Saturday, June 27, 2015

Proud mom moment

Noah read this story problem in his math book and then told me that he wanted to make a donation to help the Asian children mentioned in it.  I contacted the publisher of the curriculum and asked them if they could hook me up with an organization that does that.  After several days, I heard back from the supervisor, giving me the website.  Noah wanted to make the donation in honor of his cousin Isaac, who died 5 years ago today.  It was a very Isaacy thing to do. Their hearts were always very similar.

Cautionary tale

Don't ever break your right arm. It's been more than 3 months, and I'm still suffering the aftershocks, beyond the obvious pain and lack of strength and function. Yesterday I went to the dentist and found out I have gingivitis because I'm apparently not proficient at brushing my teeth left-handed.  Flossing just didn't happen at all.  There are other parts of my body that haven't been good and clean for over 3 months too.

Today I spent the better part of an hour making a salad extraordinaire (because chopping is still a clumsy, time-consuming affair).  I had a heaping bowl of deliciousness waiting for me, so I told my right hand to pick it up and carry it to the table.  What it heard was, "Grasp at it weakly and plunge it to the floor."
Now I'll have to order my right arm to clean up the mess, but who knows what it will actually do?  It has a puny little mind of its own. It's discouraging, people.  Don't do it.

My husband's other woman

He's been looking at pictures of her online for months.  She's always on his mind.  He spends lots of money and time wining and dining her.  Yesterday I heard one of our children say, "Where's Dad?" and the other one answered, "Probably in the garage."  Because they know that he can usually be found out there...with her.

Often, he's showing her off to another man.  Last night I was looking for him, realized he was probably with her, opened the door to the garage, and caught him with her.  They had their backs to me, but facing me was a guy from church.  Of course I had no pants on, because it's summer and I'm in my own home.  Luckily I did happen to have a shirt on.  I instinctively slammed the door in Church Guy's face, then realized that wasn't very friendly, so poked only my head out to greet him.  But the men were only looking at her.  The half-naked woman in the house can't compete.

This morning, a repeat of the same incident.  Same shirt, same non-pants, same husband, same other woman, different guy.  It's not even 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  My husband is missing.  I find him in the garage, with her of course, brother?  What is he doing here so early?  He rather sheepishly says he was "in the neighborhood" (he lives more than 30 minutes away) so thought he'd stop by to see the other woman.  He has also brought his other woman.  They all four go off together in a cloud of stinky exhaust and enough noise to get us evicted from the neighborhood.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Furry rocket science

Today in science, we made and launched rockets, and we tested the flammability of cat fur.
 First we brushed Marty.
 Neighbor kid tried it on as a toupee.

 We built a mini fire pit on the driveway and put the giant furball in it.  There were several delays in the ignition process, because Marty was so interested in the flammability of her fur that we couldn't keep her away from the experiment.

The result? Cat fur appears to be flame resistant.  It sort of shrinks like cotton candy and puts out a terrible smoky stench, but doesn't actually ignite.  We thought the end product looked like a little elephant head.  See the ears at the top and the trunk at the bottom?

 The rocket is made of paper body, paper wings, styrofoam tip, tape, and glue. The launcher is a PVC pipe stuck in an empty soda bottle. You blow into the pipe to inflate the bottle, put the rocket on top, and stomp on the bottle.

After spending less than a buck on supplies, you wouldn't think the thing would do anything spectacular, but that rocket flew so high that I couldn't even get a picture of it!

 Of course everything always ends up stuck in the trees or the gutters.  The rocket got stuck in the tree. Noah threw the launcher at it to get it down, but the rocket remained in the tree, and so did the launcher. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kale salad

I had a delicious kale salad at a potluck so I came home and tried to recreate it.  I was previously not a fan of kale, because it's nasty. But in doing some research, I learned that I just wasn't treating it right.  I learned a lot making this salad. First, kale is cheap!  I got a whole huge bunch of it for 99 cents, and it was even organic!  I'm not one of those "must eat organic" people, but it was the same price as the pesticide-laden version, so I went organic. 

The biggest thing I learned is that kale likes to be massaged.  Who doesn't?  You're supposed to drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle it with kosher salt, and massage it for three to five minutes.  It undergoes a miraculous change!  It gets darker and smaller (wilts just a little), and doesn't taste bitter at all anymore.  There's some scientific reason for the change, but I don't remember what it is, because I didn't really care.  Something about breaking down cell walls.  In the picture, the leaves on the left have been rinsed and removed from the stalky ribs. The ones on the right have been massaged for a few minutes. 
They already have oil and salt on them, so I just added a little pepper and apple cider vinegar, and there you go: dressing. Then I added in the fun stuff:  diced apples (which I swished around in lemon juice so they wouldn't turn brown--also the lemon juice adds a bit of yum to the dressing), dried cranberries, feta cheese (which I thought I hated, but it is a must in this salad!), toasted pecans, red grapes, strawberries, and green onions. The beauty of kale is that it is hearty and stays good for several days in the fridge, even with the dressing on it.  I've been making one of these at the beginning of the week and eating it all week long.
I'm not one of those "I'll just have a salad for a meal" kind of girls, but this is so darn tasty and filling that I actually do. To make up for it, I feel free to have a big fat brownie with ice cream for dessert.

My last visit to the orthopedic surgeon!

Today was my last visit to the orthopedic surgeon!  This magazine was in the lobby. I hope I never get to the point in my life where I would consider a subscription to this particular publication.

We had to wait almost an hour to see the doctor.  We didn't bring any books, because of all the many times I've been to this office, I've never had to wait. Not wanting to read Arthritis Today, Sarah demanded in her bored state that I draw a unicorn. There are about five things I can draw in any kind of recognizable condition, and unicorn is certainly not one of them. I tried. Sarah scowled at it and asked, "Why does it have a muffin top?"
Since we were the only ones in the lobby, I didn't stop her when she acted like a rabid monkey. 
Noah went over to his own private cubicle and pretended he didn't know us.

Where is the greenest grass?

Lunchtime conversation today:
Noah: When I was a little kid, I used to wish I was older. Now that I'm older, I wish I was a little kid.
Me: The grass is always greener. Hey, that reminds me of something I read that I wanted to tell you.  Do you know where the grass is the greenest?
Sarah: The other side?
M: No.
N: This side?
M: No.
S: In heaven?
M: No.
N: In hell?
S: There IS no grass in hell, Noah!
N: Wrigley Field?
M: No.
S: The other side?
M: No. Still no.
N:  The side you're on?
M: No.
[This went on for several minutes, until someone finally asked.]
N: Where?
M: Where you tend it. Ponder that.
N: That's Wrigley Field!

Life with kids

I was craving ice cream with fudge sauce. I knew we had ice cream in the freezer, so I made a fudge sauce. 
I pulled the ice cream out of the freezer, opened the container, and saw this. Who leaves this tiny amount of ice cream in the container and puts it back in the freezer?!  I was so disappointed that I ate a big bowl of fudge sauce.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Super Hero with the stretchy pants

Noah was showing me that the Hulk wears stretchy pants.
Me:  Why, is he obese?
N: No, he's a normal person, but sometimes he gets huge so his pants have to stretch.
M: Me too!  I'm a super hero!
N: No, Mom. He can destroy New York.
M: I could mow down the restaurants in New York.
N: Yeah, but he destroys the city; he doesn't eat his way through it.
M: Well what's more heroic? Eating or destroying?
N: [eye roll] Oh my gosh, Mom.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kayaking the creek

Bull Run Creek was very swollen today, but the current wasn't too fast, so we thought it would be a perfect time to kayak it.
Sarah shoved Noah into the creek

Marty was very concerned about her buddy being out on the water. She yelled for him repeatedly and kept her eye on him the whole time.

When he got too far away for her to see him anymore, she directed her incessant yelling at me. Here she's saying, "Help! My favorite boy just went away on the water! Aren't you going to do something? Save him! Emergency!"

Sarah pulled him out before he went too far.

Despite my vow not to engage in fun physical activity with my still-tender arm, I can't resist the water.  And Noah couldn't resist getting in with me.  Sarah took this picture right before we capsized.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Do birds get struck by lightning?

I was driving Noah home from Kuk Sool classes last night, and we were watching a storm approach. I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road, because there was such a great lightning show going on in the distance.  A flock of ducks was flying along with us, which prompted the question: Do birds get struck by lightning?  We had a good ten-minute discussion about that, wondering why we don't see scorched bird bodies all over the ground after a thunderstorm.  Noah is always a great partner for interesting discussions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Another Pimiteoui Adventure

It's been six years since I last experienced drama on the Pimiteoui Trail.  This time, it was a planned trip with some of my wackier friends.  It was a hot, humid day on the trail, but before we hiked, we had a nice picnic under a shady tree on Grandview Drive.  Here's our "before" picture at the top of the trail:
We had to ask a stranger to take it, because Leslie's attempt to set up her camera to take it automatically was a fail.  She finally got it all set up, but it got knocked over while she was rushing to get into the picture:

About five minutes into the hike, feeling good.
A much-needed break after we survived a rough uphill section.
This was supposed to be our "after" picture, but due to my stupidity, it ended up being our "mid" picture.  Having done this trail several times before, I thought I was very smart and forward-thinking to drive separately so I could leave my car at the Forest Park Nature Center.  The plan was to hike to that point and drive back up to Clara Jo's car, which we left at the beginning of the trail.  I even said, "You girls are going to thank me when we get to my car and don't have to hike back up to Grandview Drive!"

Notice no one is thanking me.  That's because we're all crawling under my car to look for the extra key.  That's because I left my keys in Clara Jo's car, way back at the top of the trail. 

The moment of craziness when I realized we weren't going to find that extra key.
Wishing for death.   

 We ended up hiking for about three hours.  I had to stop and rest several times so I didn't pass out.  My friends, who are much more fit than I am, were very gracious about having to hike all the way back up that steep trail after being promised a ride. We never did take an "after" picture, because we were all too hot and exhausted. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Best garage sale purchase of the year!

 Sarah and I were browsing a garage sale and saw this headboard for $12.  We weren't in the market for headboards, but I started envisioning how nice it would be to have this storage space, so I sent a picture of it to Mike.  He said yes, so I bought it and went home to pick up Noah to help load it.  When Mike got home, he dismantled the bed, and I was afraid of what we would find under it.  Only two years ago, we found this under the bed, but this time it wasn't quite as bad. 
There were various food wrappers and crumbs and miscellaneous trash, but mostly it was shredded foam.  We had given the cats a chunk of packing foam to scratch on several months ago, and they hauled it under the bed.  We hear them scratching on it all the time, and when they come out from under the bed, they always drag bits of it with them, so I knew there would be lots of it under there.
 The men put the new headboard in place.

 We reassembled the bed and moved our stuff into the shelves.  

 The men wrestled the old headboard to the basement.  My favorite line of the night came while they were at the top of the stairs making their plan.  Mike said to Noah, "I think I can do it by myself if you help me."  

 The cats love having a new place to sit and look out the window.

Bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts

 First, Noah pounded the chicken breasts for me, since that was pretty painful on my wrist.  Butcher paper works great for this, so I got my chicken from the butcher.

 Then I seasoned it with poultry seasoning, spread some cream cheese on it, and added some green onions (chopped by Sarah).

 Rolled it up nice and tight.

 Wrapped two slices of bacon around each, and secured with toothpicks. 

 Baked them at 375 for 30 minutes.

I put them under the broiler for a few minutes on each side to crisp the bacon.