Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Get Thee To the Woods, Vol. 12: There's No Place Like Home

Vacations are over. School is starting. We've had a great summer, and I realized as I was going through some past blog posts that my "Get Thee To the Woods" series (thanks again to Lisa from 5 Orange Potatoes for inspiring them!) have recently been about fun we've had away from home: at the Outer Banks, in Ohio, camping in the mountains--pretty much hither and yon. Now that we're finished traveling for a while, our outdoor adventures are much closer to home these days.

I can enjoy the sunrise on the lake,

and we can watch the ducks diving for their dinner .
Growing up, I had a favorite poem:

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
WE like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
WE are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!
--Kenneth Grahame

(I suppose it's high time I finally read The Wind in the Willows.)

Moe is still finding frogs...

...and the cats still think they own our little plot of land, even though they're not ours. They pretty much think they own the whole neighborhood, actually.

Over the weekend we managed to take in a baseball game...

...and attend a friend's fiftieth birthday party.

On Saturday, Joe took a trip to the hardware store to buy light bulbs, and he came home with this:

The boys have reported seeing hummingbirds visiting these last few days. Now if we can get them to stay still long enough to take their picture...

In my last post, I talked about possibly changing the look of my blog (again) and maybe starting a second one; as you can see, it looks the same as ever, and I still have only this one. Labor Day weekend is coming up, though. We'll see what happens.

Friday, August 27, 2010

7 Quick Takes (at least I hope they're quick)


I wasn't planning on posting anything today, but since I haven't tried a 30-minute blog in a few weeks, I figured I'd see if I could pull it off with a QUICK 7 Quick Takes post. I'm not using a timer, but I'll try to watch my little clock on the computer very carefully!


Things are getting EXTREMELY busy around here for the boys and me! I've been at our parish preschool almost every day trying to get the classroom set up. We've been having some renovations done at church over the summer, including taking out a walk-in closet in the three-year-old classroom to create more classroom space. Even though there were some floor-to-ceiling cabinets installed, there is less storage space for toys and things, so my co-worker and I have been trying to decide which toys we want to get rid of, and how to store the rest of them efficiently. We need to have the room ready by next Thursday, when the parents will bring their children to meet the teachers and see the classroom. (I'm also going to teach Religious Education again; last night at our first catechist meeting, Father R. asked me, "So, you're teaching preschool AND Religious Ed? How's that going?" I don't know, Father; I haven't started yet. I forgot to ask him to pray for me, but I'm pretty sure he will. He had a big grin on his face, so I think he's confident I can pull it off.)


Meanwhile, we are trying to gather together last-minute items for the start of school for the boys; do you know how hard it is to find green pens? I've inventoried the uniforms, and I think I might get a couple more pairs of pants for Curly since he grew by leaps and bounds over the summer; plus I have two pairs of pants for Larry that I ordered last spring that came with no hems. This means I have to hem them myself. I've been putting this task off because I don't sew; the last time I tried to hem a pair of pants for Joe (many years ago) it looked so bad I swore I'd never do that again. Since school starts on Monday, I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do that over the weekend.


Whenever we go to Burger King (which is almost never, but over the summer we travelled quite a bit, which means more stops on the road for fast food) Curly orders onion rings with his burger instead of fries. Since Moe is allergic to eggs and milk, things that are typically in onion ring batter (although truthfully, I don't think I've ever actually checked the ingredients on Burger King onion rings), he has never tried them. Lately he has been asking for onion rings, and this week I decided to take a stab at making them myself. I found this recipe over at AllRecipies.com:

1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk, or as needed
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
seasoned salt to taste
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

1.Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
2.Separate the onion slices into rings, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3.Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated; set aside. Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork. Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping. The wire rack may be placed over a sheet of aluminum foil for easier clean up. Spread the bread crumbs out on a plate or shallow dish. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs. The coating should cling very well. Repeat with remaining rings.
4.Deep fry the rings a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.

For Moe's allergies, I used Egg Replacer and soy milk; for the bread crumbs I cut up a couple of stale bagels we had purchased last week at the beach and put them in the food processor.

Oh, my, were they ever delicious! (Oh dang, I just realized I have to download the picture I took to my computer; looks like this blog will take more than 30 minutes.) I might make them tomorrow to take to our friend's fiftieth birthday party; I'm supposed to bring an appitizer or side dish, and I haven't had time to really think about what to make.


I'm thinking about doing the unthinkable and starting a second blog. I've had the idea floating around in my head for quite a while, but it's taking me a long time to decide to actually do it. Without revealing the exact theme, I will tell you that it involves books and cooking. Which means I would actually need to try new recipes, many of which will involve a lot of improvising, and post them online. Have you seen the movie "Julie and Julia?" Julie decides to make something from Julia Child's cookbook EVERY DAY and blog about what she made, and finish in a year. This--if I ever get it going--will be something along those lines, but not quite; I will tell you that I will NOT try and attempt this every day for a year; in fact I think I'll be lucky to get in more than one post a month. I was actually thinking about starting it this weekend, but since I have so much to do getting ready for school and all (plus I have some domestic chores I'm hoping to catch up on) I'm not too optimistic about that. Certain things are going out of season, though, and if I don't start it soon it will put me out of synch. Anyway, it might happen, it might not; stay tuned and be patient! :)


I've already been at this post for more than 30 minutes. I need to hurry up and get off here so I can start my day.


I have a lot of blogs that I follow, and I wish I could read every post on every one of them, but if I did that I wouldn't do anything else. I want you to check out one particular blog, though, that I ALWAYS read (even if I have to play catch-up from time to time): it's Small Things, written by my friend Ginny. I started following her blog because I've known her for several years, and her oldest son was in Kindergarten with Moe at the Montessori school. Ginny posts beautiful stories and photos about her family and their everyday activities--including accounts of their recent endeavor to raise laying hens. They seem to be doing a great job with that so far.

I'm hoping over the weekend to play with my blog and try and make my own photos bigger like hers, and I've gotten some tips about how to do that from Allison at A Broken Fortress. I might add a few more links to the sidebar, too. Wish me luck!

No 30-minute blog today. That was wishful thinking. Enjoy, and be sure to check out Jennifer's Conversion Diary for her 7 Quick Takes post for this week! She has created a blogging phenomenon with this meme. Thanks, Jennifer!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Get Thee To The Beach!

Play in the surf

Dig for clams...

...or just for the heck of it.

Look for shells

Admire other people's sand sculptures

Bury your brother in the sand

Chase crabs

Imagine that the driftwood you found was once part of an ancient sailing ship.

Play miniature golf

Visit some lighthouses!

This is what we found on Bodie Island. They say it will be open for climbing by the summer of 2012.

Take a hike through the forest...

...to the edge of the sound.

Marvel at the wildlife!

The day we arrived, a grey fox came sauntering out of the brush behind our beach house. He walked right up to the back porch, and looked up at us standing on the deck. He scratched himself and scampered back into the bushes. We didn't see him again, but I think we found his tracks among the birdie footprints.

Take one last look at the ocean before saying goodbye.

Check out Lisa's most recent Outdoor Monday posts! (here's last week's, which I missed because we were at the beach; and here's this week's post.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moe's Red Hat

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you may have noticed that when I post pictures of the kids (I've only been doing this since mid-April when I joined the Outdoor Challenge; although I'm careful not to show everyone on the Internet what we look like), you may have noticed that Moe is often seen wearing this hat:

I took this picture a few months ago, almost a year after he got it. Over the summer it has become dirtier and more frayed; near the end of the school year a fifth-grader snatched it off of his head and tore the velcro fastener thingy in the back--you know, the one that lets you adjust the size depending on how big your head is. I was able to sew it back on; but now it's so grimy you can hardly see the signatures anymore. He wore it every day at school, and every day all summer.

Those that know me, and even my Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging friends probably know that we are big fans of Indy Car Racing. (I got hooked after Joe and the kids dragged me to a couple of races in Richmond, Virginia. Being the only female human in my house can cause a girl to like boy stuff.) At every racing venue, sometime during the weekend the drivers hold an autograph session, and fans wait in line to meet their favorite drivers and have them sign various and sundry memorabilia. Last summer when we attended the annual (and the last, we would learn)Richmond race, we all got our necessary souveniers; Moe picked out the cool red-and-black cap with the Honda logo. (All the cars in the Indy Car series have Honda engines, don't ya know.) He collected quite a few autographs from drivers:

Hideki Mutoh

Dario Franchitti, the 2010 Indy 500 winner, and husband of actress Ashley Judd

Graham Rahal, son of racing legend Bobby Rahal

Tony Kanaan, who is EVERYONE'S favorite driver (Well, except for Danica Patrick, of course; and Helio Castroneves certainly got a boost from Dancing with the Stars). If drivers and fans were to vote for best sportsmanship, nicest driver, best all-around, Tony would probably win. He was the Indy Car Series champion in 2004.

Curly got a Tony Kanaan 7-11 hat, which of course got an autograph too. That's Dan Wheldon signing Moe's hat. Dan won the Indy 500 and the series championship in 2005.

This year there was no Indy Car race in Richmond. Since we can't go an entire season without attending at least one Indy Car event, we took a trip to Ohio to attend the race there. Moe decided months in advance that he would get a NEW Honda hat at the Mid-Ohio race, and have the same drivers sign it in exactly the same place. Well, no surprise, it didn't quite work out that way; since the autograph session was scheduled for Friday afternoon, there was no way we were going to make it to the track in time for that, especially after driving all day. On Saturday, the day before the race, we wandered through several booths selling many different kinds of hats;

...and Moe was delighted to find a Honda cap identical to his old one.

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning--Yes, we did go to Mass; we were staying with friends, and there is a lovely little church right in their neigborhood. We got the kids up in time for the 7:30 am Mass there. I will confess that we wore shorts and our brand-new racing T-shirts to church, though. Normally we wear more churchy clothes than that--we wandered around in the garage area, hoping to see some drivers and get a few autographs for Moe's hat. All the more well-known drivers seemed busy or out of sight: no sign of Danica, Tony, or Scott Dixon (who has probably won more races than any driver in the series right now); we did catch glimpses of Dario, Helio--you know, the one who was the winner on Dancing With the Stars--and Helio's teammate, Ryan Briscoe; but (dang it all) they weren't talking to fans or signing autographs.

BUT...we did run into some of our favorite drivers nonetheless:

Simona De Silvestro, a rookie who is arguably the best woman driver in the series--maybe even better than Danica, if I dare say so

Milka Duno--famous for being the worst and the slowest driver in the series. But she was very gracious to us, and delighted to sign Moe's hat.

Takuma Sato, who used to be a Formula One driver. Joe (hubby) was especially excited about this one, and even got to shake his hand.

and J.R. Hildebrand. This was his first Indy Car race, having just been promoted from the Indy Lights series (the minor leagues of Indy Car racing). Who, by the way, was born in 1988. I was halfway through college. Sheesh!

Next year, the Indy cars will be racing on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. We will plan our summer around this race so as not to miss a minute. Baltimore is reasonably close, and we could even day-trip it if we wanted to. In the meantime, Moe will probably wear his new hat every day--we still have his old one, too--and maybe next year he'll get a T-shirt instead. But probably not. I'm sure he'll want to continue the tradition of the red Honda hat.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Bookmark and Share