Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School Party

I do have a slide show filled with Ren Fest photos to share, but its giving me some trouble. So, here are some Back to School party photos from this afternoon! We invited the homeschool group gang over to play some games, make a healthy lunch, enjoy recess where we played four square and eat some watermelon and school bus shaped cakes. It was great fun as a way to usher in the new year and think about some of the advantages we have as homeschool kids. I fell in love with four square again!

The kids were all assigned new random names for their first day of school, thus the name tags.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


One trick I have learned for making the weekends without my husband more palatable is realizing that I get to plan the menus. He and I eat VERY differently, so getting to plan the food around my tastes is a treat. This weekend here was our menu:

Friday night
Herb crusted salmon steaks and green beans

Saturday lunch
Tomato Basil cream soup and seeded crackers with Laughing Cow swiss cheese
Grilled broccoli

Saturday night
Penne w/ Asparagus, Sage, and Peas
Honey Lemon Curd w/ Creme fraiche

Anyone noticing what is missing from the menu? Yep, you got it, not an ounce of meat among us! I love my husband's cooking and many dishes are my favorites, but I'm enjoying mixing it up a bit on the weekends.

From the Magazine Food and Wine come tonights recipes:

1/2 pound penne
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound thick asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups (10 ounces) shelled English peas or frozen baby
peas, thawed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and
cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large
skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook over
moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about
3 minutes. Add the stock and boil over high heat until reduced by half and the
asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the peas and cream to the skillet
and boil over high heat until the sauce has thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the
penne and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the
butter, sage and the 1/2 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer
the pasta to bowls and serve right away, passing additional cheese at the table.

Honey Lemon Curd with Creme Fraiche

5 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for garnishing
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
Crème fraîche, for serving
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the whole egg, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and the honey. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Set the bowl with the lemon mixture over the boiling water, reduce the heat to moderate and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter. Pass the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl.
Ladle the strained curd into 4 cups or ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming; refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Top the curd with dollops of crème fraîche and sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest.
Make Ahead
The lemon curd can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Serve With
Shortbread cookies.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival

Today Andrew and I invited Lisa to join us for the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como Park. It was a perfect night for it, the rain that ran through earlier cooled things down and after letting Andrew spend a little over an hour at Como Town on rides we headed over to listen to music, watch dancing and Taiko drumming, observe various martial arts in practice and as a surprise, enjoy the many costumes in the crowd. We did not on the other hand stay for the Lantern are the photos I captured before we left!

I wish I'd said that...Civilization

Paul's theory is that our civilization is collapsing into a dark age and that the advancing edges of this are visible in urban ghettos. He says dark ages are all about forgetting civilization and its arts and also the increasing reluctance of the ruling classes to pay for civic life. This sealed the fate of Rome, he claims. He doesn't think that the ghetto needs uplift, however, but rather that when the crash comes, the poor will survive better than their masters. They need less, he says, an they are more charitable, and they don't have to unlearn as much. This was why Jesus preferred them. Yes, quite crazy; but when I observe the perfect helplessness of my fellow citizens of the middle class and higher; our utter dependence on electricity, cheap gas, and the physical service of unseen millions, our reluctance to pay our fair share, our absurd gated enclaves, our "good buildings," and our incompetence at any task other than the manipulation of symbols, I often think he has a point. The Book of Air and Shadows Michael Gruber

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Staycation End and some Scrapbook pages

Later in the week we petered out a bit, and Thursday was spent at home during the day. We enjoyed the quieter pace, reading and doing a bit of housekeeping. In the evening I went out with Lisa for her birthday and had a nice time.

Friday we stayed home again and had Ben over for a few hours and Andrew played with Tristan for a bit and then Ronan spent the night. The boys are still happily playing in the other room, and I'm almost done with the laundry. I predict some reading will happen this evening after Ronan leaves, Andrew is beginning to look a bit tired...good tired!

I did another page last night and realized it has been some time since I've posted any pages I've done. I think these are all that I've done this month, or at least since Erin was over last.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Edina Aquatic Center: Staycation Day 3

Today the pace was a bit slower, and Scott got to stay home and relax. Andrew and I met friends at the Edina pool for three hours of HOT swimming and such. Not a slide show worth of photos today, just a couple of the pool area and a couple of the youngest member of our party. I'll have to take Andrew again when its not so hot that I don't want to roam around and take photos!
In the evening, Scott and I went out for a nice bookstore and dinner run, while Andrew played more with his best friend. By 9:15 we were all exhausted and in bed. (and then I got up an hour later to post this!)

I wish I had said that...Autonomy.

Humanity craves but dreads autonomy. One does not want to live under the yoke of guilt and fear. Autonomy consists of making with open eyes the decisions that give shape to one’s life. But being afraid of making fateful decisions, one is tempted to hide autonomy in a metaphysical fog and to become sidetracked and bogged down in puzzles about free will and determinism. It is far easier to define autonomy out of existence than it is to achieve autonomy in the very meaningful sense in which it can be attained. The difference between making the decisions that govern our lives with our eyes open and somehow avoiding this is all-important.Taimur Khan

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Staycation Day Deux

Last night we loaded the bikes into the truck and this morning we took off early in order to try to beat the heat of the day. Andrew's best friend was able to join us and the two of them were angels, chattering in their own secret best friend language all the way there, during the whole 20 mile ride and all the way home, saddened only when told that they'd have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to see each other again.

I'm not gonna lie to you, this workout crazed chick was T-I-R-E-D at the end of the ride and happy to get home to a bath and a nap. The Cannon Valley Trail is such a gift though. Nearly perfectly flat, surrounded on both sides by lovely mature trees of many types and tons of wildflowers, surrounded mostly by protected lands, this was a nice long morning and early afternoon with nature. Andrew caught many toads, including this giant, and we encountered road delays even on this protected trail as they pulled down a tree across the path and quick cleaned it up. Only in Minnesota!
The boys were thrilled with our lunch at Culvers in Red Wing and then we stumbled across a lovely sculpture garden at the top of a cliff on our way back to the car. IT was a hot, hard climb, but worth the effort.

Staycation Day 1

This week, due to the economic conditions of our household after numerous unplanned car repairs, we decided to use our vacation week to have a "staycation". Besides, it makes us oh so trendy that way!

Today was a lovely afternoon at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Every time we go I am struck by two things; how much I love this place, and how much Andrew loves this place. Scott and I have pledged to try to get here at least monthly through the fall so we can be renewed more often!

What to do with all the beautiful but sort of useless photos I took today? Slideshow of course! Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Walker Sculpture Gardens

Last Saturday after our little film festival, Andrew and I drove over to the Walker and enjoyed the sculpture garden for an hour before heading home. These are the kinds of things that are hard to do on weekends without a car, and we had so much fun. This may be an unpopular view, but except where the sculptures specifically stated they weren't to be climbed, I let Andrew play "with" them. He still loves to climb, has done so all his life. Maybe my friend Debbie will take us out "real" climbing sometime soon?

Here is a fun slideshow of the pictures I snapped thanks to Picnik.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Long Gone...

  • Been working out like a fiend, 16 out of the last 18 days and most of those were two workout days.

  • Watched my cousins win four prizes between the two families at a system wide Library film contest.

  • Had my car in FOUR TIMES to be repaired. The day it seemed we had finally gotten it all working...the electrical system in the FORD started in on us.

  • Had my bike stolen out of the "secure" underground garage. Was told to keep our bikes in our apartment (?)

  • Met my next door neighbor and the neighbors next to them. We've all lived here more than three years and we've never met. LOVE our quiet building! Unfortunately found out mine was not the only bike stolen.

  • Have my eye on a leather couch in the garage. Its taking up space in someone's stall and I'm thinking they might want to part with it. It matches our loveseat...

  • Finished all my "learning coach" tutorials for Andrew's school and found a spot for his textbooks. He completed his first live session today, just a fun craft club to get him used to the technology. Boy is his typing going to improve quickly, those kids can CHAT!

  • Decided to start one more blog to keep a diary on how the Connections Academy process is going for us.

  • Andrew is super excited and taking it very seriously; he took his science textbook with him in the car last night when we were out running errands because he thought it looked so fun!

  • Have not done one scrapbook page in over two weeks...but I'm gonna!

  • Got a new family computer with uber power so Andrew would be all set for school. I love that four hundred bucks buys and uber computer these days.

  • Heard Ben say, "woof, woof", "book", "kiss" and saw him wave goodbye all in one week!

  • Uploaded and backed up all my photos for January through June, 2009. Where has the time gone!

  • Borrowed the truck from Scott Saturday and took Andrew to a short film fest (that he loved) and to the Sculpture Gardens at the Walker. Good times!

  • Forgot to pick Scott up at work at midnight...oops!

  • Here's a coupla short videos of sounds I love...


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