Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Eight - Australia Week

To round out our week all about Australia, today we decided to try to throw a boomerang to see if it would actually come back....despite her great form here, we didn't have much luck on our first try.  It's going to take a lot of practice.....

 KT found a cute little Koala bear in her Australian box.  Her name is Kiki!  We found out that Koala bears aren't really bears, but are in the marsupial family, so they are cousins of the kangaroo.
 Next KT decorated a walking stick with Aboriginal symbols.  She did two snakes on her stick, lots of dots and a few other designs.  She's now ready for a walk-a-bout!
Time to go to the zoo...KT found a book about some Australian animals, and also got a few more shark books (I'm still not seeing the appeal....)but she loves them.
 I think that's a didgeridoo that the kangaroo is playing.  We listened to a few Australian songs that Grumpy downloaded for us this week -- Waltzing Matilda, Tie Me Kangaroo Down, and a few more.
After lunch, we made a couple of kid's treats that we read about on the internet.  This is fairy bread (apparently children in Australia get this as a birthday treat) and we also made Coke Spiders, which is a coke float!  Uhhhmmmm....good!!!!
 We ended the day with a swim.....
 ...and stamped her passport!!
Next week, we're not traveling very far...we're off to Mexico!!!

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Seven - Australia Week

This week we're learning all about Australia! We took our field trip this week to the San Antonio Zoo to find what Australian animals they might have.
KT made a bee-line to the aquarium to look for sharks -- these fish are her current passion.  Mimi does NOT see the appeal, but there are plenty of sharks in Australia, so it was a-okay!
Next we toured the butterfly collection.  So many beautiful butterflies.....
We did make a list of possible Australian animals that the zoo may have, and I think we found about half of them.  KT was checking them off as we went.
Did you know that Lorikeets are from Australia?  KT really enjoyed feeding them nectar.  They look like parrots, some had blue heads and some had green heads.
We found some emus...
....and kangaroos, of course!
Next it was a ride on the carousel -- KT chose the dolphin.  We couldn't find a kangaroo or a koala.
KT chose a leopard shark as her Australian memento from the zoo.  We looked them up -- they are one of the more gentle sharks.
After we got home, it was time for lunch (that's tucker, in Australian!)  We watched the Koala Kid on Netflix -- cute movie!
There was still time for a swim ---
....and to wrestle with the Australian Red Heeler!
All in all, a great start to a fun week in Australia.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Red Velvet Leaf Basil Vinaigrette

I trimmed down the Red Velvet Leaf Basil and made some wonderful vinaigrette.  The recipe I found said to chop your basil in the blender to mix with a store-bought vinaigrette (is that cheating?) Ha! Not for me!
I used Paul Newman's Oil and Vinegar.  I'm sure a homemade vinaigrette would be even better. I pulled the washed leaves and popped them into the food processor, then drizzled the entire bottle over them as it spun.
I will say, if you feel like basil is too pungent, then this reddish purple variety is the one for you.  It's very mild, and the leaves are much smaller, too. There's still plenty of basil taste, but not so over-powering as some basil can get.

Of course, I had to try it out right away -- over some of the Snow White tomatoes.  So, so so so good!  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Six - Germany Week

Field trip day!!  We spent the day in Fredericksburg, Texas, a wonderful town settled by German immigrants in 1846.  Shopping, sight-seeing, great food....this little town has it all.  We started our day with a walk downtown along Main street, and then stopped for lunch at Auslander's German Restaurant.
 While we were waiting to eat, KT posed for a photo under the big German flag they have flying in the courtyard.
 KT had chicken strips, but Grumpy had the full German meal, including sausage and beer.  I had their famous Reuben Sandwich and potato pancakes.  Delicious!
 After lunch we wandered some more downtown -- stopping at the candy store, too!  Here's a couple of colorful lollypops!
 We also stopped at Dooley's 5 & Dime -- are you old enough to remember the old 5 & Dime stores?  This place is a step back in time, I have so much fun just wandering through this place every time we go.  KT tried on some funny hats and we got her a small American flag -- that's what she wanted!
 Pizza head!
 All American Girl, sitting on a tractor seat!

We visited the little museum that is in the middle of the town square.  KT had some questions about this saddle, she wanted to know what each part of it was.  Good questions, KT!
 Then while we waited for Grumpy to bring the car down to us, KT had a great time playing in the children's playground.  I was content to sit and watch her from the covered pavilion.
Once we got home it was time to jump in the pool and cool off.  KT showed me a new jump she invented -- this is the Angel Fall.  She's a character.

"Hi!" KT!

Next week we're off to Australia!  Auf Wiedersehen, ya'll!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Keeping Up With the Produce...

The tomatoes have slowed down some, but I've been buried in cherry tomatoes, so this morning I put two trays of cherries in the oven to slow dry all day on the "Warm" setting.  I do have a great dehydrator, but where is the darn thing...? I'm too impatient to go out and find the darn thing right now.
Here are the beautiful Snow White cherry tomatoes.  Don't they look lovely in the sunlight?  I love the light lemon color...these have become my favorite tomato of all time.  They have earned a place in my garden from now on.
Cut in half, cut side up, sprayed lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with dried Italian herbs - basil, oregano, sea salt and pepper.
 The second tray has the Yellow Cherry tomatoes with just a light sprinkle of sea salt.
I finally got to make the pesto today!  I made 7 half pints, and froze 6 of them.  Such a simple recipe, for such a delicious treat.  We love this stuff on sandwiches, on pasta, and I could eat a whole jar of it with a spoon! (No, I didn't....but I could!)
2 generous cups of basil leaves
1/2 c grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/3 c walnuts
3 cloves garlic
salt & pepper (about 1/2 tsp each, or to taste)

Pop into your food processor and drizzle in the olive oil as it whirls.  I don't really measure the oil, just add until the consistency feels right.

Then try that on a spoon....you will fall in love! Make yourself put the spoon down....really.....
Spoon into clean jars and pop into the freezer.  

I'm clipping my purple Red Velvet basil on Friday -- that thing has gotten so huge!  It's destined for a vinaigrette and I'll dry some for the spice cabinet.  Meanwhile, the house smells fantastic.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Five - Germany Week

Today we started learning all about Germany!  We found Germany on the big globe, then KT painted the flag of Germany.  She's getting real good at staying in the lines -- a skill that she'll need in Kindergarten this year.
Next she decorated a gingerbread man -- they originated in Germany and are a specialty there at Christmas time.
 Afterwards we read the fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel, and found out about how they found their way home after being lost in the forest.  Then KT went on a scavenger hunt to find the kids!  There were 10 clues, and KT had to follow the colored paper "crumbs" to find each clue.  She also had to use her powers of deduction to figure out where the clues were.  She actually read every clue herself...this girl can read!
 She found this clue in the chicken layer!

This was lots of fun!  She got a little prize at the end when she found the kids!

Then we were off to the library -- we found a good book about Germany and a couple of other books that KT can read.  She got her own library card today, too.
 When we got home, Grumpy had made the hot dogs -- so we had a great lunch!  We decided that we weren't going to swim today since the sun wasn't out that much and the water was very cold!
So we moved on to the next thing on our agenda -- we made a German dessert -- Apple Strudel Bites.  KT is becoming quite a good cook and catches on to every task in the kitchen pretty well.  When these were done, she and Grumpy used the left over pastry and apples to create another Strudel roll that also turned out really good!

 To end the day, we popped some popcorn and put in a movie that KT has never seen and was a favorite of her mother when she was a little girl, The Neverending Story.  Turns out this movie was based on a favorite German story, "Die unendliche Geschichte" (original title).

We had another fun day!  On Thursday, we're taking a field trip to Fredericksburg, Texas, settled by German immigrants many years ago.  KT should really enjoy it, and I know I will.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Grumpy

We had planned a pool party and hamburger cookout today with Jeff/Colleen & family for Father's Day, but all of the rain changed our plans, but good!  John had the burgers on outside when the rain came down HARD.
We still enjoyed our day, and we managed to get the hamburgers finished in the broiler inside, so all was not lost.
Jeff -- He's such a great dad! 

John has been wanting to get a small BBQ for when it's just the two of us, or a small get together, and when he doesn't need to fire up his big smoker/BBQ for a small get-together, so I got him this park grill for Father's Day!  He loved it!  Since I took this photo, he's put a gravel base around the bottom, so it's nice and secure.
He's just about the best Dad and Grumpy (Grandpa) around, so he deserves it for sure.

Thinking about my dad today, too.  He's been gone since 2007, it will be 8 years this Christmas, but he's left an amazing lasting legacy...so many of his children and grandchildren have followed in his gardening footsteps -- so happy when I see pictures of the grandchildren's gardens.  I think he would be so proud of them.
Herbert Russell Schwencke