Put it in Your Will

I’m getting all Martha Stewart crazy with my bad self today.  Not only did I label my totally organized cabinet, but I’m preparing for our road trip down south. I. Am. Preparing.  I don’t even know myself anymore! I’ve always admired prepared people; I’ve just never been one of them, but I’m changing my ways, […]

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Animate Yourself (Literally!) at New York Hall of Science’s New Interactive Animation Exhibit

My son and I had been dying to see the New York Hall of Science's Animation exhibit from the moment it was announced. So when it opened last weekend, we trekked out to Flushing Meadows Corona Park to check it out and it did not disappoint. Like all of NYHS's installations, Animation offers hands-on learning fun for kids and adults. Plus, the subject matter is right up every child’s alley: What kid doesn’t love cartoons?

When you step into the huge colorful gallery, you're transported to a cartoon world inhabited by the animated stars of Cartoon Network. (The channel provided funding for this traveling exhibition.) Kids can learn about a variety of animation techniques at a series of interactive stations, and even try to make their own creations. Plus they get a cursory lesson in the history of the genre, and even get to watch classic and contemporary cartoons.

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Lets Build Lego! ? Lego Building Competition and Give Away.

My kids adore Lego. I adore Lego. Lego is bordering on some kind of magic in our house. Lego is something all three of my big kids can do together, and it engages them all for a long time. Not only that, but when they play Lego they seem to magically become nice to each […]

Lets Build Lego! – Lego Building Competition and Give Away. is a post from: picklebums.com

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Barbecue Soup

My mom came back from a trip to the Outer Banks last month, raving about some soup she’d had there. Apparently it was good enough to warrant a scouring of the internet for the recipe that could copy such gastronomical bliss, and (lucky for me) she was successful.

Listed as “Get a Husband Stew,” it makes the prodigious claim of being the soup with the power to change your marital status. That, sir, is no small boast. And if that wasn’t enough to rouse my interest, Mom said that while she didn’t get any more husbands after fixing this soup, it certainly did delight and thrill the husband she had already acquired.

She dubbed it “Barbecue Soup”–maybe on account of not wanting any more husbands–and she changed the recipe a bit from what she pulled off the web and then when I copied it from her I did things ever-so-slightly different. Please feel free to make any changes you see fit, though I can’t guarantee the husband-attracting effects if you deviate from what I’ve got below:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup diced sweet onions
4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cooked rotisserie chicken
3 14-ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hickory smoked barbecue sauce
dash of tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 10-ounce bag of frozen corn kernels
4 potatoes, diced
2 bay leaves

Saute the ground pork in the olive oil, breaking up the meat with a spoon until it’s browned and cooked through.  Add the garlic, diced onion and celery (which I dice very small because I can’t stand big hunks of celery. It’s a thing with me) and continue to saute over a medium heat, cooking until the onions are soft and translucent.

While that’s cooking, remove the skin from the chicken (heh, as if we’re counting calories or something) and shred the meat.  Add it, along with the cans of diced tomatoes, water, ketchup, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper, bell pepper, corn, potatoes and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.

Go ahead and adjust the salt, pepper and hot sauce if needed–and I’ll warn you, it’s very thick.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of water but it’s easier to keep things from burning if there’s more liquid in there and I like things soupier as it is.  It’s great with a side of biscuits. Or really anything–you could serve raw squid eyeballs on the side and it would still be a fabulous soup!

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What To Do When You?re Almost Two.

The girls are at school and the big boy is at kinder, that just leaves the smallest at home. Noey is not used to being at home on his own. He’s used to having one, or three big kids to follow around. He’s used to having all his older siblings arguing over who he loves […]

What To Do When You’re Almost Two. is a post from: picklebums.com

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Spring: Time for Something New

Spring has sprung!  At least in New York.  I don’t know if winter will show his ugly face again, but I’m not even going to give it a second thought.  I’m too busy with something new. You see, after a prompting by Stacey, the editor and fearless leader of An Army of Ermas, to try […]

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World’s Easiest Dessert, I Promise.

Long time, no see? Thanks again for the emails–it’s really nice to know that if I ever went truly missing that you’d all send out the Navy Seals to come find me. Makes me feel appreciated!

I have another post in the works for later this week but for now I thought I’d share with you the excitement I’m feeling over discovering the world’s easiest dessert. I know that’s so hyperbolic but truly it is the easiest–just you wait and see.

It comes from Apartment Therapy’s Kitchn Blog which I faithfully follow and it’s banana ice cream with only one–count it one–ingredient. Bananas. Yup, bananas and only bananas.

All you do is freeze some bananas (they were on sale this week so I grabbed a dozen or so and popped them directly into the freezer) then peel them (that’s important).  Then puree them into ice cream in your food processor until they’re the proper consistency–something similar to soft serve ice cream which you can then let ripen in the freezer if you want it more like the hard packed stuff.

A couple of tips:
1. I froze mine with the skins on which worked fined, it kept them from tasting like freezer, but it’s hard to peel a frozen banana the way you would an unfrozen one. Just clip off the top and tail a bit, slice it crosswise in half, then slice each remaining half again lengthwise. They’re pretty easy to peel that way, you’ll just freeze your fingers a bit.

2. It’s particularly good with homemade hot fudge sauce and a dab of whipped cream on top–it’s so creamy and fresh tasting. And did I mention healthy? So healthy. Your mouths will rejoice.

And lest you think I’ve been doing nothing at all around here, this is my proof that I haven’t been a complete slacker. My garden is coming up nicely in front as you can see–love those columbine and daffodils. I’m afraid I haven’t been as diligent on the computer as I used to be, there have been so many other things that have seemed to occupy my attentions lately–more on those later.

I’ve been reading–The Night Attila Died by Michael Babcock which was completely fascinating.  Of course it went into the history of Attila but from a completely different angle. Babcock is a philologist, or one who studies the history, forms and meaning of language and while the common thought is that Attila died of a hemorrhage on his wedding night (one of many wedding nights I’d add), Babcock reconstructs the historical records linguistically to put up a case for his murder. It’s Sherlock Holmes meets Henry Higgins meets CSI.  Only without any singing or dancing of course.

Then I followed that up with Round the Bend by Nevil Shute who is one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read A Town Like Alice drop everything and go read it–though honestly, I do think Requiem for a Wren (also published as The Breaking Wave) is even better. It’s a novel about a British man after World War II who goes to the Persian Gulf to start up an airfreight business and his relationship with the man he’s known since his teen years who is the zen-master of airplane maintenance. 

Hard to describe but Shute’s characters and stories are always wonderful and this one has a bit of religion and philosophy that get you thinking. It’s not what you’d call a churchy book–not at all–but it’s a book about religion and what that means in relation to our lives and livelihoods and place in the world.  Five stars.

And finally, next week I’ll be a guest on the local radio program “Kids These Days” with Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids talking about helicopter parenting. At least we’re taping the show next week, I’m not sure when it will air–I’ll have to update this when I learn more. It ought to be fun, I’m sure I’m bound to shock a least a few with my dangerous parenting antics like letting my children play with chainsaws and all that (you know I’m kidding, right?) See you there!

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