About Me

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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Intergalactic Breakfast Fail That Had an Unintentional Recovery

I had been eyeballing these Star Wars pancake molds from William-Sonoma for years.  Even though they are now offered in the WS outlet, I still could not justify the price.  Then I found them at a yard sale earlier this year, never been used, still in the packaging, for $2 and I didn't even haggle over the price.  I just knew I was going to get a Mom of the Year award for making Star Wars pancakes for B.  Fast forward 2 months - not only had I not made the pancakes, I'd forgotten I even had the molds because I haven't seen them in so long (read: no idea where I'd put them).

Well, I stumbled upon the molds this morning and decided today was going to be my award presentation day!  Um, not so much.  Evidently their non-stick coating that made them so easy to remove once one side of the pancakes were cooked did not agree with my pancakes.  Intergalactic Breakfast Fail.  The thing is, if B had listened to me and stayed out of the kitchen while I was making breakfast, I would have been the only one aware of said fail and I would not feel like I had disappointed him.  But, like any smart, cunning child, once told he was to stay away from something, B was convinced the Promised Land awaited him in that kitchen and nothing was keeping him out!  So he saw the molds and "ohh'd" and "ahhh'd" and said how excited he was that I was making Stars Wars pancakes.  Looking back, I should have know my fate was sealed at that moment, but I was naive and proceeded with the pancakes.  Silly, naive me.  *shaking my head*  So here lies the molds in my kitchen sink, with the pancake batter clinging to the non-stick coating.  But look how shiny my sink looks!  The Fly Lady would be proud.

So I carried on and made plain, old, boring, round pancakes and sausage for B and eggs and toast for the hubs.  B came back into the kitchen to check on the pancakes and I had to tell him that I had failed the Resistance and the Dark Side had won this pancake battle.  He took it like the Jedi he is, with no external show of emotion, just a slight lowering of the head in acceptance.  He turned away from the sink to exit the kitchen when his eyes fell on the hubs sunny side up eggs on the stove.  "Oh, cool, Mom!  You made an owl with the eggs!"  "Huh? Uhhh....Whyyyy yes, yes I did," I replied.  Well, whadaya know.  I received that award after all.  I got a big grin, a high five and a hug from my young padawan, who then trotted off to tell the hubs how lucky he was that his wife had made him an owl for breakfast.  I stood a little straighter, puffed out my chest and thought, "Who's Mom of the Year?  I am, that's whooooooo."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Our First, But Definitely Not Our Last, Trip to Greenbrier State Park in Maryland

One of the boys is "fishing" with a bug net.
One of our alleymates (neighbor who lives off the same alley as us) invited us and another alley family  to Greenbrier State Park in Boonsboro, Maryland today.  She had been a few times before and said it was a nice park with a beached lake, not too crowded during the week and within an hour of where we live.  I could not wait to check it out!  So 3 moms, 4 boys, a cooler and beach bags piled into a minivan and headed to Boonsboro.

The drive was lovely and the weather was absolutely perfect today!  Fluffy white clouds were constantly rolling by, so you weren't too cool not too hot for long.  Since we do not live in Maryland, it was $5/person (exception - the children in carseats were free); Maryland state residents pay only $3.  You can choose to set up your chairs/umbrellas/towels on grass that has some trees for shade, but we went right down on the beach.  I was surprised that there were rocks mixed in with the sand, but it wasn't a bother to me.  If your feet are sensitive, you can wear your flip flops down to the waters edge.

As you can see in the pictures, there are two roped off areas.  The 1st one probably goes out 30'-40' from the shore and the 2nd one is another 20' after that.  B, who is 4'10" went out to the farther rope and the water was just below his chin,  The shallow water, combined with no waves or current like you'd find at the ocean, makes this park friendly for kids of all ages and makes me feel safe letting B roam (swimmers must remain inside the roped areas).  In addition to swimming and sunbathing at the lake, they had paddle boats and fishing outside the ropes.  In fact, the lake is stocked with trout, largemouth bass and bluegill.  There are picnic tables available and even charcoal grills.  Besides the lake, the park offers camping, hiking trails and lots of flora and fauna to see.

The bathhouse with restrooms, showers and a first-aid station was right behind us and there are lifeguards on duty from 11am - 6pm.  One of the boys got sand in his eye and the lifeguard offered to call up to the first-aid station for an eye wash to be brought down.  The boy and his mom decided to walk up to the station, but I was impressed the lifeguard was paying attention and offered that assistance.  I also like that there are no trashcans.  Any trash you make, you must take with you.  Full trash cans can not only be smelly and unsightly, but they also attract bugs.

The lake is man-made and the bottom is soft sand and some rocks, like the shore.  The waters in the swimming area were clear and you could see down to the bottom.  There were also lots of little fish playing tag with the children.  Our boys were trying to catch a fish with bug nets most of the day and finally one of them caught a fish in a sand castle bucket - that's talent, right there!

All 7 of us had a great time.  Greenbrier State Park is close, inexpensive and relaxing, in my opinion.  We will definitely be frequenting this park!
When we arrived, this is what the lake in front of us looked like...

...and to the left of us...

...and to the right of us.  I'd say over the next 5 hours another 40 - 50 people came and went.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Caprese Salad

I love May - October when the farmers markets are around and dread the other 6 months when there is none.  :o(  Saturday we went to the farmers market and bought this basil plant, some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  The hubs also got some applewood-smoked mozzarella, and can't stop sniffing it.  ;o)  Yesterday, I made a Caprese Salad with my market finds and the kitchen smelled so good!  I learned something, though - when working with fresh mozzarella, let it sit in a strainer for a bit before adding to a recipe.  The tomato is not as bright in the salad, because there was so much white water released from the mozzarella after I tossed it in.  Oh, well.  And although a Caprese Salad is fabulous on it's own, we went one step farther.

We made Giada De Laurentiis' Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella.  Just one, grilled portobello cap for each of us, topped with the Caprese Salad was enough to fill our bellies at dinner last night.  So delicious!  Now I know why people grill portobellos as hamburger replacements.  We will be having this dish several more times this Summer.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recipe - White Bean and Pasta Soup from Epicurious

I've been trying to add more legumes into our diet this year.  I've liked all the recipes I've tried but the guys...not so much.  However, this White Bean and Pasta Soup from Epicurious.com was a hit with everyone - YEAH!  As usual, I had to make changes.  ;o)  If you click on the link to the original recipe, you'll notice right off the bat that Epicurious' version is white and mine is brown.  The recipe called for water but I needed more flavor than that to get my guys to eat it, so I used my fav vegetable stock.  Instead of cooking my own beans, I drained and rinsed a can of cannellini beans.  To get that garlic and sage flavor of the home-cooked beans they suggested starting with, I added a couple of cloves of minced garlic and some poultry seasoning before adding the stock, beans and tomato.  Why poultry seasoning, you ask?  I don't have sage in the house but sage is in poultry seasoning and, let's face it, the smell of poultry seasoning wafting through your kitchen just makes any day better.  I didn't have green onion to top it with and I'm allergic to olive oil, so there was no drizzling of that.  However, it was absolutely delicious and filling, I froze the leftovers for another meal and I highly recommend you give it a try.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our Williamsburg, Virginia Top Ten List



B, the hubs and I spent 4 days in Williamsburg, Virginia.  It was a lovely and well-needed mini vacay!  Unfortunately, we were unable to experience Revolutionary City this time.  However, since we are starting American History in 5th grade this month (how is he a 5th grader already?!), we will definitely be making a trip back.  Instead of writing the usual post about our trip, I decided to create a Top 10 List, a la David Letterman.  Although, knowing me, I won't be able to limit each item to just one sentence.  But, it will limit me to only ramble on about 10 things.  ;o)  Disclaimer: these are not all necessarily the best things about our trip, merely the ones that stand out the most.  Here we go...

Our Williamsburg, Virginia Top Ten List 

10.  Stopping at Bass Pro Shop on the way to Williamsburg was the best decision I made!  The hubs got to spend a few hours in his happy place which brought out "vacation hubs".  Trust me, vacation hubs is much more relaxed and easy-going than workday hubs.

9.   This particular Bass Pro Shop has a restaurant and we had lunch there.  The hubs ordered an alligator appetizer and we all tried it.  It had the consistency of cooked shrimp and tasted good.  But one bite was enough for me, thank you very much.

8.   I saw the results of worry and fear over future gun laws in the US - half-empty gun display cases and the inability to restock certain kinds of ammo.  Some people are so afraid they will not be able to buy everything they want in the future, so they are buying it all up now and manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand.

7.   The Cheese Shop makes excellent sandwiches.

6.   B's favorite ride at Busch Gardens turned out to be mine as well - Da Vinci's Cradle.

5.   Seeing the pride and self-satisfaction on B's face when he won the prize he'd set his sites on the very 1st time he tried.  It is a giant banana with dreadlocks and a Rastafarian hat.

4.   B was so happy he finally went on a roller coaster that went upside down.

3.   The hubs and I went to Busch Gardens years before B was born and had our portrait drawn.  On this trip, we had a new one drawn with all 3 of us.

2.   Even though we weren't able to enter Revolutionary City, no child should visit Williamsburg without getting a 3-point hat (or a bonnet) and a toy flintlock pistol, IMO.  B got both.  I remember getting my 3-point hat at Williamsburg as a girl and I played with it for years.

1.   And my absolute favorite things about our trip to Williamsburg was....We spent four days there and not a single person asked B, "Why aren't you in school?"  School systems still had 1 - 2 weeks left before Summer vacation, but there were plenty of other homeschoolers down there.  Due to the historical education to be gained in the area, Williamsburg must be used to us homeschoolers about all year long.  It is so nice not having to explain why you are out in public to complete strangers!