Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Let the ShowChoir Season Begin!!

It seems our last ShowChoir season just ended...
and here we go again.

This will be my middle daughter's last year in Show Choir.  It has been exhausting and expensive, and I've sometimes wondered if all the effort is worth the payoff.

Then I see pictures like this of my middle child:

She comes alive on stage.

She has a sense of confidence and self-esteem I don't see anywhere else.

 She's having a BLAST!

 And, she can work it, Girl!

 You wouldn't believe the amount of energy, hard work and perseverance is put into this program.

 By all of the kids as well as the adults.

Is this my kid who has always felt as if she's in her older sister's shadow?

Somehow I don't think so! :)

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce @ At Home with Books

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cold Mountain - Discussion #1 - up to "like any other thing, a gift"

**my students in this discussion are referred to as M, H, R, Ch, and Sh* 

My students and I had our first full blown discussion about Cold Mountain last Wednesday.  
Since this assignment is a new one, I had absolutely no idea about where it would go, how it would happen, whether or not it would flop or I'd get fired...just kidding on that last one...I think ;)

My Hybrid Comp II class only meets on Wednesdays, so last week we divided the book up over the next 4 chapter titles since there are no numbers.   I also divided the 12 members of the class up over the next 4 weeks to lead those discussions...I didn't want to be the only one talking...and I didn't want my perspective as the TEACHER to lead any of the students into discussions they thought I wanted to hear rather than what they wanted to discuss.

In this first section of the book we met Inman, then Ada and then Ruby, amongst a host of other minor characters.  We learn of their precarious situations and what they decide to do to "make things right."  

The discussion leaders talked about themes today that they pulled from the first few chapters of Cold Mountain...class, the motherless child, rain, the blind man, and the window. Much of the discussion focused on Ada rather than Inman or Ruby...some saw her as weak and others saw her as a survivor. 

When they asked how Ada's father could move her away from everything she knew and then not taught her how to take care of herself, we ended up talking about Transcendentalism...while it's never discussed in this section outright, the clues we found were Monroe leaving his Charleston church under pressure from members who didn't like his "progressive" preaching, preaching from other resources besides just the bible, quoting Emerson and Wordsworth, raising Ada to be independent rather than focused on finding a husband, etc.  I got a little more involved here than I planned and finally had to reign myself back in.

My students also talked about the rich description...and how it helped them feel as if they were there with the characters, experiencing the various they could taste the water Inman spit from his mouth in the river (Sh), they could see the amputated leg stub in the war hospital (H), and how they actually felt dark, cold and wet throughout this entire first section.   Ch talked about how she identified with Ada when she was hungry - Ch had been there when it's the end of the month and you have no money for you curl up and eat the only thing you can find in the pantry, even if it is a jar of jelly...
She also blushed and said she'd also experienced getting a little tipsy at the party and finding herself on a fella's lap ;)

At times they point blank asked me for clarification...and I obliged them some background information when I felt it necessary.
For example, H asked how the army could locate deserters when they didn't have the technology that we have now?  So, we had a discussion of today's military vs Civil War military...all men of age were literally gone...communities were communities of old or handicapped men, women and children...anyone of war age would be questioned and even "tattled" on.  
My students' generation doesn't get the whole idea of honor and/or why it was so bad to speak out against the war or choose not to participate.

M and R are the only two males in the group...R is very talkative, but M only participated in the class discussion once...he surprised me by having the answer to a question we were all asking...
M has the book on his laptop.  My only criteria for the version the students use is that it has to have text...traditional or electronic doesn't matter to me at all, as long as we can all find the section the speaker is referring to.  (With this smaller class, that has not been too much trouble...but it is something I'll have to think more about with a larger class.)  The ladies in the group were vigorously discussing how Ruby knew the Swangers...when they couldn't come to a consensus, M finally spoke up and reminded them of little Ruby toddling over to the Swanger's for food.  He even guided them to the appropriate pages. 

The only real disagreement of the discussion occurred when T mentioned that she thought Ada felt guilty about her father's death...others disagreed and reminded her that Ada and Monroe moved to Cold Mountain partly because he was sick...they probably even knew he would die soon.  What excited me though was that as they were arguing, Ch asked, with book in hand, "Where did you get that idea?"
I spend a lot of my time in class prodding them to show me where in the text they came up with their interpretations.  Ch just naturally asked that question as well.
AHHHHHHHH, success :)

The first time I looked down at my watch during the discussion, it was time to go...the conversation just happened...I appreciated the way they were able to talk without too much "time hogging"...
I will have to keep my thumb on H...I'm not sure she's reading.  She's definitely seen the movie though because she keeps bringing it up :/
I will also make more space for M to participate bc I couldn't help but wonder what else he might say if he's given the chance.

I'm so pleased with the way things are going so far :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wanna Be More Organized Wednesday

I arrived at work last Friday and decided to quit whining, put my big girl panties on and come up with a menu so that I could buy groceries as planned and have the week more organized.

Here goes: 

Friday - Senior Night - mini quiches bought and re-heated/ game food

Saturday - downtown RotaryFest - corn dogs for lunch 

Sunday - Crock-Pot chicken taco stuff served over tortilla chips for lunch
Chocolate Chip cookies
Brinner for Supper 

Monday - Shrimp Creole and PW Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Wednesday - Church Night Supper

I knew I would have a houseful of people all weekend and I would need to have food on hand.  I tried to plan ahead so I wouldn't have to go to the grocery store again and again.  I did go over my budgeted amount for the week...but I swear I didn't buy anything we didn't need.
I swear.

Then, I forgot Soccer Boy's birthday on Monday.  
Soccer Boy is a fan of my cooking; bless his heart.  Birthdays are celebrated around here partly by the birthday person choosing the restaurant he/she wants.
Soccer Boy chose eating in...instead of the pasta on my agenda, however, he asked me if I could make that "shrimp stuff over rice like you did that time"
I finally figured out what he was talking, of course, I had to go back to the store.
Next week will have to be a lean week to recoup for this one.  But, I'd rather be lean now than run short during the week of Thanksgiving.

I have 1 meal worth of frozen chicken breasts, tilapia, the pasta stuff I had planned for Monday and a little over a pound of gr. chuck in the freezer.  I'm hoping to make due with that + start picking up what I need for Thanksgiving week.  

I think I can do it bc that's 4 meals right there.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mississippi Madness

I'm taking a break today from my usual Top Ten Tuesday to blog a little about an amendment the good citizens of Mississippi are voting on today.

Today, as we cast our vote for governor, we will also vote whether or not to amend the MS constitution with Proposition 26.  Ever heard of it?

Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word “person” or “persons”, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.

Proposition 26, better known as the Personhood Initiative, acknowledges that "personhood" begins at fertilization, and then that "person" has rights just like everyone else.  
Proposition 26 would outlaw abortion in MS.
Which is the sole agenda of the group of people who've managed to get enough signatures to get it put on our ballot.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that abortion in Mississippi is about as hot of an issue as you'll find anywhere. Here in the Bible Belt, you might as well pack your bags and move into Hell if you are Pro-Choice.
Because around these parts Pro-Choice means Pro-Abortion.
And a lot of voters think that a person can't be a Christian and also Pro-Choice.
Isn't that the stupidest thing??

I'm a Christian.
I believe in one God who sent His son to die for me.
I believe in free will and I believe in grace.
I believe in life.
I believe in choice.
I believe in giving to Caesar what is tax money (even though I don't have to like it)
I believe in giving to God what is His...absolutely everything else...including my body.

But, the thing that really gets my goat about this issue is that Caesar (or any other government) has no right whatsoever defining when life begins!
What the you know what does that have to do with politics?????

Proposition 26 has literally split the religious groups in MS...some die hard groups see an end to abortion and that's all they can see.
Others are suspicious, as am I, about the untold consequences of passing such an amendment.

A few of the unanswered questions about this Proposition are as follows:

Will certain kinds of birth control (those that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting) be illegal?
What about rape? and the morning after pill?
What about ectopic pregnancies and other similar medical issues?
What about the legal rights of a woman and her doctor to make decisions based on what's best for hers and her baby's health?
How will Proposition 26 change the laws about IVF?

Can you believe that there is a strong possibility that this amendment will be passed given the sample unknowns above???
I'm sick about it.

I'm sick mostly because I believe the groups behind this amendment are using the people of Mississippi.
They are using religion to get what they want.
And, what makes me angrier, is that even many intelligent people in my state will fall for it.

I'm posting some little tidbits below if you're not familiar with our little mess down's my blog so I'm taking the liberty of posting the NO video first...cause that's what I'm voting today.


Yesterday afternoon the news estimated that the yes and no votes were neck and neck.
A lot of the younger generation are voicing their opposition to this amendment...but will they get out and vote?
I sure hope so.

I'll update my blog with numbers as they start coming in tonight after the polls close for those who are interested.
  If you're the praying kind, please pray for the state of MS and its citizens.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday at the Movies - The Ugly Dachsund

Our little Lizzie and Layla are setting boundaries.  
Layla very much wants Lizzie to know that she is Alpha...she reminds Lizzie frequently by rolling her on the ground and putting her mouth on Lizzie's head.  Oy.
Lizzie, much much smaller than Layla, instead of cowering from Layla, will instead stand up to her, snarl and bark.
Layla then falls to her knees so she can see Lizzie eye to eye and they proceed to have a "conversation."  Layla with her low pitched German Shepherd noises and Lizzie with her high pitched squeaks and barks make me sometimes feel as though I'm at the zoo watching the monkeys.

What's weird about this scenario though is that they are both enjoying themselves immensely.
Plus, most Cavaliers are not "aggressive" towards other dogs...especially much bigger dogs.
My mom told me the other day that she has only heard her Cavaliers growl maybe twice in the 2 years since she's had hers.
Double Oy.
Leave it to me to have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who thinks she's a German Shepherd.

I'm FaceBook friends with the daughter of the woman who owns Lizzie's mom and dad.  We were talking about this silly turn of events when she reminded me of the 1966 Disney movie The Ugly Dachsund.

Don't you just wish they made movies like this today...just sweet and innocent humor...mixed with animal chaos?
Suzanne Pleshette with her unforgettable husky voice and funny Dean Jones are the stars of this movie with their animal cohorts, a Great Dane, and several Dachsunds.  The Dachsunds are the original pets of this married couple until the husband brings home the Great Dane puppy with no idea of how big it is going to get.  As the puppy grows, havoc grows and grows...the absolute pinnacle of this havoc is when Brutus the Great Dane starts acting like a Dachsund.

If you love animals as I do...especially if you're a dog lover, I bet you remember this movie from childhood as I do.  If you've never seen it, please set aside a couple of hours to watch this funny, funny will bring a smile to your face...I promise.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend Cooking - Crock Pot Barbeque Chicken and Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Another Pinterest find is a little blog called Stick a Fork in It.
I'm always on the lookout for easy week-night recipes that can be put together ahead of time and/or thrown in the crock-pot.
I'm just exhausted when I get home everyday...and I don't want to even think...or make any more decisions.
That's also another reason why I'm a much happier camper when I have a Menu Plan for the week.

We enjoy barbeque chicken, and I used to make it in the oven before we had a nest full of children.  Then, it seemed like I could never get the chicken cooked correctly.  I was worried sick that the chicken wiould be raw and I wouldn't notice bc of all the barbeque sauce...and I'd make my little people sick.  I finally just gave up and quit making it.

Until I found this little pin...

The exact recipe is available through the link.

I literally dumped all of the ingredients in the crock-pot the morning we were going to have it for dinner.
I did get a little concerned when the recipe called for vinegar...I actually almost didn't put it in there.  I'm a sweet barbeue sauce fan...not tangy.
No need to worry though!! 
This stuff was delicious!
And the sauce has a kicked up taste to it as well...thanks to the red pepper flakes.
We ate the chicken as intact breasts with some lima beans and these garlic biscuits below, but you could just as easily shred the chicken and make pulled barbeque chicken sandwiches.
This one is definitely a keeper!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.