Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here's the story of what happened to us.  We walked into Tractor Supply, where there is a Salvation Army guy ringing the bell and with a kettle.  We nodded and said, "Merry Christmas" and he answered, "Happy Holidays."  I got torqued off because well, the Salvation Army is a FREAKING CHRISTIAN CHURCH!  It's not like he didn't know to say Merry Christmas to us, we said it first!  Then to make matters worse, we came out and put our change in and he said, "Happy Holidays" and I responded with "Merry Christmas."  Then so did FarmerGeek.  Finally, very begrudgingly, he said, "Merry Christmas."

Here's the thing, if I know you are Jewish, I will wish you well on the Jewish holidays.  If you are Wiccan, I try to wish you well on those days as well.  I respect the same.  When you are saying "Happy holidays" you are wishing me a Merry Christmas, Kwanza, Channukah, Yule, and New Years (Did I miss anything?).  I don't celebrate all of those.  You can't say Merry Christmas to someone because they might celebrate one of the other holidays instead? 

Why is it less offensive to say Happy Holidays to me?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Scampi= Epic Fail

No seriously, this time I made the Chicken Scampi it was a completely EPIC fail.  It was horrible.  I mean it tasted WONDERFUL but it looked AWFUL.  (Goodness gracious I'm writing like a Victorian schoolgirl.)  Here's what I've learned. 

1) This is definitely a two skillet meal.  Do not cook the chicken in the same pot as the sauce.  The chicken will burn. 

2) Before you do anything, put water on to boil.  The sauce does not wait for pasta.

3) Do not put the cream in until the wine is reduced. 

4) Above all else- NEVER let the butter burn.

OK so the recipe that works...  :D

1) Cut the top off of a head of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and place in a small roasting pan.  Place in oven at 475. 
2) Cut a large onion, red pepper, green pepper, orange or yellow pepper into large chunks.  Drizzle a shallow cookie sheet (or 2 depending on size) with olive oil.  Spread veggies on cookie sheet in a single layer.  Drizzle with more olive oil over top.  Salt and pepper.  Place in oven about 10 minutes after it comes to temp.  (It'll take about 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on it.  It should blacken the tops, but not burn to a crisp.)

3)  Now you have about 20 minutes here.  Either pound some chicken flat, dredge in flour, salt and pepper mix and brown, or get out some left over chicken and dice or chop as you see fit.  Or leave vegetarian.  I don't actually get a vote here.

4) When your 20 minutes are up, melt about 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet along with about an 1/8th cup of olive oil.  When it's melted, add about 5 shakes of red pepper flakes, minced garlic (this is not the garlic from the oven) and 1 cup of dry white wine.  I also threw in some basil.  I don't know why.

5) Reduce wine mixture down for about 5 minutes.  (This is when I put the ravioli in.)  Put in about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  (If you are using fresh grated, don't put in yet.) 

6)  Add a 1/2 cup of cream or half and half.  If you use skim milk it will be awful and I will hunt you down.

7) Reduce heat to low. (If you are using fresh grated parm, grate into cream now.)

8) At this point the veggies should be done.  Scrape them into the serving bowl (except garlic, set that aside.)  Ladle some of the scampi into the roasting pan and use it to kind of deglaze bottom.   Pour the ladled sauce with all the frondsy bits back into the sauce skillet.  Salt and pepper sauce now if it needs it.

9)  Pour the sauce in with the veggies and give a quick stir.  Take the garlic out of the head and stir in.

10) Add pasta and chicken.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holding off on the Chicken Scampi Recipe

Only because I forgot to you know-  MEASURE- the ingredients.  Sigh.  I'll try it again tomorrow...

Send my your preferences for a new recipe.  Del's ultimate pecan pie (which is hotly debated in our house as to whether it's PEE-can or puh-CAHN pie.)  -OR- a brand new dressing recipe?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Royal Wedding

I'm sorry, I'm not a huge fan of anything British.  Really kinda makes me squick.  HOWEVER, this royal engagement has captured my imagination.  I mean, I really believe the story of their love- they met in college and fell in love, took time to grow up- split up- realized their love and are about to live happily ever after.  What gets me is the concept of a regular girl growing up to become queen.  I mean, can it get any more fairy tale than this?  I know they say Princess Di and Prince Charles had the "fairy tale" wedding, but really, this to me is way more fairy tale.  (No testing her virginity here- they lived together in college.)  Her parents were a pilot and a flight attendant who started a mail order business that made them millionaires.  They work hard.  (Or at least did- I'm sure they have minons now.) 

Now I'm a realist, chances are she did angle to meet him because he's the Prince.  But really, watching them together, they're so fluid together.  They took EIGHT YEARS to come to this point.  I think they trust the relationship and love.  It just blows my mind- I mean, his proposing wasn't even the life changing "will you marry me?" it was also a "Hey wanna be the Queen of England someday?"  How weird is that?  That's what captures my interest, probably everyone else too... but can you seriously imagine meeting a cute guy at college and falling in love and becoming the FREAKING QUEEN OF ENGLAND?  It's crazy! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Let's just say, we've got several strikes going against us in the schooling area. 
1) We're the first family Del's had that actually valued school for education's sake. 
2) We're the first people that taught Del to actually enjoy reading.
3) We're the first people that refuse to read FOR her.
4) We're still working on the whole trust issue.
5) We have attachment problems.
6) We have special needs.

This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sonlight.  You get to choose which core you want based on your child's interest and reading level.  We chose the Core 3/4 which is a little bit young for her, but good for the reading part and she loves American History.  Our box came and we opened it and started sorting out dozens of books. 

My child who hated to read, will be one of the best read kids I know.  Without being forced to do it.  Not only that, she's being opened up to the world around her.  One thing kids from foster care struggle with is throwing off that "victim" mentality.  When you start reading true stories about people who settled our land- starving, homeless, enslaved, it puts your life into perspective.  (The whole- "your life DID suck, it DOES NOT suck NOW" concept...)  Not only that, it came with the Oxford Book of American Children's Poems that she reads aloud everyday.  And a Scripture passage she has to memorize and recite.  (It takes about 6 weeks.)  She read her first poem for everyone last night and got a round of applause.

I love that this curriculum comes with an Instructor's Guide that puts it all together for me.  I don't have to teach her during the day and spend my nights coming up with lesson plans.  Although, I could if I wanted to.  The idea did occur to me though- I'm not married to it.  I could skip a book or have her push ahead a bit. 

But the best part comes at night.  You know, Sparrow still goes to Catholic school while Del does homeschool.  Of course, FarmerGeek still goes to work everyday- although he does teach Math after school.  But part of our curriculum includes reading out-loud parent and child.  Well, we upped it a bit.  We all pile on the couch and read together.  This is so good for our bonding as a family and working through the reactive attachment disorder.  We chose holding therapy at the get go and this is fabulous for promoting it.  Even if we didn't have these issues, we would still HAVE to spend time together.  We'd have to MAKE the time to spend together!

So here's the deal.  Maybe you want to check out Sonlight, maybe you want to order a book or the entire curriculum.  Just click on the button to the right of the screen and they'll give you $5 off your order.  It doesn't matter how big your order is.  (Her one book, "Om-kas-toe" came signed by the way...) 

In the matter of disclosure and honesty, yes I do get rewards points toward future purchases is you buy through my blog.  But honestly- if I wasn't telling the absolute truth about how much I love Sonlight and weren't committed to the program- those reward points wouldn't do me a dang bit of good!  And you still get $5 off-no matter what! 

Just take a look, homeschooler or not...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Best. Ad. EVER...

Best moment is about one minute in with the tractor.

Country Block Party.

Let's just start with, I'm freaking exhausted... If I start to ramble- well- you'll just have to forgive me (or deal) as well as for any typos.  I'm so tired, I had to stop and get gas to take Sparrow to school, pumped the gas, got in the Jeep, and started to drive home- totally forgetting to that she had yet to arrive at the school!

It all started with a loud BOOM!  I kinda thought it was the Transformer blowing AGAIN!  (The one in the cow field across the road blows all the freaking time.  All. The. Freaking. Time.  Like for a while we lost power once a week.  We're up to once every two weeks or so.)  So I push the speed dial for the Emergency Electric Outage line (yes that's how bad it is, I have them on speed dial) and get snarky with a poor woman named LaDonna.  (To whom I am exponentially sorry.)  My kids are pissed because they really wanted to watch Avalon High, which we were DVR'ing and were just getting to the main action.  So we call.  I got off the phone and hear the neighbors yelling back and forth across the road.  Well we can't tell from inside if it's a "Hey what's going on?" or a "I need help" type of thing so FarmerGeek goes running out there.  It's our next door neighbors yelling to the guy across the street to see if it was just her house or all the houses. 

Then the sirens started.

And they kept coming.

And coming.

And coming.

Now we don't keep it a secret that we adopted from foster care and kids who have been in foster care have some issues.  Our kids have some nice issues about sirens, police officers, flashing lights, and- you guessed it- being without power.  So what's a mom to do?  Well I know my kids, sitting inside helpless ain't gonna help no way no how.  So my kids throw their robes on and slippers and start walking down the road.  (With us and the neighbors.)

We did realize by now that there were definitely enough First Responders there and they probably wouldn't need our help.  But you never know- last year during an ice storm the ambulance slid off the road and we were able to run back home for salt.  And the one other storm where the girl drove into the cow pasture fence, we were able to make some coffee for the First Responders.  Then there was the time the kid swerved to "miss" hitting a duck and crashed into a mailbox and the sheep fencing.  I got to give a statement that time.  Or the really scary time the guy lost consciousness and hit the electric pole in front of our house on the other side of the street.  That was the time FarmerGeek actually had to call the guy's family.

I guess what I'm saying is if you come to our place- be careful.  Our road is a jinx.


We let the neighbor walk ahead in case there was anything bad for little eyes.  He came back and said that some guy went up over the hill and into an electric pole knocked that one completely over into the field, and  knocked the second one mostly over.  I think he said the car ended up in the ravine.  By now all the neighbors have checked in, hung out, etc.. We found out exactly which house belongs to the guy that works at the electric company.  I believe we even found out when the next 4-H meeting is.  We stood around watching the pretty lights. And then walked home.  We made a fire and lit candles and oil lamps.  Oh and read another chapter of "Little House in the Big Woods".  The girls went to bed and a little while later the lights (and subsequently heat and water) came back on.

Which should have been the end.


But no.

Every once in a while if I'm under a bunch of stress or having trauma based issues myself, I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like there are little bugs crawling all over my legs.  Weird I know, but true.  Then I look and see that there aren't which leaves me feeling so itchy I can't stand it.  There is only one thing to do then- I have to get up and take a shower.  By then, everything's back in perspective and I feel clean again and the itching goes away.  So naturally, in the middle of the night this kicks in.

I am now exhausted, crying, whining, and generally not happy.  But FarmerGeek convinces me to get up and shower.  No lie, I go down and sit on the pot to prepare to shower.  And the power goes out again.  Which means no well.  Which means no shower.  Which means no end in sight to my itchiness.  And goodness knows I tried.  I reminded myself it wasn't real.  I tried to treat it like it was real with anti-itch cream. I took Benadryll.   Then it did something it never did before.  It spread.  By 3:45AM my entire body was itching like mad.  I'm trying not to scratch or cry because I don't want to wake FarmerGeek up and it's too cold to leave the bed (no heat remember?).  I'm about to wake him up anyway and ask him for the directions to the generator when...

The power finally comes back on.

So at about 3:45 AM I take a shower and go back to bed.  Until the alarm goes off.  At 6.  That's about 2 hours sleep after the itchiness and 2 hours before.  I am an 8.5 hours girl.  I do not do well with no sleep.  It's a lot of the reason why we adopted older kids.

I'm going to take a nap.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big doings. Two poles down and no power. Country block party!

Friday, November 12, 2010

You Like Me- you really LIKE Me!

No seriously, head on over to Facebook and search for me, The DivaHick, and Like my fanpage.  I'm having a giveaway when I reach 100 fans...  I'm thinking something cute...  Hmmm....   More details announced on the Fan page!

Cooking With Sparrow

Today I bring to you a semi-regular segment entitled, "Cooking with Sparrow". 

Actually, truth is, this was a school assignment and took pictures because it was so stinking cute.

The name of the recipe is: Bananas with Wheat Germ

STEP 1: Peel the Banana

 STEP 2: Chop the Banana

 STEP 3: Roll Banana in Wheat Germ
That's the finished project in the Rubbermaid container there!

And in case you need a recipe to print... check this one out!

All the sweetness and all the crunch.  There you have it, Cooking with Sparrow!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
John 15:13

I know that Veteran's Day is a celebration of those who bravely fought, and returned.  (Pardon me I've already started tearing up.) I still use this Scripture to describe them, because it's still true.  All of our military families are laying down their lives for us.  Gather round kids, it's story time.

This is a true story of someone I knew on the Internet.  For privacy and practical purposes, I'll call her MilitaryMamaWanna.  She had problems getting pregnant and was on a long term course of fertility drugs that they had saved up a couple years to be able to afford.  They were about 3/4 of the way through the treatment when her husband was called up.  She, seemingly without much complaint, gave up those months of injections and raging hormones because well, contrary to popular opinion, you do actually need a man to make a baby.  This was something they should be doing together.   A little while after he was shipped out, he got to come home on leave.  After he returned to duty, his wife e-mailed him some amazing news.  During that short visit, they created the baby they had been trying so hard for.  Now this man is overseas receiving this by e-mail, unable to hold his wife and cry tears of joy with her.   He was not there to help her prepare for the baby, take her to the doctor, hear the heartbeat.  For whatever reason, he was not able to receive calls or e-mails for a couple weeks.  When he got back, he found the two e-mails from his wife- one dated a week or so before the other.  The first one bore that horrible news that the baby they had hoped for would not be, she had miscarried.  I can't imagine the grief, and yes guilt, the poor man felt.  It was followed by a second e-mail that the woman had gone to her usual Sunday church service, seeking comfort and solace.  She had forgotten it was Mother's Day.  At the door there were kids handing out flowers to all the ladies who were mothers.  She accepted it with tears in her eyes and sat down, thanking the Lord for recognizing what was going on.  As she sat there, another woman (ok soul-sucking bitch) came up to her and had the nerve to ask for the flower back because she "wasn't a mother yet."  (And yes, the woman knew about the recent miscarriage.)  Subsequently, she sank into a deep depression.

What would your husband do?  I know what FarmerGeek would have done.  Let's just say that lady would be taken to task and the pastor spoken to.  FarmerGeek would have demanded something to be done and at the very least an apology issued.  He would have gone to battle for me.  The problem was, her husband couldn't do that.

Because he was already going to battle for the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Martha frickin Stewart

Let me just tell you right off that I can't friggin stand Martha frickin Stewart! I hate the commercial placement and the constant name dropping. I was devastated when the Hallmark Channel pretty much turned into the Martha Stewart Channel. I don't hold the whole jail thing against her, I mean, she's paid her debt to society so now it's between her and God. However after the things she said in my hometown I swear I would never watch her. Ever. EVER.

And yet I watched it...

You are now shaking your head and wondering about the DivaHick now aren't you? Well here's my thoughts on the matter, as politically incorrect as they are. Women turn houses into homes. It doesn't matter if you are married, single, have kids, have pets, or it's just someplace you fall into at night after working a 20 hour day. We crave comfort. We crave coherency and balance. I mean, you can watch Clean House and Hoarders where the rooms are piled full of cr@p, but underneath all those layers- you can find a decorating scheme.

Not to many years ago though, we made the decision that women were trapped into wanting to do that. We were being wasted by turning our attentions to home and hearth. Women should be doctors and lawyers and accountants and company presidents! And of course, we should. IF WE WANT TO! Martha Stewart's success lies in the fact that the schools pushed out Home Ec because CEO's don't need to learn it. The truth is, we do NEED to know home ec and even if we didn't there are so many, many women who WANT to learn it. We want to take care of our homes, even if we are also working 10 hours a day. (Although truth be told, no woman only works 10 hours a day.)

Don't believe me? Been to a Jo-Ann's lately? They're stuffed to the brim and doing an insane amount of business. Ask yourself why...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homeschooling Mama

So last week I, quite snarkily, posted something on Facebook. It went something like this, "Now that I'm a conservative, Christian, Homeschooling mom, am I required to wear denim jumpers- or is that optional...?" I mean, come on people, I am the DIVAHick right? I actually went out and bought pink and brown work boots to match a pink and brown baseball hat (with rhinestones). I wear fashionably, yet functionally, cut jeans and an ultra-cute apron. (And I wear shirts to- this ain't that kind of farm kiddies!)

I am the very portrait of farmgirl chic. :P

So seriously, I started looking up denim jumpers to laugh at all those other moms. I mean go to Vermont Country Store and take a gander. All those dorky outfits...
But then I saw this...

Hey that actually looks comfy... I could work with that... a scarf, some awesome dangly earrings, kick a$$ boots...

Not to bad either... it's a good throw on to go out and about. Again, I'm seeing a scarf and some funky bangles. Maybe some hair chopsticks. Then again this might be all about the purse.

Ok this one is desperately, impossibly dorky. But it's a flannel dress. I mean, really, blessed warmth in the middle of January. I think we can work it. I think with some of the perfect accessories we can get it to the hot librarian look. High heel black boots? Long ropes of glittery black beads? I don't know, I can't get past the thought of black hornrimmed glasses with rhinestones and a messy upsweep though.

And don't worry. Even I'm not finding an excuse for this.

Somebody save me.

(For the record, I'm still in my pajamas... one kid homeschooling, the other one home sick.)

*As far as I know, Vermont Country Store has no knowledge of me or my blog. I am not being endorsed or compensated in any way

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I know I keep saying it...

But I really oought to get back to blogging...

Here's our newest update- Our adoption finalized in September and we are the forever, permanent parents of Del (13) and Sparrow (who's now 7). FarmerGeek turned 30. We decided that public school simply wasn't working for our girls and put them in Catholic school, which in turn ended up not working for one Miss Del who will start homeschooling next week. For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, we're using the Sonlight Curriculum. She really wants to learn more about American History, so we went with Core 3/4 which in some ways will be too young for her, but we can supplement with older books. I went with a younger curriculum because they have read a-louds which will promote our holding therapy.

Our garden did end up being a bust. The worst part is that the things that DID grow- certain minions would go out to play, pick them and leave them strewn about the yard.

By the way, I may be a Conservative, Christian, Homeschooling Mom- but I don't wear denim jumpers...

Oh and PS- Chuck Norris homeschools his kids- don't make fun of it...