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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blueberry ice Cream Pie

Hey friends-- I made my version of this pie for memorial Day and even though there are several steps, each one was fairly simple. It was very good, very, very good. So good not a crumb was left behind :)

Now, when you go to the Better Homes and Garden Link you're gonna be scratching your head and wondering what happened to my pie.

Life happened.

That and the fact that I made some switcheroos and tweaks and misread a part.

Heres what I did differently: Not being a big almond fan, I bought a graham cracker crust. I also didnt see the part where I was supposed to add some of the blueberry sauce and I added all of the sauce. But, it was still really yummy and my oh-so willing taste testers gave it a make again approval. It is a very good pie to serve at your house, but not a pot-luck pie or bring to someone since you can never assume they have freezer space ;)

Now, I am a huge blueberry fan-- love them. Once when I worked at a summer camp where fruit was in short supply, my mom brought me a huge thing of blueberries and I was so fruit deprived and they are my favorite, I ate the whole thing in about 5 minutes and was very sick. All that to say, they are my favorite, but you could totally do this with strawberries or blackberries ;) Happy summer eating!


{hello summer time}

Summer time is officially here for our family.

Big sigh of relief- phew!

We've whipped out the slip n' slide and I am so excited my daughter is actually giving it a go this summer! So proud of her!

I am convince my older son is part fish somewhere since he has always been 100% water baby and now water boy. I'm thinking (and grant it this is completely unscientific) that is from being pregnant with him through a long hot summer and swimming every day to escape the heat. He is so funny doing the slip n' slide though and names his slides "the knee bomb" "the back dive slide" etc. Very amusing.

And then there is our youngest and he is still very hesitant and not too sure of himself yet on the slide or in the water in general. He likes to stand on the other side and put his hands in the spray and is very happy doing this as long as it doesn't get in his face :)

So, we don't have any crazy big plans for the summer-- I don't do to well in the heat (this I blame on being pregnant 2 hot summers) and we like vacationing in the off times. I look at my calendar and it is so pure and white, but, sigh, I know it will fill up fast enough and then August 1 will be here and will be back in homeschool mode.

So, for now, I'm pouring myself a tall glass of water and saluting a happy summer to y'all!

Monday, May 30, 2011

{Places to Play in PA: the Art Museum}

Daddy had to work in the city, so we drove him down and then went to Fairmount park and headed up to the art museum. If you get nervous about taking kids to the city, this was a very populated area and easy for them to stay close to me and still get a good look around. We parked in the back of the museum and then walked around front to see the Rocky statue and do the famous run up the steps.

A few things about this off the topic of the actual art museum, 1. You HAVE to run up the steps-- I can remember doing it for the first time and pumping my fist in the air at the top-- priceless! Watching my kids do it was great-- plus, a great way for them to burn off some extra energy before heading inside. 2. trying to explain to your kids who Rocky is can be sort of complicated. He was in a movie but not a real person but he ran on these steps... we were talking in circles...

Now on to the museum...

I had worn my youngest in our back pack carrier as I thought that strollers weren't allowed inside, but they are and back packs are not. You can wear front slings and happy news- they have strollers for you free of charge. I do reccomend using one of theirs so you can run up the rocky steps and not have to use the ramp. But, thats just me...We also packed our lunch and the cafeteria that they have downstairs was very nice. Another great perk-- it's one of the most affordable and least crowded museums in the city.

Okay, enough logistics... on to the inside :)

The armor room was my sons absolute favorite and he could have stayed forever and just taken it all in over and over. We did have fun picking out what we thought was the oldest, hardest to make, and offered the most protection. We Loved the impressionists-- so beautiful and peaceful with the paintings. The older European arthad a lot of Jesus being crucified and some other dark elements and wasn't their favorite.

Now not to offend anyone, but there were a lot of boobies.

A lot of boobies.

I told my kids they were all getting ready for their baths. Not the greatest answer, but it was quick thinking on the spot. And just giving you all a heads up. We kept using this one elevator by a statue with some major bubbies and I found out later there was another elevator by the cafeteria.

We made sure to bring some paper and colored pencils along. I chose colored pencils as they can do the least visible damage. We didnt have to worry about any stray markings, but just in case, it's good to be prepared. This was actually one of their favorite things to do to and they did really well. Sure, they interpreted some of the people as being green or the flowers being plue when they were yellow, but they made it their own and they were beatiful works of art.

Love this of my baby starting young :) He did so well riding around the whole time. Very proud of how they all did-- we didn't make it a long visit, but they did very well in the 3 hours or so that they were there :) So, hope you can enjoy this lovely outing as well... Also, if you want us to check a place out, send us a message-- we LOVE exploring our amazing state!

{more art museum pics}

We enjoyed the modern art a lot-- lots of shape spotting and interpertation going on. The kids were as puzzled as I was as to the urinal that is shown-- a good lesson that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (obviously, we just saw a toliet-- not sure what else we were supposed to get out of it).

Love this one of them going through the revolving door-- they were so cute and I loved their little faces pushing as hard as they could :)

And here is the website: http://www.philamuseum.org/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mommy Madness, New Books We Love, and Typos

Hmmm... where to begin first-- how about the typos? I was reading over a post or two last night and realized that I am and always will be a bad proof reader. I could blame it on a number of things, but the truth of the matter is I hate to proof read and I'm sorry for all the recent weird typos-- I can spell and am a fair typist, just really, really hate to read over whatever I just wrote. So bear with me and I will try and start reading these before I post and in turn subjecting you all to my horrible errors.

I was told by a dear friend today at MOPS that she enjoys my food posts, well tonight we had frozen pizza a la California Pizza Kitchen. It was actually quite good-- one of the new ones with an appetizer included; however, the reason I'm mentioning this is so y'all don't get a false impression that I'm a Martha Mommy-- haahaaa, so not true!

This afternoon I was so stressed out with the craziness of our weird week that I demonstrated to my son how to take deep breaths into a paper bag-- minus the bag-- to let off a little steam. We both thought this hysterical and it worked as we ended up having a good laugh over how silly mommy is. We HAVE had a weird week-- just a lot of quirks thrown into our normal routine and then all the rain makes for a cranky mommy ( I wont mention the kids here but rather let you form your own conclusion). So, in case you have been thinking I've got it all together here, I don't. I normally LOVE what I do being a mommy to my 3 beautiful beings, but, I am human and today was just weridly caotic. Also, I havent even run all week due to feeling yucky, so I'm sure that would make me feel better; however, my mind says a Rita's water ice will do so much more good :)

Okay, on to some new books we have been Loving:
1. Taking Care of the Me in Mommy by Lisa Whelchel-- actually all of hers are my favorite, but this one is really helpful.
2. "Little Pea" By Amy Krause Rosenthal http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=little+pea
3. The Book That Eats People by John Perry-- a little weird, but my kids thought it hysterical
4. "Brown Bear, White Bear" by Svetlana Petrovic-- very good if your chidlren have ever argued
5. "One Morning in Maine" by Robert McCloskey-- especialy good if you have chidlren at the age where they are loosing teeth
6. "The Story About Ping" by Marjorie Flack. Even my one year old would do the Lalalalei sound each time! http://www.amazon.com/Story-about-Reading-Railroad-Books/dp/0448421658/ref=pd_sim_b_5
7. "Perfect Square" by Michael Hall-- simple but amazing illustrations http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Square-Michael-Hall/dp/0061915130/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305851328&sr=1-2
8. "Peter and the Wolf" by Chris Raschka-- so fun to read

And now, here are my sweet little bookworms reading one day early in the morning-- Love them so much despite our crazy week! So, hug your little one and enjoy a sweet book together!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whats Cooking this Week

This week we have been striving to eat healthier and at home. I made this pasta dish from my own recipe off the top of my head based on what I was craving and it turned out sooooo yummy!

Boil Broccoli and when water comes to a boil, add the Bowtie pasta and some frozen spinach (I probably used a cup)

In skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter to marry with a generous dose of olive oil (think a cup- to a cup and a half). Add some minced garlic-- about a tbs.

When pasta is done, stir some tomatoes diced up in with the garlic, strain pasta and broccoli and spinach pot and then stir in with olive oil sauce. Turn off the heat and serve with some parmesean cheese. I also stirred in some Tastefully Simple Tuscan Tomatoe dip mix, but I'm sure a similar mrs. dash would suffice.

Good ol' Martha has her cookbook recipes online, so here is the link for our family's favorite tortilla pie-- I omit the beer when I do it and instead of cooking everything first, just mix it in a bowl and laer it that way-- saves you a step and pot to wash and still really yummy. http://www.marthastewart.com/336692/tortilla-and-black-bean-pie

Well, it's been a little rainy here but my sister's sweet boyfriend gave us a nice big flat of flowers and I couldn't resist during the break in the rain to hop out and plant these. I LOVE zinnias-- so cheerful and hardy and impatients are so nice because they grow so well which is very nice with all our extra special gardening help :) i once read some where that people who can't travel or prefer not too have some of the most beautiful backyard gardens-- I dont know if that is true across the board, but I love to plant things and take pleasure in the beautiful God has sprinkled the earth with.

In other gardening news, our tomatoe plants are still being harbored indoors-- a little too nervous with our bunny friend out back. I put one out today that had grown over a foot in its little dixie cup and will elt you know how he does...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A long, long time ago way back in college land, our professor asked us to make 5, 10, 15, and 20 year goals for our Spiritual, Financial, and maybe social lives. I'm pretty sure that whatever I handed into him, I immediately threw it out, because as much as I love lists, I hate longterm goals. I just don't see how they fit into my life ;)

The way I see it, the only place I wanna be whether tomorrow or 20 years from now, is right where God wants me to be. The only thing I want to be doing in 15 years or 15 seconds, is whatever He has assigned me to do. I just feel like MY personal goals, may be steering me wrong or cutting God short in my life. Why limit or put expectations on things that He can do will lead me?

"Commit thy way unto the Lord...and he shall bring it to pass." Ps. 37:5

And just so you know, I think "it" here is more along the lines of His agenda then mine and I sure am grateful for that!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Joy's shower-- the decorations

These pictures are two months overdue-- but here is my sister's bridal shower. We went with an aqua and lime green theme with all the lettering in Navy as that was the only color she gave us. I made everything myself with some fabric, the cricuit, and a whole lot of hot glue ;)

The Finish Line

I've only done three races so far, but I have learned that I start out with a burst, keep a steady pace throughout, and then by the end, just want to cross the finish line moving. There are always people at the end cheering you on to do some sort of last minute sprint, but the way I see it, I just covered x amount of distance and am just happy to be moving at this point.

We are about to cross another finish line as a family-- we are finishing up our first unofficially official (in PA we don't officially declare ourselves until our oldest is 8) year of homeschool. And we made it! Our homeschool pace is much like my running one in that we're not pulling out any tricks or fancy sprints this last little trek-- we're keeping our pace and will hopefully finish strong.

And it feels so good to know that we can do this-- our kids are fine (other then the obvious scrapes, bumps, one fracture), the parents are fine, and we as a family unit did it! And it feels pretty good.

I have been asked what curriculum we use and this past year we did a based-off of Sonlight while next year we will do a strictly Sonlight. We use Singapore for Math and I love it-- it is more advanced and not heavy on tedious repetiotion-- yay! We used Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons and while not always painless, we made it through and I LOVED it. We had various other workbooks and books for Science, History, andwriting, etc. Here are some of the links-- let me know what you love and use :)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Places to Play in PA: Valley Forge Park

PA has a host of battlefields, but this is our favorite. Only a half an hour away and always a pleasant time outdoors. http://www.valleyforge.org/NationalPark/

This park has tons of recreated cabins, officers quarters, and reenactments througout the year. It also boasts a strong collection of monuments and statues-- the most famous The Arch. In addition, it has miles and miles of walking and biking trails. We like to start at the visitors center, the arch, or Washington Memorial Chapel. Also, on the back end of the park there is a covered bridge and this is also a nice place to hike up one of the small mountains.

And, I have to mention the deer. The park is loaded with tons of these deer and I don't think there has been a visit when we did not see them! Very fun for the kids.

Also, a great place for pictures, a run, or a really nice picnic lunch-- enjoy :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Risotto Magic!!

Can you tell we are really cooking again and getting back to our regular schedule?

Anyway this risotto truly was magical as it got my 19 month old to actually eat green veggies, and shock alert-- he LIVED!

I have never made risotto before and since Matt wasnt going to be home for dinner, I didn't have to feel bad about our completely vegetarian dinner :) I got the recipe from a Martha Stewart Food cookbook but found it on her website: http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=5690151281930472906

It was pretty easy to make especially when I realized we have been making the fast-mom-needs-to-serve-dinner-quickly version: cheesy orzo. We cook our 1 cup of orzo in one and about a 1/3 cup of boiling broth and then add parmesan cheese, stir, serve, and eat. We add some parsley for color, but my kids and husband love this like crazy!

Also, I was wary about trying this recipe before as I don't like zucchini, but I bit the bullet because I want the kids to like it regardless, and guess what?! I LOVED the zucchini in here so much I was fishing around for it and making sure i got extra pieces in my second serving!

So, enjoy-- bring some small amount of simple deliciousness to your family!

Mozzerella Tomato Pizzas

We made these simple pizzas last night and my son said, "Mom, I can't believe we all really like this for dinner!" Me too! Seriously, my one and a half year old has been going through some picky eater issues and dinner for the first time ever is a battle. I adapted this recipe from an old Rachel Ray one and couldn't find it online, so here is the new beckified one :)

Two crusty loaves of bread
fresh mozzerella cheese (you could probably use regular mozz. cheese, but the taste is so worth the extra money)
Dried basil (fresh isn't growing out back yet)
Dried oregano
minced garlic
sprinkle of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 carton of cherry or grape tomatoes- i cut mine in thirds so the would be easier for the kids to eat
Olive Oil

Place bread sliced long ways under low broiler for 3 minutes. Brush with olive oil and run some minced garlic on it. Slice Mozzerella ball or crumble it and place over oil. Sprinkle oregano on top and then add tomatoes. Sprinkle with Basil, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top and put under broiler again for 3 minutes. Take out eat and enjoy :) I am sure you could add some fresh spinach and other goodies-- but it was really good just like this-- no leftovers and so fresh!!

I have also been resuming our normal life after the wedding, and normal for me is organizing. Check out my newly much needed to be organized spice cabinet :) Took less then 15 minutes and looks so much better-- 15 minutes a day on one area makes such a difference over all :)