May 24, 2010

playing catch-up

*update in which she throws up her hands*
There is quite a bit going on around here right now- most of it happy stuff.  The week was already looking to be insane and dear Trot kinda put it over the top.  I need to step away from the computer for a few days to get my life fully back in order- hate to do it, but when I first started blogging, I promised myself that I would keep solid boundaries of time.  I'll be back in this neck of the woods next week and able to give you all the juicy details.

Enjoy your weekend celebrations!!!!!


Trot is much happier to be home, see...

he even tried to smile for the picture!  I feel so bad for him that he has to wear that ridiculous E-collar whenever we leave him, but I'd feel ANGERED if we came home to find he had chewed through his cast.

I have a bit of bloggy catch-up to do and today I'd like to start with some fun awards I've received.

My bloggy buddy Coffee Slut gave me this adorable "sweet blog" award.  Cute, huh?   Thanks so much Coffee Slut- I love coming by your place- especially with a cup of coffee in hand!

And the kind hearted Pam over at The Chronicles of a Veteran Kindergarten Teacher gave me this award recently.

I started following her blog to relive my kindergarten teaching days and it has morphed into so much more than that.  Thanks for all your kindnesses, Pam!

So as is usually the case, these awards come with rules, but I'm going to chance them up a bit and I'm sure you will support me on this.

I won't shirk all my duties though, so first off, some things about me that I might not have shared yet...

- I was a potter for a local studio.  I worked there under a year, but it was an awesome stage in my life!  I especially loved opening the kiln door to see what we had createdSeriously, it was like Christmas.
- I am left handed
- I like to knit
- I worked at a dog training academy for 7 years through high school and college...  kinda explains my dog obsession. 
- Champ and I are high school sweethearts
- I am terribly scared of crowds and being put to sleep for surgical procedures
- I play the piano

Instead of passing on this award to others, I'd like to bring awareness to some bloggers out there who could really use our support right now. 

Some of these lovely people I've know for a while, others I've only just discovered, but they all could use a little extra love, extra prayer, extra positive thought...

Daffy at Bat Crap Crazy just lost her "Big Sis" to brain cancer complications.  It was so sudden and shocking that I can't even begin to fathom what that family is going through.

Recently Emmy at Emmy Mom- One Day at a Time delivered her baby, Ryder, early when her water broke at 32 weeks.  She and her family were vacationing away from home at the time and are currently dealing with all the delicacies of a premie baby born so far from home.

Julie at Snips and Snails and her family are working to process the recent diagnosis of cancer for her youngest son, Andrew.

Momma's Pixie Dreams

Michelle at Momma's Pixie Dreams is supporting her 16 month old daughter, Monkey, as she begins her battle with Neuroblastoma.

Thanks for doing what you can to show support to these families. 

Here's the deal with me: I want to keep on computering right now BUT I hear Bear getting up, can see my poor garden sooo in need of being planted and there's Girls On the Run practice this afternoon.  

So, I will be grateful that I at least am semi back on track after last week's chaos and I'll consider tomorrow a new day.  See you soon bloggy friends!

May 21, 2010



Yesterday was long, very long, but it barely matters any more.  Trot is home and responsive and even eating a bit.  He will have variations of a cast (all the way to his tipy toes!) from now until forever the end of summer and then have to deal with getting back to a form of normal, but whatever- I don't even care.

I'm gonna focus on this moment, tonight. 

He's HOMEWe got to finally pick him up at 4:00 today and ever since then I haven't been able to get enough of him.

Welcome home, Trot.  Don't you worry- we will travel this new road together.  Cross my heart.

Have a great weekend everyone- you can bet I most certainly will :)  Can't wait to get back to normal (ha!) with all of you next week!

May 18, 2010

Some news

update: it blows my mind that you would leave such generous comments down there.  After all, I do recognize that Trot is in some ways, "just a dog" and I CERTAINLY recognize that there are a whole lot more human causes out there for you to be sending your well wishes and prayers to.  On the flip side, Trot is MY DOG and so while I'd never solicit for prayers, I wholeheartedly love you all for your generous offerings of support.  If tonight, at the end of your prayers or thoughts of the day you have a bit more room- feel free to add Trot to your list again :)

He's out of surgery, but still not due home until tomorrow.  I'll be back around some time soon, but for now forgive my desire to crawl into bed with a book and perhaps chocolate rather than reading any of your sure to be fantastic posts from the day.  Love to you all!!!

See this adorable face- the furry one I mean?

He is used to snuggling in bed with Champ and I each and every night.  He is the sweetest, most darling dog I have ever known.

Tonight Trot is not in bed with us.  He's sleeping over at the Vet's after a very awful, emergency filled afternoon.  My poor, lovable guy sliced his right leg open down to the bone and tore all his tendons leading to his foot.

Not pretty.  In fact, the worst injury I've ever seen.

He has a date with the surgeon tomorrow, but tonight I miss him and I like to think that he doesn't miss me- otherwise I get a bit too sad about the whole thing.

You know where I stand with animals, especially dogs, so it probably won't surprise you to hear that I will be stepping out of the bloggy world for a day or two to tend to my family.

In the mean time, get your markers ready to sign Trot's cast when he returns home!

May 17, 2010

Talk About Complex: Roasted Chickpeas and Rice

Last week was a whirl of activity.  There were moments when I wasn't even sure if I had my head screwed on tight enough as it was spinning so.

When I have days (or weeks, or months for that matter!) like that, I try hard to still eat as healthy as I can.  This can get difficult though, as usually I don't have a minute to spare in food prep and I most certainly don't have a brain cell left to figure out a new yummy AND healthy recipe for my family.

Do you have days, weeks, months like that, too? 

Well, one solution is to eat hot dogs and pierogies- which if I'm being honest here, did, um, happen last week as well- but another option is...

Roasted Chickpeas and Rice.  It is the simplest of simple things to make, provides a filling and healthy meal AND when combined with rice, contains all 9 essential amino acids thus making it a complete, or complex, protein.  Nice.

Roasted Chickpeas and Rice
1 can (or about 15 ozs cooked) chickpeas 
3T olive oil
1/2C shredded arugula, kale or swiss chard leaves
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4C crumbled bacon or prosciutto (optional)
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

To prepare: toss all ingredients together and season to taste.  Add more oil if you prefer.  Place mixture in a small glass dish (although pie plates even work) and bake @400* for 20 minutes or until peas are golden brown.  Stir mixture 1-2 times while baking.  Produces 2 large servings.  Serve over rice- if you don't have brown rice fans, you can get sneaky here and at least have half white and half brown and your family might not even notice!

Field Notes: This is such a flexible recipe!  Up the serving quantity, add in more greens for nutrients- whatever!  Just remember to add in a bit more olive oil if you have added more ingredients to the recipe.  Also, when it is baking, it browns best if it spread out (and not piled too deep) in the baking dish.

May 13, 2010

Welcome to Vermont!

Isn't the concept of "Blogtrotting" such a clever idea?  Leave it up to the lovely Cara Bee of Land of Bean to have thought up a vitrtual travel blog with such a smart little name!

I am so very excited to be a part of what she is doing over there.  Thanks again, Cara!

So welcome to Vermont everyone!  I love love love where I live and while I haven't always lived here, it most certainly feels like home now. 
 Do you know the film "I am Legend" with Will Smith in it?  Well at the end, the survivors all flock to Vermont.  Ask anyone in Vermont if this seems a bit outlandish and the answer would be NO! I mean, who wouldn't want to live in this gorgeous state?

Our state is divided into four parts: Northeast Kingdom, Northern Mountain Region, Central Vermont and Southern Vermont.  I live in a green patch of Southern Vermont.  Let me get you up to speed with my town.

This is where we are at with flowers blooming...

                          What, your lilacs have already bloomed?

 It snowed here in late April, but Spring is almost fully here.

I know this by the logging trucks I keep encountering on the road!  This is the type of "traffic" we have around here (well, that and an occasional tractor or cow). 

I live in a development, do you?  Mine looks like this...

Vermont is well known for it's barns, which we have a lot of as we are also well known for cheese and need cows, goats, and sheep to help out with that!

I am lucky enough to live very close to a dairy farm, but sadly, functioning dairy farms are on the decline.

We are also well known for maple syrup, but what you might not know is that true Vermonters purchase it in Mason jars...

I live in a region known as "Manchester and the Mountains" with Manchester being the largest of my surrounding towns.

This is down town Manchester. HUGE I know ;)

I love how there are mountains all around here.  If you look in the background you can see Mt. Equinox and that building by the dump truck is Northshire Bookstore, an amazing independently owned bookstore (more on that in an upcoming post).  Manchester also has outlet shopping and is the home of Hildene, the Lincoln family estate.

If you were to continue traveling down the highway, you'd hit Bennington, Vermont.

See the Bennington Monument?  It commemorates an important battle fought during the Revolutionary War, but it also was what I focused on as I was staring out the hospital window, laboring with my son.  I'll never view it the same way again!!

Let's check my phone book for other places to explore...

We have lots of hiking around here with stretches of the Long Trail and Appalachian trail running directly through some towns.  In the winter there is lots to do from snowshoeing to XC skiing to ice fishing to ice skating on local ponds to  straight up Skiing.

Lots and lots of people come here to ski and we have mountains and trails to suit everybody, even Olympians like Shaun White who enjoy a run or two at Stratton Mountain Resort during the World Cup of Snowboarding.

                 (Stratton Mountain is gorgeous in any season)

Heading back up the mountain from Manchester, we can continue through Londonderry and on into Weston.  Weston Vermont holds lots of charm with it's village green and lush surroundings.  It is famous for it's Weston Playhouse and of course The Vermont Country Store.

 Be warned- if you click on that link and start shopping, you will not be able to stop!!

If you travel a bit farther into my state you could learn how ice cream is made at Ben and Jerry's or tour the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.  

 Come spend a day in the state capital of Montpelier and learn that our state bird is a Hermit Thrush (click on it's name to hear it's haunting song) and that our tree is, of course, the Sugar Maple, but don't expect to eat at a McDonald's.  You won't find one here.

Of course, you could always head to Burlington, our largest city, if you really can't live without your Happy Meal, but seriously?  you should at least sample some of the yummy cuisine found on Church Street before crossing under the Golden Arches.  With all the local and fresh produce, meats, and cheeses available around here, it will be well worth it.

Thanks for stopping by to tour my awesome state of Vermont.  Come back any time!

May 12, 2010

Montessori Moments: computer?

Yeah, "computer?" just about covers it. 

You see, the Montessori way doesn't really advocate for use of electronics- especially in kids as young as Bear.  I am all for that, mostly because there is so much for me and Bear to discover and explore at this age WITHOUT involving electronics that I figure why complicate? 

I'm not the biggest TV person (save "30 Rock"- oh how I love it!) and I'm married to a physical education teacher who'd much rather have a family bike ride than turn on the Tube, so Bear is aware of what TV is, but doesn't have lots of exposure.  

Same goes for the computer.  I mean, there was no avoiding Bear learning about what a computer is: he's been coming to work at the office with me since a wee little guy.  There's no denying his curiosity- especially if he sees his Mama working on a computer- so he is allowed computer time in very small doses.

One of our favorite ways to do this is by listening to songs together on the computer.  Bear's most favorite song to listen to is "Baby Beluga" by Raffi (I'm seeing all his I-phone friends nod their heads.  Thanks for sharing everyone!), but we have others.

                      (are you so over my Montessori literacy posts?  Good!  
                      This will be different)

For today's Montessori Moment I wanted to share with you some educational songs that Bear and I enjoy.  Again, video watching on the Internet is not really Montessori PC, but if you take away the electronicness (is that a word?) of it all, these songs do teach concepts that both Montessori and I would agree on.

My criteria is that the songs:
1) need to move at a slow, steady pace.  ie: nothing flashy 
2) can not contain incorrect words or sounds
3) need to be simplistic in nature and look realistic

Seems like that should be easy, but Noooooooo. Anyway, here are a few of our keepers:

The Number Song  (counting up to 20 and God bless their hearts, it actually starts with 0!!!)

The Coin Song (this one focuses on identification by worth)

Learn Your Coins Song (this one focuses on identification by shape and color)

The Shape Song (love all the shapes they mention)

The Color Song

Ever wondered about what life here in Vermont is really like?  Make sure you stop by tomorrow!!!!!!

May 11, 2010

Fannie is still fabulous

As the season of yard sales (tag sales as they say around here) begins,  it also begins my season of "Where's Waldo" yard sale style.  The thrill of the hunt in finding items at yards sales is above and beyond the fun of hitting a sale in a retail store to me.  Probably because there are so many more variables and well, nothing beats finding an awesome deal for a quarter!!!

Before yard sale season begins each year, I usually have a list (at least in my head) of the gems I plan on hunting for all summer long.  This year, some cast iron cookware pieces have made the list.  Imagine my euphoria when a few weekends ago, I stumbled upon some beauties that were just the ticket.

Oh how I've been dreaming about cornstick pans and now I own two, beautiful heirloom molds and my wallet is only $6.00 lighter.  

They needed to be seasoned a bit, so I paired them up with a deep cast iron roaster I had that was in need of a fine tune. Voila! A day later I was ready to fulfill my dream of eating homemade, adorable cornsticks.

They did not disappoint.

Get yourself the recipe for crisp on the outside, steaming soft in the the middle cornsticks right here and while you could turn this recipe into a bread or muffins or not as artistic cornsticks try to hold out for a yard sale find -  it was worth the wait!  I don't know if I'll ever go back to regular corn bread again.

Cornsticks (adapted from Fanny Farmer)
1C yellow cornmeal                         3/4t salt
1C flour                                          1 C sour cream dip
4T sugar                                         1/4 C milk
1t baking soda                                 2 eggs, well beaten
2t cream of tartar                            4T melted butter

Preheat oven to 425*.  Heavily grease cornstick pans and put them in the oven to get them smoking hot until ready to use.  Combine dry ingredients together a mix.  Add in the dip, milk eggs and butter stirring until just combined.  Pour into hot cornstick pans and bake about 15 minutes.  (for bread, butter a 9x9x2 pan, pour in batter and bake 20 minutes).  The recipe made 14 cornsticks and had enough left over to make this cute little bread, too...

Field Notes:
- I wanted to make this recipe, but had no sour cream as the original notes called for.  I found this most random container of sour cream dip in the fridge and decided to recycle it into the batter.  Can I tell you how delicious the sticks were?  

May 10, 2010

What I didn't mention on Friday...

is that due to a bunch of reasons, last week Champ and I made a game time decision to head to Pennsylvania for the weekend to spend time with our family (it's so handy that both family sets live within a few miles of each other).

It was hectic and wonderful and productive AND I EVEN GOT TO SEE ONE OF THESE

              (now if that can't brighten someone's day, nothing can)

Tomorrow I will be back to my blogalicious self, but for today let me sign off from the electronic world by sending HELLOS to all of you.  I hope you had great weekends, no matter how you celebrated them.

If you are anything like Champ, Bear and I

                           (visiting family is SO exhausting)

you'll be using today to recover!  Moms, Dads, Grandparents, siblings, nieces - you know I say that lovingly, right?  ;)

Love to you all XOXO

***comments are closed***

May 07, 2010

Five Faves Friday: yellow brick road

FFFpub copy

Do you have 5 photos from the week laying around?  If the answer is yes, go on and post 'em and then link up to "5 Favs Friday" hosted by my friend Caroline.

 (my seeds are now planted.  When oh when will I have a ripe tomato?!)

                           (such intensity)

Caroline tagged me last week to play a little game. The rules were to post your 8th picture in your 8th folder and tell about it.  MY 8th folder held this

a snapshot of Bear tearing into his most recent "Book of the Month Club" present.  Such a clever, wonderful gift (that keeps giving!) from his Uncle B and Auntie S.

The rules say I can tag 8 more friends to play along, but you know what?  TAG YOU'RE ALL ITIf you decide to play I'll be excited to see what random picture you post!

In the midst of the doggy  blues I mentioned this week, we had a happy moment.  It was Sterling's birthday.  We celebrated in high style with hotdogs and vanilla ice cream (oh, and the usual birthday hats I keep on hand for such occasions).  Lucky Dog.

And see what I mean about animals?  How timely that her birthday, a celebration of life, fell this particular week. 

 (lyrics from the Dixie Chick's "Heartbreak Town")

Life is life.  We make it through we celebrate, we cry.  It's a Yellow Brick Road for sure with it's dreaminess and yes, with it's disillusionment.  I like to think I'll remain on the path of the yellow and enjoy it for what it is. 

That being said, I (we) all need support as we walk it.  

For all your comments-all your support both this week and before and further down the road- I thank you. 

Have a great weekend, all!

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