  She is recovering from the first step in her fight against breast cancer, and we were all so very glad to have her back amongst us.  She is a bright, joyful presence in our school, and we want her back where she belongs!!

This is how her classroom door was decorated for her return!  Each of her kids and all the staff wrote on one of the Reese's Pieces!

5.  On Wednesday, Alex's cross country banquet wrapped up his very successful season!  He was awarded Most Improved Athlete (yes!), got his varsity letter and district certificate. Although the season ended, that boy has not missed a beat in the running.  They are still going for runs after school and the boys have started a "Breakfast Club" in their coach's classroom every Wednesday.  They cook up a full spread of pancakes, eggs, sometimes omelets...and they are scheming of how to sell their culinary masterpieces to earn money.

6.  On Thursday, our elementary school had their Veteran's Day program.  This assembly is unbelievable.  Our choir teacher is an amazing Christian woman who believes strongly in honoring others, and it sure shows.  The school walls are covered with stars, a star for every Veteran representing the families of our students.  A reception, complete with food and photographs taken of veterans and their families, goes on in the library.  The song of every branch of the military is sung, along with so many other songs and a moment of silence...over 60 veterans stood and so very proudly introduced themselves, their branch, and their years of service...everything from a couple World War 2 Veterans to men and women currently serving.  The tears flow at this assembly, and this year, for some reason, felt extra tender.  I tear up just thinking of it.  Well done, Centennial Stars!

7.  Later on Thursday, Beth had three of her besties come home from school with her to celebrate her birthday!  Oh, did we have fun and make some memories.  These girls danced, sang, ate, painted pottery, giggled, watched a movie, ate, slept a little bit, and ate some more.  I adore these girls, and am so thankful for the friendship they bring to my daughter's life!

Painting some pottery...

...while momma relaxed with some liquid energy.

After they were all settled into their jammies and ready to watch a movie, we hauled them off to Limeberry for dessert in jammies!

8.  Leaving the pottery painting studio, the girls saw the above mentioned teacher in a next-door hair salon, and FREAKED OUT!!!  You honestly would have thought they spotted a rock star!  They were jumping up and down, calling her name, waving frantically.  So we got to go in and give her some extra hugs, which honest to goodness was as fabulous for them as every other part of the party!

9.  Also on Thursday, I did something I have never, ever done in my whole entire life:  I got a parking ticket!  I truly did not even know there was a meter (or a kiosk or something) that I needed to drop money into.  Someone asked me how it was possible that I have driven so long without getting a parking ticket.  Well, because I avoid parallel parking downtown at all costs.  I will walk BLOCKS instead of parallel parking.  But on this night, I found an end spot that was so easy to slide my van into.  And then I came out to the cute little yellow envelope tucked so nicely under my windshield wiper.  I feel so very grown-up now!


10.  On Friday, Brenna had her end-of-year cheer party!  What a sweet bunch of girls, and I will miss them cheering together.  They had a ball going glow-in-the-dark bowling!  Brenna was voted Loudest Cheerleader by her teammates.  Which is just so ironic in so many ways! 

Oh, Christina...thanks for a great year!

11.  And the Fed-Ex man delivered my new bags today!  Oh, the happiness!  It felt like Christmas morning at my house today.  Complete with bed-head, pajamas, and unwrapping crinkly-papered treasures!

Let's see...I am pretty sure I am all caught up enough.  Now I can get some busy stuff out of the way!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthday Sweetness for My Third Sweetie

My baby girl...BABY GIRL...turned 11 years old today.  Oh, this one makes life so much fun!  From the moment she came into the world with great urgency until this very day, she has not wanted to miss a moment of life!  She is a loving, tenacious, vivacious, compassionate, kind, adventurous, smart, funny, beautiful, thoughtful, creative, energetic, determined young lady.  I love her so much!


It is so much fun to be your mommy!  You make things interesting every single day.  You keep me on my toes.  You love me with your words and your actions.  You care deeply and love passionately.  You are so very strong, and yet tender, tender, tender on the inside.  You are quick to say you are sorry, and you are quick to forgive.  You love to learn, love to ask questions, love to truly understand.  You encourage and praise with great generosity.  You have great compassion for people.  You pray well and listen well.  You praise and worship with great love.

You were made for great things, Beth!  I'm so excited to watch you grow and mature into such a beautiful, strong girl.  It is going to be so much fun to watch you chase after whatever the Lord has for you.  You are so full of LIFE ~ what a joy!

Keep on praying, keep on praising, keep on loving!

I love you with all of my heart, and it is such a joy to be your mommy!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cousin Eddie's Skittles

If you are offended by language, please ignore this post.  But I really think you might get a good giggle out of this.  I, at least, have been laughing about this all week:

The setting is a kindergarten class.  These kids are hysterically funny, and they have no idea.  This week, while they were working in their writing center, they were told to "make a list" after they had finished their worksheets.  It could be any kind of list they wanted, just get some letters on a piece of paper, basically.  I was sitting at that table helping one little girl and another girl at the table had the bright idea to make a list of her favorite candy!  "Ooooh, great idea!" I told her.  So she sat there for quite awhile, staring at her paper.  Finally she asked if I would help her spell her favorite candy:  Skittles.  So I spelled it out one letter at at time while she hunched over her paper and oh-so-carefully wrote those letters.  I was distracted with the other little girl struggling with those pesky lower case "t"s, so didn't get to watch what Skittle Girl was writing.

FINALLY she finished, and proudly held up her paper for me to see her "list":

Okay, it took more restraint and maturity than I knew I had to congratulate her on writing such nice letters and pretend my smile was because I was so proud of her.  I need to also add that this sweet girl also is sporting a self-administered bang trim.  About a 2-inch chunk of bang is missing right in the center of her forehead, and sticks straight out, adding to the cuteness of the moment.

Her teacher and I laughed and laughed and laughed.  We both had the same picture in our mind when we read her list:

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Catching Up

Oh, dear.  I have fallen so far behind again.  And the reason I care is because I need to get this stuff in writing so I don't forget it.  And the trouble with that is I'm starting to forget what I wanted to remember.  And I haven't written it yet.  And wasn't that a hot mess of jumbled words?!  Welcome to my brain, friends.

I did enjoy walking through Safeway on Saturday and hearing an announcement over the intercom that they were having a special on their fall grande beverages:  $2 after 2 pm all weekend.  I do believe I may have left skid marks on those polished floors from where I spun my cart around the corner making a bee-line for the Starbucks counter.  I ordered myself a salted caramel mocha with half the syrups and half the chocolate before my wheels stopped moving. I did not get on here to talk about that, but it floated through my mind just now.  And now I see that Starbucks has their cups all decorated for Christmas today!  Oh, that makes me crazy happy inside. 

Anyway, my life has been full of cheer lately.  So much cheer.  Tomorrow night is our banquet, and then I am officially done.  Tonight I am going to burn the 20 copies of our dvd that my sweet husband has spent hours putting together.  I watched the final copy last night, and I got all teary-eyed.  I told one of the girls today that the trouble I always get myself into is that I end up falling in love with each of these girls, spend a crazy amount of time with them, then I have to say goodbye.  I already miss them.  On Sunday they performed their dance at halftime of the championship game, a reward for winning first place at their competition.  How cute are they?:

And Brenna cheered her final game with TCYFL on Sunday.  She hopes to cheer in high school, so I can't say it was the last time I will ever watch her cheer, but you never know.  It was so hard to believe that the same little girl who started this program as a very reserved, very quiet 8-year old has now grown into this very lovely, confident, composed young lady.  Really, cheer has been so good for her. 

Have you heard that country song "You're Gonna Miss This?"  My throat is getting tight and this screen is getting all blurry just hearing that song in my head as I look at these pictures.  Stop it!  I'm pulling it together...

In other news, Alex's cross country season is winding down now.  What a great year he had, thanks to a lot of miles pounded out on the pavement and trails.  He maintained his spot on varsity (top 7) the entire season, a huge deal considering last year he qualified for JV (top 14) only in the last meet of the season! 

The league meet a couple weeks ago went very well, sending the team off to districts.  Okay, what a FUN atmosphere that is!  The team had a very outside chance of qualifying for state, but they didn't come close.  Their top runner made it in as an individual, huge accomplishment for that guy!  As a team, they all ran slower than they hoped, but Alex finished 6th on his team with 18.09.  He was planning closer to 17.30, but sometimes plans don't work  out.  They were all disappointed for a short time afterwards, but knew they had done the best they could do that day.  And then they followed it up with a HUGE meal, of course Alex sent us a picture of his plate of food accompanied by "We have to come back here!  They give you so much food!" 

Team pic before the run.

During warm-ups.  Notice anything special?  Like how the flash is bouncing off their shiny legs??  Yeah.  It pains me to admit this and put it in writing, but...these boys SHAVED THEIR LEGS for this meet!!!  Sleeker, faster... I dunno.  They actually had a spaghetti feed/shaving party the night before districts which Alex had to miss because of BAND! (I know, this story could be its own post, but I'm trying to bury it/document it all at once.)  I thought we had dodged the shaving-of-the-legs bullet, but he took a lot of flack on Facebook from the guys.  He caved.  While I was off coaching Saturday morning, he decided to conform.  Brenna walked into the bathroom to find her big brother sitting on the edge of the bathtub trying to figure out how to get all that hair off.  Poor thing.  She may never be the same after witnessing that.  She did have to advise him on the right technique.  He emerged with only 1 wound.  And I will never speak of this again.  Until next year when I may be subjected to it again.

And here's Alex, second runner in this picture, coming into the finish.  Great season, hairless legged son!

And also, this last weekend, Brad swam his Monster Mile.  He swam that mile in 20 minutes and 59 seconds, a personal best!  He finished 4th behind two 15 year-olds and a lady his age who beat him by 20 seconds.  He set the record last year at this event for males age 40-45, and broke his own record this year!  Way to go (once again), Brad! :)
And last night, I had the joy of walking around with a 1980's aerobics instructor and a gaggle of her friends while they took candy from complete strangers.  I dislike Halloween, I admit.  Not a fan.  Glad it's over, yet grateful for the Fun Size Milky Ways I got out of the deal.

She really looks the part! (Excuse Mady in the background. She's aerobically challenged.)

And this just struck me as simply gorgeous.

And, in news unrelated to any of the moderately interesting topics above, look what I recently became the proud owner of, thanks to a SWEET friend who loves me:

Can you see it??  My name is etched into the side of a 9x13 pyrex baking dish!!  That is a gift spelled L-O-V-E.  I do love it, and I love the girl who loves me enough to give it to me.

And in ever further unrelated news, I had a scrambled egg sandwich today that was absolutely scrumptious.  If you find yourself craving egg salad, this is the fast way to go!  Just scramble an egg however you like it, put it on bread with mayo and a little mustard and you would swear (though it's not necessary) that you were eating an egg salad sandwich.  Made me miss Shelley, but it was yummy.  There's my chronically absent "Monday Menu".  Hope that will do for awhile.

Now I'm done.