Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before and After Salsa

I had an abundance of tomatoes this year and I didn't need to can any stewed tomatoes, so I decided to make some delicious salsa.
  • First I dipped the tomatoes in hot water to get the skins loose and removed all the skins.
  • Then I cut up all the veggies: I added onions, red peppers, green peppers and hot peppers.
  • The onions get me every single time. After the tears were wiped away, I dumped everything into the big pot and added some pepper.
  • The salsa simmered for a few hours and the whole house smelled incredible!
  • When the salsa was ready, I processed the jars on my barbecue grill stove because my house stove can't handle such a large canner.
I totally forgot to take an after picture of all the pretty jars of salsa and now that they are stored down in the basement, I don't think I'll bring them back up for a photo. Rest assured, when it's cold and windy and snowing out this winter, I'll be pulling out a jar of this heat and loving every single bite.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Don't Watch Movies

My latest assignment for class was to watch a movie. I honestly admitted I don't watch movies. I rarely watch TV. I actually watch one show a week: Modern Family. I used to watch Lost and if you followed that show, you know it's over. Too bad. I haven't rented a movie for 5 whole years! When we first moved into our house, we didn't have any hookup to cable so we rented movies and found we were so busy outside, we didn't watch them so we stopped renting and haven't looked back since.
I'd rather be outside than watching TV. My favorite pastime outside right nowis jogging on a quiet dirt road across the street from me. I only have to hook my dogs on a leash for about 500 yards, then they are free to run the whole time. This road actually saved me. I haven't been able to jog for more than 2 miles in the last year due to a knee injury. My doctor told me I could try three things before further treatment: run on the opposite side of the road due to crowned roads, jog on a dirt road or don't jog at all. I tried running on the other side of the road, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I drove 7 miles down the road to get to a dirt road and found that with my 45 minute commute, that wasn't going to work. So, I biked. A lot. Then last winter, a logging company came in and created this awesome dirt road. We spent many sleepless nights while they worked all night long cutting trees across the road. Little did we know at the time the sleepless nights would give us a new road to enjoy. We got permission from the owners and now we can jog with the dogs, snowshoe and four-wheel for miles. I'm still biking, but right now I'm enjoying coming home from work and taking these dogs for a walk down the dirt road.
I'm already looking forward to my jog tomorrow, hopefully it's not raining!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orbis Pictus Discussion Group

Tonight was my first discussion group meeting to help choose the BEST nonfiction title for 2011 for the Orbis Pictus Award. This award "promotes and recognizes excellence in nonfiction writing." Jan Kristo invited me and 8 others to be in this great discussion group and tonight we were able to browse through the many contenders and choose some to take back and "test-drive" with our students! One favorite that I think my students will love is Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrations by Bryan Collier. This story is about Dave, a 19th century slave who was a skilled potter and poet. He often carved poems into his pottery before it had dried, along with the date and his name. The back matter has a lot to offer as well. Not only do we learn he had lost a leg during his life and relied on another slave to push the pottery pedal, the author also admits there is no recorded history as to how he learned to write at a time when education of slaves was prohibited. The watercolor collage illustrations tell a story and really focus on Dave's hands. Go find this book and read it to your class-it just might be the Orbis Pictus Award winner!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Funny Things My Students Say and Do

Today we were heading down the long hall to get on the bus. A first grade class nearby was traveling first, so I stopped my class to let them all pass. That class had a substitute on this rainy day. They were not walking in their typical straight line and they were not quiet! Many sounded like they were on the playground and some were bouncing all over the place. As we watched the line, one of my second grade boys patted me on the back and waved his other hand out to present this group to me and said, "Ms. O., and meet your second grade students for next year." I looked at him and smiled and said, "Why thank you for getting me so excited for next year on our 9th day of school." His reply: "Don't worry, they won't all be yours. Some will go to Mrs. White and quite a few of them will probably stay back!" What a perceptive little boy! I love this kid. He makes my day-every day. It's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why I Haven't Written on My Blog (Or anyone else's for that matter!)

So my 3 sisters and I have been writing a book for a special occasion. This year, my parents have been married for 50 years. You don't see that very often nowadays. Last Sunday, we celebrated their 50 years with an intimate gathering at my daughter's camp on Cold Stream. There were 21 in attendance. If we had our way, we would have invited the world, but we already did that on their 30th and last year they reminded us they didn't want a big party for their 50th. They really meant it. So we planned a family barbecue with only the immediate family. It was actually a very special day. The weather was perfect. The grandchildren enjoyed playing beanbag madness and riding the 4-wheeler up and down the dirt camp road. The dogs all enjoyed a jump off the dock into the water. And the rest of us, our hearts swelled with pride at this great accomplishment. We played "To Tell the Truth" where we learned some little stories about our mom and dad that we never knew-like where they first kissed (neither could agree on this answer!), their first vehicle as a married couple (it was a Jeep, I never saw that one), and their favorite part of being married for 50 years (both agreed it was raising the 4 of us...awwww). Dad said his favorite times were taking us all camping.
The food was fantastic-Brad cooked the Rib-Eyes on an open fire, salads were served and the corn was sweet and yummy. After mom and dad cut the cake, we had an anniversary dance and then we shared the book we had been working on for months! I projected the whole book on a big screen so everyone could see it as mom and dad flipped through the pages. This book will be a family treasure for years to come. I'm glad we all wrote these family stories because the older I get, the fine details start to get fuzzy. I want to remember them forever. Just like the 50th anniversary party. I didn't want it to end.