Archive for November, 2009

Mint Museum

November 29th, 2009 2 comments

Em’s class went on a field trip to the Mint Museum of Fine Art the other day. Her homework assignment that night was to write about it.

Here was her first take.

“In the Mint Museum we watched people set things up and saw so much things I don’t remember what they were. We were in the classroom and put pictures together and saw more pictures and that’s all I remember. Then we went back to school. We put things together in the places related to religion. We got to try on clothes I don’t remember what it’s called. We weren’t able to lean on things in the museum. That is pretty much all I remember.”

Oy. She decided in advance that she needed to write six sentences, so there was definitely a bit of stretching there. I read this, and I told her that I thought she could do better. She said she didn’t remember anything, so we went through it.

Me: Sometimes when I need to remember something I’ve done, I close my eyes and imagine I’m doing it again. So let’s try that now. We’re walking in the door. What do we see?
Em: Um… I don’t know.
Me: Is there a person there?
Em: Yes. There’s a guide.
Me: What is she saying?
Em: She says the rules of the museum.

We talked about that, then I asked what was next. So we went on and looked at the dolls, and some art, then went into a classroom inside the Mint and did some things, etc. I haven’t been to the Mint in quite some time, so I couldn’t really lead her toward specific things, but that’s just as well. It’s not my paper, it’s hers. She required very little in the way of prompting questions once she got started.

Me: Wow, it sounds like you do remember!
Em: Yeah, I guess so!

She went to write her paper. The other bit of advice I gave her at this point was to think about her “wh” words. If she gets stumped, think about who was there, what she saw, where it was, how it made her feel, etc.

Thus armed, she gave it another shot.

“At the Mint Museum, we saw the tour guide, and she let us see Queen Charlotte and King George. We went to the classroom and put North Carolina pictures together like a puzzle. We saw some dolls in a family with real hair. We saw a picture of a statue dressed up. She had a baby. We put small boxes of things with their labels, then we went back to school.”

Better! It’s still exactly six sentences. She certainly told me more about what she saw while we were talking, so I don’t know if she didn’t want to write more, or if in her mind she felt it had to be exactly six sentences, period. Regardless, there’s no more “I don’t remember” and there’s certainly more detail. And, importantly for Em, she didn’t have a panic attack because she’d done it “wrong” the first time, as she has done in the past. She really held it together and listened and worked. That’s big progress. And may I also note how well she’s staying on the lines? Occupational therapy for the win!

Em has her first major projects coming up. One is a long paper (several pages at least) on a biome. She’s chosen the taiga. The other is also a project about a biome, and again she’s chosen the taiga. Might as well go with what you know. Interestingly, I also chose the taiga when I was her age working on biomes, as I knew everybody else would be choosing the rainforest and I wanted to do something different. She’s mentioned the rainforest several times so I have a feeling that’s what she did too.

After seeing how she was able to stay calm and rework her paper, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get through the project without incident. She’s showing more maturity every day.

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November 27th, 2009 3 comments

For the last few years our local store has had ever larger displays of pomegranate fruit. I’ve enjoyed pomegranate juice before, but had no idea how to go about eating one fresh.

I’m all about experimentation and discovery, and I’m always telling Emily that it can be fun to try new things. It’s good for her to see me practice what I preach.

Maybe this is one of those things that I’m behind the curve on, but I had to go to Dr. Internet to figure out how to do this. Em and I read the instructions and watched the video here, then gave it a shot. Pretty easy! I didn’t have a problem removing the fruit from the rind, but I hear that if that’s an issue, you can put the seeds into a bowl of water. The bitter pith will float and the seeds will sink, making it easy to separate.

One thing I think about often as I shop for produce is how thankful I am for refrigeration, highways, and internal combustion engines. Clearly the auto is a mixed blessing with the pollution produced, but imagine how much poorer our diets would be without modern technology. This year, I am grateful that I can easily obtain all of the ingredients in my nutritious Thanksgiving meal, very few of which I would be able to procure without these modern marvels.

For the record, Em and I agreed. The pomegranate was quite tasty.

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Pumpkin apple bread

November 26th, 2009 No comments

pumpkin apple bread
My husband’s famous pumpkin apple bread, traditional for Thanksgiving. The recipe is from a 1993 Gourmet magazine. I’m a stickler for copyright so I wasn’t going to reprint it… but Gourmet just went out of business and someone else posted it so I say “have at it.”

Dad, we made two loaves. I’ll be by later. 🙂

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Bohemian Rhapsody

November 24th, 2009 3 comments

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OJ of doom.

November 20th, 2009 No comments

Em came home from school today sniffling, saying, “I feel different.” She was running a small fever. She settled in on the couch and I poured her a cup of orange juice. Then I went off to go through her backpack to be sure there were no notes from the teacher. Afterward, I went back into the kitchen, picked up a cup, poured myself some water, took a sip, and froze. The water tasted like orange juice. My sweet daughter, who always wants to be good, had taken her cup into the kitchen and put it on the counter to be washed, as was proper. And then I drank from it.

Actually, I hadn’t swallowed, so I spat it back out and rinsed my mouth with Listerine. We’ll see whether or not I get sick. If I do, I have only myself to blame.

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It’s the Great Pumpkin Shortage, Charlie Brown.

November 20th, 2009 No comments

If you’re planning on making pumpkin pie this year, you may want to shop sooner rather than later.

Wet conditions have damaged the last several years’ pumpkin harvests, particularly in those areas that Nestle subsidiary Libby’s draws from. There may be a shortage of canned pumpkin this season. At Harris Teeter this morning, there was a “limit two per customer” sign on the Libby’s, although the organic pumpkin was still plentiful.

Just a heads-up for the bakers among us.

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November 19th, 2009 1 comment

I love it when the leaves fall and you can see all the homes that were hidden all summer.

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Perchance to dream.

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

When my husband and I married, we got a lovely wedding gift from his parents. It was a bedspread set, certainly nicer than anything we’d get for ourselves. It was double sided, with a lighter color print on the reverse. As grateful as we were to have it, I must confess that when it finally started to develop a few holes, I wasn’t heartbroken. It was a kind gift that we’ve enjoyed, but we were married 15 years ago. Fifteen years of daily use had left it a bit faded and worn.

We got new curtains for the bedroom earlier this year, so a new bedspread was a logical next step. Since we had kept the last one for 15 years, we knew we wouldn’t be changing the new one out anytime soon. It made sense to spend a little more if it meant we’d be getting a good quality product that would last longer. And so, voila! Duvet! The cover came from Target, but the goose-feather insert came from Crate and Barrel. It was reasonably priced for the quality, and was made in the USA, which we appreciated. Having a separate cover and insert means that it will be easier to clean and easier to change out just the cover when it wears through.

Having slept under our old bedspread for 15 years, it took a few nights to get used to the new one. The new bedspread is thicker and cushier. Lying under it is like being smothered by a marshmallow peep. It’s also louder. The duvet cover rustles more than the old bedspread did, so I feel like I can’t turn in later than my husband or I’ll wake him up just by brushing past the bed to get to my side. Hopefully a couple of launderings of the cover will help that problem. It’s also a good deal warmer. The first few nights I found the cover creeping to my husband’s side so I could throw a leg out from under the covers. That could be good if it lets us turn the thermostat down another degree in the winter.

After a few nights, though, I started to adjust. I’m learning how to move so I don’t feel like I’m trapped. It’s kind of comforting, being underneath it, but then, I suppose that’s where “comforter” comes from.

Above all that, it’s nice to have something in there that we chose ourselves which reflects our current tastes. It’s revitalizing. Odd for a new down-filled duvet to give one energy, but that’s what change can do.

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Either that or the croup.

November 13th, 2009 No comments

Em was roughhousing with her dad and bumped her knee a little.

Em: Ouch!
Dad: Did you hurt your knee?
Em: Yes! I think I got the H1N1!


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Put on your thinking caps!

November 13th, 2009 2 comments

It’s another quiz from Em.

What’s my secret friend’s name?

1. It doesn’t begin with a vowel.
2. It doesn’t start with J.
3. It doesn’t have 4 letters.
4. It doesn’t have “ie” at the end.

You’ll have to turn your monitor upside down to confirm your answer.

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