Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Words, words, words...

We are spending Thanksgiving with my family. My sister and brother-in-law are coming into town and I am looking forward to it. We are a loud bunch, fond of playing Scum, Dutch Blitz, Speed Scrabble, and Euchre. We like our numbers and words.

Why not make a difference with a love of words? Here, I scored over 600 grains of rice and have a vocab level of .... well, let's not say. Let's just say I wish my score was higher.

Spinach Salad with Apple, Pomegranate, and Celery

This has become one of my favorite salads! I first had it at one of my customer's homes at her scrapbook class. She insisted I try it and I'm glad I did!


3 c. chopped apple
1 pomegranate worth of seeds
3 ribs of celery, chopped
9 oz baby spinach leaves
1/4 c toasted nuts (optional)
1/2 to 2/3 c. Honey Dijon Dressing*

Honey Dijon Dressing
3/4 c mayo
3/4 c. plain yogurt
1 T sugar
3 T honey
3 T Dijon mustard
2 T vinegar
1/2 c. oil (I used olive)
1 T dried parsley

Blend all ingredients except for oil and parsley in blender.
With blender running, slowly add oil.
Blend in parsley.
Keeps for about 1 week.

To assemble salad:
Combine apple, pomegranate seeds, and celery with 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey dijon dressing.
Just before serving, toss with the spinach leaves. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Bon Appetit!!

Yes, this would be the second Recipe of the Week recipes. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Four Things...

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Nanny
2. Waitress
3. Receptionist - ICEE
4. Homeschooling Mom :-)

Movies I Would Watch Over and Over:

1. Pride & Prejudice - BBC Version
2. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3. Bend it Like Beckham
4. The Italian Job

Four TV Shows that I watch:

1. Chuck
2. Heroes
3. The Office
4. The Unit

Four Places I have been:

1. Korea
2. California (up and down the coast)
3. Nantucket
4. Martha's Vineyard

Four People who E-mail / Call Me Often:

1. My Dearest
2. Brother
3. Sister

Four of My Favorite Foods

1. Mexican
2. Thai
3. Spinach, Pomegranate, and Apple salad
4. Clementine Tangerines, any fruit really.

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. Mackinac Island
2. Chicago
3. A warm beach
4. Anywhere with my family

Things I am looking forward to this year:

1. Thanksgiving and Christmas
2. Moving into our brand new church buildling
3. Regency Ball at my church (1800's style English Ball)
4. Watching my children learn

Want to play? Consider yourself tagged and please let me know you decided to play!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Homeschooling Wish List

I just came across some homeschool humor - a wishlist from homeschoolers to non-homeschoolers. I found this over at Consent for the Governed.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

To see the complete list of 25 wishes, visit here.

Please realize that just because I homeschool doesn't mean that I think that you should. I feel very strongly about every parent's right to educate their child in the matter best suited to that child and family situation. I know that we as parents make decisions based on the best interests of our child(ren). I don't want that right questioned or taken away.

Rear Sensors ... on CARS!

Did you know that if you drive a car with a rear-impact sensor not only will it detect when you are about to hit something or someone, but it will do the complimentary - it also will sound when someone gets too close to you.

I found this out from my neighbor who owns such a car and was sitting at a railroad crossing when the car behind her decided that if they creeped right up to her bumper, the train just might move on the tracks faster and they might be able to cross the tracks quicker. All of a sudden, her sensor starts beeping and she had no idea why! She finally figured it out and scooted forward a bit, but so did the sensor-offending car behind her. Only when the train cleared the tracks and traffic resumed, did it stop.

Okay, since I've been informed I have been on the lookout for these cars - not to harrass them, but only becuase they have a distinguishing characteristic on their bumper. Today, I wasn't paying attention, but my Dearest was.

We were turning off the freeway/expressway/whatever you call the Interstate and into a left turn lane that had quite a few cars in it already. Our van wasn't quite in the lane and had it's right rear end jutting out into the lane next to us. I could clearly see the rear bumper of the car in front of the car in front of us through it's windshield, but they were not inclined to move forward. Since they were not creeping forward, I creeped a bit to get the rest of our van into the lane and not disrupt traffic in the lane next to us. This is when my Dearest noticed that this car in front of us had a rear-sensor. He said, "Hey, they have a sensor in their bumper! If we get closer, they will start beeping and move forward!" We started laughing uproariously at the though and idea. Ethan asked us what we were laughing about and we explained to him about this feature. Isaac then asked, "May we do that, please?"

Recipe of the Week

Okay, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming! It seems that everyone has something that works for them - ordering Chinese, preparing a prized recipe handed down through the generations or experimenting every year with something different. How about some awesome breakfast recipes?? Dinner is not the only meal, people! These are my absolutely favorite and easy breakfast recipes, unless my Dearest is making his pancakes. That recipe to come next week!

Baked Oatmeal Vegan Style
We are not vegans, but Dearest's sister is and his brother and sis-in-law are vegetarians.

½ c each brown and white sugar
½ cup oil
3 c Rice Dream
4 c oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 chopped apples
dried cranberries

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Preheat oven 350*. Grease 9x13 pan. Pour in the oatmeal. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. If you sprinkle cinnamon on top before baking, run the spatula over it so it gets a little wet & won’t burn.
This is very tasty served in a bowl with Rice Dream.

Baked Oatmeal, non-Vegan and non-Vegetarian Style

~1 c sugar (brown, white or a mix)
2 – 3 eggs
½ cup oil
3 c milk
4 – 5 c oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
a finely chopped apple

  1. Mix sugar and eggs.
  2. Add oil and milk. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add oatmeal, salt, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven 350*. Grease 9x13 pan. Pour in the oatmeal. Bake for 30 minutes.

Egg Casserole

potato patties or hash brown potatoes
8 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
1 lb breakfast meat, cooked
shredded cheese

  1. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan (if using patties, a single layer, if using shredded potatoes, about 3/4 inches deep)
  2. Mix eggs and milk. Pour over potatoes.
  3. Scatter breakfast meat and cheese over eggs. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350* and bake about 45 minutes until eggs are set.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 T light corn syrup
12 slices bread
6 eggs, beaten
1 ½ c. milk
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in saucepan and bring to a light boil, just until sugar melts and mixture looks like caramel.
  2. Spread mixture evenly into bottom of 9x13 pan.
  3. Place 6 slices of bread on top of syrup. Cover with remaining 6 slices. – You should have 2 layers of bread, each layer with 6 slices.
  4. Blend remaining ingredients and pour over the bread slices evenly.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours)
  6. Place in pre-heated 350* oven for 45 minutes

These recipes was originally posted on Jan 1, 2007.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 12, 2007

While We Were Out

My Dearest and I went out this past weekend and spent some time with friends from church, as we do monthly, to play Euchre. Participants bring a snack to share and an "entrance fee," a small gift with our favorite Bible verse taped to it.

This past time, everyone brought some Christmas gift-wrapping supply item (wrapping paper, gift bags, Christmas cards, etc.). We play tournament-style, changing partners after each game. After we finish playing, we tally out points and pick our prize from the entrance fees that were brought. We had a fun time and I even placed 2nd out of 8 players; I usually place in the bottom half. YAY me!

When we got home, we had a fun recap of the evening from my m-i-l. I learn so much about our children every time someone else watches them!

Isaac picked up Gram-Gram's water bottle and proclaimed, "Gram-Gram! You need to stop drinking this water right now! It has total carbs!"

I'm trying to be a better steward of my family's health and improving our eating habits. I have always been a foodie, and have been reading labels and apparently, my boys have picked up on my habit. I have tried to tell them that it's not just the words, but the number accompanying the words. That part hasn't stuck yet.

We rarely eat fast-food, but if we do, our fast-food of choice is Wendy's. Another funny moment was Ethan asking Gram-Gram, "Will you take my to McDonald's?" She responds that there is too much fat in their food. He responds with, "But, Gram-Gram, I need you to drive me there so I can put up my sign in their window that says, 'Stop the Fat!'" The funny thing is that he hasn't been exposed to low-fat food, low-carb diets, or protests. He's a one boy protest.

Recipe of the Week

With the thought of hosting family over the holidays, I thought I'd repost one of my favorite recipes. According to my friend Nikki, this has become one of her friend's favorite recipes as well. This recipe was originally posted on Sept 2, 2006.

From my friend Mary:

Mary's Awesome Pork Dish

1/3 c flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Use flour mixture to dredge:
2 lbs pork loin, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
Sear pork in skillet, place into ungreased 9x13 pan.

2 T. butter
1 c chopped celery or onion (if you don't like onions, celery works well instead)

Add and boil:
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c applesauce
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c soy sauce
¼ c apple juice
½ tsp ground ginger

Pour mixture over pork into 9x13 pan. Bake @ 350* for 1 hour. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or rice and your choice of veggie.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Drumroll, please!!

Thanks to my random number generator, the winner of my Fall Ya'll Giveaway is Entrant # 39 - Shannon! If I don't hear from her by Tuesday, November 6, I'll choose another winner.

Congratulations, Shannon!!

It's Fall Ya'll!!

***Sticky Post!***
All other posts will appear below this one until the winner has been chosen for my drawing!

The weather is crisp, leaves are gorgeous and Rocks in My Dryer is hosting her Fall Ya'll Giveaway! Her last one was so much fun! I think my counter just recently recovered from my last giveaway. It needs a workout every now and again, don't you think? :-)

Here's what I'm giving away this time:

The winner will receive 2 each of 4 card designs, 8 envelopes, a card holder, and a matching pen!

Fine Print:
To enter my drawing, please leave a comment!
You do not have to have a blog to enter.
Please be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!
Unfortunately, I can ship to U.S. addresses only.
I will close the comments on Friday, Nov. 2 at 4 pm Eastern and draw a winner using a random number generator.
These cards and holder are made using Close To My Heart products (stamps, inks, and papers) and are copyright by Close To My Heart.

You might be my winner!