Monday, January 31, 2011

Kindergarten, Cookies, and impending Snow

Finley spent the afternoon in Kindergarten today with my mother-in-law, and her teacher, Gail.  Finley loves going to Kindergarten, and she loves spending time with Gail (and of course her Gramma).  So she had a great day.
My MIL did take the camera with her, and took a few pictures of Finley in Kindergarten.
She has been doing really well, and is able to participate in the class activities, which was nice to see.

This is her teacher, Gail.
Gail has been a life saver this last year and a half since we met her.  I am really going to miss her next year when Finley is no longer her student. (Gail only works with preschool age)
Gail has been there for our whole family.  She means a lot to us.  She has sat with me when I have cried about feeling helpless.  She never comes empty handed when she comes to see Finley - always bringing her a story box, fun paper and stickers, and all kinds of things to make her life easier.
She has been encouraging and fun.  She is witty and easy going.  I just can't say enough good things about her because we wouldn't be where we are without her to lean on.  I can ask her anything at any time, and she calms my nerves.  And if there is something we want to try with Finley, she makes it happen.  BESB is lucky to have her and we are lucky she was assigned to be Finley's vision teacher.
Before Kindergarten today, Finley had an orientation and movement appointment with her specialist, Terri.  Terri met Finley and my in-laws at Target for some practice in a public space.  I gave Finley a little change purse with some money this morning, so she could buy something.  It encouraged her to go to Target with Terry and navigate it with her cane, so that was a plus.  Terry said she did a great job with the cane.  I think Finley's wrist are getting stronger, so she moves pretty well with it now.

Tonight after dinner, Gramma and the kids made these cute little heart cookies.
Gramma had seen the recipe in our Family Fun magazine and wanted to try them.  They are just tortilla shells and sprinkles.  You have to spray the tortilla shells with Pam so that the sprinkles will stick.

She and the kids cut hearts out of the tortillas and then put a lot (a lot) of sprinkles on the cookies.
They all took turns sprinkling the cookies.  There wasn't much left in the sprinkle container when they were done.
Then they bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, and you have these cute little cookies!
 And they tasted pretty good.  Probably because they were covered with sprinkles, but the kids loved them and we thought they were pretty good.  And it was easy and fun.  Thanks Gramma for the fun project!
Tomorrow we are expecting snow.  What?  That doesn't surprise you?  You say what WOULD surprise you would be me telling you we WEREN'T expecting snow?  We are getting a lot of snow and ice, so that day isn't today.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bowling Take 2

I have good news and bad news.  The good news was that no one was sick today, so we decided to try bowling again.  The bad news?  The camera got left on the counter.  Too much.

Mat left this morning for San Diego, so Mat's mom and I took the kids and went to church.  After church, Mat's parents and the kids and I went bowling.  We had a great time.  We bowled two games.  Finley and Cainan got really into it and started to throw the ball down the lane all by themselves.  It was great to watch.

And Cainan WON the second game.  Cainan did.  He was so excited.

We had a great afternoon, ordered pizza for dinner and played a game with the kids before settling in for the night.

This morning in church, the pastor had a bucket of snow to use for a story.  She was allowing the kids to touch it and Finley reached in and took a handful and ate it.  That's our Finley!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a miracle

Are you ready for this?

It didn't snow today.

I waited all day, just to make sure, and not a single flake.  That was new.

Today the kids and I decorated with the little bit of Chinese New Year decorations we have.  I need to get some more for future years - especially now that the kids are getting older. 
The kids enjoyed parading around with some dragon shakers and drums.
At least it kept them entertained for awhile.
This afternoon, Mat and I were interviewed for our local paper.  A reporter approached me a few weeks ago about doing an article about Finley and our family, and we said sure!  Anything to get the word out about LCA.  The article will run in March in a special section of the paper.  We are excited to see how it turns out.  She was here about 2 hours, and really just let us talk about our feelings about this whole experience.  It was good therapy.

This evening, Mat's parents arrived to hang with us for a few days.  Mat is leaving on a business trip and will be gone long enough that I needed some help.  I am glad they are here.  It is always great to have company when Mat is away, and the kids were so excited to see them when they arrived.

We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate an early birthday for Mat, since his parents are here.  He chose a favorite Mexican restaurant and we had a delicious dinner.
Tomorrow Mat leaves on a jet plane.  He will be returning on Wednesday.  Right in time for the next snow storm.

Who wants to predict the outcome of his flight home?  Will he have a smooth flight, or will his flight be delayed?  Canceled?  Hmmmmmm..

Friday, January 28, 2011

Change for Change

Today at our local elementary school was "Change for Change" day.  Each month, the elementary school collects change for one day for a charity of their choice.  This month was RDH12 Fund for Sight.  Since Finley will be a student there next year, it was a nice way to introduce her to the school, the teachers, and the kids. 
And it is always a nice way to get the word out about LCA and RDH12.

It was an assembly for the K-4th grades, and all the kids brought in change this morning to support RDH12 Fund for Sight.
The total was $278.86 - which isn't bad for such a small group!  We appreciate every cent.  It was great to be at the school today and have a chance to talk to the kids.  They got to see the video from the telethon about Finley and LCA, and Mat and I spoke.  And they got to meet Finley.
Each grade had a little song/skit put together, and it was fun to watch them perform.  Arlington's 2nd grade classes did a little song that was really cute.
It was a great way to spend the afternoon, and I am so glad that our community knows a little bit more about LCA now.

Thank you to the principal for choosing us this month.  And thank you to all the parents that came out to support this assembly and our family!  We appreciate it!


Fast Fact:  our area has had 56.9 inches of snow in the month of January.  This is 12 inches above the RECORD for snow.  AND - this winter season?  We have had 71.4 inches of snow.  The record is 116 inches for a season.  And the weatherman is pretty confident we are going to hit that.  GREAT.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Life Gives You Snow

You take pictures.

At this point, I feel like Mother Nature has turned a deaf ear to my pleas to back off on the snow.  This week took the cake.  Monday was our only full day of school.  Tuesday was a 2 hour delay, and yesterday was an early dismissal.  Today?  Today was another cancellation.  Because we woke to this.
(This is our back patio)

On top of the 50 inches we already have from the last 4 (or 10, I lost count) storms, we added another 14 inches to our pile last night.
(Stairs to no where)

So, when the call came in, instead of crying into my pillow like I wanted to - knowing that this really bites into our summer vacation plans - I rolled over, and went back to sleep.
(Our back patio)

At 8am, Mat got out of bed and drug me outside to help him shovel.  We opened the garage door, and I immediately wanted to go back inside.  A small whimper left my lips.  But - I don't like to be trapped for long, so that meant digging out.

This is our driveway:
It is under there somewhere.  Between the snow mounds.  Right the middle.

This is the top of our driveway.
Under this enormous pile used to be our beautiful stone wall.  I think it is still there.  Not sure - haven't seen it in a few weeks.

This is a shot of our backyard from the driveway.  There are steps that lead up to the yard.  Yep.  I promise they are under about 50 inches of snow.
This is Mat's car once we started to dig it out.  The front was completely covered.
Thank goodness for our awesome neighbor and his snow blower.  He came up and did out driveway and all the way down to the road.  He asked us if we missed Florida yet.
The snow has gotten so bad this winter, I almost said YES to that.  Shudder.
After 2 hours, the outside was shoveled enough that we could get out, so we called it quits.  I could barely move my arms at this point, so it was time to go inside.
(this is our back patio - this is ridiculous)

After Mat left for work, the kids and I went down into the playroom.
Yes, folks, it is DONE.
Okay - well it is sort of done.
We still have some things to do: the baseboards, the door trim, and the doors to the cabinet.
But at least the kids can use it, and stay out of my hair the upstairs for part of the day.

My in-laws gave the kids a really great art table for Christmas, and we were finally able to put it together.
I am proud of myself because I put it together all by myself today (with Arlington as my helper).

It came with cute little stools.
And it has a place for all their art supplies.
And it came with a paper roll, which the girls wasted no time trying out.

We love it - thank you Gramma and Pappy!  We are so glad to have this new table.

Tomorrow is a 2 hour delay start for my district.  I am happy for the chance to sleep in a little longer, so I cannot complain. 

Tomorrow is also Finley's Change for Change day at our local school.  We are going in the afternoon to the assembly to watch the kids put on little skits and sing songs, and then we will talk to the kids about Finley and what is going on with her.  Just another way to get the word out about LCA.

I am reading a new book called "Eye Envy".  When I finish it, I will talk more about it, because it is a book about a guy who is dealing with retinal degeneration - just like Finley.  I am glad I found it.

See you tomorrow.  TGIF.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Mother Nature flippin' kidding me?

Dear Mother Nature,

  On June 23rd, my family has plans to leave on a lovely family vacation with the Pletcher gang.  We look forward to this vacation every other year.  Lake time, family fun, laughs, warm weather, sunshine, good books.  All these things await our little family starting on June 23rd as we make our trek down south to Lovely Lake Norman.

  But dear Mother Nature - in order for that to happen, you need to stop dumping mounds of snow on New England.  Our little towns cannot take much more.  While we are used to a few storms a year - continually causing havoc and piling inches and inches on top of the (not already melted) snow just makes my head hurt.  We have had well over 50 inches of snow in our little neck of the woods since December, and I think that is quite enough.

Today, you thought it would be "funny" to dump another 8-10 inches on our area.  Well, M.N., it stopped being funny about 3 storms ago.  I am watching my precious summer vacation slip away, because we have 4, and now possible 5, snow days to make up due to your antics.  That puts our last day of school on June 23rd.  The day my little family was going to join our big family in glorious sunshine.

You are messing with me.  I am not a happy person.  I moved to the north because the people of Florida were crazy.  But you, my dear M.N. - you need to take a vacation and go reek your havoc somewhere else.  We are all done with you here.

The very cold, very sore from shoveling,
Pletcher Family

**This was originally going to be wordless Wednesday, but I needed to make sure Mother Nature got my message.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poor sick baby

Finley stayed home from school yesterday because her temperature was still 101.  Mat stayed home with her yesterday, which was good, because I have a feeling we are getting another snow storm later this week.  So I wanted to go to work and try to catch up on some things in case that happens.
I checked on her several times during the day and she seemed to be doing better.  She was eating okay and drinking, but mostly just sitting around watching TV.

Today she woke up with a definite cold, but no fever.  She went to school and had a fine day.  She was tired by around 6:30 and was asleep by 7:30 on the dot.  Hopefully after a few good nights of rest, she will be feeling much better.

Cainan also has a cold.  I couldn't take a color photo of him because the poor boy has made the skin around his nose and right cheek very red from rubbing his nose.  He is still his bouncy self, but his skin is suffering.
Cainan came home excited from school today, because today was his best buddy "D's" birthday.  He talked and talked about it.  It is going to be sad when those boys go their separate ways next year for Kindergarten.  I hope Cainan finds a friend just like him at Kindergarten because I love how great they get along.

Arlington got assigned her part for her Destination Imagination group today.  While we cannot talk about it until after the competition, she was very excited.  She is most excited because she gets to design her own costume.  That should be interesting.  Our artistic girl loves to create, so it should be an experience!
Arlington's 8th birthday is coming up soon.  Mat's birthday is coming up as well.  He will be a little older than 8, but not much.  :)  We are going to Disney World this year around Arlington's birthday, so she is excited about going there around her special day.  We are going to be hitting the new Harry Potter park while we are there.  She and I have started reading the books together, since she and Mat have just finished the Chronicles of Narnia Series, so I can't wait to go to this park once we get the first book under our belt.  For her birthday I bought her a Harry Potter robe to wear at the park.  She is going to be so excited.
Mat and I laid the LAST of the floor in the playroom tonight.  It was a momentous occasion, and I would have taken a picture....if there wasn't dust everywhere.  AND, drumroll, the wall is in place and painted and DONE.  The hole is gone.  Tomorrow night we have plans to put the cabinet in place and start to begin to put the playroom back into a usable state.  It is going to be like Christmas all over again for the kids once they can get down there again.  Us too - they are making me crazy not being able to play in there.

Before I go - I want to invite all of you who might live close to NY to come to on RDH12 Fund for Sight event.  This event is being hosted by Bella's Buddies - who are co-founders of RDH12 Fund for Sight with us and two other families.  This is a big event for our Fund and the proceeds will all be donated to RDH12.  So, if you are in the area, below is the flier - just follow the information on the flier and RSVP to attend!  This will help us reach that $150,000 goal we have for this year, so we need all the help we can get from our faithful friends and family.
Thank you for attending!
See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Making Meals Monday

Chipotle Shrimp


  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp - peeled and deveined


  1. Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and salt. Mix in the shrimp, and cook 5 minutes, or until opaque. Serve over the cooked rice. 

Caramel Apple Pork Chops


  • 4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.
  4. Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Chicken Flautas


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cooked and shredded
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar picante sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 36 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl combine the shredded chicken, picante sauce and ground cumin. Mix together.
  3. In a small skillet heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Place a corn tortilla in the oil for 1 to 2 seconds on either side to soften. Repeat with all of the tortillas (if possible, have someone help you do this). Place tortillas on paper towel to soak up some of the oil.
  4. Put 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture in the center of a tortilla and sprinkle some cheese on top. Roll up tortilla and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Repeat with all of the tortillas until chicken mixture is gone. If there is any cheese left over, sprinkle it over the rolled tortillas.
  5. Bake tortillas in the preheated oven for 15 to 25 minutes or until tortillas are a little crispy and golden brown.