Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That's My Kid!

One of the other moms caught this great image of Tait during last Saturday's game. Even though you're all probably sick of football by now, I had to share it. And just think. We're only halfway through our schedule, so you know what that means. More football posts. Oh yes. Because I'm the mom, that's why.

Grasping at Fall

How can you tell it's fall in Phoenix?
Well, the wind blows ever so gently. This morning it was slightly cooler outside than inside. We might consider turning off the AC, but only at night, and not quite yet.
We've power raked the lawn and are getting ready to reseed, along with the few other neighbors who have grass in the yard. So it smells like fall with the scent of manure wafting on the breeze.
And you can get a pumpkin scone at Starbucks, so it must be fall.

Monday, September 29, 2008


So this is one of the coaches. The one that's yappin'. I have to confess, I didn't much like him at first. But what do I know about football and football coaches? And if there's one thing I've learned about being an athlete's mom, it's let the coach do his job. My job is to be the #1 fan.

On Saturday, Coach Taylor showed his true colors. Here's how it went down: we were winning, by a lot. As in, time for the mercy rule. Apparently there are league rules governing this mercy, and dire consequences for coaches who don't observe it. One of the dads was not feeling very merciful, and to say he was hoppin' mad would be a gross understatement. Words such as *&%$#& and **^$#@& were used quite loudly and directed at the coaching staff. The last time I heard and saw that kind of emotion at a kid's sporting event, knives and broken bottles were drawn in the parking lot, but that was in a different state and in a rougher neighborhood.

So how did Coach Taylor handle it?
Well, it was loud, but he's always loud.
And it was clean.
And he stood up for his player.
And he kept his cool.
And he followed the rule.
And he supported his team.
And all the boys saw it.
And all the parents.
And I've changed from dislike to respect.

Edited 10/1 to add: Mad dad apologized to the team last night at practice. Takes a big man!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yet Another Football Post

There's talking

and bending over

and kicking up dust

and pushing around guys who are bigger than you

and pausing for some liquid refreshment

and more bending over

and chilling out (sort of--it's kinda hard to chill out in 100+ temperatures)

And that would be our Saturday.
Just another day with the Radcliffes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Firebird Swim

Brother and sister moment

talking to Coach Jane

and a few random pics...this is one of the Chaparral divers

and this one just shows how hard it is for an amateur to catch swimmers in action!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mowgli Gets a Trim

This is the Wild Child. The one who hasn't had a hair cut for two years. Two years. Until today.

As you can see, it was time. It was starting to naturally dread, primarily because someone wouldn't brush it. We call them dreadlocks, but Grandpa calls it a rat's nest.

Here is Mowgli, aka Johnny Tsunami, aka Samson, aka Wild Child, sitting in the chair at this fine institution. There would be a picture of the nice student Justin who performed today's honors, but somebody was embarrassed. I was lucky to snap this really quick before Wild Child shooed me away. No, he does not have his shirt on backwards or inside out; I think we may have finally outgrown that phase. This is actually a mirror image of W.C.

Ta da . . . the finished product!

Okay, Mom, you can stop now. You're interrupting Sponge Bob.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Political and Moral Dilemma

So here's the problem:
I like the incumbent. For the most part, I agree with his platform. And I've met the guy. See, here he is with my daughter at a congressional art show. Heck, he even handed her a nice award for her artwork one year.

That leads me to my problem. His challenger is . . . well, ummm . . . the Lord.

Now here's the part that's hard to say. I don't agree with the Lord. And that just doesn't sound right. How can I vote against the Lord? I'll step aside now to avoid the lightning.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Little Experiment

We love happy hour at Chick-fil-a! So while the older two were at swim practice, we sneaked out to get us some, then hid the evidence before they got home.

So here's the experiment: Will they read the blog? Will they catch the twitter? How long till they figure out they missed out and cry foul? What's your guess?
Colin, Annika, Geoff, and Amy: post "No fair!" as soon as you read this. May the most wronged win!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Easiest Dinner, EVER!

Dear Vegans (especially vegan nieces who might actually read this post):
Please stop right now. Do not scroll down. I repeat, do NOT scroll down. You will be deeply saddened and offended. Enough said.

Ok, meat lovers, at last we're alone. First, take any old cheapo cut of meat and throw it in the crockpot. This happens to be some kind of pork which I don't particularly like (ok, I despise pork, except in this recipe and of course bacon doesn't count because I love bacon and bbq pork is ok too; all right I guess I don't despise pork after all). Anyway, as I was saying, throw your cheapo meat into the crockpot.
Then add some of this stuff--vinegar and soy sauce in equal amounts. Put in as much garlic as your spouse will tolerate or more if you want some alone time. Real garlic is wonderful, but this stuff works in a pinch too, and you're gonna cook the heck out of this so I don't think fresh is gonna make that big of a difference. I'm just sayin'.
Four hours later on high this is what the pork looked like. You might need to go a little longer depending on the cut.
Fish the meat out of the sauce...
Start chunking it up in a bowl
until it looks like this.

Add more sauce if it seems a little dry. (Unfocused sauce tastes best.)

I could eat this plain out of the bowl, but we usually serve it up in soft tacos or burritos around here. You could get all fancy like my friend Colleen and run it under a broiler to get the little crispies around the edges and serve it with chopped cilantro and salsa fresca made with peppers and tomatoes from your garden, but then it wouldn't be the easiest dinner EVER now would it? So I say just slap it in a tortilla, throw in some cheese and Pico Pica sauce, and you're good to go!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Lunches

Usually, Monday school lunches are pretty good. Usually, because it's the start of the week and we're not completely depleted (like Fridays), we have a ton of choices and I can pack a fairly hefty offering. But this Monday, oh brother...I'm glad I didn't have to eat this lunch!

So, what do we have? Well, for our main dish, it's peanut butter and jelly on a dinner roll. And get this--it's not even real peanut butter! Nope, it's Mom's reduced fat Better 'n' Peanut Butter, which, quite frankly, is not better. Not even close. But a Weight Watchin' mama will do what she has to do, and eat what she has to eat. At least I gave the boys real boysenberry jam instead of my sugar free jelly (also nasty, in case you were wondering).

Then for our sides we have a little Chex Mix, some Teddy Grahams, and honeydew melon. Colin got a little something extra I found buried in the back of the freezer (shhh--don't tell Tait). I think it was some kind of chocolate covered ho-ho that someone gave to him at swim practice but it was melted so he brought it home to firm up in the freezer and forgot about it. Anyway, not exactly the most filling lunch for these growin' boys! Lest you worry that they're starving to death, they are at this very moment chowing down on whatever they can scramble up in the kitchen.

Maybe I was hoping a note would distract them from noticing how pitiful their lunches were today. I'm not entirely sure my diversion tactic was successful!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pretzel Mania

This year Annika is taking Culinary. Since she was out almost all of last week with a migraine (thank you Grandma for passing that gene on) she had the privilege of baking for the family over the weekend. Ms. Blomquist, here's your proof that it really happened!

We'll start with the primary players. (egads! how could I forget to put the yeast in the photo? It's like the star of the show!)
Carefully checking the directions
Double checking the recipe
The dough rests in the bowl for a few hours until it doubles in volume. (We opted to do this in a single day, rather than let it rise overnight in the fridge.)
Showtime! Annika sets the oven temperature at 425.

While the oven gets ready for business, Annika shapes the dough.

First, the cross...
then the flip, to form a cute little pretzel.

We thought we would try tossing a few in boiling water to give the pretzels that chewy texture. Here Annika tests that old saying about the watched pot.
Boil, boil, toil, and trouble...oh wait, that's Macbeth, not Culinary.

Next up, the egg wash.
Annika gets artistic with the basting brush.

Last, but not least, a little sodium which makes life taste oh so much better.
Into the oven they go...

for 20 minutes, which is just enough time to clean up the mess. (Bless you, bless you, Ms. Blomquist! She washed the dinner dishes too!)
And they're ready!

But even better with the proper condiments.
So there you have it. Annika has become a domestic goddess. Or at least a pretzel baker of the highest order. By the way, the boiled then baked pretzels were yummilicious, and we gobbled those up right away. Sorry, Ms. Blomquist, you get a baked one, and only one, because they are too delicious to share, and we have lots of greedy little brothers in this family.