Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Chili

In an attempt to encourage a little nutrition on Halloween, I always make a big pot of chili for dinner. I let it simmer in the slow cooker, and everyone can help themselves to a bowl in between Trick-or-Treating or scary movie viewing. It’s been our tradition for years. I adore making our Halloween chili.

In a perfect storm of reasons that included a 36 hour trip to OH and back, a monster of a cold, and simple forgetfulness, I neglected to buy ingredients for my chili. I lamented this matter from a horizontal position on my couch the day before Halloween, as I nursed a wicked virus. What would I serve for Halloween dinner? My kids would be disappointed. Forgetting to make the Halloween chili was almost as bad as not serving turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. I hated to break tradition, but I had no energy to shop for ingredients or cook. Oh, well, I thought, we’ll just have “whatever.” I’d try to muster up the energy to make one of my go-to meals, like grilled cheese sandwiches. Or I’d just open a can of soup. Whatever. But still, I felt like I’d be letting everyone down.

An out-of-the-blue phone call came later that evening from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. “I saw on Facebook that you’re not feeling well,” she said. “I’m going to drop off some food. You can eat it tomorrow for dinner.” It was pot of chili!

Later, she told me that while she had been making the chili, God whispered to her to bring some to our family. So we had chili after all for Halloween dinner, lovingly made by a dear friend, along with her homemade chocolate chip cookies!

That chili meal from my friend was no coincidence. It was a sweet, tender gift from a loving Father who showed me once again that He sees my needs, cares about them, and is so intimately involved in my life that He made the chili dinner happen for me. He covered all the details! From His heart through an obedient godly friend’s hands, He fed us our traditional Halloween meal, because He’s good like that. And candidly, it tasted way better than mine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Denim Jumpers Are Not My Style

I cannot believe how fast this summer has flown! This, the last week before school begins, always brings me to a place of wistfulness, and grieving the end of leisurely beach days, sleeping a bit later, etc. But I am gearing up to begin homeschooling my third-grader next week. And because I’ve been getting the usual looks askance and questions about why I am, once again, embarking on this journey, I thought I’d format this post into a Q & A based on some of the most popular questions I’ve been asked about homeschooling. Sound good?

1) Why, for the love of God, would you want to go back to having your most active child home with you every single day, when you could, in contrast, have six straight hours of freedom Monday through Friday?

Simply put, I want to soak up every precious minute with my youngest. I have a 20yo who is on the brink of moving out into her own life, and so I know how very fast these parenting years go by. Little Squirt is a joy to be around (on most days), and he is a “sponge.” Everything interests him. I want to treasure this year of teaching him, especially because he wants me to. Soon enough, he’ll be into girls, and I’ll be relegated to the “uncool.” At present, he still thinks I’m awesome.

2) Do you think the school system is the devil?

Absolutely not! I adored both Little Squirt’s kindergarten and first/second grade teachers. I loved the principal and the school. There wasn’t a thing I disliked about the system. He may go back for fourth grade. This is a personal decision, and one I feel called to by God. We're taking this year by year.

3)Do you think I'm an awful parent for wanting to send my children to school?

No. I’ve sent all three of my children to school at one time or another. And the big kids chose to attend public high school. Homeschooling is not for everyone. I would never judge anyone’s choice of how they choose to educate their children. It’s a very personal decision, and each child is unique.

4) Are you really the "homeschooling type"?

Um....I'm not sure I understand the question. Is there a stereotype of homeschooling mothers? I was my child’s first teacher, and I love him and know him more than anyone else does. I’ve homeschooled for seven years in the past. I know I can manage third grade with my youngest. Does that answer your question?

5) I guess what I was really asking is will you now wear denim jumpers and grow your own food organically?

No and no. I’ll continue to dress in my sporty/classic style, and wear my favorite Gap jeans. Or sweats on my bloated days. And I abhor gardening. I’ll still shop at the grocery store, especially Joseph’s for my favorite guacamole, and Trader Joe's for the jasmine green tea that I love. I wish I could raise a few chickens, though, since they’re so cute. But the chicken ordinance did not pass in my town, sadly. I’m sometimes lazy and make boxed stuffing and put out a bowl of grapes for dinner and call it the "vegetable." So,in other words, I will still be the same ME with all my usual qualities and quirkiness. I just will be adding homeschooling as an addition to the quirkiness.

And, last but not least, the most popular question of all:

6) Will your child be socialized?

Have you met my youngest?? The child is such an extrovert, he will talk to a brick wall! (True story.) I don’t believe that socialization best takes place during the school day in a group of his peers. Have you ever mingled in the schoolyard during recess? It's not always a pretty picture. Living real life and the interaction with people of various ages is socialization. But just so you’re not concerned about him, I'll let you know that we've joined a homeschooling group where we’ll do field trips with the other moms and kids. And I’ve signed him up for a homeschool swimming class, a martial arts class, and an Adventure Club. Plus he’s in a small group at church. He also has several homeschooling friends, and other buddies that attend school. No worries, people. He won't be raised by wolves.

So, there you have it. Here’s to a great school year for us all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Palm Trees And Sunsets

I’m thoroughly enjoying this vacation and soaking up every bit of it, especially with the realization that we will be heading back to home and reality this weekend. The past two weeks have been the perfect mix of rest and play. Super Hubs and I agree on that balance for vacations, which is one of the many ways that we fit together so well. We like to do some adventuring and exploring, but we also relish our down-time. I’ve read 6 books, and I’m guessing my husband has read twice as many. We’ve meandered along the shore, leisurely kicking the waves and gathering shells. We’ve enjoyed a date night almost every other evening, which often was just a glass of wine under the palm trees.

We do, however, have an active nine-year-old who is not content to sit for hours on the beach with a novel. Little Squirt has been up at dawn every day, asking for the agenda. I took him on a horseback trail ride, in which he proudly road his horse, Casey, up in the front behind the guide and talked her ear off for the hour. He was a bit disappointed, though, because he expected lassos and Indians. He inquired if he could take Casey home with us, reassuring the guide that he had “lots of carrots.” He felt insulted that she wouldn’t allow him to.

We’ve taken numerous bike rides on the beautiful trails, sometimes stopping to feed horses or visiting the petting zoo. We’ve gone cruising on the Vagabond, spotting dolphins frolicking in the water. Little Squirt was baffled that they didn’t jump through hoops and wave like they do at Sea World.

Rock Star has set his own pace on this vacation, sleeping in, working out, and watching sports. But he’s joined us for dinners out, walks to Harbour Town for ice cream, and the occasional beach day.

It’s been a good two weeks. For all the sunny days, starfish sightings, fabulous cuisine, palm trees and sunsets, I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dancing With Danger

Today was apparently Sea Life Petting Zoo Day at the ocean. On my morning walk down the shore, I nearly stepped on a jelly fish. And then I ran into a beached baby sting ray. Under normal circumstances, like watching him backstroke in an aquarium, I’d find the sting ray kind of adorable. He was all flappy and scared on the sand, and trying to get in the water. But he had a stinger poking midway down his tail. And I knew that stinger could sting. That stinger could maim, even. Or kill. His cute-and-adorable act did not fool me. I wanted him incarcerated. However, a gentleman with a bigger heart for sea life than I have used a beach chair to flip him back into the water. So off he swam, in search of human prey to sting, I am certain.

Later, I was relaxing in my beach chair, reading a book with my toes in the water. Suddenly, a lifeguard down the beach madly blew his whistle, signaling beachers to get out of the water. I made sure my husband and son were safely on sand before making a bee-line to the lifeguard to find out what was what. Apparently, a sand shark was spotted by a fisherman. Sand sharks are not friendly. In fact, tangoing with one can lead to a painful death.

I ran back to my family to tell them about the sand shark, when I noticed a large crowd had formed around my beach chair. Apparently, according to my husband, a rogue eel had taken a liking to my beach chair and was swimming happily around it, when it was noticed by a some bystanders who screamed, which caused the eel to begin racing all over the sand. The lifeguard again blew his whistle, and shouted for all swimmers to come ashore while the renegade eel darted between feet. (At that point, the ocean was probably safer than the beach, but that wasn’t written in the lifeguard’s handbook.) The killer eel was eventually picked up by the tail by a very brave or very stupid vacationer, and flung into the ocean. I gathered my beach things and told my family it was time to go home.

The point of my post is that the sand shark saved my life. If I hadn’t run down the beach to hear about the sand shark, I would have been sitting in my beach chair when the eel came visiting, and that would have been the end of me. If the eel hadn’t done me in with its electric shock or however it murders human beings, I would have died of a heart attack. So I owe one to the sand shark. But that doesn't mean I want to be friends.

Actually, I’d enjoy the ocean so much more if it didn’t have all the sea life swimming in it. I’d allow the dolphins to stay because I view them as dogs with fins. But everything else can go. Except for the harmless starfish and sand dollars.

In any case, I made an executive decision that tomorrow will be a Pool Day.

Monday, July 11, 2011


It’s Day #2 of our Hilton Head Island vacation and I am about one-third relaxed. It always takes us high-strung types a few days of down-time to fully unwind. This vacation comes after a few intense weeks. A son in a bad car accident (but okay, thank you, Lord) which led to the totaling of my little Toyota and the purchase of my new Sorrento, left us drained. And the Casey Anthony trial, which I felt an intense connection to and my subsequent deep disappointment over the verdict of acquittal (more about my feelings on that later) has made my head spin. God is always sovereign, and I am feeling grateful to Him for our perfectly-timed getaway to the ocean.

We’ve spent two days at the beach, swimming and sunning, and my corpse-white shade of skin is beginning to tan. I’ve devoured two novels, watched golfers from our master suite deck, and refereed several arguments between my sons. I watched an osprey eat a squirrel, and made friends with a little blue salamander by the pool.

I love these days, when my biggest decision is what to do for dinner. for a nap.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guilty As Charged

Breaking News: I have momentarily interrupted this blog due to the Casey Anthony Trial.

I seriously need an intervention. I have been obsessed with this case for the past three years. I even drove to see The Anthonys home on a trip to Orlando last year with a friend, much to her mortification. My family is going to Orlando in November, so guess where I’m going to drag them?

In between entertaining Little Squirt with movies, beach days and trips to the library, I have been glued to my computer to watch the trial live stream. And when I’m not watching the trial, I am reading blogs about the trial or observing talking heads discuss the trial or viewing the HLN evening lineup of shows that review the trial. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when this is all over. Big sigh.

I now know so much about trial law that I believe I could pass the Bar. I could be an alternate to the alternate jurors. I am peppering my conversations with legalese like, “Objection!” and “What says the defense?” People are beginning to think I’m weird.

I have always been interested in the mystery genre of reading and tv watching. This bizarre, real life case of a FL mother accused of murdering her 2yo has pulled on my heartstrings. I am thirsty for justice!

So, I’ll be back. I’m just a woman consumed at present.