Saturday, July 31, 2010


School starts next week, so today was our last World Cuisine day. We have really enjoyed it though and may have to keep it up on a less frequent basis.
Tonight, we enjoyed French food, which was a lot of fun to do. We even had some friends over to share it with us. And a visiting hmm..hmm... French chef, who didn't want us to take his picture because he was hmm.hmm...shy. (oops I got his arm in that there picture!) Anyway, onto the food.

So much to choose from, and while I wanted to make Beef Bourguignon, we decided to go with the less authentic Chicken Cordon Bleu. To go with it....Ratatouille, Cheese Souffle, Potatoes Au Gratin, and fresh Baguettes. (Served on a chipped plate--we're so classy!)

For Dessert.......Bananas Flambe with crepes a la mode!

Yes, we had to cook on the grill--my stove is electric and I needed an open flame people! And I'm so proud I didn't light myself on fire. (You would be too if you knew my track record with fire.....and knives....I can't be trusted with either.)
While French cuisine is not my personal favorite to eat, I must admit I get giddy cooking it. It brings back a certain desire to attend the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in France. Think they'll let me in if I send them my flambe picture?

Oh, and in case you're in need of a Christmas gift idea for me, I need a kitchen torch so I can make Creme Brulee. And while you're at it, you should probably buy Colonel Mustard a fire extinguisher!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Ethan has learned that words can be great manipulators, and he is becoming very adept at using his new found skill. He likes to tell me "Be patient Mom, just learn to be patient with me."-- which causes Mom to open mouth and insert foot where she had already premeditated a yelling tirade.

Then yesterday as Andrew was struggling to take something away from him he yelled out, "That is not how Jesus would treat his brother!" This of course got my attention in the other room, and Andrew was made to look like the only one causing the problem.

This morning I got another line about being good so I can go see Jesus when I die. I will have to learn my way around this new form of manipulation. I am no longer fazed by the fits and crybaby fests I get from Andrew and Ava, but I must admit, I am sometimes left with my mouth open at Ethan's maneuverings.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Just today, I've received two e-mails from the elementary school. It's coming...and it's coming quickly...and I want to cry. I know I'm in a minority, but I really dread my kids going back to school. Maybe it's because I don't have many friends, my family lives so far away, and I rarely see Colonel Mustard excepts to kiss him goodbye in the morning and goodnight when he lays his head on the pillow. I'm very attached to my little monkeys--and our summer together has been far too short.

I will miss them sleeping in 'til 8 or 9. I will miss the silly little games they play. I will miss them spending the day in their jammies, and changing only when they need to put on clean jammies for bed! I will miss the swimming, and the movies, and the late night "slumber snuggle parties" in my bed. And strangely enough, I will miss the crazy, hectic, pull my hair out shopping trips with three kids.

I may not be the world's greatest mother, but I don't think it's possible for anyone to love these kids like I do...or miss them like I will. 

....but Andrew just walked in the back door and yelled at me....I may be having second thoughts?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This week our taste buds traveled south of the border. I mean really, really south- past Redneckville, past Mexico (we need to make a stop there for some tamales--yum!), all the way to South America---Brazilian food!

We had Feijoada ( A black bean stew with a bunch of different meats). We left out the beef tongue and a few other less than palatable cuts of meat. The boys took one look and declared it "gross!" Though they both decided after one bite that indeed, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Or, a pile of goop in this case. It was in fact, very delicious!

To go with it- Arroz Brasilerio (Brazilian Rice) and Couve Refogada (sauteed kale). The rice was also very yummy, but we all agreed that the kale was on the bitter side, and we much preferred a vegetable with a little less bite.

Most exciting was Ava could eat the entire dinner! She was thrilled at the rice and gobbled it right up.

Unfortunately, not so thrilled when we asked her to eat the rest of her dinner. She covered her eyes, turned her head away, and wailed that she needed a cookie. Daddy was going to give in, but my death stare prevailed and she had to endure a couple of bites.

For dessert, we had Brigadeiro- Tasty little chocolate bites, which the boys loved. (I think kids love anything with sprinkles on it though)

Next week--- Viva La France!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Beer and Brats! That's what we should have had for dinner last night. But no, I felt the need to try something different. After all, we weren't really going to feed our kids beer, and brats, although very authentic, are already mainstream U.S. fare.

So here's what happened to my poor kitchen.

One thing has become certain in our World cuisine adventure-- I really can't cook, but I can make a really BIG mess in attempting to do so.

We had Spaetzle and Schnitzel.  (Say that 10 times fast) I really wanted to make both of those just so I could keep saying it over and over again. Spaetzle Schnitzel Spaetzle Schnitzel Spaetzle Schnitzel. See.....wasn't that fun?!

To be honest they are both a little on the bland side for me, but Andrew and Ethan made pigs of themselves.

And for dessert we had?? Can you Guess? No, not German chocolate cake (it's not German at all). We had Black Forest cake--which is very German, but we had to Americanize it a little. Traditional Black Forest Cake is a dark chocolate cake with maraschino cherries, doused in alcohol. While I may have needed that after my Spaetzle cooking debacle, I just couldn't justify nasty cake and drunk children. 

And besides, there wasn't enough fat in dinner-- we needed loads of real whipped cream to top it off.

Next week Brazil!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


This week was India and I have to be honest-- I cheated a little. You see, I really, really hate the smell of Indian food, and didn't want my house to smell like curry all week. So, World Market helped me out a little. They had these wonderful pre-made Indian dishes that were just enough to sample-- without the leftover smell.
We had:
Dal Makhani-- kidney and lentil beans in sauce (courtesy of World Market!)
Baigan Bharta- funky eggplant salsa- like mixture (courtesy of World Market!)
Tandori Fish- on the grill so the smell was confined outside.

Naan Bread- very yummy chewy grilled garlic bread- I would make it again.

For Dessert- Coconut Barfi-- Yeah Barfi, that's what I thought too, but it was really good- like chewy coconut candy!
Andrew helping make the Coconut Barfi.

And to top it off, my house still smells good. Well, as good as a monkey cage can smell that is! 

Next week- Germany!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Do

Ava got a new haircut last night, courtesy of her little friend, and this morning I woke up determined that I just had to get on with it and cut the rest off. I wished I had been in the frame of mind to get the camera when I saw what happened-- it was quite cute-- one little hairdresser and one all too willing subject! Maybe they'll stay good friends and someday they can joke about the time one cut the other's hair. (Let's hope it only happens once-- I won't hold my breath!)
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture, but sat down on the floor and cried as I picked up locks of hair. I cried for a really long time, and had trouble sleeping last night. Ridiculous I know, but I feel quite robbed of normalcy with Ava, and tend to be rather sensitive in matters with her. (It didn't help that she fell down the stairs a couple hours later). BUT... this morning as soon as she got up I got to the task. I can't say I like it, but I had to take a picture-- isn't hair cutting a rite of passage for little girls anyway?

She wouldn't hold still, so you can't see very well, but here it is. I had to take off an inch or two (a lot for her already short, thin hair)--we'll have to do it again later to even it up. (I'm not very good at cutting girl hair--can you tell)

In other Ava news--she had another scope done a few weeks ago, which I was certain was our next step to more food and more variety. I was wrong again. The scope was not clean and they put her back on reflux meds and pulled tapioca starch and oatmeal from her diet. She will be scoped again in 2-3 months and if it is not clean, they will have to start pulling the protein (beef, pork, turkey). Hoping that doesn't happen, as then we will be back to square one with her. With such a limited diet, we are already starting to have some food aversion and texture issues...not to mention she is very possessive of the food she can have, and I worry she is developing some very unhealthy issues.  So much fun!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Deep Thoughts...

"I don't have to be to church on Sunday until 8am. Do you know how happy that makes me? It's like Christmas!"

--Colonel Mustard (sad state of affairs when that's like Christmas!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just the Money

At Costco last night-- with all three kids. I sent Andrew up by himself to get some ice cream. He was hesitant, but I reassured him that the cashier would tell him exactly how much money he needed to give her.

I sat back, thinking how cute and little he looked up there counting out his money for ice cream...and I thought to myself, as the lady handed him the cup, "He must be so proud and excited to do it by himself.!"

Then he turned around, big grin on his face, and instantly I saw the light flicker on in his eyes.

"All this time I thought I needed Mom, when really, all I needed was her money! This is Awesome!"

I lament. What have I done?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thank you Ziploc

Picture this.
Driving down the freeway on the Friday before the 4th of July. Three kids- 2 1/2 hours into the trip and suddenly, traffic stops. A two lane road winding up the Smoky Mountains-- and a brainless DOT crew decides it's a good idea to narrow traffic down to one lane for construction on a holiday weekend. It has been a while since we left home. Our not quite two year old has had diarrhea for the past two days. Suddenly, she begins to cry, "I want potty, I want potty."  Then the crying becomes more intense, and I know certain disaster is imminent. I glance around-- there is nowhere to stop. There is no shoulder on the road-- we are winding up the mountain. There are no exits for at least 20 miles and we are barely crawling at 3-5mph. I could panic, but it won't stop the inevitable. So I see a stack of trusty Ziploc bags I haphazardly stuffed in my purse at the last minute-- and there it is....the answer. Surely her little butt can fit in the opening of that bag? I grab the squawking child out of her seat and do the unthinkable....not once, not twice, but three times (we were sitting in traffic for over 2 hours). And while the smell was nigh unbearable when we had to reopen it, I was ever grateful for my ziploc bag!

I think I'll write a letter and tell Ziploc they can publish my story.....Me thinks they won't want to!

Sorry I grossed you out---and yes, I am a red-neck...evidenced by the fact that later in the weekend I also bathed myself and three children in a mountain stream that at best, was 40 degrees. I like to think I'm just resourceful.

So to reward you for reading that disgusting story I'll show you a few pictures of the less exciting parts of our weekend.

Our beautiful 8 mile hike to Ramsey Cascades.

We didn't think we could top that, but I think we did the next day when we hiked to Mount LeConte Lodge. An11 mile hike not for the faint of heart. (many times it leaves you standing on the edge of a cliff) At the top there is beautiful, peaceful, albeit primitive, lodge where you can stay--or just spend a lot of money on t-shirts! They (the t-shirts and hats) were worth every penny- especially for the 4 and 6 year old hikers. They more than deserved one after 19 miles of trail.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New View

You know how you start a big project and you're so excited about the possible end result? You know how a few months later, you're so exhausted from doing the project that the excitement has waned to merely a "whoop-dee-do?"

I promised to post pictures of our landscape overhaul, but frankly, it was an overwhelming and exhausting task. And now that it's over-it's exhausting and overwhelming to maintain. I AM very excited that it's done and I LOVE it, but forgive me, I don't have the energy for the slide show of pictures I promised. (though I should go take the pictures or someday I'll be sorry).

So here we are 11,000 sq. ft. of sod, 5 yards of mulch. 200 bales of pine straw. 10 gallons of paint. probably 100 or more plants, hundreds of dollars in water, and countless hours of sweat equity--here is my before and after view of my backyard. Someday I'll take a picture of the huge side yards and the patio that were overhauled also, but I'm too lazy to walk outside with the camera-- and besides it's dark-- and then I'd have to move the hose for the picture--and I don't want you to get too excited all in one day.