A Birthday Packed Full of Memories Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, the Wee One wanted to go on a date with his mom so we decided to go to King’s Island for his birthday.  The trip would take the place of a birthday party.  His only concern was “Am I still going to get presents?”  The concerns of an 8 year old.

Since it was his first visit and my first visit in 11 years, we were super excited!  🙂  We left early on Saturday morning  so we could get there before the park opened for the day.  As we stood waiting for the rope to come down, the Wee One was so anxious.  He kept asking me when we could go into the park.  “How many more minutes mom?”  Finally after the National Anthem was sung, we were on our way.  

First ride of the day was the Viking Fury.  The Wee One let the attendant know that it was his birthday so they told us to go to another ride because they had  something for him.  At first he loved the ride, then it went higher and higher.  He was afraid he was going to call out so he grabbed onto me and held on tight.  Afterwards he told me that he would ride it again when he got bigger and braver.  

We headed over to Adventure Express to pick up the birthday surprise.  It ended up an invitation to come back later for a celebration of his birthday.  He was too short to ride Adventure Express.  I wanted to ride it though so he sat to the side while I rode it.  (Only time we did that all day.)

We were right next to all of the games.  The Wee One wanted to do all of them especially the ones that had a giant Pikachu.  He doesn’t understand that it costs money and he’s lucky if he wins one of those prizes.  So we didn’t try those games.  Okay later in the day, I allowed him to try one that cost $1.  He didn’t win 😦  but I didn’t allow him to try more than once. While we were in that area we rode the Scrambler.  He really enjoyed that ride.

Next stop was White Water Canyon.  There was absolutely no line so we got on right away.  The smile on his face every time we got wet was priceless.  He loved that ride.  Since there were people in line, we could not stay on the ride but they told him about a shortcut.  So we did that.  He had a blast and told the other people on the ride where all of the water would hit them.  Afterwards we went back to the shortcut and once again got on the ride.  This time there were 3 kids on the ride and they had a blast – laughing and talking about the water.  🙂  It was wonderful to see.  One of the boys and his father decided to ride on the ride again so they did the shortcut also.  The father and I had a hard time keeping up with them because of their excitement.  Unfortunately we were not on the same boat but the little boy waved at the Wee One before we left the launching dock.  We didn’t ride it for a fifth time because it was starting to get busy.

Right next to the White Water Canyon is the train to Soak City.  We rode on it so we could go over there to get some relief from the heat.  The Wee One loved the wading pool (Coconut Grove) and the water slide that was just his size.  He’s wanted to ride on a water slide for at least 2 years so this was a plus 

After playing in the water for an hour, we went over to Planet Snoopy.  The Wee One was hungry so we decided to get some food once we got there.  I was surprised and happy when he saw the strawberries and whipped cream and asked for those.  We ended up having the strawberries and the soft pretzel.  He bought himself a bag of cotton candy.  While we were eating, we saw a show was going to be starting soon so we went to that show.  Since we were one of the first visitors waiting for the show, they asked him if he wanted to go on stage during the show.  How cool!

He ended up on stage in a toy jeep being pushed around by a person in a Charlie Brown costume.  What a way to remember his birthday!  After the show, we went over to a gift shop and bought him a small Charlie Brown stuffed animal to remind him of his special birthday.

To be continued . . .

Pics:

 

Foodie Pen Pal – June edition

It’s that time of the month, foodie pen pal reveal day. I’m usually on top of things by writing my post early and then scheduling it. This month I was not as good. Actually I’m sitting down and writing it on our reveal day. Oh, well! It’s been a busy week and I’ve rarely been home long enough to write anything.

This month I sent to Ilona who lives in New Jersey. This is the second time I’ve sent to New Jersey. To see what Ohio goodies I sent to her, visit her blog Ilona’s Kitchen.

Charmaine sent me my box all of the way from California. Here are the goodies she sent to me:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for July, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.

Sausage and Sauerkraut (GF, DF)

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 package of smoked sausage
  • 1 jar or bag of sauerkraut, drained and rinsed off
  • 3 Tbsp. of brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. of Dijon mustard

Steps:

  1. Cut the sausage into rings.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sauerkraut, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard together.
  3. Place sausage and sauerkraut into the crockpot.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  5. Enjoy with mashed potatoes or roasted red potatoes.  (I also had corn and baked apples with it.)

Printable Recipe

Crockpot Pizza

 

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Crockpot Pizza

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups browned ground beef (I omitted this.)
  • 2/3 box of rigatoni (I used rotini.)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 cups of mozzarella cheese (I used 2 cups.)
  • 2 jars of pizza sauce (I used 1 jar and added some water.)
  • 1 package of pepperoni (I used 1/2 package. Next time I’m going to cut the pepperoni into smaller pieces.)
  • salt and pepper taste

Steps:

  1. Place all items in a crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (I used a 3 quart crockpot.)
  2. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. (Mine was done in about 3.5 hours.)
  3. Enjoy

Printable Recipe

Monterrey Chicken Quesadillas

I have made these quesadillas a bunch of times and easy time Hubby is impressed with them. Since I had some leftover chicken from the bbq chicken sandwiches, I decided to make these quesadillas.  Once again, Hubby raved about them.

The boys ate plain cheese or cheese with bacon bits quesadillas instead of these delicious quesadillas.  Oh well, it’s their loss!

Monterrey Chicken Quesadilla

adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 8 tortillas
  • 1/2 lb. shredded chicken (rotisserie, roasted, or crock pot chicken)
  • 1/2 c. barbecue sauce
  • 2 c. shredded cheese (Cheddar or Monterrey Jack)
  • 1/2 c. bacon bits

Steps:

  1. Warm up a skillet or griddle pan over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the chicken and barbecue sauce.  (Or use left over chicken from bbq chicken sandwiches.)
  3. Spray the warmed skillet or griddle pan with cooking spray.
  4. Place a tortilla in the skillet or griddle pan.
  5. Sprinkle (in this order) cheese, chicken, bacon bits, and then more cheese onto the tortilla.
  6. Top with a second tortilla.
  7. Cook until browned (2 to 3 minutes – However may take longer.)
  8. Flip over and then cook until the other side is browned.
  9. Place on a plate and enjoy with ranch dressing.  My favorite ranch dressing is Bolthouse Farms’ Classic Ranch.

Printable Recipe

Here’s what it looks like after you sprinkle on the goodies but before you add the second tortilla.

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BBQ chicken sandwiches (DF, GF if using GF buns or bread)

On Saturday, I got a rotisserie chicken at Sam’s Club.  We ate it for dinner on Saturday evening.  Since we had some left over, I needed  to figure out what I could make with it.  I decided to make BBQ chicken sandwiches.

It’s an easy meal that Hubby really enjoyed eating

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

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Stars of the recipe:

Steps:

  1. Shred up the left over chicken and onions if using them.  Place in a medium sized pot.
  2. Cover the chicken with the bbq sauce.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is warmed up.
  4. Enjoy on a bun with cheese and maybe some lettuce!

 

Printable Recipe

Beenie Weenies (GF, DF)

I had another cooking blog on website.  I’m going to transfer some of the posts from there.

This is an easy meal to put into the crock pot.  It made more than enough food for my family of four that I put half of it in the freezer for another meal.:)

 Beanie Weenies

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 small cans of pork and beans or one large can
  • 1 small can of Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz. package of hot dogs, sliced
  • 1 lrg onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. of mustard (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Steps:

  1. Place all the items in the crock pot.  (I gave it a stir.)
  2. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Enjoy!  I served mine with green beans and biscuits with apple butter.

Printable Recipe

Carrot Tropical Smoothie

This smoothie looked interesting so I decided to try it. At first, I was skeptical because it contained carrot juice but it ended up being delicious! It’s a wonderful way to get fruits and veggies you need!

Side note: I took it to work one day. Some students asked me what was in it. When I said carrot juice, they all gave me a look of disgust. (They had thought it looked good until I told them carrot juice.)

Carrot Tropical Smoothie

Slender Kitchen

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 c. carrot juice, either juice it yourself or get a brand like Bolthouse Farms
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 3/4 c. frozen mango
  • 3/4 c. frozen pineapple
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime (Stick in microwave for 10 seconds before juicing it. That maximizes the amount of juice you get.)
  • If you want to you, you could add nonfat Greek yogurt for added protein. I haven’t tried it yet but I bet it would be delicious.

Steps:

  1. Put all of the ingredients in your blender.
  2. Blend away until desired consistency. If need be, add water if it doesn’t blend.
  3. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

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The Last Day of School – A Reflection

Every year, I have a student or two who I develop a strong bond with and a student or two who no matter what we don’t see eye to eye.  It’s the nature of the game when you are a special education teacher.

This year was a little different for me.  I started off at the middle school which was located in the high school.  I had a difficult schedule even for someone who has done this for 12 school years.  I did more normal intervention for one period a day, inclusion for 2 periods a  day, and taught a below grade level science and math class for seventh and eighth graders.  My intervention time changed from day to day and the location of the intervention changed.  I disliked not being able to have my own room for intervention because I kept forgetting things I needed when I moved from place to place.

People knew I was overwhelmed so when they got word that there was an opening at the elementary school they literally ran down to my classroom to tell me.  I put my name into the “hat” right away and wrote a letter of intent that night.  Several weeks later, I was informed that I was going to be moving back to elementary school (told on Wed. and officially started back on Tues.)  I didn’t know what I was getting into.

That Tuesday (election day) I arrived in my classroom.  Of the 15 students, I knew or had taught all but 2 students so it was a fairly painless transition.  They had a substitute, special education teacher for a week, and then back to the original substitute for the first quarter and a half.  For special education students, that was way too much transition.  I had to remind them I was going to be there for the remainder of the year.

The class I took over was a cognitive disabled reading, spelling, English (language arts), and math class.  I had 5th and 6th graders in the morning and 3rd and 4th grade in the afternoon.  My largest group was in the morning – 9 students.  These are also the bigger students so it was crowded when all of them were there.

it wasn’t easy all the time.  I had students who could be extremely disrespectful towards me in one moment but then could be the best behaved in my room during another moment.  I saw one of the “hardest” student smile during a standardized test.  That made my year that I was able to make her feel comfortable enough for the test.  (fear of failure)

I’ve had students who have said “I want Ms. W back” when I required them to work or they were upset because there was some sort of consequence for their behavior.  I let those words roll off my back.

Most of all I had laughs with the students:

  • one of the students taking a small dry erase board and pretending it was a tablet – Great imagination
  • two of my students playing school and pretending to have a tornado drill
  • a student wearing a Halloween print fabric as a toga and a pirate hat (She found them in my cupboard.) – She actually walked into the office wearing  that “outfit.”
  • Singing “Farmer in the Dell” as a joke and after I stopped another student started singing it.
  • Dancing – A funny sight
  • Dressing up for spirit week – The students just cracked up when they saw me in my nerd outfit.  They told me they could not take me seriously with the little pigtails in my hair.  Needless to say, those pigtails stayed in my hair.
  • my student with so much imagination – She made up stories about a doughnut mysteries.  One time she drew on the board as she told the story.
  • Talks about farting and pooping and how young ladies don’t talk about that
  • Farting in the chair so other kids won’t sit in your seat (don’t ask)
  • And so much more . . .

I learned so much from this group of students.  I hadn’t had a half day resource room since I was pregnant with Will.  I was traveling between two building that year and when I came in I took a few students for most of the remainder of the day so it wasn’t actually a half day resource room but was similar.

I learned that routine was very important to them.  Homework packets are given on Mondays or Tuesdays (depending on the first day of the week).  They will ask about them.  We stopped this Memorial Day week and students asked for them both that week and this week.  Mondays and Wednesdays were primarily reading instruction with independent practice for math.  Tuesdays and Thursdays were primarily math instruction with independent practice for reading.  Friday was assessment and make up work day.  Students knew that and felt comfortable with that routine.

I also learned about patience.  With some of my students, I really needed to be patient.

Those are only some of my lessons I learned from them.

I’m going to dedicate Rascal Flatts “My Wish” to them as I have in past years.

Cream Soda Ice Cream

This is our family’s favorite ice cream that my in-laws make.  They only make it for special occasions   At the end of the school year, my mother-in-law contacts my sons’ teachers and asks if they mind her bringing some of the ice cream to share with their classmates.  It is a way for them to celebrate their birthdays because they both have summer birthdays.

Warning:  You do need to have an ice cream machine to make this.

IMG_8161[1]Cream Soda Ice Cream

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 liters of red cream soda (You can use other flavors of pop.  Lemon lime soda is yummy but root beer tastes flat.)

Steps:

  1. Combine the cream soda and sweetened condensed milk in the ice cream machine.
  2. Follow the instructions for your machine.
  3. Put in a freezer safe container in your freezer.
  4. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Restaurant style salsa

The Wee One and I like to crack open a jar of salsa and then enjoy it with tortilla chips. This usually our evening snack. So when I saw this recipe the other day I decided to make it. After I made it, the Wee One and I snacked on it. Did it meet his deal of approval? You decide . . .

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That’s the bowl after we were finished snacking on it. He and I both loved it.

Restaurant Style Salsa
Mommy Hates Cooking

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 28oz Can of Peeled Whole Tomatoes with Juice
  • 1 4oz Can of Green Chilies, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup White Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Crushed
  • 1/4 Tsp Sugar or substitute
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped (I left this put and it was okay. )
  • 1 Lime
  • Red or Green Jalapeño Peppers (I left these out too. )

Steps:

  1. In a food processor or blender combine the tomatoes, chilies, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, and cilantro. (I used my blender on the purée setting. )
  2. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice out over the ingredients.
  3. Add the peppers if using them.
  4. Purée this in the blender or food processor until puréed.
  5. Enjoy with chips.

Freeze or can the leftovers.

Printable Recipe

The Imaginative One’s Fresh Lemonade

There are 3 seasons according to the Imaginative One – lemonade season, hot chocolate season, and apple cider season. His favorite drink to have depends on what season it is. Now that’s the weather is getting warmer, it’s back to lemonade season once again. Tonight as I was getting dinner ready, he was asking me questions about lemons and if he could have one of them. I kept trying to find out what he was up to because it could not have been good.

When I was on the computer, I noticed a tab that said something about perfect lemonade. He was trying to find the perfect ratio of lemon juice to water in order to make lemonade. The recipe called for making simple syrup. I did not want him attempting to make that and I was also using the majority of the stove top. So he just added sugar to the finished product to make it sweeter.

The Imaginative One’s Fresh Lemonade

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/4 c. lemon juice (fresh or out of the bottle – If using fresh, microwave the lemons for about 10 seconds to maximize the amount of juice.)
  • 3/4 to 1 c. of water
  • sweetener to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the lemon juice and water in a cup.
  2. Add the sweetener. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Enjoy over ice!

Makes enough for one person.

Printable Recipe

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