About Me

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I am a stay-at-home mom of two sons, 12 and 10. I used to be an advertising manager. I love my new career and have thrown myself completely into it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament - Oh My!

My youngest son is currently obsessed with Yu-Gi-Oh. A friend of his got him into it and now he collects the cards and watches episodes on the computer. He's even gotten his older brother into it, although he's not quite as interested. So his friend told us about a card shop that has tournaments on weekends. He's been going about every other weekend for about a year now and my son really wanted to try it out so I agreed.

We met the friend, his mom and another boy there to try it out. It started at 2pm on Saturday and the mom told me it could last until 6 or 7! I already told my sons that we would only stay for a couple of hours, not the whole time. Well, all I can say is that it was strange. There were probably about 25-30 people there and everyone except for my sons and the two other boys was in their teens or their 20's. The guy my youngest son played (he's 9) seemed to be in his mid-20's. My 10-year old played a guy who seemed a little younger, like his early 20's. Of course, my sons couldn't compete with these guys and the one playing my older son seemed nice but the other guy was strange and not very nice and my son said later that he was mean and he didn't like him. After the first game, both sons had had enough and didn't want to continue with the tournament. That was fine with me! The whole scene kind of gave me the creeps. It seems odd to me that men in their 20's would be so into Yu-Gi-Oh. I didn't think the tournament would be like that - I thought it would be a bunch of kids playing together and that it would be kind of cute. Boy was I wrong!

Have any of you had any Yu-Gi-Oh experiences or similar ones with other games or collectible items? What were your thoughts?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Last Quarter of the School Year

Well, I can't believe the last quarter of school is here. This year has gone by really fast (they all seem to when you look back on them). My experiment of being room mom in both my sons' classes is coming to an end soon. I'm kind of sad about it. I've had fun, although there have been some hectic times. I'm gearing up for things to get really busy at the end of the year.

Right now I'm heading a committee for a day-long celebration for the 5th grade called American Heritage Day. This is a day where we will have various speakers talk to the children and their parents about their specific experiences of being an American. I'm not sure who the speakers will be yet but in the past they have had people from various countries talking about what it meant to them to become American citizens, someone serving in the military and a politician. There will be three sessions throughout the day with three speakers per session. My committee is in charge of sending out sign-up sheets for the children to select which speakers they want to hear each session. Then we will assign the kids to the various speakers throughout the day and make a program highlighting the speakers and the schedule and registering the children the day of the event. The next few weeks will be busy getting everything organized for this. Everything seems to be fairly quiet in 3rd grade until June, so I'll be able to focus on this.

I also need to start working on the end-of-year gifts we'll be giving to the teachers. I'm planning on putting together a small scrapbook for my sons' teachers with each child making an individual page with a note to the teacher and any pictures they may want to include. I'll also put together some pages with pictures of events throughout the year like field trips and parties. Unfortunately, I can't find our camera - it's been missing since Easter. So if I don't find it, I'll need to rely on pictures from other parents.

I'll keep posting the goings-on for the next couple of months. More to come!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Is It So Hard To Roast A Chicken?

I really am a good cook. I used to be even better, but now I'm always rushing and cooking unfortunately has become more of a chore - it used to be one of my hobbies. One dish I just haven't truly mastered, though (I'm ashamed to say), is a roast chicken. I've tried a number of times because roasting a whole chicken is economical, delicious and every good cook should be able to master it (I've been told). So I tried again last night. I follow the recipe from The Joy of Cooking and I had even seen an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show which showed how Thomas Keller roasts a chicken. It all seems simple enough.

I had the chicken sit on the counter for about half an hour so it would warm up. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I rinsed, patted dry and trussed the bird. I put melted butter all over it and sprinkled some kosher salt on it. When the oven was ready, I put the bird in. After 5 minutes, I turned the heat down to 350 degrees. I basted it 2-3 times and let it cook for over an hour and a half (it weighed 4-3/4 lbs). During the last 10-15 minutes, I turned the heat up to 400 to try to crisp and brown the skin more. Then I took the chicken out and let it sit for about 10 minutes, while I tented it with aluminum foil.

It still had some pink (even red) areas that looked undercooked. My husband absolutely hates that and was getting turned off as he was carving it. Also, even though I truss the bird and baste it a few times during cooking, the sides of the legs don't get crisp and brown. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong unless my oven just isn't working right. Maybe my oven's thermometer is off and I need to increase the heat the whole time to 375.

Any ideas? Any opinions or tricks that have worked for you? I'm getting gun-shy about trying roasting a chicken again but I sure would like to figure it out?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Action Replay and Skateboards

My two sons are in the middle of a 3-week break (they go to year-round school). I thought things would slow down a bit and I had a (apparently delusional) plan to sort through our clutter during this 3-week hiatus. Instead, I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off and dealing with the strangest issues that I had no idea were going to come up.

First was Action Replay. If you don't know what this is, it's for games played on Nintendo DS and it gives players cheat codes to help them figure out how to play the game and get more points (I think - I don't know it as well as my son does). With previous games, he's just used Action Replay when he's wanted to and everyone's happy and I don't have to get involved - because I know nothing about these games or how to operate a DS. Then he got a new game: Pokeman Soulsilver. It just came out recently and I was surprised he wanted it because he hasn't been interested in any of his other Pokeman games for awhile. Well, Action Replay doesn't have codes for Pokeman Soulsilver. I was told that I could go on their website and manually download them. I went on their website, my husband went on their website, my son went on their website. We couldn't figure out how to download these codes. I tried calling their customer service number for about a week and even tried their automated help line when I couldn't get through to a live person. It was just so frustrating! I tried talking to the store where we get all our games (Gamestop) and after talking to three different employees, nobody seemed to know how to do it and they referred me to Action Replay's website (not going to help!) Finally, finally, one morning I just kept clicking on different areas on their website and got to an area where it seemed to tell you how to manually download codes. I called my son and had him get me to the right screens on the DS as I followed the instructions - it worked! Hallelujah!! However, you should see how many numbers and letters you have to download! I told my son I would download maybe 3 or so a day until we had them all. I felt suddenly very tech-savvy and proud of myself. Now a week later, somehow everything's gotten erased on his DS and he's not sure how. So, I get to re-download all the codes and cross my fingers that it doesn't happen again this time.

Then there's the skateboard. I had the foolish notion that you could just go out, buy a skateboard with your son and be done with it. Silly me. The first skateboard was fine at first, but after a couple of days, it started veering to the left. My husband tried fiddling around with various screws and such and nothing helped. So we took the board back and bought a different one. This one started veering to the right almost immediately. When we went back to the store, an employee told us to spray graphite on the wheels. We tried that and it didn't do anything. So we took that board back and went looking at different stores. After going to about four various sport and board shops and talking to various people, we bought our third board. We made sure this board rolls straight and my son tried it out and liked how it feels. All this took about a week to finally figure out. Is he outside riding his board now? No. He says it's too loose, even though the person at the shop said it was a tight board after he got on it. So my husband will tighten the d#mn thing and hopefully my son will decide it's fine to ride. Otherwise, he pays us back.

One more week of Spring Break to go. Will I ever get to our clutter?