Halloween at the Zoo (Part 1) – Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Our school holds parent-teacher conferences in the fall and winter.  The Friday after conferences is a comp. day.

During the fall, I like to do a quick get away.  Last year, we went to the Columbus Zoo and then stayed with friends of ours.  The year before that we went to Louisville, Kentucky.

This year we went to Fort Wayne and Berne, Indiana.  I’ll explain why we went to Berne in a future blog post.


The Fort Wayne Children’s Museum is only open from late April until early October.  During the month of October, it’s open on Fridays – Sundays for trick or treating.  Half of the zoo is closed so I didn’t get to see all of the zoo.  😦

It was cool seeing the zoo all decorated for Halloween.

20181026114030_IMG_3286.jpg

These were the traffic lights near the zoo.  So neat!

These first photos are from the front of the zoo.

We decided to follow the trail to the African treat station.  There was lots of pumpkins and decorations along the way.

We finally found some animals.  The bird in the middle is a magpie.

 

Join me next time for our visit to the Indonesian forest.

Have a magical day,
Traci

When the Time is Right

When the time is right I, the Lord, will make it happen.

Isaiah 60:22

Today my mom and I drove the back roads instead of the highway after our shopping trip.

It’s the third week of October and many of the trees are still green.  We don’t know when or if they are going to change color or if they are going just drop their leaves.

I opted to drive on those back roads so that we could hunt for trees that have changed colors.  Every time we saw one, one of us would loudly exclaim “There’s one!”

That hunt for the fall colored leaves reminds me of what God does in your life.  You may make plans.  When it doesn’t happen in the time you have allotted, you become frustrated with God.  You feel as though he has forgotten you.

God has not forgotten you.  We have to remember that God has his own timing.  It’s not up to us as humans to try to figure out his timing.

We just have to trust and believe that he will bless us when he feels it’s the time to do so.


April 2017, I had my final observation for the 2016-2017 school year.  My principal walked out of my observation with a new-found appreciation to how I interact with the students.  She wanted me to be the resource teacher because that is where I excel as a teacher.

The next school year, it was in the works that I was going to be the resource teacher.  Then the number of students with disability was higher than anticipated and the number of Intervention Specialists did not change.  Last year I was an Inclusion teacher instead of a resource room.

It ended up being a blessing even though I was frustrated various times throughout the year.

It was a blessing because I ended up ill with my gall bladder.  At the end of the third quarter, I ended up having surgery.  They did not have to find me a sub during the week.

This school year, they hired another Intervention Specialist so this year I’m the resource teacher. Students who are on IEP’s that need extra help because they have big gaps in their learning come to my room for fifteen minutes to half an hour for more intensive instruction and practice.  God knew I was a good fit for the position but he was not ready for me to have it last year.


Continue to have dreams.  Never give up dreaming.  However, remember that God does not work on our time.  He works on his time.  If it’s meant to be, he’ll bring your dream to fruition.

Just like with the trees, God works on his own time.

Menu Plan Tuesday – Week of October 14th – Day 13 of 31

I keep falling further and further behind on my Write 31.  I’ve mind mapped out the recipes I would like to share during the remainder of this year’s Write 31.  Last night instead of writing, I was cleaning out my pajama drawer and my wardrobe.

I could almost wear a different pair of pajamas for about 2.5 weeks.  While cleaning out the pajama drawer, I threw away some of the pajamas.  They were old and tattered.  No one would want them.

This weekend I also went through some photos of mine.  In 2001 and 2002, my mom, Tanya, and I went on two different trips to Hershey, PA.  On one of them, we traveled to Pittsburgh to visit family while on the other we visited Gettysburg and then Virginia.  I could not remember which trip was which one.

Speaking of those trips, one of the pajamas I threw away was a pair of American flag shorts.  I could wear them out and about back in those years because those trips were pre-kids.  Why did I still have those shorts?

Anyway I’m going to share with you some of the photos from the 2002 trip.  I did not know that a year later I was going to be a first time mother.

One of our friends lives/ lived in Colonial Beach, Va which is on the Chesapeake River.  We visited him for a few days.

While we were there, we visited George Washington’s birthplace.

We also visited a winery that was close to our friend’s house.

 

Here are some pictures from our drive home.  I thought the ice cream machine was cool.  You picked the ice cream and then it sucked it up.  So neat!

Anyway, thank you for walking down memory lane.


Now onto the menu for this week:

Sunday – Lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and roasted veggies

Monday – Mandarin “chicken” with rice

Tuesday – Pierogies and veggies

Wednesday – Minestrone Soup

Thursday – Minestrone Soup

Friday – No kids – Mini Freezer Pizza

Saturday – Out to eat

 

Happy Vegetarian eating,
Traci

 

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes – Day 12 of 31

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL for the past few days.  I’ve been exhausted and had ZERO writing bug.  Every time I thought about writing, I was like Nah!

So today I’m back with the writing.

On Thursday, I shared with you my favorite meat substitutes.  Today I’m going to share one of the ways I use the meat substitute.

One of our favorite meals is sloppy Joes.  So instead of eating Sloppy Joes with ground beef, I make mine with the meat substitute.


What you need:

  • 1 batch of the meat substitute
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • yealow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1 batch of the meat substitute 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil -1/2 bell pepper, finely diced -2 garlic cloves, minced -1 yellow onion, minced -1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz) -1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz) -1 Tbsp. yellow mustard -2 tsp. apple cider vinegar -2 tsp. brown sugar -1 & 1/2 tsp. chili powder -salt and pepper to taste


Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, meat substitute, peppers, garlic, and onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium low heat. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. While it’s simmering, make sure you stirring it every so often.
  4. Serve on a bun with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

 

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

My favorite homemade meat substitute – Day 11 of 31

As I previously said, I don’t like textured vegetable protein as a meat substitute.  The only one I enjoy is the Ground “Beefless” Beef from Trader Joes.

Sometimes I want to make one without any weird ingredients.  So I found a way to have a meat substitute with only 2 ingredients.

Mushrooms can have a meatly taste to them depending on how you cook them.

Cashews provide the “crunch” and texture you get with browned ground beef.

Vegetable meat substitute

It’s so easy to make and takes less than 5 minutes to put together.

So what do you need to make this meat substitute?

  • 4 to 5 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup raw cashews

Combine in a food processor.  Pulse for 10 to 12 times until the pieces are minced but not pureed.

That’s all you need to make the meat substitute.  Pretty easy.

Tomorrow I’ll share one way I use the meat substitute.

Until then, happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Boy, Was It Hot! – What I ate at the Outdoor Experience – Day 9 of 31

During the first weekend in October, a local park has an Outdoor Experience.  Visitors can try out different outdoor experiences, watch dogs jump off a dock, and camp out, etc . . .

You never know what the weather is going to be like during this experience.  Sometimes it is cold, cool, or even wet.  This year it was record temperatures.  It was 80 some degrees outside.

The Imaginative One got super hot and didn’t feel good for a while.  He got some water and sat in the shade for a little bit and then felt better.

So what did I eat at this Outdoor Experience?

There was a lot of vegetarian options at the different food trucks.  Vegan quesadillas at one food truck, hummus and pita at the Gyro food truck, and a red bean and lentil burger at another food truck.  I chose one of my favorite food trucks to get my lunch.

I love Harvest especially the fries from there.  The fries are a mixture of russets and sweet potato with herbs and a sriracha ketchup.  Super yummy!

Harvest sign

Here is a list of what they had as choices.  As you can see there was 3 vegetarian options plus the fries.  It was a tough decision because I almost bought all 3 options.

Harvest sign 2

The Sprouts, Melt, and Black Bean and Quinoa Falfel Tacos were my choices.  I went with the Melt because you can’t go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Melt and Freies

As soon as Hubby saw my fries, he made a bee line to Harvest to get his own order.  I shared my fries with the Wee One.  He’s the more adventurous eater.  He also tried the sriracha ketchup.  Didn’t like it though.

I also got a frozen lemonade that I forgot to take photo.  I shared that with the Wee One.

The Wee One and Hubby went off to ride in the kayaks so I had the Imaginative One who got super hot.  We ended up getting food at a food truck called the McNasty.

McNasty

The Imaginative One was able to get a burger there.  I ate some Butter Pecan Ice Cream from my favorite dairy.

butter pecan

So that’s what I ate at the Outdoor Experience.

Do you want to see some photos from the experience?

Wee One and dogThe Wee One told me that all the dogs visiting the Outdoor Experience must be what Heaven is like.  He told me that he wants to be a professional dog petter as an adult.

Thank you random stranger who stood there while he got a photo with his dog.

Dog jumping – So cool!  One jumped 18 feet!

The Wee One kayaking.

 

Slack line

 

Very hot penguin – The Imaginative One told me he would quit if he dressed in a costume like the penguin on a hot day like Sunday.

penguin

High wire

White water

Now onto a serious matter.  As you can see all of my family members are wearing life jackets.  After the experience closed for the year, a man in his 50s went into the river without a life jacket.  They are currently searching for his body now.  Such a sad situation to a great festival.  Please pray / send good thoughts to that family.

Life jackets are important.  Please wear them.

Hope you enjoy my photos from the Outdoor Experience.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of October 8, 2018 (Vegetarian) – Day 8 of 31

Sorry that I’m late getting today’s blog post up.

I planned out the menu yesterday.  However after my day in the heat yesterday, I was exhausted.  Join me tomorrow to see what I was doing yesterday.

Anyway you’ll see some of the same meals from last week.  I didn’t get to make all of the meals.

Sunday – leftovers – Hubby got us Chinese on Saturday evening so I ate the left overs for dinner.

Monday – Enchilada skillet pasta

20181008_191435_HDR

Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – Minestrone Soup

Thursday  – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


Just like last week, I’m going to post what the rest of the family is going to eat for dinner.

Sunday – They ate over at my mother-in-law’s house.

Monday – Sausage and chicken rice a roni

Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – BBQ chicken wings

Thursday – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


As you can see some of our meals are the same.  They can add some meatballs to their spaghetti if they want meat.  I have some meatless meatballs for myself.

I have a meat sloppy Joe in the freezer for the family while I’ll make a non-meat version for myself.

When I make potato soup, they can add some cooked bacon to theirs while I have bacon bits on mine.  Did you know those are vegan?


When I’m in the mood for a baked potato, I’ll have it with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits.  Not necessarily healthy but good comfort food.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Better than Restaurant Oven Home Fries – Day 7 of 31 (Sheet pan recipe)

While I was sick with my gallstones last year,  I had one food that did not bother my stomach.  Okay, it did bother me if it was greasy but if it was cooked with no oil or grease, I had little to no problems.

Potatoes were my friend during those 4 months.  I would spiralize potatoes and then cook up like hash browns on the stove.

That is until I started to cook the home fries in my oven.  We love a roasted potato in the household so this made things so much easier.

Hubby might debate if these potatoes are better than the ones we get at a local breakfast place called Butter Cafe.  He adores their home fries.


What you need:

  • 2 red potatoes or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Oven Home Fries

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 red potatoes, cubed, or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes, quartered or even cut into eighths
  • 1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. extra olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes, bell pepper, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the veggies. Using clean hands or a spatula make sure the veggies are covered with the oil.
  4. Sprinkle the seasoning over the veggies.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
  6. Enjoy!


I enjoy using the onion salt from Trader Joes on my potatoes.

We love to use sriracha ketchup from Red Gold on our fries and roasted potatoes.

This recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan. Score!

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Sometimes You Need “Beef” Tacos – Day 6 of 31

I’m teaching my students how to write narratives so I’ve been doing a lot of model writing for them.  A good narrative has a hook that gets the reader to want to read your story.  This is a skill that I struggle with when I’m writing my blog posts.

However it is important for a writer to have a hook so you can get the reader wanting to read what you have written.

Just like a writer needs to have a hook, sometimes you need a beef taco.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have the typical beef taco.

I’ve tried TVP which is textured vegetable protein but it usually turns into a brown soupy mess.  Yuck!  Not appetizing.

Then I tried the Beefless Ground Beef along with their soy chorizo.  It’s just the right texture.

“Beef” tacos get into my belly.


What you need:

  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef
  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
  • a third of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce

  • Servings: 2 to 3 tacos
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef -1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, make sure you take the casing off -1/3rd of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (You may need a little more.) -tortillas (hard or soft) -Your favorite toppings


Directions

  1. Combine the “beefless” ground beef, soy chorizo, and enchilada sauce in a sauce pan.
  2. Cook on medium heat until heated through. (Add more sauce if you discover it’s not coated enough.)
  3. Enjoy on your a hard shelled or soft shelled tortilla with your favorite toppings.


This recipe is vegan before you add your toppings.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci