Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oscar Commits Larceny

I pack Oscar's lunch. I know that our school system works hard to make sure the hot lunch they provide is affordable and nutritious, but I just like knowing that I prepared what's going into his body.

When Oscar came home on Tuesday, his second day of school, he reported that he'd eaten some little pieces of brown meat, some corn and chips for lunch. Since I packed him a cream cheese sandwich, an apple, chocolate milk and a cheese stick, I was a bit surprised. 

We chatted and it sounded like he forgot his lunch box when the kids went to the lunch room, and instead of telling his teacher he needed to go back to the classroom, he just went through the lunch line. 

Okay, no big. I want the kid to eat, it's the first week, he's nervous, figuring things out. So he ate some kind of taco salad. It's fine. I reminded him that I pack his lunch and that if he forgets it, he should tell his teacher and so he can go back to the classroom for his lunchbox.

Then, Thursday, Oscar comes home and tells me, "The lunch lady says I need to bring money." Huh. "But Oscar," I say, "I pack your lunch. You don't need to go through the lunch line." 

"I need to stay with my class, mom," he said. 

Now, this makes a lot of sense, really. I know they drill into the kindergartners that they need to stay in line and stay with their class so no one gets lost, particularly at Oscar's school, which is one of the most crowded in our entire county. Also, more than 80 percent of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch, so it's likely that most if not all kids in his class are going through that lunch line. 

What doesn't make sense is the fact he had been coming home with an empty lunchbox every day. When I quizzed him, he admitted to eating part of his lunch and part of the school lunch, but drinking BOTH chocolate milks. I'm pretty sure "buying" school lunch is a ploy for Oscar to get double chocolate milk. 

I immediately called the school and ratted him out. 

"My son has been stealing school lunch, I'm terribly sorry," I said. She laughed - apparently this happens a lot in kindergarten. She said I could put money into a lunch account for him online and that should take care of things.

They aren't going to prosecute, and I'm quite relieved. Being that one of his schoolmates is already calling him "Goldilocks," I don't think Oscar would fare well in the big house. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And so it Goes, or Something Like That

Well my friend Becky over at SubMat has inspired me to jot a little blog down here to tell you all what's the what around here. There is a lot of what around here folks. Where to start? Hows about the first day of kindergarten?

This is not a nervous boy. MW totally photo bombed every one of Oscar's first day pics.
As expected, I fretted and worried and fretted some more about Oscar's first day, particularly because we missed orientation so did not get to meet his teacher prior to the first day. In fact, we did not even get to know who she was until we walked to school.

There are four kindergartens in Oscar's school, and each teacher had made a handwritten list of her students on a piece of flip chart paper, along with her photo. We found Oscar's teacher then we stood around with a million other parents and kids, about 1/4 of whom were crying. One kid in Oscar's class was SOBBING and Nelson was like, "Don't let Oscar look at him!" as though his eyes would start burning or the crying was contagious.

We were allowed to walk the kids in, but only a couple of parents did that. I was, of course, one of them. I not only walked him into the building, but into his classroom and helped him find his seat. Then, I kissed him goodbye and tore myself from the room. He looked nervous, but happy.

I spent the next six hours staring at the clock and then walked down the street to scoop him him (Oscar walks to school) and when I asked how his day was he said, "It was awesome! I made a new friend Wilson and I got to meet the nurse!" Apparently, he'd been knocked down on the playground and skinned up his knee, but I just love how instead of being afraid of going back or sad about his injury, he was excited that he'd gotten to meet the school nurse on the first day. Score!

Nelson had made Oscar's cream cheese sandwich for lunch the first day and my boy confessed to throwing it out because there wasn't enough cream cheese. Then he whispered to me, "Dad isn't very good at making cream cheese sandwiches, but you are." Well, a girl's gotta be good at something right?

I want to tell you about the second day (today) because there were more things and confusion and breakfast lines and a lunch debacle but I feel like this post is already a little long and I don't want to overwhelm you kids on my first day back blogging.

So, you know, if you're lucky I'll be back tomorrow blogging about mystery meat and the new mom I met this morning. She has a tattoo on her earlobe. No joke.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sometimes everybody loses

We've been going through a difficult time at home with Oscar. His behavior has been it's very worst - impulsive, defiant, testing boundaries both here and at school.

It's been...a challenge, to say the least. It can be difficult dealing with a spirited, emotional child when you yourself are a spirited, emotional adult.

I have been working hard though, changing the way I parent, the language I use in my head to describe Oscar's behaviors, trying new strategies to help him recognize when he loses control and to help him regain control. It's hard because when he loses control, it makes me lose control so I have to work extra hard to keep myself in check because if I lose it, he loses it times three.

This has been a mostly good week. Like I said, we are doing things differently, talking to each other differently, listening differently, naming behaviors, developing solutions together. It hasn't been perfect - we are learning and changing together - but it has been better. I feel better and I know Oscar feels better.

Today was a difficult morning. Nelson was home, which is a change in routine and that is always tough on Oscar. When I got in the shower, I asked Nelson to get the boys moving getting dressed. When I got out of the shower, it became clear that Oscar had lost control and that Nelson was handling it poorly.

Now, I don't mean this as a criticism of Nelson. Oscar's behavior can be quite frustrating and infuriating when he's lost control. It can be a real challenge helping him regain control without losing it yourself, and I recognize this. We cannot be perfect parents all the time, and that's okay.

Oscar was running around the upstairs, laughing manically, ignoring Nelson, jumping on beds, throwing things and generally showing no impulse control whatsoever. As I got out of the shower I heard Nelson say, "Just go to your room! I don't even want to be around you right now!"

"No, Nelson, we do NOT speak to him that way," I told him and quickly jumped in to help Oscar regain control.

Oscar was still running, so I grabbed him, looked him in the eye, and said something like, "Oscar, you are misbehaving right now and you know that. I need you to go in your room, get your bunny and smell his paw for a minute so you can calm down." He went into his room, but it took a few more minutes of coaxing to get him to relax and listen. I explained that he needed to get dressed and that then he and I would pick out a book for his book share today.

He got up and starting leaving the room a few times, but I quickly reminded him that he needed to make the choice to calm himself down, and that he knew how to do that, and that I was confident he could. A few moments later, I came into his room and he was dressed and sorting through his books.

Unfortunately, that was only the first battle of the morning. He picked a fight we me again when I was packing his lunch and soliciting his input on what fruit he'd like. He wanted none. We compromised on a fruit leather.  But he was not happy. The words said by Nelson in the morning had a really negative impact.

When we got to school, he refused to get out of the car. I told him his actions would have consequences, and that he would not be allowed to have a fudgesicle after school.

He got out of the car, but ran away from me as we were walking up to school. I had to chase him and hold him by the wrist to get him into the building.

This is where I fell apart, because I was feeling embarrassed by his behavior, and angry because I'd been working so hard all morning and STILL Oscar could not keep it together. He went boneless and I had to physically drag him to his classroom while he laughed at me. I had to put hand sanitizer on his hands and lift him and place him, thrashing and crying, into his classroom. I passed him off to his teacher and left.

It was tough. I felt terrible. All the way back to the car, I kept thinking of all the things I should have done. I should have listened to him - he was telling me he was tired, that he did not want to go to school. I should have responded to him, validated him, reassured him that the day would be good. I should not have chased him or dragged him to his classroom. I should have waited patiently until he was ready to go.

I did so much right this morning, and yet I still managed to get it all wrong. It's definitely worth the effort, I know, but I'm feeling defeated and it's only 10:00 a.m.

Thankfully, I have three more hours to recharge before I pick him up and we try all this again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is it summer yet? We are obsessing.

We've had a couple of early warm days here in DC, so warm that we went ahead an popped in the window units this weekend. Like a lot of the older homes in our area, we are sans central air. It's a little tragic, but mostly we keep on keeping on. I think we're going to get a new unit for the downstairs. The one we have has to be 10 years old if it's a day, and it's just not keeping up with our hot, swampy summers.

Pretty much every single day the boys ask me if it's summer yet. Oscar is ready to be out of school, they are excited for the pool to reopen, they want to go camping again, Oscar is looking forward to his birthday. Pretty much every single day I tell them that no, it's still spring, but summer will be here before we know it. Our first camping trip is only two and a half weeks away, and it's at the beach!  A great way to start our summering.

This year I decided not to send Oscar to any camp. He hated it last year and I had to drag him every day, and it was terrible. He's going to get a real summer this year, no stupid camp. Let see how much I regret that decision, shall we? Place your bets.

I'm sort of obsessed with online summertime clothing shopping as well. I never have time to go to the store, so I end up buying a bunch of stuff online and returning half of it. It works for me. I'm currently eyeing this new swimsuit from Lands End but I haven't been able to commit to spending $90 on a new suit when I got a new suit last year. But I really like this new one because it has short bottoms. Short bottoms! The one I got last year has the mom swim skirt and it's okay, but the short bottoms seem really cute.

Our Popsicle and Fudgesicle supply has been restocked. The whole not having central air thing necessitates lots of iced treats in the summer. In fact, I rate the heat of the day by how many Popsicles are required to aid in cooling down. For example, your average summer day would probably be a One Popsicle Day, but a scorcher, when it's in the upper 90s, low 100s - that's gonna be more like a Three Popsicle Day, maybe even Four if you had several hot ones in a row. So, yeah, we go through a lot of Popsicles in the summer.

Tomorrow I'll also finish off Phase One of the summer clothing transition for the boys. I'll officially pack up all their long-sleeved shirts, winter coats, mittens, hats, boots, undershirts to make way for the rest of the T-shirts. They be in long pants on and off probably until mid-May, so I'll leave four or five pair of those out until then. Two giant plastic bins have been sitting in the third bedroom for weeks, since I started Phase One, and I'm dying to get them into the attic. DYING. Like, every time I look at those bins and the heap of clothing amassed on top of them I get stomach cramps. I need order back in my life.

The weather today is gorgeous, but the pollen is killer so we can't even fully enjoy it. We end up having to come in because Miles William claims there are "claws" in his eyes. Can you imagine? Poor bear.

Alright, I have to go wash the Fudgsicle from my children's faces and put gas mask on Miles so I can get these goons outside for a bit.

Tell me, are you gearing up for summer? Enjoying spring? Still stuck in the cold?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sing-a-long

Generally in the car, we listen to kid's music. I'm pretty selective about the kid's music I'm wiling to endure, so it's mostly They Might Be Giants and a couple of others. It's not bad, but it's still kid's music.

Occasionally, I get tired of our kid's music selection, so I plug in my iPhone and we listen to my music. I have pretty varied taste - hip-hop, rap, alternative rock, pop, classic rock - really a little bit of everything. In generally, if a song has bad language, I have the edited version. Edited versions leave something to be desired, but my kids are still young so I prefer that to my kids singing the f-word. If an unedited song comes on, I'll just skip on by to the next song.

We were jamming out to my music this morning in the car. School is only about 7 minutes away, so we usually only get on song in. The first on to come up was Kanye West "Gold Digger," I song I love/hate/mostly love. For those that don't know, the song is basically about how some women may be more interested in a man for his money than for his actual worth, and how men should be on the lookout for such women.

The song has lots of foul language, but this was the edited version. Now, I recognize that there are a lot of problems with the song that have nothing to do with the lyrics, but the tune and beat are catchy.

I usually get the kids clapping their hands or waving their hands along to the music, so we were doing that. Okay, so you know how all these kid's shows (Dora, Diego, etc.) do this thing where they instruct children to say something? Like, Diego will have to help a frog jump to safety and he'll look out of the screen and tell the kids, "Say Jump! Louder! Say jump!" Or "When I say 'sube' you say 'sube.'" So the kids have this repeating bit down (you may see where this is going.)

So, we're grooving along hands waiving, seat bopping, and then we get to the end of the second verse of "Gold Digger," where Kanye says "If you ain't no punk holla WE WANT PRE-NUP!"

Being every obliging preschoolers, the three little boys in the back of my seat hollered (in unison) "WE WANT PRE-NUP!"

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed and put back on the kid's music.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

OMG, like seriously

Sometimes, silly and ridiculous things happen in your life and you just have to blog them. This is one of those times.

So I'm in a book group. A great book group. It was started by three friends of mine, Amy, Kate, and Jessica. Prior to book club, Amy and Kate had never met Jessica, nor did they have any idea that Jessica was a friend of mine, and had been for several years. Kate (I think) put an ad for a book group on Craig's list or something, and Jessica responded. After a few meetings, my name somehow came up and Jessica was shocked and delighted to find that I was also good friends with Amy and Kate. This kind of proves my friend Pam's theory that all roads lead back to me, but moving on.

I eventually joined this book group, and other members came and went. It's been meeting for three or four years at this point. (I came in around year 2.5.) There are seven members currently.

We were supposed to meet last Friday, but the host cancelled a few hours before the even because her husband was sick.

This was irritating. To me and to others as well, and for a couple of reasons. One is that the hostess (not one of the women I named above) has cancelled on book group last minutes multiple times, and once before when she was supposed to be hosting. In fact, she had cancelled on the prior two meetings (maybe more?) This is what we call a pattern. It's also irritating because it's just plain inconsiderate of everyone else's time.

Because I knew there was frustration in the group surrounding this issue, I decided to email the hostess and let her know that I was upset with the situation and that I though she handled it poorly. I emailed her apart from the rest of the group so she would not feel like everyone was ganging up on her.

Here's my email:

Hi, Emily. In the interest of being transparent and honest, I wanted to let you know how frustrated and annoyed I was that you cancelled book group last week. I felt like it was really inconsiderate of everyone else's time and the effort we'd put into arranging our schedules and reading the book. I understand that you cannot help if your husband is sick and sometimes things come up, but out of respect for the other six people in the group who had set aside last Friday on their schedules, you could have asked someone else if they could take over hosting duties before you just cancelled, or you could have suggested an alternate location at a coffee shop or restaurant. 

Personally, it is not at all easy for me to plan an evening out with two small children, a husband that works long hours, and my own irregular freelance schedule. Nights out with friends (and without my little people) are a big deal to me and take weeks of planning in advance, so a last minute cancellation is really devastating to me. I don't mean to speak for others, but it's kind of a big deal for seven people to coordinate their schedules and I'm sure they were frustrated as well. If you volunteer to host in the future, I hope that you will keep the rest of us in mind should you need to cancel, and maybe put more effort into finding an alternate solution so we are not all left high and dry. 

Take care,
Jenni


So, I know I'm being really direct here, but I also think I'm being fair and addressing the situation up front, like an adult.

Well. WELL. You would have though I threw a slushie in her face or something, because she quit book group! Not only did she quit book group, but she emailed everyone in book group BUT ME to tell them she was quitting. Have I somehow gotten lost in some Sweet Valley High time warp? Don't grown ups just tell each other when they are angry and discuss the situation? Or perhaps I should post passive aggressive Facebook status updates about all of this? And. AND.  She did not even read the book! OMG, right?

I'm slightly shocked by this childish behavior, although mostly I am just laughing at the ridiculousness.  It is just too much. Too much!

I would love to hear a tidbit about your ridiculousness as of late. Please tell me I'm not the only one dealing with this kind of silliness.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baking cookies

I'm a pretty good cook, and a darn fine baker. This wasn't always the case, but I think that cooking is one of those things that anyone can be good at with enough practice.

There was certainly a time when my husband and my cooking skills were on par, but these days, when he cooks dinner it's nice to have the break but taste-wise...let's just say my skills have far exceeded his in this area.  And that's okay because his grass-cutting skills are like hand over fist better than my own. Ahem.

I enjoy cooking.  And I really enjoy baking. My three favorite things to bake are cookies, brownies, and breads. I make a mean cookie, as many of my readers can attest. I'm going to tell you a few of my secrets right here, right now, to baking a mean chocolate chip.

So, I'm not going to give you a specific recipe here because, well, I make lots of different recipes. Some with nuts, some without; some double chocolate; some with oatmeal and peanut butter; some with dried fruit; some with whole wheat flour. It just depends on what you're in the mood for. We love chocolate chip cookies of all kinds in our home.  We do not discriminate.

Today, I made these.  They're a pretty classic flat, chewy cookies, if that's your thing. They do not disappoint.

Tips, okay. Let's start with butter.  Any chocolate chip cookie recipe worth it's salt (heh) has butter, and probably a lot of it. The most important thing here, is that you follow the instructions regarding the butter.  Different recipes will call for different temperatures of butter. If the instructions say to use cold butter, you should use cold butter. If they tell you to melt the butter, melt it.  If they tell you to you room temperature butter, use room temperature. If they tell you to use softened butter, use softened butter. This matters. A lot. It will affect the amount your cookies spread on the sheet, and the texture, and the puffiness.

TAKE CARE WITH THE BUTTER.  This is all I'm saying.

My next tip would be to always use parchment paper.  Never again should you grease a cookie sheet.  No. Do not do that. Parchment paper. You cookies will cook perfectly on the bottom and they won't spread too much on the pan, and the parchment will lift a little of the excess grease from the three sticks of butter you just used to bake your cookies.

Try to make your cookies as uniform in size as possible.  I'm not being OCD here - it really helps to make sure they cook at the same rate and you don't wind up with some burnt tiny ones and doughy large ones. I have been known to weigh my balls of dough (tee hee), I will admit that, but it is not necessary. You can just eyeball it.

And on that same vein, you should rotate the cookie sheets half way through baking. This important for two reasons. 1) It ensures that your cookies will cook evenly. Most ovens have "hot spots" or are slightly uneven, so rotating the sheets can be really important. 2) It also lets you have a look at how quickly your cookies are cooking. A recipe will tell you how long to bake your cookies, but depending on the size of your cookies, they make take longer, or they may need less time. A burnt cookie is a sad cookie.

Do not over bake your cookies.  Please. When the edges begin to brown, TAKE THEM OUT. Seriously. They are done. This goes for pretty much every cookie ever.

Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, and then cool completely on a rack, or eat them warm. You should put them away eventually though, or your kids will eat like a dozen of them and proceed to act like sugar-crazed lunatics. Not that I'd know anything about that.

Now, off with you! Go bake some cookies.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Push/pull

Miles was snuggling me in my lap this morning and I put my nose into his hair to kiss him on the top of the head. He's always had a really kissable head. I was shocked to find no sweet baby smell, but instead the smell of sweat and dirt little boy. The texture is changing too. It's not nearly as soft and baby fine. It's becoming coarser and thicker.

He put on a pair of pajamas last night and his little belly was sticking out and the shirt and pant cuffs were both far to short. I had to buy him new shoes, size 10, a few weeks ago. The potty accidents are so few and far between that I can hardly remember the last one.

He picks out his clothes and dresses himself every day. He helps me make lunch and empty the dishwasher. He's been enrolled in nursery school this fall.

Miles is growing up.

All these changes have happened right under my nose. It's easy to think he's growing up too fast when the truth is he's just plain growing up at the normal rate.

It's hard to feel nostalgic about some of these things. I love that he uses the toilet almost regularly, that he can dress himself, that he can make decisions. It is nice having my body to myself.

And yet I long for the days of sweetly scented, super soft hair, of tiny crib shoes and toothless smiles.  First laughs and first words and first steps. Nursing my baby until he falls into a sated, milky doze. The weight of my babies when they fall asleep on my chest while being rocked; the super sweaty naps that follow.

I'm not sure I'm ready to be done with all of that. I yearn for more firsts, more sweetness, more sweaty naps. Even as I rejoice watching my children grow and change and become people with personalities and opinions, I mourn the babies they once were, and the ones I may never have.

Will I get over this?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Slow-cooker venison sloppy joes

There are some things that are just worth the effort of making them completely homemade, and sloppy joes are one of them. I started making my own a few years ago and I've never looked back.

Now, to be fair, there was really no back to look too. My mom never made sloppy joes growing up, and while I may have had them in the cafeteria in high school, I was never really a Manwich eater. They just didn't appeal to me. 

This recipe is different, though.  It's chock full of fresh veggies, lean meat, smokey spices and a subtle sweetness. 

I used venison because that is what I had. My father-in-law gave us several packages of venison burger and venison makes great sloppy joes. You could easily substitute ground beef or turkey. 

If you've never had it, venison has a stronger flavor than beef. Some would call it "game-ey"  but I think it's almost sweet.  One problem with venison is that it's very lean, so it can be hard to keep it tender.  For that reason, sloppy joes, stew, a bolognese or slow-cooking a roast are the best ways to prepare this meat. 

Okay, here's what you need:
1 lb. of lean ground meat (I used venison)
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 whole-wheat rolls (sandwich or hamburger-style)

To start, chop your veg.


Brown your venison (use a little oil if it's sticking.)


Toss your venison, veggies, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and spices into the slow-cooker.


Mix it all up.  Doesn't it already look delicious?


Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours, until it look like this: 


Toss it on a hamburger roll, or over top of some pasta, and eat it up.

It's hard to make sloppy joes look as delicious as they taste.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things I say all day long, in no particular order

1. Whatever you are doing, STOP IT.
2. Stop it.
3. Leave your brother alone.
4. Don't be so rough!
5. Knock. It. Off.
6. What are you doing in there?
7. Do you have to go pee-pee?
8. Do you have to poop?
9. Who just pooped their pants?
10. Do not make me chase you.
11. I'm trying to use the bathroom!
12. Gentle, please!
13. I said stop it!
14. Do you want a time out?
15. I love you.
16. I don't want to listen to the grocery bag song again.
17. Please stop whining.
18. We don't hit!
19. Why did you dump that water/juice/snack on the floor?!
20. I just want to finish my coffee.
21. We don't jump on the furniture.
22. Stop playing on the stairs.
23. No running in the house!
24. Take turns, please.
25. You have to share.
26. Leave the dog alone.
27. Stop hanging off my legs.
28. No, really, you're hurting me.
29. Who here is handsome?
30. Blow your nose. No, blow it. In the tissue!
31. What's this all over the floor?
32. Did you pee your pants?
33. Please don't.
34. Yes.
35. Use the Force.
36. Good job!
37. How can you be hungry again?
38. Get your finger out of your nose, please.
39. Can't you just be nice to each other?
40. I love you too.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Conversations with a preschooler: Poop

Miles [in a singsong voice]: Mo-om, I pooped my paaaants!

Jenni: Oh, Miles, why? Did you really?

Miles [singsong voice, grinning]: Not yet...

[For the record, he did make it to the toilet, the little stinker.]

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sausages and peppers with polenta

Feeding my family healthy, fresh food is one of my top priorities. It can be tough when you have little ones with limited pallets, so when I find something that works, I go with it.

We eat sausages and peppers with polenta probably twice a month. Miles loves polenta and Oscar gobbles up the sausage, and a meal where everyone is eating at least one component is considered a win in this house.  This meal takes about 35 minutes from stove to table, another reason it's a huge winner.

What you'll need:
3 medium or 2 large bell peppers (I used a yellow, orange, and a red one for this version; make for a colorful meal)
1 small to medium onion
1 package of sweet Italian sausage (sometimes called fennel sausage - usually comes about 5 to a pack. 1.25 lbs if you have a local butcher.)
3/4 cups cornmeal, medium or coarse
3 cups cold water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk (I use skim)
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 425. Mix 3/4 cups of cornmeal with 3 cups of cold water in a lidded, 2-quart baking dish (that round Pyrex with the lid that you got as part of the set as a wedding gift.) Place the dish, covered, into the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

While the polenta is cooking, slice your bell peppers and onion into strips.

So pretty!

After 15 minutes, take out your polenta, whisk it, and put it in for another 15 minutes.

Now, heat a large frying pan with a smidge of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add your sausages. You want to brown them on all side. That should take 5 or 6 minutes. Then, remove the sausages from the pan and toss in your veggies and 1/4 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Let those cook until the peppers are bright and crisp, about 5-7 minutes.

Look at those bright veggies! Now cook that sausage through.
While the veggies are cooking, slice your sausage into 1/2 inch rounds. It'll still be pink inside.  No worries; once your veggies look right, you're going to toss those bad boys back into the pan and cook them with the peppers for about 7 minutes more, until all the pink is gone.

That's gonna be creamy polenta.
Your polenta should be ready right about the time your sausage and pepper mix is near done. Pull out the dish and add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 teaspoon of marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it up until the butter is melted and the polenta looks creamy.

Put about 3/4 cups of polenta on your plate and top with the sausage and pepper mixture.

That's dinner.
Nom, nom, nom.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 is happening

I love when a new year starts. It's all shiny and fresh from the package.  Possibilities are endless! Adventures are ahead! New experiences will be had!

This year will be a big one for the Oscarelli family. Oscar starts kindergarten in the fall, and Miles will enter nursery school. It's going to be major. It's going to be great. 

I suffered a not minor knee injury around Thanksgiving that is finally healing. Hopefully I can start running on it again this week and these 10 holiday pounds will just fall right off. 

We had such a wonderful Christmas. Our best. Oscar got Legos and Star Wars and a new race track. Miles got trains, trains and more trains. I don't think there's a train that kid does not have. 

Nelson got me two fingerprint charms from the boys, and he also framed some of our favorite family photos and got me some notebooks embossed with my name (for my writing gigs, he's so sweet.) 

The best gift Nelson received (other than a shiny, new iPhone) was probably hearing that he'd passed is Professional Engineer exam. He's also been asked to take on more of a leadership role internationally in his field, which is quite an honor. I'm very proud of that guy. 

I see a lot of fun for us in 2012. Skating lessons and craft time this winter. More camping trips, visiting friends; lacrosse and t-ball in the spring. Swimming lessons and lots of trips to the pool and our annual beach vacation this summer. Kindergarten and preschool in the fall, and another camping trip or two for good measure. 

We've got quite a year ahead of us. I hope to see you all somewhere in there too!