Monthly Archives: June 2010

Jay’s meme

This must be my week for a little house-cleaning. Yesterday I managed to FINALLY write down the recipe for Brick (what’s 10 months of waiting, right?) and today, I’m filling in the answers to Jay’s meme.  He only had to wait a week for this:

1. You’re building your dream house. What’s the one thing that this house absolutely, positively MUST HAVE? (other than the obvious basics of course)
My dream house includes a mud room with utility sink, toilet, shower, washer, dryer, and places for wet clothes and boots.  I know I’m dreaming, but a gal can hope that this would keep the menfolk from tramping dirt through the rest of the house, right?

2. What is your dream car?
For many years I wanted an old Volkswagen Beetle.  Then for a while it was a Suburban. Now I’m not sure what my dream car is…

3. What is your favorite website that isn’t a blog?
I confess to checking more often than facebook… but only because I’m a geek who wants to know how hot it REALLY is out there.

4. iPhone 4 or Droid, which do you want?
Really? Neither. I’m pretty happy with a basic phone.

5. When you’re feeling down or lonely or just generally out of sorts, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
A good cry doesn’t hurt (well, mostly it doesn’t) but then, cookies or ice cream FEEL like they help but then I end up wearing them.

6. Tell me about something or someone that you love that most people seem to hate.
Banjo music  (paddle faster!!)

7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m living my dream: I’m a SAHM.

8. Would you go on a reality show if given the chance?

9. Who was your favorite teacher when you were growing up.  (Grade school, Middle School, Jr. High or High School only.)
My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Ellen Stormo, made a big impression on me. I loved creating art in her class.

10. You get one pass to do something illegal or immoral. What are you gonna do?
I’ve tried and tried to come up with an answer to this, and I just can’t. Every time an idea pops into my head, all of the bad fallout from doing that thing tumbles right in after it. Call me a goody-two-shoes, I guess.


Brick for Breakfast

Nowhere near a Wordless Wednesday

I have 4 sons… the oldest is doing serious yardwork 10 hours per week, the next in line is pretraining for the cross-country season, the 3rd one is a picky eater, and the youngest doesn’t like meat (unless it is salmon, cheeseburgers, or hot dogs).

We keep a big bag of whey protein powder on the kitchen counter (SuperDad has a small power-packed glass of it before catching the morning train) but I try to limit them to only 1 or 2 servings a day of that stuff.  And while they now drink milk to the tune of 6+ gallons per week, in the boys’ early years, we dealt with milk allergies.  Back then, I was trying to get enough calories and protein into their little bodies. My husband recalled a protein bar that his mom had and asked me to get the recipe. When we next visited, I asked my MIL about “brick.” She was puzzled for a minute and then realized I was talking about her Peanut Butter Chews recipe. It had milk in it, but I was already experienced in substituting ground almonds for dry powdered milk in some recipes, and this recipe worked wonderfully with that switcharoo.

raw almonds + VitaMix dry mixer = ground almonds (a.k.a., almond meal)

I made a big batch of Brick to take with us on our NY trip last August. Part of it I set aside for camping snacks and breakfast, but I knew how much Gary loves his peanut butter — and also that he doesn’t consume dairy products — so I packaged some brick up just for him and hid it in the cooler.  He loved it and asked if I’d share the recipe.

Gary, I haven’t forgotten! Here is the long-delayed recipe for Brick:

Mix together:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 200 grams Ground Almonds (the original recipe called for 2 cups of dry powdered milk–I adapted it for my family when EB was a little guy)
  • about 3/4 cup of Wheat Germ (this was not in the original recipe, but we love our wheat germ)

dry ingredients ready to be mixed together

Then add:

  • 1 cup light Corn Syrup (you can use honey, but it will turn out really super sweet)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup raisins (optional–I have kids who don’t like raisins)

Mixed and ready to press into your "form" -- unless you have 5 guys hanging around who try to eat it ALL at this point!

Mix it up thoroughly and press into an 8-inch pan (or appropriate sized Tupperware-type container)

a batch of brick: ready for lid and refrigeration

Cover and store in the refrigerator. Cut into bars to serve.

This is messy and gooey and sweet. And we pretend it is good for you, too!

Here is Gary’s story of our visit. His clown car image cracks me up! You can find my post about it here.

Musical Monday: Pray for the Fish

I’ve mentioned before a little about the group I sing with on Sundays .  While we still don’t have a fiddler (hello out there!?), we took this song and made it our own over the past few weeks, and yesterday we sang it. I just wish I could give you our version — we sounded GOOD! 😀

We also sang this:

Vivaldi meets Led Zeppelin

Pops and Popcorn

Last night was the end-of year orchestra concert. No, I don’t have an orchestra student; I’m a band mom, but the parents of musicians help each other out and we share an umbrella organization. While the middle schoolers were playing, I was keeping cans of soda stocked in the ice buckets (and sneaking tiny ice cubes to rub on my neck and drop down my back).  The families appreciated having popcorn and soda available for a donation (we did pretty well — great fundraiser, since the parents donated the soda for the event!), although we will need to stick with just water next year. It’s pretty much a “No-No” to spill soda in the auditorium. (We slipped our friendly custodian payment for the extra cleaning he had to stay late for — this morning is an awards ceremony in that auditorium. )

I was able to sneak into the auditorium for the final 8th grade song, the theme from The Pink Panther. Then I found a seat and thoroughly enjoyed the high school orchestra concert. They started with a piece by Vivaldi and then moved into a rock theme: Coldplay, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Jimi Hendrix (1st violin rocked it!), Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here (arranged by the student teacher from Shepherd University in WV) and finished out with Led Zep’s Cashmere. Incredible!! I kept texting my husband and oldest son to make them jealous.  Hey, it’s not MY fault they chose to stay at home!

Tonight I’ll be rockin’ the popcorn thing again, this time for “A Night at the Movies” for my 8th grader’s band concert. I’m going early to help set-up and serve popcorn, but then I’ll be in the auditorium to enjoy the show as they play theme songs from various movies.

What live music have you enjoyed recently?

To sleep or not to sleep… that is the question!

I went in for my first sleep study in early Spring of 2009.

I’d been snoring lightly, on and off, for years, but it had gotten much worse when SuperDad was deployed. When he returned home again, I heard about it often for the next few years, but generally a set of ear plugs brought peace to the marital bed. Unfortunately, it kept getting worse and by early 2009, I was being nudged awake and moved to the living room sofa most nights.  While I figured this was fair (I don’t wake easily to alarm clocks and I don’t have to function at a paid job), it wasn’t a happy solution. I finally had my family doctor write me a consult to the ENT clinic, where I made sure they understood that snoring was adversely affecting my marriage. That was my ticket to a sleep study.

I love the place I go to: the company spent some money to make it a nice experience. The bed is very comfortable, the rooms are almost like small hotel rooms, and there is a private bath attached to each room. Tuesday night was my 3rd time there.

At my first visit, I was wired up (wish I had a picture of that one!  So very many wires!) and slept the night away… sort of. It took a long time to fall asleep and then I would wake up and flip around several times.  The results of that study showed obstructive sleep apnea.  (My husband had insisted that I didn’t have apnea. He never heard me stop breathing; he only occasionally heard me stop snoring. Um, that was when I wasn’t breathing.) It turns out I was having apnea episodes that averaged every 2-3 minutes for up to 20 seconds at a time. No wonder I was so tired all the time!! I wasn’t sleeping! At least not at night… I would often fall asleep during the day for several hours at a time. Sometimes it even happened sitting up in a chair “just for 5 minutes” (I’d wake up 2 hours later).

I returned a few weeks later for a night of testing out a CPAP machine. It was none too soon: I had begun falling asleep at traffic lights.
I am lucky in that I can tolerate a full face mask AND that my insurance has paid for the sleep studies and the therapy (the CPAP machine on my bedside table).  It’s not a romantic look, but it sure does increase the happiness in my bedroom: we BOTH get to sleep all night long!

Last night I went in for a “check-up” where the techs check to see how I am tolerating the therapy and if I need the machine adjusted for air flow pressure (it didn’t). They also checked to see what my sleep was like without the mask. I should get a report in the mail in a few weeks.

I might have slept better, but there was at least one time during the night when a wire came loose and had to be re-attached to my scalp (I finally got the last of the goop out of my hair tonight). And of course there was the mask on, mask off, mask on testing. I was pretty sleepy when I was awakened at 6am. I was still rather sleepy working with “checking accounts” with 4th graders at 9:30am! So instead of cleaning the house this afternoon, I napped on the sofa.


I spent last night at my annual sleep study, where things are tested and adjusted all night long.  I’ll probably need a nap today, but I really can’t blame the study; I needed 2 naps yesterday! (I think it had something to do with being up at 4:50am.)  I raced home this morning to be here before SnakeMaster had to leave for school. Luckily, he is my morning child and was already up and dressed (in black shorts and a navy blue T-shirt) AND had made his own healthy lunch. I love that kid.

MIL and FIL went into The City with SuperDad this morning. That leaves me to drag the oldest 3 boys out of bed. They are so NOT morning people.

Off to be the banker this morning (4th grade math) and then home to clean while the house is empty.
Tonight is an orchestra concert (I’m serving popcorn — it’s “Pops and Popcorn” night) and tomorrow night is a band concert (I’m serving popcorn — it’s “A Night at the Movies”).

What is keeping you hopping this week?

Weekend Reflections

Come, Holy Spirit

(H-J in the middle)

Two weeks ago, Humorous-Juniorous completed a 2-year class in his journey from childhood to young adult status.
On Pentecost Sunday, he and 11 other classmates joined the church.

Today, MusicMan is preaching a short sermon as part of Graduate Recognition Sunday. Two months from now, he will be leaving his family behind as he journeys off to college.
As an ordained Deacon (he served as a youth deacon this past year), he is also assisting in serving communion today.

My babies are growing up.

Proverbs 22:6
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Into the clouds

Carmi is celebrating the 100th “issue” of Thematic Photographic this week with the theme of Into the Clouds. Click here to join the party!

click ’em to embiggen


So…. this weekend is crazy-busy. Today I clean like a whirlwind (or not… did I mention our temps are hitting 90 degrees F *PLUS* humidity?!) and shop for groceries. Tomorrow I have to be at the school at 4:15am with H-J. We are headed to a band competition and then to an amusement park (they do get to change out of their concert dress uniforms first). Expected return to the school is  sometime before 2am. Yikes!
While we are gone, EB will finally take his SAT and MM will put in some hot hours of yard work before THE GRANDPARENTS (yay!!!) arrive for a late supper. (Note to self: remember to plan some food for SuperDad to fix for supper.) This actually does tie in to Into the Clouds since they are flying here from the other side of the country. But even if it didn’t… well, it’s my blog! 😉

On Sunday morning, MusicMan is preaching one of the sermons because it is Graduate Recognition Sunday.  This means there will be 8 of us vying for 2 showers before getting to church for the 9 o’clock service (and I suspect he’s supposed to be there early). We have a tough enough time getting 6 of us there at differing times on other weeks, so this ought to be interesting…
The annual church picnic begins at 4pm over at the county park. That wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that the group I sing with is always asked to perform, along with leading the music for Vespers (although we use that term broadly and loosely — we are, after all, a group of Presbyterians at a county park). I won’t be at rehearsal on Sunday morning since I’ll be at the brunch for the graduating seniors and their families. First things first!


What do you have planned for the weekend?

SuperDad and SnakeMaster go hiking

They left at 4:30am and returned 13 hours later.

spirit guide

All photos provided by the hikers themselves.

Kcinnova does not go bushwack hiking in 90 F temperatures.

Sanity, where art thou?

June — the month of insanity — has arrived.

Oh, she sings bird-songs of sweetness in the cool morning breezes at dawn, but there are thunderclouds building just out of sight and already the heat and humidity are rising.

The forecast for June includes a 22-hour field trip with 5 busloads full my assigned group of 46 a bunch of 14-year-olds and the arrival of my beloved in-laws for a month-long visit. Those two things happen simultaneously this coming Saturday.

The flurry of year-end activities (band concerts, award ceremonies, field day, the aforementioned field trip that lasts 22 hours, and the many events associated with MM’s graduation) are all additions to our normal schedule.  Oh, and then there is the youth mission trip that H-J, EB, and MM are all going on at the end of the month… there have been multiple fundraisers, planning meetings, and much work put into that trip coming together. I’m only slightly filled with guilt when I state that I have NOT been heavily involved in the event; heavily invested, yes, but not heavily involved.

So if you notice my absence from the blogosphere, well, I’m probably doing just fine. Possibly insane, but otherwise normal.

Ah, June… Let the chaos begin!