Monthly Archives: February 2014

Vacation Memories: Amelia Island

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There hasn’t been a time when we were married that there wasn’t a depression/recession going on. That being the case we’ve always opted to stay in the same state for our vacations. That could be depressing, but we do live in Florida and therefore staycations and the like are not exactly horrible things when you live an hour or less from the beach.

For our first vacation we decided to go to Amelia Island. My husband had heard a lot of good things about it and I liked the fact that there were lots of bed and breakfasts to choose from. I had just started Weight Watchers right before vacation (good timing right?) and so I looked for a bed and breakfast that would have some sort of exercise available so I could eat what I wanted.

The first course of one of our breakfasts!

The first course of one of our breakfasts!

The Bed and Breakfast we chose has since gone out of business, but they had bikes available for borrowing, beach chairs/towels available for borrowing, a pool, cookies and lemonade in the afternoon, it was just blocks from the downtown area and most importantly was in our price range. We got a deal for booking a week and we were off to seek adventure!

Amelia Island is named after Princess Amelia the daughter of King George II of Great Briton. Amelia Island isn’t that large–about 13 miles long and at its widest 4 miles wide, but it is chock full of history and interesting places to see and things to do. In fact, Amelia Island has been under the control of 8 different countries in its history so you know that it has always been a popular place for everyone to visit! You can learn more about its history by visiting the Amelia Island Museum of History and maybe even take one of their ghost tours. Even my Princess behaved during the hour’s trek through the downtown exploring the history of those who had lived before.

Me in front of one of the historic houses!

Me in front of one of the historic houses!

We loved the time we spent on the island that year. We biked in the early morning before breakfast when everything was quiet, we shopped during morning or afternoon exploring the many little shops lining the downtown area. Antique shops, bookshops, a coffee shop, a fudge/ice cream shop, and many souvenir shops were some of the places we stopped. We visited the library and the museum (by bike of course) and by the end of our stay we could find our way anywhere on the island. When David L. Yulee decided to build a railroad across the state of Florida in the mid-1800’s he moved the center of town to its current location. He also named the streets in an easy to remember pattern (except for Centre Street). They were in a grid from the Spanish occupation days, but they are currently named with alphabetical names of types of trees going one way and numbers the other way.

Our sandcastle!

Our sandcastle!

Of course we visited the beach, but it was quite warm in July so we stuck to evening walks along the water along with fulfilling my dream of making a sandcastle another evening. We had so much fun, that this was not the last visit we made to Amelia Island

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Simple Side Dish: Fruit Salad

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Fruit Salad!

Fruit Salad!

Every once in a while, my mom would make a fruit salad to go with dinner. It was always super yummy and when I was wondering what side to fix a few weeks ago I remembered this easily customizable side dish! You can use any fruit you have on hand which makes it good for any season.

Fruit Salad

Gather one of each fruit you have on hand. I like to use oranges, bananas, apples, strawberries, and sometimes raisins.
Chop each fruit into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the juice of a citrus fruit if desired. I found the juice of one lime to be tasty.
Add 1/4 or more of mayo/miracle whip to taste. Mix everything together and serve!

Menu Plan Monday, February 24!

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It was a better week this week! The Cauliflower Alfredo was surprising easy and actually a fairly big hit with everyone. We will be enjoying it again! I was so on top of cleaning out the fridge this week that it was almost scary by the weekend. Time to get cooking again!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over Gluten Free Goodness is Maple. We certainly love some maple syrup around here. I started shopping on amazon for mine so that I could get the Grade B (more vitamins and flavor) and now I love it even more. It’s a staple for the Princess and her pancakes/waffles and anything else she thinks she needs to dip. It is one of my favorite natural sweeteners. This week we’ll be using it in our breakfast for dinner when I make these Apple Cinnamon Waffles (using gluten-free flour mix, and adding a bit more flour to get the right batter texture) and I used quite a bit to make Apple Chunk Muffins from Peas and Thank You (blog no longer available).

Spaghetti sauce on spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti sauce on spaghetti squash!

This week I think I will double the breakfast for dinner to have some leftovers for the freezer. I might make some breakfast cookies too. We seem to have run out of quick breakfast options and that is not a good thing!

Sunday
Breakfast:
Buckwheat granola with strawberries and Apple Chunk Muffins from Peas and Thank You
Lunch: Lunch with the family. I had a veggie burger with spaghetti sauce, coleslaw, and veggie tray with ranch dressing dip. Everyone else had meatball subs with the same sides.
For dessert we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a cheesecake from a local goat farm and I made some mini vegan cheesecakes for myself.
Dinner: Maybe Broccoli apple soup or fish, bread, roasted beets with balsamic vinegar, chocolate covered strawberries

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
Green Smoothie
Waffles

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Waffles with bacon for everyone else. I will top mine with nuts and/or almond butter.
Some soup from the freezer either veggie or chili!
Fish Chowder (using coconut milk instead of heavy cream)
Feel Good Lunch Bowl
Veggie pot pie probably with a side of BBQ Chicken breast for everyone else
Pizza, Salad
Orange Berry Smoothie, popcorn
Pan cooked Fish with sauce DU JOUR, roasted sweet potatoes, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Gluten Free Week and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Random Dayspring Memories

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I covered the highlights of my Eleventh Grade year in an Epic Year and part 2 of an Epic Year. Some more great stories happened that year which need to be told!

Dayspring emphasized self disciple–the act of making yourself do the right thing. By the time we (11th & 12th graders) made it halfway through the year to American Literature our teacher decided that we should have enough self-discipline to choose our own seating arrangements. Usually a seating chart was given out the beginning of the class and maybe changed once during the trimester or trimester and a half class. We started out okay until one of the individuals decided to take this opportunity to try something: he would sit in every single seat in the classroom at least once, changing his seat every day. Of course the usual course in a group is you find a seat that you are comfortable in and you go back to that seat everyday. There was one gentleman who was quite attached to his seat and an ensuing war of sorts broke out. There was one day when the sit-in-every-seat gentleman decided to go into the classroom at the beginning of break in order to get the seat he wanted and stayed there until class started. When he finally got to sit in the same-seat gentleman’s seat there was a bit of a kerfuffle.

That was the end of our practice of self-discipline in seating arrangements in American Literature. The next day the teacher had a seating chart all ready to go which meant that since I was so good at sitting still and behaving myself I ended up in the back a lot which was the opposite of my preference. And just for good measure the teacher changed the seating chart EVERY WEEK. We could never remember where we were supposed to sit and there was always unrest at the beginning of class trying to figure out where everyone was supposed to sit!

Dayspring was adamant that a proper uniform prepared the student for work and therefore enforced their uniform policy. I remember the absolutely freezing weather the first couple weeks of January 1999. I wore LOTS of layers, but some of my classmates weren’t so prepared. They tried to wear their coats in the classroom and all the teachers that would not allow it!

In the beginning of the year, some of the ninth grade boys had some issues in adjusting to their new required dress code. All Upper Class boys were required to wear ties and belts if their pants had belt loops. One of the teacher’s was known for his mercy. If you realized that you were out of uniform before the bell rang for the start of school and you visited his classroom he would have several different sized belts and ties in his desk that he would loan out.

During my 11th grade year the school was experiencing growing pains, but for the most part there was little complaining from the teachers or the students. We all worked together to make the best use of a challenging situation. Dayspring emulated what I’ve always thought the church as a whole should emulate. The body of Christ working together for good and including everyone on the sometimes hard, sometimes fun ride!

Gluten Free “Shake and Bake” Chicken

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One day my husband asked if I would make him fried chicken. Now the longer I’m a vegetarian (that eats fish) the less I like to mess with raw meat. However, I dug through some of my old favorite recipes and found this one. It was easily adaptable to be gluten-free and I just used a fish fillet for me. It’s easy, quick, and yummy!

Gluten Free "Shake and Bake" Chicken!

Gluten Free “Shake and Bake” Chicken!

Oven Fried Chicken

Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or crushed brown rice cereal
2 T flax seed
2 T parmesan cheese (I used a soy alternative, but next time I will be using a homemade version like this one.)
1 t minced garlic clove in olive oil
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/4 t rosemary, thyme, and oregano
1/4 t black pepper freshly ground
4 chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet with some foil and baking spray. Mix all the ingredients in a bag until well mixed. Add the chicken breasts one at a time and shake around until they are covered with the mixture. Remove from the bag and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the pieces of chicken over. Finish baking for another 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with your choice of side dishes although mashed potatoes and broccoli are really yummy! Add cranberry sauce if desired.

Menu Plan Monday, February 17

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Last week was rather rough. It was the third week since the Princess got glutened and at the end of the week she got ahold of some gluten AGAIN! So of course we’re looking at another 6 to 8 weeks of not sleeping, tummy troubles, extremely picky eating, carb and sugar cravings that are out of control, and severe not listening on her part. Any tips for helping a 4-year-old understand why not to eat gluten even though it tastes good would be more than appreciated!

That being said we didn’t get to the Valentine’s cookies or the chocolate covered strawberries. It’s a new week though so I’m going to try again!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over Gluten Free Week is Kid Friendly meals. Boy do I need these! I am hoping to get some good ideas and I am also hoping what I have planned will be kid friendly!

Some soup and tuna fish for a cold winter's night!

Some soup and tuna fish for a cold winter’s night!

We did some freezer cooking again this weekend. I am stocked up on veggie burgers and spaghetti sauce two ways (with meatballs and without!) for a while.

Sunday
Breakfast: Blackberry Coffee Cake. I modified it using plain keifr instead of the milk! It was super yummy!
Buckwheat granola with strawberries and bananas
Lunch: Spaghetti sauce with spaghetti squash, gluten-free noodles, regular noodles, and gluten-free meatballs depending on who you were! Fruit salad for a side/dessert
Dinner: roasted beets with balsamic vinegar, fish, chips, yellow pepper strips, and pumpkin ice cream with chocolate syrup

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
Green Smoothie
Pancakes

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes with sausage for everyone else. I will top mine with nuts and/or almond butter.
Some soup from the freezer either veggie or chili!
Cauli-power Alfredo probably with chicken for everyone else. (Missed this because of Valentine’s Day last week!
Feel Good Lunch Bowl
Sweet Potato Soup
Pizza, Salad
Smoothie, popcorn
Pan cooked Fish with sauce DU JOUR, roasted sweet potatoes, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Gluten Free Week and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Homeschool Memories: Visiting Historic Houses Great and Small

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One nice thing about growing up in Pennsylvania and the states surrounding it was there was no lack of history or places to go for field trips!.

One historic homestead that we visited a couple of times was the Daniel Boone Homestead. It was particularly memorable because my brother’s name is Daniel!

The most remarkable thing about the very ordinary house and barn with green grass surrounding it (a scene that is played out before your eyes over and over again in Pennsylvania!) was the barn. It was built in the side of a hill which meant that it had an upstairs and a downstairs. They were able to back up their wagons and load the hay onto the hay loft without having any sort of lift system. It was nifty.

I always admired Daniel Boone because he went off into the unknown to explore and map places that no one knew anything about. When he started exploring no one had gone further then the Application Mountains and Mr. Boone explored past those mountains and into what lay beyond. It was interesting to see where he grew up into such an explorer.

Another completely different kind of house we visited was Winterthur the childhood house of Henry Francis Du Pont in Delaware. It was opened as a museum in mid-1950’s. You can visit different collections of art that they preserve there and see the house as it was when the Du Ponts lived there. When we visited it was around Christmastime and they had each room decorated for Christmas in a different time period. The decorations were amazing and it was interesting to see how much Christmas decorations have changed in even a couple hundred years.

Winterthur Museum DE

My favorite room was the one decorated in the Victorian style. Since they decorated so much with food (gingerbread, oranges, etc.) they hung their Christmas trees from the ceiling to try and discourage the pests (like mice! EEK!) that tended to be prevalent in their homes. I thought that this was a brilliant idea at the time. Later on when I had a toddler that wouldn’t desist from taking decorations off our Christmas tree I strongly considered the option of hanging our tree from the ceiling.

Winterthur is also the home of 60 acres of planned gardens that are said to be beautiful. Since we visited in December on a cold and rainy day we didn’t get to peruse them. However, I think that they would be worth a second look during some of the warmer months.

What about you? Have you visited any historic houses that captured your interest?