Turkey Soup with Cabbage and Rice

Last night I accidentally made some of the best soup I have ever unintentionally made. So often I hunt down recipes in a search to find that perfect pot of soup. But last night I found myself dealing with two kids and a turkey.

The turkey has been sitting in our freezer for over a month. Layne received it from work. We knew it and expected it, but since we always go to someone else’s for Thanksgiving, it sat there until last week when Layne took it out to thaw. Then he had to go to Tennessee. We knew we just had to eat the bird. So I roasted it up after an argument with Layne over whether it should be covered (I did not cover it because I’m trying to roast a turkey, not bake it) and it turned out delicious.

Since Layne would theoretically eat most of the turkey, it was up to me to preserve said majority. Which involved making stock. Which involved throwing things into the stock.

And I came up with something very tasty.




6 cups turkey stock

2 cups turkey, chopped into bite-sized pieces.

4 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of garlic

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of pepper

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

2/3 cup of rice

2 cups of chopped cabbage



So after letting my turkey stock simmer away for the appropriate amount of time, I put together my soup.

I cooked up the garlic and onions in the oil until they were nice and pretty and soft. I then poured in the turkey stock and let it get nice and hot before adding the veggies, rice and seasoning. (Feel free to add more seasoning to taste, I happen to really like seasoning.)

I brought the whole thing to a boil, then reduced it to a nice simmer until the veggies were cooked through.

So good.


Cleaning an area rug in the snow.

Earlier this year, I took a look at the white shag rug I had bought for my daughter’s room approximately eighteen months earlier. I thought it would be a cute, girly way to dress up the hardwood floor. And, for a time, it looked great. Until that aforementioned look.

The formally cute white rug was a gross, greasy and untamed forest of nightmares. Curse you, whoever thought of the shag rug.

This led to me reading about cleaning area rugs on the interweb, deciding having the thing professionally cleaned cost more than I paid for it, and eventually to a ghastly incident of attempting to clean it myself in the bathtub and nearly breaking my neck trying to hang it to dry on the swing set.

The good news that during my readings I also found the age-old tip of using snow to clean rugs. It’s a thing, and not terribly unpopular.

Beside the poor white shag rug and a collection of mini rugs scattered about bathrooms and the kitchen, I own two area rugs I inherited from my mother because she thought the bare floor of the living room needed something. I like them and apparently rugs are good for collecting the icky bits in the air, something of a filtration system, if you will, but they do get dirty to a point where vacuuming doesn’t always do the trick. Beating, of course, is a great way to go, but for a decent cleaning without getting the professional involved is where you might want to head out to the snow.

I was happy with it. I had already did it with one rug a few months’ back and was surprised with just how well it worked. Christmas brought a proper White Christmas snowstorm, and I found myself itching during school break to do it again.

So I dragged out my two living room rugs plus the unfortunate white shag rug who had been ostracized to the garage (Spoiler: this one is a lost cause).  I placed them face-down in the snow and went to town with putting carpety stuff to snow. I stomped around on them. I let Ruby stomp around on them. I let Jade crawl around on them. I flipped them over to beat out from the other side. I moved them about a couple of times to get a bit of a dragging motion in.

You want the snow to do its scrubby, icy, slightly wet job of cleaning the rug. I once saw a poster somewhere in some old forum commenting on how horses roll in the snow to clean themselves. Same deal.

I left them to “soak” for a couple of hours. I had not done this last time, and I think I shall recommend the tip.


See all the junk in the snow? That was pulled out of the rug. I also had one which was relieving spots of various Play-Dohs and food and who knows what else into the snow. Kind of cool, kind of gross.

I beat ’em about again, then dragged the rugs back inside. This, I recommend, be done with help. Husband was at work, Jade was asleep (because babies are big muscle help) and Ruby was wisely hiding. Anywho, I hung them over the banister to dry and… do one more little thing.

I don’t have the folksy wisdom or talent of making this better than a professional job, but a bit of baking soda and a brush can always be helpful. I used my brush to scrub at the snow and any particular little problem spots.

Again, a heck’s work of gunk was back in the snow, but I was surprised at how easily I was able to brush out the more stubborn particles. Use the snow! It helps!

I let the rugs hang until they were dry, used the opportunity to clean the living room floor, and later enjoyed the fresh, clean rugs.

Not too bad for a DIY job.

A breastfeeding mom goes to formula

The past couple of months have been an adventure I admittedly did not spend a heck of a lot of time, thought or energy upon, but yet remains one that still has me scratching my head.

I gave my baby Jade formula.

Yes, me. The rah-rah-breastfeeding mom who loved the convenience and cost-efficiency of breastfeeding.

The worst part is that I have yet to even feel bad about it.

Jade has always been a happy baby. Social, cheerful, generally pleasant as far as babies go. But this summer she became, well, a mama’s girl. I figured it was because I was on summer break. I was with her all day. I was spoiling her. Of course she was going to reject people. Of course she was always going to take advantage and would want to nurse frequently. She obviously had turned into a pampered mama’s girl.

Her 6 month checkup changed the situation.

My husband took her in, being all set up for taking small children into the doctor’s office. He then reported that upon weighing, Jade had lost over a pound.

Suddenly the naughtiness of the summer took on a new meaning. Our baby may have been just about starving.

Though I took pride in the quantity of the milk I pumped, something wasn’t going quite right. For one reason or another, Jade was losing weight. Jade was not getting the nutrition she needed.

Here’s where fate led us, to that dreaded moment scorned on all the mommy/breastfeeding forums: The doctor recommended formula.

So… we pulled out the box I had received from Amazon Vine. We pulled out the sample can from the hospital. And, by golly, we gave our baby formula. And when those supplies ran out, we went to the store and bought formula.

My one sadness during this? Formula is sure freakin’ expensive. I mean, wow, you either have to be super-rich or able to receive WIC to afford formula. Luckily, we do have the money and Jade is eating solids. I also continued to breastfeed her whenever she wanted it.

The Interweb, however, almost seems to deem me a failure without be even turning to it. I gave my baby formula. I should be ashamed of myself, or mourning the misfortune that led to this moment.

But Jade gained weight. She became a happy baby again. And a few weeks’ short of a year, we’re slipping her the much-cheaper cow’s milk.

And I’ve yet to feel any sorrow. I know what the Interweb says I should be feeling, but it’s not there. Maybe it’s because I still consider myself a breastfeeding mom, just one doing it for comfort and supply upkeep rather than to fully nourish my child. I’ll make that lovely one-year mark and I’ll keep going if we wish to.

I just have one lingering question… why is using formula such a big deal?

When breastfeeding is just like urination

I enjoy reading fun little articles on my news site of choice, something to take away from all the tragic tales of world and local horror. Yesterday, this piece appeared, sharing the happy little anecdote of a mom with skills so mad she pumped her breasts while running a half marathon. Yes, Ms. Anna Young has some mad pumping skills and running skills. I can manage a pump while I browse the internet during recess and maybe one day I will think about running around the block. I salute you.

However, as comments go, the expected sort came rolling around in due time: How dare she be flashing her non-exposed breasts while people are about! How immodest! How inconsiderate!

And, of course, my favorite: “Peeing and pooping are natural, too! Should we do those in public?”

I respond to that: No. Under most circumstances you should not pee or poop in public. That is gross.

And what in the world does the natural physical actions of urination and defecation have to do with other natural actions?

Are we really failing category sorts that badly in kindergarten?

Many things are natural. That doesn’t mean we lump together in a single category. If you are doing this, you need to return to kindergarten and explore new and more specific ways of sorting objects and concepts.

Because if you equate breastfeeding with urination, there is something very and probably irrevocably wrong with you.

But Emily! I’m not saying breastfeeding is a way of expelling disgusting waste from the human body! I’m simply saying that if urination is done in private, other things ought to be done privately as well.

Gotcha and thanks for that extremely general phrase. Some things ought to be done in private. Okay. So what’s the connection between urination and breastfeeding? That’s a bit of a leap without any steps of logic. What other vague notion should be done in private? Or in public? I think we’re going to need a few more definitions before we start with better categorization.

Breastfeeding is eating. Urination is peeing. They’re extremely different. Ask a medical or biological professional. I’m quite positive they will assure you they are different. Different organs, different purposes, differing fluids.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s see how urination and breastfeeding are the same.

  1. Urine and milk are both liquids and come out of the body.
  2. That’s about the long and the short of it.

This means that if anything is liquid and comes out of the body, it should be done in private. Like crying and bleeding. Crying is for wussies and your arterial damage had best be done away from others.

If you honestly think urination is anywhere in the same ball park as breastfeeding, you also have to keep this straight across the board. If breastfeeding is like urination, it’s unsanitary for human consumption and should not be done to any infant no matter where you are.

But most people don’t think that way, do they?



To parents who can’t get their act together yet send their kids to school anyway…

I write this to all you givers of genetic material who have as of yet not been able to properly grow up. You know, grow up as in act like an adult, pay bills, take care of kids, be responsible members of society. Not those of you who act like the fact that you reached legal age emboldens your special snowflake status. You special snowflake drama queens are the ones I’m talking to.

Thanks a lot for sending your kid to school. Yeah, I’m the teacher. I will love your child and give all that I can reasonably give and probably what I can’t reasonably give to help your kid.

But that doesn’t change the fact your kid is a piece of work and yes, I’m blaming you.

You, the parents who seriously thinks violent pornography is an appropriate passtime show for small children.

The ones who managed to make it to 18 with no concept of how to hold down a job. The ones who grew up in generational poverty and have reached a point of lack of compassion but a nice big entitlement complex. The ones who cry and moan when their bosses tell them they need to get with the program.

You parents who think abuse is funny, that because you survived it it’s A-OK for you to do it to your own kids. And then you get your panties in a bunch when someone suggests otherwise.

I’m blaming your kid’s issues on your complete unawareness of normal human relationships. Because boyfriends and girlfriends who scream and hit are apparently sexy to you. Because your single mother insisted that long-term committed relationships are for pansies and that your freedom to be you is more important than the age-old foundation of society.

I’m blaming you because you think drug and alcohol addictions are the best parenting tool to have.

Because you don’t know how to have a normal relationship with the other parent of your child, whether you’re together or separated.

And then, because you’re just too tired to be a good parent, you send your kid to my classroom only to freak out when I have to spend more time developing semi-normal social and behavioral skills with them instead of “challenging” them with stuff far above their ability level.

You look around and see the other kids who are less than perfect and you think you’re good to go. Well, sometimes and even fairly often awesome parents have kids who are troubled, who need as much help as your kid.

This does not excuse you from being a complete failure as a parent.

Why I use chalkboards in my classroom

Earlier this year I began a DonorsChoose campaign to buy a bunch of lap chalkboards for my classroom. Yes, chalkboards. Chalkboards, mini erasers, and chalk, reminiscent of days gone by happily replaced by white boards and of course the grand almighty Smart Board (and I still don’t know what those really are.) Every person I have talked to shows surprise that chalkboards still exist, let alone are sitting for the purchasing in the Lakeshore catalog, but they were there and on my DonorsChoose campaign they went. A few donations later and they were in my classroom, ready and waiting for student use.

And I love them.

Chalkboards are a thing. That is, the illusion of chalkboards. They’re trendy, they’re pretty, and Pinterest is full of them. Why not the classroom? What is this fear of chalk and chalk dust that has sent us all to Expo marker hell?

A few years ago, my teacher grandmother was going through her things. She had a bunch of mini chalkboards left over from her own teaching days. I was not teaching at that time and my sister took them. Ever since then, they’ve been on the back of my mind. Not overly so; after all, whiteboards are the way to go and you can even buy shower board at the home improvement store.

But some point last year I realized whiteboards aren’t all that awesome. They can get scratched to the point of uselessness and let us not forget their companion, the dry erase marker. Now that is a demon. That innocent little marker gets its tip broken constantly by overeager children and dries up in a flash. How much money did I spend over the years on markers?

My classroom isn’t whiteboard free. I have a big whiteboard on the wall upon which I write. And I even have an almost-class set of little whiteboards. But chalkboards kind of rock and here is why:

  1. Chalk is cheaper than markers. Seriously, chalk is dirt cheap even though it’s better than its icky predecessors. I can buy a whole bunch of chalk for a few dollars and not panic about the financial loss because chalk never dries out! Even broken chalk can be used for its time.
  2. Writing on a chalkboard is ever so much more difficult than writing with marker on a whiteboard. Yes, difficulty isn’t always a good thing, but I’m working with second graders and some of them have crappy motor skills. I noticed this the past two years of working in my current school. Not with chalk, of course, but with crayons. I began to question whether these kids had ever colored before. Then, as a remedy for their terrible fine motor skills, they brought in markers because those were “easier” to color with. Which defeated the purpose. Crayons take more effort than smooth-gliding markers, requiring more muscle coordination, focus, and energy. And up go fine motor skills. Writing with chalk on a chalkboard vs writing with marker on a whiteboard seems to work the same way. I still have kids drawing with the chalk, but it’s not the random scribbles of markers. They have to work a little more, and they honestly seem to think more.
  3. The kids have more fun. Face it, kids love chalk. Sidewalk chalk is still an awesome gift. Even though I have my rules about focusing on the lesson, my kiddos have embraced the chalk and chalkboards. It’s different for them and the chalk comes in more colors than the basic Expo black.
  4. It was good enough for our forefathers. Referring back to Grandma’s chalkboards, I love the classic nature of these things. This is old school elementary.
  5. Less waste. I don’t have a ton of plastic lying about. No dried-up markers, no boxes, just chalk getting used up.


Now I’m rude for breastfeeding in the bathroom

Without showing much tangible activation in groups and movements on or off-line, I’m in favor of breastfeeding rights. Call me rah-rah breastfeeding. I say if a woman wants to breastfeed in public, by golly, she should get to.

There are plenty of stories floating around of incidents rallying against the right to breastfeed in public. Tales of shame and woe, of moms getting kicked out of stores and restaurants for their lack of decency. Not to mention that series of photos showing poor women and babies shoved into toilet stalls, the “go-to” place if you must deign to feed your infant outside of the home.

Use a bathroom! The horror!

Generally speaking, I breastfeed in public. I’ve never been quite the type to feed uncovered, but neither am I about to go out of my way to find some ultra-private nursing spot. It’s never been a problem.

Until today of the ultimate irony and perhaps an important bit in the public breastfeeding debate:

Today we went to a county fair. Instead of eating fair foods, we decided to take the opportunity to visit a Mexican restaurant we love. Jade needed to eat. Now, we actually have been moving her to mainly formula for medical reasons, but we had me instead of a formula.

Somehow, some reason, I got the bug in my brain to leave the table to feed her. I still don’t know why. I wandered away and found myself in the bathroom. Why was I in the bathroom? I honestly didn’t know.

Now, this wasn’t just any bathroom. This was one of the those one-room, one-toilet deals. Nice and roomy but the kind that cause lines.

Barely had I started feeding Jade than I heard the sounds of a small girl outside the door and her mother admonishing her to “wait her turn.”

We are going through potty-training hell with Ruby. You just can’t tell a little girl she can’t go to the bathroom.

And yet, by quietly heading to a bathroom to feed my child, I was ruining others’ lives.

I quickly departed and fed Jade at our table like a sensible person.

Because taking up a whole bathroom to privately feed your child is really rude.