A Busy Life

Man, do I have a crazy week ahead of me! Have you ever had something on your calendar that was sort of a mental due-date? I have a few of those right now and it’s making everything else seem so pressured.

In 7 weeks we are moving. Eek! I’ve moved a lot of times, but there came a point in my adulthood where I settled in and said, “I shouldn’t have to do this anymore.” Well, I do, unfortunately. And this won’t be the last time, either. Either way, I have a lot to do and I’d better get on with it.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Read my previous post on Showing Your Appreciation if you haven’t. Trust me, if you have never worked in a school system, there are lots you’re not aware of. It’s okay. But believe me, these teachers NEED to hear that they are appreciated. I am a huge fan of advocating being involved in your child’s schools. You may live somewhere where there is a ton of money available (don’t know where that is), but chances are there isn’t an abundance of extra school board money just lying around. Aside from school supplies, teachers need your time and willingness to help. Of course, I am speaking mostly on the elementary front here, but you never know where your help could be useful at the higher levels.

Here are a few things the teachers in my son’s elementary school love for parents t volunteer time to do:

*Come in and read to the students. This could mean reading a book to everyone for fun, or helping individual students with their reading skills.

*Help grade papers. Never knew that? The teachers from back in “our” days were a different breed, but in this day of multi-media and the inflated pressure put on for high test scores, the teachers are focusing a lot of their attention on other areas of education, which don’t allow for paper grading time.

*Volunteers for Science and Social Studies Fests, Book Fairs, etc. There are a lot of extra things that go on in your schools. In fact, the bigger the school the more opportunities there are to volunteer.

Does your school have a PTA or a Boosters? Get involved. Speaking from a PTA point of view…a board consists of anywhere from 4 to 8 members. For the past 4 years our PTA has typically had 5 board members. That’s 5 people who handle pretty much everything when putting on an event for the entire school. It’s exhausting. Help out. Get involved. You’ll learn so much about your child’s school. 

SO  with that in mind, I have several things to do for the teachers and staff this week, certainly not the least of these is to provide a huge lunch for the entire staff on Thursday. This always a big undertaking. But with the help of my other board members and parents volunteers, we will have a successful lunch. 

Speaking of lunch, on Tuesday I have to cater a luncheon for 12 here at my house for a meeting my hubby is hosting. I am thinking Chicken Cordon Bleu, Smashed Cauliflower, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, whole wheat rolls, ice cream, and iced tea. Simple yet elegant. For the teachers’ lunch there can be no other dish than my Hot Chicken Salad. They love it! And I aim to please 😉

So here’s the deal. I have to be packed up to move in 7 weeks (gah!). All the “stuff” that’s  been accumulated over the past 5 years needs to be sifted trough in the next 2 weeks because our church is putting on their annual yard sale the weekend of  Memorial Day, and what better way to get rid of old treasures? So that’s my first goal.

My second “due- date” is mid- June when hubby and I will go to Raleigh for Annual Conference. This is 3 days of sitting in a convention center with every Methodist minister, district superintendent, cabinet member, and the bishop from our  state, all discussing the politics of the Church.

I’ll be shopping 🙂

A week later we’re on the move. Can you say pressure?? Plus that week we’re at the conference, they boys will still be in school. Thanks to Hurricane Irene the school year was extended a week. No one is particularly thrilled about that. So basically, that leaves the boys with nil of an island summer of any kind before we move. But at least once we do move their summer vacation can officially begin. My goal is to have everything packed so that last week we only have to load the truck and clean the house.

I am looking forward to getting these next 2 months out of the way. I’ve already been through our new house and yet I can barely visualize how we will set up the place. It’s odd, when I’m doing something routine in my house now, like working in the kitchen, or the way I always look out certain windows and see familiar scenes, I think ‘just a few more weeks and I’ll be looking out that window seeing something else’. It’s just weird. I don’t think I’ve wrapped my head completely around this yet. The last time we moved I was so ready to go that I left a trail of dust behind me, never looking back. Here it’s different. I have really liked living here and leaving is bittersweet. Maybe that’s why I’m dragging my heels.

I may write more about this move in the coming weeks, so bear with me. It’s a process in my soul, very conflicting emotions that have more to do with ‘growing up’ than anything else. And of course, the uncertainty of what’s coming ahead, which always leaves me feeling anxious.

Speaking of what’s ahead {squeeeeeeeeeeee!} my final deadline date……my annual trip to Chicago! This will be about a month after the move. Yes, a tad bit inconvenient all things considered, but very important none-the-less. Believe me, by the time my trip comes around in 3 months I will be needing the break. And the best part is this year I am taking my beautiful, funny, and fantabulous friend, Nicole with me 🙂 You can read a tiny bit about her here.

We’ve been talking about her coming to Chicago with me for years, but we decided around Christmas-time this past December that she was definitely ready and wanting to go. Of course the conversation was slightly influenced by alcohol 🙂 But alas, the tickets are bought and the dates are set.

 I am so excited because we are going to have SO MUCH  FUN!

Potato Skins

Recently I was in Chicago for my annual visit, where my BFF and I were having dinner at one of our favorite swanky restaurants (if you’ve never been to Firkin I highly recommend it http://firkinoflibertyville.com/), when her husband text and asked for some potato skins. Firkin didn’t have any so after dinner we made our way across the street to an Irish Pub to order the skins and have a drink while we waited.

They looked so yummy. They smelled so good!

I don’t eat pork. My family stopped eating all pork products about 7 or 8 years ago when we first went “life-changing” über organic-crazy, health-nut. While I’ve figured out that not everything has to be organic, we do still maintain much of what helped us become so successful in achieving optimum health. One of the those changes we made was to stop eating pork of any kind. I won’t go into the why’s of it, but if you’re interested, you can contact me and I can tell you the biblical and health reasons why.

Not eating pork hasn’t been a problem for the most part, except for the occasional BBQ gathering where I learned early on to just provide my own hotdogs for my family, including wheat buns that no one else ever seems to think of. I also hate white bread. Just eating it makes me think of a big dough ball going down……. Ok so I occasionally do eat white bread. Sometimes you just can’t help it when there’s a lovely smelling and tasting ciabatta roll right there…… Anywho, being in the South it is common practice to have a pig pickin’ at your church celebration or wedding reception. At these times it’s best to just graze the veggie trays.

But there have been things I’ve gone completely without. Like Potato skins. And then it hit me….why not make my own with turkey bacon! Can you believe that in 8 years this never occurred to me? I still can’t.

To make these I just threw ingredients together, it wasn’t very difficult. I used 5 small brown potatoes and baked them until done. Then I cut them crosswise in half and scooped out about half of the pulp. I heated some EVOO and briefly fried both sides for that restaurant taste (but this part is not necessary and I will not likely do it every time). I cooked 4 sliced of turkey bacon, crumbled them up and divided them between the 10 potato halves. I cut up one stem from a green onion for a little bit of color and extra flavor. And then I loaded and layered shredded sharp cheddar, bacon, chives, and more cheese, and then popped it back into the oven until the cheese was melted. Add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!