Monday, October 27, 2008

Cranberries-are-awesome Genes

At my house dinner is often planned a month in advance. But today was busy and I didn't have anything planned. So this afternoon I threw some frozen chicken in the oven and mixed some whole frozen cranberries, onion, ketchup and brown sugar into a pan on the stove (I vaguely remember some ingredients from mom's cranberry chicken). The onions softened up and I dumped it all on top of the chicken in the oven after 30 min and let it bake for another 30 or so.

I couldn't decide then, potatoes or rice, and came up with mashed potatoes using vegetable broth instead of milk. Oh and some green beans on the side.

Watch out Rachel Ray!

The kids gobbled it up (shocking since I frequently want to throw my dinner plate across the room right along with the monkey when it comes to pleasing him) and went on and on about how it was so good and they want me to make this for dinner every night and I'm the best mom and I make great dinners etc etc. I even got and unexpected squeeze from Mr. Baseball!

I guess I've been stifling my food creativity all this time and I didn't realize it.

Or maybe it was just magical cranberries. I LOVE cranberries*, just like my dad. Maybe the kids inherited the cranberries-are-awesome gene passed through two generations now and they'll rave about anything I make with cranberries in it!

I'll make some cranberry orange bread and let you know...

*In case anyone wondered I also happen to love THE Cranberries. As in the band. Yep, these guys:

Friday, October 24, 2008

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Pumpkin Patch

Freedom! Let me run, mom!
A little nervous about the hay ride

Smiling for the camera (and a jealous friend in the background?!)

The pumpkin patch got rave reviews around here. We were able to pick pumpkins from the patch, ride on a hayride and managed to keep ourselves from getting lost (well at least not for long) in the corn maze. This was followed up by a stop at the "castle park" with a wood playground, you know the kind we all loved growing up? The boys thoroughly exhausted themselves and by the time Mr. Baseball went to bed he had a fever. Whoops, maybe a little too much fun packed into one day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The last standardized test I'll ever take?

Last Saturday I woke up at 7:00 am, fixed some oatmeal, kissed my family good-bye, and road off to McCracken Hall for what may well have been the last standardized test of my life.

The GRE subject test in literature consists of 230 questions covering all of English literature from Beowulf to contemporary world literature in English, divided into four categories: critical theory, literary history, identification, and literary analysis--at least that's what the "literature" provided by Educational Testing Services (ETS) says about it (How did the word "literature" come to mean corporate fine print anyway? People probably read more "literature" from Pfizer, Allstate, the IRS, and the Jehovah's Witnesses (and hopefully the Mormons) then they do from Norton, Houghton Mifflin, or Random House). What the test actually consists of is 230 multiple choice identification questions designed to measure your theoretical grasp on potentially thousands of works and authors that you may or may not have learned about during your undergraduate study of English. In other words, they don't expect you to get all the questions right.

Oh, and did I mention--you get 170 minutes to answer all 230 questions. That's 44.3 seconds per question. And the scoring formula, which gives you 1 point for each correct answer, -1/4 point for incorrect answers, and no points for unanswered questions, sets up a dilemma--do I guess and answer all of the questions? Do I only answer the ones I know and leave the rest blank? Or do I play the percentages and gamble using what one study guide called "aggressive guessing," which involves a combination of the process of elimination and going with your gut?

That same study guide included an irritating chart that showed how three different people, using the three different methods, could arrive at the same score. This was supposed to be helpful, even encouraging, but to me it made the entire process seem silly.

Still, hedging my bets, I chose the latter method, and while there were several questions about works and authors I'd never even heard of, most of what was on the test sounded familiar, like I'd either read it, or at least read about it at some point during the past several years, which means that I probably managed an average score--something akin to gentleman Cs. We'll see. The score report comes out in six weeks, just in time to include it with PhD applications.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Boys Play Dress-up Too

Super.... uh.........

Friday Afternoon Hike


We haven't been hiking as often as we'd like lately but we did get one in on a perfect Friday afternoon. The temperature was excellent for hiking, not to cold and not to warm, we had snacks (including lots of extras, I've heard "they didn't think they'd be out there all night" enough times!) and water. We probably should have spent a little more time picking a hike though, the loop around the pond was short. Really short, it probably only took us 7 minutes to walk around the whole pond. Oops. Anyway, we found a marked trail heading off into the woods and followed that long enough to feel sufficiently 'hiked' before turning around. Fun was the goal, along with getting the kids out into nature. check check. Nothing to complain about here. Maybe next time we'll check the map out better though!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Busy-ness of September

As September ended this week and October began I was grateful. After a crazy month it feels nice to start fresh! Here's a short rundown:

9 trips to the Doctor (one about every 3 days!!), including one Sunday Urgent Care visit for me and a sprained knee for the student 

Mr. Baseball starting Kindergarten

Adjusting to the student's busy school and work schedule

A fabulous 5-day visit from Nana and Papa and Aubrey

Mr. Baseball's 5th Birthday

A car with a dead engine (again!)

Leading the music for the Primary Program at church 

Lego birthday cake

Yea for Planet Heroes!

Mr. Baseball wanted to go swimming for his birthday. We planned to go at the hotel pool where Nana and Papa were staying but after headin out there in our suits we found out it was shut down for winter. Darn! So we headed over to the OU pool. It was busy place but he was pleased. 

More pictures 1: September

Stories with Aunt Aubrey

Snuggling up with Nana

Posed and taken by Mr. Baseball

Cereal snack in the power outage darkness

More pictures 2: September

Reading stories with Papa!

Mr. Baseball has taken an interest in using the camera lately and he wants to arrange everyone too. This one is "artistic".

Outside the OU gateway

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brother--a three round decision

Round One

Yelling "Geronimo!"
and dive bombing pillows and blankets
at the bottom of the stairs
over and over
the thud and bang of bodies
on carpet
on wood
on walls
and socks slipping over voices laughing
off of walls and down into the kitchen
For blue and orange straws of water
that drip, drip, drip
on the carpet all the way back up the stairs

Round Two

in the slish and slosh and soap
of toy boats and boy parts
and my side and your side
and buckets of brother
spilling all over
climbing all over
My side! and Your Side!
jostle and bubble and elbow and teeth
and hands and necks and girgle and gasp
and Dad and Towels
and DONE!

Round Three

an early morning pillow pile
Mom and Dad and boy and brother
sheets and feet and ribs and OUCH
all down the stairs for spoons and milk
and Flakes and Os
More! More? more.
and kneeling, praying,
socking, shoeing, bagging,
Buckets full of boy
gone from the play,
walking out the door,
with brother just behind.