Monday, February 23, 2009

School House Rock

So, how many of you either grew up with or your kids grew up with School House Rock? I loved those little 2 or 3 minute teaching moments between Saturday morning cartoons. That was how, as an adult, I finally understood how a bill became a law. That little cartoon explained the whole process much better than my 9th grade Civics teacher (no, that is not a Honda). Do they even teach Civics any more? And who could forget Conjunction Function?! Anyway, the highlight of my week was receiving the 30th anniversary collection in the mail today. I'm really looking forward to watching these and then picking some out to share with my students. It doesn't take much to make me gadgets, educational stuff, Hugh Jackman.

P.S. I wanted to load an image on the page, but when I click on the add image on the top bar nothing happens. If any of you "geeky" type readers (and I definitely mean that in a good way) know how to fix this....HELP! Thank you all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stroganoff and Love

Valentine's Day was lovely except for one camera died. I am so unhappy about that. I was really looking forward to posting pictures of hubby's and my afternoon with Paul and my stroganoff. Instead, as I often tell my students that I tutor in writing, I will have to paint pictures in words. Besides, you all know what stroganoff looks like, right?

So, first, Paul. He arrived with his movie, "Madagascar 2," and his baby, Michael, diaper bag, and play yard. Here's the story. Paul has 3 older brothers, 2 of whom are married with children. As these siblings have married and produced babies, he began to feel as though he was being denied something. The summer that my oldest daughter was married it all came to a head. Paul was so enraptured with the whole wedding thing that he began to plan his own. He made lists of items he would need, who would be invited, even where the ceremony would be held...on his parents backporch/deck. The one hitch in the bride. That didn't seem to bother him in the least. He just wanted a wedding. And after that he wanted a baby to take care of. My sis was beside herself
trying to figure out how to quash all of this. She finally decided to try doing the baby thing first to see if that would help quell his desire for a wedding. So she bought him a boy babydoll that is very lifelike. And, thus, Michael is born. He is the eternal newborn, and goes almost everywhere with Paul. He doesn't talk wedding plans any longer. But I guess there is going to be a baby shower in June. Hope my sis knows this.

Since Michael was with us yesterday, we had to put the Wiggles dvd that I have for my grandbaby on until Uncle Phil was done at the computer and could watch "Madagascar" with Paul. It was so adorable to see Paul stretched out on the loveseat with Michael on his lap facing the TV. Both were very content and relaxed watching the Wiggles perform their musical magic. (Personally, those guys creep me out.)

Later during dinner Paul kept telling me what a good cook I was. Must have been true. He had two pretty healthy servings of the stroganoff. Unfortunately, he didn't get to spend as much time with us as we would have liked. He had to take his dessert with him. But my sis was sure appreciative of being able to have some grownup time, and I'm glad I could do it for her. Hopefully, things have settled down for awhile so that Paul can spend some more time with us.

Now, on to the stroganoff. This is one of hubby's favorite dishes, which made it a wonderful choice for Valentine's. I don't like to skimp on the ingredients with this recipe. I want the meat as tender and the sauce as flavorful as possible. And I have a particular brand of noodles that I use that I can only find, so far, at Walmart. It's called Country Pasta and you can find out more about these noodles here.

Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2-2 lbs. beef sirloin sliced thin
2 medium onion sliced thin
2 TBS. oil
1 TBS. butter
3 cloves garlic minced
8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 TBS. flour
a little broth to mix flour with
2 TBS. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
wide noodles cooked according directions

Season the sliced beef with salt and pepper. Lay out 1/2 the sliced onion on a plate. Lay the sliced beef on the onions and cover with the other half of the onions and let rest for an hour. Go ahead and get the sour cream out and let it warm to room temperature. After the rest period, remove the meat from the onions, and quickly cook the meat in a large saute pan in the oil and butter. Remove the meat to a bowl and put the onion in the pan and cook until pretty well caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add back the meat and mix together thoroughly. Then add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the broth. Let heat through. Mix the flour with a little extra broth or water until smooth. Make sure the liquid is boiling in the pan, push aside the meat and veggies and mix in the flour mix in gradually, stirring to keep it smooth. Heat until thickened. Stir in the Dijon mustard. Right before serving stir in the sour cream. Serve over the noodles. This stuff is to die for all. Just ask Paul.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day

I hope this finds all of you with a loved one of your choice today. I am actually going to be with 2 of my most loved people. Hubby, of course, and my nephew, Paul. Paul is a very special member of our family. My big-hearted sister and her husband adopted him almost 23 years ago. And what makes it so special is that he had Down's syndrome. He is actually the most fun member of my extended family to be around. This kid has the most developed sense of humor I have ever run across. He is so quick with the comebacks it keeps us all on our toes. And Paul and my husband have quite the mutual admiration society going. It's really a riot to watch! They are both constantly baiting each other.

After the day is finished today I will post pics. And for a special Valentine dinnerI am making beef stoganoff with roasted asparagus. Recipe to come.

We are having Paul today because my poor sis never gets to go to a truly grown-up movie. Bless her heart, she takes him everywhere. And her hubby doesn't really care to go to the movies. So she wanted to take our mom to the movies and dinner, but they were going to have to go see "Hotel for Dogs," even though they have both been dying to see "Slumdog Millionaire." When she told me that, I, having the huge generous heart that I have (not!), said Paul needed to come and visit with hubby and me. So, EVERYONE was down with that. Now for Valentines, hubby and I get to watch "Madagascar 2" and
what ever other movie he drags over here. That's OK, though, because I never get to see the kid movies. And he likes to cook and work, so I'll have some free labor for the afternoon. Woo Hoo! I really am looking forward to some time with Paul. With all the stuff that has been going on for the past year, he hasn't been down here with us much. He brings it up every time I talk to him. So it's a win/win for everyone.

On the update front...we had a meeting with hubby's oncologist yesterday. In a few weeks, he will begin a trial chemotherapy that will take about 6 months. Luckily, it's
not one of those with absolutely horrendous side-effects. But, you know what his burning question to the doc was..."Will I lose my hair?" Not worried about if he will have debilitating nausea or fatigue or pain. No, not him. It's all about the looks. He was happy to hear that with this particular drug, that wasn't one of the side effects. Sigh....He did come through his surgery well and will be back at work next week And the fight for health continues.

Happy Valentine's Day to All.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back Home

It's been a crazy couple of weeks again. Just to give you all some background, hubby was diagnosed with malignant melanoma last September. This is an internal type, not on the skin. They have never been able to find the primary source of the melanoma. After a surgery to remove a tumor in his lung (which was aborted), 2 different rounds of a biotherapy treatment that didn't appear to be rendering any results, they also discovered a tumor in his small intestine that had been causing a bit of pain. This past Monday the tumor was removed as well as his gall bladder, and the doc did a lot of looking around to make sure there wasn't anything missed. For the first time we had some good news...nothing else was found. We meet with the oncologist this Friday to see what is next. They did take the tumor to harvest cancer cells to make a vaccine as part of a trial, but we don't know if he is supposed to get that vaccine. We should have some answers this week. It was just nice for a change to get some good news (no other tumors).

Hubby has an amazing attitude. He is bound and determined that he will beat this. It is quite humbling to watch this, and to see how many people love and admire this man. We have so appreciated everyone's love, prayers and support through all of this.

We do have some fun planned for the end of next month. I have a client who has an amazing vacation home in central Oregon, and she has graciously insisted that our family take advantage of it. So we are headed there for a weekend of relaxation and recouping. We are so looking forward to this. The kids and grandbaby are joining us, so I know it will be absolutely wonderful.

Random stuff.
New pics of the newest love of my life.

This one cracks me up.

Also, this week on the Today Show I saw this story that brought me tears...which actually isn't all that hard to do. This is the video.(I haven't figured out how to post videos on here yet.) It is the sweetest story. I have a Down's Syndrome nephew so it really hit home. There are great lessons to be learned from this story. We can all take something away from Patrick and his high school!