Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - In the Middle

Our middle daughter is a Senior this year, and last night was her last high school football game.

I didn't feel sad; I really just felt proud...proud of how far this one has come...proud of a developing individuality that I've waited 17 years to see.  Proud of her willingness to love and forgive others and proud of her for telling me I'm the best mama in the world (That was Thursday btw...Friday, we were back to normal ;)

I got the "best mama in the whole wide world" award bc over the last 2 weeks I curtailed my snark (mostly) and worked behind the scenes to get things done.  
My daughter is the only Senior on the dance team; I think for next year, all will be well and any stupid mamas will just have to deal...but my daughter didn't have the promise of next year.  
The dance team sponsor got word Thursday that there would be room for all of the girls on Senior night...and no mama drama would be tolerated.


The Head of my Household and I purposely try our best to stay out of silly stuff at the I called in every favor I've earned on this one.  It worked.
The smile on the face above...all night long...was well worth the effort :)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ At Home with Books.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wannabe More Organized Wednesday, which is really Thursday, which is not a very good sign of organization.

Does the fact that it is Thursday night and I'm just now posting my Wednesday post give you any indication as to how this first week of the new budget has gone?

I do not have a meal plan for this week...I have been flying by the seat of my pants.

Monday - Halloween - candy, candy and more candy...and McDonalds for the 7 year old
I am ashamed.

Wednesday - church night supper
Thursday - chili
Friday - Senior Night Home football game (tailgating)

Friday (tomorrow) is supposed to be my grocery store day...I don't have a list and I don't have a menu :(

My middle kid asked me for $35 and $55 this week...both which are NOT included in my budget this  month.
I'm giving her the $35...if she wants the $55 enough, she can buy it herself (she has a little part-time job).

I also forgot about a commitment I made to a ladies' group at church...I was beating myself up about that one pretty badly last night at church when my friends Sandi and Gwen (both also members of my ladies' group) put things into perspective for me.  All I can do is what I can do...and that's that...
God doesn't want me stressed out bc I can't pay my ladies' group pledge.   
They both also remarked that my pledge was a little on the high side...I'm like that though...I'm so pie in the sky that it's ridiculous at times.  

I told the Head of My Household once, "All children should be able to be vaccinated for free!"
He responded, "Ok, but who's gonna pay for that?"
See, I never think of that part...great idea...but not very realistic...and I just assume that it's gonna magically happen.

I did notice though that the 3 times I've been to the grocery store this week so far (Sunday, Tuesday, and today), my bills have been on the high side...and all I've bought (or so I thought) was food for that night's meal.  Tonight, for example, I bought groceries for chili...and my total was $57...WHAT??
That's gotta stop.

We do have a busy weekend ahead of us so maybe by Saturday afternoon I'll have it all together for next week.  
Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Books that Affected Me Strongly

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is to list 10 books that I had strong emotions about...strong emotions includes all possible emotions, not just positive.  At first I thought that would be a problem for me...all I do is gush about the books I've read.  Then, as I began making my list, I realized I did actually have some negative reader reactions.  Yay, me!!'s my list for this week:

1.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I sobbed...literally sobbed through this one...I only read it bc my oldest read it and then encouraged me to read it as well.  I don't do well with storylines that feature child abuse, murder, violence etc. unless the child's part is an underlying investigator searching for a notorious childkiller would be different unless, of course, there are descriptive portions of the child being abused...I just cannot handle it.  I still have not seen this movie and will not.

2.  The Awakening by Kate Chopin - I didn't read this one until I was in college...I was in a Literary Criticism graduate class actually, and the teacher was a man, a very traditional literature snob.  He was not fond of me from the moment I walked in the door because I had gone through the "teacher program" instead of his lit program.  He tried his best to ignore me for most of the semester, and became even colder to me when he couldn't stump me with his questions when I presented on The Awakening as my graduate assignment for the class.  I turned in my final essay for the class knowing that my grade was on the borderline of an A and a B.  I made a B.  I was a teaching assistant at the time, so I asked him to put my graded final paper in my mailbox only a few slots away from his own so that I could see what I missed.  He sent me a simple reply, "I'll have to read it first."  In other words, I have the power, and you'll get what I say you get.  While I was certainly not oppressed by this teacher the way Edna was, I completely understood Edna's justification for her final action.  An oppressed life was not the way she chose to live.  So many people don't get that about this book.  I don't see it as sad, and I don't see her final act the way we see it today.  To me, Edna's final act is one of defiance...and a very loud message to the rest of the world.  The experience taught me to be strong and to stand up for who I matter what anybody else thinks, says or does to knock me down.

3.  The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyne Mitchard - a child goes missing in this novel...and the mother's life is never the same...even when the child is found years later.  I did see this movie...cried through it too.  I promise I'm not a cryer...I actually feel weak when I do, but I just can't handle this stuff.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson.

4.  Affinity by Sarah Waters - Affinity made me mad.  I was totally and completely confused when I finally finished the book.  I probably wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't been reading it as a Read Along. I'm actually still confused and really can't even tell you what really happened. Everybody gushes about Sarah Waters and I sooo wanted to like this one...

5.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - My copy of Kingsolver's year of eating locally is so worn from study, binder breaking, highlighting, red pen marks.  I've always been concerned about what I eat, and I know that eating healthy means as close to the natural product as possible.  But, Kingsolver's family experiment really brought home to me just how important being aware of environmental influences and the consequences of human interference with nature are to our own personal health and that of our family members.

6.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this one...and I don't care.  I loved it.  I don't care if she was a spoiled woman who could take a year off and travel.  I totally get the wake up and realize you're not where you want to be, gotta change something or I'm gonna die thing.  I can't take a year off my job and go traveling, but I can read through her experience and know that lots of women go through times like this.  I loved the descriptions of all the places she went and the time that she spent there.  I have not seen this movie because I so don't picture Julia Roberts as the author.

7.  The Secret Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer - absolutely, completely hated this book.  I like the Twilight series, but this short story was pointless...and dumb...and I suspect just another way for somebody to make an extra buck or two.

8.  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - I'm sorry, but Bella's ridiculous zombie like behavior throughout this book got on my nerves...seriously.  I didn't like the movie any better.
9.  Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton - I'm an Anita Blake fan...and this series has sustained me for quite some time...BUT...I wanted to throw Micah in the trash.  When a series author releases a book with the same characters in the series...but the book is not actually a part of the series, it irritates me to no end.  At least Janet Evanovich lets her readers know when a "Between the Plums" is published. GRRRRRR!

10.  Traveling with Pomegrantes by Sue Monk Kidd - I feel so mean when I talk about this book.  I actually listened to the audiotape of this one, and it's very possible that it was the author's voice I disliked so much rather than the book itself...and I'm from Mississippi!!!  I won't ever know though because even as I type this I'm cringing as I remember her trying to tell this mother/daughter travel story.  I didn't even finish this one...and it's actually the only one on this list that I absolutely could not bring myself to complete.

Next week's theme is Top Ten Books I Read that Were Outside My Comfort Zone

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday at the Movies - The Halloween Edition

What's really funny about scary movies is that the first movie I remember scaring my pants off was Jaws...the original.  My students and I were categorizing scary movies the other day and I mentioned this fun fact about myself to them...they thought I was nuts.  To them, Jaws is the mechanical shark movie they watch and make fun of from time to time.  To me, as a middle schooler, it was the scariest thing I had ever seen...I slept with the lights on, and every time I closed my eyes, I thought I was in a boat surrounded by bloody water...yeah, yeah, I know it was Rated R...that's why my mom said no, so I asked my dad...who said yes.  Guess who got in trouble?

For the next few years my friends and I did what kids do best...we scared each other to death and called it fun.  
The original Halloween movie was included in our annual scare late as possible in the night on Halloween night and with as many friends as possible.  

This "fun" with scary movies lasted through others such as Amityville Horror and even the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

A few years later though, one particular series ended that fun for me, and I haven't been a scary movie person since.  
I somehow managed to skip the first 3 installments of Friday the 13th but was anxious for Jason to get his and get off my tv screen.  The trailers for 1, 2, and 3 scared the bejeebies out of me, so I'm not sure what I was expecting when I actually found myself with a group of friends at the movie theatre.  

To this day someone in a hockey mask can send me running in the other direction.  Nevermind the fact that the final chapter was certainly NOT the final chapter...there were 8 more Jason movies after this one before the nightmare finally ended.

Fast forward to 2011, and the newest scary stuff out is the Paranormal Activity franchise.

My firstborn and her boyfriend watched the first installment of this freaky movie series at our house on DVD about a year ago.  As is common for parents, I walked in and out of the den just making sure my presence was known...I realized quickly that I didn't have anything to worry about, however, bc the two of them were scared to death.  My firstborn doesn't scare easily so I knew this was a doozy of a movie.  The third installment of this series opened this past weekend.  

Uh-uh, nope, not me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Cooking - Pizza Casserole

Browsing my newest addiction, Pinterest, I've come into contact with some other folks, their ideas, and very importantly, their recipes!! 

In my new quest to feed my family healthy quick meals that don't burst my budget, I've been drawn to more casseroles and other one dish or crock-pot meals...meals that can be paired with a green salad and maybe another veggie if picky eaters are present at the table.  

One particular recipe that caught my eye recently on a blog called For Mamas By a Mama is called Pizza Casserole.  

This dish is similar to a dish one of my childhood friend's sister-in-law used to make. There are some differences in the recipe, but I was curious enough to give it a try...meat, noodles, spaghetti sauce, cheese, and pepperoni??  
How could that go wrong for a weeknight, one dish meal that satisfies the masses?

It didn't. :) 

I forgot to take a picture of the finished casserole until a few had already been served :/

This is a pretty basic casserole, and the taste was VERY similar to the casserole I remember eating frequently in my pre-teen years.  The only changes I would make to the recipe next time is to decrease the amount of noodles and increase the amount of cheese.   I would also love to experiment with the spaghetti sauce, make some of my own maybe, add onions and garlic...I would only make those changes as a matter of personal preference though, not bc there's anything wrong with the recipe as it is.  

This is a large casserole too...5 of us ate it for dinner Sunday night, my oldest daughter took a container with her back to the dorm, and I took a container with me to work for lunch.  There's still a container in the fridge as well :)  The recipe would be a good one for pot-luck...or maybe halved, with one half frozen for next time.

The exact recipe is available through the link for Pizza Casserole above.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth F. Reads.