Stay tuned —

I’ll be back to blogging soon.  🙂

Update and Menu Planning Monday – June 20th

It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  The county was dealing with it Master Land Use Plan. We were getting ready for the public hearing.  We were fielding many phone calls, letters, emails and visits.  Then last week, amendments to the plan were introduced.  This week the council will be voting on the plan.  After Tuesday the Council begins its much needed summer recess.

Mandy and I also went to Oklahoma to celebrate her very significant other’s graduation from boot camp.  During the weekend she and Darius became officially engaged!Mandy_Darius

Now for this weeks Menu Plan.  I have included cookbook reference and links to the recipes we use.

MP June 20 JPG

Menu Planning Monday – June 6, 2016

The family and I have a busy week this week.  Monday we have a funeral for a friend who passed away unexpectedly last week. Tuesday I will have a late meeting with the County Council. Wednesday Mandy and I head to Fort Sill, OK to attend her long-term boyfriend’s boot-camp graduation.  We will be gone until Sunday, so I wanted to keep the planned meals easy for the ones left home who will be cooking.


Menu Plan-June 6

To Trash or Not, that was the Question

Part of the job the of a Legislative Aide is to attend monthly Community Advisory Board Meetings. Tonight was one of those meetings. It is also a Thursday night, and that means Boy Scout meeting. Thursdays are usually YOYO dinners (You are On Your Own). Life has been hectic, and there have been A LOT of these meals lately. Douglas was tired of them. He took the initiative tonight to make a homemade “hamburger helper” meal for everyone. I am so glad I have children who will step up and help out the family on their own initiative!

He used one of my favorite stainless steel pots to make dinner. I am not sure what he did. I don’t know if he cooked it on too high of heat, didn’t stir it enough, walked away for too long or a combination of all of the above. It wasn’t pretty! I came home to my oldest daughters saying Douglas ruined my pot. Becky had already gone through one steel wool pad spending 45 minutes to clean the bottom.  She then put it on the stove with some Dawn trying to loosen up the burned stuff which was at least a quarter inch thick. Looking at it, I was sure the pot was going need to be thrown out.  


After 45 minutes of scrubbing by Becky.  Give up and trash it?

Then I remembered something my mom told me my Grandmother had used years ago for cleaning pots and pans in the kitchen:


I emptied the water out of the pan and poured half of the bottle into it.  I rubbed it around the bottom and let it sit for a few minutes.  I took a scrubby sponge and started to scrub. The charred-on stuff began to peel up a little at a time.  I set the sponge aside and used one the of the nylon pot scrapers and it started to come up in chunks.  I continued to scrape the pan for a minute, then went back to the sponge. The little water in the pot turned black, and I couldn’t see the bottom of it.  I scrubbed a minute more, then dumped out the water and rinsed the pan.


First use of the cream of tartar

The black was going away; a lot more pot was visible, and the remaining black was much thinner.  I emptied the rest of the bottle of cream of tartar into the pot, rubbed it around and let it sit for another couple of minutes.  I scrubbed the bottom again, and more junk came off.  It was down to a just a thin layer, but I was out of cream of tartar.  I rinsed the pot one more time  and thought of an alternative — Baking Powder.  I poured some in, rubbed it around the bottom and used the sponge to scrub the pot.  The pan was almost perfect.


Just about perfect!

But I really wanted to get that last remaining stuff off.  I needed some abrasive power.  I personally hate to use steel wool pads.  I thought about what I had one hand and reached into the spice cabinet and pulled out the regular table salt.  I poured a couple of tablespoons into the pat.  Took a clean dry sponge and went to work.


Salt for srubbing

After another minute the work was done and the pot looked almost new!


Ready for it’s next use!

I think I spent a total of 15 minutes working on the pan.  Nice to know those “old fashioned” tips work!

Now to work with Douglas to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  🙂



























Memorial Day

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty.

So today while you enjoy your picnics and kick off the start of summer, take a moment to remember those members of the service who gave their lives so you can have the freedom to celebrate.

I am going to post my father’s headstone.  He did not die in the line of duty, but he was injured in Korea and served in the Army for 32  years before he retired on June 30, 1976.  He and my mother are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Hello Again!

It has been quite awhile since I posted. Life has been moving on, and the children are growing up. Liz and Mandy are entering their last year of college. Liz is finishing her degree in biology and Mandy is completing her degree in Chemistry. We continue to home school the remaining children. Douglas is entering his senior year of high school. Becky, Emma, and Patrick are entering 11th grade. The “little” girls are not so little anymore. They are starting the fourth grade and will be 10 in October. WHERE has the time gone?!

My life took and interesting and unexpected turn in December 2014 when I began working as a Legislative Aide for a Council Member of the Harford County Council. I applied for the position on a whim when I saw an opening posted during the 2014 election season. I was hired by one of newly elected council members. In this position I have daily interactions with all levels of county government, help citizens resolve concerns and issues, research legislation issues for the council member, and complete a bi-monthly newsletter. It is an exciting job, and I am enjoying it. So much so, I have begun my Masters in Public Administration. Mandy laughed when heard about it because she says we have switched lives. She planned a career in politics, and I had wanted to pursue a career in science.

This summer is going to be an active and busy one. Douglas will be working at the Broad Creek Scout Reservation here in Harford County for ten weeks in his first official job. Richard and Patrick will be attending Mt. Norris, a Boy Scout Camp in Vermont the second week of July. After they return, they will be working the Harford County Farm Fair with Boy Scout troop. Right as Farm Fair ends, Emma and Becky will attend Camp Veritas, which will last through the first week of August. Some time this summer we hope to squeeze in a couple of days at the beach as a family.

I wanted to give a quick update on us and I hope to be posting more regularly from now on. 🙂