Sunday, September 29, 2013


Friday we left for Americus, GA late afternoon. There aren't any of the chain type hotels in Plains. We usually stay at one of the Choice hotels (Rodeway, Choice, Econo etc) to build up points toward free rooms. It was pretty uneventful. We stopped at Checkers on the way. We don't have one here.

We had a few issues with one child in the hotel room at night, but other than that, it went smoothly. We got up early and drove the last few miles to Plains. We arrived early enough to look around and take some photos before the race.

The one-mile race was first, then the 5K.
Kaleb came in at 29:50

I did not realize Kayla was right behind Kaleb. I expected her about 34:00 so I went to the table to fill out Kaleb's card. I happened to glance back and there she was! She came in at 30:33!! 

And then Jessica came in right after that! 31:23. So three came in almost together.

Jazzy took a little longer. She doesn't enjoy running as much but doesn't want to be left out either. She got hit in the knee with a band chair three weeks ago and has been off of the leg since. So she did pretty well considering. She was in at 39:32.

Jasmine didn't place. She in the age group where she's running against the middle school cross country kids at these races. 

Kayla was the only girl in the 10 and under group. I saw a lot of girls come in in the lower 20's, but they all turned out to be 11 &12. Kayla did a good job, and I think she would have held her own against runners her own age.

Former President Carter turns 89 on Tuesday. I'm glad he's still in good health and able to do this.

Second place in age group

It was a good day and I'd love to say the whole thing went smoothly, but since this a blog about being real, I can't say that. In fact, in addition to stealing of treats and lying, we had two incidents of darting away from me and running into the street coming very close to being hit first by a car and then a few minutes later by a semi truck. Then he darted back across to me right in front of another car! The only thing that saved him is that they'd all slowed down due to all the activity going on. He ran off full speed into crowds twice.

Sometimes when things like this happen, the parent gets ugly looks. Thank goodness that wasn't true today. Everyone saw him pull away and disobey several times, so the glares, shaking of heads and clicking of the tongue were for him. Sigh of relief. (You adoptive parents, especially with children of other races, know exactly what I mean, right?)

But this resulted in me searching the car for a wrist strap. I haven't used one in probably three years. But there was one. However, he pulled away again. It is only velcro.  We also had dramatic pouting and crying when brought back. It was serious enough that I am rethinking taking everyone to Disney. (I already have the tickets but they aren't initialized so can be used by anyone at any time during the year). I do not want Adam's special weekend marred by one child stealing, running off, endangering himself and me having to spend time correcting him. It did not end when we got home, and he was unable to pull himself together so had to go to bed early.

We made the best of the trip after the incidents, and the girls all say it was a great day and want to go again next year. The weather was great. Everyone had a good run. There was a parade. And they have a building that has tables set up to give away things. You go table to table with a bag and get peanut products--cereal bars, M&M's, several sizes and kinds of snicker bars and even two kinds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches--grilled and regular. Also got peanut shaped photo frames and a hot pad. And it's kind of cool to hang out with a former president (even if it's not the one I voted for) who is a very gracious southern gentleman. He's very soft spoken and doesn't act like he's better than anyone else. I love that he's not full of himself and is just a regular hometown guy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ready for the Weekend!

This has been a pretty routine week. 

 On Sunday we were all really stressed about the science fair thing. All of the different things they have to do is way out of proportion for seventh grade. I was able to find some helpful websites and one showed a guy demonstrating something very similar to what she is doing. Once she saw that, she was a little more encouraged about it. 

Here's the schedule: Project Information Packet Handed Out................Aug. 26, 2013 
 Return Project Signature Slip.................................Aug. 28, 2013 
 Experimental Design Plan......................................Sept. 9, 201 3
 Note Cards..............................................................Sept. 27, 2013  Bibliography...........................................................Sept, 27, 2013 
 Rough Draft Research Information Paper..............Oct. 10, 2013 
 Abstract On Official Form.......................................Oct. 18, 2013 
 Final Project Packet Due........................................Nov. 4, 2013 
 School Science Fair................................................Nov. 20-22, 2013 

 What's required for each step that is overboard. For instance, here is what's required for the log book: 

 Your log book will begin with the “Question” that you are attempting to solve in this experiment.
 Include a date that you developed the question. 
 You log book should contain all the elements of the scientific method sheet as well as thoughts, actions, research, measurements, summaries, conclusions, sources, qualitative data, quantitative date etc. 
 Every time you think about your project you should date the entry and make the notation. 
 ALWAYS enter a date.
 Your background research sources will be noted in your log book. 
 In addition, include all notes of important information from each source that you will use to 
 If you are not sure, write it in the log book anyway. A good scientists notes everything so they can review the process at a later date. 

 There's so much overlap. It sounds like everything they do has to be in the log book even though they are turning it all in separately too.

I'll post more about her project as we get more done. I don't want this whole post to be about the project.

On Monday we went to the library to research. Afterward we went to DQ, and a lady was making things from balloons. Jasmine got this one.

On Tuesday Jasmine went to her drum lesson early so she could talk to the people there about her science project. They basically confirmed that what we are trying to prove with musical pitch and air columns is correct. She has jazz class right after lessons. By time we drive from one to the other, she only has about 5 minutes to change clothes.

Kayla normally has soccer, but I'm sad to say she spiraled down in behavior after having so many weeks of good behavior. It's like it was too much for her, and she had to act out like crazy for a week to make up for it. At least she had those good weeks, so I know she can do it. But she didn't go to soccer because she couldn't pull it together. Today she made an effort to fix some of the things she's been doing. 

Yesterday Jasmine marched at a football game for the first time. This is only middle school, so they didn't do the fancy formations you see in high school. Carrying the 2nd bass is quite a challenge for her!

After she played, we headed over to the dance studio for hip hop.
So, as you can see, it's been a crazy week for Jasmine.

Tyler called Wednesday after we got home from dance. In one of my last posts I'd said there were no openings in welding so he was going to try urban forestry--cutting down trees. He did great at going up 25 feet, but he did not  have the strength required for the job.  He tried brick laying, and that's what he'll be doing. He didn't feel like he did very well at it, and I reminded him that he's there to train. He seems to be doing quite well. He had some of the highest test scores on the testing, and he's getting along well with the others. He just has to deal with being treated like a juvie even though he's never been in any kind of trouble. I doubt I'll get pictures of him.

Adam is in crucible. It started this morning. It's 54 hours of very intense training with very little food and even less sleep. It uses everything they've learned and pushes them to the limit. It does not sound like fun, but it's part of being a marine. Adam has written every week starting about the third week, which has been nice. And of course have written to him every week and sent photos and such. 

Adam is on the count down to graduation. Jessica and Rick will be going. I cannot pull the kids out of school due to two of them having (way!) too low of grades to be eligible for family leave. They might waive it for this with some begging, but with the problems we are already having with a couple of Jasmine's teachers, I don't want to make it worse. But to make up for it, I am taking Adam and the rest o the crew (except Rick who has inspection) to Disney on our long weekend. Then Adam will leave very early on that Monday for the rest of his training.

Jessica is doing cave diving this semester. I'll update more on that and other things later. This post is getting too long.

The four kids still home will run in the Plains Peanut Festival 5K on Saturday. We will leave for Plains tomorrow (Friday) after the kids get home. Otherwise we'd be leaving at 2 a.m. on Saturday to get there in time.

So that's it for the week. It's only Thursday, but it feels like it should be Friday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Cooking?

Now that we are back into a routine, the kids are each cooking one time a month, Jessica more. The thing is, there are less children now. Jeff is at Fort Bliss, TX. Adam is at basic training at Parris Island. And Tyler is at Job Corp in KY. So it's just Jessica and the three youngest. I no longer have to double most things, but it's hard to judge how much we need now? Anyone going through this? Adding or losing children and having to rethink meals?

Jessica cooked beef stir fry which I often request her to make. But in case someone is new to my blog, I'll include the recipe below even though I've posted it several times in the past.

I just love this. I could happily eat it once a week, but I don't think I could talk her in to doing it that often. I know I could learn to make it, but we've come to think of it as Jessica's specialty.

Beef Stir Fry
2 tbs cornstarch                         2 med carrots thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar                                6 oz package frozen pea pods thawed
6 Tbs soy sauce                        2 Tbs chopped onion
¼ c apple juice                         2 Tbs vegetable oil divided
1 lb boneless beef round steak 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts 
      cut into strips                       undrained
hot cooked rice                         3 c broccoli florets

In a bowl, combine corn starch, sugar, soy sauce and apple juice until smooth. Add beef and toss to coat; set aside. In a large skillet, stir-fry broccoli, carrots, pea pods and onion in 1 Tbs oil for one minute. Stir in water chestnuts. Cover and simmer four minutes. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, stir-fry beef in remaining oil until meat reaches desired doneness. Return vegetables to pan. Toss. Serve over rice. 

Tyler didn't cook before he left, but I made him hobos, which he really likes.

You can put whatever kind of vegetables on it that you want. This is not Tyler's because his wouldn't have onion on it! I'd guess it's Jasmine's by the vegetable choices.

The original recipe called for just hamburger, but I turned it into more of a mini meatloaf.
Do yourself a favor and spray your aluminum foil.

Hobo Dinner
1 ½ -2 lb lean ground beef              ½-1 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
1 egg beaten                                   ½-3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
2 yellow squash sliced                    2 -3 lg. potatoes peeled and
                                                        thinly sliced
4 carrots sliced                              2 lg. onion thinly sliced                           
Salt and pepper to taste (whatever else your family likes)

Mix ground beef, ketchup, egg and oatmeal. Form into six patties. Place each on a square of aluminum foil. Place vegetables on top of each patty. Add salt and pepper. Wrap foil tightly around each patty. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min.
Jasmine made a recipe off a pasta box. She loves most things pasta.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Skillet
1 pkg Mueller's Ziti (16 oz)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 slices bacon
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed
3 c chicken broth
1 ½ c milk
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 pkg original buttermilk ranch dressing (.4 oz)

Fry bacon until crisp. Cool and crumble.
 Cook the chicken in the oil (or use the bacon grease) in a large skillet, stirring frequently until the chicken is browned.  Add the chicken broth and bring to simmer. Reduce heat and add the ziti. Cooked covered for ten minutes or until done stirring frequently.

Whisk together milk, flour and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl. Add to pasta and cook, stirring frequently until slightly thickened. Gently stir in bacon an serve.Optional: add diced tomatoes when you add the bacon.

Kaleb made "Adam's Enchiladas." 

Adam's Enchiladas 
1 lb boneless chicken breasts cubed
10 ¾ oz can cream of chicken soup
1 c thick and chunky salsa
8 flour tortillas (6")
10 ¾ oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup

Cook chicken in skillet until browned. Add chicken soup (no water added) and 1/2c salsa. Heat through. Spoon about 1/3c chicken mixture down one side of each tortillas. Roll up and place seam-side down in 2 qt microwave-safe baking dish. Mix cheese soup (no water added) and remaining salsa. Pour over tortillas. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until hot. Serves 4.

Kayla made shells. We buy the frozen kind and just add sauce, then bake. She made crescent rolls to go with them.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Run

Sometimes the local cross country team allows anyone to run in the JV race. And today was one of those days. It costs $5 each and any age can run. This is good because the little guys can run, but not so good when really fast adults run the race and take the prizes away from the littler guys and the JV team. That's what happened today. But it's part of life.
This shows the size differences among the runners. Looks like Kaleb only comes to the guy's waist behind him!

The local ROTC presented the flags.

The adult in bright green socks ran the 5K in under 15:00. The tall guy in the first picture wasn't far behind. I think he was a cross country runner that graduated last year with Adam.

Kaleb at about the one-mile point.


About the half way point. 

You can see how muddy the trail is. That is nothing compared to what the woods they ran through looked like.

Joy running Kaleb in and pointing out the finish line.

Almost there. I blurred this one.

28:37 when he crossed

Joy running Kayla in.

34:15 or so crossing the line.

Kaleb was faster, but since there were more boys, he didn't place. There were considerably less girls so Kayla came in 4th in girls. They both ran well no matter how they placed.

Next week the kids run the Plains Peanut 5K in Plains GA. We'll drive up Friday after they get out of school. It's quite a ways. But how often do you get a trophy from a former president? This 5K will be by gender and age group, and most of the kids under 9 run the mile not the 5K so hopefully both twins will place.