Thursday, June 26, 2014

Photo Challenge Day!

It is the 4th week of summer vacation. The first week we relaxed and wound down from school. We went swimming and to the library. The second and third week Munchkin was at band camp so Little Man and I hung out and played cars, went to the library, read, went to the wave pool with band camp, baked cookies, went to the beach and a spray park, and just enjoyed getting to spend time together. 

This week I have been reading the new Diana Gabaldon book "Written in My Heart's Own Blood" so the kids have been doing a great job of entertaining themselves. Sure, they have had time to watch a little TV and play a few video games but that is pretty limited. They have read, done chalk art on the side walk, done crafts, and have eaten all of the snacks in the house. So today when they asked what they should do I sent them on a photo challenge. They started out in the backyard but then went all around our block to see what kinds of images they could capture. Their challenge consisted of flowers, yard art, and leading lines. These are the top 4 for each kiddo. I think they rose to the challenge! :)

Munchkin's top 4

Little Man's top 4

Now while I post this they are watching Frozen only this time in Spanish.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


This is Critter. He was a stray that adopted our neighbor and has been loved on by everyone in the neighborhood. Critter used to be very skittish around people but because of the love shown by our neighbors he grew to like people. At Christmas he got hit by a car. A trip with the neighbors to the vet showed he was bruised but no worse for wear. Over the last two years he has shown signs of his age in his vision, hearing, and bladder function. A family walked by one day and asked if he was OK because of the way he was walking. Everyone on the block knows Critter, loves him, and knows to just pick him up and move him to the yard if he is out in the street. Today, Critter is going to the vet and will not be coming home.

We talked to the kids yesterday about Critter. Munchkin (my tenderhearted girl) immediately started to tear up. She went out to go see him and to take some pictures of him. The big picture up there is hers (the small one is from two years ago). Little Man (also tenderhearted) took a little while longer to process but then sobbed at bedtime. Both kids have loved Critter and having him on our street. He will be missed. :(

Friday, June 06, 2014

Summer Reading: My Top 5

Are you a reader? Are you always looking for the next great book to read? Well, I have some suggestions for you!

1. First and foremost, Diana Gabaldon's "Written in My Heart's Own Blood" comes out in just 4 days! My mother started reading this series 20 years ago. I started reading them 2 years ago.  This is book 8 in the series and promises to be as epic as the first 7 books! Start with Outlander and you will be hooked, you will want to travel to Scotland, and you will want to order Starz so you can see the TV show that is 20 years in the making!!

2. Game of Thrones
Right now I am at the beginning of book 4 in this series. If you have seen the show but haven't read the books I highly suggest reading! Everyone was shocked by the Red Wedding episode (which I haven't seen yet) but now I know all about it from book 3. This one might take a bit to get into because there are so many intricate details and characters but it is definitely worth the read!

3. The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold
When I read this book back in March I posted this on Facebook:
I just finished reading a complicated yet engaging book called The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold. A few sentences that resonated with me "We think we know our friends, our lovers, but really all we know is pieces of them. Fragments we learn by watching, sharing time and place, listening to their stories; over the years there are more and more of those fragments and we can draw lines between them, fill them with what we imagine is truth. But of course we can only know what they show us; lines we think jig here may actually curl somewhere else altogether. The lines we draw aren't always real, and often have more to do with our own selves".

It lead to an in depth discussion on human interaction. I love it when I book resonates with life!

4. Let them Be Eaten by Bears by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
I actually read this book last year and wrote an entire post about it in September.  This book was named one of Parents Magazine top 5 books of 2013. If you are feeling stuck inside get this and read it and get you and your kids outside!

5. The Fault in Our Stars
You will cry...that is all.

What is on your reading list this summer? I am planning on finishing up the Game of Thrones series and spending time in the world of Outlander. Both Diana Gabaldon and George R.R. Martin are gifted at detail. Since I am posting more recipes and restaurant "stuff" these days you may want to check out My Outlander Kitchen and Inn at the Crossroads. These blogs are inspired by the dishes described in each of these epic series.  I hope you will get a chance to read and maybe cook a little too!

*links are affiliate links. If clicked on and ordered from I receive a small portion of the profit.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Medieval Feast

My kiddos wrapped up their standardized testing and I wondered what they were going to do for the rest of the school year. They were working on IXL math and completing Reading Plus but I wondered what they would actually get credit on. At Munchkin's school they had a Medieval Feast after a couple of weeks of researching medieval times. Each of the kids was assigned a role. There was a king and queen for each class along with lords and ladies, peasants and serfs. Munchkin was assigned the role of serf so she did several journal entries from the perspective of her character, put together a cookbook of medieval recipes, drew a stained glass window, and created a shield. The kids were all supposed to dress up as their character and bring a period dish to share. There was quite a spread even though many students did not tell their parents until the last minute. The teachers did send home a list of items that could easily be picked up at the grocery store.

Munchkin really wanted me to make pynade but I didn't have the ingredients on hand so I made "rustic" apple tarts instead. My tarts are in the top left corner. I had fillo dough in the freezer, diced some apples and tossed them in a brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom mixture, and filled the tarts. Some did not make it to school because they stuck in the pan. That was OK though because they were tasty! Other parents sent the strawberries, apple fritters, and apple empenadas. There was so much food all of the 6th graders, teachers, and helpers were able to go through the line twice! There was chicken and ham, cornbread, other loaves of bread, a couple of soups, rice, and plenty of desserts. It was fun and the kids learned a lot about what it was like to live in medieval times.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Strawberry S'mores

 It is summer break and that means cookouts and downtime for us! Both kids had a good school year and wrapped up with plenty of busy-ness. Summer for us also means tasty snacks. What better snack than S'mores? How about S'mores with strawberries? Try it! You'll like it! :)