Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rueben Sandwiches

The leftover corned beef absolutely had to become Reuben Sandwiches for leftovers!

I checked America's Test Kitchen cookbook for a Thousand Island Dressing recipe. Since I didn't have all the ingredients, I adapted and created a taste sensation that the family loved!

I also sauteed some fresh cabbage with a splash of vinegar, to replace the saurkraut.


I used the leftover Irish Bacon Cheddar Soda Bread to toast for the sandwich, along with slices of corned beef and swiss cheese. That was topped with the dressing and sauteed cabbage. It was a hit!  We got 5 meals of sandwiches with this, served with Potato Soup!

Friday, March 28, 2014

College Bound

Busy days are full of finishing college bound requirements, while seeking, writing and submitting scholarship entries.  By night I do think we are busily sleeping, instead of restfully sleeping.  I'm not sure.  lol

My son continues to take the SAT to improve earned scholarships. He has recently submitted an entry to a scholarship organization based on his fine work on the PSAT on which he earned a 98%ile.  Unfortunately he was edged out for National Merit Scholar status, but he is a National Merit Commended Scholar, for which, unfortunately, we have found no scholarships based on this hard work. I confess I am frustrated by that, especially when I hear from so many that they gained incredible scholarships merely by being a Commended Scholar.  Thankfully my son has earned scholarships through other avenues and he keeps working towards many others.

Although my son is doing all the work, I am basically his teacher, mentor, and secretary to guide him and show him how to coordinate all the "stuff" that comes with senior year. I am not alone in this endeavor.  Many parents who either homeschool, private school or public school share the same goals and endeavors. We care. We guide. We teach.

As homeschoolers, we signed on for a multi-faceted task of impacting the future as we invest in the lives of our kids.  Teachers  in school buildings do so for a season, but homeschoolers do so for a lifetime.

I heard a mom ask how much she should help her high school son versus having him figure it all out.  Oh no, I think our task is to continue to be that guide.  Kids learn quickly. They want independence. We must start giving them little shots at independence as they are capable from their toddler years so that with each passing year, they can handle more and more independently.  However just because they are in high school doesn't mean that they no longer need us.  In the difficult parts we should continue to be their coach and their guide, modeling for them how to manage the mass.  In doing so, they will quickly master more difficult concepts and schedules. Even with all the fine colleges we visited last summer, every single counselor said they would be there to answer questions and help the kids over hurdles...shouldn't we do the same?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Late 1930's White Blouse and Creamy Yellow Jumper

My latest historical persona was to be a lady from the late 1930's, so I decided to use Wearing History's late 1930's jumper and blouse pattern! In a most frugal fashion, reflecting the  Great Depression, I used white fabric found in my fabric stash leftover from a previous project (specifically my 1860's sheer white gown).  Even more frugal was my choice of jumper fabric.  I cut out the required pieces from my yellow Edwardian skirt, which was too short for me.

I loved the sheerness and pattern of the white fabric.

For the jumper I made my first ever bound buttonholes.  For guidance I used Wearing Histoy's own tutorial! Lauren makes gorgeous bound buttonholes.    

I worked oh so hard to be utterly precise...


However the final product wasn't anything to brag about.  Perhaps I'll do a better job next time?

In fact, I fiddled and puzzled quite a bit over the jumper, primarily because the fabric is a synthetic. My comfort zone is natural fiber...therefore the white blouse came out exactly as I had envisioned it! It was a dream to sew! Being cotton it was difficult to turn the tube for the ties, and I flipped them backwards or something. So I undid the machine stitching and whip stitched them by hand.  I tend to do better with hand sewing than machine sewing. Nevertheless, most of the blouse and jumper are machine sewn.


For our 1930's history presentation I portrayed Winston Churchill's daughter, which was a lot of fun! I enjoyed using one of Churchill's books as a prop while posing for these photos!










Also while watching Wizard of Oz, I noted that Dorothy's dress is very much like this pattern, so I decided to enter this into the HSF fairytale challenge.

Now for the HSF details:

HSF 2014

The Challenge: #6 Fairytale

Fabric: cotton and polyester

Pattern: Wearing History


Notions: thread, buttons

How historically accurate is it? quite

Hours to complete: lots

First worn: history presentation

Total cost: $30

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

National Harbor...and a Tropical Dress for Me-Simplicity 5496

Our near foot of snow from Monday melted during the warm days that brightened Thursday, Friday and Saturday with hopes of spring. Saturday my husband and I made our first visit to the National Harbor on the Potomac River on the Maryland side, near Washington DC, to finally celebrate our wedding anniversary. Sadly, the service, dinner and atmosphere of the restaurant were lackluster, but walking along the harbor itself was a great thrill!


Here are some before dinner shots. Obviously the weather was warm if I'm dressed like this! This was our warmest day all week, over 70 degrees.


I'm wearing a dress I had sewn for myself a few years ago. Not many people know that I also sew modern clothing, so I thought I'd share. I was recently asked to enter a modern sewing contest and was asked to submit my best historical gown to be considered as one of the top 4 entrants. I was a bit confused by that, but I did. lol In the I came in runner-up, however I've been asked to compete weekly anyway. It's absolutely okay I didn't make the top 4, but I realized that I have little on my blog about the other era of sewing I do, the current era! This dress was whipped out in speedy time without any trouble with fitting, a rarity for me!  There's even a cute little bow tie in back.

After dinner sunset...


Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" powerfully boomed over the loudspeakers of the pier...






By now the sun was setting and it was getting cooler.  The next day was thirty degrees colder than Saturday.  It was to be all downhill, weatherwise, from here...

Foodwise, it only got better. We stopped at the Cheesecake Factory for dessert and brought some home for the kids.  Yum!!!!!!!! That was the best!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snow for Spring!

We were warned that more snow could come, and it had the potential to be huge!  Never have I experienced such a late spring in NoVA before. There were no leaves on trees nor flowers to be found anywhere.  Everything was still dead and brown looking.  The latest spring ever. At least we were consoled to only expect a trace of snow.  Surprisingly, we awoke to this:

It snowed throughout the day.  Much of it melted.  Had we stayed below freezing the entire day, my son and I estimated we could have accumulated 8-10 inches of snow.

These pictures are from 1pm.When we went to bed that night, it was still snowing!  The next morning I went to the grocery store and was chatting with the cashier, who drives to work from an hour north of us. She gets up at 3am to arrive at our store by 5am to work. She said it was still snowing early this morning!  I can't imagine what the total accumulation would have been if we had stayed below freezing the entire time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lemon Bar Cheesecake for my Daughter's Birthday!

The history of the cheesecake has traveled across the centuries and around the world. Its origins are thought to have begun in Ancient Greece. When the Romans conquered Greece, they loved it just like they loved everything else that was Greek. Therefore they brought it back to Rome...and later took it to northern Europe when they conquered the known world. In 1929, a chef from New York City played around with the traditional recipe. Replacing cottage cheese for cream cheese introduced a new lusciousness to this old dessert. The New York Style Cheesecake was born.

Enter my daughter. My daughter likes certain cakes, but never asks for them for her birthday. Usually we have a pie. However one year when we lived in Texas I suggested cheesecake for her special day. She liked the idea of it and everyone enjoyed the recipe I tried. However whatever recipe I used was long forgotten with other creative birthday desserts over the years. (I really need to hunt down old birthday photos and document all the different creative desserts we've done.) One common element in her birthday desserts is usually fruit. She loves fruit. She loves fruit more than cake. She loves fruit more than ice cream. She loves strawberries more than any other fruit. Yet sometimes she's happy to base her birthday dessert on a different fruit.

Well this year I am on facebook and I saw a recipe run by my newsfeed of the most luscious looking lemon cheesecake that I could ever imagine. I showed it to my daughter and she conquered. That was to be her birthday dessert this year. Introducing Southern Living's Lemon Bar Cheesecake for her birthday!


Alas, I did not read the directions thoroughly enough. At 10am, after arriving home from dropping her off at class, I started reading the recipe through in order to make the cheesecake and saw that it took 24 hours to complete! Oh no! That was not an option, so here is my 10 hour cheesecake...


I even have some of the delicious freshly homemade lemoncurd left over!


Sunday, March 23, 2014


My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this past week! The day's schedule was crazy so I cooked some steak and lobster...with plans to go out for dinner later in the week...


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

My husband's heritage is Irish, so he insists on a traditional Corned Beef dinner on St. Patrick's Day, an idea that the kids like. I'm working on boiling he vegetables, carefully timing their entry into the cooking water so they don't get soggy. I did better this year. I'd rather saute the cabbage and roast the potatoes and carrots. Perhaps next year.  This year's dinner, though, did look much prettier than those of the years past. I liked how the cabbage came out fresh and green, even though I thought it was a tad too soggy but my husband liked it a lot!


I brine my own brisket, which is quite easy. There are many recipes on the internet. I use one from America's Test Kitchen. I like doing my own to control the seasonings and to avoid the artificial ingredients in a packaged corned beef from the store.

I've tried various Irish Soda Bread recipes over the years, all of which are good, from basic to adding golden raisins or orange marmelade. However I think my experimenting is over. Last year I made Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread that I found at the Homesick Texan.

Later this week I'll experiment with a Reuben recipe with the leftovers.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snow to End Spring Break!

I've neglected to share our most recent photos of spring!  My daughter ended a week of spring break last week. On Monday morning she prepared to go to class but found this standing in her way...

Classes were cancelled...again!

We had 8-10" of snow fall throughout the day, after having been promised this would never happen this late in March!

Did I mention it was St. Patrick's Day? Um, no green here today.