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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reckless Recreation: Chickens

Have you ever watched chickens and tried to decide what they were thinking?   Actually, with brains about the size of a pea maybe it would be better to ask have you ever wondered what they would say if they could talk? 
"Oh, were you talking to me?  I wasn't sure."
"Aha!  I found one of my marbles. I knew they were out here somewhere!"
"Why yes I have considered the effect on the real estate market if we decrease the interest rate."
"Oh my, would you take a look at thatI am where it. is. at.  I love how I look.  I always knew I was handsome but just look at me!  Hello world!  Bring on the ladies!"
Ok honestly all I can think of for this one is "Dum de dum" in a kind of stupid sounding voice  So how about a contest?  Submit your caption for this picture.  Monday I will create a poll and everyone can vote on their favorite caption and Thursday the 5th of April I will announce the winner.  The winner will receive an 8x10 print of any photo in my picasa web album.
Good luck!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

W.F.D.T.R.: Potatoes Au Gratin

So much for staying on track.  Yesterday got away from me.  
So Parenting Practices from yesterday: 
Oh forget it.  I may as well just forge ahead otherwise I won't have time for the recipe.
Slice 6 medium potatoes and layer in pan.  Time saving tip: I sue my kitchen aid attachment to slice the taters.  You can also use the slicer on the side of the cheese grater.  I got started late for dinner and this is supposed to cook for an hour but if you layer the potatoes in a bowl with a spry of pan between layers then cover and microwave for maybe 5 minutes you can save a bunch of time.
Classic roux:1/2 cup diced onion sauteed in 1/4 cup butter, add 1 T flour, 1 t salt, 1/4 t pepper, slowly add 2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Pour sauce over potatoes and bake uncovered 1 hour  (or less if you precooked the potatoes)
Top potatoes with 1/2 cup shredded cheese then 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs and a dash of paprika and bake another 15-20 minutes until top is brown and bubbly.  I got distracted and over cooked this a bit but it was still YUMMY!
And that's what's for dinner tonight!

Monday, March 26, 2012


In other words a jam packed post to make up for last weeks absence due to the fact that each and every one of us had the stomach flu. Now we are all better and I hope to get back on track.

L.S.N.E.D.:Mid terms are over and I made it through unscathed.  I am very grateful to C.C.V. for making it possible for me to continue my degree (that is my disclaimer that allows me to say something mean now).  They have messed things up so many times.  When I was getting my application in they made me go to their office 4 times and each time there was some problem on their end that made it so I couldn't register.  I seriously considered asking them to reimburse me for gas and childcare.  Last week I discovered that several of my classes hadn't carried over and that there were three credits I need to take to they had failed to mention.  I am so glad I found it now and not when VTC rejected me from the nursing program.

Parenting Practices:  Hold your kids hair back and rub their back while they are puking.  It is a simple gesture that makes them feel loved in the middle of a really rotten experience.

W.F.D.T.R:  I took pictures and everything for a recipe post and I think I will skip it here and post it this Wednesday.

Reckless Recreation:  Birds in flight = really cool photos.
Family Friday:
Noah has discovered the chickens.  They are a source of endless fascination.  He calls them bock bocks.
Freak weather patterns brought unseasonably warm temperatures, and by unseasonably I mean we struggle to see temps like this is the summer let alone March.  The snow melted fast and ahhh lined dry laundry.  I LOVE that smell.
Of course those conditions mean mud, messes and mopping.
I have no idea what Ben is looking at but I thought he looked cute.
This picture makes me laugh because every time I saw it I thought, "oh man this one is blurry" then I see that the focal point is on Ben who is being wacko.
Our yard floods each spring so Aaron took on a huge project involving digging a 90 foot trench and laying a drainage pipe to drain the flood waters.
Brothers in the dirt

Aaron ran into some trouble when he found an old foundation where he was planning to put the pipe.  He dug another trench to avoid it and then found another cement wall.  It has us really curious about what used to be there.  We are hoping to pick the brain of our neighbor.
I don't know why I really like this picture of Jacob's hand in the dirt and water, but I do.

Everyone has felt so free with this weather and the reemergence of bikes.
Sophie asked why I don't take pictures of her anymore.  I told her I did and she responded that I must do it when she isn't looking.  I proceeded to take a bunch of pictures of her and she gets all self-conscious and makes funny faces-hence the lack of Sophie photos.
And then there is Ben who is never self conscious but still I get a bunch of kooky pictures of him
You may remember Noah's freezer escapades.  This week it was sausage patties.
He was kind enough to offer to share though
Loki and Diogi are growing and have been introduced to the pen.
Bust a Move Saturday:  Things are going well in my trek to Maine.  I have walked/run/biked 8 miles which means I have almost left the town of Craftsbury.  I expect for my mileage to pick up now.

Deep Thoughts:I think I am too tired to think any deep thoughts right now.
And that was last week at the Cornelius Cottage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Parenting Practices:Mood Meter and Chore Score

A few weeks ago I was trying to figure out a way to help the kids be engaged, helpful and pleasant in the home.  They kept telling me I hadn't paid them allowance but I didn't have a concrete way to track whether or not they had earned it.  
I woke up in the middle of the night with these words in my head, "Mood Meter and Chore Score."  Divine intervention saved the day.  Here is how it works:
Every time I ask the kids to do a job and they do it to completion without a lot of reminders they get a chore score.  Also if I see them playing nicely or helping a sibling they get a chore score.

The mood meter is for keeping track of basically anything that makes me cranky.  Fighting, lollygagging, disobedience, whining, bickering, being a Contrary Mary or Larry, refusal to do a job, being rowdy in the car...there are lots of things that make me cranky.  While the kids can get a chore score without knowing it, I always tell them when they are getting a mood meter.  

At the end of the week as long as they have more chore scores than mood meters they get their allowance.  So far they end up with between 30 and 37 chore scores and about 10-15 mood meters.  So far Jacob has the most of both.  He is passionate so he gets more mood meters for outbreaks, but he is also home more often than the other kids and is VERY helpful so he gets the most chore scores.

The result of this program is that when the kids are being good I recognize it and that makes me happy.  When they are making bad choices I now longer get all tense trying to figure out a consequence that is appropriate and effective.  All anger and frustration (ok most of it) is gone, I just simply state, "Mood Meter."

The kids have been more pleasant, helpful and happy because they are getting a regular allowance.  They are learning that they don't have to like things but they do have to be polite.  They are learning the value of money.  They are learning that we are a team and if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bust A Move Saturday: Pas de Chat

Have you ever seen this poster?
This week in ballet we worked on the step, Pas de Chat.  Think of a cat delicately and lightly leaping. 
I thought I looked like this:
Photo courtesy of
What I really looked like was this.
Stupid ballet mirrors...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Family Friday

I have to memorialize my children's building feats.
We had a great date night with friends
Except that Aaron is a poop
Aaron got a cool new hat
We felt that it required a picture with a gun
He's going to be a surly old cur.  "Get off my property or I'll shoot!"
Because Aaron got a cool new hat I had to get a cool new hat too.  Aaron and I are really good at being on a spending freeze...
Sweet brothers
Mmmmmm me like popcorn nom, nom, nom

Noah has decided to be a 2 year old.  We have had lots of NO! and throwing of self onto the floor.
Sophie has her own camera now which naturally means that she must take copious amounts of weird photos of herself, siblings and friends and post them for the whole world to see.
That's the news from Craftsbury Cottage.  I guess I missed pictures of Ben this week.  I'll have to make sure I get him next week.