Summer Salad

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This is summer salad at our house right now. I recently decided to skip the lettuce and my family LOVED it. Lettuce definitely helps to fill outs a salad – but to clean out the fridge and pack in a ton of nutrition I think the veg plate is a keeper! Home run!!

Now, if I can figure out how to keep sticky fingers from grabbing all the goods before we sit down for dinner then it’ll be a Grand Slam!! LOL!!

Another INSANE Homeschool Field Trip

This week the kids and I have been on a bot of an adventure trip. It’s been amazing, and mostly planned by Big. In our normal world, Little is very involved in a local Boy Scouts Troop. Its an active troop with all sorts of fun things going on, trips, campouts, camp, etc. It’s been great for him and he has a wonderful group of friends through scouting.

Unfortunately, Big doesn’t have a group like that. We were supposed to be a part of an American Heritage Girls start up troop… but it never got off the ground. Girl Scouts in our town is insanely cliquey and Big wants no part of it. 4H is active in pockets, but since we don’t do horses we’re pretty much out. So, she volunteers and helps with Cub Scouts, so she’s gotten to do some fun stuff, but it’s not “hers”.

So, this trip is planned around some things that Big wanted to do. So far we’ve had…

The World’s Largest Indoor Ropes Course…

Sledding…

Skiing…

And time with family, friends, “cousins”, driven in rental cars, navigated the Atlanta airport, and flown around the country. To say it’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t begin to describe it. And, to say that homeschooling TOTALLY rocks and makes these trips even cooler would be another HUGE understatement.

We’ll just look at the skiing deal…

Labrador Mountain, near Syracuse NY offers a $25 Learn to Ski Deal. If you live anywhere near Syracuse – DO IT!!! For $25 you get – lessons, gear (a helmet is $10 more, $5 if military), and a single slope life ticket if you pass the check out in your lessons. Well, slacker homeschoolers that we are we went on a Wednesday… at 10 am… and were 2 of 3 students. In the kid’s first lesson they had 1 instructor between the 2 of them. He was great!!! He was an adult (not a 20 year old), British, kind, and firm. He was also very safety concious. For the first 1 1/2 hour lesson they worked on the mini hill with the rope tow.

After the first 1 1/2 hours, their instructor wasn’t ready to sign them off, so they took a half hour break, ate some lunch, and then headed out to lesson Number 2. This lesson was another 1 1/2 hours, but this time they each had their own instructor. Seriously! Big took off up the lift with her instructor (another adult – a cool woman), and Little continued with his earlier instructor. They rode the lift, fell down the hill, and learned more. After the second lesson Big was signed off, but Little needed just a little more time. Little was exhausted so he came to chill out with me, and Big went to the big hill by herself and made 4 long runs. I am SO proud of her. She owned the hill (and it’s a huge hill!).

So this Learn to Ski deal is insane. The kids got 3 hours each of private lessons, rentals, and Big got to head out by herself. For $50! (I will say that I tipped the instructors well. I don’t think it was expected, but they were fabulous and totally deserved it.) Today we’re out on the slopes again, with Little in a quest for his Badger Lift Ticket. They both woke up “so, so sore” but were ready to tackle the slopes. I think part of it is the clear understanding that we leave tomorrow, and they won’t see snow for another year (Lord willing!!). Today they were the only 2 students there for lessons, the slopes are nearly empty of any skiers, and they again have individual instructors. Private lessons. Seriously.

Sure, you could do this on a Saturday in December – but I’d much prefer a Wednesday and Thursday in March where we have ski resort… and instructors!!… and insane discount prices… all to ourselves!!

Chilling with Big

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Little spent the night at a friend’s last night, so Big and I are having Girl Time. We had a sleep over on the couch last night while watching “Save my Bakery”. We’re pretty convinced Kerry Vincent adds fondant and sparkle sugar to everything and calls it good. LOL!! It is a clean and encouraging show, so we’ll keep it on the list. (FWIW, I LOVE the Cake Boss. Love him. Love the family. Love it!!).

This morning we decided we’d hit a local coffee shop for breakfast and to chill. They have great caramel bars and cold brew coffee, so I am totally IN!! We’re having a great time goofing on computers, reading, eating, and no we blogging.

Later we’ll head to the local Stinky Candle shop, which we LOVE. The boys hate it. It’s cute and arty and eclectic and it’s super excellently smelly. I am SO in!!!

Then, I’ll have to buck up and be an adult later. My craft area needs to be cleaned. We need to caulk Big’s room for an impending painting. Bathrooms need a scrub with company coming tomorrow. And it’s TKD night, so we’re gone from 5-7ish. But. it’s rainy and a “No Pool Day”, so I think we’ll get the list done. Maybe. I think a nap may be calling. 🙂

Croissants

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I had been wanting to make homemade croissants for a long time, so this weekend I finally tried it. This is a multi-day recipe, so here was my timeline:

Saturday morning-
The kids were at a friend’s house swimming and hanging out so I bought the white flour (I’m trying to have less on hand of the white stuff to make me use more whole wheat) and made the dough.

Sunday morning –
I made the flat butter squares and let them rest for a few hours, then my beloved and I did the 3 roll and fold iterations. The first one with the frozen butter was brutal. We laughed a lot about working off the pastries before we even baked them. Since I had made a double batch of dough (highly recommended, this is a labor of love and a double batch is much easier than doing it all twice). After the “roll, fold chill for 20 minutes, repeat three times” workout was done we let the dough sit for a few hours. Theoretically it was supposed to sit for 24 hours but I was getting hungry for a croissant!

Sunday afternoon –
Our final dough went into the fridge at about 9:30, and at about 5 we pulled a batch to roll to bake. I cut a blob in half and after an unsuccessful attempt at using my Kitchen Aid pasta attachment to roll the dough, we rolled it out by hand. I cheated and didn’t measure everything to the inch. We rolled, cut and let rest while we watched soccer…

Sunday evening –
Baking time!! Finally!! I did the recommended 2 pans and swap – which I would not do again. The bottoms, which essentially sauté in butter got too brown on the bottom rack, even with swapping. I think I might also bake them on a cooling rack over the parchment lined baking sheet to drain the butter and keep the bottoms from getting too dark. Good thing I have another batch to test stuff out with!!

Overall –
I would definitely make these again. They’re a MILLION times better than anything I can buy locally and other than being a little tedious, they’re not a difficult pastry to make. And the dark chocolate ones…. Insane!!!!!!!

The recipe and tutorial I used!