Thursday, July 29, 2010

Keeping myself busy...

For most of my life, I have known someone that canned, creating preserved goodness in large batches and putting them up for later use or gifts in pints and quarts. I have always been interested in it. Partially due to my pathological desire to figure out things that I don't know much about, especially things that have been around for a long time (I am a historian, I can't help it), but mostly because I love food....FOOD! Numminess! The number one reason why I will NEVER ever be my teeny tiny pre-pregnancy size 6 again. (Number two is because my baby-morphed body laughs at me everytime I think about buying clothes smaller than size 12 EVER again.) Um, anyhow...

A few years ago, my step-mom starting canning again (she grew up doing it) as something to do while my dad was gone and to be more in control of what goes into the food that they eat. Everytime we saw them or received a package from them there was always a gift of canned goodies.

Then we moved into the deep south...

Holy moly EVERYONE cans, especially people with gardens, which is probably 60% of the population of Hometown, MS.

I now get canned goods from my MiL, SG's Mamaw, HillBilly Neighbor, kids' friends' parents, etc.

My cabinet now has a 60/40 ratio of homemade to store bought canned food.

I think that's pretty darned cool!

When we moved here, I decided to start a garden. I <3<3<3 tomatoes and peppers and would eat them everyday if they were available...and now they are, woot! My parents decided that between the garden and our plethora of local farmers that they were going get me started canning. Which is good, because last week alone I ended up with nearly 40lbs of veg from multiple sources. I even used it all, before the parents got here with my canning starter kit, heh. I had a few jars and lids that I got as gifts (with food in them) that I decided to practice pickling peppers. My brother asked me to send some with step-mom since he was going there to visit. My very first attempt at canning yielded 1 and 3/4 pints of pickled jalapenos and banana peppers from my garden.

It was beautiful.

I think I am now addicted

Yesterday the little boys and I made Blueberry Banana Jam.
3 quarts of fresh blueberries
2 mashed bananas
1 lime: pulp and juice (I sliced the peel and boiled it with the fruit to get more flavor and pectin from the pith)
3 cups of raw sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
(The original recipe didn't call for pectin, but so far, its more like a thick chunky syrup than jam, so I may add some next time I make it)
Yields 5 pints

The Bubba picking stems and sorting out the icky berries

The Happy Camper mashing 1/2 the berries.
Such concentration for the little one!
<3 this baby.
Holy teamwork, Batmom!
They're actually working TOGETHER!

Before cooking down.
Jar-ready, steamy goodness.


This is Mamaw's, I put her jam in one of her own jars so I could return it to her...good idea, huh?

We had some BananaBerry nummies on our fluffy pancakes this morning, it was sooooo tasty!

And on tomorrow's schedule?

Peach Melba Jam.

The fruit is currently macerating in between layers of raw sugar.


Here's the scoop...

Sorry for sucking at posting lately.

This last week has been a lot of ups and downs for me. The downs have been mostly due to the fact that this will be the first month that I haven't received some sort income. I have NEVER EVER in my life been unable to contribute financially. It is rather suckish, to say the least. The ups have been more often, but almost more tentative. My husband is amazing, he does everything he can to cheer me up when I start to worry about money. He is working 50 hours a week to cover everything and never complains about me not working yet. 

Also, if you have remember, I left a rather vague post about the possibility of having a job, but didn't say anything else about it because I didn't want to jinx it. I have been spending the last week trying VERY hard not to worry about it and just let things happen as they will. The situation is this: I am a certified Secondary Social Studies teacher that hasn't had my own classroom in 2 years. I have subbed, but in every other subject possible...except math...we have a hate/hate relationship...I would've damaged children forever if I had to do more that proctor a math test. I made a random trip to the city school district last thursday while out running errands. I had sent in an application for a S.S. position, as well as subbing, if nothing full-time came up. The receptionist was great, someone had filed my teacher app under clerical (wth?) so she went through and checked all of my experience and made a list on the front of the app (it was a long list, I have taught or been involved with a LOT of different subjects.) She noticed that I did a long-term sub job at the other HS in town in Spanish and Drama.

She looked up and asked "Do you speak Spanish???"

Er, yeah...a little rusty but enough to teach level 1 and 2.

"Stay right here while I make a copy of your app."

Me: Um, sure...>.>

She comes rushing back into the lobby with a copy of my app and tells me that I need to go over to the HS RIGHT NOW and talk to the pricipal there. That they have a Spanish position open and haven't had ANY applicants and that "he would LOVE to speak to you!"

Not one to argue (hush, mom) I said "Yes ma'am, thank you very much!" and headed over to the school...
Did I mention it was 104 degrees, I barely had a touch of make-up on and was dressed semi-casually? (I usually don't dress up or put on make-up for errands, but randomly took an extra few minutes to doll myself up a little)

Well, she told me that he may not be there at that time, but to leave my app with the receptionist with my number, so I really wasn't expecting to have him walk into the office as I was introducing myself to Ms. K and telling her that Ms. P sent me over here about the Spanish position. He stopped in his tracks and leaned over to his AP and said "Wow, we are on a roll today!" He asked me to wait while he finished his current interview. I just kept thinking that it is a great thing that I have spent so much time in theater and food service, because I can switch on my game face and confidence like nothing else!

The interview went great, he was asking me all kinds of random questions not necessarily related to teaching, but I realized that he was "feeling me out" (not up, you pervs!) When I mentioned that my daughter was a sophomore and an amazing singer and was really disappointed that the choral program at her school (the other HS in the area) had been eliminated his eyes got big and he said "Well, you know, we are a performing arts school and have a great choral program. As an employee, your kids would qualify to come here."

Me: Oh?? (amg amg amg he is talking like he's already hired me!!!!) That's great, I think she'd really do well here.

So why am I not hired already? The only obstacle is the fact that I am not certified in Spanish, even though I can speak it. I had planned to take the Spanish Praxis this summer, but cash was super tight, the test is $80. The next test in in mid-September. So, after the Principal spoke to the Spanish teacher that I subbed for (she gave a glowing recommendation and he told her that he really liked me!) he called back this morning and said he thought that the impromptu interview went really well and he would love to have me on board. He needed to call his admin office and see what process was available to get me hired on without the Spanish endorsement. BUT that even if they couldn't find a way to get me in the classroom that there was another position there that he would be willing to hire me for just to get me in the door at the school. It would be as an ISS Instructor, and wouldn't pay certified salary, but...its a job, right? I told him that obviously I would prefer to be in the classroom but that if the lack of endorsement was an "immovable object" that I would definitly want to have the opportunity to get on at the school in any way so that I have a better chance at another position later.

Great, right?

 I have been really trying not to think about it, because I don't want to get my hopes up. But I feel really good about it, and for totally "superstitious" reasons.

Every time I have been hired for a new position, it has been within a week of the start of school.
Every time I have been hired at a new school, I wasn't actually planning on an interview that day.
Twice I have been hired to teach something other than my certified area and had to jump through hoops.
Everytime I have been hired I have had to completely build my materials from scratch, I have only taught the same subject from one year to the next once, my 1st and 2nd years.
(can I tell you how much it stinks to have to scramble to create all of those documents over and over again?)

Their colors are Red and Black....EVERY school I have worked in has had RandB as their colors.

Mr. Principal said he'd call me back later today with news.

Trying to keep busy...which leads to my next post!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trying something.

Ok, I have a secret...well, not really. I am still new to this whole bloggy thing. I am trying to figure out how to link to some of my daughter's choir songs that I hosted online. She is a singer and has an opportunity to go to a performing arts school if I get the job I mentioned the other day.

Please let me know if it works.


06 Peter Piper at MySpaceFileHosting.com06_Peter_Piper.wma

03 Pura Vida at MySpaceFileHosting.com03_Pura_Vida.wma

Friday, July 23, 2010

She's Gone Country...

Well, sort of.

Drama Llama has never really been the physical type, despite her naturally athletic build and solid musculature lurking quietly beneath the surface of her squishy girlness.

She's a bit of a couch potato, in fact...well, bed potato is probably more accurate. She spends the majority of her free time laying on her bed, listening to random music and reading.

So, imagine our surprise yesterday that she volunteered when Sir Geek asks if anyone wants to go to his dad's place to help throw and stow hay.

We got down the the spread around 6pm and met the rest of his help; Butch and Daniel. We piled onto the flatbed trailer and rode out to the big field to start loading the bales. It was still well over 90 degrees with 98% humidity. I made it one lap around the approximately 6 acre field before my weight and hypoglycemia stopped me in my tracks. I threw probably 12 25lb bales before my hands stopped working and my breathing got difficult. (Sir Geek said he never expected me to do that much, not in a mean way) I walked back to the house and sat in a rocking chair on the patio trying to cool down. When they came back with the first load Dad's GF came to check on me. She was surprised and worried about how red my face was and asked if she needed to call someone. I am so tired of being over weight and restricted by my bloodsugar issues.

Anywho, little miss Drama Llama continues to help Butch on the trailer stacking and stuffing the bales so they can get as many in one trip as possible. They unload it at the shed and head back out to start up again. Dad told his GF that he was surprised at how hard she was working, how strong she was...GF says she's not surprised at all, not the way DL is built and the fact that she has 3 little brothers to toss around. 220 bales later, Dad tells DL that he's impressed and will have to remember just how good of a worker she is as he gives her a hug and slips her a $20.

I knew she had it in her somewhere...maybe it was the 2 country hotties that she was working with; Butch and "Arms", lol. Butch is married, though, and "Arms" is dating a girl at DL's school. But they're both great boys and I think they were a bit surprised at how well she worked, too.

I am a bit of a proud peahen at the moment.

Second trip out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Holy Potatoes, Batman...

I just might have a job! Its not quite official, but in the research process...I gotta run more errands but I will post more info as I find out more...

<3 Rosie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pouring My Heart Out: A Football Team and Two Cheerleaders.

 I grew up as an only child with a military father and a professional mother. I ALWAYS wanted siblings, especially as often as we moved. I grew up hearing my mom refer to her dream family as "a football team and 2 cheerleaders" She always wanted a house-full. After my parents divorced and remarried, I became the oldest of 4 (then 3, long story). I love my late arriving siblings, but we are not nearly as close as I would like to be, we just don't have that connection that is developed at a young age. I knew that I wanted to have at least 2 kids because I didn't want my children to be as lonely as I was, at home, growing up.

I had my first at 17, and my second at 19. Their father and I split when I was 11 weeks pregnant. I was so scared about being alone that I gave my heart to the first man that showed me attention and seemed to want to be a father to my children (he was military and we spent the first 18 months apart) . We had 2 more children in our marriage of 10 years. I found out the hard way that he just didn't know how to be a father, at all.

None of my kids were planned. They were all "failures" in contraception.
I believe that there is a reason for every one of them.

I have been remarried for almost 2 years to the most amazing man ever. He loves my kids like his own. He is my rock. Even though we have differences of opinion, we always work things out and love each other relentlessly. He is younger than me by 9 years and has told me that he is perfectly happy with our family the way we are now.

I want to have more children with this man.

He has told me that he is not sure that he wants to, but that it might change in a few years. 

I am 32. 

I feel like I am supposed to have a large family.

I have also been on birth control on and off for 15 years, mostly on.

 I am 45 pounds oveweight and my doctor has told me that based on my diet and activity, the only reason he can find for not being able to lose weight, my bad joints, etc is the fact that I have been on the pill almost half my life.

 I want to stop taking it and let things happen as they will.

The biggest fear is the finacial part. I know that we will be taken care of, that things will happen as they should, in His way, on His schedule.
But I am AFRAID!

 I am currently a semi-employed (I will sub until I find a full-time postion) teacher, and my husband's job doesn't provide healthcare.

 I want to just be able to let go and let is so hard.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Breakfast

This morning I decided to make myself an omelet. I normally just eat whatever I make for the kids. Today I gave them leftover cinnamon banana pancakes, and I just couldn't make myself eat more pancakes (as good as they are, I have eaten PC every morning for a week, lol)

I finally had a ripe Lemon Boy tomato, so I wanted to use it.

Portabella, banana pepper and swiss cheese omelet with chopped yellow tomato.


Yay for homegrown!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Between a Rock and the Proverbial Hard Place...

Any one that knows me or has read my blog knows that I am a teacher. I worked fulltime in my own classrooms for 6 years and have subbed for the last 2. I have, on several occasions, questioned my choise to stay in the career that I have always felt I was drawn to. I know that I have done good in my time in the classroom, I still get messages, texts, phone calls etc from former students, many of whom call me Mom.

The state of education as it is now is rather dismal. The environment in the schools is only part of it. The fact is, that many of us who went into education (for whatever reason) were told "you will always have a job, we will ALWAYS need teachers". Too many of us now know this to be untrue. Financial deficits has caused significant numbers of teachers and staff to be cut. Lack of funds and "low performance" (sometimes just a political load of crap) as well as the transient nature of the populace of most cities has led to the closure of numerous schools.

I know that I am a good teacher, in spite of the fact that I have been unable to find permanant employment in my chosen career. I was one of the more than 200 casualties of closing schools in my former city in Colorado. I was a 1st year teacher in district on a one year contract. I chose not to go back to the school that nearly put me in the hospital due to stress-related health issues. I was basically black-listed by the "interim administration" for not going along with the fixing of common assessment scores and standing up for my students' rights to have a safe and productive learning environment as well as my own rights as a teacher and human being. The next one and a half years I was the "favorite sub" in the 12 schools that I served. I had teachers call me 2 months in advance to make sure I would be available...especially in the middle and alternative schools.

 (For whatever reason, the "trouble kids" and I get along just fine  >.>)

I love the feeling of being rushed by kids when I walk into a school asking who I am subbing for and the reaction when they find out its one of their teachers(or not). It makes me feel good. That's what I want to do.

I want to teach.
I want my own classroom again.
I want to have the same kids every day.
I want to be able to connect with my kids and learn about who they are, who they are becoming, how they learn, how they interact with each other.
I miss that.

That's the rock.

Here's the hard place:

I haven't worked since the end of school.
Things are tight, but we're ok. Bills are paid, kids are "fat" and happy, if bored.

I know that I will probably work 4-5 days a week as a sub in the 2 districts in this area as a sub if I don't get hired on as a fulltime teacher. School starts August 5th and, so far, there are no positions available for my subject closer than an hour's drive away. (I would prefer to work close enough to get the kids off to school in the morning, even if we're not at the same school)

My husband's father found me a job.

He's got connections all over this small town and one of his good buddies is opening a big truck-stop type gas station and needs cashiers.

I have cabin fever like crazy from sitting at home all summer with 4 kids.
 I want to work.

But I am not sure if I want to take this job, even as part-time, because I KNOW that I can sub and make good money even if I don't get a full-time job. I am the kind of person that will stick with a job even if a better one comes open, especially if its only been a few months. ESPECIALLY since my FiL recommended me for it because he knows I want to work.


I don't know what to do!

My Bounty...

This is what I plucked from my little patch of garden heaven today.

Yes, those cukes are big, but not nearly as big as it looks next to the bell pepper. That mexi-bell didn't get any bigger than a ping pong ball or so.

On the left is the unknown mutant alien pod that I have been talking about. I couldn't resist picking it. Its not anywhere near ripe, but I was hoping that by dissecting it I could either figure out what it is or get a payload from the Enquirer for discovering alien life...

Still no idea.
It smells kind of sweet, even though it is not quite ripe yet.

Bah, IDK!!!!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mutant Alien Pods...

...are taking over my garden!!


I planted a cucumber plant. It was like 8 inches tall when I transplanted it.

3 days later, what I thought was another cuke plant sprouted out of the bottom side of the row where I planted the original.

Its been growing and growing and I was like WOOHOO! I <3 CUKES! The 2 vines grew in different directions and took over half of my 10x12 plot.

Then the flowers started growing...and they looked different on each plant.
Small yellow blossoms close to the original cuke vine, huge bright orange blossoms on stalks on the 2nd.

 I was like, hmm...that's weird. Maybe a squash seed was laying dormant in my cuke soil?

But then the pod appeared at the base of one of the orange blossom. 
A squash?
then it kept growing and growing and growing (it is still not ripe).

What is this thing?!?!?!

(yes I need to weed.../sigh)

It is smooth, like a melon, on a vine with what looks like squash blossoms, and its huge...
The thing is 16 inches in circumference and almost 5 pounds.

I thought the only aliens were in my house.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Wee Visitor...

The boys and I went outside to play with my pup, Dozer, like we do everyday before lunch. As we tossed around his squishy ball our neighbors' wayward puppy, my boys call her Tiny, decided to come hang out with us. Our neighbors left earlier and apparently she found a way out of the house/yard. I am just glad that she didn't run off, she's a little bitty thing. Here's a few photos of the babies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Took a bit of a blogging break this weekend.

With the holiday weekend, hubby was off for 4 days. He works 10 hours a day with 2 hours worth of commute every day. During the week he comes home totally exhausted and we barely get an hour worth of us time due to kids and dinner and stuff. He rarely gets time to spend with the kids, either, because they start going to bed right after dinner and he has no energy to speak of. Well, this weekend, with only one exception, was wonderful! Waking up next to him is awesome, this morning sucked soooooooo bad.  >.<

We spent time in the garden, played games with the kids, had an adult visit with family for a birthday, worked in the yard, got a barbeque lunch, and had an actual family weekend. There is only one thing that could have made it better...being able to go see fireworks! The closest display was up at Pickwick Park almost 2 hours away. My van isn't in the best shape (I really need new tires) and I have a huge crack in my windshield that has kept me from being able to get an inspection sticker which is required by law in Mississippi. Since we can't all fit in the hubby's Tortuga (he has a 94 pickup with 4 cylinder is so sloooow and small) we don't go anywhere. A bunch of people in the neighborhood had fireworks, though, so we could still have a little bit of a show.  :o)

I did, however, forget to get picture evidence of said great weekend...but its all good. I have it in my head.

I hope all of you had awesome holiday weekend (if your in the States...if not, then I hope you just had an awesome weekend!)

I will be posting again soon, I am working on getting caught up on the sleep that I missed last week. Unfortunately, that means the witty comments and entertaining anecdotes are in hiding for a bit (my brain turns into pudding with little sleep).

Take care!