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The Art of Racing – Week Four

Posted by casey on July 30, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me

The Art of Racing – Week Three Reflection – Chapters 10 – 18

This past week more than ever it has been difficult for me to put the book down, and when I saw Chapter 19 approaching I had to use serious restraint.  I decided that as the “moderator” of this little adventure I truly need to hold back so that I am not clouded on our discussion questions with what I know is around the corner.  Despite the funny events, and Enzo still proving to be a highly intelligent pup in this last assignment I felt a bit sorry for him.

I was sad that he was left alone as I often wonder what my pups think and feel if they are left for an extended period (not three days of course), and I thought it was interesting that he didn’t address whether dogs have a sense of time or not since you always hear about that.  I also felt sadness that Enzo was “ready” but for the first time I understood his wanting to move on after the Mongolian beliefs were explained.  Enzo is taking honor in this decision and is of course excited to get to what he believes will be his human life.

Suspense with the racing, suspense with Eve’s help, suspense with the fall, this last assignment had me flipping those pages swiftly! If you didn’t see my response do last week’s discussion topics, you can read them in the comments section here. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing your thoughts via email and the comments, keep on reading!

Don’t know what I am talking about, read about our “Read-Along“, and join us!

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Reading Assignment : Week Four
– Chapters Nineteen through Twenty Nine

Discussion Topics:

Respond to the below topics by either answering in the comments section, or emailing lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com Either is fine, so go with your comfort!  Next Friday new discussion topics will be posted that will cover Chapters Five Through Nine.  This week they cover last week’s assignment!

1.  Do you have feelings toward a specific animal similar to how Enzo feels about the crows?  “Scum, creatures of cluster. they call them a murder when they are in a group.  A good word, because when they are together you want to kill them.”

2. Do you think Denny didn’t tell Enzo about taking the racing spot even though he told Eve and Zoe on purpose because of their porch conversation?  Why? Or, do you think his daily life simply made him forget? Why?

3. Can you remember any moments as a child where you were trying to show off or show all that you knew to a group you admired similar to how Zoe was behaving when the various racing professional came to dinner?

4. Where do you feel as free as Enzo feels when he is running through the woods at Denny Creek?

** Discussion Challenge: **

After posting your responses return to the site throughout the week and post a comment responding to at least one other person.

Don’t worry, you can jump in with us at any time.  So go grab your copy, catch up on Week One, Week Two, Week Three and read with us!

 
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High Five

Posted by casey on July 28, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family

Throw up your hand, high five yourself because yesterday marked Caden’s five month birthday. Five months!  That means six months is next which makes him practically eighteen and ready to go to college. What is a mom to do??!!  This past month has truly been a joy for us as we have continued to watch our little boy thrive and become more and more independent each and every day.

He seems to have already entered the “I want to do it myself stage.” in five month terms of course. He wants to hold himself up, grab it himself, move himself and you can already see the pent up frustration of all the things he wants to do but can’t yet.  The most noticeable example of this is his scooting.  Tummy time quickly became active for him in the past months as you watched him roll and begin to scoot.  Now he pulls and pushes and is just willing himself to really get moving.  He spends time in his playmat turning his body around so that his head goes from one end to the other, rolls back and forth and then does it all over again.  As soon as he figures out to push up with his arms and legs at the same time, we are all in trouble and baby-proofing will really need to begin.  One of the many moments you are excited for but also want to freeze in time.  Look out world, Caden’s on the move!

His daily entertainment keeps him giggling and chatting and while he has been talking, cooing and laughing at us for a couple months not, he has officially found his voice.  He talked before but mainly just to us because we were interacting with him.  This month he figured out that he likes the sound of his voice and the different sounds he make whether they are loud or quiet.  It is difficult to get a word in here these days with little chatterbox taking up all the talking time!  Go figure that his favorite “people” to talk to in the house are the dogs.  He still loves them. I could probably say that he is verging on obsessed with them without it being too much of a stretch.  Fortunately, they love him too.  Anytime they are in the room he is watching them and when they suddenly appear in front of him he laughs and smiles and dances in excitement.  If you happen to sit him next to one both arms immediately go out in a full bear hug and he is as happy as can be.  Apparently he takes after his Mom in loving to snuggle animals…stuffed or real. :)

There is always a daily attempt on Caden’s part to get Thrasher to talk back to him while he really gets after talking in his excersaucer and Thrasher lays near him on the ottoman.  Always.  I’ll let you know if Caden succeeds and Thrasher ever talks back.  The  most humorous part about the relationship he was with Thrasher has developed when Thrasher plays fetch which is practically all day long.  Caden finds it hilarious when he leaps to and from the ottoman to bring back or retrieve his ball.  He shrieks and laughs as he flies to and from and then gets silent watching to see when he is going to run back. Turn up your speakers and see for yourself! ( I should warn you that the video is again sideways and I don’t know why. So tilt your head.)

This month Caden became our own little Houdini, learning how to escape his swing, his rocking chair and anything that we didn’t strap him into.  Now the kiddo gets buckled six different ways in just about everything and I see the day he discovers how to undo that in his near future! 

As for the rest of the month, it was just as busy as before.  Caden has been “swimming” quite a bit still, attended his first bridal lingerie shower, his first wedding and even got to spend time with his Aunt Laura, cousin Caroline and cousin Cate!

The Stats
– 15. 9 pounds, 25 1/2 inches long
– Rolling Both Ways and Scooting
– Modified Sitting Up (almost on his own all of the time…right now we still risk the sudden faceplant)
– Hugging in his terms. (Reaches and wraps his arms around you.)
-
Loves to stand while you hold his fingers
- Sits in his high chair at dinner
– Adopted a favorite toy (duck rattle) and blanket (Norma’s hand knitted blue blanket) to snuggle
– Still bald.  Okay fuzzy.

Month 5 Humor - Maybe you can help us solve it.  Our sweet little angel likes to blow out diapers.  He means business when he does his business so to speak.  Recently we gently pulled our soundly sleeping son out of his carseat and immediately knew disaster was lurking.  His back was soaked thus making where he sits in the carseat equally as awesome.  When this happens the most fun comes when you try to get the shit soaked onesie up over his head without smearing his goods all over his face and the rest of him.  Phew! Once getting the outfit off we undo the diaper expecting the worst when in fact taking the diaper off increased the laughter.  It appeared that our baby boy managed to potty on himself up his back and down the side into the carseat and there only.  Only a hint of evidence in the diaper.  You work the logistics.  I’m thinking sheer force.  He shot all of it up out the back of the diaper with brute man force before even letting the diaper try to work.  Men. No manners.

Happy 5 Months Caden!
What This Month Looked Like

 
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Viva La Backyard?

Posted by casey on July 25, 2010 in Escaping Home, For Your Funny Bone, Home, Life as I Know It

I’ve been meaning to touch on this little morcel since July 4th, because that weekend’s holiday brought us to the one year anniversay of our second honeymoon of sorts.  We “vacated our life” as I mentioned a year ago to return to Riviera Maya, Mexico and soak up all the resort had to offer.

Crisp Sunshine. Ocean waves. Margaritas. Beach Beds. Daytime Naps. Meals at Anytime. Lounge Chairs. Massages. Reading Galore. Flip Flops. Smell of Salt in the Air. Peace and Quiet. Relaxation. Open View of Water. Reconnection. Happiness.

After a long school year and 10 months of attempting to start a family we just needed a break.  My husband who does a wonderful job always budgeting for all areas of our life had set aside our vacation fund and as the school year ended we booked the trip.  I think I was even happier to go than when we went on our honeymoon (sorry dear) because we both needed it. We both needed it in the adult sense of needing to get away and stop with the job, dogs, mail etc. I wasn’t just happy to go, I was giddy. Giddy like a schoolgirl. (That is the saying isn’t it? I don’t think I was ever a giddy schoolgirl.) Once we booked that trip, I was the kid who had just been let out on summer vacation and couldn’t wait to run in the sprinklers.  My sprinklers were a jet flying me to Mexico, but you get the idea.  Little did we know, that our second honeymoon was also our babymoon.

Three days after returning from Mexico, Colter came home from work to find four positive tests waiting for him to tell us that our little family was finally beginning.  I know what you are thinking “little did we know?”  When you have been trying for that long and are continuing to wait, you stop analyzing every little thing and just go with it.  That was what our break was for.  Turns out our little one took his first Mexican vacation when he was a bean. Eh…maybe a grain of rice.  I know what else you are thinking, when you run your little numbers so I will just admit it.  My perfect, healthy, wonderful son was started on a week of Coronas, Don Julio Margaritas and Mexican sanitation. Mmmmm mmmmm good.  We like to go out with a bang here at the Kazmann household.

So, this year on the fourth it was hard not to think of how things have changed in one year.  I really began the comparison as I took my summer vacation this year…in my backyard…in a kiddie pool.  This year, I accepted the vacation my house had to offer.

Stifling Humidity. Ocean Wave Noise via an Infant Sound Machine. Ice Water. Blow Up Kiddie Pool. Putting Caden Down to Nap. Meals When I Remember. Lawn Chairs. Back Adjustments from My Chiropractor.Reading – Ha!. CROCS Protecting My Feet From “Yard Treats”. Smell of Dog Fesces in the Air. Peace and Dogs Barking, Baby Cooing. Busyness. Closed View of Dying Grass and Dog Poop. Happiness.

From baby in the belly to baby on the hip, the happiness is still there despite the changes. I believe that there would be the moral of the story.
A tan is a tan right?  Maybe I should get a sand box.

 
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Saturday Scones

Posted by casey on July 24, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day, Sweet Treats

I love Saturdays. 
I love them because Saturday means there is no work-day for the husband.  I love them because Saturdaymeans Caden and I get to go to yoga.  I love them because Saturdaymeans we might spend an entire day watching Dexter on Netflix. (Unfortunately it’s true…a whole day)  I love them because Saturday means Starbucks.

I said it. I have become one of those.  There is something about a week with my sweet boy that wears me out to where I just need a Saturday morning Starbucks fix.  It has become quite the peaceful little ritual but I was getting tired of one thing…pastries.  Sometimes I forget that I’m not pregnant anymore and that I really shouldn’t get a baked good to go along with my steaming beverage.  I also sometimes forget that I am paying way too much for that “fresh from the oven” treat so damn it, I’m making something that is actually fresh from the oven. You, will, LOVE them!

Pecan Scones with Maple Icing
3 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
5 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Chilled
1/4 Cup Pecans ( I like a little more than this)
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Maple Icing – Recipe #1              
Powdered Sugar                                      
Pure Maple Syrup
Cream
(For this icing, mix some of each ingredient with an electric mixture until you like the taste and consistency.  Drizzle over the cooled scones for flavor. Yes drizzle, as in a little not spread on top ,as in a lot.)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees. (Heads up – No Electric Mixer is Needed for This)
2. Stir Together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder & salt) in a large bowl.
3. Slice your butter into small pieces.  Dump the slices into your bowl and cut into the dry mixture until it looks like you have a big bowl of crumbs.
4. Finely chop your pecans. (Their texture is better when done by hand instead of using one of those rotating grinder choppers. A very technical name I know – the rotating grinder chopper.) Throw them into your bowl and stir to combine.
5. First, mix the egg and cream together.  Then add your egg/cream liquid mixture to your bowl.  Stir until just combined but not anymore than that!
6. Now, dump the contents of your bowl onto a mixture for rolling.  Have no fear, you didn’t mess up…it is supposed to look like a pile of large crumbs – I promise.
7.Carefully push that pile of crumbs together with your hands until it forms a large ball.  Once it is sticking roll ot your scone dough into a 10 inch round that is about 3/4 inch think.
8. Slice your dough like a pizza into 8 triangles.
**Please don’t sit there and slice them one at a time hoping they are even.  Cut a plus sign and then an “X” and there you go!**
9.Place your scone wedges on a baking sheet lines with a Silpat.  If you don’t have a Silpat, you should invest…they bake everything to perfection. I’ll forgive you for not owning one though and tell you that just spraying with cooking spray will do a fine job for these also.

Bake for 22 – 26 minutes until they are just barely beginning to brown.  You don’t want them to actually look brown or be dark around the edges.  Allow them to cool completely before icing.
Scone Recipe Courtesy of Pioneer Woman

 

 
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The Art of Racing – Week Three

Posted by casey on July 23, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me

The Art of Racing – Week Two Reflection – Chapters 5 – 9

 

Just like you, I want to read more, and more, and some more after that.  Since we all seem to be struggling to put the book down, this week’s assignment will be a bit longer to hopefully help everyone fill their reading craving.  So while we are all juggling jobs, children, spouses or none of the above remember that this is to be a source of relaxation and a time set aside just for you. Your time.

What I love about books is getting wrapped up in them.  The problem with that is that sometimes I forget they aren’t actually part of my life.  So when I am washing bottles and think, “I wonder what Enzo’s up to?” , I have to remind myself that I am losing my mind because;

A. Enzo is a dog.
B. Enzo is a fictional dog.

I seem to keep thinking about if I was him how would I have tried to warn Eve, what could I do and what devastation might this all cause to the family.  I suppose that is all the more reason to keep reading!

Don’t know what I am talking about, read about our “Read-Along“, and join us!

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Reading Assignment : Week Three
– Chapters Ten Through Eighteen

You said you didn’t want to put it down, so no complaints!

Discussion Topics:

Respond to the below topics by either answering in the comments section, or emailing lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com Either is fine, so go with your comfort!  Next Friday new discussion topics will be posted that will cover Chapters Five Through Nine.  This week they cover last week’s assignment!

1.  If you were Enzo Part One: If you were Enzo, or any dog I suppose, what TV channel would you want to watch all day and why?

2.If you were Enzo Part Two: If you were Enzo how would you have tried to tell Eve about her illness?

3. As there were several laugh out loud moments, find a moment you found particularly humorous in Chapters 5 or 6 and share!  ( I have mine ready to go!)

4. “That which you manifest is before you.”  Do you think this is true? Have you ever applied this or something similar to anything in your life?

** Discussion Challenge: **

After posting your responses return to the site throughout the week and post a comment responding to at least one other person.

Don’t worry, you can jump in with us at any time.  So go grab your copy, catch up on Week One, Week Two and read with us!

 
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It is Closer Than You Think

Posted by casey on July 22, 2010 in Writing Nook

This week, I chose to participate in Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop, and oddly enough I chose the prompt that has more to do with a picture than writing.  Even so, it is a writing workshop, so it belongs here in The Writing Nook.  My assignment was to post a picture and a description to fit the quote below.

“How far to heaven? Just open your eyes and look, you are in heaven.” Shankar

Strangely enough, I received my writing assignment an hour or so after going for a walk and seeing this breathtaking view. Fate I tell you, it must have been fate.

As I was sauntering through my neighborhoodlooking forward to taking Caden on his evening walk in fall when you can breathe outside instead of now when you can smell your skin roasting like a rotisserie chicken, I glanced up to see heaven’s gates.

“What? Heaven’s gates?”  Well, that is the first thing I thought it when I viewed this (for lack of a more truthfully descriptive adjective) heavenly sight.  Glance at it yourself for a moment. There in the middle of an endless sky filled with lustrous clouds, was a single opening laced with a golden glow. Someone, somewhere was being welcomed home.

I don’t see swirling “rod iron” gates of gold with a giant padlock on them that is only to be unlocked by a little man at a desk.  Mind you, a little man at a desk who also holds a book that continually grows new pages of rights and wrongs. I don’t see him.  Neither do I see a long bearded man upon a throne larger than my house making my kneel while reminding me of the sins I have been forgiven for and the deeds He is grateful I have done.  I see this.  This is heaven.

A simple reminder to look around because  life is beautiful, life is good, this is my heaven for now and one day the view I am looking at will open again for me. How far to heaven?  Just open your eyes and look up.

 
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Back to Basics – Baked Chicken

Posted by casey on July 21, 2010 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

This is by no means, the best baked chicken.  In fact, I rarely eat it plain.  However, it is a fantastic simple baked chicken recipe when you are adding chicken to other things – salads, wraps, pizza etc.  I used to bake a couple of these at the beginning of the week and then slice it each morning to add to my lunch!

Basic Baked Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Basil ( I use fresh when my basil plant is doing well :) )
1/4 tsp Paprika
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1/4 Cup Mozzarella

1. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.  Wash your chicken breasts and pat them dry.
2. Place the chicken in a glass baking dish and get out your spices.
3. Evenly sprinkle the Basil, salt and pepper and lastly the Paprika on top.
4. Divide the cheese among the number of chicken breasts you have.  Make a small ball of mozzarella for each chicken breast and place on top.
5. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes until cooked through.

 – Add this chicken to a salad with Baby Spring Greens, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette…delicious!

 
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Someone Has Got…

Posted by casey on July 19, 2010 in Caden, For Your Funny Bone, Snapshots

 Someone has Got…..A Case of the Mondays!

 
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The Art of Racing – Week Two

Posted by casey on July 16, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me

The Art of Racing – Week One Reflection

It appears we all have the same problem with reading…time. When will there ever be enough time?  I have tried too  many things – putting it on my To-Do list, goals of when I want to be finished and the famous, “I’ll read in bed before I go to sleep to relax.” HA! Do you know what I do to relax in bed? I go to sleep.  No matter how many times I think I am going to read before bed I just realize that the smarter decision is to savour those hours of sleep.

What works?  First thing in the morning.  Apparently the opposite of what I had always tried (before bed) is what I needed.  Before the day really gets going, while I am still tucked in with the dogs snuggled up around my feet I reach over on the nightstand pull out my book of choice and get to business.  I also try to set a reasonable time limit for myself according to what I need to get done that day.  Fifteen minutes? Maybe even 30 if the day is looking bright.  It seems to set my day to a great start and I already get to cross one thing off my list before I even set my feet on the floor.

In case you didn’t see my response to you in the comments section (which appears to have a rainbow background when I post – who knew?) here is what I had to say in response to you all!

So, while reading everyone’s thoughts, I pretty much came up with a two word response to y’all…

“I agree!”

I have a little of everyone in me I suppose. I wish I could juggle multiple books, but I rarely have time to focus on just one these days as it is.  While a cover won’t completely turn me away, there is nothing like a great cover – It seems that crisp, clean covers/fonts catch my attention.  Despite the lack of time, and sometimes commitment challenge of a lack-luster story there is nothing like leaving your day to day nonsense behind and letting a book’s characters and background suck you in!

Oh and I too, loved Redeeming Love among many books of all genres…The Lovely Bones, Harvesting the Heart, The Glass Castle, In An Instant and even Harry Potter.

Don’t know what I am talking about, read about our “Read-Along“, and join us!

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Reading Assignment : Week Two
– Chapters Five Through Nine

We’re stepping it up kids…you can do it!

Discussion Topics:

Respond to the below topics by either answering in the comments section, or emailing lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com Either is fine, so go with your comfort!  Next Friday new discussion topics will be posted that will cover Chapters Five Through Nine.  This week they cover last week’s assignment!

1. When Enzo hears Denny tell Mike that he has to to make a trip to the vet and that it might be “one-way” their is a mood shift in Enzo’s thinking.  What emotion or emotions do you think are now going through Enzo’s mind and why?

2. At the end of Chapter Three, Denny in regards to racing, says that he must be aware of nothing but being part of that specific moment and reflecting will have to come later.  How do you think this relates to someone’s daily life, or how should we make it part of our life?

3. What human element has been applied in Enzo’s life so far that is your favorite?  “I never knew my father.” in Chapter Two. Wishing for thumbs in the end of Chapter Four? 

Discussion Challenge:

After posting your responses return to the site throughout the week and post a comment responding to at least one other person.

Don’t worry, you can jump in with us at any time.  So go grab your copy, catch up on Week One and read with us!

** Thanks to everyone for tweeting, facebooking, blogging and even e-mailing about our group. Congratulations to Christine for winning our Promotions Contest! **

 
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Childhood in a Song

Posted by casey on July 15, 2010 in Caden, Snapshots

                         You Are My Sunshine,

My Only Sunshine.

You Make me Happy,

When Skies Are Grey.

You’ll Never Know Dear,

How Much I Love You.

So Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away.

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