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.


Art activities for kids · Holiday · Paint · stamping

Snow Day

Another snow day here.  We have had quite a few since New Year’s Day.  Here are some of the pictures from our last snow day.  We painted using shaving cream and acrylic paint.  We plan to cut them out into hearts to further decorate for Valentines day.

Spreading the shaving cream

Here we spread shaving cream in a tray.

adding paint

Then we added the paint and swirled it a little.


Then we placed the paper on the mixture and pressed down slightly.  Then we pulled it up gently.


This one did not turn out that great!


Next, we let the paint sit for a little, and then used a squeegee to remove the paint/shaving cream mix.


Next she decided to add glitter, and just spent a whole lot of time playing with shaving cream, paint and glitter.  It kept her busy.  Maybe today we will cut out the heart shapes, if we have time.  We have already made a snowman (third or fourth snow storm, but first packable snow). We still need to go sledding!



Tie dye cupcakes

My daughter is obsessed with the Cake Boss. She has also started watching his offshoot show, Bakery Boss, I think it is called. Last week she was watching one where Buddy went into a bakery in Endwell, NY, near Binghamton, my old college stomping ground. Their signature look is tie dye! Well, who wouldn’t want to try that? So today, we attempted tie dye cupcakes. As time was short, and these were just on a whim, just for fun cupcakes, I have to admit I bought a box of cake mix and frosting. The objective was tie dye cupcakes, not quality baking. Sophia gets these ideas, and needs to execute them on an almost immediate basis. Patient, she is not.



Tie Dye cupcakes
Tie Dye cupcakes