Friday, October 24, 2014

Meal Mania

Today is Halloween party food-prep day! 
Here's what's cookin' (There will be no "clean eating" at our house on Saturday):

Friends and family have offered to bring other dishes 
such as Dawn's Kick-Butt Cheesy Potatoes and some yummy desserts.

If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Friday Fragments: Episode #324

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Hello there! How kind of you to stop by!
It's Friday, and of course that means it's random over here;
I've collected some bits from my week that didn't make it into posts of their own
and share them in the hopes of clearing my mind.
Of course, that's a pretty laughable prospect, but I'm going for it!


I've graduated to weight-bearing exercises this week as part of my rotator cuff surgery recovery! Yup; this girl is now curling five-pound dumbbells! It's been ten weeks now since I went under the knife, and I'm impressed by the pain I still have sometimes, but I am usually pretty comfortable and have only taken a few anti-inflammatories this week.


In case you missed it, I wrote 37 Things to Expect When You're Expecting Rotator Cuff Surgery and would be thrilled if you know someone you could share it with.


Also in case you missed it, Kendall recorded a beautiful song for her dad for his birthday.


My Mrs4444 email has not been working this week, for some odd reason. I have three different email addresses feeding into the same inbox, so I'm not sure why this is happening. If you need me for something, try my sweepsmom email, which ends in


I think we've figured out why Ted has such terrible gas; after two days of finding out what it's like to have a long-haired cat with diarrhea, we took him to a new vet who did a special kind of test and found that he has intestinal parasites. Nice. She said that we should know within a week if that diagnosis is correct; the diarrhea and gas will be gone.


I've officially, officially become a dog-crazy woman; I paid money [too much] for this ADORABLE sweater for Milo to wear on Halloween. After I put it on him, he went right back to napping.

I tried it on Ted, but he would have none of that!


Mr.4444's boss and his wife stayed with us last Saturday night and then went to the Packers game with our tickets (which they paid for, of course). They had a ball, but they later admitted to leaving during the 3rd quarter, since the Packers were kicking butt and they had a two hour drive home. Seriously? True Packers fans wouldn't dream of leaving a game early; we will never let them take those seats again. Just kidding on the second part; I will confess to having left a game in the 3rd quarter, but only because it was something like a bajillion degrees below zero degrees, at a night game, and it was a preseason game. Just kidding again on the preseason part; it doesn't get that cold until December, usually.

In spite of a very long Halloween party to-do list (our party is Saturday), I came home from work tonight and napped for two hours; it felt glorious. It'll all come together...

Got fragments from your own life? Throw them into a FF post and link up below!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Teal Pumpkin Project

While helping a student this week on a current event assignment, I learned something new that is worth sharing. Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project (TPP)?  Because I don't have food allergies or kids with them, it never occurred to me that for some kids (4-5%) trick-or-treating is a bummer. Allergies to peanuts, for example, can be life or death issues. Something as simple as a single candy bar containing peanuts being in the same bowl or bag with candy without peanuts can actually put a kid into anaphylaxis shock, even if they haven't actually eaten it! I can only imagine the stress of that for parents of kids with allergies, let alone the children themselves! More and more often, too, are allergies to wheat, which is found in a striking number of foods, so kids with that allergy can't eat candy containing it. While certainly not tragic, they can't enjoy the tradition of Halloween trick-or-treating the way their friends can.

The Teal Pumpkin Project's aim is to make trick-or-treating fun for kids with food allergies. (Teal is the color of food allergy awareness.)  It's a new idea, so you may not see many teal pumpkins this year, but when you do, it means that the family in that house is handing out non-food items. The article my student read suggested handing out glow sticks, pencils, stickers, erasers, etc. I think this is a great idea, and I plan to pick up some glow sticks from the $1 store to hand out this year, even though I also have candy. Obviously, not all kids would appreciate non-candy items, but having a choice would mean a lot to kids with allergies.

If you're interested but don't want to paint a pumpkin, you can also post this sign:

Also, be careful not to handle peanut-containing candy bars and the non-candy items with the same hands. I know it sounds crazy, but it really can be dangerous. I suppose kids for whom trick-or-treating is that dangerous are likely to just stay home, but with any luck, this thoughtful idea will spread, and kids with food allergies will have fun trick-or-treating, too.

For more information, visit Food Allergy Research and Education's Teal Pumpkin Project page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bucks Lake Beauty

While not technically my neck-of-the-woods, 
the Minnesota River Valley is much like Wisconsin, geography-wise.
My cousin Margaret took these stunning shots at Bucks Lake last week.
[click to enlarge]

Scenes like these almost make our brutal winters worth it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Beginnings

Finish each day and be done with it. 
you have done what you could. 
some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day. 
you shall begin it serenely 
and with too high a spirit to be encumbered
with your old nonsense.

This new day
is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment in the yesterdays.
- emerson

Thank you, Lois, my English teacher friend, for sharing this;
I love it.