Monthly Archives: May 2012

An Unplanned Sabbatical

I’m back.  Ish.  Not that I ever planned to be gone exactly.  I even had a new post open…planned…titled…mostly unwritten.  However, as so often does, life happened.  A lot.  And apparently, May is mostly gone before I really knew that it had started.

This is exciting because that means that this first (albeit partial) year of homeschooling is nearly done!  My oldest has had a lot of adjustments to make this year…two public schools and then switching to homeschooling, plus getting used to having a new baby brother in the house after being an only child for so many years.  He has done amazingly well and I can’t be more proud of what he has achieved this year.  We’re both excited about starting the next grade together.  (Yay!)  This week, we learned the layers of the earth (hello, bedrock, subsoil and topsoil) using chocolate pudding and Oreo cookies.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be a homeschooler again?  We also completed our required end-of-year competency and progress testing and are impatiently awaiting the results.

It is also terrifying because that means that Camp NaNoWriMo is open on Friday, which means that my first summer attempt to write a Great American Novel is nearly upon me.  (Eek!)  Happily, I’ve actually got a pretty good idea of how my story is supposed to go.  (Yay!)  Even more happily, I’m going to “camp” with my bestie and we get to share a virtual cabin.  (Double yay!)  Did I mention that the goal is to write 50, 000 words in 30 days?    Bring it on…

In other news, my baby has his first tooth, can laugh like Donald Duck and is a huge fan of oatmeal with bananas.  Also, as mentioned in a previous post, if you want your bagels to turn out really well, eggs need to be an ingredient.  After 5 consistently awesome batches, I’m convinced.  But, more on that…and more…later.

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Defying Gravity

Before We Begin…

…I would just like to point out that this post is not paying homage to the epic Broadway musical Wicked, even though it happens to be one of my absolute all-time favorites.  Moving on…

I have never been the type of girl to push the “I believe!” button.  Even my first word evidenced my tendency to question those things that should be taken at face value.  I believe in finding things out for myself.

Just to let y’all know, gravity works.  I’ve tested it many times in the hopes that I’ve finally discovered its Kryptonite.  Alas, I do believe that it is my own natural weakness…my Achilles heel…constantly lurking in the wings of my life to try to sabotage my every move.

To quote Cameron Diaz, “I’ve been noticing gravity since I was very young.”  My early attempts at umbrella-powered flight were always thwarted.  I learned that falling backwards off of my swing in midair hurt.  A lot.  Every pair of jeans and Little L’eggs tights had holes in their knees thanks to that unseen force…and my pink Huffy bike and Fisher Price roller skates.

However, I am fairly certain that my propensity for gravity-related mishaps greatly increased as soon as I turned 13.  I hated being 13.  Yes, I could dangle my teen status over my younger sister’s head, but she was still taller than me so she was less than impressed.  I fell off the stage at my piano recital that year.  Now that I’m older, such an event wouldn’t phase me all that much.  But at 13, I wanted nothing more than to be whisked away into Narnia by Prince Caspian and Queen Susan’s horn as soon as it happened.  There was no reason for me to rush back.  I could even die fighting at the Battle of Beruna.  Sure, my lifeless body would probably shock and sadden my family, but at least I wouldn’t have died of embarrassment.

Unfortunately, no otherworldly call came for me that day.  Or the day that I performed a magnificent swan dive over a chair in a very crowded space, resulting in a broken wrist that sported a hot purple cast for 6 months, and quite possibly the most ridiculous salute ever immortalized in a girl’s Junior Sailor of the Year award photo ever.  Or the day that I dropped a 150-pound computer on myself.  I could go on (and on and on), but why belabor the point?

One day, I will catch Gravity while it’s slacking on its coffee break, and at that moment, I will become free of my nemesis.  Until that glorious day, I can rest easy, knowing in my heart that I am keeping sundry medical personnel and the manufacturers of first aid and cleaning suppliers gainfully employed.

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Going Bananas Redux

I always seem to end up with a couple of bananas that are too ripe to eat.  Last time, on Adventures in Banana Land, our heroine decided to add chocolate chips to her banana bread, and it was hailed throughout the land as being the acme of all banana breads.

However, I am completely out of yogurt and chocolate chips, so it was back to the drawing board for an unusual use of the ripeness at hand.  I thought about trying to make cookies with them, but opted against them because I just didn’t feel like spending that much time on the project.  I thought about making peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but they were just too ripe for me to go there.  The next logical step in my thought progression was peanut butter and banana bread, so I tweaked my normal recipe a little bit.

I was a little worried when I mixed it all up.  The batter seemed awfully thick and I was pretty sure it would just sit there and turn into a peanut butter and banana brick, but it rose a little bit.  The kitchen smells fantastic and I really need dinnertime to hurry up and get here so we can try it.

I’m pretty sure that Elvis would approve.

Update:

Elvis would definitely have approved.  More importantly, so did the non-baby solids-eating members of my family.  I might need to tweak the liquids in the recipe a little bit more the next time I make it, but it was a success.

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Playing Ketchup and Mustard

This past week was a rather strange one.  I know that I accomplished a huge amount of things…I just can’t remember what they all were.

I am happy to report that most of the damage from The Big Water Heater Incident has been rectified. The new floor looks fantastic!  The last items on the agenda are minute paint touch-ups, insurance agent wrangling (dinette damage), and getting the table refinished.

I have also pretty much perfected my bread machine bagel dough recipe.  Apparently, the secret to amazing bagel dough is to add an egg  per cup of flour and to cut back on the water (about an ounce and a half per egg added).  The next thing on my bagel list is to work on my bagel-forming technique.  The first half of the batch always turn out pretty well shape-wise, but the last half looks more…well, rugged.

I gave my dogs baths, which is no small feat.  My mutt hides under whichever piece of furniture is closest to her whenever she hears the word “bath.”  Good thing she hasn’t learned to speak Pig Latin…yet.  My beagle does not understand the word “bath” in English or otherwise, so getting him into the bathroom is usually pretty easy as long as there’s food involved.  However, getting him into the tub is another story.  He is an unusual beagle in that he weighs about 65 pounds and is shaped rather like a barrel with stubby legs, a metronome for a tail and floppy ears.  (He’s really not overweight…he is just built more like a hippopotamus than a beagle.)

Laundry.  ‘Nuff said.

We finished out the week with lots and lots of family time outdoors at the nearby amusement park.  We got rained out on Saturday, which was a bit of a bummer.  We thought we might get rained out when we went back Sunday afternoon, but the dismal clouds fled the scene, leaving the evening perfectly gorgeous…sunny and warm.  Bonus: hardly anybody showed up to the park, so we had short lines for rides and shows all day.  The baby got to ride on the merry-go-round with me…no horsies for him yet, but he loved smacking at the large gorilla head adorning our bench.

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