Ruby’s Diner

 

Lunch at Ruby’s Diner was amazing. There were four of us, three adults and one child and we all enjoyed our meal. I ordered the Super Ruby. It was a hamburger with cheese, tomato, avocado and Ruby Sauce (I got it without the sauce). It came on a cheese dusted sour dough bread with endless fries. I can’t have the fries so I was able to substitute for fresh fruit. The hamburger was juicy and melted in my mouth.

 

Other people in the group ordered fried fish or shrimp. They said it was delicious and a perfect match for a day at the beach.  Both came with endless fries and coleslaw. The coleslaw was a bit dry for my taste but other than that the meal was great. The meal was so filling that no one ordered the extra frys and we all left feeling satisfied. The portion sizes were very quite large. My little one is boring and got the macaroni and cheese with grapes, she liked it. There were a lot of different options and we enjoyed our meal. The price was reasonable, it was about $15 each for the adults, and we felt we got our moneys worth.  The downside of the restaurant would have to be the fact that there is no restroom, so if you have to take your child in the middle of eating you have to walk all the way back to the park area at the beginning of the pier. It is a long walk! The inside seating was limited and quite cramped, but that turned out to be a good thing. We ate outside and enjoyed it.  The best part was the view we saw while we ate. It was breathtaking!

Balboa Island

 

We finally went on our first outing of the summer to Balboa Island. It is located in Newport beach and is a nice area to walk around.

Balboa is a wonderful area in New Port Beach CA. There is so much to do and explore.
When we got to Balboa we parked in the parking lot. It is a metered lot that charges $1.50 an hour for parking. We didn’t have to pay though because we have a handicap placard. Then we stopped off at the restroom before starting our day. I have to say that the restrooms were among the cleanest public restrooms that I have ever seen. We went to the fun zone and our first stop was the nautical museum. It has three buildings, two of which are free to look at, the other one costs a small fee. I don’t remember the exact price but four of us got in for less than $20.

 

The two free buildings had a lot of neat boats to look at and were very interesting. We have come a long way in boat making over the years. There were paintings and models to look at as well as a few videos to watch.



There was an area devoted to a resident from Balboa who had competed in the paralimpics in sailing. It was inspirational. There was a sail with all kinds of signatures, and a sign was posted for people to sign the sail and put their dreams. My little one liked that idea and added her dream to the sail.

 
The building that cost to get in had an area that showed how beach music has changed over the years, a replica of the largest fish ever caught, a submarine you could pretend to drive,a touch tank and more. I think my little one learned a lot and had fun. She loved the touch tank and the gentleman working at the museum was talking to her about the different animals in the tank. She asked a lot of questions and then talked about the animals the rest of the day.

After the museum we looked in a few of the shops. My little one got some ice cream and my mom got a chocolate dipped frozen banana, they both said that they were very good. Then we went window shopping.  The shops had a lot of beach themed items but I felt they were a bit over priced. It was fun to look at the different shops and see the different things that could be made out of sea shells. Then we went on the Ferris wheel. The cost was $3 each, which I thought was a little high, but after the ride I think it was worth it. This feriswheel doesn’t just go around once or twice it goes around 25 times. It was a nice long ride and the scenery was beautiful. The seats were a little on the small side but I was able to fit.

After our ride we decided to get some lunch. We took the long walk to the end of the Balboa pier and ate at Ruby’s Diner. I will go into more detail about lunch in another post. Lunch was good. After lunch we continued to look through the shops and then decided to rest while my little one played on the playground. It was a nice area with slides, swings, monkey bars and an awesome jungle gym. My little one loved talking with other kids and playing. She climbed to the top of the jungle gym a few times and overall, she had a blast. 











After the playground it was time for our sunset cruise. The night before our trip I found a deal online that would let us take the 90 minute cruise for only $10 per adult and $6 per child. This cruise was well worth the price. It started at 7pm. It was a little breezy but the weather was still nice.
The views were amazing. We were able to see some sea lions, and beautiful views of the homes around Balboa. The water was a little rough so the ride was fun, I even got splashed a little. The waves were choppy which made the experience even more memorable. I was able to get a few nice pictures.
 
The day at Balboa was a lot of fun. It was not too hot and we were able to take time and explore. I would recommend taking a trip down there if you are able. There is of course the option to swim as well, but my foot problem doesn’t allow me to walk on sand, so I can’t swim as of now.

Summer = More time in the Gym

Now that it is summer my little one will be spending more time in the gym. She has been doing gymnastics since she was two and loves it. She has been on the competition team for a year now and enjoys competing. Competitions are over until September and now they get to learn new skills and perfect some ones they have been working on. She will be at the gym 4 to 5 days a week for about 3 hours a day. Hopefully her arm strength will improve and she will have a lot of fun. With the extra classes she gets to be with more girls her age and I think she really enjoys that. Right now her goal is to move up to the next level before September, I don’t think that will happen but if she works extremely hard it could.


This is my little one in the blue. It was at the gym’s summer show.



The only downside to more practices is that I am away from home longer and have not been able to do all of the things around the house that I would like to. With my foot being hurt it makes it hard to do a lot at a time. Sitting in the gym can get boring day after day as well, but she likes us to watch. I couldn’t come home anyways being as the gym is about 40 mins from our house it would take way too much gas. Overall it is worth it, she gets some exercise and gets to do something she loves.

Ice Cream

 

 

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This ice cream maker has made summer a lot easier!

One of the many foods that usually contains some sort of corn is ice cream. It usually has corn syrup, so I just didn’t eat any. But….. my wonderful friend bought me the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker for my birthday. I used it for the first time yesterday and was amazed.

It is very simple to use and works very quickly. The box says it makes ice cream in 25 to 40 minutes. I did feel that this statement was a little misleading. You have to put one part of the ice cream maker in the freezer for 24 hours before use and all of the recipes they provide require you to chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you can make it. However once everything is frozen and chilled I had ice cream in less than 20 minutes. You just pour the mix in, and turn the machine on. It doesn’t need any rock salt or special ingredients. The ice cream had a good flavor, held its’ shape, and tasted far better than any ice cream I have ever bought at a store. It only makes a quart of ice cream, and the ice cream maker needs to be frozen each time it is used, but it is a perfect fit in my opinion. It cleaned up nicely, and I can’t wait to experiment and try new flavors. If you are looking for a simple to use ice cream maker, check this one out!

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

My little one will be turning 9 in just a few days. This year we decided to take her to the Pirates Dinner Adventure, in Buena Park CA. We have been there two times before and they still did not disappoint. A group of six of us attended the 7:30 show on Friday 4-27. The show is a dinner show, but the experience actually starts about two hours before the real show. We got to the theatre at about 5:15 because the traffic was unusually light. We were the second group in line and waited for the box office to open at 5:30. When it did we gave our name and were assigned to the purple group. (we have now been red, yellow, and purple and purple is the best.) We were given purple flags, bandannas, and assorted colored beads. Then we entered the building. When we first got there we were given pirate hats and took a group picture in front of the captain’s wheel of the ship.

My little one with her flag and bandanna.

After the picture we went into another room where there was a bar, and waiters handing out appetizers. The prices at the bar were a little steep but not too far off from any other tourist type attraction. Sodas were $5 they came in a small 3d cup and refills were $1. Beer was $8 in the same cup with refills for $7. They had other options like margaritas and other mixed drinks but we didn’t order those. There was a lot of appetizers, unfortunately with my corn allergy I could not eat many. The others in the group said they were great. There was; chicken strips, tacos, meatballs, ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, fried corn, shrimp, and a lot more. There is not a lot of seating in this area, and the closer it gets to the show time the less appetizers you will get. However if you arrive early like they say, you will have ample opportunity to sample as many as you like. At about 7pm the preshow started and without giving too much of the story away we are captured and taken aboard a ship. At that point you are lead by your waiter/ waitress to your table. I am unable to walk at the moment so I had to go in a wheelchair. I don’t know how much handicap seating is available but we have never had a problem. We were seated in the second row and all six of us sat in the same row.
The waitress introduced herself and gave us pitchers of soda. (From this point on the soda is free.) We were given a choice of vegetable soup or a salad with ranch dressing. We all chose the salad and it was crisp, fresh and really good. The rest of the course is served through out the show. The next choice was either chicken, Spanish rice and broccoli or pork lion with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. I had the chicken, it was amazing. We were served a half chicken which was so tender it was falling off the bone and the rice was good too. The broccoli was a little undercooked to my tastes but still edible. The two that had the pork loin said it was ok. The potatoes and broccoli were good but that the pork was a little dry. We were served apple cobbler at the end and cake. (an extra charge we added because of the birthday)  None of our group cared for the apple desert but the cake was moist and fresh.

This is inside the theater, flash is not aloud but this was the best I had.

The show is neat. Once you are in the theater you are told to cheer for your pirate and boo for the other pirates. In order to enjoy the show you have to let your hair down and have fun with it. The pirates take part in contests and audience members help. At one point anyone who paid for a birthday announcement is called on stage and given a small gift. The package we bought was $20 for the birthday girl and she got the bandanna, flag, beads, and cake along with the chance to go onstage and take a picture. The show has comedy, love, trampoline stunts,  a ribbon acrobat, and a lot of fun with pirates. There is a lot of audience participation, but it was not at all forced. Don’t go planning on just watching a show though, you have to cheer and scream and find your inner pirate.

After the show we went back into the main room for a buccaneer’s bash. No one was dancing but the bar and gift shop was open. This was also a good time to take pictures with the pirates.We had a great time and will surly go again.

Dinner

I have a theory that the reason America is fat is due to convenience. Think about it, we have drive throughs, premade food, boxed and canned food available to us at cheep prices. You can get a pizza for $5 or a taco for $.49. Not being able to grab these convenience foods has put me in the kitchen a lot longer and cost a bit more money, but I think with time and planning better it will get easier. Today I made scalloped potatoes, broccoli, and London broil. The scalloped potatoes came from the Betty Crocker cookbook and everyone loved them. I had planned on having some left over for tomorrow, but I will have to make something else. It took me about an hour to wash, peal, and slice the potatoes, about twenty min to make the sauce and then about two hours o cook. The London broil was quick. I put it on a cookie sheet, poked it with a fork, salted it and then put it under the broiler for 5 min on each side. I steamed the broccoli in about ten min, and called it dinner. The potatoes tasted better than any boxed potato I have ever had and I know they had NO corn which was the best part.

Tests

One of the requirements for CAVA is that the student takes the scantron test in reading and math at the beginning and end of the school year. This was our first year and being that my little one hates to take tests with a passion, I was a little nervous. The test at the beginning of the year started in math with basic addition and subtraction. It gets progressively harder with the more right answers you get, and once you get to a point where you can’t answer any more questions the test ends. At the beginning of the year her test ended once division was introduced. She hadn’t learned how to divide so I wasn’t too surprised. Today the test started with division, then division with remainders, then adding fractions. A lot of the questions seemed similar to the questions she was unable to answer at the beginning of the year. She was able to answer most of the questions with ease. I was caught in one of those WOW moments. She is learning and is making progress. I didn’t like the idea about taking the test at the beginning of the year when she had not learned the material, but seeing such a difference when she took the test today was amazing. I am anxious to see her results. This experience in a virtual school has been wonderful. Not every day is great but life is a learning experience and I believe she is learning a lot.

*** An update
We got the test results back and it showed she is now above the district and national averages in both math and reading. On her reading test she even answered all of the fourth and fifth grade questions correctly. I am so glad that I have been able to teach her at home she has grown and learned so much this year.

Corn Free

 

 

Now that I have a corn allergy, I have to be careful what I eat. Ignorance is bliss until that ignorance gets you into trouble.

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I have been trying to live a corn free life for about a month now. I thought it would be fairly easy, until I realized a corn free diet means more than just no corn. I can’t eat anything made with corn syrup, corn sugar, corn meal, corn oil, or anything derived from corn. I never realized how may things contained corn. I also had no idea how many names there are for corn. I guess ignorance is bliss until your ignorance gets you in trouble. I am intolerant to corn not allergic, so for that I am lucky. I do have severe side effects when I eat corn but as of now it is nothing life threatening. I am learning new things each day and by no means am an expert. I plan on sharing my experiences but as everyone is different please don’t try something just because it was ok for me. If you have a problem with corn make sure to check the labels and use your best judgment. 

After realizing how many items I eat that contain corn I decided it was time to get a cookbook. I use to cook everything out of a box, but most of those boxed or canned things contain some type of corn. Days of Hamburger Helper and boxed cake mixes are long gone. So is jelly, pudding, jello, and numerous other products that I never thought had corn in them.

I purchased the Betty Crocker Cookbook at Walmart for a little under $20. I have not tried too many recipes yet but plan to try many in the future. 

So far I have tried the baked macaroni and cheese which turned out good, twice baked potatoes that were way better than anticipated, homemade croutons that were better than any I have bought in a store, and the glazed carrots. The recipe for glazed carrots called for orange zest and I didn’t have any so I just left it out. The carrots came out decently, but I think the orange zest would have made them better.
I also found this wonderful website that has a lot of recipes and tips for eating corn free. www.cornallergens.com Tonight I made the banana bread and it turned out really well. I plan on trying more recipes soon.

There are a lot of foods that I am adjusting on my own too. It is a learning experience and I have lost a little weight because I can’t eat very may processed foods. It is getting easier, but will be a life long adjustment. Do you have any food allergies in your family?

School days

a2 Isn’t is amazing when you look at the work your child needs to learn and you think it is going to be a hard concept for them to grasp, and they understand it fairly easily? I was dreading the lesson today on the water cycle and the carbon cycle. I even searched online to see if I could find a kid friendly way to approach the carbon cycle. I thought the lesson she was going to complete was a little complex. I didn’t need to do that! I sat down with my third grader and we read through the lesson. I explained a few things that I had assumed she was taught in previous years, she didn’t know that we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide or that plants use the carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Once she understood that point the lesson was fine. She was able to do the workbook page, and pass the test. I was quite happy. 

I never realized how much science she was retaining just from watching the Magic School Bus videos.

 

As far as the water cycle she already knew about that.  As we were going over the diagram she explained how it all worked. When I asked her how she knew that she exclaimed, “Miss Frizzle taught me!” For those who don’t know, Miss Frizzle is from the Magic School Bus. She has the books and videos and loves to watch them over and over. I was glad to see she was really learning and understanding. I know that the videos aren’t exactly accurate, but they give a great introduction to science.

We were able to complete quite a few lessons today. She did one math lesson, two history lessons, one science, three literature lessons, and Spanish. She completed that in a little under four hours which is NOT normal for her. In Literature she was reading a nonfiction book that she found easy to read and understand, so for once literature was not a fight. I only hope tomorrow goes as well.

Getting ready for Monday

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As sit in my room going over the work that my third grader needs to complete next week, I realized that I have lost MY room. She does school all over the house, but my room is the home base.  My bookshelf that use to have my books is now full of The Magic School Bus, Stone Fox, Jr. novels, dictionaries, and thesauruses. I have tubs with pencils, markers, crayons, glue, glitter, and paint stacked all around. There is a map of the USA and a map of the world, along with a multiplication chart. There are hand made posters about the water cycle and American Indians. There are papers all over and a schedule for next week hanging up. It is amazing how my room has changed in less than a year, but I know that she is learning a lot and so am I.  
Here is what is on the list this week

  • Math – the distributive property and order of operations
  • Science – the carbon cycle, water cycle, and changing environmental conditions
  • History – learning more about the original 13 colonies and the Boston Tea Party
  • Literature – reading non fiction, fact verses opinion, and the Declaration of Independence
  • Art- learning about the Incas gold and cloth
  • Spanish – another week of lessons last week she learned foods and drinks
  • Language skills – Finished for the year!!!

I am ready for a week of teaching, I hope she is ready for a week of learning.