Monday, February 28, 2011

The Winners...

in my mind.
 For taking chances in artistic expression, I love this dress!
 65?!?!? For rocking what you've got.
 For what I am sure was a difficult process of choosing what to wear while pregnant, and making the absolute best choice!
 For being so handsome, taking his Mom to the Oscars and for a phenomenal performance in The Town.
For celebrating her youth in such a classy, girlie way. Yay for healthy role models! The Little Girls gasped when they saw Hailee Steinfeld in this dress.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Do you know what this is?
(I took this photo during lunch, these were the abandoned ones.)
From time to time I substitute teach at the same school where I teach Art. Last week I was in familiar territory, Junior High. My teaching career feels at home in Jr. High, fits like an old shoe. Little has changed in my six year absence, teenage hormones still run amok. One thing that has changed is cell phone domination. EVERYONE has a cell phone, smart phone, excuse for needing to use one. These "shoe" organizers are in every Jr. High/High School classroom but rarely if ever used. I used to walk into the classroom and greet my students with cordial hellos and good morning conversation. Now when I substitute I say this: "Hello, for those of you who do not know me, I am Mrs. Botting. Please bring your cell phones to the "phone" organizer and turn it off. If you fail to turn off your phone before placing it in it's numbered pocket and it rings, chirps, dings, vibrates or sings to me during class I will discard it until the end of the day and you can pick it up in the office tomorrow morning." This greeting is returned with scoffs, complaints, more excuses, jaws dropped and reluctance, but never is it returned with disbelief. I follow through with my promise. I am probably a loathed substitute, the "one who deprives teenagers of their lifelines." But here is what is confounding to me. The school, K-12, amounts to 220 students. Each teacher has a phone on their desk in each classroom. It is connected to intercom and therefore the school office and other classrooms. There is a live person working to answer phones in the office in case a parent should need to contact their child during class. Why then do 11 to13 year-olds need cell phones or even smart phones on and operating during class time? Why do teachers let this interruption exist? There are a lot of issues in American education which prevent students from grade competency, internationally our educational system ranks poorly (have you seen Waiting For Superman???). Is the luxury of allowed cell phone usage helping students to learn the material given by the instructor? Is there even ONE Jr. High school student able to ignore the interruption of an incoming text? 
Today during six grade Art class, a student sat directly in front of me with headphones in her ears. I stopped the instruction and told her to "put it away, how completely inappropriate." She replied unmoved,  "it's paused." 
Yes, I flipped a lid.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meet Kalia.

 My Best Girl Leilani has a new baby, Kalia Ashley. She is perfect. It is lovely to see Leilani with a baby girl. She and her own Mom have such a close friendship, I just know Leilani wants to pass on this closeness to her own daughter. Her family is complete, what more could you ask in wishing for the happiness of your closest friend.
 Look what a sweet snuggle bug she is!
 Proud brother Julian telling us all about his baby sister, they are so lucky to have each other.
Mama Leilani making Red Velvet cupcakes with the kids.
(Thanks L for the photos.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 Our family dog Lexi has died. She was the last of us kids to live at home, surviving each one of us moving out and becoming adults. I imagine she was awfully sad and confused when four children living on the Ranch became zero. She became my Dad's shadow and followed him faithfully everywhere.When we pull up to The Ranch, there she is waiting on the front porch or under the holly tree. She slowly and happily meets you at your car door, hoping for a scratch behind the ear or in our case a runaway treat (i.e. cracker/fruit-snack/goober) that has escaped little fingers and retreated to the floorboards. In winters past she would get so spooked by the thunder and lightning, she would run right through her electric fence. Once she ended up on Hwy 50 (this is far for a dog) with her best girlfriend (neighbor dog) Shirley. Last winter I was with her when she took off during such a storm. My Dad was out of town and I was in absolute panic. Our neighbor the next ranch over brought her and Shirley back a couple hours later. Two weeks ago we walked the property Dad, Sylvia, Tim, The Little Girls and I. Lexi slowly followed us around each acre, lying down when we stopped to chat/play and straining through pain to get up and be with us no matter where--the definition of loyal. Last Wednesday when I pulled up to the house she sat up and looked at me but that was all she could muster.
Early days.
First snow.
 Backpacking with Tim and I.
 A Lexi-loving.
 Every time The Little Girls are around, her tail thumps wildly. I'm glad that in the end she was in the company of children, just like her beginning. I hope it made her feel young again, even if only at heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ouch, That Was Delicious.


 Valentine's Dinner
 The best Chicken and Dumplings recipe ever, made in the slow-cooker.
 Here it is, that Molten Bittersweet Chocolate Cake...
it was STUPID yummy!
I'm sure there was more rolling action taking place while leaving the dinner table than usual.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines Day Honey Hutters!
These are what The Little Girls will be waking up to plus heart shaped pancakes.
 My plan is to make a delicious feast for dinner, tasty enough to rival any restaurant fare. I'm a little under the weather with a head cold so we'll see how much energy I can muster to spoil my darlings with these 
 Molten Bittersweet Chocolate Cakes like I had intended. 
What will you be doing for Valentines Day?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Right Now...

...the dining room table is full of half finished Valentines, it's maybe 60 degrees outside (in the sun) and The Little Girls are running around the house in undershirts and underwear distracted here and there by Barbie tattoos (supposed to be used with Valentines, instead are for personal use) 

and the birthday party happening in the doll house, Tim is cleaning up The Little Girls' lunch plates and trying to do computer work and I am conscientiously ignoring the new sore scratchy throat and runny nose I woke up to.

Here is what I am looking forward to this weekend:
Finishing Valentines
Dinner with Tim's Parents (I've been looking forward to this all week!)
Taking the little girls to a play, Charlotte's Web by Imagination Theater
A potential day trip to Sutter Creek
The Antique Faire
Meeting Kalia, Leilani's new baby girl.

Have a splendid weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Sweet Treat.

 Our (often) Monday play-date friends Hudson and his Mom Kristi invited us over to make Valentine Cupcakes--Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting!
 The Little Girls with their treasure.
 Hudson finally getting his reward.
 Sweet Baby Reese, the perfect baby.
 Lego playtime, together!
Thank you Kristi and Hudson for a fun morning and tasty lunch, you are so sweet.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie.

 Every February I try in earnest to replicate my Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie. Something always goes wrong; I get lazy and use jello pudding mix instead of making from scratch, the crust shrinks, the meringue shrinks or falls flat. This year I was more determined than ever so I went straight to my Mom's resource, Fannie Farmer (this cookbook is a staple, a bible for cooks).
 The recipe with it's aged spots of egg white, vanilla and lemon zest.
The result. It turned out perfect.
There was not a crumb to spare once the pieces were cut, every bite was heaven.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Do you get the Anthropologie Catalog? It is such a visual treat. These outfits have me a little blue about my current pregnant body, knowing that I will be missing out on even the hope of wearing these Spring Fashions. I'm going to have to work them in somehow.
 I'd wear this to a Garden party.
Page 7
This I'd pack to Seattle.
Page 28
Page 32
Page 4
Actually all these outfits are belted, probably why I'm swooning...definitely not going to be able to work them in this Spring. I'm missing my waist already. Cute though, right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Movin' On Up.

 When Ivy started Ballet School, Savannah was on the cusp of moving up to the next level--The White Class. I asked her teacher to hold her back and stay in The Pink Class in order that Ivy's transition be smooth, comfortable and our trips to the school (30 minutes away) be one instead of two times a week. It has been nice to see both girls in the class together but ballet is Savannah's passion, not Ivy's. Tired of fighting her on attending classes, Ivy's ballet stint is over so Savannah is moving on up. Last week was Savannah's last pink class. It was bittersweet as I realize how proud of her I am and how much I miss her early days in ballet as a toddler.

And looking back at her first class...