Thursday, May 30, 2013


I usually like to keep the pictures on bad mansard seasonal.  So clearly this picture is out of place in May with the snow on the ground.  I am determined to get 4 posts up for May so a snowy picture is that best I have.

 I took the picture on my way to take a deposition in Jefferson County.  It was a weird deposition.  I've been deposing people for 16 years and not once, not EVER, have I ever been in the middle of a deposition and had the other attorney out in the hallway doing push ups.  His client had no clue because he was behind her.  But I was asking questions to the deponent while her attorney was doing a full fledged calisthenic work out.  Pretty bad.  Just like this mansard on the outer road.

Monday, May 27, 2013


It's been a busy Memorial Day weekend.  Not a bad-busy but a "drinking beer at the pool" and "cleaning the laundry room" kind of busy.

These pictures are from spring break a few months back.  We went on the Meramec Cavern tour.  Cheesy awesome!  That's kind of become my thing- force the family to check out a cave when we vacation near home.  I highly recommend a trip to the Do Kum Inn diner near Meramec Cavern at 44 near the Sullivan exit.  Good food.  I had some great fried catfish.  And lookie there!  It's a bad motel abandoned mansard!

Yes, Mimi's clothes are woefully matched.  I really don't care too much what she wears, if it isn't obvious.  The girls fortunately do care and usually take the time to dress her right.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Girl Scout camping trip

Sorry for my absence from tending bad mansard. I took my daughters' Girl Scout Troops to Camp Cedarledge for the weekend.  I think it was a success, especially since it was our first troop camping trip.  4th grade seems so late to start camping but it took us that long to get someone certified to take us.  You just can't tell the Girl Scouts, "oh hey- I'd like to go camping..." and get a camp site.  Someone has to be Girl Scout camp certified which usually takes an entire weekend.  Two of our dads did the "fast track" program and even that took an entire day plus prerequisite online coursework.

I kind of knew what I was getting myself into.  I went to Cedarledge every summer and advanced through the WIT program to eventually work at Cedarledge as a wrangler for a summer.  I also went to Bridgett's blog South City Musings and did a search on "Cedarledge" and looked at her experiences and tips for success.  

We lucked out with the weather.  Cold at night which kept girls in their sleeping bags and made the fires that much more enjoyable. Sunny during the day.  No rain.  19 juniors, 1 Daisy, 1 Brownie, 6 cadettes (Friday night only).  5 men who slept in pop-up tents at the bottom of the hill.  5 moms.  I thought that would be way too many adults but it was great having that many hands with us being at the corral at different times all morning.

Cadettes were a big hit.  4th graders idolized them.  6th grade girls are so blase about Girl Scouting but they had a great time, helped out with cooking and made it back to St. Louis for their soccer games in time.  I let them cram in one tent which was a good idea.  No one felt left out and they may have just bonded a little bit.  And I didn't see anything in the rules that you couldn't put 6 girls in a tent.  

Things I did right- kept the girls in their patrols for everything.  Divided the cooking work amongst patrols and asked parents to send everything else like snacks, beef jerky, etc.  We lucked out because our 8th grade troop is disbanding upon graduation and handed down all their camp gear including some really nice skillets and Dutch ovens.  

Things I did wrong- letting the girls serve themselves at a taco bar (stupid- they wasted a ton of meat) and not giving parents better instructions for when to drop off/pick up (there was that one kid at the end, "who's picking you up?) and I should have sprayed girls more frequently for ticks (ticks were everywhere). I should have warned the girls how chilly it would get at night.  Many of them would have benefited from another blanket or hat.  

No more talky.  Pictures are better.

You know what would have made this adult time better?  A case of beer.  Alas, against Girl Scout rules. 

Some dress up in the cadette tent

cooking scrambled eggs in plastic bag

cutest tagalongs ever

The Milkshakes and Purple Pancakes patrols 

nice fire ring at Skyview.  Bring your own guitar playing Jesuit school English teacher.  
South City bluebirds represent.
we did a fun Mother's Day craft with leaves and photo reactive paper.  The crazy lady is me; thanks to Kristin M for organizing!

cadettes cook corn

Awesomeness patrol

Saturday, May 4, 2013


In my Bad Mansard Postcards from around the US series, here is Massachusetts.  Thanks Richard for the picture.

Things I'm digging about this mansard:  It's a three story building.  The mansard "strips" look like stringy rattails.  The bizarre-o pom pom bushes.

In other news, I'm finding I have to up my game with cooking.  I usually cook a decent dinner 3-4 nights a week.  That isn't cutting it.  At all.  There aren't enough leftovers to feed all 6 of us.  The older kids do that thing where they pace around the kitchen and say they're hungry and tell me we have no good cereal.  The 4 yo is sick of PB&J.  So I'm going to have to put something on the table about every night, even if it's a snack or quick bread, etc.

I tried two new recipes.  Most new recipes for me have about a 50% chance of success.  Some of the failures are just plain old nasty (Mexican meatloaf- barf- the dog wouldn't even eat it) and some are just "meh" meaning I'm not going to make them because no one gets excited about it.

I picked two winners this weekend:  I made super easy calzones (gotta have a good rolling pin** for this one- click here) and the most awesome chicken noodle soup ever (must get thyself to Jay's for the pivotal ingredient, white miso, incredible depth of flavor and the kids loved the lasagna noodles- click here).  Both will regulars in the dinner rotation here at Bad Mansard Central.

**About my rolling pin.  If I ever needed to grab a kitchen tool for hand-to-hand combat, I'm taking my rolling pin.  Granted, it's way more rolling pin than I will ever need.  It's a little too heavy.  I received it as a wedding gift 15 (!) years ago.  It's a fancy Williams Sonoma 100% maple, made in America, ball bearing pin.  It could do some serious damage.  That said, I usually use my children's sil-pat "just like mommy" rolling pin for small baking jobs.  It's an overpriced Pottery Barn Kids toy (although a pretty good one).

Wondering why so much Pottery Barn and William Sonoma?  My mother in law and aunt in law work at Williams Sonoma.  We've had some great Christmas presents over the years.