Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thanks, Kris!

My friend Kris gave me an awesome game for my birthday way back in July . . . so awesome we already had it!  I decided to exchange it for Agricola, which I finally got around to doing a few weeks ago.  We've played it nearly every day since!  I'd like to try it with 4 and 5 players.  Hard to learn but simple to play.  It's a nightmare to setup and put away, so we left it on our table until we were ready for a break yesterday.  It takes us about two hours for one game.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


We read this famous poem today at the suggestion of our Latin and Greek roots curriculum.  Can you relate to anything here?  I sure can!  It's written for boys, but I've experienced most of these at some point in my life.

My reply to "If" would be, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  :-)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

~Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Hampshire ~ Maple Syrup Pie

For New Hampshire, we made Maple Syrup Pie.  Isn't that a delicious name?  It had similar taste and texture to pecan pie, only with that added maple syrup component.  Twas a breeze to make, and we all enjoyed it.  I can usually only eat one slice of pecan pie before I'm "done,"  whereas this one had "staying power."  :-)  Stirring in nuts wasn't part of the original recipe but was suggested by a reviewer.  We thought they really added to it.  I honestly don't think the baking step was necessary, so next time I may try skipping that part.

Maple Syrup Pie

1 cup maple syrup (N.H. preferred)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 baked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350.  Bring water and syrup to a boil.  Stir in salt and butter.

Mix cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water or enough to make a thin paste.  Add egg yolks and beat well.  Gradually add egg mixture to hot syrup, stirring constantly with a whisk to keep from lumping.  Cook until thickened.  Stir in chopped nuts, reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top.  Cool slightly; pour into cooked pie shell.  Sprinkle remaining nuts on top.  Bake 12 minutes.

The recipe calls for syrup from New Hampshire, but once again we had to substitute.  As least this one was from a nearby state!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Corn Maze

My brother went through the corn maze with Kylen last Saturday.  The theme this year was sports, because it was located next to an athletic center.  They managed to get every single checkpoint stamp!  A few of them allow us to use a coupon, such as "buy one, get one free" at a coffee shop.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Star Wars Risk

This is another game we played maybe once before it was forgotten.  There must have been some reason we didn't care for it at the time.  Maybe Kylen was too young.  At any rate, we've decided we like it now!  It's designed for four players in teams of two.  Kylen was both Separtist players, and Greg and I were the Republic.  It worked well for Kylen to have twice as many turns as us - helped keep him from getting bored.  We plan to play again soon!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Massachusetts ~ Lobster Mornay Sauce

Massachusetts is known for its Boston baked beans, Boston cream pie, cranberries, and seafood.  I wanted to try something new, which ruled out baked beans and Boston cream pie.  Cranberries feel like Christmas to me.  That left seafood!  Kylen didn't want to make clam chowder (my first choice), but he was up for trying this lobster recipe.  We didn't regret it!  Delicious!!!

Lobster Mornay Sauce
Makes enough for 3 adults to have seconds. We served it over white rice.

4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
3 fresh button mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lobster meat, diced (used imitation)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (bought it already grated)
Dash of cayenne pepper

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook and stir onions and mushrooms in the butter until tender.  Stir in minced garlic and cook a few minutes.  Mix in lobster meat; heat through. (If using fresh lobster, cook until opaque.)  Remove mushrooms/onions/lobster from saucepan and set aside.

Reduce heat to low.  Melt 2 tbsp butter in pan.  Stir in flour and cook approximately 2 minutes; stir in broth, cream, and pepper. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Stir lobster mixture and Parmesan cheese into sauce. Heat 5 minutes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chaturanga Chess

From India and Persia, 7th century A.D., the earliest form of chess ever played?  I talked some about it in this post.  Those wooden blocks are the dice!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Primordial Soup?

Pond scum under a microscope?  Nope!

Lipton Onion Soup with Melted Butter  =)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Living Water

One of our women's Bible studies was about Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.  He told her about living water that would spring up into everlasting life.  It occurred to me that this is an astounding reflection of God in His creation.  Though many scientists are atheists, their quest to find life in the universe often begins with water.  They are unaware of the role they are playing in a message from God, imbedded in the natural world, pointing back to Himself.  They can see the crucial part water plays in the physical realm but are blind to the thirst in their own souls.  But some will see, and drink, and live forever.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
~John 4:14