Friday, September 19, 2014

In Honor of the BLT

This time of year some unusual things start to happen around our household.  Even though we haven't used paper towels regularly for years, we start to keep them on hand (to soak up bacon grease), our cast iron skillet doesn't even get put away but rather stays out on the burner (that skillet fries up bacon like no other!) and white bread is regularly bought along side our regular wheat bread.  It's BLT season and we can't get enough!

This year, it's thrilling to be able to use our own homegrown Brandywine tomatoes on our BLT's! They are so, so good.

In order to make the most of our BLT experience I've made our own mayonnaise, which for the record is easy and really, really good,  and sought out local bacon.  The bacon was a bit of a disappointment as both Bryce and I thought it tasted like fried ham rather than bacon.  Or is that what bacon is actually supposed to taste like?  We are unsure and on the fence about it.  But there is no denying that we love a good BLT and have enjoyed them immensely this season! What are you enjoying this season?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dinner and a Movie- Rudy

 Oftentimes, when we decide to watch a movie as a family, Harris will say some off hand comment to the effect of, "Mom, go whip up some themed food and we will have dinner and movie night."  This is usually a mere thirty to 15 minutes before it's dinnertime or when we actually want to watch the movie.  All I can do is just look at him in a puzzled way and explain that some planning is actually involved to have a dinner themed to our movie of choice.  All this to say that this past weekend we did indeed have a dinner and a movie night.  We are all in a football sort of mood as fall is approaching and our Bulldogs are playing on Saturdays (we won't talk of their loss this past weekend) so Rudy was a perfect choice.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that I'd never seen it.  It was a great family movie and one that we all enjoyed.

Dinner was simple with Stadium Brats and chips and dip.  I made a 7 layer dip but put the guacamole on the top to resemble a football stadium.  It was easy peasy.  I also served some veggies to eat with or without the dip.

I put medical tape on the children's drinking glasses to look like football laces.  True confession: I only did the childrens.  It didn't take long but by the time the second one was done I was ready to move on.  Chocolate milk was the beverage of choice.

Dessert was ice cream sandwiches with laces piped on (I just mixed a little confectioners sugar and milk until the consistency was right) and a wooden handle with "plays" sharpied on.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Adventuring Grace

As I've mentioned before, Grace does not yet have an official phone.  However, this summer Bryce and I decided that we thought she could start dipping her toes in the social media pool with Instagram (she uses her Dad's old itouch!).  There have been a few moments where I questioned our wisdom over this decision, but overall it's been a positive experience.  She feels like she's a little more in touch with things and I'm finding it fascinating what she choices to post or write about.  This past weekend she wrote about her longing to be adventuring again.  And I might just be a proud parent but I thought what she wrote was beautiful!

Also, we have a lot of discussions about etiquette on Instagram and what's appropriate and what's not.  I had her read this article about selfies and I think it was helpful and is important for all of our children to realize that what they post makes a difference in how they are viewed by others.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Life with Children

This week has been all about getting back in a routine; homework, bedtimes, baseball, ballet, making lunches, setting alarms, etc.  The children have settled right in but I'm having a hard time with the fact that the children are getting so old (do I say that every year?).  There is so much I want to do with the children, both experiences and character development- but sometimes I get to the end of the day and wonder what I did that made a difference.  

Decisions now seem to be rife with long term implications!  Should Grace be allowed to text? Should Harris go to manners school since he still sometimes uses his fingers to eat and why hasn't our effort to eat at the table together every single night made a difference in that?    How should the children earn money- allowance or chores?  Have we worked hard enough to instill a really good work ethic in them (probably, no)?  Have we worked enough to combat entitlement and should we have bought that bike for Harris even though there was no special occasion except that he needed a bigger bike?   Do I fight this battle or wait for the next?  Which one is more important, cause they all feel important? The world is a big place and we haven't exposed the children to other cultures and ways of life enough, how do we do that?  And how do we fit in volunteer time?  Should we be pushing more or less in academics?  If Waldorf is so amazing for Grace why haven't we moved Harris?  Are the children going to be good, kind, considerate citizens of this world?  I could go on and on and on....

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sometimes feels that I'm running out of time to get it together and that everyone around me already has it together.

P.S.  These are just random photos that show up on my phone- selfies I suppose!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Garden Fence

Several weeks into our vegetable gardening venture, it became apparent that we would most certainly have to put a fence around the garden.  Both deer and bunnies had found our garden tasty enough to eat everything in sight!  Knowing that the fence we chose for our garden wasn't tall enough to keep deer out, Bryce installed a deer fence along the back of our property line since that's where they usually wander in.  The hope is that if one does venture in the fence will at least be a deterrent!  One can dream!

After debating the merits of an old wrought iron fence vs. a cedar fence, we went with cedar because we felt that it matched the overall feel of our home/yard better and it was much less expensive.  Also, I love the aged look of cedar!  I asked the fence company to build the fence very similarly to one I found online and overall I'm happy with it. The one change I would make would be to not have the edges of the wire showing.  I believe that would have involved more work to sandwich it between the pieces of wood, but I think it would have looked more finished.

My favorite thing about the whole fence is the gate handle that Bryce installed for me.  Years ago, I saw a gate handle that was a garden implement and it's stayed catalogued in the back of my mind until I had a place to have one too.  I love it and it's actually helpful to grab the handle when opening or closing the gate.  We have two gates opposite each other so that we have easy access from the shed and to the compost as well.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A New Bike

Sometime in the middle of summer, I got a new bike!  I love it and am so happy that I can now come closer to keeping up with the rest of my gang on their mountain bikes!

Two of my "must haves" were fenders that would keep mud, sand, etc. from flying up onto my clothes and a chain guard so that I wouldn't get grease on my clothes.

I'm still using my beautiful green basket that my in-laws gave me years ago and now I can also add stuff to the back using the rack.  In fact, Harris and I recently rode to play tennis together and we fashioned the rackets on the back of my bike easy peasy.  Also, I have been using a bungee cord to attach a basket that I've had forever and am so glad to find another use for!  Plus, it's super cute.

We are fortunate that we live in a town that has extensive bike trails that we are able to take advantage of.  We've even gone on a nighttime ride during the SuperMoon!  It was thrilling, scary and beautiful all at the same time.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Two Back to School Ideas

One of the things both children look forward to at the start of another school year is receiving their school cones.  We started this tradition when Grace entered kindergarten and it's always fun for the children.  In fact, Grace recently mentioned that she was definitely continuing this tradition when she has children!

This year, in addition to a few other things, I had fun putting together a little bag of candy.  We don't have a ton of candy so it's always a treat.  I found all of these candies in one place at our local Market.  I added a little note to go with each candy:

To be a Smartie
To always be your Charming self and not a shrinking Violet.
Nerds are cool, Airheads are not!

Also, I made these school book sandwiches for the children's lunch.  Full disclosure: I checked with both children to see if they wanted a "themed" lunch or not.  I think they are at an age where I really want to be conscious and respectful of of their feelings in relation to their peers; I don't want to embarrass them!  They both chose to have the themed lunch.

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