Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Boy

The Boy has his own blog. He's so happy. We are still working on it..but here ya go...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Word Wednesday


(I am in desperate need of a vacation.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meatless Monday

Broccoli and Bow ties

My sister reminded me about this recipe yesterday.  We make this at LEAST once a month.  Sometimes more, because this is one of the few things that everyone in our house will eat.  YUM.  I think it's a Barefoot Contessa original. 

Kosher salt
8 cups broccoli florets (4 heads)
1/2 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pignoli (pine) nuts
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Cook the broccoli for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
In the same water, cook the bow-tie pasta according to the package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain well and add to the broccoli.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Off the heat, add 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and lemon juice and pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss well. Season to taste, sprinkle with the pignolis and cheese, if using, and serve.

To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan over medium-low heat and cook, tossing often, for about 5 minutes, until light brown.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Playing with PHOTOSHOP

I have been dying to do some photos on art for a while but haven't been able to figure out layers in CS4 .  AND I didn't have a scanner until my birthday.  (so happy to have one now!)  WELL, I finally figured out one way to do it. 
(i'm still playing around to make it better.) 
ANYWAY, here is my first trial run.  I still love this idea and I'm gonna work on cleaning this one up.  You can still see some white spots around her elbows and arms but I thought it turned out pretty well for my first attempt. 

Hailey is the master, and she would be proud.  Can't wait to show her.
So what do ya think??

OK wait...I played with it some more.  This one has a slightly different color filter, too.  Raindrops on umbrella top?  Yes? No?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nap Time?

Here's what happens when I try to take a "rest".
 (which really means nap but SOMEONE...
and i won't say who...
get's reallly mad when i say i wanna take a nap.)

First this

then this

and finally

Yeah.  No "rest" here. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meatless Monday


I love soups.  LOVE them. Even in the summertime.  This one is yummy and easy because it's from a slow cooker cookbook so it can cook all day.  Just takes a little prep time.  I love leeks and I love sweet potatoes.  This is my current fav. (well this and African Peanut Stew..but i will post that in the fall sometime.)

1 Tbs EVOO
4 large leeks, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
6 cups veggie broth, divided
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs) peeled and cubed into 1 inch cubes
2 green bell peppers, diced
dash of salt
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream OR soy milk if your making the vegan version
finely snipped chives
Optional...several stips of roasted red pepper

1.  In a large skillet, heat oil over med heat.  Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 min.  Add garlic, cumin, and peppercornsa nd cok, stirring, for 1 min.  Add 2 cups of the veggie broth and stir well.  Transfer to slow cooker.
2.  Add remaining 4 cups of veggie broth and sweet potatoes.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3  hours, until potatoes are tenter.  Add green peppers, cover and cook for an additional 20 min. until peppers are tender.  Season with salt if you wish.
3.  Puree using and immersion blender (or you can do parts at a time in a blender, like i do!)  To serve, ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with cream.  Garnish with roasted red pepper strips and chives.  YUM.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

LOVE at 16

“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” 

Saint Augustine

necklace can be found here!!!

I have been wanting to do a "16" photo shoot with Hailey since she turned 16 back in Feb.  At the time, I really thought she would think I had lost my mind.  She will smile for photos with her family and friends but doing her own shoot was something I thought she's say "NO WAY!" to. 
But, when I mentioned it to her yesterday and she got very excited!! 
I told her some things I wanted to do and she was really happy about it.
  I was SO EXCITED!!

So yesterday we went out for a practice shoot.
 (and I love the photos so much that I am gonna use lots of them.) 
In the end, she had a great time and enjoyed photo editing so much that she decided she had to approve of all final edits. She loves photo editing.
(that's my favorite part too)

I don't know why I was so surprised when she was happy about the idea of a shoot.  She's happy about everything these days.  She is doing better, talking more, smiling and laughing more than EVER.  She is so grown up I can't stand it.  I see all of this growth and I often wonder who else notices. 
(these changes to others may seem small, but they are HUGE to us.) 
She's been so "shy" for so long that most people just sort of give up on trying to talk to her and get to know the other three.
 (Cause they won't stop talking.)
Two different two different times...came up to me last week and told me how FANTASTIC she is doing.  They said she is communicating a ton and that she's happy all day AND that she is doing some incredible gymnastics.  Suzie said, "Whatever your feedin that kid, keep giving it to her cause she is on fiyah!"
(and sweet Brigitte said ALL kinds of good stuff about her beam and floor.  she even said her vault is really powerful right now!!!) 
I am so happy for her.  I really think her school change next year is a good move.  I pray that she continues to be happy.
 Cause when she is happy...she is extra sparkly BEAUTIFUL.

(She still wants to do some railroad track shots, hopefully we will get the chance to do that soon.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Monday Lentil Salad

This stuff is so good I can't stand it.  The tarragon and dijon mustard are the ingredients I like the most.  Makes it REALLY good instead of just ok. 

(this is from VEGANOMICON by Isa Moskowitz)

4 cups veggie broth
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup uncooked french lentils
1 small red onion, chopped very fine (about 1/3 cup)
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
2 radishes, grated (about 1/3 cup)
1 small carrot, grated
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

2-4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 clove garlic, minced

Bring broth, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, tarragon, and salt to a boil in a med size sauce pan.  Add lentils and bring again to a low boil.  Cover the pot (with lid tilted so that a little steam escapes) and let cook for 20 to 25 min.  The lentils should be soft enough to eat but NOT mushy...they shouldn't lose their shape.
While lentils cook, stir all dressing ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Drain the lentils in a mesh colander so the lentils don't fall through the holes.  Let cool.  Once lentils are lukewarm, remove the pay leaves, chunks of garlic and thyme sprigs.  Add the lentils to the dressing along with the tomato, radishes, and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill for at least  half an hour.  When chilled, serve over lettuce or make lettuce wraps.  (or eat with pita chips or just eat straight outta the bowl.)   
SO GOOD. I swear.  But don't overcook the lentils.  It isn't NEARLY as good when the lentils cook too long and get mushy.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Local Produce

Today I got to go shopping for local produce. 
And it was FREE. 

Every year, our neighbors grow all of these veggies in their front yard.  
And they always leave some out  for the neighbors. 
This year they added a sign.
So I went and got some.

 (In the winter, they have pine straw around their trees.
  In the summer, every tree is surrounded by veggies.) 

It kinda cracks me up but I love it! 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One Word Wednesday


 (love u m&m&m!)
window graffiti

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maddy's Letter

A few months ago, we were wondering if we would have any middle school sports in our school system.  Due to significant budget cuts, all middle school sports were on the chopping block.  Schools around here have been cutting all kinds of good stuff for a while now so we have been nervous for the last couple of years about middle school sports.  BUT during Maddy's end-of-season spring sports party, the coach told them all that sports had been saved by private donations.

That was then.  This is now.  Apparently they dicided to save only SOME middle school sports.  We just got the news that soccer, softball and baseball have been cut.  Middle schools will continue to have volleyball, football (of course. nuf said..) cheerleading, track and field, and basketball.  WTH???

Maddy has been stewing and brewing over this one.  She told me she really wanted to write a letter.  I told her to go for it.  She asked me who should get it?  I told her I wasn't sure.  She said, "So let's send it to them all.  The whole board." 

So here it is.  The words of a pissed-off AND really frustrated 13 year old: 

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Board of Elections

P.O. Box 30035, Charlotte, NC 28230

Dear Board Member:

I am very concerned about the recent decision to cut soccer, baseball, and softball out of the middle school athletics. How can you choose fairly among the sports when deciding which ones to cut?

I am a soccer player at Carmel Middle School. Soccer has been an amazing experience! Not only was it great for me, but also for everyone else involved. I’m fortunate enough to play for a club team as well, but I didn’t grow as a player or as a person like I did when I played for my middle school team. On my middle school team everyone became very close. On my club team my coach wasn’t as good and supportive. It was on my middle school team that I had a fantastic coach who volunteered her time to help us grow as individuals and also as a team. She made us feel better about ourselves. This kind of support and encouragement inspired us as a team to have better behavior and to work harder in school because she expected that of us. We looked forward to playing soccer so much that we made sure we tried our best at everything on and off the field to make sure we would be able to play. We also spent our whole day looking forward to soccer practice. As you can see, soccer is just as important as every other sport in the middle school athletic department.

It is a fact that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. This sport alone brings all nationalities together. For many nations this sport is what they are most proud of. This sport is very important to the Latin population as well. Due to the increasing number of Latin students in CMS, I strongly think that we should keep this sport. Many people who play soccer do not participate in any other sports due to their passion for the game. So even though other sports will be available, soccer players will still be left out.

You may think it’s only a small number of students who will not be able to participate in their favorite sport, but for those students the effects could be devastating. Please don’t take away soccer and please reconsider baseball and softball as well.

Is there anything I can do to help bring soccer back? I am willing to collect private donations, start a petition or anything that might be helpful. How can I help save my favorite sport?

Sincerely sad,


Carmel Middle rising 8th grader.


(i can't read it without tearing up.  and i am sooo dang proud of her.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Official

She's going to Northwest!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011