Green Beans And New Potatoes MMMmmmmm

It’s summertime and with that comes gifts from the garden! One of my very favorite meals to have in the summer is Green Beans and New Potatoes.   Nom, Nom, Nom…I’m drooling right now just typing this.  It’s basically a one pot meal that takes very little time. Hooray! Who wants to cook in the blazing heat anyway? Not me! Here’s a simple recipe to tickle your taste buds. You’re Welcome:)

Green Beans and New Potatoes
Baby Red Potatoes (about 3 lbs)
Ham Pieces (about 2 lbs)
A “mess” of Green Beans (about 1 1/2 lb)
Medium onion (chopped)
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, except salt, into a large pot and cover with water.  Boil for about an hour or until green beans and potatoes are fork tender.  Before serving, test and see if salt is needed.  Sometimes the ham is extremely salty so no additional salt is needed.  Voila!

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Enjoy!,

That Book Mama

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Ivan, His Story Lives On

Talk to me about books for 5 minutes and I’ll probably tell you about my love for audio books.  Being a Mom and finding time to read as much as I want is a real challenge.  Like seriously…then insert audio books into the picture.  Long Commute + Audio Book = Happy Mama!

Now, I read all across the board.  Juvenile to YA to Adult books. However, in the summer, I have a copilot with me.  For this reason, book selections are taken from the juvenile section.  Not a problem at all!  This summer we’ve picked several great books and one of them was, The One And Only Ivan by:  Katherine Applegate.

photo 1 (18)Told through his point of view, Ivan tells the story of his life from inside the Exit 8 Big Top Mall.  Ivan has lived in the mall the majority of his life and his days are pretty much the same.  He has made friends with Stella the elephant and Bob, a stray dog.  Watching tv, talking to his friends and having people visit his cage is a normal daily routine, but then something magical happens.  Ivan discovers his love for drawing and painting.

Ivan is an artist.  He often wonders why people can’t figure out what he’s drawn.  Honestly, I’m sure lots of artists feel the exact same way.  When he isn’t drawing, he is talking to Stella.  He worries about her because she isn’t well.  They also can sense that something is about to change.  Then, in pops Ruby, the baby elephant.  I can just see her!  She asks a billion questions a minute and is totally adorable and innocent.

Even with the story having funny parts and the animals being such characters, there’s still a lesson to be learned.  Ivan is in an enclosure with no access to the outside world.  He’s been living in basically a box for years.  Stella is very sick and her owner seems not to care.  Bob was a puppy that was dumped and ended up at the mall.  It creates a ton of opportunity to talk to your child about proper animal care.  Great, great story!

After reading the Author’s Note at the end, we found out that the book was loosely based on a true story.  I then found the book, Ivan:  The Remarkable True Story Of The Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate.  It is a simple nonfiction book that tells Ivan’s story.

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Pick them both up!  You totally won’t regret it!

Enjoy!

That Book Mama

P.S. You may want to grab a tissue, just in case:)

Back From The Beach:(

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We are getting back in the groove of normal life after coming back from our trip to Orange Beach, AL.  I’m gonna start by saying, I’m pretty sure I could go to the beach like 3 times a year!  It’s so sad when we have to leave!!  AAAAaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!  I hate it!!  We haven’t been to the beach in TWO YEARS!  My beach chair had DUST on it!  I need not let this happen again…  I was a tad bit nervous about traveling with our little Moonpie.  He did great though..of course:)  The drive there from our house isn’t all that bad.  We left out super early so we could beat the co-razy traffic and the kiddos can sleep a little.  Did our plan backfire this time…possibly but that’s okay:)photo (19)

Besides the normal things that keep our older kids happy like tablets and of course their ds, I like to bring along an audio book or two for a long drive.  Since we were going to the beach, I packed The Cay – By Theodore Taylor and Island Of The Blue Dolphins – By Scott O’Dell.  What would get you even more excited about the ocean?  Listening to books that involve the ocean, that’s what:)  Wherever we are going, I try and pick up an audio that goes along with the theme of the trip.  And by “pick up” I really mean, check out.  Oh my gosh!  Go to your local library and get them for free!  (stepping off soapbox now)  By the time we listened to one book, made a couple of pit stops and changed a couple of diapers it was time to be sightseers for the first time.

USS Alabama

USS Alabama – Mobile, AL

We made our first real stop at the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I’m pretty sure my husband would spend our entire trip in the ship if he could. Crawling down in the belly and all over the top of the ship is a favorite activity.  Plus, it gives us all a chance to get out for a couple of hours and stretch our legs.

Once we got back on the road, it was a short drive made longer with all of the other beach crazed folks flocking to the coast.  After navigating traffic, picking up awesome Papa Rocco’s Pizza for dinner and applying the brakes more than the gas, we made it to our condo.  This year, we stayed at The Enclave.  It was a perfect small condominium (only 10 stories) that didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but we didn’t go for that anyway.  All we needed were enough beds for our party and a pool for those who are not ocean water inclined.  Voila!  After unloading the van and making a quick trip down to the beach, the gals and I made a mad dash to get groceries before we were left eating chip sandwiches and buttermilk.  Day 1 was in the books.2015 06 13_7874_edited-1

Blue Angels Air Show – June 10, 2015

Our week long trip went by in a blur of events.  We went to the National Navel Aviation Museum…twice…  We wanted to see the Blue Angels and it rained their first practice out.  We went through the museum and then decided to head out to Pensacola Beach.  We had never been there and let me tell ya, it is beautiful!  If you have a fear of bridges, you may want to skip this excursion though:)  EEK!  Also, just because dolphins are painted on huge holding tanks, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are any inside.  Way to fool a country girl, Pensacola Beach Water Department!  Anyway, after taking our little mini trip we went back the next day to the museum to see the Blue Angels and they were great!  They always put on an awesome show!

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National Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, FL

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Fort Morgan, AL

Fort Morgan, AL is another place we had never been to.  We made the trip to avoid rain in our area and I’m so glad we did.  It was sunny and beautiful at the fort.  Such a cool place with perfect picture opportunities!  Everyone loved exploring all over the fort and I loved taking pictures of it all.  For sure a place we could visit again.  A place we won’t visit again…Mexico Lindo’s in Orange Beach.  Don’t go there…just don’t.

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Fort Morgan, AL

One of my most favorite things we did was go to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  It was a little on the small side but you got to get up close and personal with all of the animals.  I got to hold a baby kangaroo!  It just snuggled down and licked my finger:)  AWE!  Our daughter, being the tomboy that she is, wanted to hold the python and alligator.  I just shook my head.  That girl!  Perfect photo op!

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Our last night we had photos on the beach!  Who doesn’t love that?!  My husband, that’s who…  Getting everyone together for a family picture is always a struggle for us.  In order for everyone to remain happy for our beach picture, this time I let the outfit choice be my husband’s decision.  What was his pick you ask?  Razorback shirts and jean shorts.  Turns out, taking pictures on the beach of a rival team whilst wearing Razorback attire wasn’t a problem at all.  I thought we’d get heckled but I’m pretty sure that the majority of folks on vacation were from Arkansas.  In fact, I got my id checked at the Aviation Museum and was asked if there was anyone left in Arkansas because he thought they were all at the Museum that day.  Disaster diverted:)  Could I stop there and just be happy with the pictures we had? NO! Why? Because, isn’t it my job to torture them?  They were troopers though and I appreciate that!

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After eating at one of our favorite places, Live Bait, we went back to the condo and played “The Great Refrigerator Clean-out”  Not really a fun game.  Actually, it was kinda depressing.  Time to pack everyone up and pray everything fits in the van.  Boooooooo  Hiiiiissssssss!!!!

Everyone had a great time and I for one can’t wait to pack up and do it all again.  Where to next time….we shall have to wait and see:)

Remember!  Travel light…because you never know what you’ll need to haul home from a junk shop:)

Charles Fuge, Won’t You Be My Illustrator?

I’ve always said, “A children’s book is only as good as the illustrator.”  One of my very favorite illustrators is, Mr. Charles Fuge.  I’m pretty sure, he could take a story about a napkin who got lost at picnic and make it totally great, just by creating pictures that were absolutely awesome!

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I need to write a book.  I personally think that most of my humor would be lost on most kids…too bad most adults don’t read picture books:). Even if I did write a book, I for sure couldn’t do my own illustrations!

I decided a few weeks ago that I would work on this post and illustrate my point by comparing my drawing skills to that of a professional.  I went out and bought my very own colored pencils.  (The kids thought they were for them…no, silly!)  Here’s my rendition of one of the books that was illustrated by the great Charles Fuge.  Just in case you can’t tell…mine is on the right:)

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Here are a few books that he has illustrated.  All are great stories made even greater by Mr. Fuge’s vivid illustrations:)

  • Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In A Ball – By Vicki Churchill
  • Yes We Can – By Sam McBratney
  • Three Little Dinosaurs – By Charles Fuge
  • A Lullaby For Little One – By Dawn Casey
  • I Love It When You Smile – By Sam McBratney

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If I ever do write my own book, I may have to take a trip to jolly ol’ England and look up Mr. Fuge.  Maybe I’ll luck out and he won’t call the cops because I’m stalking him:)

That Book Mama

A Book About Book Tattoos

Now let me just tell you, I think most tattoos are pretty cool.  Would I ever get one…probably not but only because I’m a big chicken.  BAKAWK!  Do I think ALL tattoos fall under the “epic” category?  No.  I DO think tattoo artists have some mad skills.  Think about it; they have one chance to make a drawing come out right.  DON’T SNEEZE!  I recently discovered a book that combined my love for books and fascination with tattoos all wrapped up in a nice bow…well, I actually checked it out at the library.

I’ve just finished, The Word Made Flesh:  Literary Tattoos From Bookworms Worldwide – By Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor.  Boy was it an eye opener!  I learned the following things.

  1. I need to get out of the juvenile section…because I had never heard of some of the books that people read and paid homage to by inking their bodies forever.
  2. My limited knowledge of the Spanish language didn’t help me a lick when trying to read Latin phrases.
  3. I need to get out of the juvenile section…Did I already mention that?

The book is chalk full of, not just photos of tattoos but also, stories behind why each person got the tattoo that they got.  Kinda made me stop and think about how many times I’ve seen a really bizarre tattoo and wondered what was going through a person’s head in the heat of the tattoo moment.  Maybe there’s a method to their madness:)

The “Skin” project was a favorite highlight of the book.  Shelley Jackson created the “Skin” project.  Basically, she assigned one word to each volunteer and they agree to have the word tattooed on their body (somewhere not inappropriate).  If you were to put all of the words together, you’d have a short story.  Here’s the clincher, no one but Ms. Jackson knows the story.  How cool is that?

Two more things, 1.  I now have a new comic strip to hunt down and read.  Krazy Kat, looks like something that’s right up my alley. 2.  I seriously need to read some Emily Dickinson…again…I need to get out of the juvenile section.

Pick it up and get inspired,

That Book Mama

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National Poetry Month! …Even For Boys:)

Wahoo!  April is National Poetry Month!  Who doesn’t love a good poem?  I have a confession…I didn’t really like poetry much, not too long ago.  Well, I like it now and that’s all that matters:)  Anyway, finding poetry is not normally a problem.  Finding poetry that boys will read, sometimes proves to be difficult.  I’ve listed 10 poetry books for boys.  Are they the only ones out there?  NO WAY!  This is just a short list for your reluctant poetry reader.  Here they are in no particular order.  P.S. Girls will also enjoy these:)

Enjoy!

That Book Mama

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Poetry For Boys

  • Dirt On My Shirt – Foxworthy, Jeff
  • Toad By The Road – Ryder, Joanne
  • Dinothesaurus – Florian, Douglas
  • Bugs:  Poems About Creeping Things – Harrison, David L.
  • Rules Of The Game:  Baseball Poems – Maddox, Marjorie
  • Comets, Stars, The Moon, And Mars – Florian, Douglas
  • A Whiff Of Pine, A Hint Of Skunk – Ruddell, Deborah
  • Guyku:  A Year Of Haiku For BoysRaczka, Bob
  • Truckery Rhymes – Scieszka, Jon
  • The Brothers’ War:  Civil War Voices In Verse – Lewis, J. Patrick

Hobo Skillet MMMmmmmm

So, I’ve been under the fog that everyone knew what a Hobo Skillet was.  Apparently, it was only a “thing” at my house growing up.  Surely, there’s another name for this yummy goodness of a meal but a Hobo Skillet is what my family called it.  I mean no disrespect to real hobos.  They can call it a Trinity Skillet for all I care:)  Wanna hear it?  Here it go.

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Hobo Skillet

Ingredients:

  •  3 Tbs Oil
  • 28 oz package Ore-Ida Potatoes O’Brien with peppers and onions
  • 9.6 oz package Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage
  • 7-9 eggs
  • Salt to taste

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1.  In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat.

2.  Add potatoes and cook until halfway done. (about 7 minutes)

3.  Pour in sausage and stir.

4.  Make wells for eggs

5.  Crack eggs into said wells

6.  Cover and reduce heat to somewhere between simmer and medium heat.  I’m going to call it “smedium”.

7.  Cook 12-15 or until eggs are done to your liking.

8.  Add salt

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P.S. This is a dumbed down version of what my Mom made.  If you want a “non box” recipe, you’d substitute the Potatoes O’Brien package for about 6-8 small peeled and cubed red potatoes, one small onion, 1/4 green bell pepper and 1/4 red bell pepper.  Then, substitute the precooked sausage with a package of breakfast sausage.