Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our new puppy!


We have a new addition to our family! Meet Tucker, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. He is nine weeks old, and we got him from our friends in Mississippi. He is the cutest, sweetest thing ever!

Tucker and his littermates

Baby Tucker

Dots was the first in our family to hold Tucker

Larkin, Katie and Tucker drove from Jackson and met us in Shreveport

Vivian meets Tucker for the first time

Introducing Tucker and Percy

Ginny and Percy are not too sure about the new acquisition

Tucker has already made friends with our neighbor Ladybug

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dots!

From the prettiest baby ever...


...to the funniest little girl...


...to a sweet young lady,


you have always been a delight!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Preppy day.


This week is Homecoming at Hockey Boy's high school. Each day has a different dress-up theme. Wednesday was Preppy Day. Hockey's Boy high school is already a pretty traditional place, so having a Preppy Day there seemed to me to be akin to having Bathing Suit Day at the swimming pool. But nonetheless, he and others had fun taking preppy to the extreme.

When Hockey Boy came downstairs that morning, I thought he looked so adorable! But at the very mention of "Let me run get my camera," he was out the door so fast it would make your head spin. I had to be up at the school later that day to assign tuxes to the boys in choir so I took my camera along. Hockey Boy was none too thrilled when I stepped into the choir room to snap a picture, but there wasn't much he could do about it.


"Hockey Boy, the first picture I took didn't turn out too well. Could I take another one of you?"

My favorite part of his outfit was this needlepoint belt that I made for Robert when we were in college. Hockey Boy has actually worn it on other occasions as well. It comes in handy that he and his dad have the same initials!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Vintage prep.

Eloise RHS 1982

My friend Jill at Tickled Pink and Green challenged her blog readers to post an old preppy picture of themselves. My sister shared this lovely photo on Facebook not too long ago, so it was one I could access readily (admittedly not the best picture of me!).

This was likely my junior or senior year of high school. To the left of me are my good friends, Traci and Scarlet, and we are at a football game. I am wearing one of my all-time favorite outfits: a J.G. Hook madras blouse, pink cardigan and pink wide-wale corduroy skirt, all purchased at Estroff's department store in Vidalia, GA. You can't see my legs in the picture, but I guarantee you I was wearing navy cabled knee socks and my tasseled Weejun loafers. I still have this outfit and the shoes.

After my sister shared this on Facebook, my roommate from my freshman year at SMU commented that I was wearing that outfit the first time she met me!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cooking Club, September 2009.


My Cooking Club kicked off its fourth year this week. We are using a new cookbook by the Junior League of Houston called Peace Meals. It is an exquisite cookbook, and we are all quite excited about it. The recipes sound so promising that we may end up using this book for longer than this school year.

The Junior League of Houston clearly spent a lot of money having the food styled and photographed for the cookbook because the pictures are fabulous. Its introductory essay begins, "Who has not, at least once, thought that life in our grandmothers' time moved to rhythms we can no longer quite hear? With comfortable predictability, family houses were cleaned and aired out every spring, peaches "put up" late each summer, winter days made bright with rites of celebration and renewal." Isn't that lovely? The forward sets a wonderful tone for the rest of the book.

Our gathering this week was as delightful as our new cookbook. The food everyone prepared was fabulous, and our hostess had set one of the most beautiful tables I've ever seen. She used china that her husband's grandmother had purchased in Italy.


This was our delectable menu:

Camembert and Pecan Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa
Roasted Balsamic Tomato Soup (I brought this)
Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Flank Steak
Spicy Rosemary Cashews
Arugula, Corn and Tomato Salad
Marvelous Mushrooms
Pumpkin Bread Pudding




As you might imagine, I didn't need dinner that night!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Make a joyful noise.

New 6th grade band member Dots with her bassoon

Quick update: The ENT was very pleased with how Hockey Boy's abscess was responding to the antibiotics, so he does not have to have a tonsillectomy. Yet. We are scheduling the procedure for over the Christmas holidays. What a joyful time that will be - ha!

Thank you for all of your kind words of support and well wishes for him (and me!).

Monday, September 14, 2009

My best brownies.

My mom noted the page for the brownies in the front of my cookbook

My mom gave me a copy of The Joy of Cooking after I graduated from college and moved into my first apartment. I have used it frequently as a reference over the years, and I love its recipe for Brownies Cockaigne. Not only are these brownies deliciously moist and chewy, they are easy to prepare and made from ingredients that I usually have on hand.


Brownie Cockaigne
from The Joy of Cooking

½ c butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I happened to have some really good chocolate left over from my Valentine luncheon dessert. It was fabulous in these brownies, but I have also used regular Baker's unsweetened chocolate for many years with great success)
4 eggs, at room temperature
¼ t salt
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 c pecans, chopped (The Joy of Cooking specifies pecan meats - I'm assuming everyone knows I'm not talking about pecan shells!)

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler (I always do this in the microwave - start at full power for a minute, stir, then cook 30 seconds longer). Let this mixture cool completely or your brownies will be heavy and dry (I don't actually know this for a fact because the warning has always scared me into letting the mixture cool).

In a mixer cream together eggs and salt "until light in color and foamy in texture." Add sugar and vanilla gradually and mix until well blended. With a few swift strokes combine the cooled chocolate mixture and the eggs and sugar (the cookbook insists that this part be done by hand, which I do, but it takes me a couple more than a few swift strokes). Stir in flour just until blended then add nuts.

Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (I removed this batch a little too early as I was in a hurry; they're not usually quite this gooey).

I took these brownies and almond tart to a gathering of Hockey Boys friend's and their parents Saturday night. I omitted the pecans from half the brownies as Hockey Boy prefers his without. The almond tart was a huge hit with the adults

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Out of contention.

Hockey Boy was oh so happy that I snuck up and took his picture

Hockey Boy has been sick for over ten days.

Last Wednesday he awoke complaining of a sore throat and running a fever. I took him in to our pediatrician's office where he tested negative for both flu and strep. The doctor told us this was likely a virus that would take several days to run its course.

The following Tuesday Hockey Boy said his throat still hurt. I called and spoke to the nurse at the pediatrician's office who told me that these viruses could take a week to go away but to bring him in if he wasn't better by Thursday.

By the time Thursday rolled around, Hockey Boy was continuing to complain about his throat and his voice also sounded a little strange. I had run out of tolerance for all of his moaning and carrying on back on about Day 3 (he is one of the world's worst patients, with close to zero pain tolerance), so I took him back to the doctor. This time the pediatrician seemed a little more concerned about the way Hockey Boy's throat looked, and he arranged for us to see an ENT.

The ENT diagnosed Hockey Boy with an abscess behind one of his tonsils. He said this was a terribly painful condition and prescribed painkillers as well as a strong course of antibiotics. The ENT gave us his personal cell phone number telling me that it was possible Hockey Boy might have to have an emergency tonsillectomy over the weekend!

Hockey Boy seems to be doing better, though I'm not sure how we're supposed to tell when he's taking painkillers. I, on the other hand, have further dimmed my chances of ever being Mother of the Year by receiving a zero in the sympathetic heart category.

We go back to the ENT first thing in the morning to determine whether the antibiotics are effective enough or if we should go ahead and remove Hockey Boy's tonsils. I obviously hope for the former case, though caring for Hockey Boy after surgery would certainly be apt penance for me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stocking up on accountability.

Copy of IMGP2580

One of the first things I did when I found out I was expecting each of my children was to purchase a stocking canvas and begin needlepointing it. After I completed all of their stockings, I purchased canvases for Robert and myself. I finished Robert's stocking some five years ago but somehow never got started on mine. I suppose as I began knitting again, exploring on the Internet, playing bridge, reading blogs, etc., I depleted all of my leisure time!

Each Christmas I would display our four stockings and tell myself that I needed to get to work on my own. After Christmas it always seemed there was plenty of time. Yet before I knew it, July would roll around and I would concede that I could never complete the stocking by the October 1st finishing deadline (each stocking takes me about a year to a year-and-a-half), so once again, I would neglect to get started on it.


Last month, however, I decided to bring the stocking with me to Jackson Hole so that I could commence working on it and strive to finish in time for Christmas 2010. I lugged my needlepoint bag all the way out to Wyoming only to discover that I had pulled very few threads for my stocking and that I could no longer recall what I had planned to do with the few that I had!

Discouraged but inspired, I paid a visit to my needlepoint store as soon as we returned home. The workers in the store welcomed me back warmly and helped me select some threads and stitches for my project. I had forgotten how much fun it was to look at all of the different fibers, with their widely varying textures and colors, and choose the ones I wanted to use.

Since then I have been back at work on my stocking. I'm enjoying it immensely, though wishing I had worked on it more when my eyes were better. Now I have to use reading glasses and a bright light {sigh}.

I decided to post a picture of my stocking here and ask you to hold me accountable for finishing it. I hope to post pictures of the work in progress periodically. If I don't, please nag me about it!

So far I have just done the little houses and church at the top and I've started on the sky. These areas have all been done in basketweave stitch which is slow and boring. I plan to use some more interesting stitches on the Christmas trees and perhaps the horse, sleigh or pond

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vivian update.


We were able to get Vivian switched back with her old bus driver - hooray! I have had a much easier time getting her on the bus since then: a couple of days she has walked on by herself and a few times I've had to carry her, but at least I haven't been wrestling with her or chasing her as she runs the opposite direction. This driver (whom we love) picks Vivian up at 6:45 as opposed to 7:15 like the other lady. I know that hour sounds terrible, but it seems to work better as there is not time for Vivian's anxiety to build. Oddly enough, I also think having the others asleep when Vivian departs is easier too as she doesn't have the impression that she's the only one leaving while everyone else gets to stay home. Understand that all of this is pure conjecture on my part as I have only a scant idea of how that crazy little brain of Vivian's operates!

I've received positive reports from school so far. This year Vivian is changing classes more and working with several different teachers. I was a bit leery about how that would go, but Vivian is evidently handling the transitions well. She's even been successfully attending a mainstream art class.

Her teacher reported a funny story about Vivian in art. One of the first days Vivian went to that class, she sat down at her assigned table and then screamed. Her aide, Mr. Kemp, who loves Vivian and knows her very well, ignored her outburst. Vivian repeated it and then told Mr. Kemp, "I scream. I need to go to time out." Mr. Kemp looked at her and said, "We're not leaving." Vivian stared at him for a second and then went right back to work!

I always appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement after I post about Vivian.