Friday, January 29, 2010

A Proud Moment

Jonathan, Michael, Mark and one of Jon's very best friends have been away on a University tour trip.
Jonathan decided some time ago that his university of choice was UNB in Fredericton NB.
His Dad went to this university and 2 of his grandmothers graduated from St. Thomas, (another university on the same campus).

Today, Jonathan is one step closer to realizing that goal. As part of their tour, the recruiter set up an opportunity for Jonathan to apply on the spot...
He was accepted to the faculty of Arts and will head there in the Fall to Double Major in Political Science...His first steps to becoming one of our nation's greatest leaders.

I am one Proud Mama...who can't help but feel a wee bit sad. I really like this kid and enjoy having him around.

Way to go Big Guy...the hard work is paying off.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reasoning with a 7 year Old Party Planner

One of Jianna's teachers will be leaving the school at the end of the week. Jianna really likes this teacher and on the weekend made her a card to say "good bye", (she included a photo of herself because: "I am probably her favorite student mom, because she teaches math and I always get perfect on my math tests"...she has her biggest brother's modesty, I see).

Yesterday, she decided she needed to make the teacher a poster...bright pink bristol board, bubble letters and glitter glue. (Maybe I have had SOME influence on this child after all).

Today, Wednesday...the day her brothers and dad left for a trip to NB until Sunday night. The dad that this "Oh SO VERY independent wife" relies on more than she realizes until he goes away...had to BEG him to fill my rental with gas before he left...not because I CAN'T...but it's one of those things I DON'T do. Kind of like Mark making a cake or a full course just works best this way.

Back to Jianna...on the way home from school she tells me all about the party she and 2 classmates are planning for the teacher for Friday.
THIS Friday.
It would seem the three little party planners organized the class and made sure every possible junk food would be represented.
Jianna signed me up for: a cake..."no milk mom, we have allergies in the class"
2 bags of popcorn
punch..."with Gingerale please"
and fudge

All this to be made ready in less than 2 days, while I am planning my own little party.
When I tried to tell her this was too much, she assured me that everyone was bringing this much.
Now, try telling a 7 year old that it is very possible to have too much junk food at a party.
That everyone would end up sick from the sugar overload.
That none of the moms would be happy about that.
That I simply did not have the time to accommodate her list.
That I was not willing to accommodate her list.

She assured me all I had to do was the cake...she would make the rest...ummm, yeah right!
We settled on my making the cake then I got a call from one of the moms of another one of the over zealous party planners.
Seems there was to be every kind of chip, drink, popcorn and bake good imaginable...a Disco ball and music...multiple posters and get this....
The party would be at 9:00 in the morning!
Can you even imagine trying to keep this class in order and out of the bathroom the rest of the day...let alone teach anything?

Got to love their zeal!
Oh! Last week, the three little party planners were equally ambitious about the new country singing group they were forming, making posters for, planning to have a dad video tape and post on You Tube because they would be famous because people really like country music, and they already had fans, had signed autographs, planned their costumes, picked "Fame names", decided Jianna would write the songs AND come up with a group name and LOGO..."Saddle Style".

I wrote without punctuation or room for a breath because that is how Jianna told it to me on the way home from school last week...I am going to need some strong caffeine to keep up with this one.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Can be Bribed After All

Since beginning to work in high schools almost 2 years ago, I have had countless bribes offered to me.
Usually candy, or coffee (Obviously they don't really know me!), always by students.
Today was the first day I accepted a bribe.
This one was from a teacher who just can't quite remember to pass out her detention slips consistently.
She sent me a note through a student with her apologies asking if I could be bribed.
My reply was , "YES! With Tea and Chocolate!"

20 Minutes Later, 2 students arrived at my office with the above tray.

I have to tell you, I haven't had Smarties since my kids were little and I used them to bribe them into toilet training. (For the record, it worked wonders, they were all potty trained between 18 months and 22months...and not a single one still needs the reward of Smarties when they go to the washroom!)
Now I am being bribed with the very same treat....maybe I should have used Laura Secord Chocolate on the kids!
By the way, Smarties and tea make an incredible breakfast!
No, SERIOUSLY! You should try it.

I am personally hoping the other teachers get wind of our little arrangement!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boys and Men...Not Knowing When to Quit

Is it really only 7:50?!?!?!

I am Tired AND Oh So Cranky!
This is one of those posts that is really real but not so positive's just where I am at today.

For the past few days, the principals have been cracking down on some much needed follow up on some way too chronic skippers...this is means, IF we can get through to them, the detention numbers will come whole job centers around attendance and detentions.

It also means the In School Suspension Room outside my office has been overflowing with some of our worst offenders. Unfortunately, it just so happens that the way the kids got dealt with has left me 2 days of only boys in the ISS room.
I have nothing against boys...I am married to one and have given birth to 2.
Boys can be fun and loving and lots of wonderful things....they also operate under a "pack" mentality.
Don't believe me?
Throw a bunch of them who might not even know each other together all day.
Someone will exert himself as pack leader early on...the rest of the day will be spent with one feeding off the next and before long, any variety of pranks and down right misbehavior begins and continues throughout the day as a way of "one-upping" each other.

They'll do their best to wear you down through any number of ways from the following list:

Silent stubbornness-refusing to accomplish any work, (my personal favorite as they are at least quiet!)
Constant bragging about any number of topics
Arguing about why they are not to blame for the situation they find themselves in.
Which inevitably escalates to trying to convince every new person within ear shot of how wronged they have been.
Demanding to see a principal to re declare the injustices that have seen them thrown into this oh-so-unfair situation.
Asking to leave for a smoke break
Asking to go to the bathroom....REPEATEDLY
Asking to go get a drink....REPEATEDLY
Asking to go to a locker, (they are to be under complete supervision all day)
Threatening to go AWOL
Actually going AWOL
Declaring they have no work to be done...(HELLO! you just skipped 17 periods in the past 2 weeks and you have NO work to do?!??!)
Complaining they don't understand the work that has been provided by their teacher
(gee...maybe you should think about getting to class once in a while!)
Asking to have a teacher come and explain something to them.
Knocking on my door to ask me how to do their work.
Knocking on my door to see if I have more power than the EA in charge of the room.
Knocking on my door to complain that they don't understand why they are in there.
Knocking on my door to make sure they will be clear of detentions after their ISS.
Knocking on my door to see if I know when a principal will be available to see them.
Knocking on my door to see if I have any candy...which I agree to give them IF they can be quiet and let me get some work done for 1/2 an hour.
Knocking on my door to see if the 1/2 hour is up yet, (never mind the giant class room clock right in front of them)
Knocking on my door to tell me they are bored, to show me their chewing tobacco, to see if I want to go grab a bite to eat with them later (don't ask!),
Knocking on my door to see if I am busy.
Writing notes and putting them up in the window that separates their room from my office.
Banging their feet on the wall that separates their room from my office....

As you can see I could continue all name it, they have tried it, even one lighting his lighter while it was still in his pocket yesterday.
They will stop at nothing I tell you!

Unfortunately, tomorrow is shaping up to be just as crazy except I think a girl or 2 will be thrown in to the mix....that is another whole dynamic, (different, not necessarily better) .

By lunch time, I put a call into Hubby to see if he was available to rescue me from the mad-house for 1/2 hour or so...he was not.

After work I decided to make cookies...remember yesterday's post about not taking time to stock the groceries this week?
Making substitutions because I didn't take the time to stock the cupboards over the weekend, led to tasty...but very flat, mangled cookies....OH! and one burned pan full because I tried to accomplish way too much in my already frustrated and cranky state.

The Younger three kids and I made it through supper...Jon and Mark were not yet home...(Lucky for them).
The kids cleaned up with minimal fuss but decided to work out the issue of one's gaming being too loud, by CRANKING the sound on the TV.
The TV that is right below my living room...the living room I was trying to quietly relax in after a crazy day.
The TV that I FOOLISHLY bought hubby a Home theatre surround sound speaker system for for Christmas.

I'll tell you, the TV was not the only think that got cranked up!
I gave them a much deserved tongue-lashing and the TV has been quiet ever since!
Maybe I should try that with the kids in ISS tomorrow!

Yup! It was definitely "one of those days"...

I am sure none of it was helped by the fact that mom died 11 years ago today,
that the EA who works in the ISS room has been having to make palliative care arrangements for her father-in-law over the past 2 days, bringing back a slew of memories.
(In recent years, this has not been a bad day for me...but too many reminders this year I think)

There is also the likelihood that I am pmsing...{hence the need to make chocolate chip cookies...that my husband has just so naively asked "What Happened to these Cookies?" about and is now trying to redeem himself, (knowing full well that his timing was perfect to make him a victim of this post), by saying "they are very tasty though".}

Lord HELP ME!!!!

-I just heard from the kitchen;
"As odd as they look, they are REALLY good"
(The man seriously does not know when to quit)

No Seriously! They are all Alike!!!
My eldest son just walked in after work, at 10:58...looks at the cookies and hollers out:
"What'd you do to the cookeis?!?!"

I'm going to bed!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Supper on the Fly

I had an incredibly fun weekend, (supper with friends and Emily Osment Concert with my girls), which when you work full time, translates into not quite all the necessities for the coming week being accomplished.
Our Saturday morning routine of chores was adhered to so the house should hold up for most of the week....but the oh-s0-necessary weekly restocking of fridge and cupboards did not happen.

I didn't PLAN on making my family of 6 go without nourishment, it sort of just happened.
Actually, I think I can place some of the blame on Missy Maria's winter boot's zipper deciding to break, (requiring my one window of opportunity for hunting and gathering food for the week, to be spent hunting for a pair of winter boots that my 11 year old would feel were worthy of being called her own)....that, and the fact that my dear friend Rhonda introduced me to a new blog.
Now that I think of it, it really all started with another friend (Cheryl), ooohing and awing over an absolutely delicious looking recipe she had just made.
This was relayed to me through her cousin, my friend, Rhonda, who then introduced me to the blog from which said yummy recipe was gleaned.
I spent more time than I care to admit enjoying the fantastic recipes, photography....and the unbelievably romantic love story of this "Pioneer Woman".

Monday morning reared it's ugly head and all children, (and adults) in our house were a little slow getting going after our fun weekend and late, (for the girls) concert night. All so very worth it though, as the girls got their custom made t-shirts autographed by and pictures taken with Miss Emily Osment. They were very sleepy but very happy!

Sorry, blame my rambling on my sleep deprived-over-stimulated mind.
Back to trying to plan dinner while running late, after having failed to acquire the necessities of a meal...FOOD...let alone the actual Planning of the week's menu!

As I scrambled to get out the door, I took a fleeting look in my kitchen freezer, (absolutely no time left to run down to the well stocked deep freeze). There, tucked in the back was an eye of round beef. Not terribly promising. Eye of round is one of those cheap cuts of meat that budget wise is a great idea....but when it comes to palatability and ability to even chew...well, it can be an absolute nightmare.

I grabbed it and threw it in the sink to thaw, thinking I could at least test out one of my Christmas presents, (Kitchen Aid Meat grinder attachment). Eye of round may not make a great roast or steak but it makes very lean, cheap ground beef.

As I ran to my room to retrieve my purse, hollering at children to get a move on as I did, I had a brain wave: "throw the frozen chunk of meat in the crock-pot with BBQ sauce". I am picturing pulled pork as I have these thoughts. In literally 5 minutes, the roast was in the pot with 2 partial bottles of 2 different BBQ sauces, cranked to hi, lid on, a quick prayer for a miracle and the thought that if it didn't work out, we were not really any further behind my unplanned meal for the night.
As Mark chauffeured me to school with a minute to spare, I remembered the frozen, chopped onion I kept in the freezer and asked him to throw it in when he went back to get the kids.

Because I had visions of the house burning down, (due to the ancient crock-pot) I prayed prayers that our beloved pets would escape unharmed through out the day. On entering the driveway after work, I was relieved to see that the house was intact and Ohhhhh the smells that greeted me as I unlocked the door!

I added some chopped green pepper from the freezer and some chopped more hour and VOILA! Tough eye of round was now moist and tender enough to be pulled apart by 2 forks.
Next, I grabbed a Beautiful Calabrese bread I had frozen from a wonderful new bakery Hubby and I discovered in Kingston. Sliced it in 1/2 horizontally, piled it full of the pulled Beef and sprinkled
the whole thing with shredded cheddar.
Five minutes under the broiler, some green beans on the side....and Ummm.
Supper was enjoyed by all 6 members of the family, (an absolute miracle when we have anything but homemade Burgers), I came off looking like I'd actually planned the whole thing and wasn't just flying by the seat of my pants...and the Piers Family has survived another day without starvation! WHEW!!!
OH! There was even enough left over for 2 or 3 to have for their lunch tomorrow...all from 5 minutes of desperation!

WOW! I really have spent too much time on this lady's blog...taking pictures of food, (guess I should check out her photography tips) and writing about the development of a new family favorite as if it were an adventure story....sigh, I am a hopeless romantic at heart.

In case any of you local ladies are inspired to try this or something similar, Eye of Round is on sale this week for $2.00 or less a pound at 2 of our grocery stores.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is This Not the Cutest?

Hubby and I went on a little shopping date on the weekend.
(we needed to exchange something he'd given me)
This was one of the most fun, extravagant, completely unnecessary, Oh-So-Jen items I have seen in a while. Yup! It came home with me!
(with Hubby's coaxing-between the pink heel and the "Sweet and Sassy" imprint on the heel, he was sure it was meant for me)
So, now that Christmas is over and everyone is traditionally cutting out sweets....I am aching to make something equally extravagant that would be worthy of being served by my new "High Heel Cake Server"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I LOVE These Shots...

Michael, my personal Musician...not much for having his picture taken though.
(Dad..really? Come on...)

Jonathan, I always called him my "Gentle Giant",
not so much when he plays a game...any game.

Maria...that smile lights up my whole world!

Jianna, so full of life, color and character!
Sweet Sisters