Monday, February 26, 2007

Quiet Monday

Well, it's been quite a week. After my last post regarding the newer snow I took the kids and some friends into Shillington to go sledding at the park. When we were first up here and not yet in the house, I used to hang out at the local library and the ladies who work there were all very friendly and informative about living in this area. That's where I learned that Shillington park has one of the best sledding hills for miles around- and were they ever right! There's a huge, I really mean huge, hill in the back of the park with a single lane road barely cleared of snow by which it can be accessed. We all piled out of the van with the sleds, and while most of us gaped at the enormity of the distance to the bottom, Isaac hopped right onto his sled and hit the hill! Watching his red coat fly down I didn't know whether to laugh, panic or call 911! When he made it to the bottom and grabbed the sled to trudge back up for another run we all breathed a sigh of relief.

The kids sledded until they couldn't feel their behinds, and I took a turn even- so fun- and we returned home to collapse in sheer exhilarated exhaustion. Sadly, there are no photos from the park since we forgot the camera. We would have taken it with us for a re-do this last Saturday, but the thawing and re-freezing all week turned all the snow surfaces to ice and it would have been sheer suicide to attempt that hill again. We may get another chance yet as it snowed again yesterday and the forecast doesn't appear to have a big thaw in the near future.

Meanwhile, Erin had her 12th birthday party at a local bead shop where she and her friends made matching bracelets before enjoying pizza and cake. The shop is in Knauers and her bus passes it every day going to and from Isaac's school. She has looked forward to having her party there for as long as we have lived here.

Monday nights for the past few weeks have found Jim taking Bekah, Erin and Isaac to the local Archery Club for archery lessons. The club has an indoor range and all the paraphernalia that they need to use as they learn the sport. Evidently Erin has quite the gift for archery. That's right, the one child who will never take aim at any furry beast. Fortunately,there are plenty of non-living targets for her to practice with. Monday nights is turning into a special time for Dad and the kids; I'm glad Jim has been able to find the time to get them there each week.

I said it was a busy week, but actually the week had a rather slow start for me. I was knocked out with a cold for the first half of the week, so not much was done for several days. Ever since my car accident in 2002 my upper back is my "early warning system" for illness. I get sore right between my shoulder blades and it stays sore until the last sniffle passes. Aches and pains have taken on a whole new meaning for me in that regard. At least I had a new novel to keep me occupied. Now I've finally read Jane Eyre, good book.

This weekend we took a pass on having anyone over, just to have a quiet Sunday to ourselves, and don't you know a severe weather advisory pops up on Saturday to warn us that a winter storm is blowing in Sunday afternoon. Anybody we invited would have had to cancel or end up stuck here. So Jim and the kids played outdoors as it snowed and gathered firewood into the house while Bekah and I slowly prepared a late lunch of southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Okay, not on the healthy heart menu, but oh, so tasty. I haven't fried chicken in years. I'm talking the real thing here, total immersion frying- yum!

As penance, or maybe just for the health of it, I shoveled the driveway this morning. If I can't get out on the roads to get to the gym I need to do something cardio-wise, and boy, the driveway sure fit the bill! Last week we didn't get one end of the drive cleared before the softening and re-freezing cycle got going and we have a glacier covering that part of the driveway now that none of us can move. Not wanting that to happen to the entire thing this week was also part of my motivation to take up the shovel I suppose.

I'm sure there's more to tell, I simply can't think of anything else. Enough rambling from me. BA out-

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Day Two!

Wow, a second snow day! Because tomorrow and next Monday were already going to be days off from school, that means we are having a 6-day weekend!

Yesterday Erin and Isaac spent more time outdoors than indoors- quite a feat considering that it was either sleeting or snowing until around 4-ish. Sometime around 3 Jim discovered a need that only Lowes could meet and, considering that the snow plows had been back and forth until we could see pavement, Jim suited up and raised the garage door. Alas, the driveway was covered by a foot of snow! So he took up arms, (in this case- the snow shovel) and spent the next three hours getting half of our circular drive cleared. Kate helped with a garden shovel, which is a frustratingly slow way to clear a driveway. Remembering that ours is the only driveway on our street that is level with the road, instead of an uphill pull to it, helps some, I suppose. The trip to Lowes was eventually accomplished and we now have another snow shovel besides the other stuff Jim needed.

The girls went with Jim to help him navigate the grocery store where they picked up the ingredients for two more soups to keep our insides warm over the next few days. Bekah will be making a Potato Soup from her Italian cookbook and I'll put together a White Chicken Chili that is absolutely Scrumdiddlyumptious! I'll post the Chili recipe here since I know you'll love it too!

Simply Marvelous White Chicken Chili

From Annie Sallade

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 ½ tsp. Butter

1 C diced Onion

2 C diced Celery

2 C chopped Red, Yellow and/or Green Pepper (your choice)

2 cloves minced Garlic

1 tsp minced jalapeno

1 7oz bottle of Beer

1 can diced Tomatoes

1 can Kidney or Pinto Beans

1 can Chicken Broth

½ lb. Chicken, cooked and diced, (4 – 5 breasts)

1 ½ tsp Chili Powder

3 tsp. Sugar

2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 ½ tsp. Pepper

1 ½ tsp. Onion Powder

1 dash Tabasco

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

¼ tsp. Celery Salt

½ tsp. Cayenne Powder

¾ C. Milk

6 Tbsp Half-n-Half combined with 3 Tbsp Cornstarch

In a large stock pot, gently sauté the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and jalapeno in the oil and butter for about 15 minutes. Add beer, tomatoes, beans and chicken. Then add seasonings, sugar, broth, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and add milk and cornstarch mixture, stirring to combine well. Lower heat to a low simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. Adjust the amounts to your taste, add more broth if it gets too thick, and be sure to serve with a loaf of wonderful bread! Yum, yum, yum!

Finally, I'll add that I will be heading out on the roads myself today in order to get snow pants for Kate and Bekah, who are joining the school's ski club for a "field trip" tomorrow. Gotta keep our girlies warm and dry! I also need to call about rescheduling Emmi's "fix". She's figured out that we're not hiding any Toms in the house and is getting curious about who might be outside...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines in the Snow

Finally getting back to blog all about what's going on with us! The big news is, we are having our first official Snow Day! Even Jim is snowed in with us as the roads are immpassible. We've had to change routines for the weather, which hasn't happened for us since hurricane Wilma in Florida. Jim's working on his laptop across the table from me as I type in the media/ dining room while Bekah, Erin and Isaac are playing in the snow/ sleet outside. I'm genuinely surprised at how very adaptable these kids are, considering they spent the last 7 years in the sunshine state, where 50's were freezing temps. Now they can't wait to get out into this nasty cold stuff! Brrr!

To catch up on a number of fronts; Bekah is now in physical therapy for her scoliosis, we go three times a week for her to work with the therapists and she exercises every day at home to strengthen her core which will hopefully help to arrest the development of her curve.

Emmi is warming up to us again after the trauma of medictaion at our hands. She was supposed to go in this morning to be spayed, but we can't get out of the driveway, much less driving uphill and downhill, so she'll remain a hostage to her hormones for a while longer- poor thing. She wanders the house yowling for a boyfriend...

Kate went on an Art class field trip to NYC a couple of Fridays ago and had herself a blast! She was astounded to see real life Van Gogh paintings, among others, in the Metropolitain Museum of Art and enjoyed Times Square at lunchtime with her friends. It was quite cold, so her souvineer was a warm and fuzzy hat bought from a vendor.

The day she was in NYC was the first time we had our Couples Bible Study here for dinner and study. We have really been blessed by this group of dear Christian couples and feel quite at home with our new church. This Sunday, (the 18th) we will be accepted as members of Covenant OPC.

Kate and Rebekah, with Laura along as well, joined the youth group for tubing at a nearby ski resort last Saturday. The adult in charge is a physical therapist associated with the PT we are taking Bekah to, and he declared that Bekah just may have straightened out her spine on some of the runs down the hill! (kidding of course)

Vali is enjoying the snow as well as the kids. Kate and I took her out for an explore yesterday before it got too severe, (the kids were sent home from school early since the weather was deteriorating so rapidly) and Vali learned the joy of chasing pine cones in the snow. She'd find one, toss it about, then run to find it a gain. So fun. There's finally a snow pigmy in the yard- the kids used my scarf of course- and it's nearly buried with the new snowfall.

She can have my scarf, I've taken up knitting. I can only knit scarves, one direction, no changes, just figuring out how to finish at the end. Erin and Bekah are also knitting scarves, which is fun because they have each chosen such unique yarns with which to work.

The sleet has changed back to snow now, and we've just watched the snow plow make 4 runs down our street. Erin is out sledding with the neighborhood girls, Bekah and Isaac are thawing out in front of the tv and Emmi is running up and down the stairs, meowing her frantic little heart out. Enjoy the pictures, and those of you in Florida, enjoy your relative warmth. This time last year I was watching the national weather and chuckling to myself- so go ahead!