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?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Asian Wrap

I made Asian wraps for dinner last night and they were so good!  A little sweet, a little tang, soft meat, crunchy cabbage...YUM!  I placed some raw pork chops in my electric pressure cooker on the meat rack, added 2 cups of water and sealed her up.  Set on high pressure for 20 minutes and let her go.  After the pork was done, I placed the chops on a cutting board and shredded them.  Poured most of the liquid out of the pressure cooker, then added the meat back in with some Wegmans Stir Fry Sauce.  Added lid to the pressure cooker and set on Warm.

The hubs sautéed some sliced onions and once they were soft and golden, he added them to the pork and sauce mixture.  Then he shredded and quickly sautéed some cabbage.  I didn't want the cabbage cooked or limp, just softened a little so you didn't feel like you were fighting it in the wrap.  Homemade tortilla, shredded pork/onion/stir fry sauce mixture and the quick sauté of cabbage on top.  Dinner DONE.  I wanted to add some shredded, raw carrot, too, but the hubs "poo-pooed" that idea.  They were so good, we're having the leftovers for dinner again tonight!

If you don't have a pressure cooker, no worries.  You can cook the meat up anyway you like, chop it up and add some sauce.  Great way to use leftover pork.  If you're tired of BBQ sauce in your pulled pork sammies, give this Asian version a try.  And, please, let me know if you do!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Safest and Easiest Way to Store Soap in Our Child's Shower

 Now, bear with me, y'all.  I know this picture looks weird, at best, and kinda gross, at worst but it's harmless and a really good way to store soap in the shower, especially for kids.  So give me the benefit of the doubt and read on, OK?

What you are looking at is a bar of soap, inside a nylon knee high (pantyhose) that is tied onto the shower head in our bathroom.  I know what's on your tongue - WHY?!  It's a smart idea I learned from my Aunt Marge decades ago.  You know when a bar a soap gets down to the end, all thin or broken into a couple of pieces?  Either you can't get enough lather out of it because it's so small or you don't get the chance to get lather from it because you can't keep it in your hands.  Well, back in the days before liquid hand soaps and body washes, my Aunt Marge would gather those little soap nubs up, throw a few (or a bunch) into a leg she'd cut off an old pair of pantyhose and tie it to the shower head. She hated to waste those soap nubs and if she put them together she'd have a decent sized bar of soap.  In the shower, you grab the soap at the bottom of the pantyhose in your hands, pull it into the stream of water, soap up your hands and wash away.  I guess it's Aunt Marge's DIY version of soap on a rope.

In our house, it's the best solution for soap in a child's shower or tub and I'll tell you why.  A wet bar of soap rarely stays in place on the corners of your tub or on the built-in soap dishes.  A bar of soap that slides off the tub rim or soap dish can hurt the foot or toes of a child.  The child might even instinctively pick that foot up, throwing themselves off balance and falling.  If a bar of soap falls onto the floor, a child could accidentally step on it, slipping and falling.  It's also hard for little hands, learning to clean themselves, to keep hold of a wet bar of soap.  I know it can be enjoyable for a child to play with a bar of soap and slip it out of their hands over and over; I did it many times myself.  But it can also frustrate a child who wants to be able to do things for themselves.  If your child is not into showers but takes baths, you could tie this soap holder onto the faucet or the turn-the-water-on-and-adjustment-the-temperature thingy and let it hang down into the tub below the faucet.  We've tried body washes with B, but if the hubs or I are not in the bathroom, portioning out the body wash, a 16 oz bottle would be empty within a week.  And there is so much freedom in having a child who can go up, shower, dry off and get in PJs all by himself!


Here's a close-up of my bar of Olay soap.  See?  It's not scary!  How can anything that smells so nice, gets you clean and contains moisturizers be weird or gross?  As I said, this is my shower and a knee high comes down low enough for me.  In a smaller person's shower, a leg cut from a pair of old pantyhose should be used to hang low enough for kids to reach.  (Our bathroom has a window in it and is very bright. B's bathroom is darker and the pictures didn't turn out as well.)

Oh, and if the soap shelf on shower organizers works in your house, great!  It just didn't work in our shower.  The hubs and I each have our own soap and when we put one bar back on it, the other one always fell off.  And if you're wondering, we don't use separate soaps because we don't like to share/.  His is a special facial soap and he uses body wash for the rest of him.  I prefer using moisturizing bars instead of body wash.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Had I Never Heard of Apple Camp Before?

Did you know that Apple retail stores offered a free movie making camp to kids ages 8 - 12 during the Summer??  Neither did I!  That is, until I saw a post about it in June on one of my favorite mommy blogs, Money Saving Mom.  I immediately clicked on the link in her post and was taken to a detailed description of the camp on Apple's website.  I knew this was right up B's alley.  Not only would he enjoy learning how to film, edit and add music to his own movies, it was free.  Something for both B and me.  :o)  I signed him right up for a Monday/Tuesday/Saturday session.

During attendance on day one of Apple Camp, the camp counselors took down shirt sizes and within a few minutes, each child had a free Apple Camp t-shirt.  On the front is a constellation of a clapperboard surrounded by musical note stars.  On the back are the words, "Make movie magic."  They also received a lanyard and  "pass" with their name on it.  The kids watched an example of what they'll learn to create in the camp then worked independently at their own station with an iPad and their headphones.  B was able to draw his movie's storyboard and create his own score using Garage Band.  The counselors were very engaging with the kids and made learning fun.

While the kids learned how to make movies, we parents received our own Apple lesson.  Our counselor navigated us through the Accessibility options in Settings and answered questions/solved problems that we were having with any of our personal Apple products.  I learned a lot, myself.

Day one ended with a homework assignment - all kids needed to create approximately 2 - 5 minutes of film to bring into Day 2 of camp, where they would edit down to a movie of no more than 90 seconds.  B was armed with his storyboard and knew just what his movie was going to be about.  "The Epic Battle" was filmed outside later that afternoon, with the help of the boys from next store.  B calls them his, "little brothers from another mother".  ;o)

Day two got off to a rocky start.  When we arrived, some of the campers form the previous session were still there, working on their projects, so B's session did not exactly start on time.  Plus, the number of counselors was cut in half, due to customer assistance needs in the store.  There were a lot of kids who didn't know what they were doing and patience was hard to come by with all that excitement and eagerness to start editing.  But the counselors made sure they instructed each child and the kids helped each other out, as well.  Everyone from B's session was finished with their movie by the end of day two.

Day three of camp wasn't until Saturday, "a whole four days away, Mom!" and B just knew it would never come.  Thankfully, he was able to pass some of that time by creating more movies at home.  We arrived at the Apple store Saturday around 8:45am, B wearing his camp shirt and lanyard, and were let in at 9am.  After the kids were seated around the viewing monitors and we parents were standing behind them, one of the counselor gave a short talk.  He said the employees had a great time with the kids and there were definitely some JJ Abrams and George Lucases among the campers.  I was surprised to hear that all the sessions at this Apple location had filled up in two days!  I will start scouring Apple's website next year for registration info by June 1st to make sure B gets in again.  There is so much to do in iMovie and he was not able to absorb it all.  Another year of this camp will teach him even more.

Then, each kid was called up front to introduce their movie and we all watched.  These kids amazed me with their imaginations and what they were able to film in an afternoon.  After each movie, the creator was presented with a certificate of completion, four apple camp patches and the bracelet shown above which contains a thumb drive with his or her own movie on it!  B has worn it every day since camp and offers to show his movie to everyone who happens to have a device with a USB port on it.  LOL

Free Apple Camp gets an enthusiastic two thumbs up from this mom!