Saturday, June 25, 2011

Easy Sweet Treats

I've been having way too much fun in my new fancy kitchen lately. The other night ^J^ brought home some sub-par ice cream (store-brand vanilla, yuck) and we didn't have any chocolate sauce to put on top or root beer to mix-in, so I decided to make my own hot fudge. It was disturbingly simple. Seriously, I apologize now for how easy and awesome-tasting this is, but I feel it is my duty to pass it on:

Disturbingly Good and Easy Hot Fudge:
Boil a small amount of water in a saucepan.
Put a few handfuls of chocolate chips in a glass bowl.
Put the glass bowl on top of the saucepan (don't let it touch the water).
Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Add some half and half (as you can see, I didn't measure anything, just put in enough to make the chocolate saucy)
Stir until mixed, if you want it thinner, add more liquid.
Take the bowl off the heat and add about 1tsp of vanilla extract.
Stir and serve over ice cream (or eat with a spoon). Again, I'm sorry.

Then today, I was making banana pancakes for our Saturday breakfast and remembered we had peaches. So here's my
Disturbingly Simple and Delicious Peach Pancakes:
Chop up peach and throw the slices on the hot griddle (I left the skin on but you can take it off if you want)with a bit of butter and sprinkled some sugar on top. Let it cook for a minute or so letting the sugar caramelize a bit. Serve over hot pancakes (banana makes it even better) and a drizzle of maple syrup. This actually melts in your mouth.

Ok, the kids are literally bouncing off the walls so we've got to get out of the house. I think the pool is in order today (especially after all that sugar I just wrote about). Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lazy Bones

I'm being lazy this morning...because I least until VBS is over at 12:30. It's been nice having VBS this week, I thought I'd get a lot more done, but I'm just enjoying being able to do what I want while I can. This morning the most productive thing I've done is make breakfast for the kids (it was eggs, so that did take *some* effort) and water the garden and the dogs.

Did I mention I got a garden for my birthday? I'm so happy. We made a 4x4 raised bed for now and we have room to add another one if we want. We didn't buy enough dirt to fill it though, so it's only full on one side but it's enough for my Mr. Stripey tomato, a orange pepper plant, basil, a few marigolds and (because *A* had to have it) a watermelon plant. I put some mint in a pot so I could bring it in in the cold months, but I think the 98 degree heat killed it this week. I should have waited, it's nice today. Oh well.

Today is cooler (only 86!) and breezy. Kinda feels like a Michigan day...ahhh, Michigan. Let's pretend we're there...

We're going back this year but without ^J^. I guess he has to work and all, but it sucks he can't come too. He deserves it after all this busy, exciting, stressful change we've had the last month and a half. :( Here's some more...


I found a great new blog today. Here's the link. I love her, I want her to be my friend in real-life. She has 5 kids and she does these fun summer lists each year of things they want to do. Here's the link to her list for this year. It's so pretty. We're going to work on our list today, but I want the big chalkboard and funky chairs like she has too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Reads

It's been all about the books around here lately. We've discovered the libraries and we're happy people!
Here's a sampling of what each of us are reading currently:
Age of Reptiles Omnibus (Vol. 1) - (what he's reading above) Comic book style, realistic dinosaur life.
Inside-Outside Dinosaurs
H is for Home Run
Bats at the Ballfield
Eyewitness Books: Earth
Intro to Bowling (!)

Any comics she can get her hands on. Favorites are:
Owly, Scooby-Do, and a great early-reader series called Sugar and Spice (Phonics Comics)
Moonbear books
Huggly books
The Foggy Foggy Forest
The Bones You Own

Too many for me to list, and they seem to change daily, but a few highlights i've noticed lately:
The Hunter
With the Grain of the Universe
Natural Grace
At Home in Mitford (!)
and many comics I can't seem to keep track of...

The Hunger Games Trilogy (just finished, so good!)
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 (graphic novel)
Grow Great Grub
Connection Parenting
Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots

And Together:
The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe

Friday, June 10, 2011

Life As We Know It

Has changed.
We've graduated both Kindergarten and Seminary, gone to the beach, packed our home, said good-bye to so many wonderful friends, moved, set up a new home, and have started a new life in Charlotte, NC. It's weird and exciting and sad and promising and frustrating and fulfilling. We're starting to meet people at the church and in our new neighborhood, but it's nothing like Sewanee. In Sewanee, everyone naturally comes together because we have nothing else. Either you're all in the same boat or you've been in the boat before and want to make it a better experience for others. In the "real world", as we like to call it, you have to find where you fit all over again and people have their own lives established and don't naturally reach out to pull you into their lives. People in the church have been wonderful of course and we're getting offers from young families to come to dinner or go swimming, but it's hard to go from having this 3 year built-in community to starting from scratch.

One nice thing is that we have been able to re-establish what it means to be a family. In seminary we had constant friends around, the kids' friends and ours, which is wonderful, but it can be hard to be a family. There were times when extroverted *A* would crave other people so badly and not understand why we were having a meal with just the 4 of us. It has been just the 4 of us for almost 2 weeks now (with occasional meals or playdates but nothing like in Sewanee) and it's starting to feel like we have our own routine again. Moving has done a number on the kids' behavior and we're having to re-learn a lot of manners and rules. If we didn't have this time together, it would not be as easy to reinforce those things to the kids. We're trying to get into a summer routine because we don't have constant activity like we used to with no time at home. We have LOTS of time at home now (with fancy cable tv) so we have to set some parameters and stick so some kind of schedule.

This week they have really gotten into the swing of things, especially *A* who seems to thrive on routine and rules lately, and it has helped with behavior. My favorite part of the day is right now, rest time, where we all go to our rooms and rest for an hour or so. Sometimes they sleep, and if they do we get to stay up late and do fun stuff like catch lightening bugs or have a movie night, but if they don't we all get a quiet break and they play better in the afternoon.
So, it's going well and it's getting easier. We still have boxes around but we're slowly unpacking and getting things organized. We try to take a break in the late mornings or afternoons to explore the city. The kids and I found these "spraygrounds" around town that are free cooling-off fun. And summer starts today for public schools here so I'm sure we'll start seeing more kids around the neighborhood and such. We have a huge YMCA next to us and we hope to join so we can add swimming to our daily routine. Library summer programs start next week too, so that will give us some fun things to do too. Another thing I've learned is that in the "real world" you kind of need a paycheck (which we haven't had in oh so long), so once that starts, we can breathe a little easier and keep finding fun things to do. This city is full of family-friendly places and activities so we're excited to be able to explore all summer long. But in the meantime, we'll keep running through the sprinklers, riding our bikes in the evenings, catching lightening bugs, drawing, reading library books, and making yummy treats that don't involve turning the oven on.
Enjoying the Latta Park sprayground!
And now that I have rest time, hopefully I'll be able to share more here. I've missed this space and I apologize for the long absence and the fact that I probably won't be able to catch up on all the great events that have happened to us in the past months. Hopefully I'll be able to throw in a few catch-up posts about the big events that I actually have pictures from like graduation and such.