January 25, 2010

Cookin' with Nan III

We've had a few technical difficulties, but the show must go on!

These melt in your mouth.

Quick Sugar Cookies

350 degrees ~4 dozen cookies

1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. veg. oil
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 C. flour

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until well blended.

Keeping drops small, drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Butter the bottom of a glass, then dip it in sugar. Press cookies slightly with glass.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully and remove when edges just start to turn light brown.
Cool on wire rack. These are somewhat delicate, so Hannah recommends immediately eating as many of them as possible.

January 24, 2010

In Which Dolly Goes AWOL

Last fall at William and Mary's family weekend Hannah played a game and won a goldfish. It was a tiny meek fish. All of our other fish had died, so while we were happy to have a new resident, I was afraid that she wouldn't stay with us for long.

Hannah named her Dolly. She loved her, and Dolly survived.

And the other day it was time to clean her bowl. Dolly's always been quite well behaved. But this time she got a bee in her bonnet and while I was getting her temporary bowl filled with water, she decided to make a run for it.

She jumped out of her bowl and landed in the kitchen sink!

Fortunately it was the sink without the disposal.

Dolly landed right in the drain. She was small enough to slip through it, but somehow she didn't.

I reached in the drain, but I couldn't get her. So I got a spoon, and scooped her up and plopped her in the water.

She was injured. The lower half of her tail was missing, her dorsal fin was ripped, and she lost chunks of scales on both sides of her body. She was bruised as well.

We figured she was a goner.

But, nope!

Here she is a couple of days later--look!

Her tail is already starting to grow back. Her dorsal fin looks great. She still is missing scales, but so far so good!

p.s. Go visit Lois--she's going to follow in Dolly's footsteps ripples and kick some tail.

January 22, 2010

Need prayers for Lois

This is my Kate loving on Lois. She's two years old and her nickname is Butter Bean. Today Lois was diagnosed with leukemia. Please keep Lois and her family in your thoughts, prayers and hearts as they begin a journey that no parent ever imagines.

Sweet Bean, you've got a huge fan club and you're going to knock the socks off this disease!

Please visit Lois, her little brother Mac (who is actually quite large) and her Mom and Dad at: The Daily Lois

January 19, 2010

Kate Update

Kate is settling in to her new home. She worked at the Special Education Center for a about a week before they started their month-long vacation. This has given her some time to explore the neighboring towns and buy items for her household. Plus get her house hooked up to THE INTERNET!!! Yahooey! She has a very slow connection, so she usually just emails. Somehow she managed to upload some pictures the other day. I like to see them so I can "see" her living conditions.

Her house from the front. The right door leads to the formal sitting room (separate from the house to avoid mixing genders). The door on the left leads to her house.

She had to purchase her bed, rug and heating sources (gas heater, electric heater). That took up the bulk of her housing budget.

Some village women have helped her make curtains for her windows, and she has since purchased a desk and wardrobe to add to her room. It seems a little lonely, yes?

This is her kitchen. Note the faucet up high on the wall! The sink is quite shallow, so I guess the faucet is up high so a pot could be fit under it? She has a little fridge, big enough for one vegetarian person!

At least I know she's eating healthy! I keep sending her candy treats and ramen noodles so she won't miss dorm life too much!

Here is the view from her house.

And a blanket for her bed....she says, "That's right, folks, 100% Vergin Acrylic. No recycled fibers here!"

The villagers are very protective of her, as they are of all unmarried women. She is not allowed to walk to the village market alone. She spends her time "visiting", which may last anywhere from 4-14 hours long! "Visiting" is the main past time in Jordan. It usually involves a meal (or three), so she has not had to cook very much!

We miss her, but, as she says, it's only 23 1/2 more months.....

January 18, 2010

And we're BACK

(That's only funny if you happen to be an SNL fan. Hannah says it all the time, even though she's never seen it.)

We had a very nice visit, though quite short. I was especially happy to spend time with my very closest friend Roxanne. Her husband has been going through a lot of medical issues lately, so I was glad that I got to see how he/she have been doing with my own eyes. We have been friends for 20 years, and there is nothing like the ease and comfort of a true friend--it always does me good to spend time with her!

Hannah had a good time with her friends as well. I didn't get many pictures, but we did get to see Emma and Abby. Emma invited Hannah to her ballet class, which was ridiculous fun. We had dinner with them as well, followed by some Wii (Hannah couldn't take her eyes off of it!). Can you believe that all three of these girls will be turning 12 in a matter of weeks?

We met our good friends Molly and Allyson at Monkey Joe's. We also visited with the Wengers, and Hannah got to try some Irish dance, electric guitar, and a minibike! (Please, no comments about the lack of a helmet...they were going about as fast as I walk...)

And finally, Hannah had a sleep over with her friend Shea. It was Hannah's first official sleep over at someone else's house. The girls played non-stop and can't wait until we go to the beach in May where they will have two weeks of unlimited playtime!

January 13, 2010

Where'd I go?

Hannah and I have run away from home. We're on a road trip down to South Carolina!

I'm hoping to make a real post (like maybe one that is actually interesting) some time soon.

In the meantime, I got to wondering...(do you think I've lived in the South for too long when I say things like that?)....why do so many people Google "Slim Cooley"? I mean, really, how many people out there in the cyber world are really that much in touch with the main character in The Magic Treehouse #10 ???

So I Googled "Slim Cooley" and discovered that there is a rapper named Slim Cooley. He has some rather "colorful" lyrics.

I wonder about Slim's fans. What do they think when they click on the title "Slim Cooley--The Mustang Herder" ? If you were looking for a rapper, would you really think this would be the correct page to investigate? Really? That post gets the most hits. And it's all from Google traffic.

Hmm. Now that I've got that off my chest I can sleep easy. Thank you.

January 10, 2010

Bonus NanTalk!

Today we were leaving the gym. Hannah had been swimming. It's cold out (for Virginia--it was 25 degrees). I told her that she had to wear her coat outside because she had a wet head and she'd be cold really fast on the way to the car.

She's been working on checking for traffic in the very busy parking lot.

She sees that the coast is clear and starts out into the lot. She stops in the middle of the driving lane and says, "I'm frozen! Like an obsicle!"

I was expecting her to say a "popsicle", but she had a perfect play on words, being an obstacle in the road. I love that girl.

January 7, 2010


Chris and I were talking about movie analysis.

Hannah, wanting to join in the conversation, says with a big grin:

"Are you talking about Analysis in Wonderland?"

January 5, 2010

Back to School....boy that was hard.

Yep. Holidays are over. My parents left on Sunday. I eked out another day of lounging on Monday. But today I had no excuses. Chris is out for the day, observing urology surgeries (what could be more fun??), and James is back at work.

So, my slacking days are over for a while...

Today we started back with homeschooling. I was REALLY resisting getting back to the books. So I made cheese biscuits. And waited for the Cable Guy. And when he didn't show up, I decided that we'd better just jump into school.

It was a really good day! It might not seem like it, since I'm about to complain a bunch, but other than those irritating small things, we got a lot accomplished!

Hannah knocked out her Numicon work right away. She's working on counting by 2's (I know, I'm way behind in teaching her stuff like that). I dumped out a bunch of small polished rocks for her to count. Of course, she immediately started making stories about a few of them. I couldn't deny that one looked just like a bike seat.

But away she went, counting up into the 30s by 2s. She is still chugging away and solidifying her addition and subtraction. We did discover (she did), that: 1+1+2+2+3+3+4+4+5+5+6+6+7+7+8+8+9+9+10=100.

Then she checked it with the calculator.

Calculators are a pain. I know that some are better than others, but I haven't gotten around to getting an appropriate one for Hannah to use. The one that we used today has large enough buttons for her, but when you enter 1+1+ (getting ready to enter "2"), the display screen gives you the running total, which is "2", which makes it confusing if you're not sure that you actually keyed in "2" or not. Another issue with most calculators is that if you're already familiar with using a phone, the numbers are in opposite positions. Phones start with the "1" at the top left. Calculators (and numerical computer keyboards) have a "7" at the top left. Who thinks about these things? Nobody unless you've got a kid who is a concrete learner.

Don't get me started on American coins. Could we possibly make them more confusing? Besides the usual complete size nonsense of dimes and nickels, now they have added a multitude of varieties of quarters and several differing nickels. Drives me crazy.

* 4 hours later--addendum: I just remembered another bit of coin minutiae that confuses Hannah is that pennies come in a variety of colors. Old ones are dark, sometimes nearly black, while new ones are sort of pink. At least the silver colored coins don't tarnish! *

Moving on...Hannah did many many pages of her Thinking Skills book. She's been doing a good job with her spatial abilities (as most kids with Ds do). She also wrote a very nice Thank You letter to her grandparents in Montana. (And reviewed the map of the USA.) Deciphering cursive writing was next on the agenda. I can see why it's hard. I don't know anyone who writes cursive like this:

Look at that example of cursive "bubble". I thought she did an excellent job of deciphering it. To me it looks like "l r i b b l e". Doesn't it look like it's an "r"?? Compare it to the "r" in "river above it. Of course they look exactly alike. Even after I wrote it out myself Hannah had trouble with it. I've never had a complaint with Handwriting Without Tears before, but I think the lower case "b" should be closer to the stem. Fortunately, Hannah won't have to read much cursive written by Jan Olsen. Unless I have to teach her using the HWOT cursive technique....

I'm not in any hurry to start her with cursive. Besides, she really has to know more spelling words to make cursive helpful. If you have to double check and sound out every word, two or three letters at a time, being able to write faster isn't going to really have any beneficial effect. Her spelling is coming along, but it's still really quite challenging for her. I don't allow her to use invented spelling (which I did with my other kids) because I don't let her practice things incorrectly. She is such a visual learner that if she sees something that is spelled incorrectly it's highly likely that she'll continue to use the incorrect spelling.

We were getting hungry for lunch. Guess what? Hannah requested Macaroni and Cheese. I know that's hard for you to believe, what with Hannah being a pastatarian and all. I, personally did not want to make another box of Annie's organic shells and cheese. Of course, after having cheese biscuits this morning, we needed more cheese for lunch too. So we decided to make REAL macaroni and cheese, a la Martha. We didn't have a full "Cooking with Nan" episode, but just a few short outtakes. (There is a real one in the works though!)

We finished up the school day with piano practice, and now it's almost time to get ready to go swim at the gym. Brrr. I think I might have to hang out in the hot tub.

Happy New Year--Take II

Somebody is TOO LOUD!!!

January 1, 2010


Ahh, the first post of the year!

The first activity of the year was a little bit of clean up from last night's party. We had a smaller, gathering this year (after last year's overwhelming guest list of 57 people...). My parents arrived from NYC just as the party got underway. We moved the clocks ahead as usual, so we had the countdown at 9:00 "Midnight".

Somebody is TOO LOUD!!!

It was a fun time for everyone!

The second activity was dropping Chris off at the Medical College of Virginia to shadow a doctor through a day of work. As a pre-med student he has to start exploring various medical arenas, and this was his first foray. He came home excited and is ready for another day at the hospital tomorrow!

My mom and I took Hannah to her riding lesson this afternoon--BRRR!!!! It was cold and muddy, but fun watching her navigate her horse through imaginary street intersections, stopping at a "stop" sign, looking both ways, picking up "mail" from the mailbox, and "running errands". She did a great job handling Tappie.

Tonight my mom's cousin came for dinner and we had a full evening of visiting and catching up--we're all tired out and ready to cozy ourselves down for another long winter's nap.

Rumor has it that Cookin' with Nan will be airing a new episode soon--be on the lookout for your favorite internet chef!