Friday, October 29, 2010

Christmas Shopping Update

Okay.  Some folks were wondering how the big shopping trip went yesterday, so I thought I'd give a quick update.  Here it goes...we bought nothing.  Yep.  Apparently that's what happens when you go shopping with no list! 

We did a TON of looking though.  And to be honest, the time flew.  In my mind I was thinking that we all day to shop, but in reality it was only a few hours.  By the time I got off work and ate lunch, we only had time to hit a couple of stores before it was time to head home in order to get Jonathan off the bus.  It just didn't seem like enough time to go hog wild like I wanted to. 

It also didn't help that my husband and I were on different pages.  I was ready to grab things and put them on layaway so that we would be forced to budget the extra spending.  He, on the other hand, was in the mood to "shop for ideas."  Is that a man's way of saying he doesn't want to spend a lot of money? 

Anyway, Legos will definitely be under the Christmas tree this year.  First, we have to decide which line we think our Kindergartner will dig.  Star Wars?   Harry Potter?  Creator?  City?  There are so many stinking choices!  And they are not cheap!  I'm liking this house though.  It turns into three different houses. 

Since he likes doll houses, but not the dolls so much, I thought this would be a good idea.  Daddy is leaning more towards this though:

A pillow pet will probably be purchased too.  Since Jonathan's birthday is also on Christmas I always try to get him a special book, which I give to him right before he goes to bed Christmas night, so I know that is on the list too. 

As for what we found for the baby?!  I fell in love with this Little Tikes walk behind toy that turns into a ride on toy.  I think it is so cute and we'll get more bang for our buck!

So that is how things went yesterday.  By the time Christmas actually rolls around, however, the things my kids are unwrapping could be things I haven't thought of yet.  And most definitely haven't PURCHASED yet!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pumpkins Are Carved On The Porch With Care

The Watson porch is officially ready for trick or treaters!  Remember me saying something about buying almost 20 pumpkins this year?  Well, the family set up shop in the unfinished part of our basement last night, because it was too cold and windy to work outside, and finished carving them.  We started a couple of days ago when it was still warm enough to work outside.  Now, not all of them were carved, some were left alone and some of them now have a little flare.  Here's what we came up with!

Any time Jonathan can get his hands on glitter, he is one happy camper. He had a ball doing this one!

We found this neat pumpkin carving set for the whopping price of $1 that had tools to perfectly shape triangles and circles.  Jonathan came up with this idea.

My husband's mad-talented freestyle skills with a monogrammed pumpkin!

And again with this "cute" pumpkin recreated from a Halloween card Jonathan got from Great Grandma Lorraine.

This would be my idea from the stencils I found on Country Living's website. 

This one is from Country Living as well.  I just had to do this one!  Too cool!

And my husband, Jon, came up with this creation.  Again with the crazy freestyle skills!

Throwback Thursday!

Last night as I was working on my blog, I threw a CD of  Freddy Fender into my computer and started jamming and typing away.  So, today, I pay homage to Mr. Texas Tornado himself.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christmas Shopping Without A Clue

My husband and I are going Christmas shopping tomorrow.  He has the day off from work, so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some of Jonathan's shopping done while he is still in school.  The only problem is that I have no idea what to buy him.  I heard that gasp!  First of all, what kind of mother am I that I don't know what to get my own kid?  Secondly, how could I go shopping, for Christmas gifts mind you, without any clue as to what to buy?  I'm supposed to be an over-achieving-stay-at-home-work-part-time-mommy blogger who has all of her ducks in a row!  Yeah, right. 

Here's the son's age.  I didn't realize that 5 (although he'll turn 6 on Christmas Day) would be such a difficult age.  He's too big for the ride on toys and the playhouses that he still thinks are cool.  He's also matured past a lot of toys that I would prefer to buy him, but can no longer get away with.  I also think that he is too young for most of the toys that are marketed to his age group. 

First of all, we are a video game free household.  That takes a whole lot of ideas off the table doesn't it?  No Wii, DS, DSi, or Leapster will be purchased for our little guy.  I'm not opposed to ever buying video games, but I am simply not ready to open that can of worms yet.

If we buy one more dinosaur I'm pretty sure we could open our own museum.  We could possibly open a zoo as well, because Jonathan also cannot resist any type of animal.  Stuffed, plastic, cardboard, or feathered, we've got em.  We also have plenty of matchbox cars, puzzles, and games.  Although the small stuff is not exactly what I am concerned about.  I don't have the "IT" present idea.  I usually know exactly what his "big" present is going to be by now and have usually already saved for it or have been scouting for the best price on the Internet. 

So, tomorrow, the dearest husband and I plan to take on Toys R Us, Kmart, and Target with no list, no plan, and no ideas.  In the meantime, I am certainly open to suggestions!

Guitar Bidding Ends Today

Your chance to bid on a guitar once owned and played by Keith Urban comes to an end today.  It's part of Nash-2-O, an online auction aimed at helping Nashville flood victims.  Guitars once played by Vince Gill and Brad Paisley are also up for bid.  That would make one heck of a Christmas gift! 

While you can bid on one of Keith Urban's guitars, it seems as if he has been doing some bidding of his own.  Urban lost a large portion of the guitars he had in storage due to the floods this past May in Nashville so he has been restocking by bidding on eBay.  During the bidding process, Urban has kept his identity a secret, but once he's made a purchase, he clues the owner in that it's him.

Keith told an ABC reporter that he knows that it is hard to put and item up for bid and that most artists are a little hestitant to let go of a guitar or amp and want to know where it winds up.  That's why, he says, that he tells the seller when he's purchased a particular item.  He says that way the orginal owner knows that it is going to someone who will use it properly and that it will be appreciated.

A lot of those newly purchased guitars were used to record Urban's new album, which is due in stores and online on November 16th.  I can't wait!

Here are some of the items (and their owners) that are up for bid!

Vince Gill

Brad Paisley

Keith Urban

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Pumpkin Fantasy

Some people love pumpkins so much that they fantasy about them.  Others love pumpkins so much that they create their own Pumpkin Fantasyland!  That is exactly what a local farming family has done smack dab in the heart of cornfield country in Ligonier, Indiana.

Jason Becker's grandfather founded Fashion Farms back in 1959.  It started out as a cattle farm, but when a big storm destroyed the family business, the family decided to focus on building a greenhouse.  Pumpkins, hayrides, corn mazes, and a restaurant were added and they found themselves with a modern day-old fashioned good time! 

There is a theme to Pumpkin Fantasyland at Fashion Farms every year and this year the theme is "Memories Through Songs."  For the low price of $2 per person, with the baby being free, my family and I toured the museum-like pumpkin palace--otherwise known as a barn.   

I was in heaven the moment I stepped inside and saw this:

That's right.  That's Dolly Parton made out of pumpkins!  I knew I was in the right place!  The artistry put into these displays was really quite fascinating.  Jonathan loved seeing Bert and Ernie, Dora and Diego, and the cast of Wizard of Oz come to life in pumpkin form.  We were all really impressed with the Madagascar cast.  You have never seen a giraffe until you have seen one with its face painted on a gourd!  It was so realistic!   

Can you believe they even painted the faces of all our presidents on pumpkins?  Amazing!

Ever wonder what the Beverly Hillbillies would look like as a pumpkin family?  Wonder no more, my friends!

This was really a great and inexpensive time!  The hayride was only $1.50 per person and all of the mazes were $1--done on the honor system of sticking your bill into a milk jug.  We went late on Friday afternoon and were done in time to head over to the restaurant for dinner.  We were impressed yet again.  The hamburgers were so good!  Jonathan enjoyed his smiley fries and I enjoyed my regular ones!  Oh, and throw in some pumpkin cookies and you can call it good! 

We also enjoyed our ride through the country!  To me, there is nothing like fall and the country!  We really did see some amazing pumpkins, but I think these were by far the cutest...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Color Tour

Last week we had such beautiful weather and I was really getting into the spirit of fall.  Every day on my way home from work, I pass this barn on the highway that is surrounded by wonderfully vibrant leaves.  I have been admiring it for the last couple of weeks.  Although, I do tend to admire it without the leaves in place, because I am a sucker for barns.  Something just feels good down in my soul when I see a field with a beautiful barn.  I think it's because it reminds me of my grandfather.  He was a farmer and I have so many great memories as a child going to visit him and playing on the farm. 

Seeing this barn surrounded by such autumn splendor gave me the idea to take the kids on our own fall color tour.  So, one day when Jonathan got home from school, we set out on our adventure into the country--not far from home actually.  I took the camera along and decided to snap some photos so that we could later scrapbook about our trip. 

First, I took a picture of the tree in our front yard to mark the starting point of our tour.  Then we were off in search of more treetop changes and were on the lookout for any barns that caught our fancy. 


The highlight of the tour was finding a farmer working in his field.  Jonathan got a kick out of watching the big combine work its way through the cornfield and spit out the stalks on the other side.  Tyler was even fascinated by the big machine that I am sure he had never seen before. 

I even handed over the camera so that Jonathan could capture his own memories.  He really likes it whenever I let him loose with the camera. 

We had such a peaceful and calming time.  Usually the kids are fussy in the car or wondering where and when we are going to get somewhere, but on this particular day we had no where to go or no specific destination.  We simply rolled the windows down and let nature take hold of us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Warm Gift

My new friend, Jessica, has a beautiful blog about how she and her husband became the parents of two children within 287 days.  Not only did they go from "0 to 2" but they also had to deal with the challenges of having a premature baby.  She is doing a great giveaway to help other premature babies stay warm this Christmas. 

Please check out her blog and read about this great organzation that helped her family as well as so many others.  You might even win something for yourself too!

Mommy Has Class

My son attends a wonderful magnet school that has a program called "Three for Me."  It is a pledge from parents to give three hours of time to the school each school year and it is mandatory for enrollment.  It encourages parents to chaperon field trips, attend PTO meetings, and to volunteer in the classroom.  I love this idea and have quickly started to rack up the hours.  I have already chaperoned two field trips and have become a member of the PTO.  Earlier this week, it was time for me to put on my "room mom hat" and head to Kindergarten.

The aid that was working in Jonathan's class has been reassigned to the after school program, so I thought his teacher could use a little extra help until a replacement has been found.  Now, since I have a background in education, I thought I was a pretty good candidate to help out in the classroom.  When I showed up for duty, however, I was assigned "busy work." 

At first I thought, "but I can do so much more than sort papers."  Then I realized that is exactly what Jonathan's teacher needed help with.  She doesn't have time to sort papers into each child's folder to be taken home at the end of the day with all the Campbell's soup label reminders and picture retake information.  She also doesn't have time to stand on a chair (which those of you who know me well, know that is not my favorite thing to do) and hang cute little pumpkin art projects...she is busy teaching

It was also in the those moments buried in paperwork that I was able to witness that teaching.  It was amazing to see the way his teacher was able to easily transition the students from one activity to another, praise those who were doing well, encourage those who needed it, and to watch all the students engage.  I remember smiling while the teacher read a story about bats and how the kids "oohed" and "aahed" at the information being shared.  My little scientist was particularly interested and didn't blink during circle time.

It was also an incredible feeling to see my son's face light up at the sight of me and to know that he truly liked it that I was there sharing part of his day with him.  In fact, he liked it a little too much and became a little emotional when it was time for me to leave.  Of course, that made me emotional as well, so I decided to stick around a few more minutes and join him for lunch.  That's when I realized that this whole starting school and spending all day away from me was a big adjustment for him.  He hides things so well, but is really quite sensitive--kind of like his mom.  I was so glad that I took the time to do this!  I think it was more rewarding for me than it was help to Jonathan's teacher, the school, or the other children in the class.  And I know that me and my son shared a connection because of it.  He knows that I think education is important because I took the time to show that it was important.  He also knows I think the world of him!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ghostly Gourds

One of my favorite things about fall is the decorating that ensues.  Every year my family and I head to the U-pick pumpkin patch and go hog wild on picking pumpkins.  The fact that the more you buy, the cheaper they become, really just creates an opportunity for me to go insane on the amount of pumpkins we load into the car every year.  Last year we brought home 15, this year it was more like 20.  Throw in some hay bales, stalks of corn, and as many gourds as you can shake a stick at and the Watsons are ready to decorate! 

After last year's pumpkin picking frenzy, my son and I decided to decorate some of our gourds and turn them into ghosts.  I just used some acrylic paint that I had left over from another project and they worked out just fine.  We first painted our gourds a white base coat.  I like to use foam brushes because they are inexpenisve and I don't have to worry about cleaning them--I can just toss them whenever we are done.

After letting that coat dry, we decided they needed another coat to cover up all of the green. 

Did you know that if you use your tongue to help you paint, you get great coverage and a wonderful finish?

Once it was dry, we dabbed on some eyes with the black paint and allowed it to dry.  That's when I sprayed them with a varnish so that the white paint wouldn't turn yellow.

This was really easy and a great way to spend an afternoon making memories with my little guy!   

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas in October?

Okay, there are Christmas decorations everywhere already.  I haven't even bought a Halloween costume for the baby yet!  It seems as if the "holidays" are pushed earlier and earlier every year.  While I do love the holidays and could probably decorate with Christmas decorations year round, it just seems as Thanksgiving just gets brushed over.  I mean, come on!  It's a holiday where we do nothing but eat food!  Why would we want to over look that?! 

It was also announced yesterday that a new country Christmas TV special will be airing this year and a lot of huge country stars are participating.  I L-O-V-E it when country stars do Christmas specials!  It reminds me of all those great specials Bob Hope used to do and it fills me with nostalgia.  "CMA Country Christmas" will air on ABC and feature performances from:  Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Marina McBride, Little Big Town, LeAnn Rimes and Sheryl Crow...not sure why she is being thrown in, but I'll take it. 

The artists families are also going to take part in the special and will be taped in front of a live audience.  The special will be filmed at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday November 11th, but no details yet on how to get tickets.  The CMA Awards are being held the night before in the same venue and will also be aired on ABC.  The Christmas special will not air until November 29th. 

I can't wait to see the costumes they'll wear on the special---I'm thinking great Santa dresses like those worn in "White Christmas."  Hey!  Maybe THAT could be the baby's Halloween costume!  A cute little Santa suit!  If I hand him a turkey to carry, we'll cover all of our bases! 

A pumpkin tree?  I dig it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome Fall!

My sweet little baby is growing so fast!  I snapped this photo of him yesterday and I just had to share it.  He loves crawling over to the door to look outside.  Lately he has been fascinated by all of the leaves falling from the trees and making such a ruckus.  It doesn't matter how many times I tell him no and move him away, he ends up right back here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

It was 1997 when my love affair started.  Really, it was the year I married my husband.  It was also the year I heard about a band called "The Ranch" with a really cute lead singer named Keith Urban.  What do you say we take a little walk in the country?

I continue to play this song off the CD that was sent to the radio station I was working at the time this song was released.  It has the words "YES!" written all over it in Sharpie.  Sometimes us radio folks do know a thing or two!  I love it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Backup Plan!

This is my official declaration and plea--I want to be a backup singer!  Not just any one's backup singer, but a famous country music star's backup singer.

This all started when I went to see Taylor Swift and Keith Urban in concert. I could go on and on about my love affair with Keith Urban right, now, but I would be getting off point, so I'll get back to Taylor Swift.  I was fascinated by the way she tossed her hair around stage, pointed at the audience, and ran around like she was just a teenager in her room holding a hairbrush rather than a microphone and singing in front of thousands of people!  I remember how I used to do exactly that in my younger days.  Then, I spotted her....

I spotted the cute, slightly older than Taylor, backup singer.  She stood there, singing all the right harmonies and looking as stylish as could be.  AND, she got to be on stage with Taylor every night!  I thought, "I can do that!"

Not that I want to do it every night, mind you.  I just want to be able to do it once!  One song, one time, one very famous star.  I have so many favorites that it doesn't matter who wants to take me on.  Besides, I can't really be choosy. 

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I went into country radio because I knew I would never make it as country music singer, so I took what I could get--at least I'd still be heard on the radio!  Believe, me I tried to sing...much to the dismay of everyone around me, but particularly my mother.  I tried out for choir in 5th grade and got in--only to be kicked out during 6th grade because the new choir teacher didn't think I was as good as the previous teacher thought.  Now, that squashed me for awhile, but didn't stop me from belting out everything I heard on the radio, no matter where that radio happened to be.  It particularly annoyed my family in the backseat of the car.  It also annoyed by friends when I forced them to play "Star Search."  Could you imagine if "American Idol" was popular when I was a kid?  I would have been one of those sorry soles thinking she could sing and crying her eyes out and having security called when Simon let me in on the truth! 

By the time I was in high school, I regained my courage and tried out for the school talent show my sophomore year--with my guitar in hand.  The guitar I didn't know how to play.  Yep, I marched up there like I knew what I was doing and waited for my track of Lee Greenwood's " I Owe You" to cue up.  I belted it out and hit some random strings on my guitar.  How hard could it be?  I didn't need lessons.  Uh.  yeah.  Needless to say, I didn't make the show. 

My junior year, I decided to try out for Master of Ceremonies and skipped the signing.  I was ecstatic to land the job!  I remember jumping up and down in the lunch line when a friend of mine told me she saw the cast posting in the hallway on her way to lunch.  I went on to do a few more plays and took only talking parts in the musicals.  But by the time my senior year was upon me, I longed to try again. 

So this time I admitted to myself that I was not a guitar player and picked a classic country song to try out with.  I made the show and by the time the show's run was over, everyone in the school was singing "Rose Garden."  I felt a little redeemed and even picked up a couple of awards for my acts in the show.  I never tried to kid myself again, however, even though the dream of being a country singer is still alive. 

Whose to say I'm too old, too fat, or too bad to try for a dream?  I'm taking a shot!  I want to sing backup!  I just need an offer...

Rest in peace Mr. Mark Madison.  You were truly an inspiration to me and the reason why I do what I do for a living!  What memories you have given me!  I know that angels are singing for you now!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letters To My Children

It is no secret that I am a huge Kate Gosselin fan.  I have loved watching her children grow from the very first season of Jon and Kate Plus 8, I devoured her book Multiple Blessings, can watch old episodes in marathon form, and felt like I needed to reach out to her, like I would a good friend, when the couple split.  I have never been able to understand the amount of hatred the mom of eight has seemed to stir up in the blogging world, and I have no intention of going there, so let's not even think about it, okay? 

To be honest, however, I went threw a "cooling off" period and couldn't bring myself to watch the show for awhile and I was mad that her book Eight Little Faces was pretty much ruined for me because of the drama playing out in the media, so I never bothered to read it, or her book I Just Want You To Know.  That is until I saw it on a library shelf last week and decided to pick it up. 

Once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down.  Kate tells stories about the kids and how they survived those toddler years with six 2-year-olds and 2 six-year-olds--which is right when the show took off and I loved it!  The most beautiful part of the book, however, is the letters she has written to her children.  I really thought that part of the book would be boring, but I found myself getting misty eyed while reading them.  It touched me so much, that I have decided to write my own letters to my own children. 

I think it would be a great idea to write letters to my kids at different stages in their lives--like how Jonathan has started school and how Tyler is learning to crawl.  Kate tells each child their birth story and how she felt when she brought them home--which is something I don't think I have shared with my oldest son yet.  I am sure he would love to hear that story! 

I have no idea whether or not my boys will be interested in reading them when they get older, but I know I'll read them over and over.  Not to mention, I think it would be great therapy for me!  The letters came from Kate's journal, which is something that has never occurred to me to do as an adult.  I know, duh.  I used to journal all the time when I was younger, why hasn't it ever occurred to me to do it as a mother?  I could certainly use some time for myself and it would be a great tool to help me sort through my thoughts.  So I have declared to journal about my kids at least once a week, starting today!

Dear Jonathan,

Yesterday your baby brother and I decided to wait for your school bus outside.  It was such a beautiful October day--it was almost 80 degrees!  You were so cute running off the bus to greet us!  I love how you look in your little uniform and how you look so grown up carrying your backpack.  You decided to eat the apple that you didn't have time to eat at lunch and plopped yourself down in the grass under the tree in our front yard.  Tyler was so excited to see you that he crawled through the grass to get to you and you giggled with delight.  You are such a great big brother!  I love you so much!


Dear Tyler,

You are really getting mobile little one!  You always know exactly what you are not supposed to get into and you head right for it.  Just before you reach for it, however, you turn back to look at me and wait for me to say, "no, no" and then you turn around, with a little smile, and bolt right for it!  Jonathan's backpack is your favorite thing to get ahold of--and any shoe you can find.  You are such a happy baby and are quick with a smile.  I love you so much!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Military Mail Call

Martin's, a local grocery store chain, has a wonderful program aimed at making sure our troops receive letters from home called Military Mail Call.  The store has partnered with Camouflage Kids and Blue Star Mothers for the drive's second year of operation.  Camouflage Kids was founded by former Notre Dame basketball coach, Jeff Nix, and supports the children of military parents while Blue Star Mothers is a support group for parents who have a son or daughter in the military. 

photo taken from

Dave Mayfield, the store's advertising manger, told me that the whole program started when the supermarket decided to change its marketing material, which left old signs that could no longer be used in the store.  Not wanting them to go to waste, Mayfield hit the pavement to visit area schools to see if students would be willing to use the signs as cards to send to troops.  The program was off and running and over 28,000 cards were collected!  The effort was so successful that it grabbed the attention of Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution, whose researchers have asked for materials to include in a future exhibit planned for a National Postal Museum. 

Blank cards are currently available in all of Martin's stores as well as a collection box marked Military Mail Call.  Everyone is encouraged to take part and if you are part of an organization that would like to participate, you can contact your nearest store for a supply of blank cards.  Since it takes so long for the mail to travel, however, all cards must be turned in by October 15th.  That's so troops will be ensured to get something for the upcoming holidays.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Put Me In Coach!

Perhaps I am the most naive person in the world, or the most oblivious, but I really did not expect to have issues with my precious son in Kindergarten.  He has been in daycare since he was 8-months-old--right when he got a little too active for me to be taking him to work with me on a daily basis, because that's what I did for months.  Once he turned 2, I starting working only part-time so that I could be home with him more and try to nurture his little personality and mind.  He still went to daycare, though for half the day and when he turned 3, I made sure I enrolled him in an educationally focused center.  I kept hearing about how important it was to socialize him before he reached Kindergarten, so I thought daycare was a good option for both him and for me. 

We had a blast those preschool years!  I even subbed for the daycare and would often go to work there when getting off the air.  I got to know everyone that worked there and all the kids in his classroom.  I thought I had a pretty good handle on my son's social skills, educational abilities, and behavioral aptitude and how he compared to the other students.  (Isn't that a natural thing for a mother to do?).  I thought my youngster was above average educationally,  made friends easily, listened to and respected his teacher, and even though an occasional time-out was needed, be behaved pretty well. 

You can imagine my surprise, or shear astonishment, when my son started bringing home notes from school.  Every week since school has started, he has brought home at least one note per week--sometimes two.  His offenses? 

Talking to the kid behind him during "centers," playing in the restroom, talking in line,  making noise during "rest" time, and talking during circle time.  "Really?" I thought.  "They send notes home for this stuff?"  Yep. 
I guess we had that socializing thing down! 

Now, I will be the first to admit my kiddo is not perfect, whose is?  And I agree that my husband and I needed to be notified when he tried to cut a little girl's hair with his scissors.  Turns out she was bugging him and he decided to take matters into his own hands--and I was devastated. 

In fact, I have been so taken aback by all of this, that I decided it was time to meet with the teacher to see exactly what was going on.  When I told her that I was rather surprised by all of this because "he behaved really well in preschool," her response to me was, "Well, this is a whole new ballgame!" 

Now, since my husband is a teacher, I know the pressures teachers face to get through the curriculum they are expected to by the end of the year, but I had no idea that Kindergarten would be so stressful!  Or, just how fast my 5-year-old was expected to "grow up" and expected to sit still all the time and never utter a word while working on his worksheets in class.  I had trouble with that myself (shocker, I know!  I only talk for a living!) when I was in junior high! 

This all just seems a little too fast too soon.  I really don't know what else to do, but to once again make my presence know in his classroom.  It seemed to work in today is my first day being a room mom.  If this is a "whole new ballgame," I say, "put me in coach, I'm ready to play!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tori's Cabbage Rolls

Last week I posted how I found the most gorgeous head of cabbage at the farmer's market that I just had to buy.  After it sat on my table for awhile I got to thinking about what I could cook with it.  I love cabbage, but the hubby and kiddo do not really share my taste, so I often overlook cooking with cabbage. 

I know that my mom can make a mean stuffed cabbage meal, but I have never attempted to make it on my own.  After sharing this info with a co-worker, she shared a wonderful recipe with me that I just had to try!  Let's call it "Tori's Cabbage Rolls" and here is the recipe.

1 head of cabbage
2 packages of Kielbasa sausage  (I used smoked sausage because I know the clan with eat that).
2 cans of sauerkraut
1 large can of V8 or vegetable juice
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup of rice
1 egg

Fill a pot with water to boil.  Peel the cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage and rinse them well.  Once the pot of water is boiling, add the cabbage leaves 2 at a time and let them boil for 5 minutes each.  Remove them and allow them to dry on paper towels. 

While the cabbage leaves are drying, mix the raw hamburger with the rice and egg.  Next, place one package of the sausage on the bottom of a 9X12 baking dish.  Once the cabbage leaves have dried, place a large spoonful of the meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf and tuck in the ends of the leaf, then roll it.  Repeat with the other cabbage leaves.

Once all of the leaves are rolled, start placing them on top of the sausage laid out in the pan.  Cover the cabbage rolls with sauerkraut.  Then, do another layer of sausage, rolls, and sauerkraut.  Next, pour the V8 juice over the whole dish. 

Bake, covered, at 325 for about 3-4 hours. 

This was a wonderful fall meal that was gobbled up by not only me, but my husand and son, who were less than excited about me making this for dinner.  I think I might have turned them on to cabbage!  Thanks for sharing the recipe, Tori!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Postmarked 1984

I had the most delightful surprise while cleaning my basement recently.  I have been trying to get ready for a garage sale and to get rid of some of the things that have been thrown downstairs because I didn't know what else to do with them.  I found things I hadn't used in years, or things that I have had for years and never used.  I found some really great things to put into a garage sale...and something else.

I found this postcard from my childhood neighbor who was such a great friend.

Now, before you start thinking that I have moved this postcard from one radio gig to another--radio people move a lot--I should let you know that my mom and given me a box of my stuff that she had been hanging onto in my parents' attic.   

Can you believe that this postcard is post marked July 31, 1984?  My friend had gone on a family vacation and had sent me back this postcard.  This would have been the summer before I went into 5th grade and she went into 7th grade.  We always hated it when family vacation time rolled around because we knew that would be a week out of our summer that we wouldn't be able to ride bikes together, have picnic lunches, play fashion designers, or work one of the various "clubs" we had created.

I remember one time our 10-speed handle bars got stuck together when we were goofing around while we were bike riding.  I think we were trying to see how close we could get our bikes when we ended up locked tight.  Talk about panicking!  I ended up slamming on my brakes to get unstuck and I flew over the handle bars and landed smack dab on the road.  That was before anyone even thought about putting on a bike helmet.

 The club part of the postcard cracked me up!  Seems as if we were always creating a club just so that we could be the president.  When we would get tired of being the president, it was the other person' s turn to think of a club idea and be its president.  It usually meant we sat around and played with stickers or made a "hideout" to have our meetings. 

Such great memories!  Now that social media has allowed us to stay connected to so many people, I was able to share my find with her and she was able to reminisce about our childhood adventures too.  It is so great to now share photos of our children and stories of our lives.  And old postcards from the past.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Starting October With A Pumpkin Project

A couple of years ago, my son's preschool teacher came up with a great idea for the school's Halloween party.  I was inspired to recreate the marshmallow pumpkin centerpiece for a Halloween party my son and I attended later that year. I thought that I would share the idea again, because many of us are gearing up for those Halloween parties. 

It is such a great snack for little ones!  They can simple grab a marshmallow and eat it off the stick to avoid sticky hands--something younger children don't like and moms don't like to clean.  Of course, all of this is done under adult supervision.  We are talking about sticks here!

It is really easy to do and makes a great statement! I simply bought a bag of large marshmallows and dipped them in melted chocolate. I did that by melting some baking chips in the microwave. Once the marshmallows were dipped (with some help from my little guy) they were placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. That's when Jonathan went to town with the sprinkles! We then placed the cookie sheet in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate set. Once the candy had hardened we were ready to get out the skewers.

We poked the marshmallows to the flat end of the skewer then speared the skewers into the pumpkin. Around we went and before you knew it we were done! The kids had a ball pulling out the sticks with a tasty treat on the other end.  This was also a blast to make with my then preschooler!  He really enjoys it any time he gets to help out in the kitchen.

When the party was over, we decided to let Daddy in on the fun and gut out the pumpkin in order to hammer in more holes to turn into a great jack-o-lantern!

It was great to re purpose the pumpkin and it lit up beautifully on our front porch!