Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Very Good And A Very Tough Day Today

A local homeschool group I belong to had an outing today.  We were not originally able to go, but our plans today got cancelled so we were able to go after all.  Another mom in the group and I were trying to get our sons together and she was going to be at this outing, too.  Evidently, the boys hit it off b/c they stuck together during their activities and when it was time to go they hugged each other goodbye.  Yeah!  This boy is a hugger like B!  The other mom and I were very happy the boys bonded and plan to get them together again, soon.  That was the “Very Good” of our day.

Here’s the tough part…For the past 2 years, I have worked for an after-school care program in the afternoons and B is able to come with me for free (and we love it).  Our county started back to school this past Monday, so I started back to work, too.  Last week we were telling B that the public schools were starting up again and that I would be starting back to work and how fun for him to be back at the after-school care program.  But all he kept focussing on was, “Summer is over?!”  We have continuously reassured him that just b/c the public school system is back in session, his Summer is not over.  We are going away to the beach for a week in September and Summer does not end until September 22nd this year.  Plus, we have been teaching 3rd grade to him since July 11th, not even 1/3 of the way through Summer.

Ever since we got back from New England last week, B has been quick to tear up during our schooling.  Anytime I would correct something he did or I would ask him a question he didn’t know the answer to, he dissolved into puddles!  Both the hubs and I asked him what was wrong and what was he worried about but he kept telling us he didn’t know. Well, during today’s lesson, the truth finally came out as he sobbed in my arms.  He is worried if he does not do everything right at homeschooling that we will send him back to the public school system and he does not want to go back there!  My heart broke when he sobbed that against my shoulder!

I reassured him that we would not send him back to public school b/c of that, but he might go back to “traditional” school sometime.  I explained that students could go part-time to high school in our county and, if we were still HSing then, I woulddefinitely send him to public school for Biology and Chemistry.   I am not going to dissect anything in my house and this straight-A, goody-goody is ashamed to say she flunked Chemistry.  <:-O  I also told him that at some point, he may want to go back to public school and give it another try and his daddy and I would support him.  Hearing me say these things and seeing the earnestness on my face finally reassured him.  Phew!

When the hubs came home from work this afternoon, we headed to the pool.  There was only one dad and 4 boys there when we arrived.  B played with them for an hour and they left.  After that, the hubs played with B and I took a snooze on a lounge.  ;o)  So glad the day ended on the “very good”!

Some of My Trip to New England

One of my (many, many, many) cousins got married last Saturday and B and I went.  My parents were driving up and let us come along.  The 1st day of driving, B and I did school in the car.  I had intended to teach every day in the car, but that so did not work out.  One of his Language Arts lessons is teaching him how to write paragraphs.  The lessons give him a topic and he needs to come up with 3 things, in order of importance, and then a sentence that incorporates all 3.  That’s all we’ve gotten up to so far. One of the topics on this particular day was “Mom Is Great” and he needed to write down his 3 favorite reasons I am great.  My musical son immediately starts singing the Bill Cosby song, “Dad is great!  He gives us chocolate cake!”, and then proceeds to make up his own words to fit the melody: “Go, Na-na! She gives me Nu-tel-la!” and “She won’t topple! She feeds me lots of waffles!”  I love that he has inherited my and my dad’s gift of creating new words to songs on the spot.  He is hilarious!

One of the other topics he had to write about was “Homeschool Is Great” and his 3rd sentence caught me off guard, “I don’t get bullied at homeschool.”  I asked him if that happened a lot when he was in public school (he went for kindergarten and 1st grade) and he said, “Hmmm…about 3/4 of a lot.”  He went on to tell me that a group of 2nd grader bullied him daily!  While he was in school, he only told us about 2 incidents, and neither one had to do with this group of 2nd graders.  When I asked him why he hadn’t brought it up to us before, he just shrugged and said he told the teachers about it everyday and they told him to just ignore the kids.  But ignoring them did not stop the behavior.
We have talked to B about bullying several times over the last 4 years to let him know what is OK, what isn’t, what he has our permission to do to a bully and what we will do to him if he bullies others.  And yet, we must have been telling him too much and not asking him enough.  So ask your kids about bullying.  Just because they don’t come to you and tell you are getting bullied doesn’t mean they’re not.
When we got to the hotel in Albany, I took B to the hotel pool to burn off some energy.  He was so good in the car for a boy who needs to move all the time.  I cannot believe how excited he was to get in that pool!  And it was not your standard, “Olympic-sized” hotel pool.  That thing was 6′ wide, 10′ long and cloudy.  But it was the bomb as far as he was concerned.  I mean, he was last-day-of-school excited!  I love how the little things are all he needs.
The next day I drove, my mom navigated and B and my dad sat in the back, watching a movie.  They wore headphones so we could not hear the movie, but it was so funny to hear the two of them giggle or burst out laughing together.  My dad treated us to Bromley on the way to my Nana’s house in Vermont.  We had a blast.  At Bromley last year, B successfully climbed his 1st rock wall.  This time, he did all 4 levels.  We also got to do the water slides this time.  B was his normal, outgoing self and talked to everyone (that boy’s never met a stranger) but what really impressed me was how aware he was of others and moved carefully/accordingly.  For example, when he got to the bottom of an alpine slide, he got off, picked up his sled and proceeded to the sled drop-off area.  After a few steps, he realized a man was at the next sled with his camera up.  B stopped and waited and finally a child came down that slide, the man took a picture and thanked B for waiting.  B’s never done that before, especially in an exciting place!  I was very proud.

When we got back in the car to head to my Nana’s house, B went into the all-about-me’s.  I want another movie; read me Harry Potter.  When we got to Nana’s it was play a game with me.  Although most of the day had been about him and having fun, now he needed to back off and let us do what we needed and wanted to do – unpack, rest, visit with Nana.  He was frustrated, unhappy and tired.  Instead of whining or continue to pester us, he decided to run laps in the parking lot to burn off his frustration.  I have one smart cookie!

Due to limited room, my parents stayed at my Nana’s house and B and I stayed with my dad’s brother and his wife.  We had this wonderful carry-out pizza for dinner and my dad asked B if he wanted a knife and fork to eat his pizza.  My little smart-ass said, “No, thanks.  I don’t eat like Donald Trump.”  OMG, I about fell over laughing!  My dad, of course had no idea what B was talking about and I could not explain it to him.  B was talking about this story on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where Donald Trump disrespects New Yorkers with his pizza selection and way of eating it.  You have to watch it, it’s so funny!

Day 3 of The Whole30

Today was wonderful compared to the past 2 days!  I woke up refreshed and wasn’t tired all day long; I have stayed headache-free all day; the hubs did most of the cooking.  :oD  He woke up and made sausage from scratch and scrambled eggs.  I was worried how the eggs would taste, cooked in coconut oil; everything else cooked in it tasted sweet.  But I did not detect any taste of coconut.  Could my taste buds be changing already?  The sausage was good.  We have a ton of steak leftover from last night (I overestimated how much iron we could consume) so heated that up and sauteed some onions for lunch.  The hubs made mayo this afternoon and steamed North Carolina shrimp for dinner.  It was soooooo goooooood.  I made a salad to go along with it.

His pinched shoulder was just as bad today, but he wouldn’t let me rub it nor put heat on it.  Instead, he felt he could cure himself by cleaning out every drawer and cabinet on the main floor.  Dude seriously acted like he was nesting today with all the cooking and cleaning.  I have plenty of kitchen gadgets to Freecycle as soon as the hurricane passes.  By dinner time, just the act of holding his head up was so painful.  I feel sorry for him.  He was asleep tonight before B.  Hopefully he can sleep pain-free.

Well, since I have had a good day, that’s all I have to say about The Whole30.  And that makes me very happy!

Day 2 of Whole30

I cannot believe the side effects of this detox!  I am miserable, the hubs is miserable, we’re not getting enough food, I still have a headache and the hubs has stressed himself into a pinched shoulder nerve.  Remember in yesterday’s post about day 1 when I said I ruined everything I cooked?  I thought that was a fluke b/c I know my way around a kitchen and have the degree to prove it.  But today I have burned myself, cut myself a few times and banged every finger in either a kitchen drawer, kitchen cabinet or in between pans!  On top of all of that, B’s pouty, whiny attitude of yesterday turned into sulky this morning and then to downright anger.  So I gave up!

I talked to the hubs about it and he agreed.  Until he and I can get past the worst in the beginning and get into a food routine, we are taking B off the plan.  This was not me giving up the battle of wills with B.  This was just a sanity saver for everyone.  He was very happy when we told him tonight.  But we also informed him that when we get our Whole30 shit together he will go back on it and in the meantime, he will not be eating nothing but carbs.  I think he was so happy he would agree to anything!  ;o)

I decided to fix steak for dinner, hoping some iron would perk us up.  I cooked with olive oil some more today and still no allergic reaction from me.  :o)  With all the added veggies to my diet I have frequent gas.  And it smells sickeningly sweet!  I guess that’s from the coconut oil?!

We went for a drive this evening with the windows down and by the time we were heading back home, I was feeling better.  I don’t know if the steak kicked in or if it was the fresh air.  But I am grateful.  What I find interesting is that no matter how bad the hubs and I feel, we haven’t cheated nor quit.  We are committed and I’m proud of us.  We need to make these changes for our health, our attitudes, our energy and our son.  We are not giving in or giving up.  Actually, for me I think giving up is not an option b/c that means at some point I’d have to start over again.  And I am not starting the caffeine withdrawal over again!  ;o)

Day One on The Whole30

oday can be summed up with one word – LABORIOUS.  I have never washed this many dishes on a holiday!  Washing, peeling, chopping, rinsing, crockpotting (I made up a new word – yeah me!), baking, sauteing.  Phew!  I needed to plan more before starting this thing.  Plan out what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least the 1st week.  The Success Guide actually gives you enough recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks your first week.  However, I could not find canned tomatoes without additional ingredients nor approved sausage, among other ingredients, the hubs won’t eat this and B won’t eat that…  Aye, ye, ye!

I thought my biggest challenge would be finding something for B to eat at breakfast.  Turns out, my worries were completelyunfounded.  Breakfast was a breeze; he ate donuts.  The hubs tried to go into work yesterday but was sent home b/c his office building had sustained damage in Tuesday’s earthquake.  On his way back home he stopped at our favorite bagel shop for him and me and at Dunkin Donuts for B.  This morning B says to me, “Last night, when we were cleaning out the fridge and pantry of foods we can’t eat for the next 30 days, I asked Daddy if I should throw out the rest of the donuts.  He told me not to.  Why would he tell me not to throw them out if no one could eat them for 30 days?  They’d go bad and we could not eat them in 30 days.  I think he wanted them kept so that someone could eat them now.  Who do you think he wanted to eat them, Mama, who?”  @@  Whatever.  He ate the donuts.

For some reason, God must have thought I needed a humbling day because just about everything I cooked today turned out wrong.  Too spicy, overdone, dry, etc.  Oh, and obviously I needed to practice my knife skills with all the chopping and cutting.  ;o)

Here’s what we ate today (please note that not all of us ate everything on this list):

  • Donuts
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cantaloupe
  • Salad
  • Pork Marsala (minus the Marsala)
  • Crockpotted and then roasted (don’t ask!) chicken
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
I also made soup and 2 kinds of flavored waters today.  The hubs likes to drink Fruit 2O b/c plain water is too, well, plain for him.  He cannot drink store bought flavored waters b/c they have artificial ingredients.  He was really bummed by that.  So, today I made him some raspberry-flavored and lemon-flavored water and both passed his taste test.  :o)  Tomorrow I’m going to make watermelon water and honeydew water.   When he came home from work today I asked him how it went with drinking his coffee black.  “I didn’t have any coffee today,” he replied.  “Is drinking no coffee better than drinking coffee black?”  “Yes,” he replied.  hehehe  He actually drank unsweetened, uncreamed (another new word, courtesy of yours truly) tea at work b/c they have flavored ones there.  *thumbs up*  I cooked with coconut oil for the 1st time.  I’ll have to get used to the sweet taste it gives food.
In reflecting on the day, not only do I realize I need to plan and find a way to make things easier on myself, but I don’t think any of us ate enough food.  We are supposed to have 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks.  Not only did we not eat all those meals, the portion sizes that those meals are supposed to be are way more than got in us today.  However, at least the donuts made up for lost calories in B’s diet.  ;o)  I was tired today; really missed the caffeine.
Oh, I almost forgot!  You are not going to believe this but I cooked with olive oil today and ate it!  No. Reaction.  Why did my allergy to olive oil suddenly disappear?!  I don’t know if it is b/c I used an olive oil that was not extra-virgin or if my allergic reactions in the past have not necessarily been the olive oil itself but maybe a combo of the oil and some other ingredient?  I don’t know what gave me the wild hair to decide to eat olive oil today, knowing I was allergic to it, but I’m glad I gave it a try!
OK, I gotta go to bed!  Here’s hoping tomorrow is less laborious!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, For Tomorrow, We Diet!

Tomorrow, the three of us are going on The Whole30.  It is a healthy way of eating for 30 days to sort of detox your body from unhealthy foods and the bad effects from that food.  We will eat real food in it’s natural state – meats, fruits and vegetables – and no processed food.  We can cook it however we want to as long as we use simple ingredients in their natural state.  It’s only a 30 day commitment and it’s worth it to us to see what changes occur in our health, our bodies and our energy levels.  At the end of that 30 days, we’ll see if we want to continue eating this way.  I certainly hope we will.

A friend from school started The Whole30 on July 1st with two of her girlfriends and posted to Facebook what they were doing.  I was curious, so I followed the link and read about it.  I really liked what I read and began talking to the hubs about it.  He liked the benefits that the creators of the program listed, but was skeptical about all that needed to be given up.  No processed foods; no grains; no legumes; no dairy; no beverages other than water (plain or self-flavored), black coffee and tea; no alcohol; no sugars (natural or artificial); no corn; no white potatoes.  The hardest for me is going to be no soda.  The hardest for the hubs will be no Equal and no creamer in his coffee.  The hardest for B will be no grains and no dairy!  If he had his druthers, those would be the only two food groups he would ever eat.

At first, he took it pretty well that he was not going to eat cereal for 30 days.  I was suspicious.  So I let him know that meant oatmeal, too.  “What?!  What am I supposed to eat for breakfast, than?!”  Eggs.  Sausage.  Veggies.  “I’m not eating eggs,” he laughed.  “Then you’ll go hungry,” I replied.  “I am not eating eggs,” he laughed again.  “Then, you’ll go hungry,” I said, again.  “I am not eating eggs,” he said. “Go brush your teeth,” I replied.  We could’ve gone back and forth all day like that b/c we are both cut from the same stubborn cloth and are determined to win the battle of wills.  I was not fighting it.  I’ve dealt with his picky eating before.  He’s not wasting away to nothing and can afford to miss a few meals.  Eventually, when he’s hungry enough, he always eats what I make available to him.

B and I went to New England for a week for my cousin’s wedding.  I did not want to deal with the hassle of a new, restrictive diet on the road, staying in hotels and traveling with my parents.  Regardless of what I say or what is best for B, my mom feeds him whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  One time he spent the night at my parents’ house and had nothing to eat the whole time except 12 bowls of cereal.  She says that’s called “grandparents’ prerogative”.  Yeah, was not fighting that fight on the road with my parents.

This afternoon I was reading from  The Success Guide to go over everything we can and cannot eat with my guys as well as the why we are eating this way.  The reality of it hit the hubs.  No sweetened or creamed coffee.  “We are drinking ourasses off tonight!” he said.  LOL!  So we all had our own “last supper”.  I had pizza, B had a gigantic cinnamon-sugar soft pretzel, the hubs had leftover Chinese food and chips and dip.  We also broke out the root beer, sarsaparilla, vanilla cream soda and Sixlets we brought back from The Vermont Country Store.  I feel sick; I ate way too much.

You are not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days.  You can weigh before and after only.  Although most people do experience some weight loss, everyone is different and they don’t want you to be discouraged or base your success on the scale alone.  The goal is to feel and be better.  All three of us weighed ourselves and had our blood pressure measured today and we will compare those to our numbers on September 24th.  We are going to the beach for a week sometime during the next 30 days so that will be a good test.  We stay in a house with a kitchen so we can prepare our own meals.  The hubs asked, “What about eating out?  I’ll be on vacation, after all.”  I don’t see the problem.  We go out for seafood and there are plenty of entrees we like that just get steamed.  Add some veggies on the side and we’re good to go!

We went to the store this afternoon to stock up on approved foods and I made the hubs breakfast and lunch to take with him to work tomorrow.  I thought a salad would be nice and easy to send him with until I remembered he can’t use a bottled salad dressing.  I calmed down and made one.  B declared in the store that he only likes to eat carrots with dip so he won’t be eating any carrots.  I informed him I could make some mayonnaise and then create a dip for him from that.  I could see he was impressed.

Now I just need to get through an I-am-not-eating-eggs breakfast with him tomorrow!  Wish me luck!  I’ll keep you updated on our progress!

Boxers and Grocery Bags

B and I are heading out to a wedding in New England tonight; the hubs is not going.  :o(  Last night I was getting together all the clothes that needed to be washed for the trip and, of course, I gathered my underwear.  I only have 9 pairs (note to self – add Hanes cotton underwear to the My Favorite Things page) so that should be plenty for the trip in addition to the pair I was wearing and one I would wear today.  Unfortunately, I could only find 7 pairs, including the ones I had on, and none were clean.  So all  pairs had to go in the wash to get me through the one week trip.  But what to wear in the mean time…  I can wear my 8 year old’s socks, but there is no way I can wear his underwear (I know this b/c curiosity killed the cat and I just had to go in his room and try them on. Fail.)
I decided to dig through the hubs’ drawer.  Past the boxers I found a pair of boxer-briefs and pulled them on.  The Heavens parted, light streamed through the bedroom window and angels sang, “Ahhhh!”  I have not worn a pair of men’s underwear since college and now, for the life of me, I can’t imagine why I haven’t!  They are so comfortable to lounge around in.  I wore them to bed last night with one of the hubs’ t-shirts and I am still wearing them now, as I type to you.  (Don’t worry, Iam going to get dressed once I post this and I will put on a clean pair of my own underwear.)
So, my message to you all is this: if you have not been wearing your partner’s underwear, give it a try.  You may like it.  And if you have been wearing their underwear all along, why have you not shared the benefits with me?!
I’ve previously talked about my love of reading obits in the local paper here.  Reading the June 30th paper made me very happy. It contained that rare gem of an obit that honored the entire life of one of our residents. I loved hearing about his professional baseball career, his uniformed and clandestine services to our country and his love of animals. Thank you, family, for writing that one. I know it was hard but it was a gift to so many.
I also learned a new word from the local paper’s crime report, “burglarious”. I know, I was skeptical at first, too, thinking the officer who wrote that police report was getting creative. But I looked it up at and there it was! So it must be a real word, right?
Teenage cashiers at my Wegmans are too cocky for my taste (yet another sign that I am getting old – chastising the young whipper-snappers at the grocery store).  They critique my purchases!  Who the heck are they?  I shop with reusable bags.  In addition to the carrying handles, they have little loops on the tops for the cashiers to place over a hook to hold the bag in place as they fill it in front of them.  Some of my loops are no longer there b/c the cats have chewed them off.  However, the cashiers has a big, flat surface behind them on which to place such bags and load there.  But I have had several teenagers tell me that I need to replace my bags b/c they cannot hook them on.  Whatever.  Last week when I went in, one teeny-bopper was bagging for the teeny-bopper ringing and out of my bag of reusable bags she pulls one from another grocery store.  She actually said to me, “Seriously?  I can’t believe you brought a Giant grocery bag in here.”  A Harris Teeter cashier, very jokingly, had said the same thing me once before and we laughed about it.  This little girl, however, was serious.  “Would you rather I shop at Giant with my Wegmans bags instead?  B/c if you do, I’d be happy to tell your manager how you feel.”  That girl straightened up faster than B does when the hubs gives him “The Look“.  “I see your point,” she said. “Besides, it’s just one bag, right?” I chose not to respond.  @@

The New Look

Last night I got a wild hair and decided to change the look of my blog.  There were not a whole lot of colors and backgrounds that I liked when I started it, so I picked a plain navy and orange and forgot about it.  But I want to grow my readership and my blog and and I want to add more things to it.  I started poking around and found all this stuff that wasn’t there before!  I changed the theme and the colors, added pages (Recipes, Movies, Books, Favorite Things), figured out how to jump break and added some gadgets.  Some of the pages are still empty, but bear with me.  I’ll work on filling them up!

Not My Mother’s Turkey Broccoli Casserole

When the hubs called me this morning for my daily “Good Morning” call, he said he’d seen a commercial for pancakes on the TV at work and he was now in the mood for pancakes.  I asked if he wanted a breakfast-dinner (breakfast food for dinner) so he could get his pancake fix and he heartily said yes.  As I set out some bacon to thaw, I realized that, although I enjoy me some pancakes, I was not in the mood for them today.  I know B will want the breakfast-dinner, too, so…..what to make for me….

Chicken Broccoli Casserole!

I LOVE Chicken Broccoli Casserole but the hubs and B would be fine and dandy if they never had it again.  The hubs is prejudiced against casseroles.  He thinks of casseroles as all being the same from his childhood –  weeks worth of leftovers thrown together in a dish and covered with some kind of salty, gross-looking sauce the masks what’s in there.  He’s come a long way in the last 16 years with me.  I finally got him to let me make a Chicken Pot Pie earlier this year and he loves it.  But he is NOT budging on my Chicken Broccoli Casserole!  LOL!  That’s fine; I let this one slide because then I get to eat it all myself.

It’s a dish that my mom made, but she called it Turkey Broccoli Casserole because she only made it a couple of times a year with the leftovers from a holiday turkey.  I didn’t like it as a child.  Part of that was because I was a picky eater and my mom catered to that in her kids and part of it was the way she made her casserole.  As the name suggests, there is broccoli in it.  My mom would by the cardboard box of frozen broccoli spears, set them out to thaw, boil them once they were thawed and then they baked for another hour inside the casserole.  By the time her casserole came out of the over, the broccoli was not recognizable (it wasn’t even green anymore) and it smelled awful!  This was surprising, since my mom is an excellent cook and pasted her love of pleasing others through food to me.  But we all are allowed an Achilles’ heel.  Until 2 year ago, I could not make simple boiled rice or mashed potatoes!

I call my version Chicken Broccoli Casserole, because I make it several times a year and mostly with chicken.  I use frozen broccoli flowerets and add them to the casserole frozen.  They will thaw and cook enough while baking in the oven.  I’ve posted my recipe, here, if you’re interested.

Gotta go!  The timer just went off!  (I could not wait until dinner time to cook it!)

"Me and Her"

The hubs and I received a small photo album as a wedding gift and it has 4×6 wedding proofs in it and some candid shots we took the weekend of our wedding. In one of the pages of the album is a poem. It looks like it has been cut out of a newspaper. I have no memory of where it came from but I love it. It says this:

Me and Her

She is compulsive.
I am impulsive.
She likes it hot.
I like it cold.
She is neat.
I’m a slob.
Andy Rooney says, “A’s marry Z’s.”
But we are different alphabets.
I push.
She pulls.
She says, “Up.”
I say, “Down.”
She is night.
I am day.
Living together is hard.
Living without her would be impossible.

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