Some days do not need lots of words. Today is one of those… I remember!

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family · food · life · reviews · through my camera lens

Celebrate Father’s day with Cheesecake!

Today is Father’s Day. It is a day to celebrate those men in your life. Today is a quiet day in our house. Richard was actually the first one up and moving. After the boys finished their chores, Richard opened his gifts. We got him things to use in our new fire pit. Now we just need them to finish up so we can have our first fire.

I asked Richard what he wanted for our meal and he choose steaks and sweet potato hash. So that is what we will have for dinner tonight. On Friday I made our desert for today. I typically do not bake on the weekends there usually isn’t time for it. So I made it on Friday. So, we have been enjoying it the last few days, oh well the thought was there.Image may contain: food and indoor

I made cheesecake “cupcakes”. I used Philadelphia’s 3 step cheesecake squares recipe, but made it in a cupcake pan.

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Cheesecake “Cupcakes”

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of butter melted
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • toppings if desired ( I used chocolate chips and peanut butter chips)
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. line muffin pan with cupcake liners
  3. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter
  4. press mixture into the bottom of the liners
  5. mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla
  6. Add eggs to mixture and mix until just combined
  7. pour over crusts
  8. add desired toppings
  9. bake for 40 min
  10. allow to cool on a cooling rack and then put into the fridge for 3+ hours

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The cheesecake in this is really tasty. The crust needs work! It did not hold together and was not sweet enough. Next time I will use a bit less graham cracker crumbs, as it was also thicker then needed.

I think the next time I will try this:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

I will also add more butter if I notice it isn’t sticking together next time instead of guessing it will be fine.

The chocolate chips were tasty. These were dark chocolate chips. I also liked the plain one. The peanut butter didn’t do much for me. It may have been better as a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Oh well… Richard is enjoying them and that is what counts when it is a father’s day treat.

family · life

Happy Mother’s Day

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Today is Mother’s Day. It is a day to celebrate all the special women in your life. So if you are a mom. A mom to a fur child. A grandmother. An aunt. A dad who plays the role of both mom and dad…. or even another person who tries to fill in the roll of mom for any child….. thank you.

This is one of those non-holidays to me. It will be a quiet day that we spend together doing a lot of nothing…. and am good with that!

We spent the morning going through all the Food Network magazines and cutting out the recipes worth keeping so I could clean out that drawer. We are doing laundry. Later we will call both my mom and Richard’s mother to wish them a happy mother’s day.

Tonight we are making chicken salsa nachos.

Simple, easy… that’s the way to spend the day.


family · life

I know you know

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Happy Easter to you all. Today has already been an interesting day. The boys came downstairs and their baskets were sitting on the table this year. They dove into their baskets and were happy with everything they found, but that was the end of the happy.

In the past, we hid the boys Easter baskets. The boys would find plastic on the table (one each). Inside the eggs there would be a clue. The clue would send them to the next egg with the next clue. This would go on for 5 or 6 eggs until they found their hidden basket.

Why was it different this year? We had decided a while ago that both boys knew that Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy etc were all fictitious.  There have been so many clue over the year that they knew. Over the last few years we have known that they were suspicious.

Just like in so many various situations of life, this whole situation worked differently than most families expect. While in most families the parents are not ready for the children to admit they know. But, I guess in this family one of my sons was not ready to admit he knew.

I had to spend the morning explaining that this was not us being mean. We were not trying to ruin the holiday.  Life is about change. Change is hard, but change is good. We will continue to do many of the traditions we have always done, but now they can be part of the traditions. They can help create new traditions.

Holidays are a time to spend with family. It is a time to relax and enjoy spending the day the way we went. So after a while of talking, crying and explaining life and change, we moved on with the morning.

We knew it was time to admit that we knew they knew. I knew it was time to make changes. It will be strange change, but it was needed.


Education · family · life · PreK class

I Heart You Day

Today is I Image result for heart images you day.  Richard and I laugh and say we don’t think we even celebrated our first Valentine’s day with more than a card, if that. It just isn’t our style. We are more of the type of people who would rather show love at random times and not just when Hallmark tells us we should say I love you.

This was the first year that neither of the boys needed to bring in Valentine’s Day card, make a box or any of those school heart day things. It seems strange, but it is also nice too. I mean how many valentine pencils, lollipops and other junk do you really need when you are already a tween? I know in a few years this day will take on a new meaning when they start looking at girls as more than the person who sits next to me in home room. But, at least this year we will not need to worry about all that.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday in school. I have a child with severe food allergies so I said no food/candy with the Valentine cards. We didn’t make a huge deal out of the day. We made a special snack, which morphed into a different version than I originally intended, but it worked. Originally, we were going to have bananas dipped in yogurt and sprinkles that we froze. But, I didn’t have sticks to make them pops, I didn’t have enough bananas for all the kids in the class. AND some of the kids were already saying “I don’t like bananas, I don’t like yogurts…..” So, I had them choose between strawberry or vanilla yogurt. Then they could cut up a banana, if they wanted, and then add that to the cup. Then they got to sprinkle on sprinkles. I put these into the freezer. They did not completely freeze, but they were really cold. Most of the children said it was really good.

At the end of the day,  we helped the children pass out their cards and then sent them on their way. In years past, I have let the children open the cards at school, but this just seems like a waste of time, especially since I only have the kids for 3 hours.

Today was a much simpler day and they just completed an “I love ____” sheet. We are also working on some 100th day items since that is tomorrow!

So, I guess for me Valentine’s Day is just another day, but it is another day to say I love you and wear pink (I don’t wear red).

family · life

Merry Christmas

What Christmas means to me…

Christmas is a time of love, wonder and magic. There is nothing as special as waking up Christmas morning and seeing the joy and excitement in your child’s eyes. This is the 13th Christmas with Blake. That in itself seems crazy to me. It is so fun to watch the boys grow and change. To see the gifts under the tree switch from huge bit plastic baby toys to bikes to Lego kits.

The boys get so excited on Christmas eve as they set out milk and cookies for Santa. We put the Santa key outside on the front door. Colby continued the tradition of writing a special letter to Santa to leave with the cookies.

They went to bed and struggled to settle down. First Blake shouted out “It’s Christmas”. A few minutes later Colby yells out “Merry Christmas to all”. Then they finally managed to settle down.

It is so exciting to see their joy and excitement. To see that they are ready for the holiday.

There may not be as many gifts under the tree. But there is still as much love and excitement for our whole family.

I hope the big man in red was good to you and your family. I hope you found the joy and excitement of the holiday season and enjoy this special day with friends and family.


It’s December!!

Can you believe that the year of 2018 is almost over? There are 23 days until Christmas. We have had so many changes in the year. When I look back at our lives one year ago, it seems like it was such a LONG time ago. But, at the same time this year seems to have flown by.

Now it’s time to look at the holiday season and all that means I need to do. I need to address my holiday cards. I made them back in early November, but there they sit unaddressed and I need to get the stamps too.

I need to finish decorating my classroom. I need to have the children make ornaments for the tree in our classroom. I need to figure out what my students will make for parent gifts. Oh and that is on top of continuing to create authentic learning experiences that will keep the children learning, active and calm.

I need to figure out what cookies I am going to bake and then when I will bake them. How many types should I bake and then which flavors will they be?

I love the holiday season. I love sitting in the house with Christmas music playing. I love seeing the Christmas lights on the tree, railing and outside. I love the excitement that you will see in this season.

Yesterday we started our Advent (Christmas countdown) calendars. We have three in the house this year. Every year since the boys were little we had a magnetic calendar that looks like cookies. The last few years, we also have purchased Lego calendars for the boys this year. The boys go back and forth between the two calendars so that they both get opportunities to do both.  This year I also got an Adagio tea calendar for myself. Another blogger recommended this calendar a while ago and I decided it would be a great countdown for myself. (I actually purchased 3 one for myself, one for my mom, and one for my mother-in-law). Yesterday the tea was gingerbread flavor.

What do you do to keep the holidays calm, special and unique? How do you keep track of everything that needs to be done each year during this crazy time? Do you have a way to countdown to the holidays?

family · life · through my camera lens

Rainy Days and Halloween

Last night we had the builder in trying to fix our stairs. Richard was home, but on working still. The boys carved their pumpkins and then we headed out to grab dinner. 2018-10-31 18.22.04While we were driving home (before 6pm) people had already started trick or treating.  Why you ask? Because there was finally a break in the rain.

The temperatures we perfect yesterday, but it was far from dry. So I think as soon as there was any kind of break in the weather, people just said… go!

Well my boys had to come home and eat dinner, then finish prepping to go out. No worries, at least it was almost dark when they left. But, they both decided to toss their rain coats over their costumes. It was mainly drizzling, but there were a few patches of down pours.

Richard and I sat in the garage and handed out the candy. It was nice that the boys were 2018-10-31 18.15.43able to join another group of kids their age and head out trick or treating.

Richard and I popped across to some of the other families who were handing out candy and chatted between lulls in the crowds.

We certainly do not get the huge groups we got in FL. We could easily have just used 1 Costco size bag and that is with giving 3/4 candies to each child. Oh well, the extras and all of Blake and Colby’s candies that they didn’t want was dropped off at their school today. Their school collects candy and other treats and makes stocking to ship off to the troops.

All in all, it was a good night and the boys had a blast… that is all that matters.

Education · family · life · PreK class

Happy Halloween!

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Today has already been very busy for me. Today in my class we wore our pajamas. My class already went trunk or treating on Friday. This meant that  my class was not wearing their costumes to school today. I wanted to do something different and fun. So, pajama day!

Since we were in our pajamas and finishing up our unit on the night sky, I decided to schedule a special snack for today… pancakes! The children had fun making pancake from scratch. I made a double batch of pancakes and they were gone when we were done. There was only 1 out of 17 children who did not eat the pancakes.

I also brought in a variety of sugar based candy (opposed to chocolate based… yes I know ALL candy is all sugar) to dissolve. We used gummy bears, sour patch kids, skittles and sweet tarts. We put them into water and vinegar to see how they reacted to the liquids. On Friday, we are going to do a similar experiment with candy pumpkins and candy corn. That time we will use water, vinegar, salt water and sugar water. I’ve done this in the past and it is really cool to see the candy pumpkins react… the wax coating will separate!

The boys came home from school and then carved their pumpkins. They were so excited that this year they got to wear their costumes to school. It sounds like there were a lot of fun activities for the kids and it went smoothly!

I’ll post pictures of the boys in their costumes and with their pumpkins tomorrow.

Hope you have a great Halloween… stay safe. We will try to stay dry!

life · through my camera lens

Deck the halls with Ghosts and Pumpkins

We got up this morning with the plan to go out for breakfast. Richard had requested a few weeks ago to go to Kelly O’s for a cheat meal. Colby had asked for pancakes and bacon when we were creating our meal plan. So, this morning we went to Kelly O’s for breakfast. Colby had his chocolate chip pancakes, Blake had a ham and cheese omelette, Richard had an omelette with pretty much everything in it and I had a breakfast burrito.

Then off for hair cuts we went. Richard, Blake and I got hair cuts. Colby didn’t since they really cut his short last time (2 months ago) and his bangs just grew to the length that he usually asks for them to be cut.

When we got home, Richard and I tackled the lawn work. When we were done we decided to put out the outside Halloween decorations. Now the house is done!

The boys headed to the park and I decided to camp out on the couch and catch up on some of my tv shows. I don’t often have time on my own to sit down and watch tv anymore. This is not a big thing, but it was nice to have that bit of time today.