Busy Weekend Planned

This weekend is the start of my Christmas make-ready. I will be going through the garage and pulling out all the Christmas decorations, gift wrap and the tree. I don’t really want to put the tree up yet, but there’s no point in rooting through the garage twice. When I find the tree i will pull it out and set it in the corner until I can deal with decorating it.

The kids are a little antsy about why there are no decorations up yet. But last weekend was just too hectic and I want to be able to enjoy the decorating with my kids. When I am too tired I tend to get cranky and careless, and there is no way I would have enjoyed myself getting ready for Christmas while still dealing with Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

The kids want to have more color in our decorations this year. Two years ago I tried to keep the decor to a blue theme. I used light blue, dark blue, white and silver on everything from the Christmas tree lights and balls to the gift wrap. Last year I went with white and gold. The tree lights were white and all the balls were gold and white, with just a couple of flourishes of dark red. But this year the kids want to be multicolored, so that will be very different for me. I don’t really like the visual over stimulation of all the colors, but I can appreciate that a children’s world is seen differently than mine.

I have some cute white polyresin snowflakes that I want to hang outside to look like it is snowing huge flakes. I can probably use dental floss to hand the snowflakes from low hanging tree branches all over the yard. That will be something fun that the kids can help me with. And then we will string some outdoor lights over and around the shrubs. I just hope it stops raining for a few hours so we can get this done on Saturday or Sunday, then we can start working on the inside of the house and putting up the tree in front of the window of out living room.

Getting Tough About Education

If I was in charge, there would be no school suspensions or expulsions. There would be alternative education sites for children who must be removed from the general population, but they would still be required to attend school and actually for a longer day – an additional 3 hours. Sending kids home to a toxic parent with a substandard home life does not benefit the child nor the school when that child returns at the end of the disciplinary period. And many of them just play videos games or run the streets during the suspension period – they learn nothing from it other than misbehaving at school gets them more time to play and get in even more trouble.

With my plan, the children with behavior issues would learn something, get counseling and be fed 3 meals without distracting the regular classroom. The parent would be required to take a parenting and anger management class during the same “disciplinary period.” And if the child needs more help than just a week or two, keep them overnight, on site, in barracks and require the parents to participate in more extensive counseling, a thorough home inspection and DNA level drug testing before the child is returned home. If the parent fails the drug test, arrest them and take the other children away until the parent completes rehab.

And although I support home schooling, there are a whole lot of parents who are not qualified to do that – they would not even be able to read and write beyond today’s third grade level themselves, much less teach it. The whole point is that we have to educate this generation of children and prepare them for getting real jobs and keep them off of welfare. The current system is not working and we are losing an entire generation of children in this institutional failure and lack of effective parenting.

Fun at the Guitar Pull

My good friend Richard and his lovely bride, Rose, were fantastic hosts! The guitar pull was a huge success with a lot of songwriters singing original songs for us – music that everyone will be able to hear on the radio months or even years from now. I was so very honored to be invited.

The food on the buffet was wonderfully diverse – everything from baked spaghetti to baked beans. My mashed potatoes and gravy were a big hit – not a bit of it was leftover.

My favorite song out of all the wonderful music shared that night was an original song by Larry Alderman, called, “Dixie Down.” It was a lovely ballad about a boy who gets a dog and names her Dixie. As they grow up together they share all the milestones, graduation, new job, marriage, etc. And then Dixie dies, as dogs do. OMG! There was not a dry eye in the house! We all cried when he sang the last couple of lines about burying his dog and that special spot where his Dixie went down.

Bad Weather Forecast

This week is going to be bad weather forecast for Tennessee. I woke up this morning to cloudy, dark and rainy. Not the best start on a Monday. I have a hard enough time putting the weekend behind me and getting mentally prepared for a busy week without the doom and gloom of rain on Mondays. But it is what it is – i’ll deal with it.

What I am mostly concerned about is the bad weather forecast for later this week. The kids are supposed to go out trick or treating on Thursday for Halloween. But that is expected to be the day with the worst weather of the whole week, with severe storms, hail and tornado warnings.

I hope the bad weather forecast changes as the week goes by and that the storms do not happen on Thursday night. We have been looking forward to Halloween for over two weeks and I don’t want to disappoint all the kids. We bought costumes last weekend and spent several hours carving our pumpkins and decorating our yard for the holiday. It jut won’t be as much fun in the rain, and if there are really tornado warnings, we’ll have to stay home to be safe.

Cooked a Big Pot of Beef Stew Tonight

It’s cold here in Tennessee. I can really tell that summer is completely gone, fall is here and winter is right around the corner. The leaves are falling every day – I will have to do some raking this weekend to keep the yard clean and the mold minimized. I don’t mind the leaves, but the mold bother all of us with stuffed up noses, sore throats and headaches. And this time of year, with these symptoms I never know if it is just allergies or something more serious, like maybe strap throat. The school sent home a notice that a lot of kids are sick right now – it seems that every time the weather changes so drastically we all get sick with something that’s going around the schools. Yuck!

I decided to cook a big pot of beef stew and make some homemade bread for dinner tonight. I used to like the taste of Campbell’s Chunky soups, but the last two cans I bought were disappointing. It’s not that much work to make stew from scratch. I buy a chuck roast when it goes on sale, cut it up into small chunks and plop them into a ZipLoc bag. I keep one or two ZipLoc bags in the freezer, pretty much year round, as this makes a great stew but also a great beef chili.

My special recipe calls for a dash of seasoned salt, a dash of rosemary, a few shakes of Worsterchire sauce and my secret ingredient – a dollop of French’s yellow mustard. You can add whatever vegetables you want. I usually have some leftover corn, green beans and even spinach, along with a can or two of stewed tomatoes. I wish I had fresh tomatoes, but as you know, my garden did not give me any decent tomatoes this year. So I have a half dozen cans of diced and stewed tomatoes on the pantry shelf. So my stew is simmering on the stove, my bread is in the oven, and dinner is just an hour away!