Friday, July 27, 2012

Picnic Part 2

In all fairness I must say my Dad stopped by later in the day to drop off my homework.  I need to complete two health in-take forms a month and my parents were kind enough to help.  That was after I checked out their facial lines, tongues and pulses before the rest of the family arrived.  I know more than I thought.  I need to write up a conclusion - recommendations and get that in the mail today.  But, back to the point. Dad vented his side of the story in a much calmer drama free way (so him).  And usually with two sides of any story there is some overlap.  Not much here.  They both agree mom is mad at dad and not talking to him.  OK, there was a little more in common than that.  I listened.  I can see where they are both coming from and I chuckle. 

Yesterday I received week 3's basket from the CSA.  Squash, cukes, corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes (orange), snow peas, cabbage, purple onions, and scallions.   Sauteed up squash and onion for supper last night.  I also sauteed up some cabbage and caraway seeds and nestled the hot dogs in it.  I was planning to finish the Michigan sauce but son ate a bowl of it for lunch.  I'm determined to clean out the fridge before we leave tomorrow.  So, today I'm blanching and freezing the corn, making another batch of pickles and a batch of sauerkraut.  The rest of the squash and the tomatoes I'll take with us to munch on.  Yum!

This morning a little pampering with a manicure and pedicure.  Then packing.  I've already got the last batch of clothes in the wash.  And I need to go start a batch of blueberry coconut muffins for breakfast tomorrow.  Or more like an appetizer for breakfast.  I was planning on hitting Freeport in time for lunch but hubby wants to leave earlier to miss traffic.  We should be in Freeport for a late (for me) breakfast.  Then a little retail therapy (or more likely looking) at LL Bean.  I'm such the fashionista.  And then we're off North.  Points further North than I've ever been in Maine.  I'm really looking forward to the hiking and scenery of the mountains.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Yesterday was my family picnic.  It went well.  Some laughs, some catching up and good food.  My niece and nephew were full of energy and auntie spent some time playing with them outside.  Following them for an hour is better than any gym.  No game lasts more than a few minutes.  And as much as the two of them fight they want to be near each other.  At one point nephew gave his younger sister a wedgie. I'll give you one I said and the chase was on.  Around the back yard, around the house, around the sheds we went.  We'd stop and start again.  I finally caught him and up and over my shoulder he went as I pretended to give him a wedgie.   Giggle, giggle.  Then he was off again.  "miss me, miss me now you gotta...."  Kiss you I said and scooped him up and smothered him with kisses.  Then my nieces turn.

Then my mom calls this morning to apologise.  For what?  Dad yelled at her because she gave leftover salad to my brother and not to me.  Really?!   I reassured her I wasn't upset, that I need to use all the food I have in my fridge by Friday so nothing spoils when we go away and brother could use it.  That was her thought  My SIL doesn't cook a lot and she only makes things she likes.  She doesn't like salad made with mayo so my brother only gets it when he comes to visit (which can be a lot sometimes).  So mom gave him some to take home and pie for the kids.  Hey, I would have done the same thing.  Dad was also tweaked that they had to spend ten minutes picking up some toys and smoothing out the blanket on the bed.  It didn't look like a museum.  He really needs to chill. So mom vented and felt better. 

Family - the only thing normal about then is a setting on the dishwasher.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Less than a week

You know vacation is close when I print out the packing list.  Everyone laughs that I keep an excel spreadsheet for our packing list.  And then.... they ask me to e-mail it to them.  I have a few tabs - one for family vacation, the woman's herbal conference and now one for my advanced herbal studies.  I change up the quantity for items needed depending on time of year and location.  I make notes on my list and revise as needed.  I don't pack for anyone but myself.  Everyone gets a copy and packs accordingly.  It makes life soooo much easier. 

So this time next week we will be in Island Falls, ME.  Hiking, boating, swimming and relaxing are the main activities.  A few museums - lumberjack and local history, a covered bridge or two, hopefully a moose.  And lots of local food.  Breakfast will be at the "resort" and I'll pack picnic lunches but dinner will be at different local restaurants.  No chain places - yuk!  And by breakfast I mean cereal and bagels or whatever the family wants to fix for themselves.  I LOVE to cook but, I'm on vacation.  A picnic lunch is the extent of my labor.  If I have to cook and clean I might as well stay home or go RVing. 

It will be good.  Youngest took Sammy's passing pretty good.  She said her good byes the night before.  Hubby is taking it pretty hard.  He had to make the final decision.  Sammy was his dog and was there through his ex stealing the kids and the nasty divorce. And he chose to bring her home from the vet to burry her.  Son wanted to go with him and father and son burried her together.  I was OK with it until they came home. To see (or not see) her wrapped in the blanket......I know she is no longer in pain but....

Today we are off to my parents for the family picnic.  I've made tortellini salad and Michigan sauce.  I'm bring a bag full of corn  from the CSA delivery.  I love tortellini salad.  So does my mom and SIL.  My family not so much.  They do not like any vinegar based dressings.  They love the mayo laden ones.  And their will be plenty of that at the picnic.  The Michigan sauce in a sorta chili meat sauce great on hot dogs and burgers.  I've also made banana nut muffins.  Those are for breakfast and snacks during the week.  I think they make me buy bananas just so they can go over the edge and be baked into something scrumptious.  Hmmm!

I'm picking up the canning pot from my mom today.  With the bounty of the CSA I want to try my hand at canning.  I've done a little bit in the past.  Mustard pickles are first on the list.  And Friday I will need to prep the entire bounty that arrives on Thursday before we leave on Saturday.  I'll also be making a batch of blueberry coconut muffins - our traditional traveling food.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


With a heavy heart we decided it was best to let Sammy go to a better place.  She's lived a good life in her sixteen years.  She's been a good companion.  Peace on your new journey!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm Back

Someone asked where I've been - they said life must be good or I'm really busy.  I answered both.  It's summer and it's hot and I'm lazy.  Well, kinda sorta lazy - lazy by my family's definition any way. 

Work has been crazy busy.  We have not signed on the new clients that caused the full time scare.  My boss has given them a proposal.  The more I learn about the client the less likely I think they are to use us.  So, I'm still working my three days a week.  Three nine hour days.  I leave the house about 530 and arrive home at 1700 hours.  It's a long day.  Then it's supper making, a few chores and crash time. 

In the past I have worked hubby's days off in the summer so the kids had someone home and awake when they were. Son is fine.  He has a working car.  I mean a manly man bronco.  And he has friends to visit, work to go to and PT with the Marine recruiter.  Youngest is not very social.  (gets it from her father but that's another story)  She spends her days in her room - napping, reading, playing on the computer.  She's writing a book.  She takes an occasional walk.  So, I try and make a point to get her out and about when I'm home.  The beach, the bike trail, the library - she loves them all.  She loves doing anything with Daddy. He takes her biking and shooting.  Monday we were all off from work and we went to the Southwick Zoo.  A girl at work had recommended it.  The place is spotless (even the bathrooms).  The Zoo is well landscaped and the animals are well cared for.  It was a fun day.

We met with the Marine recruiter July 3.  Son wanted to presign.  He thought his father wouldn't take an interest.  Hubby made the appointment.  They can't sign until after they finish their junior year.  He spent 90 minutes filling out paperwork that night.  He took a stack of paperwork home to complete.  Today he is off for an interview with the senior recruiter and Monday he goes to MEPS.  At MEPS he will have a full physical and take his ASFAB along with a few other things.  He will then be an official Poolee.  They monitor his senior year very closely including his grades.  He has to start boot camp within a year of signing so we will have a start date before most.  That means we will also have a graduation date that we can make plans to attend.  Paris Island here I come.  Son has been preparing for this his entire life.  I hope it's all he has made it out to be.

Oldest has finished boot camp.  They didn't have a graduation but went right into AIT.  She will complete that in September and I'm sending hubby to the graduation.  Some things you just do for your kids.  He hates to fly and is talking about making the drive - 21 hours (not including stops).  Hey, however you want to get there.  I'd fly.  But, I don't have to fly with my knees by my ears.  It pays to be a midget as MIL would call me.  Though I hate that.  And 5'4" is not a midget in my book.  But, I digress.

We are on week two of deliveries from the CSA.  I have fresh picked veggies in abundance.  I'm trying to get creative in how to use them all before the next delivery.  The corn on the cob I roasted on the grill.  What we didn't eat that night I cut off the cob.  I made my black bean and corn salad and served it up as quesadilla filling the first night.  I made a second batch with pinto beans and eating it as a side dish.  Tonight is roasted pork loin so I'll roast the beets alongside it.  The greens I will mix with the kale and saute.  The cukes I sliced into a salad.  The rest I might try my hand a pickling.  The HUGE head of cabbage looks like sauerkraut to me.  Then there is squash, green beans, swiss chard and more corn.  Yum!!!

Next Saturday we leave for Maine.  I can't wait.  We will be hiking and canoeing, swimming and relaxing.  Yeah!   And I will be unplugged.  Well, except for the kindle in case I need to download more books to read by the pool.  And it's an old school kindle - not a fire.  I can only read on it.   Maybe one day I'll upgrade.  Maybe not.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Getting Ready to Leave

This morning I leave for class three of six at Sage Mountain.  David Winston is teaching the class this week end.  After help from a friend of hubby's my printer is up and working again so I was able to print out homework. 

My group is making the potluck dishes for Saturday night and our theme is Mediterranean.  I experimented with a new recipe on the family and that is what I'm bringing.  Za'atar Chicken and Fattoush.  Za'atar is a spice blend which includes sumac.  I had picked some up about a month ago to try and here it is.  As hubby would say, of course you did.  Sumac is a little bitter and lemony tasting at the same time.  Here's the recipes.

Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush

½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Za’atar
3 ½ lbs. chicken pieces

Za’atar Spice: makes ¾ cup
½ cup thyme
¼ cup sumac
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp oregano

2 pita breads
3 scallions, halved and sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ Cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt
½ tsp sumac


Mix oil and Za’atar together. Rub into the chicken pieces and marinate a couple of hours or overnight. Place chicken pieces in a roasting pan skin side up. Roast at 425ยบ 45 minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and the skin crisp and a burnt umber color.


Cut the pita breads lengthwise and then into triangles. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook 5 minutes.
In a bowl mix the lemon juice, oil and salt. Add the scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, mint and garlic. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with sumac. Serve with the pita triangles.

I went down the checklist and I'm all packed.  Luckily I spent last evening with a group of Goddesses.  I was so frazzled from work and their deep thoughts and laughter made the stress all melt away.  Work has been really busy - really. really.  To the point that I'm not sure where to start and I have checklists for my checklists.  I think I'm going to bite the bullet and work a few four day weeks to catch up.  My three nine hour days are just not enough.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Only Child Week

Son has been at the fire academy since Tuesday.  He "graduates" today.  We will be there for the ceremony today.  Hubby and youngest will be in uniform and hubby gets to give him his certficate.  The students also put on a full demonstration of what they have learned and then a family BBQ afterwards.  Last night we went to the Broad Brook Fire Department carnival and parade as the students were marching.  Son was happily surprised to see us there.  He even came over with a new friend to see us.  He was all smiles. 

Youngest has been loving her week alone.  Tuesday I gave her a manicure and pedicure.  I didn't have any tan polish so she went with a bright magenta.  Yesterday I let her pick out some polish.  She now has gold crackle to try.

Thursday hubby sent me flowers at work for our anniversary!  Then Friday night we out dinner, took a liesurely walk along one of the bike trails, cruised the back roads and stopped for ice cream.  Youngest stayed home alone with her subway sandwich she asked for and we let her rent a movie - Ghostrider 2. She was over the moon and we were thrilled we didn't have to watch the movie.

Saturday youngest helped me finish up the grocery shopping and picking out birthday presents for my nephew then we headed to the Native American Pow Wow in Somers.  They had wonderful exhibits and music and tons of vendors.  I came home with some new CD's and she has a beautiful abalone shell for smudging.

Monday was our healthy challange kick off at work.  The committee I'm on has been working for months on the program.  I'm pretty proud of what we have come up with.  It's not just a weight loss competition.  You receive points for nutrition, exercise, smoking sessation, and wellness initiatives.  We have a schedule of soccer and hiking events throughout the five month program and I'm leading two of the hikes.  You have individual scores and team scores as everyone is on teams of four.  We split our committee into two teams so we can compete alongside everyone else  We just aren't eligable for the prizes. 

I don't have a problem if people don't want to join in but rumor has it one person has really been bashing the program.  I'll be addressing that when I get back to work this week.