Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkins, Part 2

You might think I have a thing with pumpkins. This might have given it away. Or my love for this. And I am SUPER excited about BYOP.

In 2005 Morgan's friend Lee came to visit from London. On his previous trip to Florida, Morgan was hit by a car and broke his shoulder. (You can just imagine the fun he had on that trip!) We were looking for "American" things to do and decided to get a pumpkin. We were most impressed - and we cornered Lee into taking a few pictures of us.

(And to wrap up the Lee story, Hurricane Wilma hit the day after these pictures were taken. Poor Lee flew in from London only to experience a hurricane and a sold week afterwards without power. Needless to say he has not been back to visit!)

So each year Morgan and I have gone back for our "pumpkin picture." This year we got Catholic pumpkins from the church where we used to teach Confirmation classes. The pumpkins are under a big tent...good for the pumpkins, but bad for my pictures. The photos are a bit too orange for my liking, but I guess it is a pumpkin picture!

So I present to you our pumpkin history. (I took out the pre-marital pumpkin. Those are scary pictures. Take my word for it!)

So enjoy! The Irishman Indiana Jones has made me dinner. I'm thinking pumpkin for desert...

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Irishman

I was invited to steal this from another Jenny who teaches in Florida.

So here is a meme about my Irishman...

1. He's sitting in front of the TV. What's he watching? When I'm not around he will put on CNN, Star Wars (Has anyone else noticed that it is ALWAYS on some cable network), or DVDs of old Liverpool victories. He owns every episode ever made of West Wing, Only Fools and Horses, and Father Ted.

2. You are out to eat, what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Oil and vinegar

3. What's one food he doesn't like? Our house is a mayonnaise free zone. He is also not a fan of ketchup. Or mustard.

4. You go out to a bar, what does he order? Coca-Cola

5. Where did he go to High School? Ashton School in Cork, Ireland

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 1/2

7. If he were to collect anything, what would it be? The spare room is currently a shrine to Morgan's favorite things. We've graduated from posters to framed pictures of his favorite sporting moments. There are also a number of Star Wars "things" around the room.

8. What is his favorite sandwich? Meatloaf sandwiches. They usually come about because I am SO sick of the leftover meatloaf that he has to finish it for both of us!

9. What would he eat every day if he could? An Irish fry up.

His mother sent him some Irish breakfast meats for his birthday last year. Rashers, sausage (not the same as the American stuff), black pudding, and white pudding were waiting in a freezer box outside the door when we got home from work. Morg was in heaven.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Due to high cholesterol and blood pressure (see above!) he has switched from the "fun" cereals to the healthy stuff. He is pretty easy going about it though as long as the milk is heated first.

11. What would he never wear? A Manchester United jersey.

12. What is his favorite sports team? LIVERPOOL! He is a fanatic. He loves sport though and loves his teams...Blackrock, Cork, Ireland. Thank goodness for the Internet!

(an artistic shot of the Liverpool crest on his shorts...)

13. Who will he vote for? We don't usually agree on politics. However I am okay with that because my vote counts more. As an Irish citizen he will not be voting in Novemeber.

14. Who is his best friend? His family. (I told him I said that and he was horrified that I did not say that I am. I consider myself to be part of his family!) In terms of the family across the pond though, we thank God that we found Vonage. We have unlimited calls to Ireland and England...and we use it!

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Use ketchup. He really can't stand the stuff.

16. How many states has he lived in? Just Florida. Not quite a fair question for him though. He has also lived in Ireland and London. They also spent summers in Spain growing up. He's well traveled.

17. What is his heritage? Umm, Irish. He's the real deal...accent and all.

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday, what kind of cake is it? He likes cheesecake best, but not homemade. His birthday would require a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. I can't compete with that!

19. Did he play sports in High School? He played field hockey and coached soccer.

20. What could he spend hours doing? Talking to family and friends, video editing, sleeping, eating, or listening to Christmas music.

I love you babe!

So, there you have it! Feel free to steal this yourself!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pie? I'll pass!

It went on for about 10 minutes. It turns out that I am worth $1.50 a go. Let's hope the National Junior Honor Society appreciates my contribution.

Sometimes pictures say it best...

The Irishman was impressed that the line extended into the hallway. We haven't decided if that is a good thing or not!

My favorite moment of the evening was as I was leaving. I was walking through the hall in my scrubs and with my face and hair covered in whipped cream when one of the younger kids stopped me. They looked me up and down and said, "WHAT are YOU supposed to be?"

Green Thumb

Earlier this week I had my yellow frilly gloves on and 19 little darlings sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the rug around me. I was digging through the Can-O-Worms looking for half decomposed fruit covered in worms. I found a nice bunch on what used to be a banana peel. The kids squealed in delight.

Then I came across something. It truly was a moment of panic. There were 19 pairs of eyes on me and something mysterious in the worm bin. I was trying to keep cool...

Then I realized that my Can-O-Worms was growing.

We fed the worms some of our pumpkin guts last week. I tried to avoid the seeds but I obviously didn't do a very good job of that. I thought I'd pulled up the sprouts, but this is what greeted me yesterday morning:

I may not have a green thumb, but my worms do!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Odds & Ends

First, I will confess to spending too much time online this weekend. Morgan is coaching a soccer team and was at training Saturday morning. I did some laundry, put the wet clothes out on the clothesline, made yogurt, and sat at the computer. Okay so a lot of sitting at the computer!

I am loving Google Reader. I don't think I will admit to how many blogs I have subscribed to. I'll give you a hint though. I taught rounding this let's just say the number would round up to 100. No, I won't make you sing the rounding song to figure that can take my word for it!

I did finally get up the nerve to change the background on my blog. I was blog-hopping and found a site that sounded okay. They have some cute Halloween designs. Head over to Simply Chic Blog Backgrounds and check it out!

I actually won a give away a few weeks ago. The Crunchy Domestic Goddess was giving away a pack of SKOY cloths. They are like sponges but not. We have one started in the kitchen and so far like it. It will eventually end up in my compost bin.

Speaking of which, I did start the compost bin. I think I am going to make it a big worm bin though. I am nervous about the bugs. (I already have flies!) And the smell. (It isn't quite roses!) The Can-O-Worms in my classroom is orderless and the flies stay away if I keep things buried. It is in the shade so I think a pound or two of worms should do the trick! (That is yet another thing I researched this morning on the computer...)

My tub of lettuce has done well this time. (Last time I lost in a battle against the bugs!) I picked some leaves to make a salad with dinner. I added some of the giant CSA cucumber, yum! It was a nice addition to the grilled chicken and corn. The Irishman did a nice job!

So now the rest of my to do list for the weekend looks something like this:

* Teach CCD
* Mass
* Grocery shopping
* Order worms
* Visit Pumpkin Patch
* Start Christmas shopping
* Beach
* Finish lesson plans
* Get mail ready for post office Monday

We'll see how it goes!

Friday, October 17, 2008

One Day to Give: Penny Harvest

I have been looking at this for a while now. I was really not sure how I wanted to take part. This is right up my alley, but what to do...

We recently bought our plane tickets for the holidays so money has been a little tight, but it is because we've put family first and we are okay with that. (And we just bought plane tickets to Houston and Ireland. One cannot cry poverty while in possession of plane tickets to Houston and Ireland!)

With that being said, I was not sure how to take part in this challenge. We volunteer a bit already. We make our usual donations. Nothing seemed special enough.

Then I realized that I have spent a fair bit of time this week working on the Penny Harvest.

Service Learning is something that is important to me. I have seen a multitude of school service projects that help the less fortunate, but they have no connection to the students taking part. Students often participate because they are bribed. (The class that raises the most will win a pizza party, etc.)

Service learning makes a difference. The service and the learning are equally valued. The projects are more meaningful.

I love the Penny Harvest concept. A friend and I went to a session about PH at the state service learning conference last year. After some research we convinced our principal to let us sign up.

We are recruiting student leaders who will help us with the "gather pennies" stage. I presented the idea at the faculty meeting today and it was well received.

So even though the economy may not be the best, I am working to make every penny count. One kid at a time!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


No, this is not the annual pumpkin picture we take at the sad excuse for a pumpkin patch that we have here in South Florida.

No, this is not where I rave about the splendid Pumpkin Butter I made after reading though my google reader blogs. (Although it was heavenly and I will be making more!)

Today was the pumpkin project.

The one where each of my 19 darling third graders brought a pumpkin to school.

We predicted, measured, and graphed the mass of each pumpkin with the guts. They performed surgery on the pumpkins and then predicted, measured, and graphed the mass of the pumpkin without the guts. Then we moved on to height and circumference.

Did I mention predicting if it sinks/floats and counting the number of vertical lines? Or classifying the pumpkins at your table 4 different ways? How about reading The Pumpkin Book and writing a paragraph about the life cycle of a pumpkin?

Do you have time for meeting with your fourth grade writing buddies to write a descriptive paragraph about the pumpkin you named and spent so much time with today? No problem, we'll squeeze it in AFTER we feed the pumpkin guts to the worms.

I do love this project! I did however have 19 children "gutting" pumpkins in my classroom today. (I am not completely crazy, I called in the cavalry...7 parent volunteers and 1 university student.)

..but I am exhausted. And now toasting the pumpkin seeds.

...and writing up a presentation for the faculty meeting tomorrow about the Penny Harvest I've signed up to lead at the school this year. Thank goodness it's (almost) Friday!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yellow Watermelon

Today we got our first box from our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We get a box every two weeks that we are splitting with our friends Lyndsay and Dave. The season here runs from October to May, so we have been waiting a while to see what it is like!

Now I remember reading about Rachel's blue egg, but we were still a little surprised to get our yellow watermelon. When Lyndsay told us it was a yellow watermelon we assumed she meant the rind was yellow. In fact on the outside it was a perfect striped green. I would love to have seen her face when she cut it to find the yellow insides!

(I ate a few pieces when we got home tonight - it tastes great!) The Yellow Watermelon is wrapped in plastic in the picture, but you can see it along with the squash, pepper, cucumber, and lettuce.

Morgan and Lyndsay went nuts when they saw turnips on the list of possible veggies. Apparently turnips are a big thing in Ireland. We have discovered though that what they call turnips are what we call rutabaga.

Black Eyed Peas are on the list of items we'd prefer not to get in our box, so they gave us turnips this week instead. They are not quite what the local Irish expected though, so we are looking up recipes to find out how to use our turnips. (We have mostly greens, but Morg and Lyndsay wanted the bottoms!)

Here are the Not-so-Irish Turnips:

We are quite happy with our box this week and look forward to seeing what we get each week. For now I think this means we will have corn with dinner!

Now I just need to actually plant my Square Foot Garden...

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Irishman's Disguises

The Irishman loves Halloween. He doesn't always claim to like it, and it does not come close to Christmas in his book. Regardless, the costume debate comes this time each year.

His first year in the states he was an ER doc. Complete with County General Scrubs. (Side note the scrubs have since become PJs. They are much loved!)

The next year he was Darth Vader. We bought the mask the Thanksgiving before during a trip to Houston. He was SO excited he wore it home in the car. I was driving next to Darth Vader.

(I'll stop here so you can picture it)

This was bad enough, but then we stopped at Sonic.

With Darth Vader in the car.

The Car Hop didn't even react. Yep, this is my life.


The next year we ordered masks. Morgan is taller than me so he got to be Chewbacca and I was Yoda. We were a hit of the school Halloween carnival.


Last year I'd just had knee surgery. I was walking around with a cane. Halloween was my first day back at school so I went with a seasonal t-shirt. The Irishman had me going around town with him looking for a costume - cane and all. He wanted to be Superman, but was too cheap to pay for it couldn't find a costume he liked.

Here was the homemade version using the top from the PJs I'd given him the Christmas before:


So, now the debate has started. The Irishman is not sure what to do.


Indiana Jones using the whip that plays sounds from the movie complete with leather jacket, khakis and everything...



Santa Claus using the authentic 5 Euro costume we picked up on clearance at Tesco last year.

The Irishman requests your help! Please vote!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lord, Won't You Buy Him a Mercedes Benz

The Irishman called me from work this afternoon. I'd left school before 5:00 (for once) to meet the bug guy at home to treat our ant issues. I'd been hoping Morg would get a ride home, but it seemed something had come up.

His boss got sick and was dizzy and not in good shape to drive home. The Irishman is always looking out for people and called to ask me to drive to his place of employment so that I could drive his boss's car to her house and he could follow me in our car.

I completely followed his line of thinking.

His co-workers (and his boss) were having none of it. They know that we live very close to his boss and I would be making an extra trip.

They insisted that Morgan drive his boss home in her car.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that she drive a Mercedes Benz.

A NEW Mercedes Benz.

Morgan started to protest and then decided that he (a) wasn't going to win this battle and (b) should probably sound a little more confident before he starts to drive his boss home.

Now he had to drive past our house to her condo on the water (in the Mercedes Benz) so I waited a while at home before I left.

I got to his boss's place with time to call my mom to tell her Morgan was running late and driving a Mercedes Benz.

Then I had time to call Lyndsay (which is never a short conversation) before Morgan drove past with his boss in the car.

The Irishman looked more than a little nervous driving the Mercedes Benz. He drove right past my car without seeing me. He was gripping the steering wheel quite tight. He called back to the office to let them know he made it okay.

So what does the Mercedes-driving Irishman have to say for himself?

After calling everyone he knows to say how great the car was to drive, he spent the evening singing. Loudly.

(My mom could hear him in the background when she called before)

Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz...

I think he needs to learn the rest of the words!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cleaning Songs, Part 2

Okay, so here is the second part of the playlist

Song #11

Beach Boys - Dance, Dance, Dance

Song #12

Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer

Song #13

Little Texas - God Bless Texas

Song #14

Put 'em under pressure! (It's an Irish thing...)

Song #15

LYNYRD SKYNYRD - Sweet Home Alabama

Song #16

Paul Simon - You can call me Al

Song #17

Brobdingnagian Bards - The Unicorn Song

Song #18
I am embarrased to admit was a bit of a joke between my husband and me. I will not post the link. (Partly because you can't...and partly because I won't!)
Michael Jackson - Thriller

Song #19

Sheryl Crow - Everyday Is A Winding Road

Song #20

Nelly and Tim McGraw - Over and Over Again

So there you have it! I rarely make it to the second half of the playlist. (That takes a lot of cleaning!)

To borrow a line from Michelle, What are some of your favorites?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cleaning Songs, Part 1

My friend Michelle posted a blog about some of the songs she loves. At the end she asked the questions, "What are some of your favorites?" I started to comment but realized I had too many to share!

So, I have copied her idea. I am sharing with you today the first 10 songs from my "Cleaning Songs" playlist on my iPod. They are a bit random, but put these songs on and try NOT to dance around the house cleaning.

Song #1:

We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel

Song #2

The Joker by Steve Miller Band

Song #3

Jack and Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp

Song #4

Crocodile Rock by Elton John

Song #5

I Get Around by The Beach Boys

Song #6

Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Song #7

I'll Be There for You by the Rembrants

Song #8

If I Had $1,000,000 by Barenaked Ladies

Song #9

Miami by Will Smith

Song #10

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flats

Friday, October 3, 2008

Use the Force

I have been banished. Morgan has been counting down the days.

He must not have been the only one. The Cartoon Network counted down the seconds until it started.

Pumpkins 2006

I got out of seeing the movie...but the Clone Wars are here! I think I'll leave him to it!


May the force be with you, sweetie.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

I saw the topic this morning and had to take part. I've been reading Shannon's Works For Me Wednesday posts for a while now and decided this was my day.

I have been reading Organic Housekeeping In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity By Ellen Sandbeck. I found it at the local public library and am in love with it. It is the first book on my list for the Fall Into Reading Challenge. I am torn as I read the book. I cannot decide if I want to keep reading or try out the things she suggests!

In the first chapter, she suggests using cardboard boxes to create your own drawer organizers. I scoffed at first. I thought it seemed silly. Then I tried it.

It works for me!

You can see the boxes from the side view.

This WAS that drawer of random kitchen tools. You know the one that you are afraid will cause you to lose a finger as you dig around for one of those tools you do not use as often as others? Yep, THAT drawer.

I am sold!