Thursday, March 28, 2013

Home Run

My son is a baseball nut. He eats, sleeps, breathes, plays baseball. And the child needs reading material. He is homeschooled this year, after all. When I was offered the opportunity to review Home Run, I took it. (I was given a copy of the book in exchange for a review here. I am not obligated to provide a positive review and the thoughts here are my own.)

Home Run gives readers insight into a horrible childhood for two brothers, one of them destined for celebrity. Home Run is the story of Cory Brand, a star in anything and everything baseball and a bit of a mess everywhere else. He drinks too much, he has a problem with alcohol, he is disconnected from family, and lets his agent do all of the hard work of cleaning up the messes he leaves behind.

Brand's latest mess has his agent sending him back to his hometown to a 12-step program and to coach a boys' baseball team to both clean up and to make right a wrong he committed.

Home Run tells the story of how Cory Brand became a changed man. His journey is not an easy one and the book shows us the relationships that made a difference along the way.

I enjoyed the story. I started the book late one night and finished it the next day. I couldn't put it down. No "dirty" parts, no cursing, yet the subject matter is serious.  I handed it off to my son. He and I have had some interesting discussions about the events in the book. We are never too messed up to change, to be redeemed.

Stay tuned - the movie version will be released in April!

About the Author
Travis Thrasher is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction, including The Solitary Tales series, Isolation, and Ghostwriter. His writing is known for its honesty, depth, and surprising twists. Thrasher lives with his wife and daughters in Chicago

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Art & Experience Sharing

We began with an idea that I saw on facebook:

Add three girls, some cardstock, some markers, some oil pastels, some crayons and about an hour of art time and...

The experience sharing was fabulous. No prompting. No pressure to talk or respond. Just creating, together, sharing.

"I haven't decided on my color scheme, yet."  

"I wonder if we could draw anything and still get the 3D effect? A circle or square, for example."  

"I *love* your Easter egg!"

"I shouldn't have used crayon. It doesn't look as good as marker." (I was disappointed that mine wasn't up to par.)

My girl with autism tried to reassure me: "The crayon is very nice, Mom, but I think I like the marker better." 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shoo-Fly Muffins

My high schooler and I were watching Bobby Flay on a cooking show this morning. He was making Shoo-Fly Muffins. We decided to try to make them with a couple of substitutions. Yum.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spaghetti Sauce Discovery

SPAGHETTI SAUCE in the crock pot

If you have browned meat in the freezer, this one is really quick.

1 pound of browned ground meat (beef or turkey) 
1 jar of squash baby food 
1 jar of carrots baby food 
4 small cans of tomato paste 
1 large can of corn-free tomato sauce
distilled water to thin to desired consistency 
1 tablespoon McCormick's Italian Seasoning 
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil 
a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar 
a teaspoon of garlic from the jar in the refrigerator 
sugar to taste 
dash or two of Frank's Louisiana hot sauce OR a pinch or two of red pepper flakes 

dump everything in, stir it up, and heat. you have to watch it if it's on high, or the edges will blacken/burn.

My discovery: Pureed pumpkin works in place of the squash and carrots. Who knew?

Monday, March 4, 2013


My mother and my grandmother have taught me to buy chuck roasts on sale and to cook several at once with the intent to freeze leftovers. They grill the roasts on low heat for a period of time and wrap the roasts in aluminum foil and finish the roasts in the slow cooker.
When I buy more than one to prepare and freeze for later, I skip aluminum foil and use parchment paper, instead. To freeze, wrap in more parchment paper and seal in a good quality freezer safe plastic storage bowl.

Last week, I bought one chuck roast on sale, grilled it on low heat for an hour, and am finished  it in the oven in the enamel coated cast iron pot I bought on clearance at a warehouse club. My non-grilling recipe is here. Braising my partially-grilled chuck roast at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours in sea-salted diluted leftover coffee will yield a tasty, fork-tender brisket-like roast. Sometimes I add a tablespoon (ish) of tomato sauce. Gluten-free, dairy-free. No cream of something soup required. Yum!
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