Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Yippee! It's my day today! I know birthdays aren't as exciting as they used to be when you were a kid but I'm enjoying mine so far. Funny thing is that I really don't remember a whole lot about my birthdays as a kid. This I am sure is a shock to my sister, Alesia. I have this uncanny ability to remember many details from our childhood. She thinks they are in my head because she doesn't remember any of them. What I do remember about my birthdays growing up is that my Mom always had a cake for us and I remember her making Halupki (stuffed cabbage rolls) for me which are my absolute favorite food. Other than that, not much. One more thing is that I remember wishing for snow on my birthday and guess what! It's snowing today! That's right! I am enjoying a white birthday! It's so beautiful! I am a happy birthday girl!
Sophia posted on her blog a challenge for a Christmas countdown. She has listed one Christmas question a day until Christmas. I'm five days behind so I'm playing catch up. I'll try to keep up from here until Christmas with the rest.
1. Colored lights or white lights on your house or not at all? Colored. I always preferred white lights but since Allison was born, I switched to colored. I'm not sure why but it'll probably be that way for a long time. I'm big on tradition and it's a tradition Allison will remember. Oh! Pink lights on Allison's tree in her room. After all, what is a princess tree without pink lights?
2. Hot chocolate or Egg Nog? Hot chocolate! I remember as a kid my Mom would have a big saucepan on the stove ready for us when we came in from playing out in the snow. Yum! Curtis also makes a mean homemade hot chocolate!
3. What's your favorite holiday dish? I don't think I have one. My favorite cookie is my best friend's wedding cookies. It's not Christmas without them. My favorite is the lemon ones. Are you getting my hint, Susan? :)
4. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them. We enjoy watching Allison's reaction to each and every one. He doesn't wrap the items in the stocking though. My "Santa" never did so Allison's "Santa" doesn't either.
5. Do you hang mistletoe? Absolutely! What is Christmas without it?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I don't have much time now. We have plans later on today and I am trying to get some of my house in some sort of order before we take off. That in of itself seems to be an overwhelming job these days! Before I go, here is our contribution to for The Turkey Protection Program for Allison's school. We had to disguise a turkey to save it from being cooked and eaten on Thanksgiving. I don't know about you but I wouldn't mess with a "Turkeetah", would you???
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Saturday, November 03, 2007
A friend asked for my chicken pot pie recipe so I thought I would share it with all of you too. In fact, it got my brain thinking and I said to myself: "Self, you should post recipes more often and use pictures to help as visual aids." I have to admit, it wasn't my original idea to do it with pictures. I've been addicted to a blog called "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman" written by Ree. She also has another blog called "The Pioneer Woman Cooks!" that I love. In that blog she shares her amazing recipes with pictures. You HAVE to check out her blogs. They both are very addicting. She's also writing the story of how she, a self-proclaimed city girl, met, fell in love and married her cowboy, Marlboro Man. Her story is better than a Danielle Steel novel! I find myself checking all the time to see if she's posted the next part of "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story." My friend, Kim, and I decided that as soon as she starts holding get-a-ways for overworked Moms on their ranch, we will be the first ones to relax and watch the cowboys! Anyone want to come along???
Onto the recipe already! Enough about country living and hot cowboys! Okay, first let me say that I do not claim to be a chef or any kind of professional cook. I do have some cooking skills which allow me to take a recipe and make it my own. Most of the recipes I make are either my own or from friends and family. If they are from friends and family, I've usually put my own spin on them. Not because I didn't like them, but because I've changed them around for my family's likes and dislikes. Feel free to do the same with any of these recipes. I promise to give credit to whoever has passed on the recipe to me ... that's if I remember or have it in my files. I also have collected a good amount of recipes that are yummy and easy to make. I, like most of you, am too busy to cook elaborate recipes. I love to cook for my family but I hate to decide what's for dinner. One more thing I want to share is that some of the pictures are a little blurry. I'll work on that but I am no Ree. I'm sure her camera is much better than mine anyway. I hope you enjoy my recipes!
First cut the chicken up in to bite size pieces and put it in a big bowl...like the vintage Pyrex one I bought at Goodwill to resell on eBay but fell in love with it and now I don't want to part with it! I boiled white chicken breasts from Market Day this time. It doesn't look too good in that white bowl, does it? You can use whatever you like. I also like those rotisserie chickens you can buy at Sam's Club or your local grocery store. I like to buy one and pick all the chicken off of it. I cut or tear it up and use my "suck and seal" to portion it out and then I throw it in the freezer. I use it for pot pie, soup or casseroles. It's a huge time saver!
Drain and rinse the diced potatoes and add those to the bowl. Add in about 1 1/2 cups of the frozen mixed veggies. Add pepper and a little salt. Be careful with the salt because you can't take it out if you over do it. I add a little more when I use boiled white chicken breasts but when I use those already done chickens I omit the salt.
Put the top pie crust on and fold the edges under the bottom crust. Pinch the two together. Using a sharp knife, cut air holes in the top so it doesn't explode and make your oven a mess! Hey be careful with that knife! I don't do first aid!Next I put it on a pizza pan because I HATE cleaning the oven...and I have a self cleaning one! Now go find your foil and tear thin strips off the roll but be careful of the teeth on that box. Do you have any ideas how many workers' comp incidents I've seen over the years due to foil box teeth? Trust me, it's not pretty! Okay, now go and cover your crust with the foil. It doesn't like to be naked the whole time or it gets too brown. You don't have to squeeze it tightly. Just press it on so it doesn't fall off.
Now place the whole kitten caboodle in the oven that you should have preheated to 425 degrees. Set your timer and bake it for 20 minutes. When you timer goes off, go and get yourself some tongs and pull the foil off the pie. This is why you don't squeeze it on tight. It should just fall off with a little tug. Next close the oven door before you let too much heat out and reset your timer for another 20 minutes.
Watch it closely at the end because if your oven is like mine, it'll be too dark in 20 minutes. My oven is a liar and is hotter than what I set it for. I know, I know. I can fix that but although I can read a recipe, I'm a little not so good at the manual for the stove. So I'll just take mine out when it's nice and golden and bubbly.
I hope you try it. It's so easy and gets great reviews. No one will ever know that you didn't make the crust yourself!
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I got to help out with the Halloween party. I supplied little treat bags filled with candy.
This was Allison's treat for all her classmates. I used the same concept as I did Easter treats last year and started with a cup. I filled it with a mini Hershey bar, M & M's, Skittles and four coupons from McDonald's.
Allison wanted me to take a picture of her stuff she got from the school party. The Beanie Baby gorilla was the model for the costume and the purple bowl was the treats I bought to give out to the kids but everything else on the table came from the school party.
My expert pumpkin carvers. I'm in charge of roasting the seeds.
"I'm not afraid of the pumpkin guts!"
Allison wanted us to surprise her with the design so Daddy is hard at work!
The finished product!
This was the third year we went back over to where my Mom lives to go Trick or Treating. We go with my Goddaughter. She's the mummified cheerleader. This year some of her friends came along. Allison had a blast and I get to visit with my friend. We always start at their Mom's...just like when we were kids.
Friday, November 02, 2007
I continued to tell him our feelings on everything. One other thing that struck me was the Thursday before school started. It was registration night and we had a meeting with Mrs. B. after it. Usually they come to your home for a home visit but she was having problems with her car and didn't want to travel to our home. We met with her in her classroom and one thing I noticed was that Allison's desk was by itself. It was right next to hers. The other student desks were in groups of two. There was one other desk by itself on the other side of the room. That student was the student of the "homeroom mom" (I don't know how she got that title. I don't remember voting on that or even being consulted...but that's another story) who helps out in the classroom. I thought it was odd that Allison was placed by herself. It was as if she had preconceived notions about her...before school even started. I told him all about this and if she felt Allison was "anti-social" then why did she put her off by herself? He agreed.
I asked him how often he does a report so I know how his sessions go. He said that he would let us know in January and then at the end of school. I told him that this was not acceptable and asked him for his number because I would be calling him. He agreed and gave me his number.
The following week was his first meeting with Allison. Afterward he called me because he knew that I would be calling. He said that we have a very nice and outgoing young lady. He said that he doesn't think he will be having many sessions with her. He also said that he doesn't see the need to push any panic buttons yet. Hmmm. Interesting!
...to be continued...
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Still in shock and a few days later, I went to get my hair cut. Renee does both mine and Allison's hair. We were there just the week before getting Allison's done before school started. It was my turn now without the little one tagging along. I hadn't planned on discussing what was going on with us with anyone until I had time to process it in my own mind. However, when Renee asked how school was going for Allison, it just spilled out about our meeting. She was shocked too. Actually, everyone we have talked to about this is shocked when we tell them about the parent teacher conference after only one day of school. She was also surprised when she said Allison was anti-social. Anti-social is not how people perceive her...at all. She offered her advice. Her son is A.D.H.D. so she has been through it all. She suggested we get our own doctor and professionals and not use the one Mrs. B. had suggested. She shared with me that she had called her pediatrician and went from there. He referred her to a child counselor who specializes in A.D.H.D. and A.D.D. kids. She said the woman is wonderful and her son has shown great progress with her help. As luck would have it, we have the same pediatrician. I love our pediatrician so I felt good that if he directed her in the right direction for his son, we would be on the right path too. Funny how I hadn't planned on talking about it with Renee but I'm so glad that it just popped out of my mouth when she asked me how school was going. She's just one of the angels that was leading us in the right direction.
...to be continued...
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Sunday, October 21, 2007
I had to enlarge the mums. Take a good look at them in all their glory. They will be dead soon. I don't know why but I can't keep mums to save my life!
This next pic is one of the reasons you should have a second child. So the older one has someone to read to!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Curtis had come up from the basement and sat down in the living room and was listening to the television. He said "Why is this on now?" Apparently I wasn't the only one that was thinking this related to our situation. Allison possesses several of the attributes they were talking about. So, why WAS this on right then? That night of all nights? I don't know but I took it as a sign. A sign that there may be more to this whole thing than what Mrs. B. thinks. I think there was someone up there leading us into another direction. Forcing us to think for ourselves and against a teacher who had been teaching for 20 years. It was our responsibility to find the answers and the solutions for Allison. She was counting on us to fight this fight for her... but how? Where do we start?
...to be continued...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Allison was so excited for the first day of school. At first she didn't want to go back but then she got caught up in everything and was ready when the day came. The first day was only 3 hours. They had Chapel for an hour, put their supplies away, drew a picture, played on the playground and then came home on the bus. She had a good day. So we thought.
The second day seemed to have gone good also. However, we soon found out that it was Allison's perception that they day went good. That early evening we got a phone call from her teacher who I will refer to as Mrs. B. from here on out. She said that there were some things that happened in school that day and wanted to meet with me to discuss them. She wanted to start the year off on the right foot. I told her that she would have to meet with both of us and Curtis didn't get off of work until 4 pm. She agreed to stay a little after school because she felt it was important. After I hung up, we asked Allison what she did that day and she said nothing. Unfortunately, we didn't believe her and took her new television that she received for her birthday in July out of her room and sent her to bed early.
The next day (Wednesday) we met with Mrs. B. that afternoon. She started the conversation by saying that she has been teaching for 20 years. Let me say here that her credentials were not in question. If they had been, we would not have been paying for Allison to attend that school. She also said she watched Allison on the playground and in the halls last year...I guess this was her way of justifying what she was about to say. She said that Allison was anti-social, opposition defiant, easily distracted, doesn't follow instructions, has inappropriate responses and has signs of A.D.D. and that she should be tested and that they can have people come in and do it. She showed us a school paper where she doodled a couple of faces in the right hand margin. She asked Allison what is was and she said Allison's response was that it was the confused Allison. I asked her later about this and she said it was Mommy and Daddy because she missed us. Allison is smart. Last year she was reprimanded for doodling on her work paper. She knew she shouldn't have done it so she said to each of us what she thought she should to keep herself out of trouble. This is my opinion of the faces. Mrs. B. felt that there were a lot of things going on in her little head and that she needs all the professional help that we could give her. That we needed to peel back the layers and help her. She suggested the school guidance counselor, school psychologist and also an outside child psychologist that she could refer us to that she has worked with in the past. She also said that she suggested that we put her back into Kindergarten. She said that she was the one that held Curtis' niece back in Kindergarten thirteen years ago. What does that have to do with Allison? They are two different kids. Raised differently by two very different set of parents. So we refused to hold her back. We didn't feel it was a good idea because academically, she never had a bad mark on her weekly progress reports or her quarterly report cards. We felt that she would be bored and then act out even more. She also told us that if things continued that Allison would have a bad year, she (Mrs. B.) would have a bad year and we would have a bad year. She said if something didn't change, then she would be retained. She also told us that we were wrong to reward her with a kitten last year. If you don't know what I am talking about, read here. She asked us if we "paid" her often for doing what we wanted her to do. She asked us what was next..."a diamond bracelet or a new car?" Excuse me, but WHAT THE HECK? She doesn't even know us! How dare she give us parenting advice. If she took the time to know us, she would know that Allison has what she needs but does not get everything that she wants. If we are guilty of anything, it's giving Allison more love and attention than most kids get. Their theme for the school year this year is Family. Some of the suggestions were to eat dinner as a family at the dinner table together, worship together, bake cookies together and basically do things together as a family. We already do all those things but she doesn't know that because she never took the time to find out what kind of a family we are. She just immediately passed judgement on us and assumed that we "pay" Allison for everything. The ironic thing is that she just told us 6 days before this meeting that her and her husband had told their two sons that they would pay for their college education if they help out. They wanted to send them off into the world without a college debt. Excuse me but what would you call that? A bribe, a reward or an incentive? They put a condition out there for their sons (if they helped pay for it) and then the reward was to be debt free. Hmm, I don't know but it looks like the pot calling the kettle black! Ha...and the kitten was FREE! Anyway, let me explain the inappropriate response. She said that on the first day of school that they were asked to draw their favorite place. Allison drew a rectangle with a stick figure (herself) in it and two snakes. She said she wanted to live with snakes. Well Mrs. B. said that was an inappropriate response. That it is not normal for her to want to live with snakes. Hmm, for watching Allison and thinking she knows her and what her problems are, she really doesn't know her at all! All of our family and friends said "That's Allison!" when we told them about the picture. Did I mention the stick figure had a smiley face on it? The only reason she doesn't have one as a pet (she has asked) is that I told I would have to move out. So far, I'm winning over the snake. I only pray that she feels the same way when she's 16 and I'm a drag! Here's the pic....
So we agreed to get her the help that she felt Allison needed. We also asked her to let us know how each day was going. She hesitated by saying that she had 17 other students but Curtis insisted and asked for a little post-it note with either a smiley or a frown face so we knew where to take the conversation with Allison at dinner. She finally gave in and agreed.
Curtis asked her if she had had many of these conversations with other parents and what the outcomes were. She said that she had it with another set of parents. She implied it was in a previous year. She said they got mad at her and withdrew their son from the school. She asked us to please not be mad at her. She just wanted "to help" Allison.
As you can imagine, we were shocked at everything that had been said. I started to cry for my baby early into the meeting and just couldn't get my composure back. I was so mad at myself that all of the things that she observed about Allison had slipped by me. How could I not have known any of these things about my daughter? I have good people skills and read people really well. It's one of those things that I've been complimented on. Where did I go wrong? Or did I go wrong? Was there more to this whole thing? It was all so strange. How does a teacher make these assumptions about a student after just one day of school? It all seemed pretty odd to us. I'm so glad that I didn't meet with her alone. I am not sure that anyone would have believed me when I told them what she said. I'm glad Curtis and I had each other to witness this.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007
Obviously I haven't posted in a while. I haven't felt like it. I've had a heavy load on my mind. It's been consuming my thoughts, actions and mood. It's been very stressful. I didn't want to post and be a downer so I didn't post.
Several posts ago, I asked for prayers for us. I said I wasn't ready to talk about it here but Curtis, Allison and I needed your prayers. THANK YOU! Curtis and I have had some big decisions to make and I feel we are on the right path. I feel through your prayers, God has guided us in the right direction for Allison. He gave us the strength to see this through and the support of everyone around us. It's amazing how things fell into place. How we met the right people with the right advice at the right time. I believe it was all through the work of God that Allison's sweet smile is intact. We owe all of you a lot. Thank you!
I will talk about this here but I don't have time right now. We have moved Allison to a new school and today is her second day. I think this is a good move. No, I KNOW this is a good move. Allison has made the change beautifully and we have had no regrets. I know this is only the second day at this new school but we are hopeful. When our pediatrician released her from the hospital, he told me to always go with my gut feeling. It has been the best advice I have received and used since Allison was born. My gut feeling is this is right. The new school is exactly where Allison needs to be. Of course, a little more prayers from all of you won't hurt either.
I'll try to clue you all in this weekend some time.
Love you all!
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Friday, September 21, 2007
Yesterday my honey turned thirty-something. I would post his age but I'm sure he wouldn't be too thrilled with me. I don't know why because I think he looks good for his age! I tease him that I would leave him for George Clooney but in all honesty, George doesn't come close my guy!
I tried to make his birthday special but I think I failed. First, his gift that I ordered didn't come in time. I did make him a nice dinner of pork roast with baby portabella mushroom gravy in the crock pot, mashed redskin potatoes and green & yellow beans with baby carrots.
However, he couldn't enjoy it because we had to eat it in a hurry so we could go pick up Allison's school work from one of her classmates. She's been out sick for two days so I had the teacher send it home. I don't want her to get behind. After picking up her school work, we went to the vet's office to pick up Princess from being declawed and spayed. We then rushed home and he sat at the kitchen table for the next 2 1/2 hours with Allison doing about 30 school papers! We then sang a quick happy birthday and presented him with his cake that Allison and I baked for him and she sprinkled and sprinkled and sprinkled!
He then read her a story and tucked her into bed. He came downstairs and had a piece of birthday cake. Since Allison has been sick, I had not been able to do my normal Wednesday errands which included picking up a birthday gift for a birthday party that Allison was invited to tonight. So off he went to Wal-Mart to get a gift for the little boy. What a guy! George wouldn't have done all that!
I love you honey! I'm sorry your birthday wasn't all that you deserve. I hope we share many more of your birthdays together. I promise you they will be better!
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Sunday, September 16, 2007
I was looking at the pictures the other day with Allison and she said that when she goes to college she is going to study in England too! LOL! I told her that we had to get her through 1st grade first! I love how they think!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
|Click to play Make your own Smilebox|
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Just under a month ago and before school started, we decided to take a mini weekend vacation. Allison wanted to pick up sea shells on the beach. I looked into Ocean City, Maryland but the 7 1/2 hour drive one way would be spending too much time in the van and also make Curtis and I tired with all the driving. So we opted for Lake Erie on the Ohio side. I found an adorable 2 bedroom cottage in Port Clinton. It was the perfect central location for everything we wanted to do! We had a wonderful time. So relaxing and fun! Who would of thought when we planned this mini get-a-way that we would need it so much with all the school stuff going on. It turned out to be the perfect time away.
Here is our weekend in pictures. Remember, you can click on any of them to enlarge them and click on the links to see more about the places. Since there are so many, I'll try to keep my narration to a minimum.
Wooo Hooo! 1 more mile!
Sheryl & Bob (the owners of the cottage where we stayed) suggested Dock's Beach House for dinner. It was awesome! I had Blackened Seafood Cakes which were crab, shrimp and grouper. They were amazing! Here's Allison enjoying her Shirley Temple on the patio deck. It was so dark out you really couldn't see the lake but you could hear the waves.
Allison was a Daddy's girl most of the weekend. Mommy didn't like it!
After dinner we went down to the beach so she could see the lake. This is the first pic when she looked at the lake. She was so happy!
She didn't hesitate at all! She started kicking the water around!
Oh to be six!
Still smiling when we went back to the cottage. She was excited that she got a double bed and had room for all of her friends!
Here's the cottage. It's called Ginger's Cottage and was perfect! Click on the link for pictures of the inside. Sheryl and Bob had everything we needed. It is so nice to have a washer and dryer on vacation. I brought everything home clean! Thanks Nancy for the idea!
Cuddle time with Daddy! Mommy didn't like it!
Saturday morning we got up early so we could tour Marblehead Lighthouse. They give tours the second Saturday of the months through October so this was one of the reasons we picked this weekend. YES! We climbed all 77 spiral metal steps. VERY scary for Mommy! You could see through the steps to the bottom!
This pic is of us on top of the lighthouse. It was very windy up there and they told us to hang on to Allison. Can you see we wouldn't let go of her? The volunteer took the picture and besides cutting off the top of Curtis' head, it's a good pic.
Next we went to Mystery Hill and Prehistoric Forest in Marblehead. The table in this pic is level but you can not stand on it standing straight up. The house is on a hill but the table isn't. Odd isn't it?
This is one pic of Prehistoric Forest. Allison was obsessed! She made me take a picture of every dinosaur!
Digging for fossils in Prehistoric Forest.
Here's my baby rock climbing! It scares me that this little girl has no fear! Notice Curtis down below ready to catch her!A close up!
This is Perry's Cave. The stalactites aren't very big from the ceiling of the cave. They take hundreds of years to form and in the 1950's, they let tourists break them off and take them for souveniers. What were they thinking?
At Perry's Cave, you can mine for gems. We ended up buying a second large bag of dirt because we had so much fun mining with the first one.
Allison and Daddy enjoying a smoothie and latte from the Chocolate Cafe. We rented a golf cart on Put-in-Bay to get around and Allison loved sitting on the back watching everything.
We took the main street all the way to the end of the island to see what was there. The white shoreline you see in the pic is zillions of broken teenie tiny shells.
Allison wasn't happy until she got to touch the snake! Of course prior to taking these photos I was running away from them screaming "OH MY GOODNESS!" over and over again!
Allison riding Kimberly's Carousel on Put-in-Bay.
A fun sign on Put-in-Bay.
This is my new favorite pic of my two favorite people. Doesn't she look so happy and pretty here? Doesn't he look handsome? This was taken at The Boardwalk restaurant. Awesome food and service!
They are known for their lobster bisque and boy was it awesome! I just got a cup to try it and Miss Allison loved it! Maybe I should have gotten the bowl!
Allison picked out this pink snake at a gift shop so it can remind her of touching a snake with her Dad on the beach. Weird kid! She had to pose for a picture on the Jet Express back to Port Clinton with her new friend. We got to ride the upper deck on the way back. It was so much fun!
Sunday morning we got up and headed to East Harbor State Park so Allison could hunt for shells. She had a blast running in the water. I didn't expect her to get so wet. I didn't have any extra clothes for her in the van. I ended up stripping her and wrapping her in a beach towel and buckled her into her booster seat. When Curtis took her out of the van back at the cottage, she told him to make sure the towel covered her. She didn't want anyone seeing her "cute baby butt!" Oye! The things kids say!
Searching for shells!
She would have stayed there all day if we let her but it started to rain so we went back to the cottage to load the van and go to lunch. We had lunch at Jolly Roger's Seafood House in Port Clinton. It was voted by Costal Living Magazine as the Best Seafood Dive. I can see why. It was a great lunch.
Move animal friends!
This alpaca wanted me to open my window but I wasn't budging! I think he needs a haircut!
This was the little buffalo/bison that had his head in the window! The other bigger one decided he would come on my side and then stick out his very long huge tongue and try to get food from Allison!
The giraffe was behind a fence and his markings were just beautiful!
I'll be cleaning pellets out of my van for weeks. When they grab the food they really GRAB it!
This is an African wild cat. Kind of looks like Princess, doesn't it? It even makes the same rolling sound down in it's throat like Princess does!
Allison got to ride a camel!
We also got to sit in on an animal show. They had several animal friends from around the world to share with us. The last one came from Burma...and YES, it was a Burmese Python! Allison was thrilled! I wasn't! After the presentation, they asked if anyone wanted to touch or hold it and my very brave little daughter jumped to her feet with her hand in the air and shouted "I DO!" She was the first in line! UGH! You'll probably be surprised to hear this but I even touched it! It had just shed it's skin so they said it was very soft. It feels like the texture and smoothness of a basketball. And NO, I will not be holding one anytime soon!