Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Monday, August 26, 2013

You can all breath a sigh of relief now......the long awaited "Carebear Backpack" post is here.   Thanks to those who have asked about it (some of you repeatedly!)      It just took me awhile to dust the cobwebs off the blog so I could get something up.

For those of you who have been able to live your life in carefree ignorance of this Carebear Backpack ritual of mine - I will bring you up to speed (or, you can just read the post right before this one......yes, it has been a year since I have written - don't hate).

Meet Abby, circa 2006:
My preschooler

On her back is THE Carebear Backpack.    Anyone's guess as to where this backpack actually came from. Nevertheless, in this picture it's filled with all the pre-school goodies one little girl would need.   Change of clothes in a Ziploc baggie, a package of baby wipes for the teacher, a snuggle buddy, etc.

The following year, the Carebear backpack was in such good shape that we used it for Jr. Kindergarten. Let's face it, the cardboard noodle art and construction paper turkey didn't really put much wear and tear on the thing.

Junior Kindergarten, 2007

Completely unrelated side-note.   I really miss my flowerbed from our house in California.    

The next year (Kindergarten), she had so much stuff to take to school it wouldn't fit in the little Carebear Backpack, so we had to purchase a new one.    Abby was extremely crestfallen at the notion of having to retire her trusty pack, so I suggested we snap a picture of it like we had the previous years.     Oh......she was SO excited to do that (as evidenced by the picture below, left).     So this was really the beginning of the Carebear Backpack picture ritual.    But for Abby, it was the beginning of the end.....the moments of excited anticipation of my camera capturing the Carebear Backpack were sailing away like a ship towards the horizon.

So.....no need for the school year play by play.....you get the picture (right below, in fact):

(L-R Kindergarten and 1st Grade)

(L-R 2nd grade and 3rd grade)

4th grade

Lest you think that these shots of a smiling cherub are genuine.......I assure you they were moments of feigned excitement. 

Ahhhh, fifth grade.    You know you're in trouble when this is the first picture:


"I'm only grinning because I'm fantasizing about this backpack
having an encounter with a pair of scissors"

My personal favorite out of the bunch:

And if that wasn't bad enough, then came the part where I made her put her real backpack on and pose with a few hundred mosquitoes:

In the end, I got my shot for the year.....the one I can look back on and say, "there's my fifth grader".

And for those of you who stuck it out to the very end, I can explain why my child is dressed so casually for her first day of school.    This year, our family has decided to home school......!   Today was she dressed to attend her enrichment tutorial, which requires comfortable clothes and sneakers.     

I thought I might be pushing my luck asking her to dress up for her Carebear Backpack Picture.

If you are interested in knowing more about our reasons for the change in school strategy, or want to know more about what we're doing for home school, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to fill you in.

Thanks for reading, and sorry it's been so long!!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's time for the Carebear backpack pictures again....

The child grows weary of this annual event, but I continue to insist and she continues to indulge.   Let's take a moment to review years past, as I am in the habit of doing.

(L-R Pre-School and Jr. Kindergarten)

(L-R Kindergarten and 1st Grade)

(L-R 2nd grade and 3rd grade)

And now, the current year Carebear backpack pictures:

4th grade

And now, the common phrase you hear from moms on the first day of school.....
I can't believe I have a 4th grader!

Enjoy your day :)

Monday, August 15, 2011
I saw an article in a magazine once entitled, "Cook Once, Eat Twice".    Last week I took it one step further and ate 3 times from a meal I cooked.     I thought I would share this here since a few people were asking me for the recipes.  

Around here, I use the crock pot alot - especially on the days that I am working.   Throw in crock in the morning, take it out when you get home.     I also like to pair up my crock days with meat that is on sale.   This particular week Publix had Boneless Pork Loin Chops on sale.    I snapped up 2 packages of them (8 chops total) and here's what I did.


Coat the chops w/ a package of Taco Seasoning (I used a package I got from Trader Joes).   Put the chops in the crock.    On top of the chops, throw in a diced onion and a can of green chilies.   Then, pour over that a can of chicken broth.    Cook on low for 6-8 hours.    Your chops should just fall apart (if they don't, give it a little more time).....take two forks and just go at them for a minute or two.   The result should look like a soupy meaty concoction.  

Now you've got your "stuff" and you can roll like this:

MEAL ONE:    Spoon the stuff over a serving of rice and serve with veggies and salad (and a nice piece of bread if you are so inclined)

MEAL TWO:    Scramble up some eggs and when the eggs are about 1/2 way there, throw in some of the stuff and cook it the rest of the way.     This alone is fantastic - If you live in the Bay Area and have ever eaten at La Tapatia, this is like the Machaca they serve there....Mmmmm!!!    However, you can take it a step further and roll it in a tortilla with a sprinkle of cheese and do a breakfast burrito.

MEAL THREE:    Tortilla + the stuff + a sprinkle of cheese + a spoonful of zesty chipotle sour cream....roll it up and enjoy.   On this one, I suggest letting the liquid drain off before using the meat otherwise you have a messy result.

That's it!   Cook once, eat thrice....
Friday, August 5, 2011
Since today is the first day of school for some of our kids here in Middle TN, I thought I might share a little tip that I started (and have continued) since Abby was in Pre-K.  

I think everyone may have their own strategy for overcoming the School Work Monster, you know, the mound of paper, art, writings, spelling tests, etc. that accumulate as the school year progresses.   I will share what works for me...

When Abby comes home with her school bits, I look them over with her....if there is something particularly awesome (a drawing, a story) I tend to scan it, send it off to the kin folk and then post on fridge.   But for the most part, after reviewing an appropriately praising her for her fabulous work - the school bits go in a box like this:

The school bits box - usually resides
on the floor by my desk in the office

At the end of the school year, it's pretty much full.    Then, at some point over the summer (or on the first day of the next school year like me today) you make yourself a strong cup of coffee, sit down and go through the box.    You make two piles....one to keep and one to give to the garbage man.    Yes, I know....it's hard to let go.   But you must....

Now you may be able to do this process on the day your little cherub brings it home.....not me.     I'm too emotional and attached.    I would save everything!    After the school and summer have passed, I'm a little more objective about what to keep and what to throw.    Plus, if I need to go back and look at something from earlier in the year, it's all there in the school bits box.

So - once you have your "keep" pile, you put it in a nice little file like this:

Organized folder of school bits

What am I saving?   I'm looking for a snapshot of what Abby was doing in this school year.   I'm also saving certain pictures and stories that will capture who she is.    At the very front of the folder, I have a thin file folder that contains her report card, school picture, class picture and any special notes from her teacher.   I label the front of the folder with a sharpie - Grade, school, teacher name.

Once my folder is done, it gets put in the closet with the others:

Some day, I can give these to Abby to do with what she pleases....I know for myself, I have a box in the deep recesses of my closet that contains school work from my childhood.    Every once in awhile I pull it out, touch it, read it, laugh, remember.  

So there it is....maybe this will be helpful for you.    Maybe you can take something from this and make your own tip.   Bottom line, stay on top of the School Work Monster.....it will overwhelm and destroy if you let it!!

May your school year be blessed!!
Today was Abby's first day of 3rd grade....you know what that means, right?  By now, you know what these posts are all about....the evolution of the Care Bear backpack!

(L-R Pre-School and Jr. Kindergarten)

(L-R Kindergarten and 1st Grade)

(L-R 2nd grade and 3rd grade)

There was actually a bit of a struggle to get the thing on this morning....it's getting too small!!    

Here's a shot of her with her real backpack...

Our little 3rd grader

Enjoy your day, wherever you are!