Thanksgiving wrap up!

I have to admit something:
I’m a terrible food blogger. While  other food bloggers are prepping for Thanksgiving posts in the summer, I’m in full summer mode and simply cannot bring myself to make and photograph a Thanksgiving meal in 96F heat. And, every Thanksgiving, I intend to get great food shots and use them to post *on time* next year. However, every year I get caught in the actual  holiday.. cooking, the parade, spending time with friends and family, sipping wine,  and honestly: I don’t want to spend an hour getting the perfect shot and eat cold food. (sipping wine and photography don’t mix, either)

I totally get why other bloggers set up for Thanksgiving in July.  And, I admire them for that.

One day, I will do Thanksgiving in July. But, today this is what I’ve got: Random shots from Thanksgiving pasts, and an occasional recipe link.



untitled (814 of 3071)This was our dinner from last year.. maybe the year before? The gravy was the best I had ever made, and no- I didn’t jot down the recipe as I made it. I’m hoping to have a pen handy this year. 😉

untitled (797 of 3071)

From scratch green bean casserole:

(Although the beans needed to be cooked a bit longer…) And, this year the hubs is making the  “traditional” recipe…


If you have a guest that prefers jelled cranberry sauce, cut it using cookie cutters, for a whimsical touch. Cute, huh?

mini sweet potato pies @thevillagecookMini Sweet Potato Pies

These are great for those that are watching portions


nov2009 126Grandmother’s Biscuits

I’m actually making rolls this year, biscuits are just too filling. (sorry Grandma)

nov2009 087

The Domestic Mama’s Turkey Brine

untitled (804 of 3071)See those veggies? Hubby loves them. Keeps him off the turkey, too. (until serving time, of course)


nov2009 077Mini Cherry Tarts

I love mini desserts, because you can have one of each and not feel like a glutton.

DSC_1792Baby Pumpkin Pies

untitled (796 of 3071)Of course, there’s stuffing… I am partial to bread over cornbread and I like to add lots of veggies to it, and no meat. Too much meat going on with the Turkey, anyway.

I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!DSC_7096


Swiss, caramelized onion, ham and leek quiche

swiss. onion and leek quiche I’m continuing the French theme this week with this rich, creamy and savory quiche.

It’s funny how many people I know that claim they don’t like quiche…. then they love it.

For example:

Me (to my 8 year old): “Let’s make a quiche to go along with our French studies”

My 8 year old: “I don’t like what ever you said”

Me: “What? Quiche? When have you had quiche?”

Her: “Never. It just sounds gross”

Me: “It’s like scrambled eggs, ham and onions  in a buttery crust”

Her: “Oooo. That’s sounds good, let’s make that.”

Maybe it’s just the word quiche that makes people go ehhhh.

I’ve made many quiches in my life but just renamed it to appeal to the general public.

Cheesy spinach and egg cups (aka mini crust-less quiches)

tomato and mozzarella tart (aka tomato and basil quiche)

basil and pepper breakfast pie (you guessed it: QUICHE)

Sometimes, changing the name of something makes it that much more appealing.

Garbage man= sanitation specialist

mail man = federal package transportation specialist

wait staff= server

sales clerk= assistant to economic support

gas station clerk= OPEC operations assistant

You see? It’s all about how you word things. 😉

Speaking of wording things; my daughter and I took a mommy-daughter road trip up the eastern coast and into the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains of North Carolina. It was an amazing experience that we will both remember the rest of our lives. I had never driven farther than three hours away, and she had never seen mountains.  Win-win, because now I officially have the kahunas to hop in my car and see the world.


There is one thing I will make sure I do next time.

On our  “way home”, we decided that it would be fun to visit the Georgia Aquarium. They have whale sharks, beluga whales and even manta rays. This was a Sunday.

Did I mention there is this event called football in Atlanta on Sunday?

Needless to say, (and despite my husband encouraging me via text to get on the road before the game ended) … we got stuck. As in two and a half hours stuck in traffic.  And, as the sun turned amber in the sky above, my hubby said go get a room.

Easy enough. I went on my trusty phone, looked at where I was- picked the next closest town and booked a room via Expedia.

The hotel looked freshly painted, smelled good and was aged but clean.

But something felt “off”.

We went up the elevator and down a shining style hallway… musty carpet beneath my feet made my skin crawl. I passed by a dark laundry room/vending machine area that held a couch with a man assumingly passed out upon it…

I quickly just wanted to get safely into a room a lock the door.

We got into the room and my skin continued to crawl. “Keep calm.” I told myself, not wanting to alert my daughter and scare her.

I  quickly go to flip light switches, but only one, dim florescent light in the bathroom heeded to my advancing  of switches. I survey the dim room. Fresh sheets, filthy carpet and cracked tiles.

I pace. My daughter looks at me.

“Mommy?” I’m scared. I don’t like it here.”

Voices chuckle loudly from down the hall and our doorknob rattles.

“We’re leaving”

As we left I explained to the gentleman at the front counter, “I’m sorry, my daughter is scared and this isn’t really the place for us to stay.”

His reply: “I give you good room. ”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, we are just not able to stay here.”

“Nothing wrong with room. It good” his voice grew stern.

“Sir, there is a man passed out in the laundry room” I explained, “My daughter is scared.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about”

“I’m sorry, we need to leave. I will be requesting a refund.”

“You call manager.”

Of course my phone call with the manager went as well as leaving did. I attempted to explain my case, and in a think, heavy accent I was told, “No refunds.” Click.

So, my daughter and I decided we will always plan our hotel stays well in advance.

Or, maybe I will just get an RV. No laundry rooms there, lol.

Further down the road, we found a nice town and a even nicer room. We jumped and hopped on the bed, ecstatic with clean floors, crisp sheets and a hot continental breakfast to greet us in the morning.

We washed up and snuggled up to some “Bubble Guppies” and counted our blessings.

Sometimes you have to spend time in dark rooms to appreciate the light  we have.

There are times to be the light of the world and there are times to seek the light of the world.


There is something about names that can be misleading, or make unpleasant things seem nicer. Our first room was actually a “suite.”

Or second room was  just that, a room. But: to us it was our suite.

And, finally: for Quiche… or scrambled egg pie. 😉


Swiss, caramelized onion, ham and leek quiche
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 ready made pie crust
  • 4eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • ¼ cup diced leeks
  • ½ cup diced ham
  • ½ cup caramelized onions
  • salt/pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a 9" pie pan with crust
  3. In a bowl. combine the eggs, cheese, leeks, ham, onions, milk ans salt and pepper.
  4. Pour into crust and bake 20-25 minutes.






spiced apple tart

_DSC4507My daughter and I made this during our study of France, while working on  our Five In A Row unit of Madeline. We also made a Swiss, ham and leek quiche, French Onion soup, and crouque mosuiers, which I will share with you soon.

But, today I’m sharing this with you.

Most of you may not be familiar with Five In A Row, so I will quickly summarize that ; basically it’s a curriculum based off of children’s books.  You read the book for five days in a row, and on each day you study different components related to the book. It’s a full curriculum that covers geography, social studies, science, history and art. There’s a little math, but not enough for my liking, so I chose to supplement.

As I stated in a previous post, I use Five In A Row mainly for social studies and geography. But, if possible I try to incorporate all the lessons the guidebook recommends for each book, time permitting.

Some days are harder than others, because there is so much to do with each book, and -sometimes I wish I hadn’t chosen additional supplementals; but we are also enjoying our history book immensely (I thought it would be boooorrrrrinnng) and even the language arts and grammar have been pleasurable.

(No comment on math)

Anyways, we got really “into” Madeline. Something about Paris and French culture that brings out the elegance in the everyday… c’ est ci bon!

We have since “rowed” A Story About Ping (China) and How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World (assorted countries) … I really need to catch up here…!


For this tart, we took a simple pâte sucrée dough, lined it in a tart pan and filled it with diced apples, a bit of sugar and cinnamon and then topped it with arranged apple slices, and butter.

Simplicity at it’s finest.

IMG_1654The crust recipe can be found here, but it’s perfectly fine if you happen to use a pre made crust. Time is money, 😉

IMG_1657Bake at 350, for 25-30 minutes… and brush with warm apple jelly to glaze it.

spiced apple tart

spiced apple tart
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 recipe pate sucree crust (or any premade pie crust)
  • 4 large baking apples, peeled - 2 diced and 2 sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  1. " tart pan
  2. Line the dough into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom
  3. Toss the apples with the sugar and the cinnamon
  4. placed the diced apples into the tart, and top with the apple sliced neatly arranged on top
  5. Dot with butter and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Brush with warm apple or apricot jelly to glaze.

Bon Appetit!

week one- planning and time management

IMG_1619We officially started our home school experience last  two weeks ago, and, as I promised I will be doing weekly(ish) roundups of what we did, (and didn’t do)

Of course, this post was originally intended for LAST Friday… but as Fridays happen so does life.

And, this was our life:

IMG_1625I have to admit a few things right off the bat:

I am a planner.

I am a slight control freak.

Those, my friend are two things that may work against you in homeschooling.  Because there are going to be times where things don’t get done. There are going to be times where things don’t  go as planned.

And, I’m okay with that.

Home schooling is God’s way of getting me out of His way.

Before I began this journey, I made a list of what parts of my life were most important, important, and not important. Things that can be delegated, and things that cannot. I dissected my day, by the hour and to the minute.  In doing this.. I realized a few things:

If you are disorganized, time is lost (which, is why.. I sometimes set aside an entire afternoon to keep things organized)

If you don’t plan ahead, time is lost.

If you don’t take care of yourself, (spiritually and physically)  you can’t take care of anyone else.

So,there are some things that are bottom line rules of our school days.  Devotion time, exercise and meal planning. If any of these three things aren’t accomplished, I am askew all day. So I am a “three thing” control freak.

First off, I wake up at least an hour and a half before my daughter wakes up.( As much as I’d love to sleep in….I don’t.) By having those early hours alone, I have my time to read my devotion,drink my tea (coffee if it’s Friday),  pray over our day and finish up any computer work.

Once my daughter wakes up we have breakfast together, -usually something fast for school days; cereal, yogurt, cinnamon raisin bread toasted with cream cheese have been the latest choices.

Next is  30-45 minute bike ride/walk/exercise… together.

We talk about our day, look at nature and feed the birds and fish at our neighborhood lake.

(For rainy days, we have a few DVDs we do together, or we catch up on our library book stack.)

We get home just before the school-bell rings. (Yes, I have an alarm set on my phone, if I didn’t I would not stop whatever project/chore I may inadvertently get into during the interim.)

So far, our   first week had worked  out smoothly,  with our schooling completing before noon. :) In the afternoon we market, eat lunch, prep dinner, and enjoy our “recess”.

Now: as far as what we did last week: Here’s a visual:

IMG_1630Science is the hands down favorite so far, and I  I am using Apologia Science Zoology 1

Another favorite: thinking putty; especially when I am reading to her Story Of The World, which is our History.

IMG_1610We start each day with a Daily Learning Notebook, I got it here: Daily Learning Notebook (This gives me a chance to do dishes and load the washer while she works on it)

(No we don’t start at 6:22 am, she was excited to practice one evening)

IMG_1647For History, week one we learned the basics:historians, archaeologists, nomads, and cave art. For hands on projects we dug a dinosaur from hardened clay with small plastic spades and brushes, and we made cave art on a crumpled up brown paper bag.

I’m also implementing Five In A Row, which is a literature based curriculum that utilizes books to teach various educational components . Many people use this as their full curriculum, however- I mainly use it for Geography, and social studies.

This week we rowed Madeline, so we focused on France.

IMG_1637I found a travel size Paris play set printable that fits in an old Altoid tin.

IMG_1650We bought French bread and Crossaints,

IMG_1649And, we made French food: (This is my daughter’s “French face”

IMG_1652IMG_1659IMG_1663On Thursday, I hosted a co-op with two friends who are rowing the same book, we read the book, the girls got an anatomy lesson (Madeline has an appendicitis in the book)

And, of course there was more French food:


Crouque Moussier sandwiches

Tarte Au Pommes

IMG_1676Dessert was a craft, thanks to my friend’s resourcefulness; sugar wafer Eiffel Towers.

And, my other friend supplied us with all the supplies to make Madeline lap books!


IMG_1662Our Art lesson for the week was  and Georges Seurat, and pointillism as well as Monochromatic color schemes.

And, finally: Friday was a group  field trip to a local art studio for real painting.

IMG_1702Last but not least, my daughter got to put her France sticker in her Passport:

IMG_1692Here’s a roundup of the 2015-2016 curriculum:

Fall 2015 – Summer 2016

Bible: Growing With God 3rd grade (Positive Action Bible Curriculum)

History: The Story Of The World Vol 1 By Susan Wise Bauer, and activity workbook, tests

“fun” supplement: Draw and Write Through History: Creation Through Jonah

Science: Apologia Science Zoology 1 Flying Creatures Of The Fifth Day with notebook journal

Language Arts: Language Smarts Level D (critical Thinking Company)

Handwriting: Daily Learning Notebook and A Reason For Writing Level T

Spelling: Spelling you see level C

Literature/Social Studies/ Geography: Five In A Row

Math: Teaching Textbooks grade 3 or alternate TBA (utilizing refresher workbooks now)

enrichment activity: Grocery Cart Math by Dale Simpson


First quarter:

Art: Feed My Sheep By Barry Stebbing

Second quarter:

Health, Safety and Manners grade 3 Abeka

Third quarter:

Spanish, Rosetta Stone

Fourth Quarter:

Home economics: sewing, cooking, gardening, banking loosely basing off of Prairie Primer

Now, as I finally complete week one round up; I need to share week two, and all the things that went not as planned.

There are times when people plan and God laughs.. and… let’s just say I got some friendly reminders of that. But, despite a few deviations on our plans, it’s nice to know that the higher plans are always better that what I planned.

That’s another post.

Tomorrow. Soon.











school buns or school bread

School Buns  To kick off our official first day of “school”, (yes, I waited until after Labor day) I made something special.

School Buns. (Or School Bread) According to Wikipedia:

Skolebolle (English: School Bun) is the Norwegian name for a type of sweet roll that consists of regular dough of yeast, custard and icing with grated coconut. It was usually put in school lunches as a dessert or sold at bake sales, hence the name.

In the western parts of Norway where the Norwegian baking traditions stems from it is called “Skolebolle” (School Bun), in the eastern and northern parts of Norway it is more common to call them “Skolebrød” (School Bread).

There you have it.

So, as most of you know I an embarking on a new journey today. I am filled with an excitement and anticipation of the new “year” ahead.  As I write this, I’m waiting…. like a parent for the children to awaken on Christmas morning. But, there is so much more ahead to open. Books and experiments, field trips and plays…

I spent months researching and examining curriculum and homeschooling “styles”, observing my daughter at her best, and her worst, trying to put together what will help her learn the most at the least expense of her.. or myself.

Because you simply don’t learn it well if you hate it.

So, I evaluated her strengths and weaknesses.. and pieced together an eclectic blend of curriculum. A far cry from what I originally had intended. I will share with you our plan in a later post, today is a time to celebrate and embrace the sweetness of witnessing the “a-ha” moments to come in this coming school year.

I will be documenting lots of it here, but for today, I have a recipe:

_DSC4475To create these sweet treats from the north, I made a simple sweet bread dough. You can also use a hot roll mix, just add 1/4 sugar to it.

The custard…is a vanilla bean infused smooth velvety concoction of milk sugar egg yolks and of course, real vanilla beans


The dough is divided into equal portions, and an indentation is made in each portion._DSC4482It is then filled with custard and baked:_DSC4483After they bake, allow them to cool completely:

_DSC4489and then, dip in vanilla frosting, and shredded sweetened coconut, for a treat that’s part danish, part doughnut and all delicious.

school buns or school bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12-14
  • 1½ cups warm milk
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • Vanilla Custard:
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 TBS flour
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract*see notes
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS cream
  • sweetened shredded coconut
  1. For the dough:
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the milk, and add the sugar
  3. add the melted (cooled) butter
  4. Add the sugar and flour and knead to form a soft dough, about 10 minutes
  5. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Form into 12-14 balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet.
  7. Made a deep indentation in each ball, and allow to rise until doubled.
  8. Meanwhile,
  9. heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, until scaling
  10. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt and stir in, continue to stir until thickened
  11. Gradually add small amounts of the hot molk mixture to the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly.
  12. Combine both mixtures and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and butter and stir until smooth
  14. After the balls have risen, place in each indentation a spoonful of the custard
  15. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 10 minutes, or until golden
  16. Allow to cool completely.
  17. For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and cream to form a thick icing.
  18. Spread a thin layer around the edges of each bun, and dip into shredded coconut.
  19. Serve at room temperature.
For vanilla extract: scrape the insides of a vanilla bean into a sealed container containing 4 ounces vodka, reserve pod and place with vodka. Shake daily.
Recipes inspired by:
Authentic Norweigen Cooking by Astrid Karlsen Scott
Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cummiongham

School Buns

stepping out, stepping in

I’ve been gone for a while, I’ve been in a season of decision making, prayer and probably too much thinking.

Situations happened that catapulted me out of my norm, and shifted me back to a hope that had dissipated years ago. That hope, soon became a reality and stepping into the reality of a hope can be scary and intimidating, no matter how you perceive it.

Stepping out of the norm of routine, familiarity and ease, and into something different requires much more than walking away, signing a paper and ordering some books.

 It’s times like these, when I make a conscious decision to march to my own drum, to step out onto my own beat… it’s times like these you really find out who your back up drummers are.

And, back up drummers matter.

Sometimes, we are given chances to be back up drummers, chances to help echo faith and encouragement for somebody stepping out to a new and unfamiliar beat. And, other times we are stepping out alone, facing a new journey ahead.

And, other times we glide comfortably into the rhythm of life.

This summer, I made the decision to home school. Something I had always hoped to do, but life never fell quite into place for it.  And, I also have decided to document this first year. Mainly, to help those understand homeschooling, and perhaps to encourage others that may be feeling led to march away from the norm of society.

My decision to home school has nothing to do with the school choices I have before me. I know that there are talented, blessed teachers more than capable of teaching my daughter.

But, I also know my daughter.

I can teach her aligned to her intelligence style, and customize learning just for her. If she doesn’t get something, I can work with her on it, without time restraint. And, to be blunt;

I learned more in life outside the classroom.

We learn the basics between walls.

We learn life by living it.

Therefore, I am stepping out into this.

So far, I have already encountered the first of many condescending, snide remarks from members of society, such as:

So, you home school? So you’re like her teacher and mom?

As parents , we are teachers whether we chose to home school or not. We are our children’s first teacher.

What’s wrong with school? You think your kid is too good for school?

Nothing is wrong with school, there are amazing talented teachers out there, many kids thrive in a classroom setting, however, my child preforms better in an individualized setting.

What do you teach? Where do you get your materials?

I dumpster dive behind the local schools.

Just kidding.

There are thousands of curriculum choices out there. I chose mine based on my own child’s learning styles.

I think home school kids end up socially awkward, what about things like clubs, sports, prom? Kids need to be socialized.

Homeschooling is huge. I am a member of a homeschooling group with hundreds of children. We have group park days, field trips, choir, sports, music, art, prom and even classes in a schoolroom on a weekly basis. To be honest, my daughter has four group  field trips in September. More than she had all year in school.

Oh you’re lucky you get to sleep in all day.

Ummm, no.

What about college?

Although I am not at high school level right now, if we chose to continue through high school there is accredited curriculum and dual enrollment available for home schoolers, they are also eligible for the same scholarships and grants, as a non home schooled child.

So far, that’s been what I have experienced.

Of course, I could always just say: None of your business to all of the questions, and march on my merry way….

But, people ask questions because they want answers. Kids ask questions because they want answers. We are all teachers when we take the time to answer.

Take the time to answer.

No matter what the question is. :)








buffalo macaroni and cheese

buffalo mac and cheese Sometimes mellow, mild  and creamy macaroni and cheese is just what you need for ultimate comfort food.

Other times, you need a little kick, but not just a few splashes… you need a kick that’s part of the dish, where it’s fiery flavor mingles with the creamy cheese and chewy pasta.


That’s where this comes in.

Taking a good thing and making it even better.

It’s recipe refinishing.

Speaking of refinishing… I must share my latest project:

furnitureI found the bench months ago in a curbside trash pile (yes, months ago and I finally got around to do something with it)

The paint was a high gloss spray version and the fabric was Walmart. Total cost was around $6.47, and I even had fabric left over to make a pillow.  Woo hoo to that.

I took something very 70’s and made it very Keys-ish. :)

It’s summer  time, after all.

And here I am sharing a “hot” recipe….





I know it’s summer, and the last thing you may want is something spicy; but…. you know those stormy, rainy afternoons? Yes. This is what you make for those.

If you need something for the sweltering dessert days… hold tight, I have that, too.

And, If you need me to inspire you to go diving in the neighbors trash for things to spray paint…. well, I guess you can blame me for that one, too.

Happy Tuesday everyone. :)




buffalo macaroni and cheese
  • 8 ounces cooked macaroni noodles
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS flour
  • ¼ cup beer
  • 1 cup shredded Colby/jack cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 TBS buffalo wing sauce
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Cook macaroni and set aside
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour to make a paste and slowly pour in the beer
  4. Cook and slowly add the milk and cook until mixture is smooth and thick
  5. Stir in the cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Add buffalo sauce and season to taste.
  7. Fold in cooked noodles and place in a casserole dish
  8. Serve immediately or top casserole with panko crumbs and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes, or until golden on top.







mango salsa and summer stories

Mango SalsaThis is summer in a bowl.

Sweet, salty, tangy and fresh, with a slight crisp from jicima, it’s a tropical vacation for your tongue.

I live in an old neighborhood. And, with old neighborhoods, come established trees. An established home with a yard that feeds you is a perk and a blessing.

A friend once commented to me, “Mangoes are such generous trees.” And, she is right. This time of year,( this summer in particular), locals have more than they can handle.

It’s the zucchini of the south.

Continue reading mango salsa and summer stories

A little food, a little fun, and a little laugh in between, enjoy!