Family Balancing Act

As we usher in the new year, I am so happy to have my  daughter home from France, where she has spent the last semester. My son has already had multiple acceptances at colleges for next year, so this should be a no stress time, right? We had a family bonding week in Florida during the holidays that really brought us back together.

Tonight, due to my son’s insistence, we planned a Fondue dinner with some grass-fed beef we bought from a local farmer that he was dying to test. My daughter was trying to regain her figure after a semester of French cuisine – so the dining requirements were quite challenging. However, we set up a beautiful 2 pot fondue system -one with oil, the other with a broth. The oil was working well but the broth was underheated. My husband, the physicist, decide to up the ante and add a pot of alcohol to the broth heat source. Unfortunately, he spilled the alcohol and set the table on fire! I wish I had a picture to share, but obviously quick action was the priority. He grabbed the fire extinguisher-which we have not used in 20+ years and sprayed the fire which was rapidly spreading across our table. Ironically , over our vacation, we had tried to explain to our children how to use a fire extinguisher if there was ever a problem.

By the time he was done putting the flames out, our dinner was coated in white residue and there were burns on one of the placemats . The table had a permanent burn in the surface.  None of the food was considered edible.

Much to my son’s dismay, we threw everything out and decided to go to a restaurant. We chose one within 5 minutes of our house where we could each choose something to our dietary needs – and left satisfied and in a much better mood. However, we did have to come home to the remnants of our disaster.

Now that it is dealt with, I am happy to say all is good- but it is an extremely unusual way to usher in the new year.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and peaceful 2016!

 

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Lazy Days of Summer

We haven’t had too many days this summer that classify as lazy; but at least we managed to take a short break from our electronic devices and disconnect from the buzz of today’s busy lifestyle. My family managed to do this by reserving a spot at a campground on the remote end of a popular lake two hours from our home.

We brought our tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, cooking accessories and two coolers full of food and beverages. We also brought our motor boat for water sports and were excited that the dogs were even able to join us.

With two teenagers, putting up the tents and getting set up was a snap.

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Within an hour we were organized enough to go on the boat for a spin. The kids tubed and we all swam in the refreshingly clean lake water- a great treat compared to the chlorine pool we have been doing our laps in all summer.

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By the time we got back to our site, we were hungry and ready to start our dinner. Luckily the local vendor with fire wood and ice came by at the right time.

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That morning my husband and I had done all the prep work for a real surprise meal on a camping trip- Fondue! We spent at least an hour dipping shrimp. pork tenderloin, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and cremini into the pot. This was accompanied by a pre-made fried rice dish that was reheated in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Who could imagine camping food could be so gourmet delicious?

After dinner, we lounged around the campfire and played charades while we digested.

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We haven’t played this game in years so we were a little rusty, but we certainly got some good laughs out of it. Afterwards we roasted marshmallows for our mandatory camping specialty- S’mores! You can’t say you have camped without putting a marshmallow on a stick over the coals, roasting it until it is dark or golden brown on the outside, yet soft and squishy inside. Then you must pair it with a piece of chocolate and smoosh them together between two graham crackers, letting the warm , mushy substance ooze over the melting chocolate as you crunch the sweet cracker sandwich in your mouth! Divine! ( see the link below if you don’t believe me)

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7o9X/hersheys-smores#spotLink

By the time we crashed on our air mattresses at the end of the day, we felt like we had experienced everything a camping expedition required.

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Each one of these activities slowed us down from our normal busy pace and gave us time to enjoy the experience of the moment and the joy of being together with no distractions.

Even though it only lasted 24 hours,  it was a great way to unwind and truly appreciate the lazy days that summer is supposed to bring.

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