Sunday, December 5, 2010


This is the season of birthdays:
Michelle (my sister) ~ November 28

Josh (my sister's youngest) ~ December 5

Kathy (my mother-in-law) ~ December 5

My birthday ~ December 6

Facebook is fun because it tells everyone about your birthday, and a lot of people leave some very nice notes on your wall. It gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling without the alcohol.
Fast forward... yikes! I got too busy to finish this post, plus my laptop got a virus. At least I can add two more birthdays to this list:

Adam Timothy St. Romain ~ December 7

Zachary Tyler King ~ December 23

And my friend, Suzanne, had her first baby Cameron Jason on January 4th!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Kittens vs. Moldy Update

Moldy still does not like the kittens, but life has been getting a little easier. Moldy had started staying out all day and most of the night. She would only come in through the bedroom in the middle of the night, sleep for just few hours, and then beg to go back out 10 minutes before Matthew's alarm was to go off.

Matthew ordered doors for the basement and had them put up. We have since moved the kittens to the basement! This has been such a wonderful change. Moldy will come in the front door in the evening, sleep through the night with us, and go out in the morning. Sometimes she stays in for the day. The kittens are happy with all of their toys, and we let them up when Moldy is outside. It has been a win-win situation.

We have been trying to get the kittens accustomed to being outside, and so far Dizzy loves it but Miles begs to come back inside. Yesterday, progress was made. Check them out!

This is what they usually look like... a blur. I call Dizzy my little fatty, because all he does is eat. Miles is going to be a huge cat. His tail is as long as he is, and his paws are big. Dizzy's fur is getting longer. I love the little white patch on his chest.

I can't believe how much they have grown! Here is their very first post.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Oh, my... where to begin? The week after my last post I was busy with our Berrian All-County Orchestra Festival. My students and students from the other 3 high schools combined into one large orchestra. There was a Monday night rehearsal, and Tuesday was an all day affair with rehearsals and a concert. Our guest conductor was Dr. Rebecca MacLeod from UNCG (my alma mater), and she was fantastic!

The following weekend I drove the activity bus for my friend, Kelly, and her Honors Theatre class. They had a competition at Western Carolina. The leaves were perfect that weekend, but alas I did not get any pictures. :( Both plays received superior ratings! Kelly received an excellence in directing award, and four of her students received acting accolades.

I spent the next week sick with a head cold. I tried to tough it out, but by Wednesday I was knocked on my you-know-what. I decided to take Thursday off to recover, and I was so glad I did. I got some much needed rest.

That Sunday, I pick up my friend, Andrea, and we traveled to Winston-Salem for the NC Music Educator's Conference. We had a great time. The NC Honors Orchestra's performance was incredible! We attended several interesting sessions and caught up with some friends we only see one or twice a year at All-State events. Our hotel was amazing and took great care of us. We were on the 14 floor, which was a little strange being so far way from the earth. We checked-out around lunch on Tuesday. I did not return home but to school where my students were performing. The Fine Arts Department at West is amazing, and we showcased some of our students' hard work.

I had school on Wednesday, then I was off on Thursday for Veteran's Day. I thoroughly enjoyed my play day (aka Target shopping) with my friend, Beth. Then we were back to school on Friday... which didn't feel like Friday... it was a little strange.
Last week was a normal week, so to speak. I had some good lessons last week as we prepare for our Winter Concert.

This week rocked because it was only two days. Yesterday, I drove to Cashiers to spend the afternoon with my college roommate, Misty. We had a great afternoon! Her son, Cody, just turned 1, and he was all over the place. He is a cutie pie, too! Sadly, I had to leave around 5pm to get back to Mills River for a rehearsal. I am excited to play for Mills River UMC's Christmas Cantata. I was sight-reading last night, but I made it through. It is going to be a lot of fun, and I am thrilled to be playing. I never realize how much I miss performing... which reminds me... I really need to audition for the Hendersonville Symphony again...

OK. That gets us up to today!

H A P P Y T H A N K S G I V I N G ! ! !

I am thankful for so much in my life. I don't know where to begin. I have a wonderful family which includes Sutherlands and Kings. I have wonderful, loving husband. I have wonderful friends with whom I can share much laughter and good times. And my list could go on and on...

My potato gratin with rosemary crust is in the oven... my kitchen is almost clean... laundry is going... kitties are sleeping... I'd say life is pretty good! I am very excited to see my friend, Jenny, and her family this weekend, and I am excited to see my sister and her family. I miss my boys! So maybe next post will have some pictures! :)

May you all be blessed and have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Bread Pt. 2 & 3

Here is the bread after 12 hours in a warm place, and my two greased loaf pans.

After some satisfying pounding down of the dough, I separate it in half. I give each half and extra knead or two to get some of the bubbles out. These return to the microwave/warm spot for another 12 hours. (I hope you like the shot with my trashcan and Shark steamer mop.)

(Sorry there is no picture for Pt. 3.)
I pop the risen loaves into a 350 degree oven to bake for 30 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown on top. They rest in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then I flip them out to sit on the rack until they are cooled completely. At this point, I am wanting to slice the loaf in half and eat it. I opt for a single slice with some butter. They need to cool completely before bagging them so they will not mold as fast. Good stuff!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making Bread Pt. 1

In college, a friend gave Matthew some potato/sourdough starter. He made the most amazing bread, and I did not understand the process at the time.
Fast forward 9 years....
A friend has given us more starter! Matthew made the bread the first few times, but then I had to make the bread (I can't remember why). Matthew claimed it was better than the bread he makes. I am not a baker, and I never have been. But here is my version of making sourdough bread.

I start with 5 cups of unsifted bread flour, 1/2 C. sugar, and 1 tbs. salt. We prefer Gold Medal Brand Unbleached Flour. On the left you can see my wet ingredients (1 1/4 C. warm water, 1 C. starter, 1/3 C. vegetable oil), and I am getting ready to put the starter back in the fridge. Even if you don't make bread, you must feed the starter at least once a week!

Here I am mixing the wet into the dry ingredients.

I stir it with the wooden spoon (NOT metal) until it begins to get sticky. Then I start to mix it with my hands, and I add more flour until I get a consistency that is still a little sticky but not dry either. I usually flip it onto the counter to finish kneading it, and I wash and dry the bowl.

I add oil to the bowl, then put the dough in and flip it over to coat all sides with the oil.

I cover it, and then it sits in the microwave (it can go on top of the fridge if you have space) to rise for 12 hours. See you at 10am tomorrow!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


When we built the house, we knew curtains were needed to help protect all the wood trim and floors from the sun. I wanted to make curtains, because I haven't seen any for sale that suit this house. This summer I found a fabric that was perfect, and then it sat all summer because I could not decided how to make the curtains. Should I make tabs, or just an opening?
Matthew and I went to the store and figured it out. We purchased some plain curtains for his office (temporary, I hope), and decided to buy rings that clip to a panel. A simple panel! Why didn't I think of that? I made one complete curtain that afternoon. I made 2 more (4 panels) yesterday. It took ALL day. I am lining them which is difficult. Each panel was re-pinned at least once, but I think they look nice. Matthew thinks they help accentuate the trim around the windows.

Pinning and ironing was part of the problem. I don't have a large, flat surface on which to iron my panel. Matthew just had a great idea to lower the ironing board to the level of the table so the panel will stay flat. Great. Now he tells me. Haha!
It did feel good to get out the sewing machine. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kitten Update

My goodness it has been awhile, and the boys have been growing! They are almost tall enough to knock over the trash can. Miles and Dizzy have recently discovered they can run up and down the stairs, and Miles almost figured out how to go through the cat door. I locked it so he could not get into the basement. Here's a pic of the boys chasing each other up the stairs.

My friend, Beth, gave me this box for toys.

Moldy is doing about the same. She hisses and growls at them. Apparently, I have a nice little head cold that kept me up last night. At one point the kittens were outside the bedroom door, and Moldy, curled up in the bed with us, hissed and growled when she heard them. Oh well... I am going to make her have some forced family time in the same room with the kittens today.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Time, the Great Smokies!

It has been another beautiful weekend in WNC! Mom and dad came to visit, and we tried to take them to Cataloochee. Off we go to Maggie Valley, follow the signs, and BOOM! We get cannot continue because an 18-wheel moving truck got stuck in a switchback. Someone had some very bad directions... Dad and Matthew checked it out, and we were not going to wait around because... well... it was going to be awhile.

Matthew decided that we should go see the Mingus Mill. It is a working, turbine gris mill.

After the wheat has been ground, it goes back upstairs to be turned into to 4 different grades of flour, and it is sent back downstairs in these shoots.

The turbine is hydro powered. Unfortunately, the mill was out-of-order. Matthew and I have been when it was working, and it is very loud. You can buy corn meal or whole wheat flour ground at the mill.

This the water flue which turns the water wheel, which turns the turbine. (That's a whole lotta turnin'!)

We had a great day hanging with mom and dad!

Craggy Gardens

The past few weekends have been perfect weather! Matthew and I decided to take advantage of our beautiful mountains. He had been talking about going to Craggy Gardens for the past month, and we had the perfect opportunity last weekend.

So we set off down our back roads through Gerton, Fairview, and Asheville where we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Following the brown park signs, we found the Craggy Gardens picnic area and a trail.
We began walking up, and up, and up... We found a shelter at the top. From there you have three choices: 1) Go back; 2) Continue through the meadow; 3) Continue past the shelter. We chose #2 and found a beautiful view at the end. Matthew is a geography buff and can usually name one or two of the mountains we see. From the end of the meadows, you come back to the shelter where we were back to choices #1 and #3, so we chose #3 this time. We weren't sure where this trail would take us, but it was a pleasant little hike through the woods with various signs describing the high elevation environment (a little over 5,000 ft).

We hiked for several minutes and debated about turning back. We could hear road noise (which I thought was taking us back to the parking lot, Matthew knew that it was the parkway), so we found the end of the trail... at the Visitor's Center!

The view from the Visitor's Center.

This is the view from the top of the first trail near the shelter (taken with my panoramic option).

It was the perfect hike. The weather was a little overcast and cool, but I didn't mind a bit!

It was time for lunch, and thanks to my nifty, little Blackberry we found a restaurant on the way home. Folks in the Asheville area, or folks visiting the area, I HIGHLY recommend Pomodoro's. Matthew had a delicious frittata with sausage and red peppers. I had shrimp and polenta with sausage and goat cheese (per suggestion from our server). It was a great way to end our Blue Ridge excursion!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

No Need for Fancy Toys

Matthew has a 9̊0̊ degree PVC elbow that has been left by the front door. (Probably with hopes of returning it to Lowe's). It has since become a source of play for the kittens.

6 Week Check-Up

So it's just another day in the King house... It started to rain, and Moldy came inside. Much to her dismay, the kittens were playing. Here she is trying to pretend she isn't looking at Miles.

Here is how she REALLY looked...

Every morning is filled with the sounds of the kittens wrestling. Dizzy just loves to play on and around the dining room chairs.

Dizzy throws a paw through the slats...

"I'm going to get you!!!!", says Dizzy.

"Ha ha! You missed me!", says Miles.

Then they roll around play fighting on the floor.
Sing it with me now, "Everybody was kungfu fighting... "

It is so much fun watching them and hearing them play! I took them for their first vaccination on Thursday. Miles cried out when the vet stuck the needle in him. :( Dizzy didn't get the chance because I put my hand over his face. I gave them their first pill last night for worms, and I am working on picking the fleas off of them. They are too little for flea medicine, so I may try to bathe them. I consulted the vet about it, and he said I could.

So it's just been fun and games here! I ordered something called "Feliway" which is a plug-in diffuser which will hopefully help Moldy adjust to the kitten smell. I'll let you know if it works!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The past week

Schoooooool is back. in. session.... I returned to my classroom on Wednesday the 18th. I'm not exactly sure what all I accomplished that day except maybe catch up with folks and look at all the mess I left myself last June.
Thursday, I may have been slightly more productive. I believe I recycled a ton of papers... and... uh... OH! I moved my desk. I now have my own "space" in which children cannot intrude!
Friday was our first required workday which meant I got to sit in the media center ALL day. Fun times... We covered all the usual beginning of the year stuff and met our 13 *new* staff members. We had some teachers retire over the summer. Our median staff age has been around 40? Our new staff has lowered that by about 10 years. They even make me feel old! Haha?
The weekend proved to be uneventful. Monday I spent MORE time in meetings and no time in my room. Oh well...
Tuesday! Finally! A day in my room! Unfortunately I had to take Dizzy to the vet, because he had a case of what we call "the gallop and splatters". I'll leave out the details, but in the end (no pun intended) he was fine. I had to leave school to pick him up by 4pm, and he got to come back to school with me so I could finish getting ready for the arrival of students. It worked out that Matthew was able to come pick him up. :)
My schedule:
I have a Senior homeroom which means I will have TONS of paperwork for them to sign. It also means I will have to stay on them to make sure they get it turned in on time. My job is to make sure they graduate, so I WILL be keeping up with their grades and absences.
1st Period: Orchestra!
2nd Period: Chorus of 7 students - Not only will we sing, but they are going to learn how to play piano!
L U N C H ! ! !
3rd Period: Orchestra with a lot of freshmen and 7 A/B Day students (they switch between an AP class and my class all year)
4th Period: PLANNING!!!! So far, I am loving it! I am NOT a morning person, therefore I don't tend to get much done if I have planning 1st.
So far my day is over before I realize it! I am doing a better job with planning this year (one of my goals). I am really looking forward to this semester. Every semester is new and different in my curricula. I don't have to teach the same thing, 3 times a day, twice a year. Year 5 (at West, 6th overall) definitely feels better and less like I'm on probation. At the end of the semester, I will need to come back and read this post to see if or how my feelings have changed. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More kittens

The kittens come out of their room in the morning and play, play, play. They mostly chew on my Chacos or play fight with each other. After a good time playing, they nap. When Dizzy woke up, he began mewing like crazy. Miles looked around, yawned, and jumped off my lap for more play.

Meanwhile, I thought Moldy might be making progress. She jumped off the bed to come into the living room window. She kept a watchful eye on those little ones. As soon as they went to sleep, she moved to a closer viewing spot. She hissed at Dizzy because he got within 3 feet. I just heard Moldy go through her door to the basement, hopefully to use her litter box. I was trying to make nice with her, and she clawed me. I let her outside before I went to take a shower. Everytime I let her out, I have a fear that she migth not come back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Additions

About a week ago, Matthew's brother, David, found 5 kittens (3 black, 1 gray, & 1 tabby) abandoned by their mother. He called his girlfriend, Marie, and she picked them up and took them to the vet. While at the vet's office, a kind woman inquired about the contents of her box. She took one of the black kittens right then and there!

The kittens checked out and were only 3-4 weeks old! They are tiny but allowed to eat softened kitten food. Marie managed to find homes for 2 of the kittens (gray & 1 black). I met them and decided to take the tabby. He is feisty!

She was down to my tabby and the last black one hanging out in the crate together. The person who was going to take the black one decided that it wouldn't work out. Sooooo, on my way home today, I kittenapped the remaining two kittens. They are adorable!

The tabby likes feet, and I am going to have to nip that in the bud! I have them in the spare bathroom because they are too tiny to let roam around the house. Marie did a great job of keeping everything organized for them, so when they did move it would be easy.

Moldy is a different story. She does not like the kittens, but this is nothing new. In the 7 years we have had Moldy, we tried a dog, a dog, a dog, a cat, & a dog. None of these were received well, but most of them we didn't keep long enough for her to decide. The last dog we kept for a year, and she never did get accustomed to him. Here she is pleading to go outside so she doesn't have to smell the new kittens.

I have heard from several people introducing new kittens/cats in their already cat established homes, and they all say that no one gets along at first. At least right now, Moldy is curled up contentedly on a chair near me. A couple of days ago, she said, "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" after she met the new kitten.

This will be a new adventure for me! I am not necessarily keeping the black kitten, but I am more than happy to keep him with his tabby brother until he find a home. I thank Marie and David for caring for these little kittens.

If anyone would like a cute, black kitten... let me know! :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Summed Up

7 Year Anniversary...

Visits from nieces...

Visits from nephews (& mom)...

Lots of interesting critters hanging around...

A summer with friends and family full of good food, great laughs, & some beautiful scenery...

One week until my first workday & looking forward to a great school year!