Monday, June 10, 2013

Like a Blast of Reddi Wip

The children's Dad came to pick them up for visitation this weekend, as usual.  But two hours in advance, he texted me, saying he'd be a half-hour late.  OK, whatever.  Then, while he was in the driveway, his tire was suddenly flat.  Like, totally flat.  Much to my frustration, he didn't seem in the least bit surprised.....which made me suspect he knew the tire had a problem.  Then (confirming my suspicions) he pulled out an air pump that he'd been keeping in the passenger seat; apparently nursing the tire along regularly.  The best part?  Even the air pump was partially broken.  Apparently, he'd been nursing THAT along for a while as well.  In the end, we had to drive him to Wal-Mart, where he bought an aerosol can of "Fix-A-Flat" (or whatever it's called.)  It looks like a can of Reddi Wip--but for your tire.  Amazingly, this worked!  The tire held enough air for him to drive on it, even though the tire was showing visible wear from riding so low on the rim regularly.  Afterward, when I asked him when he would get the tire replaced, he looked at me, perplexed, 

"But it's fixed now,"  he said blankly.

He drove away with my babies, and I ran into the house and tore all my hair out one strand at a time.  After that, I realized the episode hit a nerve.  He treated that tire exactly the same way that he always did our marriage. With the tire, he had known for a long time that it had a slow leak. He occasionally put enough air into it to keep going. When it suddenly deflated, he was shocked, and treated it like a surprise emergency, which then justified inconveniencing everyone around him.  I don't think it ever crossed his mind to actually fix the problem, and if anyone did suggest it to him, he just blew it off. Our marriage was the same: a slow leak that he never thought to fix with anything other than just enough air to keep going, or an occasional blast of "Fix-A-Marriage."

This makes me want to come up with some sort of witty remark to the effect that I guess I rank right up there with an old tire.....but nothing's coming to me at the moment except a desire to go eat some Reddi Wip straight from the can.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Homeschooling Journal 3/15

I've become an accidental homeschooler.  And by "accidental" I mean that my son just got expelled.  He's in second grade.  Awesome, right?  At least he got expelled from a private Christian school.  If he'd been expelled from the public school, we would be in much deeper kimchi.  As it is, he's just continuing the 3-generation family legacy of getting kicked out of Christian education establishments.  (Don't ask, the stories aren't as illustrious as they sound.  OK, maybe they are.  Some day I'll write about them.)

Anyway, this kiddo has some behavior "issues" that make him a little tough to handle.  (OK, at *lot* tough to handle.)  And one of his issues is difficulty with transitions.  It takes hims 8-12 weeks to acclimate to a new school or environment.  And during that time, there's a lot of stress and chaos and visits to the principal's office.  So, with about that much left of the school year, it didn't seem like a good idea to plop him back into public school, just so he could spend the rest of the year getting in trouble and trying to catch on to a different curriculum.  So, we're homeschooling until June unless I blow a gasket and hit the panic button; which I'm giving myself carte blanche to do, if I'm totally losing it.  Then (If I need a break from him) he'll go back to public daycare school for the rest of the year, so I can take a breather.

Homeschooling started off this week with a real bang.  For the purposes of this blog post, "bang" will be defined as the worst stomach and intestinal bug that I've experienced in 20 years.  Three out of the five of us have been hit so far, and not much schooling was going on.  But despite all that, I'm not deterred.  And today is the first day this week that everyone is well, and the two girls are both at school.

So, today, we are trying in earnest.  But since this wasn't planned, I don't have much in the way of curriculum going on, so I'm going to log some of what we're doing here.  These posts will probably be pretty boring, as I'm going to use them as a journal of sorts.  So, feel free to ignore the "Homeschooling Journal" blog posts.  Today, we

-Worked on understanding simple division using a worksheet (which he didn't understand) and finally using raisins on the table.  Jacob still confuses division and multiplication.  Using the raisins helped a lot.  Then, Jacob created a Lego scene, and used Legos to demonstrate division into groups.

-Found a free typing tutor online.  Jacob loved this, and worked on it for 45 minutes.  He is on the Home Keys.

-Did PE outside with the dog

-Started reading The Wheel on the School

Earlier this week (when I was sick) Jacob also:

-Played with a Wild West sticker book, and created a "Bank Robbery at High Noon" scene with the stickers.  Then, he wrote a paragraph about the bank robbery.  First he created a "sloppy copy" and then we did corrections, and he rewrote a final draft.

-He played a Lego battle with his brother, who was also home sick.  Then, he wrote a 4 sentence paragraph about the battle, including a rough draft, corrections, and final draft.  We are starting to talk about the "hamburger" paragraph concept.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What I Cooked: Brunswick Stew for a Crowd

My Dad's favorite.  Turned out fantastic--best i've ever cooked.  Made for his birthday, last night.  Huge pot.  Served 12 with ample leftovers.

Prep time: 30 minutes (all the chopping!)

Several pounds of meat (I used pork chops)
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can V8 juice
3 cans chicken broth
1 can corn
2 small packages of frozen succotash
5 extra large potatoes, or 10-12 smaller ones, cubed in hearty chunks
extra frozen lima beans if you want them (there wasn't enough for me!)
a few celery stalks, diced

2 bay leaves
Poultry seasoning
Worcestire sauce and salt to taste
Dash of wine
salt and pepper to taste

Sear meat in some olive oil, while salting and peppering each side as you go
Degalze pan with a little wine or broth, then add the rest of the broth
bring to a boil and add all the various tomatoes
lower heat
Add potatoes and celery, and simmer on low until potatoes and meat are tender (several hours, if possible)
At the end, add all the corn and Lima beans, and boil until everything is tender, about 20-30 minutes
Before serving, remove any bones from the pork chops, and shred/cut up the meat to distribute evenly.  Remove any visible fat and bay leaves.  Salt and pepper to taste.

I used the various types of corn and canned ingredients, because that's what i had, but i could have substituted things if i needed to.  Don't use too much Worcestire sauce--that's why i had to add the canned corn (added sweetness), to cut down on the "sour-ness" because i overdid it on the Worcestire!

What I Cooked: Lentil Quinoa Tomato Stew

I'm starting a chronicle of my cooking on here--not because I'm a great chef, but because I'm a lazy, make-due-with-what-you-have cook, and I rarely remember my "recipes" even if they were really good.  If something works out, I'm going to keep track of it here, so I can repeat it.

This was INHALED by my kids, and I liked it too.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour on the stove

1 piece of meat (I used a large pork chop type piece that was double sized, yet flat)
1 Package Lentils
3 handfuls of Quinoa
1 can tomatoes with mild green chiles
1 can stewed tomatoes
A bunch of carrots, cut into large chunks
Spices: Cumin, "Foxpoint Seasoning" (mostly parsely?)
About 8 c. or water/broth, or more, if needed
Salt to taste

Sear meat on high heat in bottom of pan in some olive oil
Deglaze pan with some water or broth
Bring to a boil
Add remaining water and all other ingredients
Turn down burner to low
Simmer for an hour or more, or until lentils are soft and flavors are mixed
Salt to taste

I was out of broth, so I used water in this recipe, and it was still extremely flavorful.