Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Judging Mom

For the past few weeks I've been recording and watching re-runs of a TV series called Judging Amy.  It aired on CBS from 1999 to 2005.  I don't remember watching more than a few episodes back then.  I'm pretty sure that on the rare occasion that I did watch TV, it was a Disney movie or Teletubbies.  Remember them?

I love this show.  It's about a judge (Amy Brenneman) who is a single mom to a young daughter.  They live with Amy's mom (Tyne Daly) who is a social worker.  Each episode involves some kind of dispute in Amy's courtroom, as well as a situation that Tyne Daly is dealing with.  They both specialize in juvenile issues, which has a lot of appeal for me since I tend to specialize in those, too;)

There are some other extended family members in the series.  It's fascinating and entertaining to watch the interaction between all of them, especially the mother/daughter relationships.  I also love the close relationship Amy has with her younger brother because it reminds me of the one I have with mine. 

I like that no matter what societal ills they may face during the day, they all have one another to come home to.  Not that they always get along, in fact they frequently do not.  But, that they can deal with huge issues and solve them in an hour, usually with common sense (this is television after all), is refreshing.

And that Amy, a judge for heaven's sake, still learns so much about life from her mother, this older and wiser woman that she is so fortunate to have in her life each day.  I envy her a bit.  Especially on the days that I'm struggling with one issue or another and want to wail, "Why can't someone just tell me what to doooo!" 

Amy's lectures to the courtroom are logical and reasonable, delivered with coolness and acumen.  I wish I could do as well explaining things to certain people in my household.  But then, Amy does have a scriptwriter.

There is one tip that I've learned from her that has proven to be useful.  Yesterday, things got a bit heated with certain members of my household. I found myself raising my hand and calmly but firmly advising, "Let's take a five minute recess break, and then reconvene at the kitchen table."  Someone whispered, "She's been watching Judging Amy again."

Just wait.  I'm sure ebay sells gavels. And, maybe black robes?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites

Linking up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for Friday Favorites.

1.  This was the first full week that my kids were in school.  It is the first time in 16 years that I'm not driving someone to school in the morning!  DH leaves at the same time as my daughter, so he drops her at school.  I feel deliciously spoiled, not having to get out of the house first thing in the morning.

2.  Kathy and I had our 'end of the summer pool party' yesterday to celebrate back-to-school.  It's an exclusive event -- she and I are the only ones invited.  And her dad.  Since it's his pool.  He comes for lunch, but the rest of the day it's just the two of us, on our rafts, looking up at the blue sky, talking and sipping iced lattes or drinks of choice.

3.  Seeing The Help on Wednesday morning. Geez, I've been spoiled this week.  I wrote about this in a previous post.  My book club went to an early show -- 10:00 in the morning for just six bucks -- since we had read the book together last spring.

4. This happened last week, but I'm still so tickled about it.  I found a teapot at this Etsy shop that goes with my mother's childhood tea set.  I think it's a pretty good match.  I have been searching for a long time and I'm so delighted.

5.  We continue to have hot, hot days, but the early mornings and evenings are cooler.  Perfect weather for porch sitting and morning coffee.

How was your week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday night

I'm too tired to even form a sentence. In bullet points, here's what's been happening:
  • Luke is settled in at school and loving it.  I miss him, but we text occasionally and he's called twice. Once to ask me to send a form he needed and today to tell me he was awakened by an earthquake last night.  
  • Tomorrow I'm going to see The Help with my book club.  I loved the book and have heard great reviews about the movie!
  • I went for a walk today and saw some critters.

  • It's so hot.  In the mid to high 90s all week long.  Tonight I made scrambled eggs, fried up some leftover potatoes, and we had fresh fruit with it.  The power went out, just before the eggs were done, so DH fired up the grill and finished cooking the eggs.  In a skillet on the grill.  Did I even have to say that?  Yes, I'm tired.
  • I'm recording all the "Judging Amy" reruns and watch an episode (or two) every night.  No commercials.  Woohoo!
  • It seems like I had more to say when I started this post.  Hmmm.  The past week has been crazy, as I'm in cleaning and decluttering mode.  It does make me a bit crazy.
  • I hope you're all having a good week:)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, Monday

Today is back-to-school for the Girl Child.  It's her first day of high school and she is the last and only one of our children still in K-12 school.  This morning was a far cry from the days when I had three kids all excited and scrambling to get out the door.

I celebrated anyway by hanging the flag, a family tradition described in this post. . .

. . .and eating the last few pieces of leftover Sesame Chicken, and the last scoop of Blue Bell Cookies & Cream ice cream for breakfast.  Oh, yes I did.

I took my son shopping for jeans, sneakers and stuff for his dorm, and then we picked up lunch from our favorite sandwich place.  Today was not a good day, nutritionally.

I got my haircut.

I'm making grilled salmon and baked potatoes for dinner.

I'm dreading Thursday when I have to take the Middle Child and leave him all alone at the ends of the earth, at college.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Favorites

School starts next week!  It's hard to believe that this was the last week of summer vacation.  Nothing extraordinary this week, just finding pleasure in the "small things."

1.  The temperatures have dropped ever so slightly and the mornings are wonderfully cool.  This morning there is the slightest breeze, suggesting that summer won't last forever.

2.  The painting in the kitchen is finished! For now, at least.  It's so nice to have everything put back together and it looks so bright and cheerful.

3.  Lunch with Aunt Ann yesterday.  It was spur of the moment, both of us needed a break, so we went to our favorite place, The Egg & I.  I deviated from my usual favorite -- the Chicken Walnut Salad sandwich -- and tried a salad.  It was good, but the sandwich, served on raisin bread, is still my all-time favorite.

4.  Buying school supplies.  Em and her friend went shopping and bought all the same things, just in different colors.  Remember when you had a best friend and loved to have things that "matched"? 

5.  This book.  Oh, it's such a good read.   My Ruby Slippers, The Road Back to Kansas is beautifully written, as Tracy Seeley explores the back roads of Kansas and eastern Colorado in an archaeological dig of sorts, to find the homes and the stories of her childhood.   In her quest, she raises the question for all of us, what exactly is home? 

Linking up with Susanne at Living to the Tell the Story for Friday's Fave Five!  Where I just found out I won a Starbuck's gift card!!  Thank you, Susanne!  Such a treat!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kitchen Reveal

Well, it isn't quite finished, but I'm going to 'reveal' the kitchen makeover anyway. I'm even going to take this blog to a whole new level and show you, step by step, how I painted the cabinets.  Even though there are plenty of other people out there who are far more qualified than I, to show you how to do this.  Just Google "painting kitchen cabinets" and you will have all the info you'll ever want or need.

The only "before" picture I can put my hands on right now, is from before we bought our house.  But it gives you an idea of what the cabinets looked like -- medium colored oak.  They weren't in bad shape, in fact they were in fairly good shape, but just not my style; Dan's style, but I prefer painted cabinets, so how we got here is a whole 'nother story.

So, before:

And after:
The cabinet without a door is going to be left open, I just need to paint the inside.  And the one on the far left will have a door with glass. "We" have big plans for the island, so just ignore that for now.  And as for the lower cabinets that aren't painted, I am leaving them as they are because I like the look of mixed finishes and everything not being all "matchy-matchy" especially in the kitchen. 
Here's the elusive valence:)
 I  started by sanding the doors and cabinets . . .

Then, because oak is such a grainy wood, I used some textured wallpaper that is suitable for painting in the center of each door and on the sides of the cabinets.  The texture looks like bead board.  It gave the doors a much smoother finish than if I had just painted the wood.  The paper was soooo easy to apply.
I caulked around the edges to give it a smooth finish and to reinforce the edges of the paper so it wouldn't come off.
Here are several of the doors. . .
You can see the bead board pattern . . .
It was finally time to paint.  Each door got a coat of primer and two coats of glossy latex. 
 Dan helped me put the crown molding up (as in, he cut all the angles and pieces and held them in place while I used the nail gun to attach them:)  It gives such a nice, finished look.
For fun, I lined the inside of one door with cork board. . .

. . .and painted the outside with chalkboard paint.
I really like the way everything turned out.  I don't care for the blue walls, and will probably be painting them red.  I love red and yellow accents for a kitchen. 

And that's it!  I love my "new" kitchen and how much brighter it is. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Friday Fave Five!

This is Susanne's 150th edition of Friday Fave Five. Wow!  It always amazes me how quickly time flies when you're blogging.  I never would have thought, four years ago, that I would keep my blog going all this time.  But I love it, and have loved getting to know so many other bloggers.  Susanne (my long lost twin) has become one of my favorites:) and I dedicate this edition of FFF to her.

1.  On Wednesday, my brother was in town (unexpectedly) and treated Luke, Emily and I to lunch at Red Robin (kids' choice) Such a nice surprise.

2.  After driving for a 100 miles and looking at every store that carries curtains (I'm exaggerating, but not by much), I found a new valance for the kitchen.  I will post a photo when I do the kitchen reveal as soon as the cabinets are finished.  Which will be soon!

3.  Luke got his cast off and is now wearing a lightweight splint.  He's a happy camper.  Thank you to everyone who has been asking for him.  He's doing great!

4.  My husband.  I should have listed him at #1.  He should be #1 through 5.  I married a gem of a man.  I love him for many,  many reasons, but this week I'm reminded of how much he does for us and how many times he puts his own projects aside (which are usually projects he's doing for me) to help me with mine.  Like spending an evening cutting crown molding for the kitchen cabinets because I decided that I wanted to paint the cabinets and wouldn't they look nice with crown molding on the top?

5. New movies!  There are several that I want to see -- why is it so often feast or famine when it comes to good movies? -- but I'm especially excited to see The Help which comes out on Wednesday.  Loved the book!

How was your week?  If you're so inclined, head on over to Susanne's and join in the 150th edition of Friday's Fave Five!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Soup du jour

Joe made up a huge pot of delicious Chicken and Corn Chowder last week, and we feasted on it for days!  With some good rolls and a glass of wine, it was the perfect supper.  (If you're looking for something low calorie. . . this would not be it.)  Here's the recipe.
6 slices bacon, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 large potatoes, diced
4 cups frozen corn kernels
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves - cut into cubes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups half-and-half
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan, and set aside. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.  Saute the onions in the bacon fat. Add broth and the potato to the pot. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn, chicken, and thyme. Cover. Simmer until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir half and half into soup, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with the bacon and scallions.  Serve.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Whatever happened to August being the crowning, lazy month of summer, trying to squeeze in all the pool time that you can and taking a vacation?  It seems that August has become cheated over the years, with the start of school in our area inching up just a bit more each year.  In two short weeks, right smack dab in the middle of what should be a month-long culmination of a long summer holiday, is the kids first day of school.  This year, Em starts on the 15th and Luke leaves on the 18th.

Instead of spending the next couple weeks lolling about in summer stuff, we have business to tend to.  There's shopping for a few new items for school clothes and buying school supplies.  Shopping for dorm stuff. Packing for college.  Fall softball practice begins next week. Shopping for new cleats, downloading registration forms and making sure health forms are in order.  A doctor's appointment this week to remove Luke's splint.  Dan's travel is picking up again, so fewer nights of sharing G&T's on the back porch. 

If the temperatures weren't still in the high 90s, I would swear it's almost September.  But the hot days and warm nights tell me that August still lies ahead.  We'll keep cooking suppers on the barbeque, adding some new recipes to change things up, enjoy lots more baseball as the Rockies struggle along, take advantage of the local farmer's market as well as take in the sights at the county fair this week.  And in just two weeks, I guess we'll have to throw in six or seven hours of school a day as well.

How about in your  neck of the woods?  When does school start?