The Stream

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Museum Themed

Last Saturday, it rained and rained and rained. Luckily, it was free Smithsonian day at participating museums in other cities. We adventured up to Pittsburgh to take a peek at their Natural History Museum, which was hands down the best fossil collection I have ever seen. The first T-Rex ever discovered is displayed there.



They had little stations set up with volunteers that the kids could interact with...

This is an actual elephant ear

This station had an imploded dino egg, but Becket was more interested in showing the volunteer his new Homer Simpson watch that he got at a garage sale the day before. It says, "MMMMmmm burgers," when you push the button.


The kids did a little digging themselves.


I can't resist pictures when kids are wearing goggles.


We headed across the street to the nationality classrooms at the University of Pittsburgh. They have 27 rooms that are designed by architects to make it feel like you are in another country in the 18th century. Very Neat!


The building itself looked like a Gothic cathedral. It has been known as the world's tallest schoolhouse. Mat made the comment that you could film a really cool movie in here.

On our way home, we took a wrong road. Not surprised? It's been happening our whole married life. What's sad is that we had Mat's phone and GPS to guide the way and we still got lost.
The positive is that we ran into these babies at a local farmer's market.

They're back and better than ever, the honey crisp apple.

Later that night, we watched Night of the Museum for the first time. I liked it! Micah is now walking around the house saying, "I want some gum, gum. Goodbye, Dumb Dumb."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things Dancing in My Head

To Jeanette-
Here is what I did with my half of the lemon gummy candies I split with you from that Amish store we went to together.

Lemon layer cake

Couponing Negative 101

I have always envied these ladies that say they got all this for $5.96 and then they attach a picture showing loads of groceries trying to fight for room on the table. I don't know how it is for you, but I usually come home from the store and take a picture of my 5 items and say, "I got all this for $103 dollars!"
Well not today! I beat the system and got my Kashi Go Lean at $1.00 a piece. HA!

PB stands for Prison Break. Every summer Mat and I choose a series to watch from beginning to present. Last year it was Gilmore Girls, the year before that, The Office, the year before that, 24. This year it is Prison Break, which I have to say it's quite intense and nail biting. I also have to say, Mat was wearing blue jeans and a gray long-sleeve shirt yesterday, just like Michael Scofield wears in season 3, and I kept finding him so attractive.

We need to finish this show because we are staying up way too late. Were constantly being tortured by their cliff hangers and saggy eyes.

Lastly, I would like a to dedicate a poem to my dentist office. I've had a lot of time to think in my dentist chair, so I thought I would pay tribute:

Zeeeen thlurup
Sitting in the dentist chair
Looking at the light that glares

glurrrrrr gagaclk zien
Sounds of shovels hitting rocks
Toes are numbing in my socks

shlurrr slushhhhhh glim grrr
Thoughts bounce and fly through my head
Send that gift, get that show, Where's my bed?

Clink tap, tap , tap blquuuuuck
Sounds like a mechanic in here or a carpenter too
but it's my dentist telling me I've got a cavity or two!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Pictures = Torture

Every year we attempt a family picture. I explain to the children, "Children, do you know why we take a family picture every year?"...silence..."because it's for our posterity and for our Christmas card to send to family. You change each year so we snap a picture to measure how you've grown" Kids response, "Did you say Christmas? WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!" Explanation out the window.
Ever since Beck came along this is a family tradition we stomp out to do. It's a love hate. We try to do it ourselves, sporadically-because I never know what time the family will be primped and stain free. Mat and I are also tightly wound.."Don't touch that! Don't put that blanket over your head! That is dirt, dirt is dirty!"

Here are just a few of our many episodes.

This is me scratching a booger off of Micah's forehead. Becket's already yawning and Gretchen's thinking about how much dirt she can squeeze between her big toes.

Ready. Camera. Action. Yup. Nice photo. Gretchen and Micah having their own conversation, I look like I'm at my surprise birthday party, and Becket and Mat look thrilled to be here. Not to mention we're out of focus.

After a 100 pictures, we did get some of the kids that we liked...maybe it's because if we could point at the camera, they wouldn't forget what it looked like. I will be calling my backup, you Amber, if we ever get ready and stain free again. We at least gave it a try.

Running in color


Jumping portraits

Good buds

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bus Stop Watercooler

Continued from previous post....
We had our little bus stop international night and it was so fun and interesting. I love these new friends, especially their added insight. But, what I really love about them is that they are so blatantly honest with each other. Why aren't we more like that with each other---American speaking? We tend to tiptoe around obvious truths. These people, they just say it like it is, and I like that. No room for gettin' 'ffended.
Here is a group shot...Miss America/Mexican, Anna, Sue , and Hema. (Tahani from Morocco couldn't come because it is the beginning of Ramadan so hopefully she will come next time)
Meadowridge Townhomes summit
Here is the spread. They all explained what they were, but honestly I can't remember them. I needed to write them down phonetically because when it's in another language, I can't remember it for the life of me. Fish tacos-red platter and guac chips, Indian dishes upper left corner in the bowl it was a dessert and the other was a vegetarian dish, Korean-bottom 3 noodle salad with spring lettuce and vinaigrette, another salad, and rice rolls, Polish dishes (hunter's stew made with saurcraut and sweet pierogies) on both sides of fish tacos. I must be getting old because I'm journaling about the food I ate.
International spread
Everyone--if you are out there and I hope you are! Take special notice to Sue's South Korean salad. Look at the perfection in her match sticks. She even separated the egg whites from the yolks and fried them separately. When it was time to start, she tossed it with a dressing and then rearranged it to look pretty again.
South Korean salad
Isn't this little girl beautiful? They were all dressed up, like they were going to a Bollywood premiere. Absolutely loved their garb. (Brooke if you're listening, you have got to get your can up here!)
Rama and daughter
Other news
Becket invented a new super hero--We calll it the "tiger super ninja"--it was unique and worth posting and he scared us coming around the corner.
Tiger super ninja
Becket is with his two full-time teachers, Ms. Latanzi and Mrs. Miner (right) at back to school night. His class size is so big (33) that he has 2 teachers and a full-time aid and a student teacher to boot for 6mths.
Becket will soon be moving up the ranks to earn his decorative badge for safety patrol in no time. When he gets home from school, he tells us a complete break down of the rules AGAIN, who broke them, and why they shouldn't have made that choice. He then proceeds to tell us how good he was.
Back to school night
We did surprise the dear boy for lunch last Friday. The girls were totally pumped with their backpacks stuffed with lunch. I curled my hair and had on an ironed shirt. When we saw him in the cafeteria we were so excited and started waving, but all he did was give us a confused look, squirm and cringe and then followed the line to sit down. I was crushed, but then I realized that he wasn't about to break any rules, it was his rep on the line! He clearly wasn't going to invite us over nor save us a seat. I grabbed the girls hands, butted in line and told the kindergartener friend to step aside because this seat was reserved for his mama! Lunch was uneventful, loud, and germy. I won't be going back soon even if mister safety patrol thinks to invite me back. Ah, so much for the cool mom going to eat with her son---the hair went into a pony when I got home.
Sharing a lunch at school

Lunch with the schoolkids

Mat and I went on a date later that night, so the ponytail came down later, but by then the shirt was wrinkly...go figure

Passed out. Sometimes I feel like doing that as an adult. The end.
Micah sleeping on the stairs

Friday, September 18, 2009

What do you get when....

What do you get every morning and afternoon when you drop your kid off at the bus stop?

Uh, I don't know.... maybe a bunch of moms from different parts of the world.

Countries represented at the bus stop: Korea, Poland, Morocco, India, Iran, and Miss USA (Me). Miss USA sounds so average, almost boring! Who wants to be normal speaking when you are at this bus stop? Maybe I'll invent my own dialect to throw them.

Anyway, we the moms, decided to have a potluck at Anna's house. She's a very cool mom from Poland and I love it when she says girls because it comes out like grrs. Did you know that in Poland you only celebrate your birthday until you are an adult, 18yrs, then you celebrate your Saint day, since most of the people are named after their strong Catholic Saints? So, Anna's real birthday is in December, but now she celebrates her saint day which is in the summer. Is there a Saint Micki somewhere maybe stemming from the name Michael? I've always wanted a summer birthday. Anyway, back to the potluck, everyone is bringing a meal from their country. I immediately thought hotdogs and apple pie or possibly fast food to represent America--but to put a little more thought into it, I figured I grew up with such a strong Mexican influence living in the southwest, I would bring Fish Tacos. I figure I'm practically Mexican because I have some family members who look Mexican and I'm going to run with that.

I am very excited for tomorrow. I've always wanted to get in real tight with an Indian because they can cook like no one's business. I did find out that Indians do not eat pig or cow. I didn't know cow--Hema said it was because the cow is very sacred.

Yo me apresuro mejor a mis amigos-the afternoon bus is coming in 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tried and True, New Recipes for you

For those that are getting a little titch of fall or for those that are not here are some new recipes to try. I always get on a cooking streak every year around mid September. I start baking and cooking up a storm, maybe because it gets cool enough to use my oven?

Chicken Butternut Squash Soup
If your family prefers small pieces of chicken, remove meat from bone, chop in bite-size chunks, and stir into the soup. START TO FINISH: 45 MIN. OVEN: 425 F/350°F
1 1/4 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded,
and cut in 3/44-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 small red onion, cut in 1/2-inch wedges
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 14-oz. cans reduced-sodium
chicken broth
1 15- to 16-oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dried apricots, snipped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 deli-roasted chicken, cut up
Fresh cilantro leaves

(Side note--I might add some roasted corn to it too for juice and crunchiness-I'm sounding like Lynn Rositto Casper)
1. Preheat oven to 425°F In shallow roasting pan toss squash and onion with curry powder and the 1 tablespoon oil. Roast, uncovered, 20 minutes or until tender. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
2. In 4-quart Dutch oven combine roasted vegetables, broth, beans, and apricots. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered,
10 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes. Transfer half the soup to food processor or blender. Cover; process or blend until smooth. Return to Dutch oven; heat through.
3. Meanwhile, in bowl toss walnuts with
1 teaspoon oil and the nutmeg. Spread nuts on baking sheet. Bake 7 minutes or until golden and toasted. Reheat chicken according to package directions, if needed.
4. To serve, top soup with nuts, chicken,

Thai beef with chiles and basil over coconut rice

Cast-iron skillets and woks are both great for stir-frying. If using another pan, cook the beef in batches. Find fish sauce in the Asian-foods aisle of most supermarkets.

□ 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
□ 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
□ coarse salt
□ 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
□ 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
□ 1 teaspoon sugar

□ 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
□ 3 garlic cloves, chopped
□ 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and
sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
□ 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
□ 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
□ lime wedges, for serving

1 In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 tea-spoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.
If you prefer, you can also serve the Thai beef with steamed plain rice instead of coconut rice.

2 When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rowlesburg, WV

Town of Rowlesburg

Little history, at one point the town had a flood, you can see where the level marker is. There was a sudden rain blast 10 miles north of town. The burst caused the water to take out two bridges and the dam, flooding the whole town.


The town has an annual Ox Roast every Labor Day. That's right, I said, ox. We tried the well seasoned sandwich and my iron count is now up. Just hanging out after lunch listening to old bluegrass bands in the park.


They had old fashioned cars to peek at. Don't you just want to own one of these for Sunday drives? I think it sounds fantastic.

Family at the Rowlesburg Car Show

Micah checking out her lipstick and rouge.

Micah in the headlight cover of a Model A coupe

The also had model trains which is something that Mat has always wanted to do. Note: Train guys are really into their trains and they want you to be into them too. They spent a lot of quality time telling us how to get into it. It was not painful (minus the chocolate chip cookie I could have used midway through our tour) and fun to learn about.


One train conductor was very smart and let the kids play with his Lego train.


They were ecstatic and most importantly completely engrossed and not touching the big dawg trains!

Reporting from Rowlesburg, out.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Friday I grabbed some awesome deals at The Children's Place for their Labor Day Sale. If you live by one stop by, everything that I got in this picture was $.99-$1.99.

One of my favorite outfits for the girls.

Gretchen may not look as amused as her mother, but just to let you know that the dress in this picture was .99 cents and the cute little headband Micah left on for a whole 1/2hr was only .25 cents.

Becket has a new friend that preforms an Opera birthday song for us everyday. It was from a online greeting card sent from his dear Aunt Dan 2 years ago. After Gretchen's birthday, it sparked his memory and he asked to watch the video again. He then persisted for the materials to make the sock puppet. I told him to "Put a sock in it!" but he wouldn't give in, so I caved. Ever since, this is what we have experienced--DAILY (which still cracks me up).

Sunday is our primp day since church is later. Becket is putting on some finishing touches to Gretchen while her nails dry.

Potty Training is not going so well
Confused child

However, high jumping off towering logs is --- she is fearless.
Safe landing

Marshmallow eating is also good
Eating mallows


So ends our Harris recap