Monthly Archives: September 2012

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

Here’s another great recipe that my friend, Julia, shared with me – Grilled Bruschetta Chicken from Kraft Foods.  I declared it International Night in our house and made Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, guacamole and fried rice for dinner.  :o)  This chicken dish is easy and fast, a great last minute entree you can throw together in 30 minutes or less.  It’s so easy, that I don’t even follow the recipe measurements; I just eyeball and dump things together, depending on how many I’m cooking for.  So here we go…

You only need 5 ingredients: chicken, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (or just Italian dressing if that’s what you’ve got), basil, fresh tomato and mozzarella cheese.  First, pour some dressing over the chicken.

While the chicken is marinating, wash and chop a tomato and fresh basil.
Combine chopped tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and a squirt or two of dressing.

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill and place chicken on grill.  Now, the recipe says to cook the chicken breasts for 6 min on the 1st side and 8 min on the 2nd.  I buy the 10# bag of Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts form Costco.  Each piece of chicken is fairly thin and weighs approx. 5 oz.  So I only need to cook them 3-4 minutes a side.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cover with your tomato/basil/cheese/dressing mixture and finish cooking. If you are cooking on an outdoor grill, flip the chicken over onto a piece of foil and then top with your mixture.  The foil will catch any topping from running off the chicken and going down into your grill.

TA-DA!  That’s it!

Paper Back Swap

I know I’ve written about before. It’s even on My Favorite Things tab. I post books I want to pass onto others. I get a message when someone wants one of my books. I log into my PBS account, print off a shipping label, wrap the book and mail it off at the cheap media mail rate. I’ve only spent more than $2.48 to mail a book once. I get one credit for every book I send, which I use to receive books from others. The person sending me the book pays for shipping and I pay nothing.

Yesterday, I received 2 requests for books I own, one of which, I had receiced from another PBS user and am now forwarding it on since I’m done (Fifty Shades). I used to go to the post office to buy postage and ship the books, but now I buy the postage online through PBS and it is printed on the label for me!

I fell so happy, putting those books in the mailbox, closing the door and lifting the red flag for our mail carrier. I know the joy of opening my mailbox and seeing a book I’ve requested arrive. I really enjoy being united in the love of reading with total strangers, all over the country! One PBS member sent me a very nice thank you message last year. She lives in Alaska and said very few other PBS members will send her books due to higher postage for the greater distance (it was $3.28 to send that book). It brought joy to her by sending her a book and she brought joy to me by expressing her appreciation. We all need daily joy and can provide it to anyone, anywhere.

(Wrote this on my phone through the Blogger app while at B’s last handwriting lesson. Don’t think I’ll be doing this often!)

Review of Big Apple Circus at Dulles Town Center, Loudoun County, Virginia

We went to The Big Apple Circus yesterday and had a blast!*  The tent is intimate – seats less than 1,800 – so every seat is close to the action.  One act performs at a time and there weren't any lasers or fireworks or props all lit up light like Christmas trees.  That is very important to me, the mom of a child who gets sensory overload pretty easily.  The crew is very efficient when changing the ring for acts.  In fact, you may not even notice them at all because you are looking up at a solo trapeze act or laughing at the clowns' high jinx in the stands.

The theme of this, their 35th, season is LEGENDARIUM: A JOUNEY INTO CIRCUS PAST.  We enjoyed classic acts from when circuses began – horses, trapeze, clowns, contortions and acrobats.  Things I hadn't seen before were a slack wire, tangoing jugglers or were they juggling tangoers and trick bikes to bring us back to the present.  Each act was wonderful.  There's no magic, no slight of hand, no trickery.  It's athletes and performers who awed, amazed and entertained us with their strength, skills and talents.

Our seats were front row, center!  We were so close to the action, it was hard to not reach out and touch the beautiful horses as they went by or feel the costume of the female acrobat in Quinterion as she strutted on the ledge in front of us.  So close, in fact, that when those horses got up to a nice trot, they kicked up some floor shavings onto us.  It was a 3-D show!  LOL  Don't worry, the staff was diligent about keeping the floor shaving clean of any animal droppings, so we stayed clean, too.

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I Believe A National Anthem Deserves Respect

The flag in front of our house at night, lit up, as it deserves to be.

I don’t begrudge anyone for not knowing all the words to The Star Spangled Banner, even though I’ve ensured everyone in my house knows the words.  But I do believe that if you live in a country, are a citizen of a country, reap the benefits of a country, especially if one of those benefits is the freedom to speak out against that country, that you should give that country’s flag and anthem the respect it deserves.

Against my will, I’ve watched lots of baseball and football games recently, and I’m disappointed in the individuals on the field during The National Anthem.  Like I’ve said, I don’t expect you to sing along perfectly, nor sing along at all!  Everyone on the field has a ton of things on their minds when they have a game to play.  However, I believe for the few minutes that our national anthem is sung or played, every person on the field should honor the country in which they get paid hundred of thousands or millions of dollars to do what they love to do.  People risk their lives to enter this country and have a better life for their families.  Citizens leave their families and go to war in foreign countries to defend our flag, protect our citizens and allow the freedoms that pay professional athletes obscene amounts of money.  So I want to see everyone on the field setting the example by facing our flag, holding their right hand over their heart and staying in that position until the anthem is over.

Life of Fred – Our Math Curriculum

This is where B does his Math.

We chose Life of Fred this year for B’s Math curriculum.  What I love about Life of Fred is that it is independent study for B.  He reads a chapter or 2 by himself on the days we do Math and answers the questions at the end of each chapter.  Even though he is in 4th grade, we followed the suggestion of the creators and had B start from the 1st Life of Fred book to ensure he is building on all concepts.  My goal is for him to complete the 1st 10 books before we start 5th grade; he started the 3rd book, Cats, earlier this week.  

loves reading about Fred’s life and the adventures he and his doll, Kingie, have.  He’s especially impressed with how well Kingie can draw.  ;o)  I enjoy hearing B laugh as he reads and several times, he’s stopped to share with me something funny or amazing.

The other means of teaching Math the past 2 years (Math-U-See and workbooks) have not been successful with B, with the exception of flash cards.  At least he’s interested in this form of Math lesson and I can’t wait to see where he’ll be in knowledge, understanding and application at the end of the year.  I’m very pleased so far by reviewing his answers at the end of each chapter.  :o)

Letting B Handle Disappointment

Last month, I posted here that B and I were going to start a craft club in our homeschool group for the older elementary-aged kids.  He and I have had so much fun looking for and pinning craft ideas!  Yesterday was the 1st craft club meeting and we were so excited.  I cleaned (and sweated) for 2.5 hours, printed out templates, gathered supplies, set up a name tag station (because I have the worst memory), B made our name tags, we stuck them on our shirts and we hung a “WELCOME CRAFTERS” sign on the mailbox at the curb so everyone would know which house we were.  Then, we eagerly awaited the arrival of our fellow crafters.

No one showed.  Even though I had received RSVPs, no one emailed or called to say they weren’t coming.  We moms are famous for committing to something and have every intention to go to the thing we’ve been waiting to go to and then the day of, all hell breaks loose in the house.  Someone’s sick, someone gets punished, a repairman needs to come to the house, there’s a family emergency, etc.  I get it, I’ve done it.  Life happens.  But I wish they’d have let us know.  At least the hubs was mighty grateful to come home to a clean house!  ;o)

B was so disappointed.  He’s a very sensitive kid and cries at the drop of a hat.  Has a history of crying over everything, just like his mama.  Although, I don’t throw myself down on the floor, gnashing my teeth, rending my garments and screaming while I cry.  I’d like to sometimes, but I don’t.  B has gotten much better, especially over the last year.  He doesn’t melt into puddles over every disappointment or every single thing that goes wrong now.  He can hold it together for about the 1st 17 times but when the 18th thing happens…puddles…gnashing…rending…etc.  But none of that happened yesterday.  He wore his emotions on his dejected face and was quiet (for once!), but no tears.  He asked to ride his bike, so we went outside.  We also played catch, basketball (I hate that sport) and golf.

I was the one trying to hold back tears, watching my boy silently keep it together, but knowing by his expression and hung head how he really felt.  Him being silent kinda freaked me out.  I wanted to do something for him to make up for it – take him bowling, to a movie or out for ice cream.  But I had to resist.  Disappointment is a huge part of life and life rarely hands out bowling, movie or ice cream consolation prizes.  I had to let him feel it, deal with it, learn from it.  It was one of those terribly hard, sucky parts of parenting that hurt my heart.  I’m tearing up right now, reliving it!

But kids bounce and my kid does not hold grudges.  His PopPop took him to his handwriting class this morning and they go out to lunch afterwards.  His Nana asked him how craft club went and he matter-of-factly told her no one showed and then wanted to confirm that he would be back in time for our weekly, group park outing this afternoon.  That boy teaches me so much.

Random Things Heard In Our House Over The Last Week

I’ve been using a new line of skincare and I love how soft and smooth my skin is now.
Me: Feel my neck.
The hubs (Poking my neck): What’s wrong with it?
Me: Nothing.  Just feel it.  Run your hands up and down it.  Isn’t it smooth?
The hubs: Yeah.  Did you shave?

B: *sigh* I wish I could eat sprinkles right out of the box.
The hubs: There’s only one thing stopping you, you know.
B: My mother, the arch-nemesis of sweets.

The hubs absolutely hates ceiling lights.
Me: Would you like me to turn off that light over you?
The hubs: It might be difficult to turn off; it’s a halo.  *bats eyelashes*

Me to the hubs: I swear to God if you create an Alex P. Keaton in our son, I will hurt you.

Me: Please tell me you washed the rosemary before putting it in your compound butter!
The hubs: I washed the rosemary before putting it in the compound butter.
Me: You washed and dried it? I don’t see the paper towels you used to dry it.
The hubs: I…didn’t dry it.
Me: (Walk over to the remaining rosemary on the cutting board and feel it.) It’s dry.  You didn’t wash the rosemary!
The hubs: You just said to tell you I’d washed the rosemary…

B: Oh, I love the Ellen DeGenerate Show!

A friend and her 2 daughters stayed with us for 3 days.  After the first couple of hours of them being here, B said to me with conviction….
B: Yup.  I’m gonna love living with them.



A little over a week ago, I ran over to the Hair Cuttery where we all get our hair done to see our gal about my eyebrows.  My hair is naturally curly and most stylists do not know how to cut curly hair!  My gal is great at it and she does my eyebrows, too.   I can trust her with my eyebrows.  All I like is a little cleanup, no re-shaping, no removing of most of my eyebrows.

I was in a hurry and my gal had just gotten someone in her chair for a cut.  Her nice co-worker had also just gotten someone in her chair for a cut.  I could wait for my gal or I could have the 3rd gal, who was rarely busy (and for good reason, I would imagine) do them.  I hesitated.  “Wellllllll, as long as you can trust her to do a good job…,” I said to my gal.  “Oh. Yeah. You’ll be fine,” she said, with a look on her face I could not interpret at the time.  In hindsight, it was the same hesitant look on my face.  Did I mention this other stylist, who was rarely busy, was the manager?  My gal’s boss?

And all of you ladies reading this know exactly what happened next.  It happens every time we try someone new at a salon.  “I don’t want them thinned; I just want them cleaned up.  I can’t seem to keep up the maintenance with tweezers at home.”  “Keep same shape, right?” she asked.  “Yes!” I said with relief.  I closed my eyes, laid back and relaxed.

For some reason, instead of saying, “I’m all done,” or “What do you think,” she repeated poked me in the shoulder until I opened my eyes.  I sat up and looked in the mirror.  *sigh*  The shape of my eyebrows was no longer there.  She waxed off the tops and the bottoms, leaving less than half of them, and also used scissors to cut what was left close to my head.  :o/  There is nothing to brush – LOL!

Now, don’t get me wrong; a stranger on a street would think nothing of my eyebrows.  But to me they are shocking and abnormal.  I’ve seen plenty of eyebrows thinner than this out on the world.  But they’ll grow back and I learned my lesson.

Train’s Drive By

Have you heard this song?  I like it; catchy tune.  However, there is a line in the refrain that I do not like.  I don’t care how sincere you are nor how honorable your intentions may be.  You will not win me over by calling me “…a 2-ply Hefty bag…”.  Period.

Reading Fifty Shades of Grey: My need for a dictionary and it’s similarity to another bestselling series

We got this book a few months ago, hoping to read it together at night after B went to bed.  *snort*  The hubs could not last more than a paragraph and a half before falling asleep!  So, last week I decided to start reading the book on my own and by Chapter 5 I had come to two conclusions:

  1. I must keep a dictionary with me while I read, and
  2. It’s quite similar to the Twilight books!
Here are just a few examples of words in Fifty Shades of Gray that cause me to have a dictionary handy:
  • Castigating
  • Taciturn
  • Fisting (The dictionary was no help with this one, so I had to consult Wikipedia.  Holy crap! How does it even get in there?!  And why would you want yourself that stretched out?!)
  • Mercurial
Here are the similarities I have found between Fifty Shades and Twilight:
  • Written in the 1st person, solely from the POV of the main female character
  • Both novels take place in the Pacific Northwest
  • Anastasia and Bella are young, innocent, inexperienced, clumsy and skinny brunettes
  • They both have two male friends that want to be more, one of whom is all-American (Paul and Mike), the other being a minority (Jose and Jacob)
  • They both have flighty moms with a long list of fervent and then abandoned passions, multiple marriages and a keen insight into men when their daughter’s wish they weren’t so on the mark
  • They both want these men but the men won’t touch them
  • They both like classic literature and compare their relationships to one story in particular (Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Romeo & Juliet)
  • Christian and Edward are older in spirit than their age, they’re worldly, rich, brooding, wish they could read Anastasia’s and Bella’s minds, warn these ladies to stay away from them but they themselves cannot stay away from these ladies and rescue the ladies from harm.
  • Both men have the same hair – style and color!
  • Both men like to sniff these ladies, are hiding a deep, dark secret and have a fun-loving, teasing brother
  • Both men demand any physical relationship must be on their terms.
But then, there are similarities in other forms of entertainment, as well.  Most romantic comedies follow the same plot.  Most “heaving bosom books” (what my aunt calls historical romances because of the pictures on the front covers) are the same – innocent girl, experienced man, one’s rich, one’s poor, he’s rude, she hates him, passion ignites, he takes, she gives, their pride keeps them apart, many tears ensue and then they get together in the end.
Oh, well.  I’m happy to not be reading curriculum, researching curriculum or reading non-fiction about how to assist my son with functioning in this world.
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