The Last Four Weeks

We have been so busy the last month or so that by the time we had some quiet time I was either sleeping or just doing absolutely nothing.

Here is what we have been up to.

My husband Scott turned the big 5-0 in November and I threw him a big surprise party. I started planning for it in July and it took lots of planning and telling fibs and lots of behind the scenes chatter with our friends and family to get him to his party without him knowing what was going on. Yes, he was surprised and I was so happy that he was happy!
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The weekend after the big party I jumped into being the chairperson for our Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast. We had a great time, served lots of pancakes, and Doug got to play a minion for the morning, which was the theme for the breakfast.
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Doug and I had another date night but this time we cooked at home together. We did shop first, to buy all of the ingredients for our meal. Grilled salmon, Swiss chard, cheesy rice and then we got a sampler box of cookies from the store for dessert that we had fun rating from 1-10. I love date night with my son. He is a great cook too!
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I also spent the last two weeks in October canning and juicing and trying to put the garden to bed for the year. Here are a few pics of my preserving accomplishments this fall.
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Here is quick video link of my favorite sound while I canned my grape jelly. Wait for it…

The Professional Domestic Facebook Video

I also have been working diligently on my project for my sweet Mom-in-Law’s Christmas present.
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Almost done!

Of course between work, soccer games, Church, Rotary meetings, errands, bills, cleaning, preserving, date nights, cooking, etc., life has gotten a little overwhelming.

In the month of October both Scott’s mother and my father were in the hospital. Scott’s mom with a nasty bout of cellulitis and my dad with his second go around with colon cancer. They both are doing well and we appreciate all of the prayers and cards of encouragement we have received.

God has blessed us with so many small moments of joy these last few weeks. We are truly grateful for the good and even the not so good because in those darker times we have learned to persevere and enjoy the moments we have with our loved ones.

I will eventually get caught up on my Pie Challenge with you but until then I leave you with this beautiful night shot from our fall garden. Scott, Doug and I wish all of you a very happy, restful and thankful Thanksgiving this week! -MM
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June’s Date Night with Doug and Teaching Him how to Clean the Kitchen Floor

Date Night With Doug – June

For June’s date night with Doug we went all out Mexican. I am not talking about a quickie trip to Taco Bell or Mighty Taco here folks. We drove an hour to taste authentic Mexican cuisine in Medina, NY, but first, date night with Doug always starts off with a little shopping before dinner.

Father’s Day was coming up and a few weeks before, I had spied the perfect gift for Scott at Tractor Supply, a broadcast seed spreader for the lawn. I know that doesn’t sound very interesting to most of you but when you are a guy who is obsessed with obliterating every single dandelion in the lawn this is the perfect gift. While we were at the checkout we told the cashier where we were going for dinner and she thought that was great fun. She commented that she was still going to dinner with her dad and she was 26!

Next we went to Game Stop and Doug turned some of his old video games into store credit and purchased a couple of new games with it. He loved that!

Now on to dinner. After traveling what seemed like forever we finally arrived at our dinner destination Mariachi De Oro Mexican Grill in Medina. When we pulled in, the parking lot was packed, which is always a good sign, especially for a Tuesday night.

We waited for a bit in the doorway, not quite sure how they seated people but soon we were being led to our table for two. It was a colorful, bustling restaurant with many people sipping giant margaritas chatting animatedly at each other.

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Looking at the menu, our dinner choices were many, but after much consideration Doug decided on steak and cheese quesadillas and I decided on steak and chicken fajitas.

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Our appetizer as you might guess, was salsa and chips.

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Everything was really, really good. Nothing was overly seasoned or greasy. Everything was fresh and colorful. Now about dessert.

Doug ordered fried cheesecake. I ordered the flan. Neither one of us had ever had either of these desserts.

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Doug’s dessert was impressive to say the least. I have to give this restaurant an “A” on its presentation. He ate more than half of it before collapsing against the seat giving in to his full belly.

The flan was very different for me. It’s texture was not something that I would really order again though I have nothing to compare this restaurant’s interpretation of a flan to. The honey it was draped in was sweet and luxurious tasting but I didn’t enjoy the cold, rubberiness of the flan. I will have to give it a try somewhere else to compare.

It was another very successful date night with my son. I enjoyed every minute with my young foodie. July’s date night is at Otto Tomato’s in Victor, NY. Can’t wait!

Teaching Doug How to Properly Clean the Kitchen Floor

Doug is 13. He doesn’t really want to clean anything, let alone the kitchen floor. However, when one wants to buy himself a brand new XBox One, one has to work for the money to buy it.

When Doug wants to earn money we play the card game. The card game is getting out a deck of playing cards and every playing card has a certain point value to it.

Cards 2 through 10 are face value, Jacks are 25 points, Queens are 50 points, Kings are 75 points, and Aces are 100 points.

Now if you really want to step it up a notch you can throw in the Jokers for 500 points. That’s a lot though and this time we took the Jokers out of the deck.

So to earn a point you have to pick something up or do a specific task. Examples, fold 25 pieces of laundry or put away 10 pieces of silverware from the dishwasher. You get the idea. Not only does this game promote counting in younger children, it also gives older children a sense of the work it takes to do the chores that we as adults do every day.

I forgot to tell you what a point gets you in this game. A point gets you a penny. Yeah that sounds like a lot of work for a penny but it really adds up. Today I told him I would double the penny value to 2 pennies per point.  He picked the first card off the top of the deck (be sure to shuffle them first) and he was off and earning money. After washing and folding all of the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming his bedroom, and deadheading all of the peony bushes outside he was looking for more. I told him he could sweep and mop the kitchen floor and hallway for 100 points.

After about 10 minutes he said he was done. Yeah right. We have a huge linoleum floor in the kitchen and it is white. Who installs a white kitchen floor you say? Apparently my grandmother thought it was a good idea at the time. Me, not so much. It shows everything.

I went in to inspect. As I suspected the edges were still full of dirt particles and he hadn’t cleaned under the desk nor moved the bar stools. The mopping needed more attention too.

One thing I have learned while employing certain kids at the bakery is that no one has really ever properly taught them how to sweep and mop. Seems like a simple thing but not everyone is good at it.

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So I had Doug move things around, sweep under the desk and workbenches, and mop a couple more times around the room. He didn’t think he deserved the 100 points because he hadn’t done very well the first time but I told him after we both worked on it together that doing chores was also about learning as well as doing. We will keep working on his sweeping and mopping skills. By the end of the afternoon his double scored playing card game had earned him $18.36. Not bad!

By the way here is a picture of Douglas smiling on the last day of school with a celebratory caramel latte. His favorite. Sheesh, I don’t make the kid work all of the time ya know! -MM

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Date Night With Doug

Douglas is my 13 year old son. After reading the Happiness Project , by Gretchen Rubin, I got the idea to take my son on a monthly adventure/date night. The two of us would go out to dinner together and shop for a few necessities once a month.

The rules are we have to eat at a different place each time and it has to be a place we haven’t been before.

Our first adventure/date night was last Tuesday and we decided to go to an authentic Polish restaurant in nearby Geneseo but first we stopped by the Goodwill retail store on a hunt for a pair of summer sneakers for Doug.

As soon as we went into the store he headed right to the shoe section and found a pair of black Under Armour sneaks for $9.00. Score! We also picked out 3 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, a pair of swim trunks for him and I also found a couple of shirts for me. Total $50.

After our good fortune at the Goodwill Store we headed over for dinner.

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The Euro Cafe is on Main Street in Geneseo, NY  and is run by two sisters with authentic Polish accents and boy do they know how to cook!

Our soup was borscht. I had never had borscht before. It’s an earthy soup of beets (hence the red color) and veggies like celery, potatoes and carrots in a rich veggie based broth. It was so delicious Doug even drank the broth.

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We each had a different main course. Doug had the Hunter’s platter.

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Smoked sausage, perogies, hunter’s  stew, mashed potatoes, and a stuffed cabbage roll.

I had the Polish Platter.

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Baked sausage, rye bread, sauerkraut, salad, mustard, horseradish and cranberry relish.

Both platters were delicious with such a depth of flavor! Something you can’t get at a fast food/chain restaurant.

We skipped dessert and had ice cream on the way home. It was a perfect night. I so enjoy my son and these date nights give us a chance to catch up with each other.

Next month is Mexican in Medina. Stay tuned….-MM

http://www.gretchenrubin.com/books/the-happiness-project/buy-the-book/

http://m.facebook.com/439504192862979/photos/a.44034710277868The Euro Cafe
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