Wednesday, July 30, 2008

cook, me?

Yes, it's true.  (Why is my cook status a joke?  Read this post.) My latest and greatest read is Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker.  I bought the book and the slow cooker during my first year of teaching, upon recommendation of fellow new teacher who always brought slow-cooked meal leftovers as lunch.  I never used the book or the slow cooker until this week!  Now that I have time and motivation to prepare meals, i.e. plan and shop ahead, I'm enjoying the ease of cooking scrumptious meals.

The first food picture is Teriyaki Chicken with pineapple chunks, served over rice.  During the last hour of cooking, I added potatoes, and then I added broccoli during last 15 minutes.  (I panicked because I thought the sauce was too strong.  My chicken/sauce ratio was probably off.)

Below Teriyaki Chicken, mushroom soup!  I used leftover gravy from Monday's Scalloped Potatoes and Chicken dinner (sorry, no pic), added Thai Culinary Stock and mushrooms.  Lunch today was this soup accompanied by sandwiches.

Last, but not least, my daughter, who must be the most nutrition-informed 7 year old in Western New York after attending 2 classes on making healthy choices (one sponsored by our town youth bureau, the other by the public library) in the past 2 weeks, made Ants on a Log.  (I helped.)  Celery, peanut butter, raisins.  (I imagine substitutes abound - cream cheese or  yogurt or cottage cheese, etc. instead of peanut butter.)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

story corps

I was in my local public library this morning, when (isn't that a potentially good story starter?) I learned that Story Corps was coming here, Buffalo, NY!!!  Yes, call me a nerd, but participating in Story Corps has been one of my dreams!!!  If you've never listened to a Story Corps interview on public radio or elsewhere, you MUST do so asap.  Invariably, when I listen to one, I cry.  Even perfectly happy Story Corps interviews make me cry.

AND GUESS WHAT?!?!  I signed up a few minutes ago online and am scheduled to participate in a few weeks!!!  (Really, truly, if you've read this blog often, you know the liberal use of exclamation marks is unusual.)

Driving home from the library this morning, I thought about my potential interviewee and interview topic. Immediate answers that came to mind - I would interview my husband about his father who passed away in February.

Have I informed my husband about this plan yet?  No.  He is asleep, snoring, at the moment.  I'll wait a few more minutes, after I've shared the news with you.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

summer reading update

Um, the pic is off-topic, but I like having a visual in each post.  (It's my kid at a "carnival", wrap-up event for last week's Vacation Bible School.)

I posted about a summer reading list in May, and throughout June I added to the list.  I talked to friends about my list and added their recommendations.  I think the list-making activity was therapeutic because I was planning a fun summer activity that I could start early!  Below is a quick summary:

Twilight - highly successful first item on this list.  Just this book and 2 sequels justified the making of this reading list.

Wicked - this was my 2nd read, to prepare me for seeing the musical, only accomplished about three-quarters of the book.

Pillars of the Earth - I have the library copy so that I could continue reading this book, but I never opened it, and it's due in the library tomorrow.

Teaching Outside the Box (LouAnne Johnson) - chosen by teacher blog friend Frumteacher for a teacher/blogger book club.  We've been using a web-based discussion forum, and I'm enjoying reading and discussing the book.  I'm on chapter 5.

"Battle of the Books" - various titles - I will write a more in-depth post on this later.  Our school librarian is coordinating this event for the very first time in our school next school year!  So I joined a little teacher committee to help out, and I have reading homework!

I ALMOST FORGOT!!!  I learned how to download free eBook reader software for my (old) iPhone!  This is very exciting.  Another blog friend Tricia Grissom wrote about eBook readers a while ago, and I have wanted so much to use the iPhone for that purpose but couldn't find a good solution ... until NOW!  Apple gave us old iPhone users a ("free") software update that included the ability to add a free eBook reader application called Stanza from  The available titles are *cough* ancient, but I found Jane Austen's Emma, which, with apologies to my English lit. friends, needs some jazziness to inspire me to read.  So yeah, I'm e-reading Emma.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

wicked the musical

Yes, yes, the musical was wonderful.  I embraced this realization during Act 2.  But during Act 1, I just fumed about how Gregory Maguire's Wicked book story was butchered and over-simplified.  (OK, I laughed my head off through "Popular".)  When I watched Act 2, I just let the musical story be itself and the music take over.  And now I write this post while listening to 3 songs purchased from iTunes - Popular, Defying Gravity, For Good.

Maguire's book is complex, overwhelming, philosophical, overwrought...  but I loved it all, maybe because somehow once upon a time (last summer) I found a way to read the entire text.

The musical tells the story of two unlikely best friends, mixing themes of human/civil rights, free speech, history as "truth" of the victor, popularity, etc.  So I understand that the deviations from Maguire's book story served the purposes of theatre and stage, while still exploring important themes from the book.  The set was gorgeous, but I didn't take any pics inside (yeah, I learned my legal lesson from a theatre director's comment to my post about his play).  We sat in the sixth row from the orchestra, center!!!  We were SO close - I studied (without squinting) the facial expressions of the actors, then worried about missing out on the "bigger picture" and other parts of the stage.

Bonus - our 9th wedding anniversary is July 17, so attending the show at Shea's and dinner afterwards was our anniversary "date"!

Monday, July 7, 2008

independence day

We celebrated this holiday at a small parade on our little stretch of cottages on Hamlin Beach, Lake Ontario, Hamlin, NY.  A bit of American history, music, dance, and refreshments followed the parade, which has been an annual event for almost 20 years.

Thanks to a swan visit the next day (we think he/she was checking out the clump of leaves/seaweed on the beach), we've renamed the lake, Swan Lake!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Following the spirit (and notably not the rules) of NaNoWriMo, Blog365, and JulNoWriMo, I have begun PerJoWriMo - my personal journal writing month of July 2008.  Yes, each day this month, I will write in my personal journal, which is a lined journal notebook (the cover is black with tiny white polka dots, if you must know), using ink pen (Pilot retractable gel pens, fine point, various colors).  No word minimums, just write something.  So far, excellent!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

american history girls

We attended the year-end "tea party" of the American History Girls Club at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society last Saturday.  My daughter's doll is Ivy Ling, second from the left in top picture.  (Ivy is Chinese American friend of AG "historical character" Julie Albright who grew upin San Francisco in the 1970's.)  Girls were encouraged to dress up however they wanted for the tea party, and my kid chose to match her doll.  The pics above were taken on the portico of the historical society.  Inside the atrium, the girls had "tea" and snacks, then came outside for games and pony rides.

My daughter (age 7) loved the dolls and accessories first, then this past year she found Ivy and became interested in the historical characters and books.  She attended two American History Girl Club meetings and enjoyed the learning activities.  Two friends who also attended the tea party loved the books first, then the dolls.  Thank goodness there are many paths to learning!!! We plan to see "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" movie soon.