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Last August we picked up our baby goats from 4footers Homstead in Jericho,VT. We got them as pets and lawnmowers. Seems that we were ahead of our time. Recently, Google announced that it had brought in herds of goats to mow the lawn at their California headquarters. Now, in today’s paper, the State of Maryland highway department is using goats to mow the lawn on the sides of the highway where there are endangered turtles living. Here’s a link to the article.

Perhaps we need to think about renting out our goats.

The team’s performance went well, although they were hyper critical. None of the teams thus far have had flawless performances and our team was no exception. However, they are quick on their feet and managed to take it all in stride. They knew and we knew but it seems that the audience hadn’t a clue. It will be interesting to see how they scored. The second part of the competition, the spontaneous event, takes place today, this morning in fact. It was their score on their spontaneous problem that put them into first place at the state level competition.

The video of the performance is available online as is the video of the “destruction”. Seems that a big part of the Worlds’ performance is the fact that you will never need this stuff again. The kids had a blast, blew off some energy and just generally had fun.

Today is the big day. I am heading over now for their performance this afternoon. It has been a great experience for the kids, no matter what happens this afternoon. I am sure that the trip itself will be the memories of a lifetime. I hopefully will have the video posted to qik.com and you can access it by this link:

http://www.qik.com/tammyheff

Fingers crossed that they have a good experience, win or lose!

Yesterday was a blur. We woke at 3 and drove 1 1/2 hours to the airport then traveled and traveled and traveled yet again. We arrived safely here in Iowa, registered, found our dorm rooms, unloaded and unpacked and set off in the pouring rain to trade pins and check things out.

Timmy has met kids from around the world. He has talked to them and traded pins with them… It has been a once in a lifetime experience for him and I think that it is pretty neat myself.

I hope to get some pictures online. Today was spent unloading the props, unpacking the props and checking them over for any travel related issues. Tonight is opening ceremonies. We are off now to dinner and then to the ceremonies.

before I leave – in the event that I don’t return – or worse in the eyes of some – that I have computer problems and cannot log in –  the horror of it.  I am typing this at 3:57 a.m. as I wait for our friend who is driving us to Albany to the airport. We are off on an adventure to Iowa – me with about 4 hours of sleep and not all that good if I do say so myself.

It is 30 degrees right now and we had to cover EVERYTHING last night because we had a freeze alert. A freeze, the day after Memorial Day, can you imagine that?! We really do live in the frozen North.

Lots was done and Tom did keep me busy to not obsess with everything until I got inside. Think we remembered everything. Hope so, too late now.  Hopefully I will be posting from the road.

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The littlest T came home last night with his handmade mug – to join my other mugs. And within minutes of being home, it was washed and already a host to a cup of tea – the trial run so to speak. He was so anxious for me to take it for a test drive, that I really had no choice. Each of the boys has made a mug and looking at them together says a lot about their individual personalities. The mug on the left, the largest mug, belongs to the oldest. It is the biggest of the three, and while physically it doesn’t symbolize him (since the oldest and the middle are vying these days for whose the tallest) it does symbolize his personality. He is confident, larger  than life in many ways, independent and not afraid to speak his mind – sometimes to his own detriment especially these days when it is directed at one of his parents. The mug on the right was crafted by our middle son. It is very well thought out, a lot of attention to detail, creative, much like our middle son. He is very empathetic, very concerned about other’s feelings and very creative. He does nothing without it being deliberate and planned, even sometimes to his detriment when we are all waiting on him to finish, find or do, something. The middle mug, which is the smallest, is the newest to the collection. The one crafted just weeks ago by our youngest. It is the smallest in size of the three. It is colorful and well shaped, the handle is easy to hold and it is more shaped like a tea cup than a mug. Tim is probably by far the most rounded of the boys, since he has his hand into everything, sports, drama, music, socializing. His talent lies in his personality, his “theatrics” if you will, so the mug, with it’s curves and color, fits him just fine.

It is always interesting to see how the boys are similar and different from each other. I think that these mugs concretely demonstrates some of those similarities and differences.

The week is progressing, not quite the way I wanted. I still have way too much stuff to do and way too little time to do it in. I know that on Monday I am going to be lunatic girl, and will probably forget most of what I wanted to do/bring/get/remember. I keep telling myself that this is supposed to be fun. My idea of fun would have been traveling with my hubby, so there is another adult on duty and responsible enough to remind me of all the things I know that I will forget. Ah…no use complaining, I am sure that it will all work out in the end.

I love when I just happen upon a new blog – I came this blog Large Family Life from the writer’s comment about bees and autism (both of which I can relate to). While grazing through her posts, I came upon this one about Mother’s Day. When things are so well written that they strike something in me, I feel compelled to share. This is an excerpt from Maria’s blog post and I appreciate what she has written.

I leave you with this excerpt from Nicole Johnson’s novel The Invisible Woman (W Publishing Group, 2005):
I’m invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She’s going … she’s going … she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
* No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.
* These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
* They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
* The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.”
And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,”You’re gonna love it there.”
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

I can relate to Maria – not so much because of the large family (she outdoes me by 3) but she is also a lawyer and a mom. We have to stick together. Some days I feel invisible – today is one of them.

A week from tomorrow we leave for Worlds. And while Tim is excited, I have so much to get accomplished this week it isn’t even funny. The list is something like: Do research on product liability law and draft a summary judgment motion and brief and finish two issues for work. That is in addition to preparing tuna salad for 30 for the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon tomorrow and helping set up and serve, putting together a CD of pictures of Tim for the Moving Up Ceremony Power Point presentation that they are putting together, getting the house in order, the laundry done, the packing done and remembering everything that I am supposed to bring for Tim and I for next week and everything that I am supposed to leave set up and together for the hubby and the boys who are staying home. Geez, I need a personal assistant since I have already forgotten the name of the boys’ piano teacher while calling her to tell her that we didn’t forget our lesson and were on our way and forgot totally about a pampered chef party I was supposed to attend at a friend’s house yesterday afternoon. Either too much to get accomplished or early onset of Alzheimer’s.

On another note, around the T’s house, we have a little joke going on with Tyler. Thankfully as TJ gets more teenager-y, Tyler is getting more and more affectionate and just happy to socialize with us (which is quite the opposite of son #1 – who would prefer that we cease to exist completely – unless of course, it involves driving him somewhere). Today, Ty was IM’ing me and keeps messing up on the “v” while typing – so luv you keeps coming out lub you. Tom and I were happy to play along and before you know it – we all lub each other and were laughing. Tonight on his way up to bed, he couldn’t resist – and I got another “Goodnight Mom – lub you”.  Geez, what more could a Mom ask for — all the Lub in the world.  :)

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Our two oldest boys were inducted into the Order of the Arrow during their Ordeal this weekend. While the details must remain secret (I can’t tell you or I’ll have to kill you seems to be the motto), us parents did get the inside scoop but little Tim can’t know since he may be eligible next year and that would ruin all the fun for him.

The Order of the Arrow is the national honor society of scouting. It recognizes those scouts that are elected by their peers as exemplifying scouting ideals. The boys were given their sashes last night and wore them home proudly this morning.

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Today was the culmination of all the 6th graders’ hard work. They had each picked a country and prepared an exhaustive report on everything about that country and presented it to their classmates. The conclusion is the International buffet, where each student picks a recipe representative of their chosen country, either an appetizer, entree or dessert, and prepares that recipe for a buffet to which all the teacher and parents are invited.  Tim’s country was Ireland, his report was informative and funny, his own unique style. Contrary to my pleading for an easier dish, such as Irish stew, he insisted on Guinness battered onion rings (recipe follows) which not only looked and tasted great, but of which he was very proud. Bravo, 6th graders! A delicious lunch and a great time was had by all.

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Now, the recipe:

  • 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4 slices and separated.
  • 1 12oz bottle of Guiness stout
  • 2 cups of brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of fine cornmeal
  • 2 T. paprika
  • 2 T. cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Canola oil for frying

Heat oil in frying pan. Mix together beer, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, 1 c. flour and 1/2 c. cornmeal. In a separate plate mix together remaining flour and cornmeal. Dip onion slices into batter and then dredge in cornmeal/flour mixture. Put into frying pan and fry until golden brown about 4 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels and salt.

What’s a girl to do when she has to do dinner, pronto? Open the fridge, dig out the leftover taco meat and whoa-la – Taco Casserole! It was a hit with the boys and tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

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For those that care – here’s the recipe:

  • Taco meat – about 1 pound cooked and seasoned
  • crushed tortillas or leftover taco shells
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced black olives
  • diced tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa

1. Spread taco meat into casserole dish. I pre-heated the leftover taco meat in the microwave since I was pressed for time.

2. Spread with black olives and diced tomatoes.

3. Cover with crushed tortillas or taco shells.

4. Spread about 1 cup of shredded cheese over that.

5. Place in 400 degree preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, spread shredded lettuce and salsa over top.

7. Enjoy!

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Evilwife on the move

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© Happenings on the Hill,
http://tammyheff.wordpress.com
2012.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Evilwife and Happenings on the Hill (http://tammyheff.wordpres.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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