Every day life · The big build

The Big Move

Last summer we decided to put our house of fifteen years on the market. It was definitely with mixed feelings. We loved our house and our amazing neighbors, but we needed more living space. An extension was not going to work.

It was not a fun summer. We were having open houses every other weekend. The house had to be kept presentable at all times. Not fun. We found two or three homes we were interested in buying, but we were unable to put in an offer as we had not sold our house. By the time we had sold our house, there was nothing on the market that suited our needs or checked off many items on our wish list.

At this point, we were considering a new build but we had to find the right piece of land. It had to be quiet, and close to an acre so we could have room for a pool. We found the perfect piece of land. It was quiet, near the beach, in a community, and 1.2 acres. We did not want to purchase it until we had some permits from the town. We wanted to know that we could build a house on it before a final purchase. We went into contract on the land back in march. Since then, we have met with an architect and secured plans, interviewed builders and met with the chosen builder several times, filed papers with the department of health for sewage planning, and with the water department for water hook up and planning. We still don’t have the final permits, but we are waiting. Hopefully soon. The good news… today the land became ours.  We are property owners once more. Let the fun begin.  

Around Town · Every day life · family Time

Happy New Year

One week into the new year, and we have had our first significant snowfall.  We did not even attempt to leave the house on Saturday as the snow was coming down all day.  Today we cleared our drive, and then went to my parents’ house to clear their drive.  Then we enjoyed a little sledding, visited the beach, and the bison.

Every day life · Simple Pleasures

First Snow Of The Season!!

Yesterday morning we had our first proper snowfall.  The kids were outside before 8 am, playing!

Boy Scouts · Trips

Sterling Mill Mining Museum

This weekend we visited a mine in New Jersey with out Boy Scout troop.  We  were able to complete two merit badges: Mining in Society and Geology.  It was well worth the visit.

Touring the Mine

Warren Museum of Fluorescence
I loved this periodic table with samples of the actual element, a representative sample of ore from which that element is obtained, plus an item made from that element.
After the tour the boys had to find six rock samples
Another picture of the periodic table

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children's books · Every day life · school

2016 Reading challenge for kids

A new year, and a whole bunch of new books to read.  My son is an avid reader.  I just can’t keep up with him.  My 8 year old isn’t quite there yet.  Neither is my ten year old nephew.  To help them along, I have created a challenge for them- twelve books in twelve months.  Not too crazy.  I am sure they will read more than that.  So here it is…


  1. A national book award winner
  2. A book based on a fairytale
  3. A book set in your home state
  4. A book set in Europe
  5. A book that is also a movie
  6. A book recommended by a friend
  7. A book published in 2016
  8. A book that takes place in the summer
  9. A mystery
  10.  A biography
  11. A book that takes place on an island
  12. A book with a green cover

Of course, I will be giving a reward if the challenge is completed.  Who will join us?


Here is a printable copy of the Book challenge .


Blueberry Crisp

A few weeks ago, we had family visiting from New England.  They brought some lovely New England blueberries.  Yumm!  I made this very easy blueberry crisp from my favorite baking book, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.  According to them, crisps and crumbles are not the same.  A crumble has oatmeal in the topping, while crisps do not.  I love that I don’t need to bother with pastry.  This was so quick and easy. Click on the title for a printable version.


Blueberry crisp


2 pints (4 generous cups, about 24 ounces) blueberries, cleaned and stemmed

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice, or 2 drops of lemon oil


1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces) butter melted

1 cup (3 1/2 to 4 ounces) walnuts or pecans, chopped

Grease and flour a 9-inch ie pan.  Preheat oven to 350°F

Filling: Put the berries in the pan.  Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and lemon together, and sprinkle this mixture over the berries.

Topping: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, melted butter, and nuts.  Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Bake the crisp for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly.  Cool slightly, then serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or pouring cream.



Our Favorite Pancakes

This is for my sister-in-law who has just moved to the US from the UK.  She was asking me for a good pancake recipe.  This is our all time favorite version.  It is from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, one of my favorite cookbooks.  They call it “The Simple But Perfect Pancake”, and it truly is.  Because I work, I usually make the batter the night before.  It keeps well in the refrigerator over night.  I have actually left it a few nights, and it has still been okay.  It is best used the same morning, but my life does not usually lend itself to that.  So, here it is… (Click Simple but Perfect Pancakes for a printable copy)


2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract  (not the imitation kind, but the true vanilla extract)

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter, melted (I usually use unsalted)

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I usually use the King Arthur Flour make)

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

I usually start by melting the butter in the microwave, so it is slightly cooled before I add it.

Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla until light and foamy, about three minutes at high speed of a stand mixer or hand mixer.  Stir in the butter.

Wish the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sugar.  Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture.  Let the batter relax while the griddle is heating (or overnight in the refrigerator).  The batter will thicken slightly while resting.

Grease and preheat the griddle.  The griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.  If you have an electric griddle (I do not), set the temperature between 325° and 350°F.  Drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle.  (I use my cupcake scoop).  Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and break.*** Then turn the pancake and cook the other side until brown.  Turn over only once, and resist the urge to push down on the pancake with spatula.  you do not want to squish out air, as these are so light and fluffy from the beating of the eggs and milk.

***the pancake is ready to turn when the edges begin to look dry and bubbles form and start to break.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and I hope my sister-in-law enjoys making them, maybe with a little help from my nephew.