Thursday, June 30, 2011

Real Reality Thursday

I finished reading Jennifer Brown's sophomore YA novel Bitter End last night. Actually, finished reading doesn't begin to describe it. I attacked and devoured this book. So good. SO GOOD.

This week, I accomplished something that has been on my To Do list for, like, forever. I registered for the July 6 Volunteer Orientation session for Literacy Kansas City. I used to do a ton of volunteer work, but have gotten away from it over the past several years. Since I'm having a tough time landing a permanent teaching gig, I have some time on my hands. Volunteering though Literacy Kansas City will allow me to share my passion teaching reading by helping adults build their reading skills. Not sure if I'll do some one-on-one tutoring or teach a small group. Obviously, I'll gain more experience and expand my network of contacts. Always good. I'm super excited! First steps always make me tingly!

What's on tap for Real Reality Thursday?
Whatever you decide to do today, enjoy and keep it real!

(Ok ... I've tried a bajillion times to fix the font on the end. UNCLE! Going for my pedi now ...)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Le Discret"

This past weekend, I bought a Sunday paper for the first time in ages. It had this article about "Le Discret," an oil painting by French artist Joseph Ducreux. And now I am obsessed with finding a print for the abode. sells a pair of thong panties with the image, but I don't think I want to go that route. And I doubt anyone else would want me too, either.

Le Discret by Joseph Ducreux

Summer Stuff

Here is my new favorite summertime song. I'm really diggin' the Zac Brown Band these days. YouTube also has a Chipmunks version. I love the Chipmunks. "I still want a hoola-hoop."

I also just signed up at, the "postcard crossing project." You can send and receive postcards from all over the world. The girls have been complaining that they NEVER get "Ruth and Audrey" mail, so I thought this would be a unique way for them to get mail and learn about the world. It will also be a cheap way for me to feed my travel fettish. I bought three postcards from Barnes & Noble and addressed them to people in Canada, Russia, and Poland (assigned by Postcrossing). I'll pop them in the mail on my way to my hair appointment today. We'll see what happens!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Boy Who Loved Words

I really heart this book. It's my new fave.

This book makes me want my own classroom so badly I want to cry. Can't you just see a life-size Selig on the classroom wall surrounded by words? And can't you just hear students rushing in with their latest and greatest word find to share with Selig and their peers?

This is a simply gorgeous book.

Read more about Roni Schotter.

Real Reality Thursday

Right now, I'm waiting for paint to dry. Literally. I just painted the trim in our downstairs bathroom. It is the last room that needed trim paint after our tile floor installation. So, I'm waiting for the paint to dry so I can slap on a quick second coat and be done with it. Onward and upward.

Also on today's agenda:

Old Navy (Groupon, baby!)
Best Buy (return... GRRR)
Barnes & Noble
Bed, Bath & Beyond (just cuz)
Pier 1 Imports (just cuz)
Reading in the sunshine!
Dino O'Dell with the peeps and my sister @ the library in the next town
Root touch up
Grocery store for a few bits and pieces
Play with my blog?

How is your Real Reality Thursday shaping up?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Real Reality Thursday Update & Wine

Update on Real Reality Thursdays
1. No bueno on the job. I'm gonna put my shoes on and keep truckin'.

2. Sam's Club: Tried to sneak in the PLUS members doors 8 minutes before the store opened to the general public. (I've gotten away with it before ... ). Super-efficient zombie employee tracked me down and kicked me out.

3. After I was allowed in the store, I bought three bottles of wine un addition to a hineyload of food. 

I like wine. In my ideal reality, I am a wine connoisseur of the most sophisticated heights. In my real reality, I'm a gal who is attracted to fun labels, unique names, and a semi-cheap price. (I had to upgrade from ultra-cheap status after an unfortunate run-in with a $2.99 Manager's Special bottle of Sangria. Note to self: Do not buy wine from a grocery cart. Show some self-respect, woman!).

Here is my curret collection, minus one, which I'll explain in a moment.

From left: Adam Puchta Winery's Berry Black;
Cupcake Vineyards' Merlot, Prosecco, and Malbec; and
Jowler Creek's Traminette.

I'm on a BIG Cupcake Vineyards kick right now. The Adam Puchta came from a trip to Hermann, MO, last October, and Mark picked up the Jowler Creek recently. It's from a local winery in Platte County, MO.

And now for the minus one:

This is a SeaGlass Riesling. I bought it because the bottle is a stunningly beautiful blue color. You know, like sea glass. The website is stunningly beautiful, too. Check it out.

And now for the best part: My wine cabinet.

Highly sophisticated, yes? It sits above the microwave, and as you can tell, it is multifunctional. Not only does it store my wine, but it is big enough to hold two random vases, our used-once-each-year turkey roaster, and two Dora the Explorer lunch bags. Awesome.

I'm in the market for a genuine wine rack, but I can't decide if I want a wall-mounted rack or a standing floor table kind of jobbie. I do know that I do not want a countertop one. For now, this will have to do ...

Enoy the weeknd!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Real Reality Thursdays

It's 9:16 a.m. I just dropped the peeps off at Veggie Tales camp, and I am sip-slurping a Chai Tea Latte @ Panera (free WiFi baby!) while waiting for Sam's Club to  open @ 10. It's time to load up the food cabinets at the Rydings' casa. Lookin' a little bare. I think the person in charge of that household should be fired.

This morning I had a meltdown over Disney Theme Day at Veggie Tales camp. I'm over it now, and both peeps went to camp adorned in some sort of Disney something that we pulled together this a.m.

I had a job interview last Wednesday for a 7/8 Comm Arts job. I thought the interview went really well, and I think it's a school in which I could do some great things. The interviewers said they would contact me this week. Alas, it is Real Reality Thursday, and I have heard nothing. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Null. No Way Jose. I guess my instincts are just as out of whack as the rest of me these days.

Off to Sam's, then to get the peep-o-rino's, home for lunch, then we take Dead Reckoning (aka 2005 Ford Escape) in for her 80,000-mile check.

And that, my friends, is Real Reality Thursday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Queen Ala Commode

Last week, we bumped the floors in our bathrooms and laundry room from Real Reality status to Ideal Reality status. I guess that makes them our new Real Reality? We still have some fancyin' up to do, but I am lovin' my new tile floors!

I have to give a ginormous shout out to Taff's Carpets!

Flooring before ...

Flooring after! (It's a brownish-grayish color. Hard to tell because of my "expert" photog skills.)

Master bath tub tile before ...

Master bath tub tile after ... (yes, we are getting a new faucet!)

A closer look at the tub tile work. So beautiful!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Me in the Kitchen

This might be my new favorite magazine. This is the June 2011 issue of Food Network magazine.

Last Saturday, my husband smoked a brisket ...

And he smoked some chicken wings ...

Out my new favorite magazine, I made this:

Spinach and Cheese Flatbread (To Die For!!)
And this ...

Baby Spinach, Sliced Strawberries, Walnuts, & Red Wine Vinaigrette (Healthy!)

And these ...

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-BACON Cookies (Not So Healthy, BUT Yummy in My Tummy!)

Mark paired his dinner with a Boulevard Pilsner, and I chose Cupcake Vineyards' Malbec. We both agreed that this was the best dinner we had created in a long time. Translation: It wasn't pizza, mac/cheese, hotdogs, or chicken fingers.

This was one of those rare moments when my ideal reality (gourmet chef) intertwined with my real reality. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thoughts on Tiger Mother

I finished reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua a few days ago. You can check out my reaction to the first few chapters here. As I continued reading, I jotted down the thoughts and questions that popped into my head. Random.

  • You can't force respect; you earn it.
  • Braggart.
  • Seems like she feels she must prove herself to Western mothers.
  • Seems to think she is superior to Western mothers.
  • Am I critical of Chua because I do not parent the way she does, but think maybe I should?
  • Am I critical because I'm insecure about my parenting skills?
  • Is this entire book about Chua's insecurities over her parenting skills?
  • What if I AM her? Is she some distorted reflection of myself? Is that why I criticize her?
  • Admire her tenancity and focs.
  • How did she invest this much time and energy into ther children? I'm exhausted all the time, and I don't even really do anything.
  • Why would her husband stay with her? She paints him as a wimp.
  • Should I sacrifice more for my girls? Should I put them first more than I do?

After closing the book, I decided that Chua is no different than any other mother. She wants what is best for her girls. She has an ideal reality in her head, and she's trying anything and everything to make the ideal real. Her parenting methods are just really, REALLY, foreign to most of us. This is a must read for any mother. Even if you are horrified, disgusted, and embarrased for Chua, the book should make any thinking woman - and we are all thinking women - pause, reflect, ponder, and question.

After all ...

"I don't know how anyone else sees the world, and no one else knows exactly how I see the world! We each see in our own, unique way. There isn't a Right or a Wrong, and that's how it's meant to be."  - Zoomy Chamberlain, The Danger Box by Blue Balliett