Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Entries from November 1, 2009 - December 1, 2009

Entries from November 1, 2009 - December 1, 2009


Parenting In the Real World: What Do You Think?

I posted the following status on Facebook:

Free to good home: One 18 year old male. Hard worker, pleasant and civil to everyone but his parents. We pay for shipping.

The parents who responded were encouraging. One of my child’s friends politely took offense at my status thinking I was trying to publicly shame my child.

What do you think?


Excellent Homeschool Information Resource

My friend Stacey Cutrufo is an Examinar Homeschool writer. I have been reading her column for weeks now. Even though I have homeschooled my middleschoolers for centuries, I have learned even more by reading her reports. You can ask her questions by leaving a comment. She is a great resource. If you are homeschooling, or even a thinking about it, check out some of her recent columns. Remember to leave a question if you have one. Rent books on line

Homeschooling and the holidays

National Homeschool Honor Society


Let's Talk Turkey: A Second Cup Retrospective and Cooking Suggestions

First published 11/12/08

If you are making your first Thanksgiving dinner this year, be encouraged, turkey is the easiest thing to cook. You prep it, put it in the oven - heat and time do the rest. As always, I have some unsolicited grandmotherly advice on the subject:

If you have never made a turkey before, get a self-basting one. This is not the time to worry about artificial ingredients or whatever people complain about with self-basting turkeys. As you get more experience roasting turkey, you can branch out into organic, fresh, soy turkey, wherever your bliss leads you. The first time out, go for the turkey with the safety net. In addition, if you buy a frozen turkey, it can take days to thaw. Read and follow the thawing directions. Thawing out a frozen turkey is definitely not something you can do at the last moment.

Early in the month, buy one of those big disposable roaster pans. After the stress of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, that is one less thing to clean. You want to buy it early because by Thanksgiving they are not easy to find (I know whereof I type). An instant read thermometer is very helpful also. Basters - never saw the point, get one if it makes you happy. Putting the pan on a cookie sheet will make it easier to remove the turkey from the oven.

To stuff or not to stuff the bird? Do what you want. Heed the safety warnings on stuffing turkeys. Guests who get food poisoning will not be happy campers. Personally, I find unstuffed makes for less stress.

If you do not stuff your bird, do put a couple of halved apples in to the turkey cavity. You can seed the apples, but you do not have to peel them. This will help keep the turkey moist while it roasts.

It is better to depend on your instant thermometer than the little pop up timer to tell when the turkey is done. You want an internal temperature of 180 degrees F before you remove it from the oven. I prefer 200 degrees, but that is just me.

Gravy, if you feel adventurous try making your own, but have a couple of jars of ready-made hiding on your pantry shelf. If your gravy comes out well, you are golden and the jars can go to the nearest food bank. If not, you are covered. Gravy is important at Thanksgiving.

The biggest problem with making a Thanksgiving Dinner is timing and cleaning. You are making an usually big meal and your house has to be cleaner than usual. Two big tasks to be completed at about the same time. This, plus the odd cousin, politically out spoken uncle and the female family member who is always complaining, is what makes Thanksgiving dinner stressful.

Usually there are more dishes than burners and more to food to cook than oven space. The more you can prep the day before the easier your day will be. This is no time for pride, if someone offers to bring a dish, LET THEM. If they offer to come over and help clean, LET THEM.

A detailed list of what you are serving, when it has to be cooked either on a burner or in the stove, will make your life easier. Start with your planned estimated serving time and work backwards so you know at what time each dish has to be cooking. Turkey has to sit for a while, so food that has to be warmed or cooked can go in the oven during the turkey’s resting time. (That is the technical term for when meat sits out on the counter so the juices have time to settle: resting)

That is my grandmotherly (bossy?) little list.

Anyone else have turkey day advice they’d like to share?


Cheap Fun: A Day Out: Christmas Parades

Here is how the Cheap Fun game is played: A day/night in or out, for 2 people, $10 or less not including gas or babysitters. If you leave a comment I will post your idea and website in a future post.

Check out the Christmas Parades in smaller towns in your area. The big city parades are fun but parking and food can set you back big bucks. Smaller towns have free or cheap parking. The parades take less time so a meal out doesn’t have to be part of the day out. After the parade enjoy 2 cups of coffee (small) and a shared dessert at the local coffee shop before heading home.


Cheap Fun: Date Night Suggestion: The Book Store

Here is how the Cheap Fun game is played: A night in or out, for 2 people, $10 or less not including gas or babysitters. If you leave a comment I will post your idea and website in a future post.

This is one my sister and her husband taught me....

Many national bookstores don’t mind if you grab a book or two or a few magazines and peruse them in the bookstore. Both our local Boarders and Barnes and Nobles have seating areas where you can look at magazines and get something to eat and/or drink.

Date night plan: Scope out what you would like to read, meet back at the table for some coffee, a shared dessert, magazine skimming, shared smiles and comments.

Your turn.......

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