Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wednesday Works for Me--LC sweet snack

Pork rinds have all kinds of uses for those of us trying to cut down on the excess carbs. This recipe gives you a crunchy sweet treat with few carbs and not much effort.

1 package pork rinds
butter flavored no stick spray (like Pam)
sugar substitute (I prefer Splenda)
or a brown sugar substitute

Spread the pork rinds out on a large baking sheet. Spray lightly with butter flavored spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar substitute. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, so that the pork rinds don't get limp from the spray, but stay crispy.
Let cool.

Sort of like cinnamon toast, but without the bread, and with more crunch.
The spray gives it that buttery flavor, and helps the cinnamon and Splenda to stick to the pork rinds.
Works for me.
For more Wednesday Works for Me, check http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dead Lizards and Hanging Dolls

Yesterday we went to visit daughter Jeana and family. Now, with four grandbabies, all lively, intelligent, and full of energy, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at anything that happens.
But some things....

Jeana has one of those full-glass storm doors, with a solid wooden door behind it. It stays open most of the time, so perhaps one can understand how a little lizard might think of the edge of the door as a relatively safe place to perch. The lizard would be wrong. This lizard looks as if he has become permanently squashed into the grain of the wood, being caught on the edge of the door when someone slammed it shut.

Later, we were invited to see a doll bungee-jumping from the top bunk in the boys' room. What we actually witnessed, however, was a doll hanging from the ceiling fan, slow dancing in circles on the end of a long cord, with its blue yarn streaked hair streaming out in the breeze.

Dead lizards.

Hanging dolls.

I'm beginning to wonder if voodoo is in the home school curriculum.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wednesday Works for Me--Fauxtato Casserole

Wick and I have gotten more serious about how we eat since he got an infection from what started out as a fairly minor scrape on his leg. Blood sugar problems cause slow healing, so we feel that getting and keeping our blood sugar under control is really important. We both like baked potatoes, but since potatoes are not on our menu, we came up with this "faux" potato casserole.

Two heads of cauliflower, steamed and mashed (I use the mixer)
grated cheese
sour cream
chopped onion
chopped chives
crisp bacon, crumbled (or bacon bits)
salt and pepper to taste

Add the ingredients to your taste, just as you would add to baked potatoes. Blend well. Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with more grated cheese. Bake at 375 until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Yumm. Works for us.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Book Meme

Jeana tagged me for this, and although it took me a couple of days to get around to it (school just started Monday), here are my answers:
Bear in mind, though, that I have totally ignored the "one book" edict that appears in every question--how can a true book lover answer with just one?)

1. One book that changed your life: The Bible. Of course. Five Love Languages. The Purpose-driven Life. Pilgrim's Progress. Little Women. All the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

2. One book that you've read more than once: I read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder almost every year. Usually in the winter. I guess because so much of the action takes place during the winter. I find them soothing and comforting. Jane Austen's Persuasion. And Pride and Prejudice. I've probably read these more than 30 times. I love Jane Austen. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (another winter time read). Little Women. Anything by Agatha Christie--there are so many that I forget the solutions by the time I reread the mysteries. Beowulf. Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights. The Canterbury Tales. The Harry Potter books. Some of my students are diligently looking for clues as to what will happen in the last of the seven, and I have to keep checking their research. Besides that, I like them. Harry is learning that life is not only a battle between good and evil, but that each of us has a choice--each of us has to choose, ultimately, which side has our allegiance.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: my Bible. A survival manual. How to build a boat would come in handy, I think, also how to tell edible from inedible mushrooms, and how to make salt water potable. How to make pottery. Mostly, How to get rescued.

4. One book that made you laugh: Anything by Erma Bombeck. I sure do miss her. Especially the Grass Grows Greener Over the Septic Tank. A couple that I can't remember the authors of at the moment--Raising Demons. And Please Don't Eat the Dasies.

5. One book that made you cry: Little Women. Two parts actually: when Beth dies, and when Jo ends up with her old German suitor, Professor Baehr.

6. One book that you wish had been written: anything that made more than a million dollars for the author. Then I could retire, and just write the kind of stuff I enjoy, without worrying about making a living.

7. One book you wish had never been written: The DaVinci Code. Too many people mistake fiction for reality, and many of them lack sufficient grounding in their faith to distinguish truth from balderdash.

8. One book you are currently reading: A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane. I read a lot of "young adult" fiction, because I enjoy much of it, and because I want to know what my students are reading.

9.One book you've been meaning to read: Oh my word, how can I name just one, when my list runs into the hundreds?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Where I'm From--thinking

Tomorrow begins a new school year. Part of the first week of school is letting students know about me, my expectations, my standards. Part of the week is getting to know them, where they are from, what they expect from themselves and from me.
Our first writing activity will be a poem. All the poems will share the same title, "Where I'm From."
The original poem is by George Ella Lyons. I am posting the "think sheet" I give my students, so if you feel so inclined, you can write your own.

Here's the original poem.

I am from clothespins,
From Clorox and carbon tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I am from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under the bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments –
snapped before I budded –leaf-fall from the family tree.

Here's the "think sheet."
Objects play



Central events

church experiences



Other people’s words

town or street names


hiding places


what grew in your yard

Relatives’ names

parents work



Tomorrow I will post my own version of the poem. If you decide to play, let me know so I can come visit your site and see where you are from.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Coke Can Chicken

I confess: I changed the name, since this is a family friendly blogspot. What we really call it is B.e.e.r B_tt chicken.
Here's how to make it.
You will need:
A whole chicken.
Half a can of the liquid refreshment of your choice (b.e.e.r, fruit flavored cooler ( I really like the cherry or margarita flavor), coke, fruit flavored carbonated drink, whatever).
Salt, pepper, butter or olive oil, garlic.
I sprinkle the seasoning inside and outside the chicken. Then peel the skin of the breast back enough to stuff in some pats of butter. Or rub the whole chicken with olive oil. This will make the skin crisp up and brown something lovely.
Next, sit the chicken down on the can of liquid. If you push the chicken down on the can, it should balance on its tail end. Set it on the grill and let it cook until brown and tender. Usually this takes about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how hot the grill is.
The liquid will boil as the chicken cooks, keeping the meat juicy, and infusing it with flavor. If you use an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol will boil off, leaving the just the flavor.
It's even better than marinating or basting, and a lot easier. I always forget the marinade until I am already ready to cook the chicken. And I can never remember to come back often enough to baste.
You may want to put a little foil on the wing tips and the ends of the drumsticks so they won't burn.
Easy, delicious, and my darling is always willing to take care of the other half of the b.e.e.r, and to cook the chicken on the grill.
Works for me.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Am I in the Right Place?

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you think you are where you are supposed to be, but then suddenly you realize that you are somewhere totally different, but it still seems like where you are supposed to be, only it's not, so where are you, and where are you supposed to be?
Well. I have that kind of dream a lot. And since I started teacher training days at my new school, I am having that kind of feeling a lot, even though I am awake, not asleep and dreaming.
The building looks like a school. It has the right name on the front. The people inside are wearing name badges that say they are teachers or principals or counselors or coaches.
So....what is the problem?
Um....it's not really a problem. It's more like.....I'm afraid I'm dreaming and I'm going to wake up.
Every person I have met---
Every single person---
has been glad to see me.
Has greeted me like a long-lost friend.
Has told me what a blessing I am going to be to them, to the school, to the kids.
Has offered to help me.
Has blessed my heart.
Has demonstrated love of God, and the indwelling of His spirit.

Today, during a small group activity focusing on our hopes and expectations for our students, people were holding up their hands, praising God, and quoting Scripture.
Especially Hebrews 11:1.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

We prayed that God would send us where He wanted us to be.
He has answered that prayer more richly than I could ever have imagined.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Thirteen--Who's In Charge Here?

As I have been discussing for what seems like months, we have just acquired new jobs, moved into a tiny apartment, and have major problems with our RV. Here are a few of the things we have been dealing with.

1. We signed our contracts 31 July, after being offered jobs at the Job Fair on 22 July.
2. When we were signing, we asked about new teacher training.
3. We were informed that we would have had to sign by 21 July to qualify to go to new teacher training.
4. But, as I mentioned in item #1, the Job Fair was 22 July.
5. At which time we were told we would be called on Monday, 24 July, for a time to come in and sign contracts, and hand-deliver our teacher service records, official transcripts, etc.
6. But we only received an appointment after two phone calls from my husband, and four from me, over five days.
7. After signing, we were told to report to our campuses immediately, where we would be told what to do for the rest of the week.
8. But the principal would not be expecting us, since he would have assumed that we were attending new teacher training.
9. And, since we didn't sign before 21 July, and thus missed the beginning of teacher training, we will be docked a day's pay for not attending new teacher training.
10. When we arrived on our campuses, the principals were in meetings, were totally astonished to see us, and had nothing for us to do.
11. So we went to the lake to pick up a few things, such as a clock, our dinner plates, and a few other things we seem to feel necessary for living.
12. All of which, we thought, was stored in the barn, where the temperature was approximately 125 degrees, and I felt like I was having a stroke,
13. So I went to take a cold shower, while my darling persevered, finding the dinner plates, but not the clock, despite our conviction that we have at least four somewhere among all those boxes in that hot, cavernous space.

So, today we take the RV back to the service center.


And tomorrow, we report for work.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wednesday Works for Me--Trash Can Liners

I have a small trash basket in every room. Mostly, they catch paper--bills, catalogs, kleenex, stuff like that. But occasionally someone throws away a sticky peppermint, a wad of bubble gum, or something equally messy/yucky/disgusting, that is hard to get out of the basket.
So I always try to keep some kind of liner in the basket. I've bought boxes of small trash bags, but I just hate buying something just to contain trash. I mean, I'm actually buying something, so that I can throw it away.
So I tried Wal-mart bags. We certainly have plenty of them. In fact, if we got a rebate for Wal-mart bags, we could probably retire a year sooner.
But the bags are bigger than the trash basket, and the part that drapes over the outside covers up my cute little woven basket.
Then I tried the thin plastic bags we get in the produce department to sack up fruit, vegetables, onions, etc.

Voila! Perfect. They are just the right size. They are thin and transparent, so they don't hide my cute little baskets. And just to make sure I always replace the sack when I empty the trash, whenever I unload the groceries, I stash the bags in the bottom of the basket, under the one currently lining the trash basket. So I don't have to go looking for a bag, or find that someone has thrown away my stash. They are right there, ready to replace the one being thrown away.
And best of all, they are free.
Free always works for me.

Moving Misadventures Redux

The agony of moving continues. We ordered a washer and dryer. The store advertised free delivery. However, what the ad didn't say was that it would be 3 weeks until delivery, and someone would have to take off work to be there to accept delivery.
So Wick said he would pick it up himself.
But the store said it would take a couple of days to get the washer and dryer from wherever it was stored.
So we waited.
Then when he went to pick them up, the store still had not brought the washer and dryer down from wherever, so we waited for it to be brought down to the pick-up area.
He brought them back to the apartment, brought them inside, and discovered, once the box was removed, that the front of the washer was caved in.
So back to the store went the washer, another wait for one to be brought down to the pick-up area, and another trip to bring the washer into the apartment.

Next on our list of misadventures is the tv cable situation. Cable service is supposed to be included in our rent. It was supposed to be functioning when we moved in, last week.
It's not working.
So we called the office.
The manager said to call the cable company.
The cable company said this address was not on record.
We called the office again.
The manager called the cable company.
The cable company said oh, yes, that address is good, and the service is operating.
But it is not.
So we called the office again.
The manager sent a maintenance person to our apartment with a list of things for us to do:
things like, turn on the tv.
Put the tv on cable settings.
Set up the menu functions.
All the stuff we have already done.
So we called the cable company again.
They are going to send someone out right away.
Well, not right away.
In three days.
And someone has to be here, or the guy won't come in.
I'm beginning to think that staying in an apartment, which was supposed to make our life easier, is not such a good idea after all.
But the RV still has major problems, like no working refrigerator.

And it may be another couple of months before the RV service center has all the parts, all the permissions from all the warranty companies, and someone available to fix everything.

That "to-do" list seems to be getting longer, instead of shorter.